Intruder on the Sands

Xanadu Weyr - Observation Level

Dark blue seats form a semi-circle around the sands below, the lowest row separating from the sands themselves by merely a railing. The seats climb upwards, each row a bit higher then the previous, and they are broken up into sections by 3 sets of staircases. Lights are evenly spaced along the outer wall, lighting the seats and the sands easily, though they tend to be dimmed unless a major event is taking place. A large balcony looms overhead, darkening some of the seats, providing a place for observers of the draconic kind to watch without obstructing the view for others.
When one looks over the railing, the oddly hued sand below can be seen easily, the circle-shaped area of the sands spread out to the far walls, the sand itself a unique mixture of red and white grains.

The hour is edging on towards 2 AM, the lights of the Weyr turned down to nothingness as a gentle glow is all that illuminates the clearing, the Cavern all but deserted. The Hatching Cavern is in a similar state with only the highest lamps still on, casting long shadows through the galleries, turning the rounded lumps of eggs on the sands into dark piles, while Kilaueth is stretched out, long neck winding between her eggs, peacefully asleep.

Do candidates ever sleep? It's 2 AM and Saige is curled up in the front and to the left side of the observation galleries, white robe in hand, needle and thread in the other. It seems that even though Kilaueth's hatching is soon, Saige is still fussing over her robe… although she seems to be more sleeping over it than fussing.

Thea sits quietly in one of the gallery seats, beside Saige, her arms propped on the rail and an unfinished piece of knitting in her lap. For all that she looks tired, apparently she cannot sleep for she is here rather than in bed. She's studying the eggs in thoughtful contemplation. "D'you ever think of what it will be like?" Asking this of Saige, and it's a fairly general question, so might be answered in any number of ways.

R'sul isn't actually here, he's off snoring in his own bed at the moment as one is wont to do of a night. Down on the sands Hesketh twitches occasionally, but other than that he also is slumbering the night away peacefully.

Neferennu has been woken up in the dead of night by a fussy gold hatchling who wanted to be fed this instant or was going to claw Rennu to death for the meat. So still tired, and a bit grumpy, Rennu has sat down next to Saige with her candidate robe in hand. A needle and thread is pulled out to finish up the one torn seam on the left shoulder. Since time to find shoes wasn't really given, the red leather sandals she had bought in Ierne have been placed on her feet though not tied around her ankles. "Heh, candidates working on robes in the middle of the night.." She whispers softly to Saige and Thea before eyes return to the sewing of the fingerlength gap in the one shoulder. At least the stitches are fairly straight and only a few puckers will be showing. "Hot." This is to answer Thea's question as simply as possibly, then followed with a yawn.

Ellamariseth is down there, too, keeping to one side of her clutch with her tail curled around some of the closer eggs. She at least has sight of all her eggies, though enough room to stretch out so that she doesn't crush any of them. There're a few big yawns from the smaller queen as she fights off sleep, perhaps having sensed someone in the galleries. Her tail tip twitches every so often, but her whirling eyes are barely thin slits as the lids try to remain a bit open over them. Nope, there they go. Asleep? Maybe. Even the candidates can't keep her attention /that/ long. While Ysa loves to be with her queen as much as possible, at that late hour the goldrider is tucked away in bed with her weyrmate.

There's a sound from the sands, and the shadows shift upon the eggs as Kilaueth stretches and resettles herself, wings dropping a bit as she falls into a deeper sleep, unbothered by the candidates that seem to linger. Niva has long since retreated to her own home, trusting the care of the clutches to the dragons. And yet, even as Kilaueth is settled, the shadows continue to shift slowly, a bit of a grating sound heard.

Saige stays curled up around her robe, and then glares slightly at Rennu as she takes a seat beside her, effectivly squashing her 'tween Thea and Rennu. "Which part of 'what' do you mean? Hatching? Impression? Being a weyrling? Hot. Scary. Exciting. Awesome. What the heck was I thinking agreeing to stand? Okay, not really, but …" A pause, then a covered YAWN, and she starts stitching the bottom hem blearily. "Certainly /interesting/, we will say." She then peers at the sand, huh'ing softly. "D'you hear that?" She wonders, peering at the Sands. "Oooh, there's one of my favorite eggs." She waves at Life Is Short. "Still knocks me over, tho."

What's that humming sound? Not a dragon, but human humming, tuneful actually and a moment later, Fiara steps through, still wearing her coat, cheeks pinked apparently from Between, satchel slung across her body. She pauses briefly noting the trio of candidates in their apparent huddle and then moves forward. "Insomnia all around tonight?" she queries far too brightly to have been recently abed herself.

Not insomnia. Working. And trying to find a decently calm place to do so. Satoris makes his way up into the Galleries, exhaling in a long sigh as he witnesses, to his misfortune, that people are up here at this terribly late hour. The Miner huffs to himself and edges for a place near the back, settling down into a seat and propping his feet up on the bench before him.

Thea gives Rennu a sleepy chuckle, echoing the girl's yawn with one of her own. "I'll bet." As Saige answers her question with -all- possible answers, Thea snortles. Yep. Snortles. Her eyes wander over the sands again. "Hear what?" A nod aside to Fiara. "Guess we did too much active work until too late in the evening." She adds a muttering about tree branches and a certain miner.

Where there are Candidates there are AWLMs! S'ya comes up the stairs, the pregnant greenie not having been able to sleep through the night thanks to her baby. Yup, she'd gotten a good kick and had been unable to drift back to bed. After checking the Barracks and finding a few heads missing she set to searching the usual Candidate gathering spots. "Shells, what are you lot doing out so late?" She asks the group, nodding her head to Fiara and Satoris as she waddles towards the sewing girls.

Ellamariseth was dead asleep by now. She tried, she really had! Her bad wing was pressed tightly to her side while the good one was the one she was laying on. Her tail still gives the occasional twitches and there's a deep rumble that comes out of the sleeping queen. But every other part of her looks relaxed, limp, and happy. Even with Kilaueth still just on the other side of the hatching grounds.

Neferennu rolls her eyes at the mention of tree branches but it goes unnoticed since her eyes are still on her robe. A moment later, a look up to give a weak smile to Fiara, then moves her left arm to reveal a sleeping gold firelizard hatchling in a sling at her side. "A certain hatchling decided she was going to eat, me if I didn't wake up and feed her." Though the scratches are her back are not visible through her clean shirt. "Then I couldn't go back to sleep with someone snoring in the back, so I came up here." A shrug and then eyes wander back to the robe, until S'ya seems to startle her and she pokes herself. "Ow…" Is remarked softly and her eyes look up to S'ya briefly. "Sewing." Short and sweet, now to get this done. Only three more stitches to go… "All I've heard is some rustling. Probably everyone coming up the stairs."

The grating sound continues for a moment, reverberating in the caverns and seeming to come from both nowhere and everywhere at once. But then, just as suddenly as it started it stops, the shadows fall back into unmoving shapes. And then, as S'ya's walking up the stairs, there is a loud thud from the opposite side of the arena, the shadows thick, though there is no movement, and all the senior gold does it twitch at the sound before settling once more.

Saige waves. "Hi, S'ya." She says, sleepily, finishing off her hem. "There, I think it's finished." She notes, then leans to her left and attempts to use Thea as a pillow. "Mmhm, is that coal I smell?" She asks, before she starts into more wakefull-ness at the loud thud from the arena. "Shards and shells… if I'm going to keep jumping like that, I'm goin' to start sleeping in the living caverns."

Settling into place at the back, Satoris snorts slightly at the complaints from the girls. He reclines, back settling against the wall. Clasping hands over his stomach, the miner gazes out on the sands, eyelids lowered somewhat over those pale blue eyes. Not quite sleepy, but more of a thoughtful gaze. The thud brings him to sit up slightly, squinting out across the Sands.

Hesketh shifts, waking enough to enable him to stretch, yawn widely, and then curl up again. His tail pats around on the sand till it finds a shell, then stills resting against one of his children.

Fiara nods S'ya's way, politely and starts to shift her satchel off of her shoulder when that grating sound echoes and she peers across the sands curiously. "Are the hatching grounds supposed to sound like that?" she asks with some humor in her voice. "And I'm terribly sorry about the snoring in the barracks, that must be terribly annoying. I recommend ear plugs."

Thea's attention to the sands sharpens. "What on Pern was that?" She squints at the shadows, but the dragons don't seem alarmed, so she relaxes. Her handwork is taken up again and she stitches quietly for several seconds. S'ya's arrival garners a wave. This candidate seems unconcerned about repercussions and unperturbed when Satoris makes his way up the stairs. "Evenin'."

S'ya eyes Neferennu before moving closer to the bunch. "Yes, obviously you are sewing Candidate. Perhaps I did not make my question clear. Why are you lot out of the Barracks?" Obviously she wasn't in the mood for 'short and sweet' answers, not from the Candidate she'd found out had gotten into a tiff with a certain Miner over chores. When there's a thud she looks over to the other side of the area, squinting her eyes a bit before turning her attention back to the group. "Not usually, no." She answers Fiaira, moving a bit closer to peer down at the sleeping clutch parents.

A shifting shadow betrays a bit of movement on the other side of the arena, down next to the railing that separates the seats from the sands, but then, just as quickly, it seems to disappear, and its entirely possible that it was missed entirely. But wait, there it is again, a bit of black against the grey shadows, this time frozen on the Sand side of the railing, just a darker blob.

Ellamariseth jumps a bit at the thud herself, though the younger queen gives a grunt in the direction of the galleries and shifts again. She gets up from her side to stretch out and lay her head on her forelegs, tail coiling around the closer eggs some more. She peeks once out of her eyes at the people in the galleries, satisfied they were there, and goes back to sleep. What shadows on the sands? She saw nothing. Her attention was either on her clutch or those in the galleries.

Saige peers back at Satoris, grins, and waves. "You try sleeping in the barracks, lately, S'ya, seriously. Someone in there snores -bad- and I can't sleep with it." She protests. "And I have early morning Annex duty anyways, so it's not like I'm much in issue… oh hey!" She exclaims, peering at blobs of shadow.

Uncertain as to which Candidate S'ya's question is directed towards, and being one of those out of the Barracks, Thea calmly states, "Couldn't sleep and thought sitting in a lighted area working rather than out in the dark forest with a male Candidate would be the better part of valor?"

"Mmm, thought not," Fiara says cheerily enough and squints into the shadows, some puzzlement creeping onto her face as she drops her satchel onto one of the seats and pulls off her coat. "Much too warm in here for this," she murmurs under her breath. Thea's feisty answer to S'ya earns a sidelong grin from Fiara and she can't help a chuckle. Satoris is caught sight of and the harper lifts a hand to wave, though she's eyeing the sands with deeper curiosity now.

Neferennu gives a long sigh then holds up a finger to signal she'll answer in a moment and finishes the last stitch. Just as she is about to bind off the thread the thud makes her look up and over the sounds, looking warily at the shadows. "What was that?" Then as she listens, there is no more thuds so a shake of the head and the thread is bound off. A large yawn then ensues as the needle is set into the cloth and the robe placed on her lap to stay for the time being. "Well one, I had a hatchling that wanted to eat immediately. Two, there was snoring in the barracks that kept me awake. Three, I wanted to sit in a quiet place until I could fall asleep. Luckily I did get to bed a bit early, once the shirt for the headwoman's son was mended." Another slight shrug and then a weak smile towards S'ya, before looking back over the sands. "I'll go back to bed…soon." Yawn caught the middle of that sentence.

There was nothing there. The shadow was just a bit deeper there. And, it seems to be moving, slowly around the back edge of the caverns, before its disappearing behind the massive lump that is the dozing Kilaueth. There are no more sounds that seem to come from that direction, or anything at all besides that slight appearance of movement.

Hesketh unslits an eye, peering into the darkness towards the galleries and the noise. There's a faint rumble, but it could just as easily have been a yawn as a request to keep it down.

A nod is given in return to those that have waved at him. Satoris seems relaxed enough that he's not very likely to move much, other than to watch the path of that shadow. Or is it that one over there? The miner shakes his head a bit and mutters about the light playing tricks on his eyes.

S'ya has keen hearing, not eye sight. The gray blob does catch her attention though, her eyes narrowing a bit as she turns to count the heads there. Since Ella doesn't seem at all bothered by the shadows she doesn't say anything, her eyes still focused on it though. "Ah, snoring, well yes that happens during Candidacy. You should try stuffing cotton in your ears, that is what I used to do." She says idly to the group, unluckily for Rennu that whole finger and sigh combo is caught. Thea's answer isn't going over well either. "Oh, I am so terribly sorry to disturb you, loves. Perhaps I was foolish to think that you would give me an answer when I required it. Also foolish to think you would give me a proper answer. Please, head to bed when you like but I suggest you do not linger. I want you two," Thea and Rennu that is. "Up before the sun rises tomorrow, after all those toilets will not scrub themselves."

Kilaueth rumbles in her sleep, twitching and her tail thrashing, thankfully the eggs all being infront of her rather than behind her. The orange and amber striped egg, settled amidst her giant paws, is nudged just a bit. And then the shadow seems to separate from the wall, just a little bit, slowly starting to creep towards Kilaueth's bulk.

Saige fluffs up her robe, and curls up on the bench. "Wake me up when it's time for the Hatching." She says, dryly, watching the noise, and the darkness, and then the movement of the dragons. "Mmhm…" Then as S'ya promptly gives Thea and Rennu punishment, there's a loud thud'ding noise as she falls off of the bench, coughing to hide her surprise. "They should make the benches bigger; can't sleep comfortably on them."

Thea also is watching the shadows, reaching a hand to rub her eyes for a moment, before gesturing towards Kilaueth's eggs. "D'you think one of them hatched? And is walking about there?" Confusion colors her voice, "But no, Ruin isn't trilling and don't all the dragons hum or something when they do?" S'ya's comment causes Thea to quirk her brow a tad confusedly. "I was serious. But whatever you say, of course, I'll be up. Toilets? Might as well do them now, since I can't sleep." Still unperturbed, she begins collecting her handwork and readying to leave.

Ellamariseth was back to sleeping peacefully, what with not that many more sounds besides the lull of talking voices. Always clutching right under the galleries, the queen has had to deal with them for a long time now, though Saige falling off her bench earns a few new tail twitches. Anything involving Kilaueth is ignored, as the large queen and her weren't really on speaking terms besides the usual growl and glare. Not to mention being completely asleep.

Hesketh startles — almost back to sleep and now someone's thumping up there. His head lifts, turning towards the galleries, and this time there's no mistaking his warning rumble.

While generally, its a good thing to let sleeping beasts lie, apparently the dark shape on the sands has yet to learn that. There's no crooning or crying to indicate its a dragonet hatched early, instead there's just the sound of shifting sand. Unfortunately, the shadow ventures too close to the gold's space and that nice purple and black egg - even if it's still a good distance away - for the gold, and the slumbering giantess is rumbling, awakened by the warning rumble of her mate to add her own.

S'ya's intervention and speech to the candidates sees Fiara folding her lips tight closed and she sets her coat down then moves to lean against the railing, looking down at the Sands. "No that doesn't look like a dragon down there," the harper says after a moment. "More like light playing around funny, shadows shifting, but …" she trails off and looks up at the ceiling then blinks back downward as the dragons stir, a sharply indrawn breath barely heard at the sound of that warning rumble.

"S'ya," Satoris asks finally, catching sight of the shadow again. He rises to his feet and steps across benches to quicker get down to the lowest tier. "You said you went by the barracks… Where are the candidates?" He glances to the greenrider, then back to the Sands. "What if someone's gotten it in their head that they can sneak out for their own private Touching?"

Neferennu is too tired to argue and just blinks at S'ya for a moment, then turns her head when a moving shadow catches her eye. "I doubt it. There would be a ton of noise and the dragons wouldn't be so comfortable. Saige, are you okay?" A look towards the woman as she falls off the bench, but a comment to S'ya does not come, because as soon as Saige seems to be alright her eyes are back out over the sands. "Cotton in the ears.." is muttered, having obviously heard S'ya's words and digested them. No comment in response though, only a yawn. "No, I don't think that is a hatchling. Not moving right. That shadow is moving like a man or woman. Maybe a kid." With this she looks to S'ya. This is her territory not Rennu's. The look is one of concern as this night could end up not going well for the entire weyr if her assumption turns up true. "Toilets, before dawn, yes." Finally a comment in return, but now eyes are going from sands to S'ya, and back again. What is the assistant weyrlingmaster going to do if it is a person out on the sands unnoticed?

"If that was a serious answer we are going to have to work on the way you phrase things. And no, tomorrow. I want you two to work together on this." S'ya says seriously to the pair, obviously not believing Thea. When Hesketh rumbles S'ya frowns, her eyes going wide as she spots something moving /towards/ Kila. When Fiara joins her she shakes her head. "I only remember a few cots missing, I thought these were all that Candidates that were out." She replies to Satoris, her face going pale. "No one would dare, they would be mauled! We should send someone to rouse Ysa and Niva though, just in case." Obviously she's in no state to go running for the Weyrwomen.

Saige winces as she gets all of the dragons rumbling. "Sorry!" She calls out, softly to the dragons. "… Oh no." She slides into the back row of benches, by Satoris. She's not going for Ysa or Niva. Oh no. Bad bad bad.

Thea pauses amidst gathering her things when Hesketh rumbles. "Shards, he thinks we're making too much noise." When Kilaueth adds her rumble, Thea adds, "I'm outta here. Not risking Niva's ire, uh, uh." She takes up her stuff hastily, steps towards the stairs. At Satoris' question, she tartly comments, "They'd be more likely sneaking into your mine; tis all they've been speculation about lately."

With the other two dragons stirring, it just makes Ellamariseth twitch a bit more. The Senior's added rumble makes her snort back in reply. Dragons were trying to sleep here! And she didn't quite mind anyone in the galleries, really. But the younger gold was reacting to Kilaueth, leaning closer towards her own clutch.

The shadow seems to freeze as the clutch parents are suddenly awake, and then its starting to retreat, even as Kilaueth's rumbling at the group in the galleries. But then, she's slowly starting to turn as there is a thud, and the dark blur is failing to make it over the railing from this side. That is enough to send Kilaueth trumpeting loudly, the gold rearing up on her hind legs, likely creating enough mental fuss for Niva to wake up on her own.

"Either one is dangerous," Satoris snaps back to Thea, centering icy gaze upon her. "Go get the Weyrwomen. Now. If someone is down there, it's likely preferrable they get found /before/ they're killed, isn't it?" Then again, whoever it is likely deserves it. The shadow moving sends Satoris into action and the miner moves swiftly, running to tackle the shadow should it make it over the railing. Even if S'ya's got the better belly for it.

Now how in the world is anyone going to sleep like that? Ellamariseth's eyes snap open when the Senior trumpets, and she's up on her feet in no time, trumpeting to match the bigger gold's. She wasn't quite sure what was going on, but she wasn't going to be left out! She trumpets again, confusion marking her voice, and far off in the distance around the Forest there is probably a string of loud yells and curses. The smaller gold's wings snap out, making her flinch as the bad one is moved, and she hovers as she looks down on the intruder— or whatever problem it was.

Hesketh roars, gaze dropping from the galleries to that shadow that is trying to escape. In a breath he's on his feet — wings flare, tail whips from side to side, and another roar echoes around the sands.

Eyes go wide and next moment: "Shells and shards!" Fiara exclaims as Satoris leaps into action and next moment, she's reaching back to nab her satchel and the thermos bottle that's tucked into the side pocket for an impromptu weapon and moving along the railing not towards the sands properly but the exit should that shadow make a break for it.

Thea just shrugs with unconcern at S'ya's pronouncement, "Whatever. Ma'am." Just showing respect. Her attention is diverted by the ruckus on the Sands. "Whatever it is, they're gonna blame -us- for it, you know they will," she warns the other Candidates. Then Satoris speaks and she glares right back, answering with force, "I know! That's why I keep mentioning it to you!" Then there's trumpeting and roaring and the like. Oh, if only sleep had come… this is a nightmare.

The shadow makes it over the rail eventually, having been scared even further by the attention of the very large, and now, very awake dragons. Unfortunately, there's not enough time to sneak back into the shadows before the large miner is tackling it. There's a very child-like yelp, and then sobbing, as the small, thin frame, maybe 100 pounds, ends up on the ground.

Neferennu looks at Thea for a moment and then sighs as if acknowledging the unavoidable. "Yes, they will blame us, you're right." There is more that wants to be said but cleaning toilets all morning before breakfast is enough for one day. It also doesn't help she hasn't had a full day off since becoming a candidate. Despite this, she is glued to her seat, clutching her robe tightly. Satoris and S'ya have it and if maybe they stay out of the way, they won't get in trouble. Wait, she's in the front row…oh shells. Too late to move but the child-like yelp makes her turn and look at the small person Satoris tackled.

Arinith isn't too far behind, riled up by the dragons from his perch on the ledges. The smaller bronze had been completely asleep on his higher perch, but now he drops down to the sands where there's space to add his voice. Ellamariseth wasn't going to calm down with the other clutchparents. Trumpeting, roaring, whatever works, her eyes were whirling red as she swings her head about towards the galleries first to glare and snap before turning her full attention to where the shadow went running. She quickly makes her way around her clutch, keeping herself between it and the miner and shadow-girl.

S'ya forgets everything else when Kilaueth awakens, the greenie moving as fast as she can towards the shadow. It's a good thing too because she'd probably continue berating the Candidate pair. "Get off the sands you idiot!" She calls as Satoris moves past her. Yup, she was totally not fit for this. "Grab them, Satoris!" When the shadow is tackled her eyes go wide. "I said /grab/ it, not /kill/ it! Anyways, keep a hold on it."

Well. Uh. He had reason. It could've been /anyone/. It might've been a big mean… something or another and Satoris, being the only man present, had to do something, right? Pale blue eyes widen in surprise as he gets close and realizes the actual size of what he's tackling, but then it's too late. He grunts in response to S'ya, making to get up… and in the process, wrap his arms tight enough around whoever it is that he tackled to keep them put.

Hesketh makes a snap towards the galleries, moving over slowly and growling as he goes. A movement near the exit has him turning and roaring in that direction, though this interloper on the sands carries a light and looks rather untidy to say the least - R'sul has arrived, bed-head, pyjamas, and all.

Niva is indeed awake now. Very awake. And the Senior Weyrwoman is running into the Hatching Caverns, attempting to put her hair up as she goes, before she's freezing at the large bronze doors, staring out over the shadowed Sands and at those in the galleries above. Letting her eyes adjust, she's slowly trying to figure out what's going on, before the whimpering of the captured shadow draws her attention that way.

"Oh for Faranth's sake," Fiara breathes out next and flips that thermos back around, walking back towards miner with far surer steps this time. "Everyone all right?" she inquires in a steady voice now and looks between S'ya and Satoris and the thin-framed child the miner is holding onto.

The shadow is, indeed, whimpering and kicking as its picked up in Satoris's arms. And the protests that escape from it are clearly from a boy, albeit a young boy. "Shards, put me down!" He is squirming more, trying hard to get away, rubbing the soot that cover his clothes, his face, and even his hair a dark black, making him unrecognizable.

Ysa had a long trek from her weyr in the Forest, leaving her weyrmate snoring loudly in bed. With a robe around her and her hair as unruly as ever, she looks quite angry. No, not angry. /Pissed/. "What in the name of Faranth is going on here?!" she calls out, rushing up behind Niva with a glare already focused up to the galleries. Ellamariseth isn't too far away, stomping and shaking her wings and trying to look bigger than Kilaueth. THe shadow-boy, then, is glared at by the dragon, her teeth snapping in that direction. She doesn't stray far from her eggs, though, even if Arinith was keeping guard on the other side.

What with growling, snapping red-eyed dragon heads so close, Thea changes direction and bolts up the back stairs to flatten herself against the back wall. "ShardsShardsShards, the Dragon's awake now!" This as Niva and R'sul enter the fray. She just watches the mayhem and suck in air like she's taking her last breath. Unruffled? Not anymore.

S'ya eyes the shadow as it turns out to be a flailing boy. The greenie getting a good kick to the arm from the brat as she had been moving closer to make sure he wasn't squashed into oblivion by Satoris. "Shard it all." She yelps, rubbing at her arm as she eyes the soot covered child. She nods to Fiara, not any worse for wear after that kick really. "What in blazes were you doing out there? Who are you? Most importantly, are you /mad/?!" When the Weyrwomen and Weyrleader arrive she hands off a salute to the trio, moving over a bit so they can get a look. "He went sneaking onto the sands, trying to touch one of Kilaueth's eggs."

Flailing arms and legs are /not/ the best things for Satoris to experience. It's not like he's used to kids swinging their arms and legs all about in his arms. "Stop… fighting…" and then a kick goes somewhere rather unpleasant and Satoris crumples to one knee, letting go of the boy… save for a hand that grabs onto an ankle and tries to keep hold, despite the pain writ upon the miner's face. He lets S'ya do the explaining at this point.

Neferennu has been rooted to the spot, looking from angry dragons to Satoris holding a boy as tight as possible. Knuckles are white around the finished robe in her lap and a look of fear as the weyrwomen arrive, and also at the antics of the dragons. Though the fear may be more for the wrath of the women rather than the dragons. Slowly, very slowly, she is scooting further and further back against the second tier of seats. Maybe she can blend in and not get noticed sitting here in such a fear-induced state. Nope, she had nothing to do with this. Just up late fixing her robe, that's all. Just ignore the candidate that watches.

R'sul blinks around, half-awake, angry, and not knowing why. Hesketh has taken to pacing the sands now, not even letting R'sul out near the eggs for the time being, so Rus redirects to the galleries instead. "Who all's here. I want a list, then I want a mug of something hot and a damned good explanation." He runs a hand through his hair, succeeding only in making it stick up even more.

The shadowy, sooty boy is free! But then, his leg is grabbed and he's tripping, hitting the floor with a yelp. His escape attempts are halted almost immediately however as Kilaueth is peering over the railing at the boy, and Niva is joining in. "Faranth.." She mutters, shaking her head and looking to the boy, expecting some sort of response from him after the barrage of questions from S'ya. Eventually, after much muttering and even enough cursing to make a grown man blush, the boy says only. "/They/ said I was too afraid." And that's the only defiant answer he gives.

Thea becomes one with the wall. Blend, blend. Really, now that (hopefully) dragon jaws and teeth are not snapping near the Gallery and the roaring has subsided, she's breathing easier. "Uh, Rennu," This is but a whisper, "I…I think Satoris is in need of a Healer." Then she's just watching the tableau unfold.

Wincing visibly, Fiara makes an 'ooo, ouch' sort of face as Satoris catches that kick. "Oof, you still all in one piece, Satoris?" the harper inquires, then looks up as the Weyrleaders approach and she fades back against the railing and out of the way though there might just be a humorous slant to her mouth at the sight of R'sul in his jammies with his hair sticking up. "Here, klah with milk, sir," she says to the Weyrleader, and waves that thermos which apparently has sudden use for itself as she moves back towards where she left her satchel. "I've got pen and paper." For that list. There's a curious look at the sooty boy and she blows out a puff of air. "Dare gone wrong then, lad," she says with a touch of sympathy in her voice, then she's rooting for notebook and pen in her satchel.

Ysa rubs at her eyes, watery a bit from holding back yawns now that she was awake and there. Ellamariseth doesn't move into Kilaueth's space, but she hovers nearby. No one was going to get through her or Arinith right now to her clutch, though the younger gold's attention was all on the boy at the moment. Teeth bared, there was little hidden on this queen's intentions at the moment, ready to snap at anyone that came too close. "Who are /they/?" growls Ysa, turning a glare again up to the galleries where she was sure there are candidates. Her look doesn't last long though, since the boy was their problem. "Are ya a candidate?" Not any longer, most likely… She steps through to cover an opening where the boy might escape through, one hand keeping her robe closed tightly.

The shadowy, sooty boy is pulling his foot away from Satoris, sort of curling away from the Miner before there's a hint of sympathy noted in Fiara's voice, and he's launching himself at her, deciding that the Harper is safe in the midst of all these unfriendly faces. Trying to hide, he is beginning to look, and act, less defiant but much more scared. "K-Keyeal.." The boy murmurs after a moment, even as he's shaking his head looking down at the ground.

S'ya watches as Satoris gets a good kick to his baby maker, her eyes narrowing at the soot boy before she turns towards the Leaders. "Yes, sir." She'll let Fiara take care of the list, though. She had the utensils to work with after all. When Sooty actually speaks an eye twitches. "They? Candidates?" If sooty was a Candidate than she was a horrible AWLM, she didn't recognize him at all. She eyes the glaring golds, moving a bit further from the railing so as not to make matters worse.

Neferennu leans over and whispers to Thea. "I don't think a healer can help with a kick like that, only time." Now she is just a little too close to Ysa for comfort at this point, but still doesn't move except to make her back firmer against the second tier of the seats. If she could scoot down away from the activity and get back to bed at this point, she would. Though her eyes are glaring at the sooty boy, with glances towards the teeth-baring golds.

R'sul blinks at Fiara at first, not quite awake enough for any of this nonsense and looking remarkably like he needs to sit down. A quick eye rub is followed by a "Thanks." and the acceptance of that flask. The first cup if swallowed quickly, too quickly, but it definitely wakes him up. "Who's going to explain quickest and most coherently before I ban everyone from the hatching area until those eggs are all hatched?" His eyes fix on the soot-covered boy, "And you'd better make it good."

The boy gets away from Satoris. The exits are covered enough and at the railing are some very unhappy dragon parents. The miner reels back, putting his back to a bench as he hunches over and takes slow, deep breaths. It's about all he can do at the moment; the others can handle this.

Thea slowly returns down the steps now that things have calmed somewhat. Snapping dragons are one thing, people quite another apparently, for her approach is far from timid. "Might as well write my name, though I had nothing to do with this—" and she waves a hand towards the child. She squints at the boy. "Never seen him before," eyes slide towards Satoris, "but he looks like he's been down in your mine." Reaching Rennu's side, she whispers back, "How about a Mindhealer?"

Fiara turns around just in time to get launched at by Sooty Boy and blinks in surprise. She trades pen and notebook into one hand and drops her arm down across thin shoulders. "There now, it's all right, no one's going to hurt you, but you'd best answer smartly now," she tells him in a voice that's gentle and firm at the same time. "Keyeal is it?" And she examines sooty features briefly, perhaps to check to make sure he's not one of her students. "Why don't you have a seat, right here," she invites and nods to one of the ones recently vacated by Thea and Neferennu scooting backward.

The shadowy boy is reluctant to leave Fiara, actually going to so far as to hug her tightly, looking at R'sul, and then the silently grimacing Niva with a frightened expression. "Keyeal… Keyeal and Fane didn't.. Didn't think I was brave enough to touch one." He stammers, before he's turning to peer at the girls that are there, a bit of envy on his face. "I… I had to touch one."

Ysa makes sure to keep the two girls in her line of sight, even if it was to glare at them suspiciously. Thea gets a brief nod before her full focus turns back to the boy. Her free hand goes running through her hair and she snaps towards the sands. "Quit it, and go stare at your eggs," she says towards her growling lifemate, who was still hovering close by. "Make sure one of 'em doesn't roll away." As if Arinith was going to allow that right now. She stands near the Weyrleader, since he was taking charge of asking the questions. "Not a candidate then, boy? What's your name, then? Don't think that this Keyeal and Fane aren't in a load of trouble, either, if they goaded ya into this." Grumble.

R'sul just stares at the boy, and people would probably be forgiven for thinking he's fallen asleep with his eyes open. It's only after Ysa's spoken that he directs an "And?" at the boy and waits for more.

Thea doesn't flinch at Ysa's glare, after all she's probably in deep dragon-doo no matter what. She doesn't try to leave either, just sinks to a seat beside Rennu. "Might as well get comfy, " she asides to her fellow Candidate. Likely to be here awhile." She balls up her handwork on her lap and awaits whatever comes.

Neferennu looks up to Thea and shakes her head. "Don't think even that would help. Just time." She whispers back and dares not answer any of the other ranking people, just slowly scooting further and further down towards the stairs to get out of there as fast as possible.

Fiara blinks as she gets hugged and her clothes get all sootified. "Right, well clearly you /were/ brave enough, maybe too brave. Never a good idea to go onto the Sands without an invitation, is it, hm?" She nods towards that seat again. "C'mon, sit down," she says a little more firmly now, but still in a non-threatening way. There's plenty of auhorities around to do that. Once she's gotten a hand free though, she uncaps her pen, scribbles down the names of the people she knows then squints up at the Candidates. "Girls, what are your names?"

"Never mistake bravery with stupidity." R'sul mutters as he waits for the boy to reply for himself. At the realisation there're candidats here as well he turns to look at them for a moment.

Little can be expected from the poor miner at the moment. He's just breathing and trying to recover. Check back in a little while and maybe Satoris will be able to talk again.

Neferennu looks to Fiara and her voice squeaks as she speaks. "Neferennu." Then she gives a look to Thea and just holds up her robe, making sure the needle in the cloth is showing, before she inches further away from the boy and closer to the stairs. First a bad day, and now a bad night. Things are going from bad to worse. Quickly she turns away and just stares at the stairway entrance, not willing to say anymore.

"Thea," this supplied with a yawn and a resigned air. "Ma'am," she adds with a hasty glance towards the Rankers standing around. "Neferennu, Saige and I just couldn't sleep, so we thought we'd work…on…our…robes." The words trail off, but she sits straight, refusing to look cowed. Fiara doesn't seem austere, though and Thea gives her a glimmer of a smile, before meeting R'sul's eyes. Not guilty, really! But what can she say?

"Calen.." He says slowly as he's detached from Fiara, slumping down in the closest seat and looking quite guilty in fact. Guilty enough that he's almost seeming to fade back into the shadows, sinking in his seat as Fiara is taking a roll call, Niva taking the time to call Kilaueth down, and make sure the eggs were, in fact, untouched.

Fiara writes down those names. "Thea, Neferennu and Saige, and thank you," she says to the girls with a smile. She takes another look around and then sits beside Calen, writes his name on the list too and circles it. "Well then, Calen. You're lucky you didn't get whacked to bit by three different dragons, aren't you? Won't be doing it again, right?" she suggests with a kindly look over at the lad as she makes some more notes but reaches over with her free hand to pat at one sooty shoulder.

Ysa snorts towards the Weyrleader, head nodding just slightly. Stupidity, indeed. "I hope ya learned your lesson, Calen. You're lucky to have kept your head this time. 'm going to go check on the eggs and go to sleep," she says, turning towards the Leaders. "If ya have need of me 'fore I go, Weyrwoman, jus' let me know." Another glare is sent down to the boy, but there wasn't much else she can say. Weyrbrats will be weyrbrats. The junior lets out a snort, makes sure her robe is tightly closed still, and goes stomping to her lifemate who was still anxiously hovering now. No more growling from her, but it still takes a bit to calm her back down.

R'sul glowers back at Thea, or is he just tired? Whatever it is he looks grumpy and his order of 'Out, the three of you." is definitely directed at the girls. "And tell the rest of them I don't want anyone in the galleries till I say it's okay. And I don't care if that's the day the eggs crack." Satoris is given a quick glance as R'sul finally gives in and sits down, "You okay?"

There's a soft, perhaps bitter laugh. Satoris lifts his head and squints at the Weyrleader. Well, the man's knot, before looking at R'sul himself. "Eh," he says, voice hoarse, "I'll be OK. Ain't the first time and I don't think it'll be the last." He casts a sidelong glance to the girls that have just been given the boot from the galleries.

Neferennu nods and gives a salute to R'sul before getting up and literally running down the stairs and towards the barracks. She doesn't have to be told twice to leave. Not even a word is spoken between the time she leaves and when she throws her robe down on the chest at the foot of her cot and lies down. Not even a look to the other candidates that were awoken by the noise and thinking the eggs might be hatching.

Niva is returning finally, Kilaueth settled down, curled far more protectively around her eggs than she was before, and even as she is tired, she's still quite alert. Niva is giving the trio of girls a look that says they'd better get going, her hands on her hips before she's regarding the boy infront of them with a soft sigh. Calen, for his part, is now kicking his feet in front of him, turning to look at the girls himself, before he's looking almost sad at the restriction.

Hesketh keeps on pacing round the sands, every little movement in the galleries making him twitch now that he's placced himself on guard duty.

Thea wasn't glaring at the weyrleader, really! But now she is. Her salute, to all Ranking Riders is carefully executed, but her mouth is firmly set. Without a word, she rises smoothly and walks out. Toilets to be scrubbed and all. Can't have them waiting.

Fiara watches the Candidates go with a sympathetic expression. Sucks to get caught up in the middle of things. She finishes writing, caps the pen and smoothes out the page, then carefully tears it from the notebook and extends this upwards to the Weyrleaders. "Here you are, sir, ma'am, list of everyone who was here and a short summary of the events." She slants a look over at Calen then back up at Niva and R'sul. "How about two sevens of drum-cleaning duty?" she suggests mildly, as a possible sentence.

R'sul takes the list, giving Fiara a quick smile as he does. A quick search for pockets to put it in has him coming up short, and finally realising he's rather underdressed for the event - he'll just hold it instead. As his gaze drifts back to Calen he shakes his head. "How could you be so… stupid. Do you even have any concept of what you've done? What could have happened?"

Calen is being spoken to again, and he's looking up from his knees, where he'd been staring as he tried to rub some of the grime off his face with an equally grimy shirt sleeve to little avail. "I.. They said if I didn't, it was because I was scared. I.. I'm not scared!" He says, looking up at R'sul with wide eyes, even as Niva is watching with hands on her hips, and a soft sigh.

With a deep breath, Satoris gets to his feet with minimal wincing. He glances to Calen as the boy speaks, making a soft noise in the back of his throat. "I know it's hard, but you need to ignore stuff like that. There's a difference between being stupid and being brave. This wasn't brave. You should know how protective the dragons are of their eggs… you could have been killed."

Nodding along soberly, Fiara looks over at Calen. "If they'd told you to jump off the Rim into the Bowl, would you have?" she asks next, head canted slightly to the side. "It's about the same amount of danger and not really worth the risk." Her voice continues calm, gentle. "Three dragons roaring and trying to get you probably got that message to you loud and clear, didn't it?"

"You're not scared?" R'sul repeats with a little shock. "I'm shaffing scared! You think I want to be responsible for cleaning up a dead resident from the sands? I half expected to find an egg missing or broken open with all the fuss he was making. How… You…." He breaks off, head dropping down so that his forehead rests on his hands, fingers sinking into his hair.

"I.. I'm sorry.." Calen says very quietly, looking at his feet, finding them very interesting before he slowly looks back at Fiara and Satoris and R'sul. "I.. I don't do it again." He says softly, shaking his head. Niva, meanwhile, almost guffaws at his words. "Shards right, you won't do it again." She shakes her head, before throwing a hand up in the air, and waving it at Fiara. "You're going to be too busy for the next 2 weeks with the Harper here to even /think/ about causing trouble."

Fiara listens to the exchange and nods. "Report in the morning," the harper says gravely to Calen. "I'll be expecting you to show you how to handle the big drums. Now I think a good washing up is in order, don't you? Can't stay sooty for the rest of your life," Fia notes with humor returning to her voice and a hint of that former kindness that had the boy clinging to her earlier. So saying, the harper starts stowing her gear back in her satchel and takes up her coat. "I think I need a change myself." And she flicks at bits of clinging dusty soot.

R'sul doesn't lift his head, just orders. "Go on. Get out of here before I… think of something worse than Niva's punishment for you." he lets out a sigh, hands running through his hair finally and head tilting back. His eyes are closed for the moment, but the set of his jaw is enough to confirm that he's still furious.

"I… I was trying to blend in." Calen says softly, at the mention of needing to clean up, before he's looking at R'sul and Niva with wide eyes. "May.. May I go, ma'am?" He says, since R'sul has ordered the boy out, slowly looking like he's going to get to his feet. Niva simply folds her arms over her chest, nodding slowly in dismissal to the boy, though she turns to watch him disappear, making sure he's heading outside and not somewhere to hide. "Thank you for your help." Niva says softly to Fiara, pushing her hair back from her face, and sparing R'sul a somewhat sympathetic look.

"Off with you now," Fiara echoes the leaders and gets to her feet as Calen goes, watching the lad out. She bends to collect satchel and coat and looks up and over at the Weyrwoman warmly. "Certainly, ma'am. With so many other things that have been going on, it's understandable we're all a little jumpy. Good it only turned out to be a typically hare-brained boys' prank rather than something more sinister." She settles her satchel on her shoulder and nods towards R'sul. "In better news, I've found those scrolls you were after, sir, shall I bring them by in the morning after we've all had a chance to catch up on some sleep?"

"Huh?" R'sul blinks a little, focussing on Fiara again. "Oh… um… sure. Sorry." He rubs his eyes, shaking his head to clear some of the fuzziness. "I guess someone needs to stand guard for a little or something. I'll come and find you tomorrow? I know where you usually… um… lurk in the afternoons." Despite all the drama that just unfolded there's still a hint of a blush creeping up his neck as he makes the arrangement.

"I'll stay, R'sul.." Niva says after a moment, arching an eyebrow at the blush, glancing from her Weyrleader to the Harper and back, shaking her head with just the tiniest hint of a smirk. But then she's moving to shoo them both off, moving to go settle herself with Kilaueth. "Go.." She says more firmly this time.

There's a little pat of Fiara's hand to the surface of her satchel. "Not a problem at all, sir," says the harper cheerily and bobs her head in an affirmative about the scrolls. "Of course," she says simply though that blush draws the faintest hint of a grin to the corners of her own mouth and she glances over at the Weyrwoman briefly, grin widening faintly as she catches that smirk on the golrider's face. "Good night … or morning … ma'am, depending on how you look at it. "I hope the rest of it will calm an uneventful." With that she turns to head for the exit, humming again, the tune merry.

R'sul gives Niva an odd look, he clearly had been expecting to be the one left on guard duty. Even as he mutters a quick, "Are you sure?" he's getting to his feet and looking down towards the exit. Leaving barely enough time for Niva to object if she'd wanted to he adds, "If you need me get Hesketh to wake me up again." And then hurries off.

Niva is hurriedly shooing R'sul off, settling in with Kilaueth. At least she's used to getting up in the middle of the night after three children. She chuckles softly as R'sul disappears, nodding slowly.

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