Smart Puppies

Xanadu Weyr - Caverns
A massive cavern in its own right, this one has been skillfully adapted for human habitation. The high ceilings have been painted a light, soft ivory, as have walls hung with numerous tapestries that 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. The stone is carefully leveled 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 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. It's plain that on most days, this area wouldn't accommodate anywhere near the full population of the Weyr, instead feeding people in shifts as they come off duty. On occasions when a formal meal is laid out, tables are borrowed from all the other areas.

There's also a big fireplace set into the western wall, 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.

Exits lead off in all directions, the largest an archway to the northeast that leads outside. Near it there's an alcove with hooks for coats and shelves for muddy boots. A tunnel to the east goes to the infirmary, and a set of stairs just a little south of that lead up to the offices and administration area. To the south, a long and sloping tunnel leads down to the hot springs. The kitchen is off to the southwest, while the residents' quarters are reached by tunnels going west, deeper into the cliff.

Putting the healer journeyman on maintenance duty probably should have been some kind of joke, but at least the Weyr's staff found a job Ajral could do well without causing any confusion or issues with her prized possessions (her hands) — and so she is re-varnishing a table, carefully painting a leg with finish, tarps dropped around her and her project so as to not varnish the floor. This is all well and good and free of complications, except that onecame along with her: remember that puppy Leirith decided she should have? She has not returned that puppy. He is still here. He is wriggly and slowly growing and being trained, but PROBABLY SHOULDN'T BE AROUND VARNISHING. At the moment, the pup is chewing on a paintbrush. "You really," Ajral says with a sigh, "should not be here."

Speaking of jokes, why would anyone put a thirteen turn old on kitchen duty? Mathis is chased, quite literally, out of there in a plume of white dust that's probably flour by a rather plump woman wielding a wooden spoon, "Oooh! Where is that Sylvarin?! I'll have his guts for garters! Never again! Out! Out!" Covered in globs of batter and a considerable amount of flour, the woodcrafter candidate runs and apologizes breathlessly, "I'm so sorry! It was just up so high and I asked for help to reach it but everyone was so busy!" Mathis's pleas fall on deaf ears and whatever passes for a door to keep people from freely wandering back inside is slammed with a huff, the woman's grumbled mutters heard just beyond it until once again there is little more than soft chatters and the clanging of pans. There is some futile effort from the boy of slapping his hands on the barricade, begging for forgiveness, but eventually he sighs heavily and turns hazel eyes towards the caverns. It's not Ajral he notices first, but rather her puppy, brows beginning to sink slowly downwards. "Where'd you come from?"

Everything about this chore lineup is a disaster; Ajral's dog is not a complete disaster, though, as he didn't start barking his head off THE SECOND that the kitchen noises wafted his way. No, he kept sitting and messing up that paintbrush (on the handle end, at least - no bristles in those milk teeth) until Mathis speaks to him, at which point he drops the brush to bark once, quietly. "Followed me," Ajral calls from over at the actual table. "Telling him to go back to the barracks didn't work. I think he believes he is helping." Rhezny is ABSOLUTELY HELPING, he is HOLDING THIS BRUSH. Or. He was. He picks it up again. There.

"All the way from the barracks?" Impressed, Mathis dusts himself off a bit where he stands before skirting Ajral's working area, not wanting to ruin her day even a little as spectacularly as he had his own. Crouching, "You're a smart canine, aren't you?" Yes, this is the point where he makes soft kissing noises and tries to coax him over by extending his batter splattered hand with. At least it wasn't paint this time and he was fairly certain that anything on him would wash out. No clothing was harmed in the making of his scene. "You want me to take the paintbrush away from him?" Apparently, he was feeling confident that he could effectively distract a puppy long enough to save the equipment that his fellow candidate had been assigned to accomplish her daily chore. He couldn't know for sure, but he had an inkling someone wouldn't like to have supplies returned hopelessly mangled.

"Everywhere. He follows me everywhere," Ajral says, and though there's an eyeroll to it she's also got a generally loving look to her expression. He's an annoying little guy, but he's also her good boy. And Rhezny sure does try to be a good boy! There's some conflict before he puts the brush back down and goes to sniff out Mathis' and and then lick the batter off it. Hopefully that was safe for dogs! Ajral doesn't attempt to intervene, just smiling serenely: "You are welcome to try. He'll try to get it back from you again, but maybe you can — wrestle with it a little bit while I finish this leg, and somehow whoever's brush it is won't kill me." Puppy teeth are SHARP and leave DENTS, but between the two of them they might be able to keep the brush usable. If not pretty.

What was on Mathis was, probably okay for Rhenzy unless he had a gluten allergy, little more than the wet base of most breads with a little flour in it and on it. Okay a lot of flour as the kid was more or less half-covered in it. Soft laughter, closer to a giggle than not, emerges from him the moment that the puppy starts to lick him. Getting in more than a few good pets before he starts to rile him up a bit by being marginally more rough in that playful way that people did with canines, his eyes sparkling with joy. "Whose a good boy? Whose a good boy! You should grab it now. Good boy. Goooood boy." He's careful to avoid getting nipped at, but any mouthing that happens is fine, giving a gentle reminder if it gets a little out of hand. Together, he and Ajral would save that paintbrush from an untimely demise. "Doesn't he have any toys?" he asks, launching a look up and over towards the healer.

Rhezny is not allergic to anything, but he may develop a taste for bread! Technically yeast is super bad for dogs, but there was in no way enough of it to cause a problem. Instead there is LICKING and JUMPING AROUND. And then frolicking back to pick up the paint brush and wiggle his butt while he's holding it; is this a CHASE ME kind of scenario? While Ajral varnishes, she's laughing. "He does. He just doesn't carry them, since he's not too good at carrying anything at his age and relative size, and — I wasn't thinking about it. I expected he'd nap. He sleeps quite a bit." NOPE, NO NAPPING, ONLY WRASSLING.

There is no saying whether or not the progress made on putting together something bready had made it as far as adding the yeast, or if that had been the intention to start with. Ajral wasn't asking and Mathis was just a kid, he wouldn't have thought of what was or wasn't good for canines, let alone known the difference. Then again, who's to say that he hadn't had one back home. It's all very lacking clarification and as he plays with Rhenzy all of his worries were melting into nothing anyway. He'd even seemed to have forgotten that he'd been trying to distract him, that is until he darts away to pick up the paintbrush. A glance towards the healer woman and then a sigh. He had told her to grab it, but he probably hadn't done a good enough job making that obvious. Ah well. "Maybe you should carry one or two around, you know, in case?" It was only a suggestion, already on the obvious and playful advance upon Sir Wigglesbutt. Chase? Oh, that wasn't a problem, and later when they were both passed out from exhaustion the entire barracks might thank Ajral for her efforts and the good night's rest they'd undoubtedly have. Right now though, the caverns echo with his laughter as he runs around and tries to catch the elusive little beastie.

It's possible Ajral doesn't know either, though she has ever been exposed to canines before. Rhezny is the first that she has personally been attached to. she'll learn, if he heats something that makes him really sick, and this won't. All of the RUNNING ABOUT could have made him sick if he had eaten beforehand, but — none of this happened either, thankfully. Instead, Ajral is getting a true show while she varnishes a table, because Rhezny will do a BIG, BIG ZOOM around the caverns until Mathis gets close enough to actually TAKE his paintbrush. "His" paintbrush. Which he's gonna do a BIG PUPPY YANK upon, though Mathis will eventually win the fight. "Don't pull so hard you fall," is Ajral's advice to Mathis rather than the dog: Rhezny won't tip over.

Panting heavily from all that physical exertion, Mathis does eventually get his hands on that paintbrush, pulling it free with a grunt and of course he loses his balance to land hard on his backside. Yeah, that's gutta hurt, and from the look on his face it did. So much for Ajral's advice, but at least he was successful in his mission. Keeping his prize out of reach and giving Rhenzy a ruffle a top his head, the boy climbs to his feet as to slowly and stiffly make his way back to the healer so he could hand it over, sticking around to make sure that she puts it somewhere that tiny teeth couldn't chew it into nothing worth using ever again. With that, he plunks down nearby on the floor somewhere to catch his breath, not giving any thought as to how much better it would be if table varnishing was something better done in places better ventilated. Nope, there's just a crinkle of his nose for the smell, before calling the puppy over to snuggle with and pet. "How long have you been painting that thing?" Hey, he doesn't know it's varnish, only just the stinkiest paint he's ever smelled.

When Mathis falls, Ajral cringes — but her wince is certainly drowned out by Rhezny's displeased/confused 'aroooooo.' Why isn't he getting his toy back?! Why does Mom have the toy? Why is she … yes, Ajral is putting the brush back in a BOX that the puppy cannot open. But since he has been defeated, he will allow to lean up against Mathis and be petted. Because Ajral is not able to pet him right then because she's actually doing things Candidates are supposed to do besides take care of wayward pets. "Thank you," she tells Mathis as she puts the brush AWAY FROM PUPPY TEETH, and then, "Almost an hour? It's varnishing, so it is slow and sticky." Thankfully the pup isn't a big shedder, or that table would have sheepdog fur in it for eternity. "I did the top, and am almost done with this leg, so then I have to do the underside and the other legs …"

As much as it pained him to hear that sound coming from such an adorable face, Mathis wasn't about to let it deter him from his goal of making sure that Ajral wouldn't get into deep trouble for breaking things she was borrowing. Everyone in the barracks was his friend, and friends looked out for one another. Now though, he was a bit beat and needed to recharge some before he'd be able to play with Rhenzy quite as strenuously. Instead, there is pets and loves, admiring the softness of his fur. Probably getting all sorts of flour and sticky things in to, so a bath for them both would likely be in order at some point. "Sure," he says with a nod for her thanks, sitting cross-legged and leans against the wall nearby, scanning the table. "Ooooh, yeah, that would explain the smell and why it's making my head feel funny. I usually do that sort of stuff outside, how come you aren't?" He was a woodcrafter, of course he knew what varnish was. Pondering a moment, "I'd offer to help, but…I think I'd probably mess it up." Not that he would be bad at it, just because he was covered in all sort of things better left not forever imprisoned beneath an otherwise nice glaze.

"I couldn't actually move the table," Ajral admits, because it's a really big table, but at least the underside and the legs require much less effort than the TOP. The underside doesn't even really have to look good. Rhezny thumps his tail against the ground, more content now, because he got to run around and so he's kinda tired. "I was thinking about getting a mask, but it isn't too bad, if it had been making me lightheaded I'm sure I would have. Don't stay too close if it's bothering you," she returns to advice-mode, the cautious healer even when also the industrious candidate. Kinda. Because she's really just painting, only in a slightly more complex fashion. Complex and … stinky, though she seems immune to becoming woozy at least.

Cue a generous round of blinking, "You should complain to someone," Mathis suggests, a good enough distance away that the varnish was no longer bothering him as much as it had when he'd gotten close enough to return the paintbrush he'd reclaimed in Ajral's name. "We were taught that stuff can hurt your chest and head and to always, ALWAYS do it outside." Actually, they'd said in a well ventilated area, but when he'd asked what that meant he'd been told 'just do it outside'. Concern for her was his only motive for mentioning such a thing, dropping his eyes to Rhenzy and giving him a nice petting around his neck and below his chin. He wasn't the only one that was tired, starting to look like he wouldn't mind curling up right there on the floor and having a nap. This, should be discouraged, if for no other reason than it might mean that the woodcrafter would be up all night. Falling inside silence, Mathis starts to drift off, all that soothing healer tone trying to rob him of wakefulness. Sucking in a sharp breath, he plants his hands on the floor and starts to push himself to his feet, "I'm going to get you a mask anyway, just to be on the safe side." Didn't matter that Ajarl was almost done, he'd set his mind to it. "Then I'm going to take a bath. You want me to bring him with me?"

It's a good idea. The proper woodcrafters are way ahead of your Standard Largely Untrained Weyrfolk here, and that's probably who gave Ajral her working orders. And her supplies. And her positioning in the corner of the caverns and not outside. Hopefully no one else fainted wandering by, since varnish fumes hit some harder than others. "You were taught correctly, I'm sure," the not-a-toxicologist Healer agrees, "Someone was falling down on the job. Or not concerned about dispensable candidates." If they almost all got left in space, they MUST be dispensable, there's PLENTY of time to Search more for only six hatchlings! She doesn't get to advise that napping by the fumes might be bad for fellow candidate and puppy both, though, because Mathis is intelligent enough to beat her to it. What he gets is a relieved, appreciative smile. "Yes. Thank you. To all of that. I'll — be right here." Varnishing this table. For eternity. Or another hour or two, but at least when she's done she hasn't passed out from fumes because she's been nicely covered up, and her clean puppy is most likely asleep on her cot.

"I wouldn't lie," About something important anyway, and Ajral's health was certainly important to him as was the health of all his friends. "Like I said, you should complain to someone, it's not right to not care if someone gets hurt." Especially not a candidate. It might seem as if they were a dime a dozen, but that didn't mean they should be treated any better or worse than any one else. With permission given to take that there puppy off her hands for a couple of hours, bending over, Mathis gathers up Rhenzy in his arms and lifts him from the floor and gets him nice and settled before he takes a wide path around the table and she who varnishes. Just in case. "I'll be right back, okay?" And off he goes, returning with a mask for her, before vanishing again towards the hot springs. When Ajral does return to the barracks, there will indeed be a sleeping puppy on her cot, as well as a sleeping woodcrafter.

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