Rock Hounding

Igen Weyr - Endless Dunes

A scorching expanse of barren, windblown desert lies out before you in an incredible distance, stretching all the way to the horizon. Composed of rolling dunes, and the occasional outcropping of sun-blasted rock, it almost seems to be a featureless monotony at first, hardly anything to look at. Indeed, the uniform barreness of it would be perhaps frightening to those of more fertile regions, but to the people of Igen, this is home. One who gazes at the desert with a trained eye can appreciate a stark beauty that most would never see, and find solace in the trail of an insect within the sands, or the shade offered by a hardy bit of foliage. At night, when the moons shine, it becomes even more wonderful to look at, as the heat has died down and the light from Belior and Timor reflect gloriously off of the rolling dunes, and pool in murky shadows among the projections of rock. It is at these times, if the wind is little, and the moons are high that one can see the Igen river in the distance, reflecting the ambient light like the glittering jewel of the desert that it is, a beacon of life within an otherwise barren place. As well, on the same clear days, the outline of Igen Weyr can be seen not quite as far off; nestled as it is within a huge, old volcanic caldera.

It's nearly winter in Xanadu and bodies, being what they are, slowly acclimate to the cooling weather after a sultry summer. Thea's perhaps able to do so easier than most, seeing that she grew up in the back of beyond High Reaches where icy crags touch the sky. The problem is, she's in neither High Reaches nor Xanadu at the moment. The time has come to see what the stone masters and A'dmar have found in Igen's deserts for repairing and restoring those ruins found a few turns ago in those moss-cloaked woods deep in the forests of Xanadu. Leaving the Weyr in the capable hands of Weyrleader Xe'ter, the junior weyrwomen and Ocelara, she's got a few rock samples in her pockets, pen and notebook for taking notes, a bedroll and carrysack with a few things suitable for life on the trail - and her crossbow strapped to her back. So here they are, popping out of *Between*, sweeping low over the golden lands that at higher altitudes appear devoid of plant life, seemingly barren and shimmering in sun that is searing the land in the northern continent's summer. They haven't even landed yet and she's hastily stripping off gloves, helmet and jacket even as Seryth glides smoothly. "Sharding hot!"

The desert offers many things that other areas in parts of the world may not. Dry heat, searing wind that will steal one's breath away, sandstorms, seemingly endless sunshine and at night, cold that rivals the dead of winter. It's one of the most extreme places on the planet and only a few have mastered how to live within its confines. The family in which A'dmar was raised being one of them, though of course there are no traces present of the so called sand dwellers, or desert rats. Instead, tents are staked by those unfamiliar with the desert, set close to the near by rocky outcrops, since getting a tent to stay up in the shifting sands proves often difficult. Miners and stone masons, along with scouts, are those who occupy the camp. Shelter is taken within the shade of the tents, sides whom are lifted to keep the air circulating, while others are within the cave system which cuts much of the heat. A stone quarry has been initiated here but it does not have the span of most mines, but instead enough stone mined to sample and test for its density.
A'dmar is waiting for the arrival of the Xanadu group, an assistant by his side whose holding an arm full of cloth. A'dmar himself is not dressed in his normal attire but more of a robe that sweeps down his frame with pieces wrapped and drapping around his face, pieces evident that it could cover half his face if necessary. Yarovith is the dark blotch against the desert sand, wings fanned wide and maw open to help cool himself off, not that dragons need to worry so much. He's enjoying it, but the bronze gives a welcoming rumble to the incoming.

Seryth warbles a serene greeting to Yarovith and any other dragons there, well-pleased to be in somewhere new. The silvery queen turns on a wide sweep, likely at her rider's behest while Thea's head turns to take in the endless vista rather than the camp. Her seagreen eyes are on the horizon where the haze and the heat waves dance together as Seryth dips to skim the dunes and land, lightly - as lightly one so large can manage – and promptly sinks a few feet into the loose sand. She folds her wings and sinks to her belly before her rider can even dismount rumbling her pleasure in the toasty warmth she's already soaking up. Thea doesn't bother using the flight straps, simply slides down the slope of golden shoulder to land boot-first in the sand, stagger a step or two and get her balance. So graceful! When she does take stock of the campsite, the tents seem to surprise her; she hadn't even thought to bring one, eyeing the clear skies with a perplexed look that clearly says they're nuts to block the what will surely be a glorious view of starlight with thick material. She leaves her carrysack and bedroll with Seryth for the time being, choosing instead to stride towards where A'dmar and the Xanadu stone masons are - they've managed to beat her here. "So, is this it?" She's dabbing at her neck and forehead with a kerchief. Even though her shirt is sleeveless, her skintight riding trous are leather and she's so unprepared for desert heat.

Tents yes! Those sandstorms are ever unpredictable and one does need a roof to cower behind when they sweep through. Tents do at least offer a little seclusion from that threat. There would be room to explain that eventually, if the question came up. For now though, A'dmar strides over toward where Seryth lands to greet the Weyrwoman and her team, as if they were royal blood being presented to some great castle to be made. A'dmar tilts his head and says something in his foreign tongue to welcome her, a greeting whatever was said. As his head rises he indicates with a hand toward the assistant hot on his heels, "I anticipated you may be in need of some proper attire," he declares as the assistant steps forward with his arms full of long woolen like garments that fall loose and will protect the body from the sun and head dresses/scarves which will help keep the head cool, "It entirely depends if you are remaining long, but you may wish to change into them." A'dmar offers and if Thea looked around, all of the camp goers would be wearing the same loose fitted robes, much like candidates on the sands but light brown in color. "Yes, this is the first site. The rock will be mined there," he indicates the small outcropping that juts out from the sand, "The sand hides many things, including a vast amount of stone." He sounds confident in finding a vein of it.

Hah! Thea may not ask about the tents, but come nightfall, she may sneak her bedroll out onto a sand dune, so don't be surprised to find her out there! For now though, shade is a very good thing if one isn't in the shadow cast by the small quarry they've started. The foreign-tongued greeting by A'dmar is repeated by Thea, who has a quick enough ear not to fumble the cadence or syllables. With a light laugh she says, "Please tell me I didn't just swear at you in the tongue of the sunrunners." Then she peers at the stack of clothing his assistant is offering and her dark brows rise. "I'm staying. Are you kidding? I'm playing hooky as long as Xe'ter lets me. Call it a working vacation." Long slender fingers reach to pluck at the robes dubiously. "So I guess I should change into this bathrobe then?" One eye flutters dark lashes in a wink; she's teasing. "Be right back." And it really is a matter of minutes that she takes to find an unoccupied tent, strip that sweltering flight gear, don the robes she's been given. When she steps out, the headdress and scarf are in hand, though. "There must be a trick to attiring oneself in these." A trick she has yet to learn, so she holds them out to A'dmar. Help?

A'dmar seems to be impressed that Thea can catch onto the tongue of the nomad Quoin so easily, a slight quirk of his lips and a light in his eyes seem to indicate his amusement, "No, but now I wish I had." That would've been because humor is last on his list. The reaction to staying has him nod, those lips curling quietly as she calls it a vacation. Even so, he does nod to the robes, "The leathers will make you sweat and out—" he stops as she calls them bathrobes, his eyebrows lowering and a disdainful little look crosses his gaze, fulfilling her desire to rub it in, "We have loose pants and trousers as you need it, but robes are sufficient for now, to keep the sun off you and the water in you." Dark eyes follow the woman to the tent, only to pivot around and march some distance away, speaking in commanding tones to the assistant who bolts off to fetch some water skins. As the woman does return, the wind has picked up just enough to send sand flying and skirting around one's feet, not yet threatening to lift higher than that. Still, some in the camp have taken to applying their scarves around their mouth and nose in precautions, likely having dealt with gritty sand between their teeth more than once. A'dmar approves of the robe and comes over at the indication that she needs help. "There is…" he says matter-of-factly, reaching for the headdress, "Pull your hair back and up and hold it…" he thereby steps around her, fabric and robes flapping some in the breeze. His fingers graze alongside her neck and face to help assist with gathering stray pieces of hair, sliding the headdress on with the bun of hair fitting up underneath. "Excuse my reach-" he does have to say as he takes the scarf to help wind the headdress in place and secure it, curling pieces just underneath her chin so that she could pull it up in sudden gusts. He's taking this very professionally but there were times that hands must graze across flesh due to the close proximity.

Humor is how Thea deals with heartache and tension. Too bad it's last on A'dmar's list, but she will be HAPPY to help him bump it up a few places anyway. She merely laughs when he looks disgruntled by her calling them bathrobes and whisks herself away to change into them a flourish of sand in her wake. Robes, loose pants. Either works better than the sweltering leather she's got on and yes, her exposed upper arms are already starting to burn, so really, she is grateful. She's away from the Weyr and its pressures, away from the fretting Xe'ter, away from the tedious paperwork and outside in a foreign place - to her this really IS a vacation! She stands very still while he helps her with that headdress, despite the heat her skin is cool to the touch, something she no doubt remarks upon in surprise. She's definitely not used to what extremely dry air does to perspiration. "So," she says when he's finished, "Do I look Quoin?" Dark hair and brows but icy green eyes that glitter with devilish teasing, probably not. "Thanks by the way," she says with a brush of fingertips to his sleeve. "These are very soft and comfortable." And then, of course since they're here to see rocks, "Let's see the stone you've found?" Wind? Sand? She has no experience with those acting together, so for the moment she's happily oblivious.

Their very surroundings would be unnerving and uncomfortable for many, but here A'dmar looks to be in his elements. From the way he carries himself so easily over the sand to the way he moves about underneath those clothes. It just seems home to him and familiar even with all the Turns spent away from it. Even the way he helps Thea into her headdress, it's natural, smooth, and fluid. Footsteps don't seem to leave deep imprints as one unaccustomed to the sand would, stepping around Thea to tug on the headdress for one final instance and maybe in jest too, his eyes contemplating the way she wears it, finger poking into her personal bubble to tug and prod the scarf around her face, "You look like a humble guest." That's likely when her fingers touch his sleeve in gratitude, dark eyes catching against those icy green eyes, "I anticipated it." Not like any other Weyr but Igen would be prepared for the desert, "It's nothing." Hand breaks back as the assistant jogs up with some water skins, one passed to each member of Thea's party. "Keep these underneath if you can, of your robe and don't open them often if you can avoid it. The dry air likes to steal what it can." Arms disappear under a swirl of fabric as he starts to head off toward the rock that's already pulled out of the quarry, "The samples are over here and they've already been fashioned into blocks."

Thea maintains her composure as her headdress is tweaked even though her bubble of space is invaded to do it. This situation is simply too interesting to have her self-conscious. "You did well," she says simply, not that he needs to hear it, but she says it all the same. She accepts her waterskin, eyeing her attire in perplexity for a moment before shrugging and looping the strap over her head and slipping the skin down inside her neck, withdrawing her arm from it's sleeve to shrug the strap over it, wriggle, shifting that skin around a bit until it is worn comfortably. Well. It's a comical move, but better than lifting the skirts to don it that way. Drinking from it ought to be a trick but that's neither here nor there. She follows to the quarry, fingers curled about her sample of rock from the ruins, nodding in approval about it already being formed into blocks. The stonemasons will need to do some fancy curved carving later too, but that is their area of expertise. Pulling her bit of rock out, she compares it to the stone A'dmar has. "Oh yes. It is nearly identical in the color and grain. This… pale stone is perfect." There's a little pause and she offers him another sample. This is dark, almost translucent a shade of grey-green. "Do you think Igen has stone similar to this? It's used as adornment on some of the corners, cornices and edgings."

If anything was comical about Thea and managing her attire, A'dmar wasn't going to say it. He isn't the type to sport hunt even for humor. The stone masons would surely have their work cut out for them, literally speaking, if they were to fashion the stone into curved forms like the ancients, but that's why they're stone masons and A'dmar wasn't. He's at least glad to see the approving look from Thea to the blocks already mined, "I thought it might be. How many tonnes do you need of it?" Although he had spent time in the ruins, it's a little fuzzy for him to remember the exact size and how much she intended to haul back for the project. The engineers certainly must be loving Xanadu right about now. "The weight of it will determine how large of a work force we need." Even if the man is only tasked with the transportation of the stones, he's putting himself in the task of knowing other parts of the project as well. He might as well, being as involved as he is now. His hand stretches out for the stone when the next piece is provided to him, regarding the dark grey green sample, bouncing it in his hand as he contemplates. Of course he passes it right back to her once he's finished with his examination, "You may have to ask the miners if what rock I know there is down deeper in the caves is of the same rock."

Oh and has Xe'ter ever sent Thea prepared! The question from A'dmar has her pulling out her notebook and withdrawing a folded sheet of paper that is solemnly handed over to A'dmar. It is a requisition form on which the exact tonnage and type is meticulously written out with the Weyr's bid for both the stone, which they'll contract with whomever owns the land, a finders fee for A'dmar, guide fees and shipping fees, all negotiable, of course. It is signed by both of Xanadu's Weyrleaders. The need is enough to keep both cutting and shipping crews busy for a few weeks. And of course, when she takes the grey-green sample back, she hands him a golden-mica flecked one, opaque in nature. "Those were igneous rock, but the stone masons tell us this one is sandstone. So if you know any desert places where they have rock like this we'd be grateful. It is used in the capstones, keystones and floor tiles." She'll likely have a word with the masons about the stone in the mine here, and should they answer that there is only pale stone to be had, she won't seem unpleased at the thought of seeing more of the desert to find the rest.

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