The Mighty Hunter

Xanadu Weyr - Caverns
A massive cavern in it's own right, this one has been skillfully adapted for human habitation. The high ceilings have been painted a light, soft ivory, as are the walls where numerous tapestries hang to provide brilliant color and insulation from the stone. The floor has been left in its natural state, pale pink granite speckled through with glittering mica and dark flecks of basalt, leveled carefully but kept sufficiently rough to avoid slips.
The cavern itself is loosely divided into areas, each one set up to be suitable for some segment of the Weyr's population. The most frequently occupied area, however, is the one near the Kitchens where tables of varying sizes provide a place to sit down and eat or chat and a buffet of consumables is almost always kept stocked. Its plain that on most days, this area wouldn't accommodate anywhere near the full population of the Weyr and equally plain that on such occasions when a formal meal is laid out, tables are appropriated from all the other areas.
A big fireplace is set into the wall near the Kitchens as well, several comfortable chairs nearby providing haunts for elderly residents or riders who like a good view of all that happens. Rugs cover the floor in strategic spots, all of them abstract or geometric in design and most in the softly neutral colors of undyed wool.

The weather has turned chilly, though at least it's not snowing. Every time someone enters the caverns, they bring a swirl of cold air with them, and the fireplace has its work cut out for it in warming this place. Soriana's not by the fire herself; the aunties and uncles have claimed that territory already. Instead, she's sitting in a comfy chair that's been made unpopular by dint of being fairly near the door. That's okay by her, though - she has a blanket draped over herself, so that only her hands emerge. One of them is holding a book; the other has a mug of klah.

Gorrin makes his way out from the cold, seeking refuge in the warmth of the caverns. At least he's dressed for it, wearing layers of thick clothes colored to blend in with the snowy woods outdoors. He pauses after stepping inside, taking a look around for a place to have a sit. Finding the best spots already claimed, he fetches himself his own mug of klah before taking an empty seat near Soriana, greeting her with a simple nod.

Soriana glances up at the gust of cold with the new arrival, and watches him head over to get klah before nodding back to him when he returns and sits near her. "Hey," she says, and a moment later, a small fuzzy head peeks out from under the blanket. The tunnelcat peers around, then dooks at Gorrin.

"Good evening." Gorrin greets, raising his mug to the tunnelcat and human alike. "I hope you are well." He takes a sip of his drink, eyes the tunnelcat for a moment, then chuckles a little. "I likely smell like his larger cousins. I have been out tracking them all day."

Soriana shrugs a bit, and the blanket slides aside from her shoulder to show the practical shirt and sweater beneath. "Good enough," she says, and smiles… then reaches down to pet the tunnelcat (and incidentally keep him from pouncing off). "The wild felines?" she says, and nods. "Well… good. They've been causing trouble." She frowns. "They mauled a friend of mine, this past summer…."

Gorrin frowns darkly at that. "I am very sorry to hear that. Very sorry." He looks distant for a moment, then refocuses his attention on Soriana. "I do my best to keep their numbers in check. They can become very dangerous when their numbers increase, and they attempt to gain more territory. Unfortunately I did not find any today. But I will try again tomorrow." He extends his free hand. "My name is Gorrin."

"She's okay now," says Soriana with a bit of a smile, and nods at the report. "Yeah. I've heard they've been getting closer and closer, these past few turns. The sweepriders keep finding signs of them." She reaches out her hand to take his, and smiles. "I'm Soriana. Nice to meet you."

Gorrin gives the hand a firm shake, smiling a little in return. "A pleasure to meet you, Soriana. Hopefully I will be able to reduce the danger. They can be a real menace. Not to mention, their furs can be quite valuable. They make excellent clothing in this sort of weather. I understand they've become fashionable among Lady Holders in the north."

Soriana nods quite seriously at the mention of danger, and her tunnelcat twitches his whiskers before diving back under the blanket. It rustles as the ferret moves around and gets comfy, but Sori ignores that part, tilting her head curiously at the mention of the furs' value. "Huh. I guess I can see that, they're sort of pretty." She hehs. "Mostly the only place I go that's fashionable is Ierne, and nobody wants to wear any kind of fur in that weather."

"No, I imagine not." Gorrin smirks a little. "From what I have observed on my travels to warmer weyrs, nobody wants to wear much of any clothing whatsoever." He chuckles a little and has another drink of klah. "Well, in any case, it allows me to make a living and keep people safer. I can ask for little else. Feline meat is also surprisingly tasty… though few seem to have tried it."

Soriana laughs. "I can't entirely say I blame them. Last time I was at Eastern, I couldn't get out of my riding jacket fast enough." She grins, shaking her head a little, then nods. "Certainly seems like a thing worth doing!" she agrees, then huhs. "Is it? …well, they don't exactly serve it in the caverns! The cooks'd probably look at you funny if you asked." But now she's curious. "So what does it taste like?"

Gorrin laughs a little, grinning. "Ah, I visited Eastern myself recently. Can't say I blame you. Half the weyr seemed to be running around naked." There's another chuckle and a sip of klah. He thinks for a moment on the answer. "Well… I suppose the closest thing I could compare it to is porcine. Like a very gamey, well muscled porcine. Though the flavor is actually pretty unique. If you are curious, I can share some with you next time I catch one."

Soriana chuckles at the talk of Eastern, then listens to the answer about feline meat curiously. "I've had boar that went wild," she says, considering. "The hunter said that those could be dangerous too, when he brought it back. It was pretty tasty, though." She grins for a moment, then nods to the offer. "Yeah, that'd be neat!"

"Wild animals tend to share a similar quality of taste, even when
they are very different from one another. I believe it has something to do with them being far less fatty than their domesticated relatives." Gorrin says with a smile. "Very well. If you are curious, I am happy to share. A single feline is too much meat for myself alone, in any case. Where would I find you when I catch one?"

Soriana nods consideringly. "Wild wherry tastes different than the ones in the herds, too," she notes, then ohs. "I live here at Xanadu. Best place to find me is… probably the Annex?" she hmms to herself, then nods. "Yeah. Dragonhealers' Annex." She vaguely gestures, not that it's terribly useful if you can't see through stone. "If I'm not there… well, I will be, and you can leave a message."

Gorrin seems familiar enough with the layout of the weyr that the vague gesture will suffice. He nods. "Very well. If I am fortunate, I will catch one tomorrow. I will let you know if I am successful. I'll roast it at my campfire." Apparently, he's not usually in the habit of taking his meals in the cavern. "Hopefully it shall be less brisk tomorrow."

Soriana grins, and nods. "Sounds good," she says. "I suppose you could dry the meat into jerky, too…" she muses, then shrugs. "Yeah, I dunno about that…" she says at the talk of the weather. "I heard someone say it was looking like a storm coming in."

"You can. But it loses much of the flavor when you do that." Gorrin says with a little smile. "If you are truly curious about the taste, roast is the way to go." At the talk of a storm, he frowns. "That is unfortunate… then I shall have to make certain to catch one tomorrow. Fresh snow will cover the tracks they've been leaving." He shakes his head. "Well… if it is truly too inhospitable to eat outdoors, I am sure we can find another place for it."

"Oh, roast sounds just fine!" says Soriana, and grins. "I just thought, if you were having more than you could eat, that'd be one thing to do with it." She shrugs a little. "It might not snow, anyhow. It sort of always looks like storms this time of year." She glances toward the fire, where - conveniently enough - one of the oldsters is complaining about the ache in his knee that must mean snow, then grins as she looks back to Gorrin.

"This is true. But it is more fun to share." Gorrin says with a little grin. "Well, I shall have to hope that the oldtimer's knee is wrong this once. Or at least that it doesn't kick in for a little while longer. I could use a turn of good luck."

Soriana grins back, and nods. "We can hope!" she says. After all, she wants her taste of exotic dinner! "What do you do when it does start snowing hard and you can't follow the tracks? Do you just go someplace else, like how you said you'd been by Eastern?"

Gorrin nods his head. "Exactly. I go wherever the weather is most suitable for hunting. Especially places where the local populations have gotten dangerous or oversized. Without hunters, a dangerous situation can quickly develop."

"Suppose that makes sense," says Soriana. "So I guess you probably won't be here for long, even if the storms do hold off… it's kind of getting to be that time of year." She glances at the arch to outside, as someone else comes in with jacket and boots. "You must see a lot of the little places, all the tiny cotholds and crafthalls scattered about Pern."

"Well, I always do come back to Xanadu when I can. I was born not far from here. Though truth be told, I do travel a great deal. And even when I am here, I'm usually in the forest, and not in the weyr." He smiles a little more. "Aye, I do. It's interested, getting to see little places like that. I enjoy travel. What of yourself?"

"Yeah, it's neat to see new places," says Soriana with a grin. "I get to go along with the senior dragonhealers sometimes, but that's usually just to other Weyrs. Every so often one of the big holds that has a watchdragon, but…" she shrugs. "Mostly if you're important enough to get a dragonhealer from the Annex to check up on you, you're not going to be posted as a watchdragon. So it's mostly just Weyrs."

"Well, that's not so bad. Weyrs are lovely places. And they are in some very different parts of the world." Gorrin replies. "The culture is very different, too. Not that either is better than the other. But it can be jarring if you are used to a certain way of doing things."

"Yeah, there's summer every time of year if you go to Eastern! Or… winter, if you go to High Reaches." Soriana grins. "It is neat to visit, though. Not that I've got much time to hang out, usually… well, not unless there's a meeting I'm not invited to."

Gorrin grins. "I must admit, one of the things I like best about my work is the opportunity to explore whenever the mood strikes me." He looks a touch sheepish for a moment. "… Though I must admit, I usually avoid crowds. I… did not grow up around a lot of people."

Soriana nods. "That does seem like a bonus!" she says, then glances out across the caverns, and hehs. "I suppose you get used to them… but then again, hunting'd be lonely work if you were a socialite, so maybe you don't want to work on getting used to it all that hard."

"Well, it is nice, from time to time, to enjoy the company of others. As long as it is not too many others at once." Gorrin says with that same little smile. There is a little pause, then perhaps a slightly more awkward smile. "Do you have any plans for the evening?"

"Oh, sure, everyone needs friends," says Soriana breezily, then hmms. She pauses a moment, looking at Gorrin. "Well… I'd mostly planned to do some studying. Got a test on the circulatory system coming up." There's a wriggle from the ferret in her lap, and she reaches down to pet him lightly, attention still mostly on Gorrin.

"Ah. Well. I wouldn't want to distract you from your studies." Gorrin says, with that same lingering awkwardness. "You are still an apprentice, then? I thought about apprenticing to a craft when I was younger."

"Dragonhealer, grade one," says Soriana. "If I keep up the studies, I can probably make grade two in another turn or so." She grins, then glances down at the book (one of many) and sighs a little. "Grade one's pretty much an apprentice, yeah. Only they don't call it that… mostly so they don't offend the old riders who decide to pick up the craft after they got retired out of their wings, I suspect." She grins.

"Oh, right. Healers. Different system. How silly of me." Gorrin says with a little bit of a laugh. "My apologies for the mixup. When I deal with crafters, it is usually leathercrafters or weavers. They're the ones who are usually in the market for furs." He pauses for a moment. "Forgive me if this is a… rude question. But you must be close to Grade Two, yes? Most apprentices I meet look younger than you." Clearly not practiced with social graces.

Soriana shakes her head a little. "It's worse than that. Healers have apprentices just like your leathercrafters. It's just the dragonhealers that are different." She grins, with the expression of someone who's explained this before and isn't in the least offended. She tilts her head at the question, then shrugs a little. "Dragonhealers don't take trainees until later than most. Dragons are kind of… well, big, and they don't want people who're going to mess around and cause trouble."

"Ah, well, that makes sense. I suppose where dragons are involved, everything becomes different." Gorrin says with a little bit of a smile. "Still, it is a noble calling. You must be a very intelligent young woman to pursue such work. Diligent, too. I'd imagine similar rules apply to you as to traditional craft apprentices. I was going to invite you to share a drink of rum with me, but under the circumstances I suppose that would be improper."

"It's what I want to do, anyhow. I suppose that's all anyone can really ask for, huh?" Soriana laughs a little. "It's not the rules, so much as what Fallian would say. She has… opinions." Sori grins. "Besides, I've got lessons in the morning, and I've heard there's nothing worse than Between with a hangover. …and that it'll give you a hangover when you didn't even have one to start."

"Very true." Gorrin says with a little smile. "Nothing greater in this world than following one's passion." He chuckles, looking just a little embarassed. "I am sorry, it was a silly idea to begin with. I would not want to encourage you to be remiss in your studies. They are certainly important."

Soriana smiles back, and shrugs. "Oh, most things are important, if you look at them right. I mean, you're the one who's trying to keep the wild felines away so they don't eat us. I'd say that's pretty important!"

"I'd like to think so. We all have our parts to play, as you say." Gorrin says with a little nod and a smile. "Perhaps we can spend some time together on a day when you don't need to study. Some activity that doesn't involve alcohol."

"Sure," says Soriana. "Though I gotta tell you, those are few and far between. There's always something I'm supposed to be studying, it seems like… but at least some day when I don't have a test coming up." She grins a bit. "I'm sure we can find something to do."

Gorrin grins in return. "Sure. I hope so. You seem… nice." He chuckles a bit. "Sorry. As I said, I don't often talk to people. Hunting is good work, but it keeps one a bit isolated. What do you usually do to relax on a cold day like today?"

"Nice's a good thing," says Soriana, and grins. "How'd you get into hunting, anyhow?" she asks, before she shrugs at the question. "Oh, I hang around, mostly. Play some capture-stone or cards, take Inkfoot hunting tunnelsnakes down in the caverns, talk to friends, that sort of thing."

"My mother was a hunter." Gorrin answers, taking a sip of his cooling klah. "She taught me everything she knew. She was… one of the best." He looks sad for a moment, but then smiles again. "What about yourself? What drew you to dragonhealing? Riders in the family, maybe?" He grins a little more. "Ah. I'm fond of cards. Not terribly good, but it can be fun."

Soriana ahs, and nods. She frowns a moment when she sees that sadness, but doesn't press. "Ah, well, sort of," she says. "My mother's a rider, yes, but I hadn't really decided on anything until I was a candidate at the last clutch here. It… well, things didn't go well," Now it's her turn to sigh a moment, "-but that's sort of why I decided to be a dragonhealer, to try and make things go better in the future."

"Ah." Gorrin says, pausing for a moment. He seems a little curious, but decides to take the tactful approach and not press for details. "I am sorry. I hope, though, that being a candidate was an enjoyable experience on the whole. I have met several candidates recently, they all seem to have enjoyed the experience."

"Oh, sure. I mean, I wouldn't have wanted to not be there for Yumeth. I just wish it hadn't been so hard for her," says Soriana, and smiles. "Yeah, you probably met some of the ones at Eastern while you were there, didn't you?"

Gorrin nods and smiles. "I did indeed. They seem like a nice bunch." He coughs and looks a touch embarassed. "If a bit… uhm… wild. I suppose that goes for most candidates, doesn't it?"

Soriana tilts her head, and blinks. "…wild?" she says. "No, I don't think that's exactly… typical. I mean… we weren't," she says. "What were they doing?"

Gorrin laughs, his cheeks turning just a little red. "Well, ah, I mean… remember what I said earlier about people not wearing much? That included the candidates. And they seemed to be rather… friendly with one another. At any rate, not my place to judge. Perhaps it's just the climate."

Soriana huhs. "I'm surprised their candidate coordinator didn't have something to say about that. I mean, I overheard the lecture about the rules here often enough, even though I managed to get away with the short version myself. I suppose different weyrs really are different."

Gorrin looks a touch embarassed to have brought up the story. "Well, I mean, they weren't doing… I don't know. It was all rather unusual to me. I don't know exactly what is or isn't against the rules. They just seemed rather… free spirited."

Soriana grins. "Well, maybe they got the easy coordinators. I just know we had a couple who'd look askance at kisses, even though the rules don't actually disallow them. Not that it stopped them from glaring!" She shrugs a bit.

"That's it. That's what they were doing." Gorrin admits with another embarassed look. Yes, apparently kisses are enough to work him up into such an awkward state. "It was just, ah… not something I'm used to seeing. That's all."

Soriana pauses and raises one eyebrow. Kisses. "…well, but you said they were light on the clothes," she says, as if that makes all the difference in the world. Which, to a certain extent, it does. Also, "I guess that's not something you find out hunting, huh?"

"Well… yes. Yes they were." Gorrin says with another little awkward cough. Her last remark prompts him to laugh a little. "No, no I don't. Hunts are rarely that… eventful. Honestly, I don't have all that much experience with… things like that."

"At least not if you're hunting by yourself," says Soriana, and grins. "Ah, don't worry, you'll probably find someone someday and get to find out all about that sort of thing."

Gorrin chuckles a little, his smile staying on the awkward side. "… Perhaps. Though for all the advantages, the life of a hunter is not one which lends itself to easily meeting lots of girls around my age."

Soriana laughs a little. "I suppose not. Still, you said you saw a lot of weavercraft, they're at least three quarters female from what I've seen. And I'm sure there are adventurous girls who'd like to go on a hunting trip or three… or are hunters themselves!"

Gorrin chuckles a little, sheepish smile going nowhere. "… It is true that they have some rather, ah, appealing young ladies in their numbers. But… they all seem so… well, many do not strike me as the outdoors type. And many my age are apprentices. It would not be appropriate of me to invite them on such an excursion."

Soriana grins a bit. "Oh, you don't need many. Not to start, anyhow. You just need to find one someone, that's all." She smiles. "But there's no point in rushing it, huh? You'll know when you've found it, and then… well, you'll figure it out." She grins wider.

"You are very wise." Gorrin says with a little bit more of a grin. "Perhaps you have a point. Though I think it would suit me to find someone with an… adventurous streak." He pauses a moment. "… What about you? Would you ever want to try hunting?" Smooth.

"Oh, sure," says Soriana. "You want someone you've got things in common with, where you can do things together and have fun. Just endless makeouts is no good." She shakes her head a little with a rueful smile, then glances up at him again with something between a grin and a smirk. "Well, if you count tunnelcat and firelizard style, I already go hunting," she says. "We've gotten game as big as whersports."

Gorrin turns just a little red at the mention of 'endless makeouts', laughing it off. "Well, ah, a little of that might be fun. But yes. What you said." He smiles back at her. "Well… if you were adventurous enough to try hunting larget game… and, ah, didn't mind my company… I'd gladly take you out."

Now that's definitely a smirk that Soriana gives at the further talk of makeouts, after which she tilts her head to the side curiously. "How do you hunt? Bow, spear, traps? I don't know much about any of them, mind you…"

Gorrin seems happy enough not to have further talk of makeouts just yet. He's turned red enough for one conversation. "Bow, usually." He answers. "Though with certain creatures, if the environment allows being quiet enough, it is simpler and more humane to employ the knife. One risks less damage to the pelt and meat that way."

Soriana nods a little. "I suppose, if they're not going to get you first…" she says. "Oh, but I doubt I'd have time for any sort of a real hunting expedition. Not between classes and duties and all." She shakes her head. "I mean, for all the felines have been getting close, they're not really that close, are they?"

Gorrin shakes his head a bit. "No, not that close. If you were to accompany me, it would take at least a full day. More, under ordinary circumstances." Gorrin replies before taking another long slow sip of klah. "That is a shame. But I would not wish to interrupt your studies."

"Yeah, I mean… a couple hours, I can get free, but a full day? It just doesn't happen, and it's not like I can just between back and forth from a base camp or something." Soriana shrugs. "Sorry. Maybe sometime later after my schedule settles down! It's bound to do that eventually, right?"

Gorrin gives Soriana an understanding smile. "No apologies are necessary. Those sorts of things have to take priority. Perhaps at least we'll have the opportunity to have some roast feline soon."

Soriana smiles, and nods. "Yeah, now I'm curious," she says. "So let me know when you've found something… and, if the storms do roll in, maybe we'll play some cards before you have to head off to warmer climes."

Gorrin grins a little. "Now that sounds fun. I'd suggest a game tonight if you didn't have your studies demanding your attention."

Soriana glances down at her book again, and sighs. "I do indeed," she says. "Hello, major blood vessels of the chest and wing…"

Gorrin chuckles a bit. "Another night then. I am sorry to tempt you with terrible distractions." He says with a little grin.

"Oh, as distractions go, you're some pretty nice ones," Soriana says, then laughs. "I suppose that's what makes them so terrible. The dull distractions are, well, hardly distractions at all."

Gorrin turns a little red again at that, smiling just a bit. "Ah, well, thank you for saying so. I am hoping we'll have the opportunity to have a meal and cards before I move on."

Soriana smiles, and nods as she flips pages to the one she last read. "With luck!" she says, and smiles. "And, hey, if you tell me where you're going next, I can keep an eye out for you if I'm visiting near there."

"I will make certain to let you know before I depart. Or at least leave a message at the annex, if your duties call you elsewhere." Gorrin says with a little smile. He eyes the book. "… Shall I leave you to your studies?"

"Probably for the best," says Soriana, and smiles. "Not that it hasn't been nice talking to you, but if I don't get the aortic arches straight…" She trails off, shaking her head. "Good luck with your hunting!"

Gorrin gives an understanding nod, downing the rest of his klah before standing. "Of course, no offense is taken. I should see to my camp, in any case. I hope I shall see you soon."

Soriana smiles, and waves before resuming her studying, repeating the names of things under her breath and petting her tunnelcat as he chirrrs lazily in her lap.

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