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And on Pern ...
The time is 12:16.
It is afternoon of the forty-fourth day of winter.
It is the twenty-third Turn of the Tenth Interval.
It is a winter afternoon.
A path of crushed obsidian stretches between the Weyr and the meticulously cultivated area of the community garden. Short stone pillars topped with bright orange flags mark the gentle slope in a grid south of the black volcanic walls of Ista Weyr. By now, the perimeter of the garden extends over 100 meters south and 150 meters west, forming roughly four acres and delineated by the pillars at 25 meter intervals, marking the separate sections of the garden. The black rock path splits to encompass the garden, allowing easy access at several points for wheelbarrows or small plows.
In addition to the usual fruits or vegetables grown throughout the Turn, small patches of various flowering plants adorn the garden along its borders. These colorful pollination centers are concentrated in triangular patches at the four corners, and in wide, shallow semicircles at each border's midpoint. In the exact center of the garden, rather than the uniform stone pillars for decoration, a round, tiered flower garden has been artfully constructed. Just over two meters in diameter, it is not particularly large, but flowers of at least twenty different kinds decorate the circumference of its base and first level, and the entire plateau at its top. Flat, narrow stones interrupt the first tier at intervals to allow the flowers' tenders easy and beneficial access.
It is a winter afternoon.
Arienne and Breannah are here.
The benefit of living at Ista Weyr is that even the winters bring a pleasant warmth, with only the occasional sprinkling of rain now and then. Earlier this morning there seems to have been that light rain, leaving the current afternoon in the garden with a twinkling decoration of raindrops on the foliage. The community garden is one of the few places that the Candidates can escape to that is still outside of the Weyr, it is also one of the few places /T'ab/ can escape to while his lifemate is stuck on the sand. And with T'ab, he needs to wander and get out of the walls of the Weyr, even if it is just symbolically. The bronzerider, much less intimidating without his monstrous lifemate, wanders through the gardens in a light linen outfit normally reserved for sand sitting, regularly he greets a gardener with a grin and greeting.
It's not long after T'ab enters the garden that Arienne follows suit. Having been one to wander, herself, in her free time, getting to know the area and people, she found herself a garden to explore. And lo and behold whilst enroute, a T'ab. A T'ab alone. "Weyrleader, sir," she comes up behind him, giving a quick Reachian salute. Dropping the salute and keeping an attentive, almost military stance, she asks, "I hope I'm not interrupting, sir?"
Unfortunately, this time alone is not to last. Not a Weyrleader alone, nor one with an Arienne at attendence only. Only a few minutes after Arienne's saluting, Brea's slipping into the garden, a rope bringing a rather curious kid along at her side. Thankfully, a short rope, given the leggy thing can't actually get to any of the tasty plants that soon surround it.
T'ab turns to spot the first candidate and her salute, which gets a return salute with much less precision or any care at all, "You can relax there m'dear, dun' need to be salutin' the ol' Weyrleader." The bronzerider chuckles and leans toward Arienne, whispering in a conspiratory fashion, "To be honest, the Weyrwoman is the one with all the power, I just stand around lookin' pretty. How'd'ya think I'm doin'?" He leans back and gives a momentary heroic pose before settling back into his short-statured, relaxed mode. "Ya ain't interruptin' nothin', just doin' my guard duties and makin' sure folk all safe out here." Not that there really is much danger, but guards gotta guard. Breannah and her non-human kid are spotted with the man's cerulean eyes and he chuckles, "That ain't a punishment that's been handed to ya, is'it m'dear Candidate? Goat-tending seems an awful punishment."
Arienne eases up her stance and grins up(!) at the Weyrleader. "Your lifemate caught the senior queen, didn't he?" Not that he had much competition last time, nor does that point out any responsibilities therein, but that's her excuse. Giggling back at the man, she then turns towards Breannah to see what the third arrival has brought in. "The kid's beautiful," she replies, sincerity in her voice as her eyes follow the rope back from goat to the handler. "Is he yours, or are you helping out the Herders down here?"
"Lady's bein' a bit off the feed. Thought was a bit of bullyin's goin' on, so I offered a bit of a walk-bout. Gotta make sure nothin' important's bein' nibbled on, but a bite here or there shouldn't be harmin' any," Breannah admits, before offering a grin at the two. "An' no, not a punishment. Just givin' a hand, an' given I was at the birthin', well, I'm used ta most tricks bein' played. Hope we're not botherin' either of you two, Weyrleader-sir, Arrienne?" Because both answers are important, of course!
"My lifemate caught Des? Pshaw, you tell that to Tyroth and he'll be swearin' it's true, but between you and me... Lady Dedanseth /let/ ol' Tyr catch." T'ab grins broadly toward the younger woman and follows up with a wink before taking a few more paces toward the goat girl. "Ah, ain't no botherin' this ol' soul, s'long as she don't go chewin' on my clothin'." Of course he wouldn't mind /that/ much, being nude that is. "So we've got an Arienne, and a... goat girl... y'have a name? I've been awfully terrible at learnin' this group's names. Old age 'n all."
"You were there for the birth? That's awesome. But really, no bothering here, Breannah," Arienne answers with a bright smile. "I figured I'd familiarize myself with some of the areas my chores haven't quite hit yet. When I ran into the Weyrleader, here," and her head turns towards the man, "I thought I'd ask if there was anything I could help with while I was here. ...Is there, sir?"
"Most'a the cothold has taken a turn at birthin' watch. As soon as back's turned, they like to be sneakin' off, after all," Breannah explains, waving a hand, then pulling the rope back towards her as 'Lady' starts to streeeettch towards the flowers. A snapping of the teeth just miss the delicious petals, as Breannah continues, "Eh? Oh, Breannah - though if you're askin' Ramling, then Goat Girl's bein' my name. An' you're not bein' that old. Still got hair on your head, after all. Not all that much, but in this weather, I'm not all that surprised, eh?"
You paged Rushka with: From afar, T'ab is leading another team and maybe two (if Breannah goes through), so it would be best if I didn't. You might try Kanga, she might be up to leading.
T'ab shakes his head toward the talk of birthing, "I've been to plenty o' canine birthings and human birthings, I'd much rather not see them ever again." The bronzerider leans over to look more carefully at Lady with a curious smile, "Pretty lil' thing ain't she? Do'ya mind if I pet her?" He's already reaching his hand over to the goat, not terribly worried if it'll get eaten or anything. Arienne does distract him and the Weyrleader chuckles, "What? Do I look like the job-giver or somethin' lil' miss? No. I ain't got nothin' for you. You that desperate for workin'?" The man then refocuses on the goat and her girl, "Breannah, nice name. And thank ye, 'though I'm feelin' bit old these days. Gotta daughter turnin' eleven in a month o' so and a son that's already chattin' and bouncin' around. Old. Where'ya from Goat Lassie?"
"Births're not that bad," Arienne teases the Weyrleader. "I was a Herder Apprentice for the better part of a Turn before coming up to High Reaches Weyr. I saw more than a couple births in my time there, let me tell you! But it's all beautiful in the end." Romanticizing much? She grins at the little kid, experimenting with his limits on tasting the nommy vegitation he's surrounded by. "But Weyrleader, I was just wondering. I'm not one to stay idle for long, and it helps me get accustomed to the area if I'm 'getting my hands dirty', figuratively and... here, literally. Don't stress about it. I'm sure I have some duties back in the Barracks sneaking up here in the next few candlemarks anyhow."
".... messy, goopy, an' often slimy," Breannah helps cheerfully, before offering a rather crooked chip-tooth grin at the weyrleader, "Mebbee we should be gettin' you a cane? An' Keroon Hold, or there'bouts. Go 'head an' pet, but I'd be keepin' an eye on her if you're likin' any of your janglin' bits."
"If'n yer plannin' on lastin' here at Ista Weyr, yer gonna need to learn to stay idle... /enjoy/ the idle, Faranth knows I am quite good at findin' myself a beach somewhere in Southern and takin' a good long nap on it. Take up surfin' or swimmin' or drinkin'... well ya'ain't allowed to do that, are ya? Plenty o' leisurely things to be doin'." T'ab winks again toward Arienne before leaning back forward to the kid and offering a light ruffle of the creature's head before he leans back up, "Yer right I definitely dun' wanna lose any of my janglin' parts." The Weyrleader chuckles and waggles all of his fingers a safe distance from the Lady, "Keroonian, eh? Thought I recognized yer accent, spent plenty o' time in the area with my trader clan, mine voice is'a bit of a bastardization of all the places I've been. Boll, Keroon, Telgar, Fort. T'is a right mess, 'though ain't as bad as my Leader's, ol' Mick is terrible to understand."
Arienne leans up to sniff one of the flowers and smiles brightly again. "Beautiful runners up at Keroon," she replies. "Good breeds up there, if I may say so myself." T'ab's leisurely recommendation causes the girl to laugh out loud, no mere giggle, and she replies, "Idling is bound to get a girl of my age in trouble, you know. From experience, my dear Weyrleader. From experience." Jokingly, she adds, "There's hormones and slackers out there in the wilds. I can't get myself tangled up with them."
"Never been much for runners. Da put me on one as a little - ended up fallin' off. Made me get back on, a'course, but...." the goatgirl shrugs after a moment, before giving a shout of laughter. "If you're not bein' as bad as that randy old goat, an' better to be understandin', you'll be doin' just fine on m'account, Sir!" As for "Lady", the petting has eyes half closing and leaning towards that evil tempter who removes fingers
"Hormones and slackers are my favorite things, if'n you haven't heard all the rumors 'bout me." T'ab chuckles and ruffles his own head, which is done without thinking about whether or not that GOAT has FLEAS. Ah well. "'though most of the rumors ain't true, unless they are complimentary ones, a'course. Then they are definitely true." The bronzerider sets to pace about Arienne, "I'm sure we can go 'bout findin' you a boy, or girl if'n that be your pleasure. After Candidacy... I guess I should say, /after/. No breakin' rules or nothin'." T'ab waves his hand at the idea of 'rules' with a laugh before Breannah's comments get a loud snort, "Ah, 'randy old goat, eh? So you've met ol' Mick then... guess that's no surprise since the bastard's been hangin' 'bout the island for winter." A thought causes the bronzerider's face to twitch briefly before he forces a smile, "Don't you be worryin' 'bout him, Micks.... ah, I'd say harmless but he ain't, but normally he doesn't go hurtin' people that don't deserve it." At least not while T'ab is around.
"Shards! First one of the weyrwomen and now you, Weyrleader. I swear, one of you is going to try to hook me up when all is said and done." Arienne giggles gently, pointing a playfully accusatory finger at the man. "Trust me, I know all too well the problems relationships can cause. I'm staying out of it for a /long/ while. At least until all my avians are in a row." She lets her laugh subside as she peers at a few other plants about them, examining them while the other two talk Mick and of Trading things.
Speaking of hormones and slackers. Well. Hormones at least. "T'ab!" Sienna's voice sing-songs as she sweeps into the garden, "I heard you had Candidates cloistered up in here?" Walking with light steps over to the Weyrleader, the greenrider slides up to his side, looping an arm around his waist for a friendly hug, and even giving his cheek a kiss. "I need to steal Arienne off, if that's okay? Hi, Breannah! I /just/ sent some cheese and crackers to the Candidate Barracks, so make sure you get some before it's all gone."
Breannah perks up - only slightly behind the kid goatling who recognizes certain words. Like cheese - don't tell him though. "Really? That's soundin' beyond tasty, ma'am." A grin is shot at Sienna, before she shakes her head at T'ab, "Other than suggestin' he was in rut, an' that any ewe in the herd worked for him, he wasn't bein' that bad." At least, so she says. The grimance says slightly different. And while she's distracted, there goes a flower. Alas, poor flower - you were tasty going down.
"All avians heavily dislike bein' put in rows, I know that from experience." T'ab chuckles toward Arienne, any further conversation interrupted by the arrival of the greenrider, "Ah, Miss Sienna, lovely ta be seein' you... oh." Hug and cheek-kiss is returned with /completely/ friendly intentions, COMPLETELY. Don't tell T'sei. "You're stealin' off one of my candidates now? I hope it is for no-good purposes, cause this one seems a bit... ah... tense 'bout doin' chores and such. Needs some loosenin' up. Y'here me Miss Arienne, enjoy yourself a bit." The Weyrleader winks at the younger woman, /again. Nodding toward Breannah, "I doubt that's all he was sayin', but I'll let it go. Just don't go listenin' to him 'bout runnin' away, ain't all it's cracked up to be. And don't go sleepin' with him, he makes me look like a innocent holder girl when it comes to his... ah... activities."
Arienne looks with surprised interest at the greenrider's greeting for the Weyrleader, particularly considering recent conversation, and even displaying such surprise by gently raising an eyebrow at the pair. "Me, ma'am? Of course. I am ready when you are." Turning to the Weyrleader first, she gives a small bow, albeit partnered with a taunting grin. "Tense indeed. Crazy man. Welp, a pleasure to run into you again, sir." To Breannah, she adds, "And Lady is very precious. Keep her well, and I'll see you tonight at the Barracks. Don't worry much on saving me any snacks; I'm sure I'll get some of my own soon." On that note, she steps beside Sienna, ready to take the woman's lead.
Sienna returns Breannah's grin, and gives T'ab a fond smile before she's stepping away, beckoning to Arienne. "She'll be on sweeps with Kehemath. Who wouldn't enjoy that?" It's hard to tell if she's being sarcastic or not, what with her bright smile and sincere sounding tone. And then they're off!
Sienna walks to the Weyr Tunnel.
Arienne walks to the Weyr Tunnel.
"Well, if you're insistin'," Breannah calls out after Arienne with a grin, before shaking her head at T'ab. "Well, I wasn't one for lettin' him tup me in the back room, so I'm thinkin' I'd not be followin' much of what he was thinkin'. Just 'cause there's shit on m'boots," why yes, yes there is, "Doesn't mean I've not go the sense one of Arienne's avain has."
"Sweeps with Kehemath, 'could get interestin'." T'ab smirks and waves toward the leaving pair before refocusing his attention on the Keroonian girl, "Well, that's certainly good. Mick ain't one to get... uh... /involved/ with, either physically or in business relations, unless you know how'ta handle a personality like his." Extremely violent. "Good ya got a lick o' sense, we don't want to be Impressin' any stupid riders. Got enough as is." T'ab knocks his head with his own knuckle before leaning back over to give the goat another light ruffle, "You be fixin' to stay 'round here if'n you don't Impress, Miss Breannah? Don't know if we have many goat handlers around these parts."
Breannah tilts her head, then lifts a shoulder. "I'd.. probably be havin' to talk to Da an' Ma 'bout it. They were makin' sounds 'bout me bein' more responsible, but that was also when Ma was coo'in' over the calfs an' kids, so I'm ignorin' that. An' Da does hold to doin' duty to the Weyr, even if this isn't exactly the one we're usually lookin' to." There's a pause, as she reels Lady, the poor little ramling, back away from some of the plants. "Maybe? Ain't all that smart neither."
"Ah, well, you be thinkin' and talkin' 'bout it, cause you'll always have a place here at Ista. We'll find you a job with /plenty/ o' responsibility, or at least that's what we'll tell your folks." T'ab winks to the girl, "But I guess it ain't somethin' ye have to worry 'bout 'til after the Hatchin', cause there might be a lil' dragon out there for ya, can never predict things. I mean, /I/ Impressed a bronze 'mate and I'm pretty sure most of the weyr lost marks on that one." Standing up to his full height of five and a half feet, the Weyrleader goes silent for a few moments, "Ah, er... it seems ol' Tyr's gettin' a bit restless on the sands and I should prolly get him outta here for a few bits before he goes wild. You gotta keep them big dragons happy at all times, right?"
"Well, if you're plannin' on bein' underfoot anytime soon after. 'Magine one that big could be squishin' ya right easy if he weren't thinkin' bout it. As it is, I should be gettin' this fella settled in an' such. Seems to be havin' an appetite again, after all."
T'ab bobs his head, "Okay, I'll be off then, don't need to be losin' anymore eggs than we already have." The weyrleader says quite casually as he starts walking with his little hop toward the weyr, "I'll be seein' ya, Miss Breannah and goat-friend."
There's a bleat as Lady's petter wanders off, while his handler, just nods a bit solemnly - then she's off too, goat trailing behind.