Lesson 4: Rock Climbing

Elysian Field Hold - Highlands
As the track leading from the lower fields climbs, the land becomes less tame and more rugged. The topography is uneven, unexpected spurs of rock poking from the thick grassland that covers the ground. There are no trees, but the land is far from barren. Low hummocks of brush, roots twisted to grip both soil and rock underneath grow here and there in what is mostly wild grassland. The trail twists now and then as it hugs the contours of the slopes, dipping now and then into gullies where ice cold water whispers through boulder-strewn creeks or rushes over falls on its way to the distant sea.
On the southern horizon, even across the vast distance, the rugged Southern Barrier Range is formidable as it rises above the open plains spread out far below, while to the north, Xanadu is is lost in the lumpy carpet of forest and meadow that falls to the east where the Caspian Lake and Sea of Azov gleam silver and fade to sky beyond. The shepherds make their camps here, wandering through these wild lands with ovines, caprines, and even camelids. Small shelters of stone or wood are scattered here and there, and a somewhat larger camp hosts the shearing shed where the beasts are hewn of their wool. It's a minor outpost of the hold, and the land here is still definitely wild - as are many of the beasts here. Most commonly seen, are wild herdbeasts, mostly the agile blue bucks or corkscrew bucks grazing amongst the clusters of ovine and caprines guarded by herders and dogs.

HEROES OF XANADU. And… the rest of you candidates, too! The dragons have once more carried you to… well, to the mountains, apparently. Or at least their foothills, where rocks and sheep alike scatter through the grass. The 'base camp' is distinguished primarily by the fact that it's where the dragons land - an outcropping of bare rock in between a pair of cliffs. They're unloading one at a time, given the size of the landing spot, and then the dragons are flying off to abandon their passengers behind in this… middle of nowhere… kind of spot. With rocks. But no sheep, at least, not near enough to pet.

Getting down entirely on his own, the moment that Mathis's feet hit the ground, there is a pause. Scanning the barrenness of the area, a nervous look is given back to the rider of the dragon who'd brought them there. It's ignored, instead the boy is asked rather abruptly to move out of the way so that others could get down as well, and he does. He scans the faces of those that were already arrived and upon spotting Rinian he makes a quick walk that direction, offering up a wave and then looking around again with perhaps a fair amount of apprehension. "You want to make a guess?" he asks her, to see if she had ideas as to why they might be here.
Rinian would rather not assume really but… "Perhaps we will get left here to fend for ourselves, sort of like the other time, only not in space?" That she prefers this place is obvious, "Its pretty here."

Is anyone honestly surprised when Sylvarin /frowns/ at the surroundings while looking woefully unprepared to be in the mountains? He should honestly have traded out the button down shirt for something else, but the baker is a stubborn man at times…so this is what he's stuck in. At least he's wearing a coat. "Tell me we aren't climbing…" The words are mumbled under his breathe as he moves off to the side so that he isn't in the way of any other dismounting candidates. His gaze abruptly shifts to a sheep in the distance and brows knit together as he examines it. "Or sheep wrangling…" He wouldn't be surprised with any of these options.
Sheep wrangling could be baaaaad.

Nessalyn ain't no hero, but she's here. Admittedly, she's a little sore and banged up from their last venture, and perhaps not prepared to fully engage in whatever task they have planned today, but she's here. SHE GETS HER PARTICIPATION RIBBON. She's stiff in her dismount, doing her best not to twist or bend her back in any way. "If we're climbing, I'm not participating," she mutters as she draws up next to Sylvarin, the only one she maybe sort of trusts around here. (She still owes him for betraying her during that gifting session, but they can be allies for now.) "I don't know about ewe, but I'm not wrangling any sheep." BECAUSE WE CAN MAKE SHEEP PUNS OVER HERE TOO.

Cielo slips down rather reluctantly. Not that he is deeply offput by the setting, but he was enjoying himself up there! Alas. "I'm poor at guessing games…" The dragonhealer laments as his boots hit the ground. His coat has a few mending stitches in it but nothing terrible as he looks around. Bigger crowd today, but, they're a looot further out. "Don't let those jokes goat out of hand."

After a few rounds of this, Meion has started to almost get used to it. She's learned a few tricks: Try to spot what Risali and D'lei are dressing for, and do the same. Don't be one of the last ones to arrive, so there's time to get your bearings. Bring a water bottle and some sort of trail mix. And - most challenging for her - actually sleep at night. Really, this schedule is putting her so behind on all the interesting computer things she's thought of this week!

Mathis's head turns quickly towards the girl at his side and he stares. Oh Faranth he hopes not. There was nothing here, it was absolutely barren, and the last thing he wanted was for all of them to be reduced to loincloths, face paint made from local berries, and spear-making for sheep hunting. There were a lot of rocks. A slow side eye to the sheep in the distance, "But they're so fluffy." Just, randomly, out of the blue. No explanation.

Garouth is about the limit of dragon-size that this ledge can take - and it's a good thing the bronze is light on his feet, even so. D'lei herds a few final candidates off, then does the same himself before the bronze flies off again, and takes a moment to survey the candidates before he starts making his way toward that upward-cliff that can be a backdrop. "What about mountain goats?" he asks Nessalyn along the way, because… it might make a difference? Then again, it might not.

"At least you can claim medical reasons for that…" Sylvarin has no such luck. His gaze slides towards NEssalyn and there's a grin for her, though also a hint of suspicion. He /totally/ expects her to get revenge, and wouldn't this be the perfect venue? Though perhaps not with important people watching. It's her pun though that truly wounds the baker and an audible groan escapes his lips. "Really Ness, I thought better of you." Look at him sending her a disappointed gaze. But as D'lei arrives, he's letting out a cough and definitely letting Ness answer this one. This is what sheep puns gets you, attention!

Rinian has a coat, but its old and worn like all her things. Her hair has been done in a lovely plait, thanks to Matty. She turns her attention to D'lei at his arrival, and waits to find out what the training will be. Really is no use in guessing, when hopefully they will find out soon.

Risali might look ridiculous in her (ill-advised) questionably fashionable cape, but somebody had to give in to Leirith's demands. Bonus: it's an extra layer. But for once, they Weyrwoman isn't stopping to greet candidates with smiles or even bothering to make eye contact. She moves around them, moves past them with a set to her shoulders as she picks her way carefully across the ground towards D'lei. S'cuse, pardon, s'cuse, s'cuse. (Hopefully you wore everything but the cape, Mei!)

When has the presence of important people ever stopped Nessalyn from doing anything? Maybe she'll just abandon him at a critical moment. Maybe she'll let a mountain goat headbutt him. The possibilities are endless! "I'm open to watching other people deal with mountain goats, but I'm out for the count. Risali injured me." ALWAYS BLAME RISALI. She makes a show of putting a hand on her back and groaning, although it's not entirely false - she has a nasty set of bruises back there. A smirk slides to Sylvarin. "I always aim to shoot lower than people's expectations. It's the one thing I truly excell at."

When Meion saw Risali in that cape, she made extra-sure to check if D'lei had one, too. Given the lack, she decided to forego the… questionable fashion accessories, and just wore a thick coat. It's doing well on the not-needing-mending front, though it's clearly had a run-in or seven with spilled klah.

"/But/," and here Sylvarin tries to interject, "we were also discussing how it's great to appreciate them from /afar/." Because that would be ideal in the baker's opinion. And because it's true, he wouldn't put it past Ness to somehow sic a goat on him. He catches that smirk from her though and lets out a quiet chuckle, "I'll remember to go to you for lessons in un-great expectations." As he speaks a slight chill runs down the baker's back and he crosses his arms in front of him. Was that just cold? Or a sense of foreboding as he looks around him once more.

Cielo catches sight of those and has a bit of a personal fashion crisis. He starts fidgeting with his coat, his tunic, and starts making rapid-fire mental notes. His mother can sew a storm; why hasn't he taken advantage of this yet? HUFF. His minor crisis is marked with a spark of a smile and a soft sigh. He tries to find a spot when he stops spacing out and stands on his toes a bit.

With D'lei's ascendance and Risali's arrival there was plenty about to keep Mathis out of his head, though admittedly he was rather focused on the Weyrwoman. Okay, that was, different. A part of him was glad that he had dressed warmly and the other half was beginning to wonder where HIS cape was. He had doubts that the goldrider would share hers, but maybe she'd brought enough for everyone. Oooh, maybe they would be weaving them out of…something…they clearly didn't have yet. Keeping any other errant thoughts to himself, such as inquiring after a loom, the boy presses his lips together and like Rinian tries to pay close attention to what's undoubtedly about to be said. He can't help that as Nessalyn proclaims observational skills only, that he glances her direction, but his eyes are away and back to D'lei and Risali in no time.

"Mmh." D'lei seems unimpressed by Nessalyn's claims of why she's on the injured list. "In that case, maybe you should keep different company," he tells her, then glances to Sylvarin. "I'm sure you were," he says to the candidate in a tone that does not sound all that convinced. "Well. Careful you don't have an accident and push someone off the edge." With that, he continues on, joining Risali with a brush of his fingers to - okay, first to her cape, because it's a tangly sort of thing, but then to her hand… but only in passing. There's a small boulder near the base of that cliff, and he climbs up onto it in order to have a better view of the candidates here gathered… and maybe see how long it takes for them to notice him, and what happens when they do.

Rinian watches Risali closely as she makes her march over, trying to see if, under that cape, she's injured after the lesson from the other day. She'd been so busy that she hadn't seen the Weyrwoman since that time. And you know…Guilt.

The sound of her name does not draw Risali's attention - not initially. But fingers against her cape and her hand do, her own curling against D'lei's in acknowledgement before he breaks away. And she follows, silent across the ground, silent as she moves to the boulder, silent as she turns to face the candidates at the bottom instead of climbing up to join D'lei. Grey eyes settle on Nessalyn, linger for one, two, three moments too long without a hint of her usual mischief or penchant for ill-timed humor before her gaze drifts away - to Sylv, to Mathis, to Mei and Cielo and Rinian. But there's just a shift of her shoulders, a tangle of cape against her shoulders as she waits.

"We were not discussing that," Nessalyn is quick to say, adding, "Sylv was actually talking about how much he'd love to pet a goat." Betrayal #1. And she's just getting started! D'lei's comment earns him a sharp look, that undercurrent of anger rising to the surface as she mutters, "You're the ones putting your candidates in dangerous situations." Thankfully, she doesn't say it loud enough for ears any further away than Sylvarin's. Annoyed through she may be, she's not really in a position to do anything about it, since their remote locale offers no occasion for escape. Instead, she sticks to the baker's side, uttering a low, "Do you think this is where we die?"

Something about the way the weyrleaders are acting draws Meion's attention. She takes a few steps toward that makeshift boulder-stage, and sidles up near Cielo. When out in the wilds, it seems prudent to be next to the person with medical training. Even if it is for a different species. She gives him a quiet wave, hardly lifting her arm as she watches to see what exactly D'lei is planning to do.

"No one will believe that lie for one second!" The baker protests, and hopes what he says is true. Sylvarin does eventually notice D'lei standing there and he'll turn to face in that direction. There isn't much else going on though. He's just standing there, arms still crossed over his chest as if to keep out the cold, and staring. "I get this feeling we should have made your parachutes human size instead of rock size…" His words are a quiet murmur, audible only to Nessalyn and anyone else hanging quite close by. "What's with them today?"

Is that… tension? Cielo isn't sure. He hangs close to Meion and does a quiet point, point, gesture, mouth, shrug? As he tries to make sense of—well, all of this. Whatever the mystery is, he'll parse it out, but he decides to buddy up with Meion as he turns and looks up at Risali and then up to D'lei. Well, he's often pretty quiet, so this isn't a far reach to stay there.

As the crowd of candidates starts to quiet, D'lei nods - then speaks up, to take things the rest of the way. "Okay, folks." Introductory words to establish that he's speaking? Said. "We have an activity planned for today. Some of you, I'm aware, care only about the interruption to your day, but." He smiles, faintly. "You agreed to be here, and you haven't walked out yet." D'lei is silent for a moment, then lifts a hand in a signal which… is probably mostly symbolic, given that what happens is that a couple sets of rope-lines and safety harnesses tumble from the cliff-top, and they couldn't have seen the signal from up there… not without dragon-based cheating, anyhow.

Mathis, admittedly, was starting to get a little weirded out by the demeanor of those that had brought them all here. He finds that he's moving closer to Rinian, but only about a half a step. If she moves, he'll move, but without any actual physical contact. Proximity was enough, at least for now. The hint of apprehension he'd started with had begun to grow, straightening minutely when those grey eyes find him among the gathered candidates, and he finds his bottom lip with his teeth. Chewing on it, lightly. Was he staring at them both up there, high and low? Yes, a bit, looking disconcerted and tense. Not sure what to expect, "I have no idea," he breathes out in response to Sylvarin, completely on automatic and not paying enough attention to realize that he'd done so. Hazel eyes dart and linger upon each of the leaders in turn, and perhaps bites a little harder down on the flesh between his teeth. Finally, there are words and Mathis exhales, relieved, but he can't help that his gaze continues to stray towards the weyrwoman.

Climbing gear. Yep, that would make sense for being here. The physicality of dragonriding is starting to hit home for Meion; she'd always admired how dragonriders seemed to have such excellent physiques, and now she's getting a sense of just how that happens. She's going to be buff, apparently. Or maybe dead; she can't discount the possibility that her body simply isn't up for this kind of exertion. She hangs back for a few moments, waiting to see if there's further explanation before she does something that might be construed as volunteering. She went first for water rescue, so she'll graciously let someone else try this time.

Sylvarin frowns immediately as those ropes appear and his gaze tracks upwards to try and see where the top might actually be. "Their whole demeanor is throwing me off…" His words trail away as he can't seem to actually see where the top is. To be honest, he may not be trying hard enough because then the task becomes even /more/ daunting. "Is this even safe?" Again, quietly murmured questions but he's not voicing anything loud enough for either D'lei or Risali to hear.

Nessalyn is about to protest that surely they won't be falling off of any cliffsides today, when D'lei gives that magical signal and the ropes and harnesses come tumbling down. "Maybe I should have. But the good news is, falling to your death is pretty quick." Gravity is helpful like that. There's a downward twist of Nessalyn's lips, but it's not because she doesn't want to participate - it's because she does, and she knows climbing will be incredibly difficult with a bruised back. "They are acting weird, though," she comments belatedly, adding, "It'll be safe as long as they don't want us on belay."

Rinian brightens, though still worried about Risa. Climbing! Climbing she can do. It isn't a tree, but still… So, climbing gear makes sense of the serious demeanor. This is serious business and must be done correctly. No playing around here!

But despite the eyes on her, Risali's demeanor doesn't soften. She keeps her chin up, her eyes briefly meeting those that linger or stray her way unflinchingly. It's on D'lei's signal and that semi-reveal that Risali turns away, that the Weyrwoman finally makes that climb to the top of the boulder to stand beside the Weyrleader. But, still: silence. She does, however, realign her attention back onto Sylvarin and Nessalyn. And that's where her gaze remains as they continue their tete a tete in the midsts of their fellow candidates.

Cielo glances around. He can't help it. Weren't these outings so adventurous? Even if they took their toll, who is resisting them? It is not an accusation, but a curiousity, one that bubbles down as his attention goes back to the speaking Weyrleader. "… safety harnesses. About as safe as it's going to get." Which is to say, pretty safe. And normally, this sort of thing also involves spotters? Partners? The dragonhealer has never really gone up first; he'd volunteer as tribute, but a smile is given to Rinian. It's not her usual setting, but expects great things from her anyway.

That faint hint of smile disappears as D'lei continues. "You are not obligated to participate. Much like candidacy, this is an opportunity, not a requirement." His gaze shifts across the candidates here gathered, then over to Risali as she joins him on the boulder to have a moment's silent communication before he addresses the crowd once more. "If you're interested, come up and we'll get you started. If you're not, you can wait for the rides back." And then, having completed that not terribly enthusiastic sounding announcement… he shrugs, and heads right back down off that boulder again to go stand by the dangling safety harnesses and wait.

No sense wasting an opportunity; that's how Meion sees it. She hangs back, though, stretching out her arms and legs before she tries to climb. She grins to Cielo at his comment about safety harnesses, and nods. "Mmhmm. So I'll be seeing you at the top, right?" Not that she's in too much of a rush to get started; for someone like her, with no prior experience and a general lack of physical inclination, this isn't going to be a sprint; it'll be a question of endurance to see if she can manage it at all.

Sylvarin certainly isn't stepping up first but he isn't just leaving either. He'll go after the first couple perhaps. "Am I missing the memo on absolute silence being required for all this?" Perhaps it's nerves that spur the baker to continue his quiet chatter with Nessalyn, or perhaps that's just how he is. Still, he's eyeing the whole set up very carefully and eventually falls silent at least for a little bit. His only movement now is the tapping of fingers against his jacket sleeve.

Pulling his gaze free of Risali the second that she turns away, Mathis looks to Rinian. He sees her excitement and really it's contagious, bringing a smile back to his face. Looking back towards the summoned equipment, he'd be lying if he said he entirely shared his fellow woodcrafter's sudden enthusiasm. "Kinda glad I braided your hair, but maybe I should have tucked in the bottom," he murmurs at her absently. Yep, he was already imagining all sorts of ways that it'd get caught or tugged or snagged on something. Then the image of someone using that long braid to climb upwards sans rope and harness requires that he stifle a laugh behind the shield of his hand and covers it with a cough. A bit of a cold coming on, nothing to worry about. His hand drops away as D'lei speaks, schooling his expression to a close approximation of serious, soon giving Rinian a nudge and starting forward, intent on participating. "Come on, you're way too excited not to want to do this."

Nessalyn's eyes narrow as she notices Risali staring at them. That can't possibly be a good sign. An elbow is aimed Sylvarin's way to make sure she has his attention before she makes a vague gesture with her chin in Risali's direction. It's really not that subtle, either. "Why is she staring at us? That's just making the silence worse." There's a look of faint relief when it seems that candidates are not being forced into this, which hopefully means someone experienced will be helping out with that rope. She weighs the prospect for a moment, before deciding, "Come on, Sylv. We're going to do this." There's another nudge to push him in the right direction. "Show off those manly muscles."

Rinian is not Rapunzel! It isn't that long…though it may well be thick enough! Maybe she should grow it out? She is quick to move forward to join whoever else is going to climb, and she shares an excited grin with Matty. "Thanks for getting my hair up. Did you know?"

Cielo comes back to a smile. At least when the ABSOLUTE SILENCE is broken he can manage again, try to wash off some of that unease. And up he goes beside Meiondid they all naturally sort of pair off? Go figurepicking up the harness and giving it a good close study. "You'll probably be watching me kick my scrawny legs about while you're up there," he muses. "But you'll see me." And then, he looks uuup that cliff… considering the actual surface before returning attention to D'lei once more.

"Maybe it's a roulette…two harnesses are rigged to be worse than the others and we're the lucky ones." Sylvarin slides his gaze over to Nessalyn, a bit of humor returning in his features. Still there's some actual wariness for the gaze that's been trained on them. That eventually dissipates into an outright chuckle from the man and pats one of his biceps. "Nothing builds muscles quite like frosting fifty tiny cakes, right?" But it seems that he'll also step up to join the rest of the candidates…but with a double-check to make sure Nessa's not putting him up to this and bailing!

Risali heads down off the boulder after D'lei - though still without saying anything. The two of them stand there as candidates slowly edge closer, that balance of curiosity and hesitation working itself out. They don't go to grab anyone, but… well, Cielo picks up the harness, which is what makes D'lei focus attention on him and speak. "The point of the harness is to stop you from falling -" Like the one on a dragon, in a way! "- but you'll be climbing under your own power." At least this is probably an easy cliff? Maybe? Hopefully? "Would you like to start?"

Mathis shakes his head as he climbs up towards where all the action was to take place, "I was just as clueless as you were," he replies, grinning over at her as he leans some to mutter, "I'm really not psychic, you know. Fern let Bocote know you were cold and hungry." This being said, he straightens and continues his ascent, only the tiniest bit winded when he arrives, coming to stand beside one of the harnesses. He makes no assumptions and thus doesn't grab the thing just yet, training his eyes over towards D'lei and Cielo. This he was going to pay especially close attention to, because if nothing else he'd like to know how to put the darned thing on properly.

"That seems more like potential murder than a candidate exercise, and everything they've said so far leads me to believe that they frown on murder." Nessalyn leaves some room there for uncertainty, because you can never really tell with Risali. If there were goats or sheep involved, she absolutely would be ditching Sylvarin right about now. But this, she's here for. Revenge will have to wait for another day. Or, "Just remember, if something starts crawling on your hand while you're climbing, don't let go." A smirk as she steps up beside him, leaving that pleasant thought to linger. "Clearly, frosting cakes is what makes a man. If I weren't all bruised I think I'd do considerable damage to your ego when it comes to this, though."

Sylvarin shoots a scowl in Nessalyn's direction at her talk of things /crawling/ on him. "Thank you for that reminder." Because there is a 95% chance that if some bug makes its way onto a visible spot on the baker's body he will freak out and let go. "Shouldn't the chill up here have killed most of them?" He's banking on that as he finally makes his way over to a harness. He won't just jump into it though, like Mathis he's waiting to see the proper way to put it on. "Ness, I have zero doubt in my mind that you would leave me in the dust if you weren't in some pain." Because the man is /definitely/ not one would consider super strong. Or that agile. "Just don't ridicule my cakes, then my ego will truly die a miserable death."

Meion looks up when D'lei addresses Cielo. She listens, nods, and picks up the harness next to the one the dragonhealer grabbed. She looks at it carefully, considering on how best to secure it, then calls up to D'lei. "Is there someone who can check our harnesses before we start?" She doesn't wait for an answer, starting to make some educated guesses about which loops to put legs through, and lifting the whole thing up until those loops are snug near her hips and she can secure what she thinks is a waist-belt.

Cielo perks to attention not unalike a 3/4 trained puppy. "Oh! Yes, certainly." Before climbing, there must be harnessing, and that itself is a bit of a project; he might need a hand with the trickier, over-the-shoulder ones. He's just as willing to offer Meion a hand to make sure everything ends up as snug and strapped as can be. The chatter begs his attention, but a palm touches the rock. Really feels it. A foot goes up, grazes into the rock wall and tries to find purchase. He's not climbing yet or anything, just testing holds. "Definitely not a race…"
Rinian takes a harness, but doesn't slip it on yet, as like a couple of the others, she'd like to know the right way to put it on. So speaking of… "D'lei? How does this go on? And what else do we need to know for safety or in general?"

For all that staring at earlier, neither Risali nor D'lei do more than glance at Sylvarin and Nessalyn at this point in the exercise. The Weyrleader looks up to Meion, with a nod - and then a reach of one hand that has a silent brush of fingers to Risali's arm. The Weyrwoman's already moving, stepping closer to Meion to watch the process with an observation that varies between 'silent' and 'softly spoken adjustments' - but the computercrafter does seem to have the right general ideas, even if she will most certainly be getting a double-check on fit and tightness from Risali. D'lei, meanwhile, is doing a similar thing for Cielo - "You want this a bit higher," he says of one strap, and similar adjustments and assistances. At least, between the two models in progress, Mathis should be able to get a pretty good idea of what he's watching! Maybe he can even help Rinian get started, because while D'lei looks that way at his name, he says, "In a moment," and continues making sure Cielo's good first.

Step by step, as Cielo puts on his harness and helps his partner with hers, Mathis follows suit. See and do, see and do, see and do. It was the only way to be completely sure but even then he glances towards Meion as she asks about checks, looking to D'lei for any possible reply he may have if any. Climbing he could do, eventually, probably slowly, but he'd really like to do that knowing that if his hand slipped or lost his footing that he wouldn't be falling out of the harness to boot. Securing himself the best he can see and copy, the Weyrleader's response does in fact have the boy turning towards Rinian and helping her with getting her safety equipment into place. "Step into here, good. Now, right, arms through. Now pull this, and that…annnnnd…" Tug, tug, tug. Hopefully everything was as secure as he thought it was, it sure looked like he'd done what he'd observed twice over, but he wasn't going anywhere without making sure. So he waits, because D'lei had said he'd be over in a moment.

Nessalyn just grins like the completely innocent angel she is. Or maybe it's slightly demonic, WHATEVER. "You're so welcome." What are friends for, if not to remind you of all the horrifying things that can happen to you when you try something new? Nessalyn reaches for a harness, bending stiffly to pick it up. There's a wince with every movement that causes her to lean over, and pure relief which floods her features when that harness is finally up around her hips. She seems to know what needs to be tightened and where, since it doesn't take her long to be securely fastened into the thing. "I'd leave everyone in the dust," she brags with (perhaps excessive) pride. "I don't even know if I can do it right now, but it's worth a shot. And I'd never ridicule your cakes, I don't want to lose my main source of nutrition."

Sylvarin's carefully watching the other candidates put it on and looks more than a little surprised when Nessalyn does it so quickly. "Do you guys have to use this kind of thing to get to some of the electrical stuff?" He finally bends down, pull the harness up over his hips. There's a couple of wrong turns but after watching the engineer finish up he manages to get his on right.

Sylvarin's carefully watching the other candidates put it on and looks more than a little surprised when Nessalyn does it so quickly. "Do you guys have to use this kind of thing to get to some of the electrical stuff?" He finally bends down, pull the harness up over his hips. There's a couple of wrong turns but after watching the engineer finish up he manages to get his on right. "True, without my cakes you'd whither away to almost nothing." Again, there's a chuckle before he looks to Nessa and then a mountain goat off in the distance. "But here's the real question, could you beat one of those in your prime? Because unexperienced candidates aren't the true masters here." Are you better than a /goat/ Nessa???

As she gets secured into her harness, Meion gets a pang of familiarity. She talks to Cielo as she snugs straps with assistance from the weyrwoman. "Saw a lot of folks with these growing up. Thought I'd never be in one, though." She attaches the harness to the line and gives it a quick tug to make sure it's secure at the top, and waits for Risali's okay to do anything more. When she gets it, she takes a step back, away from the wall, and leans back, letting her weight settle into the harness until she's rocked back on her heels, hanging back in an impossible-to-hold position, with her hair brushing the ground and the harness taking up her weight. She just holds there a moment, until she's used to the feeling of the harness supporting her - and then both arms come up and she pulls herself up, using that taut line. "Okay. Think I'm ready."

Cielo tries to navigate the fine line between taking initiative and waiting for proper instruction. His legs stiffen when he feels hands on him, correcting, adjusting, fixing that lifeline into place. "R-right. I usually see them on taller people." He tests it again. And the rock. He's going to rock this rock. Or at least not fall right off of it. He turns his head to Meion. Funny the way cliffs frame everything in a very sheer way. "Who knows. Maybe there's a… cliff terminal out there somewhere. And you'll be prepared." Don't swing on the end of the line, don't make excited sounds. This is all very serious. "Today, we are all goats. Channel the goat. Be the goat." Trust… the goat. And trust your feet. He'll wait for the final cue and gives a nod to Meion, to Weyrleader. "Ready."

Rinian smiles her thanks to Mathis as he helps her get all buckled in, then her attention goes to Meion as she gets all set to climb. She bounces just a little in place, so excited about the prospect of this adventure. One would think she hadn't already spent a day out fishing and working hard, and..she had only just gotten warm too.

There's a few non-candidates who've been waiting off to the side, sturdy minecraft senior apprentices persuaded that being belay for a few hours is a good exchange for a few marks, and they're the ones that come over to take ropes for Meion and Cielo when approval's given for their fit by Risali and D'lei. "Move one hand or foot at a time," he says by way of final instructions to them. "Find a grip, hold it, find another one." Like one step at a time, except… well, only half of those actions are steps! Even so, he gives them a nod before… he heads over to inspect Mathis and Rinian's harnesses! …and adjust them, a bit, because that observation didn't quite get some of the details right. Still, it's a lot faster going having it already started!

That might be a flicker of pride in Risali's eyes, but the dimpling of her cheeks is ruined almost immediately by a softer grimace of momentary concern. Risali's reaching up to untie her own hair, leaving hip-length curls to go unchecked as she reaches out with gentle hands to transfer her hair-pretty to Meion's hair instead. She pulls it into a messy-bun from this somewhat-awkward (but actually pretty helpful) angle, and breathes out, "Don't want it to get caught in everything." It hurts. She knows. But she's nodding her head and stepping back, grey eyes flickering towards D'lei and back to Meion as she adds on, "Take your time," to the Weyrleader's instructions. But the Weyrwoman forgoes Mathis and Rinian (mostly because D'lei has them) to find Nessalyn and Sylvarin. FIGHT HER, NESS, but she's gonna check that harness before you go anywhere, lady.

Nessalyn offers Sylvarin an enigmatic smirk. "What, you don't think techcrafting involves a lot of climbing?" He's probably not entirely off the mark, but she's not giving up a straight answer. Instead, she tilts her head to inspect his work, giving a brief nod of approval. "You probably won't die like that." Aka, well done. "And it's true, I'd be half this size without you." She follows his line of sight, frowning up at that goat. "I don't think they'd do very well with this kind of climbing." But what does she know? All those mountain animals do some pretty magical climbing. "I think I could beat them up a vertical cliff." And then Risali is there, and Nessalyn is frowning at her with a muttered, "I know what I'm doing."

There's a brief pause while Risali fusses with Meion's hair, and Meion can't help feeling like she's got a helpful aunt trying to make sure she's ready - even if she's only barely younger than the weyrwoman, and a little bit taller. Once that's done and she's given a quiet thanks to the weyrwoman, she sets both hands on the cold rock face and looks over to Cielo before she tries to find her first foothold. There's a false start as her foot slips from the first spot she tries, and then her next attempt gets one foot up, then another - then both hands. It's her first attempt moving one foothold to a new position that has her losing her grip, jumping back to the ground before she can fall. A grumble, a breath, then she's back to the wall to try again, this time with more careful effort to secure her initial toehold.

"I'm not sure what to think of what you do…" Sylvarin smirks slightly in the woman's direction before resting his hands on the harness. "Probably is a good sign, I think." And while he does trust Nessalyn, he wouldn't mind that thing being checked over multiple times because dude is kind of a wimp. "I imagine they'd climb the cliff before anyone could actually get them into one of these things….but next time you aren't bruised clearly a race needs to be arranged." Again there's a chuckle from his lips, though eyebrows raise slightly at the exchange between the two women. He's not about to step into the middle of that little conversation!

Smiling broadly towards Rinian, Mathis nods his head once towards the thanks that he receives. Aww, twernt nothin' little lady style. Then it becomes a matter of waiting for Weyrleader, with some brief distraction as he takes in the minecraft senior apprentices. TUG! "Ooh!" Yes, hello D'lei, because there he was suddenly adjusting things into the right position. Right, pay attention. Got it. Mathis purses his lips and looks skyward until the man was done, "Thank you," offered up quietly in return before looking over and watching as he does the same for Rinian. Ahhhh, says his face, that's where that…well he'd know for next time. With their very own mincrafters coming over to take their ropes, one last exhale and he whispers over to the other woodcrafter, "Good luck, Rin."

Rinian gives Mathis another big grin, smiling way more than she usually does. "You too, Matty." Then she steps up to the wall, and with a glance to make sure the sturdy guy at the other end of her rope is ready, she takes her first handhold. There are many things the woodcrafter isn't good at, so it is so nice for an activity in something she is fine with. Her little squirrel self starts up the side of the cliff, testing each hand hold before trusting her weight to it. It isn't like a tree, but it isn't bad either. Hands made strong and tough by carving, and limbs made strong from hauling wood, along with not being all that big makes a good combination for this particular task. Just don't ask her to sew, or cook anything past the basics, or any number of other things that are not in her storehouse of abilities.

Cielo smiles over at Meion, admiring that quietly little exchange, admiring… everything. Why worry? Why think about all those go-wrong things when by all means they should be safe? The stone is a little cold on the hands though. He's already toed at the surface a bit, and thinks he's found a place he wants to start. Clap, clap, pullll… be the goat. The heels of his boots thump into narrow holds and he TRIUMPHANTLY ASCENDS all of about six inches off the ground. He goes up a biiit more, finds himself dead-ended, and retreats just a bit, which probably gives Meion a bit of time to start again. His voice is a little muffled at the wall, but it's there. "So what… DID you expect you'd be doing?" With life? Just little questions, Cielo.

Risali doesn't rise to the bait. In fact, the Weyrwoman says nothing, checking Nessalyn's work with hands that remain steady and work fast with practiced ease. And then she's moving on to Sylvarin, to double-check his work, to make minor adjustments and tighten straps towards a more secure fit. He would have been just fine, but listen. Let her do her job. For what it's worth, she similarly executes his check in silence. When she does speak, it's to offer soft words of, "You can go." And then she's meandering a little further down the line, to those candidoots over yonder who are having a little more of a struggle with their harnesses.

Another big toothy show of teeth and Mathis beings only after it is indicated that he can and that his minecrafter was in place. One hand reached up and he with good footing he begins to climb. Each time he changes positions he makes sure he has a good hand hold before moving his feet, beginning the long climb up the sheerness of the cliff wall. From there, until he reaches the top, there is absolute silence from the woodcrafter, his face one of absolute concentration. He might very well be the very last one to the top but maybe because he takes his time and doesn't fool around in the slightest is the reason he makes it at all.

Once he's been given the go ahead Sylvarin is stepping up to the rock face and…staring. In fact he just stands there for a good several minutes, brows knitted as he considers the nooks and crannies that make potential hand holds. He has a plan in place when he steps up, and it immediately goes wrong because there is a large crawly thing there and he looks like he's about to be sick. "Faranth…" And then he's taking one giant step to the side and picking another hand hold before pushing himself up. He isn't going to be the best at it, or the fastest, he /might/ make it to the top. Probably a bit faster if Nessalyn eggs him on enough. That pride tho.

Foot. Foot. Hand. Hand. Repeat. Meion works up the wall with little sounds of exertion, not saying anything for long enough that it seems likely that she didn't hear Cielo. But then she looks up toward him, as she's reaching for a handhold in that direction. "Computers." She moves her foot up, then the other, another hand. "Maybe archives." Even within the computercraft, infocraft is a relatively small specialty, with some question about what it's all for. She stares up at the rock as she climbs, trying not to think about the height to go, or how much space is below her, just feeling the slack on her line get taken up every time she secures a new hold.

D'lei pauses for a moment to watch the first steps (and grabs) of some of the ascending candidates - but then there's another question from someone, another person who needs to be helped into a harness and advised before they too can seek to make the slow ascent that lingers somewhere between thrilling and sisyphean. Upward! Onward! And ever climbing, except when something slips and lines jerk taut and hand and foot-holds are reclaimed.

"You should think that it's amazing and incredibly impressive," Nessalyn informs Sylvarin with no small amount of ego. "And we could always arrange a free-climbing competition with a goat, but I think they might have me beat there." But she'll still give it a valiant try, because Nessalyn doesn't admit defeat easily. Which is why she's still going to try to climb this cliff face despite the fact that she should probably be taking it easy. She sullenly allows Risali to finish her check, slightly readjusting her harness after the Weyrwoman is done just because. (Sorry, guys, she's a jerk.) Once they're both given the all-clear, Ness approaches that rocky surface, smirking when Sylvarin nearly meets a horrible fate right away. "Told you." And then hands go up, finding purchase with ease, and she begins to try to climb. Only it hurts, and the strain shows on her features. She'll still try to egg Sylvarin on, of course, but those snarky comments are few and far between as she struggles with the way climbing pulls on sore muscles.

Rinian isn't a chatty climber, keeping her attention on what she's doing. And she just must have gotten lucky with her spot on the cliff, as she has no troubles finding sturdy hand or foot holds. Occasionaly a hand hold will crumble when she tests it, but there always seems to be another within easy range. Which is good, because its not like her reach is all that great. Matty would probably have some theory about her luck to say again. He has some dooseys he's been working on for turns.

The steps up aren't too bad on Cielo. It's when fingers must clench little ledges, white-knuckled squeeze and his arms have to work that it's an exertion. Then almost like he sliiides up a few more inches. Pauses. And a few more. When he's facing back to Meion he has a look like 'there must be more to it!' though he doesn't go that far. And besides. "More than me." More places, more things. Up, up, up. It's get quiet somber and serious before too long if Cielo didn't make a soft 'behhh.' on his next hop-grab-whoaaa his hand almost comes off but doesn't but he's still dizzy for a spell.

Meion tries to follow Cielo's pace - a steady but consistent ascent. She looks back to him when he comments, with an expression that might be accompanied by a shrug, if both arms weren't currently clinging to holds that have them stretched almost straight up. She looks like she might be about to reply, but the next thing from her mouth is a sharp curse, as a foothold seems stable just long enough for her to start to rely on it, then gives way slightly. She clings with both arms for just a moment, then feels her fingers slip, and the sharp bite of the harness into back and thighs as her weight pulls her line taut. She hangs there, turning a little on the line as she rubs the sore fingers of one hand with the other.

D'lei looks one way, and sees only belayers for climbers. He looks another, and sees the same - though with the addition of Risali's presence. He looks up, repeating the side to side, and sees candidates in motion - and he nods, with a step off to the side to walk behind and over to the edge of the cliff, where he stands to look out over the lower fields with arms that start to cross in front of him - then pause, and shift, and tuck back behind. Hello, sheep. Heep.

Rinian is scurrying up at a decent pace. Safe, but not slow. Enough to keep the poor guy on the other end of the line on his toes to keep the rope tight enough. She spots a fine looking ledge just above her to the left, a bit over towards where Ness and Syl are climbing. She reaches over to test it, and it holds so she shifts her weight there. Her right hand joins her left. Looking good. Then she focuses on a foothold for her left foot, and just as she moves that foot and shifts more weight to her hands, the shelf crumbles, sending a cascade of small rocks down the cliff face, and sets Rin to swinging as having only one toe hold on the cliff just isn't enough. Ooooh! Now that's exciting. She lets herself swing closer to the face again so she can try to get a new hold. Yay for safety harnesses!

Cielo hears the curse, and pries himself to the side, cheek against the rock to look. "You alright?" It looks like it! But it never hurts to ask. Grasping the line tight, he leans out a little and pauses his ascent for a better view. That's when he looks down and… hoo. That's a long way. And from that, there's ANOTHER long way. It looks like he doesn't intend to keep climbing until Meion—and the candidate on his left, too, are both in status-okay.

But eventually there is no more helping to be done, and Superhero Risali in her SUPERHERO CAPE (BEHOLD) tilts her head to watch the ascent of others, to maybe allow lips to pull downward as Nessalyn climbs because maybe she understands that pain, but she says nothing. She just takes not-nearly-long-enough strides that carry her back in the direction she came from before monitoring Rinian, and Mathis, and Cielo, and Meion on her way to the Weyrleader. But she does press her shoulder to his as her arms come to cross over her chest, and she too gazes out at the sheep. 'Baaaaa' they say, an ode to their fleecey-ness. And don't judge her. Risali totally cups her hand around her mouth and calls, "Baaaaaa!" right back. But WHO'S TO SAY IF SHE'S SMILING NOW, HUH? The sheep just echo their cry. "Baaaaaaaa!" The song of their people. But, well. Risali lapses back into silence. At least, you know, until she hears rocks. She turns then, to find Rinian. Okay? Okay. BACK OUT TO THE EWE.

Meion hangs there a moment, nodding. "I'm fine. Hand's a little sore." But nothing is bleeding or even bruised, and when her belayer calls up to ask if she wants to be lowered, she shakes her head. Another moment's pause, and she's reaching out to pull herself back to the cliff, taking advantage of the reset to select good hand and footholds to resume from. Back on the wall, she flashes Cielo an all-clear thumbs-up as she moves her hand from one handhold to a slightly higher one.

D'lei nods slightly, as Risali comes and bumps in against him, but his arms stay where they are, his posture… remains the same. He sees you, sheep. You're not going to sheep your way out of this. No way, no baa! Or, well, lots of baa, actually. Possibly even more baa than sheep, because Risali's got this - but there's still not enough baa to actually drown out the sound of the candidates, and D'lei looks back to observe Meion as she dangles, Rinian as she swings, checking that there's no blood on those rocks or the really unhappy sorts of sounds that one might make. Because, of course, climbing is not without risks, and he does actually pay attention to those things. There's good ropes here for learning, and D'lei will keep his gaze that way to watch until everyone's got their grips on rock-face again.

Nessalyn grunts, gritting her teeth against the protests of her body urging her to stop. She's absolutely going to regret this tomorrow (or even later today), but that stubbornness has her reaching for the next handhold. There's confidence in the way she mounts that cliff face, but mere confidence can't compete with injury, and as she attempts to stretch for that next handhold a muscle twinges and her hand slips. She reaches frantically for her former grip, grasping it and pulling herself close to the wall as adrenaline floods her system. She steadies herself there for a moment, taking a deep breath until the last remnants of pain subside and she's able to make that reach again, trying to keep the majority of the strain focused upon her legs.

Rinian gets new hand and footholds, tosses a thankful grin over her shoulder to the man who kept her from going splat, and goes back to squirreling her way up the cliff. Thankfully she doesn't seem to run into any other issues, and before she knows it..there's the top! She wiggles up over the edge and in a moment is on her feet, shaking out her arms and enjoying the view. Then she calls down to her fellow candidates. "You got this! You can do it!" And its fun!

Cielo nods. Flashes a thumb up against the rock. Did he.. hear baaing? Or was that in his head? He blinks a couple times. "Sore's normal." Cielo says. Loving long words and wind but.. he knows better. For the most part, he's good. Slow, but good. There does come a time where his handhold failsone of themand as the other goes he swings wide out in a dial, for a moment threatening to swing and.. he's probably not close enough to Meion to collide. A foot swings, jams against the rock, his right side bent up helter skelter and he's stuck staring out rather than in. It's a terrifying moment, to be sure, pivoting awkwardly but also… what a view. "Hhh… okay." It takes another solid push, then another to get just enough momentum to get himself oriented right WITHOUT smashing himself into the rock. The impact still sucks, and he guffs, before giving his own thumbs up and prying.. not too much longer now, right?

There's a sort of simple rhythm to the ascent, once Meion gets the sense of it. Test each spot with a little weight, then shift more fully. Don't rush any handholds or footholds. The cliff is certainly suitable for beginners, which is an obvious fact when one stops to consider how many beginners are scaling it at this very moment. And Meion isn't even too close to the back of the pack, making a respectable time even with her little trip to hang out in the air that slowed her down.

Sheep are, in fact, considerably less unpredictable than candidates in harnesses. That's probably why, eventually, Risali turns too. Grey eyes go up, to watch, to see Rinian at the top and it takes considerable effort on the Weyrwoman's part to fend off the incoming smile, to not join in on encouragement and cheering and the whole nine-yards. Instead she watches, and she relents just a little, just for now, just while their focus is on foothold and handholds and getting to the very tippy top. Go, candies, go! You got this!

There's a shift of D'lei's gaze sideways to Risali, a taking in of her features before his eyes shift up again. He grimaces faintly, his own attention drawn to Cielo as he swings, that arc that… could be a lot worse, whether through collisions or rope-shear or any of a number of other things. But. It isn't, not that time. "…it doesn't have to be fair," he says, the words more quiet than baas - albeit less sheepish - before his gaze shifts again, to watch another candidate making that strenuous (but not as bad as it could be) ascent.

Rinian keeps encouraging from her place at the top, ready to lend a hand to whichever candidate is up next, so she can help them up over the edge. She shivers a bit as the chill wind cuts through her worn coat, now that she's not exerting herself so much.

Cielo comes the rest of the way without incident. Oblivious to much, finally letting those silly thoughts settle down. He makes it. HE MAKES IT BECAUSE YOU BELIEVED IN HIM RISALI. Not first, not last, and aside from a little strain not beat up this round either. He sliiides up, accepting whatever grasping hand is there and eager to find solid ground again. High solid ground. The best ground for cats and candidates alike. .. they can help whoever follows, too. And so forth.

Nessalyn doesn't got this. She tilts her head back, watching as her fellow candidates complete their ascent or near the top, while she still lags behind. It's getting harder to pull herself up with each foot she climbs, and ultimately she knows she's just straining more muscles trying not to hurt the bits of her that are already injured. Admitting defeat isn't something Nessalyn does easily, but after another near-miss slip and a moment of clinging to that wall, frozen in place, she's forced to admit to herself that she isn't going to make it. Which is fine. Failing in front of her fellow candidates where they can all see said failure is fine. It's not a big deal. There's some muttered curses from the techcrafter before she sighs in resignation. One last bit of 'encouragment' is tossed Sylvarin's way before she gives the signal to the crafter on belay. Lower her down, pls, like the failure she is.

Risali's brows knit in, her eyes drawing away from candidates to D'lei. SHE DID BELIEVE IN YOU, CIELO. SHE BELIEVES IN ALL OF YOU. EVEN YOU, NESS. There's a tilt of the weyrwoman's head, a pull of her lips at his words that… go unanswered, except that maybe she presses her shoulder a little more tightly to his arm before she looks away. "I know," she whispers, eyes jumping to Cielo, and Meion and Rinian - focusing on those victorious numbers before her attention settles back on Nessalyn. Where the Weyrwoman might usually move to make sure that the techcrafter is okay, this time she remains, immobile, her gaze steady, her posture still closed off in contrast to her usual demeanor. But then she's looking away again, focus directed upward.

Rinian watches Risali for a moment and worries, but then Matty's there at the top and she's helping him up over the ledge, being sure she's in no danger of being pulled back over. She remains there to help and learn whatever it is they do to get back down again. But boy, is she going to sleep well tonight once they get back!

Meion is almost disbelieving when she feels those grips replaced with the lip of the cliff, and then she's pulling herself up too, to hug the ground beneath her with wide-open arms. Or is that to splay out face-down in exhaustion? Either way, she's flopped down and nobody can force her to move. Not like this.

Cielo is going to manage to SIT in a lazy and unkemp fashion. He kind of feels Meion, but also just wants to enjoy this a bit longer because how often do you get to do these little firsts. He peeks out and.. his heart goes out to Nessa and anyone else who didn't make it up. Deep down he knows if he'd taken the right hits, the wrong sleeps, those last few pulls just would not have happened. Thoughts form, say something poignant and poetic about the experience. "… beh." Flop.

Nessalyn makes quick work of her harness once she's on the ground again - well, as quick as one can be when muscles are protesting even more than they were when she started up the cliff face. She all but throws her harness on the ground, mumbling something that might be an approximation of a thank you as she passes her belayer. And then off toward the dragons she goes, not even sparing Risali and D'lei a glance as she passes. She'll be sulking in peace over there, thank you very much.

The climbing of cliffs does have a certain tendency to replace arms and legs with noodles, but… they've made it! Or at least… many of the candidates have, one after another. D'lei's arm finally moves out from behind him, enough to brush around Risali's back in answer to her answer of leaning in against him, and… his gaze shifts briefly to Nessalyn as her direction turns into down instead of up… but only for a moment. He's more interested in observing the rest of the climbers, the ones who are striving their way up, up, and… to the top! Where they're going to fall over, but where they will - after muscles have a tiny bit of time to recover - be picked up by dragons who are polite enough to come get them at the top instead of making them climb back down. Though… there'll at least be someone by for Nessalyn, even if Risali and D'lei are - apparently - being very much not it.

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