Xanadu Weyr - Clearing
A wide clearing stretches from east to west, the ground packed hard although grass grows across most of it. Trees are strictly forbidden in this space, their danger to the constant draconic traffic reason enough to banish them to the forest that creates a this and sharp border to the north. Where the ground is less trampled, tiny flowers poke their delicate heads out from their shaded hiding places with upturned petals to wave to whoever may be looking.
The cliff looms imposingly on three sides, stretching upwards all the way up the side of the mountain where, high above, Xanadu's Star Stones and the ever present watchdragon sit on a lonely peak. Directly south is a massive tunnel, fully wide enough for even the largest dragon to fly down. Southeast are wide steps leading up to the Caverns and eastwards is the large entrance to the Infirmary. Somewhat north of the Infirmary is a human sized archway that has a frequent quantity of traffic — it leads to the Tavern. Southwest lies the low ledges currently belonging to Xanadu's queens while north and west a broad path cut by the side of the cliff leads to the Feeding Grounds and due north is the spacious trail that leads to the rest of the Weyr.
With Kilaueth settled on the Sands, Niva has been spending a good portion of her time in the galleries, keeping the gold company, and doing her work there. Of course, now with Ellamariseth also on the Sands, Niva's been spending some of her time elsewhere. And so, for the moment the Senior is enjoying the fresh, if chilly, winter air, meandering here and there as she goes.
Nicca for once appears to have been unable to get out of her chores, in itself a record. She has a basket and a trowel in her hand and appears to be walking across the clearing with her eyes firmly fixed on the ground. Every so often she pauses, digs something out of the grass, shakes the dirt off the roots and puts the root, together with the withered foliage in her basket. She doesn't look up and therefore doesn't see Niva till she almost collides with her. "Oh. Hi Mom." The tone is worldweary and it's clear she's less than enchanted with the task she's been given.
From the occassional audible mutterings of Niva, it's fairly obvious that Niva is still contemplating the fact that her eldest daughter is now a candidate - and from the grumblings, its also pretty obvious that she doesn't seem entirely too thrilled with this concept. However, she's being interrupted by a voice - a voice that's calling her mom, and Niva is shaking her head to clear her thoughts, looking just a bit pink before she realizes that its Nicca, rather than Vivian that's standing there. Looking from the basket, to the little trowel, and then to the teen, she seems rather surprised. "Nicca.." She murmurs. "You're doing your chores?"
Nicca shrugs in an off-hand manner. "That junior Healer's a wherryhen," she grumbles. "Told her I wasn't any good at identifying herbs. So she drew me a picture and told me that anything I brought back that didn't match the picture was going to be tested on me to see what it did." Nicca must have believed the threat. The limp roots in the basket are indeed a very close match to the picture tied to the handle, scrawled on a scrap of paper.
"Maybe I should ship you off. Might do you some good." Niva mutters, as she moves to take the basket from the teenager, carefully going through the basket, nudging each plant this way and that way, though one is plucked out and tossed over her shoulder. "Don't want that one." The woman murmurs softly, before glancing at the picture, and then looking back at Nicca. "Heard about your sister, I take it?"
If anything could make a bad day worse, it's a reminder of her sister. The sweet smile that Nicca gives Niva has all the sincerity of a junior apprentice saying they actually like their chores. "Of course I heard. I'm very pleased for her." The words are impeccable, the tone is colourless. The mutter under her breath sounds much more honest. "Maybe she'll have something other to do than nag me for a bit."
Niva arches an eyebrow at Nicca's reaction, trying to hide the smirk on her face as she listens to the girl's even words. "That happy, hm?" Niva shakes her head, before looking back at the Hatching Cavern. After a moments consideration, she's looking back to Nicca. "You want to Stand too, don't you?" The Weyrwoman questions her middle child - and the look she's giving the girl is one that demands an honest response.
Nicca is also looking at the Hatching Cavern. She scuffs the toe of one shoe in the dirt, and looks down at the pattern it's making in the dust, as though utterly fascinated by the grains of dirt pushed from side to side. Then she looks at her mother. "Yes. I do. I've always wanted to." Honesty at last in the simple words.
"Might as well join your sister then, in the barracks. Consider it… A Turnday present." Not that the girl won't still be spoiled rotten for her fourteenth turnday, but well, this is just one more thing for the girl to have. Besides, at least both sources of trouble will be in the same place - and be kept busy enough for the time being. "Hisolda'll give you a new knot.. You /need/ to act your age, though. Children don't stand, remember that." Niva says firmly, folding her arms over her chest to narrow her gaze at Nicca.
Nicca has listened to the words with initial disbelief and then with a dawning pure joy on her face. "I can? Oh Mom…" She seems about to fling herself into Niva's arms, and then the tone also gets through to her and she pauses. "I will. I'll behave. I won't even whinge about the wherryhen healer any more. Much." She's dropped the basket at her feet, the roots half in, half out of it in a grimy tangle.
"If I get one word, though, that you're causing trouble…" Niva leaves the threat dangling, hoping whatever horrible consequences Nicca can imagine are a hundred times worse than what Niva herself can come up with. With a soft sigh, she moves to give Nicca a hug, even as she's shaking her head. "Faranth help us.." She mutters to herself, before patting the girl's shoulder, and pointing at the basket. "Don't let all your hard work go to waste, though. Take that back, and then you can move your stuff."
Nicca wraps her mother in a whirlwind hug before dropping down on hands and knees to pick up the spilled roots. For once she doesn't seem to be worrying about getting dirt on her skirts. "I'll take these straight back now," she answers, laying the last one carefully on top. She seems ready to break into a run, and then looks at her mother. "I will try hard, Mother. I promise." The formality of the address seems almost to have surprised the girl herself, but it's clear - that for the moment at least - she means everything she's saying.
Niva is just as surprised at Nicca, it seems, at the teen's formality, and watching her pick up the roots and then run off, the Weyrwoman is left to stare after her, before shaking her head. With no one standing near by to comment on the surprising maturity exhibited - at least for that brief instance, Niva's left to turn and head back inside to her lifemate.