I'm just Alix.

Ista Weyr - Living Caverns
Large enough to house the entirity of the weyr's population at one time, the cavern set aside to house the very heart of the weyr's life is a grandoise, somewhat circular affair, filled with rows of long tables. Bustling and busy, it is a rare moment indeed when there is not someone at work or leisure in here; the long trestle table by the kitchens is perpetually filled with plates and trays of food, a pot of something always bubbling upon the mahogany hearth, ready to fill the belly of any hungry resident or rider. Although a high table is set aside for seating respected dignitaries on formal occasions, most of the tables here are not designated to any particular group— rather, all levels of Ista's population eat together, intermingled across the broad cavern.

Great tapestries have been flung down the walls, orange and black borders remarking upon Ista's heritage, the age-faded hangings depicting scenes of importance to the Weyr— the erruption of the volcano; the first clutch; the view from the star stones, over forest, dark beach, and glistening waves of blue. Propellor-like fans have been affixed to the ceiling in more modern times, cooling the cavern on the hottest of days. Passageways lead up the stairs to the kitchens, down a second flight of stairs to the lower caverns, and out into the expanse of the broad weyr bowl.

Early summer is always a nice time of year, but then again in Ista even early summer can be a bit too warm especially at midday. As such Zorya has found a place within the caverns, off to the side, out of the way of the main traffic in and out. A glass of juice sits on the table beside her, mostly untouched as she looks over a set of papers in hand.

Zipalla slips into the caverns with a bouncing step and she heads right for the food. Fruit, pastry, cheese, juice, and klah, all on a tray as she wanders through the line. A pale yellow shirt and khakis make up her outfit complimented by the yellow ribbon at the end of her braid and the brown workboots. She turns and looks for a seat, scoping out her cousin, she heads that way.

Alix is worried. But when is the teen not, these days? With his brows knit into a frown he absently gets a mug of juice and finds a place to sit, conveniently near Zorya and Zipalla. He listens to the swirl of gossip and worry about the dragon sickness and he pales.

Zorya happens to glance up just in time to spot Zipalla before she actually reaches her table. A hand raises to give the other girl a slight wave and a smile before she reaches for the glass of juice beside her. A long sip is taken, which gives her cousin just enough time to reach her. "Hey there," she greets, a soft smile spared for Alix as she spots the boy as he takes a seat just beyond.

Zipalla grins and would wave but her hands are full so she sets down her tray, "Hi, Zorya, what ya go.." she starts then she smiles over at Alix before looking back to her cousin. "What ya got there?" she asks as she sits.

Alix nods a polite hello to Zorya and Zipalla, before he's back to looking worried again. Hmm. He toys with his mug, scooting it around the tabletop. He tilts his head slightly to hear a few riders murmuring in hushed tones, and then he sighs.

Zorya hmms, "Oh, this?" she half questions glancing down towards the papers in hand even as she lifts them just a bit in gesture to make sure that's what the other girl is speaking of. "Just some music for lessons." she explains idly. The teen silently scans her cousin's tray, "That time already?" Apparently she hadn't noticed the heavier stream of people in the caverns recently. At least not until just now.

Zipalla nods then peers at the music and smiles, "I see.." then she grins at her tray. "Oh.. well close enough, I worked all day in the stables, I'm starving," she replies. She glances over at Alix again and then looks to Zorya, "Who's that?"

Alix looks up and over at the two girls, blinking. "Alix," he fills in, his voice quiet. "I'm Alix. Just…nothing, really. I'm just Alix."

Zorya ahhs. "Right," she replies. Of course she was in the stables, "Ah was just gonna ask ya bout how the stables are going." she teases light. As the boy is inquired about she turns to give him a secondary look before lifting a shoulder, "Not sure."

Zipalla looks over at Alix and smiles, lifting a hand to wave. The wave, however, has a mind of its own and sends her klah toppling over and down to her lap. She jumps up with a "AHHHH" then frowns down at her clothes, "Gah.. that's hot.. and brown.. and…I…gotta go change..I'll catch up with you later.." then she waves again, to both, grabs her dishes and heads out.

Alix watches Zipalla go and looks at Zorya. "I'm Alix," he says again, a little louder this time since she didn't seem to hear him before.

Zorya winces as the mug topples. "Ouch.. Yeah. Later Zipalla," she agrees as the other runs off. A moment later her attention is drawn back to the boy at his introduction. "Zorya," she offers her own name in reply, "That.. was my cousin, Zipalla." she goes on to add, a hand gesturing to the disappearing figure of the other girl. "Ah don't think we've met before.."

Alix looks after Zipalla again and then his eyes track back to Zorya, "I don't think so either," he says, extending his hand, "Alix," he says for the third time. "Well met, Zorya."

"Ya said that already," Zorya chuckles lightly, "But it's nice ta meet ya," she returns, a glance out of the corner of her eye towards Zip's remaining tray of food and a bit of fruit is plucked from the plate. Well as long as it's there already.. Right?

Alix watches Zorya for a long moment before sipping his juice. "What do you do here?" he asks, speaking up quietly.

Zorya is seated at a table off to the side, out of the way of the main traffic in and out of the living caverns. A glass of juice sits on the table beside her, mostly untouched, a set of papers in hand. A tray of food is there as well - fruit, pastry, cheese. Alix sits at the next table over. "Ah'm a Harper," she replies in answer to the boy's question. "Appretice," she adds, though harper all the same. "What about yourself?"

Alix frowns at her. "Nothing," he says again. Then he sighs. "Sorry. Was Woodcraft. Now I'm not sure what to do."

"Oh?" Zorya inquires curiously, "How come ya aren't anymore?" she goes on to ask. Surely there's a reason if he was in a craft and isn't any longer. "Could try something else…" A suggestion if nothing else, "Or Ah'm sure there's somethin' ya could help with around the Weyr…"

Alix continues to frown at her over the rim of his mug. "I didn't like it," he says blandly. "I'm helping out where I can. My mother is Lisle. So, I guess I'm sort of her unofficial assistant." He smiles a bit at the mention of his mother.

Shandraive is the consumate stablehand — dusty, sweaty and smelling mildly of runners and leather. He browses through the midday selection of food and casually tosses a pair of meatrolls onto a plate. For him, this is a small meal, particularly after a hard day of work. To balance this, instead of pouring water into his glass, he simply carries the pitcher and the cup with him to the edge of the room (with no small amount of dishes-juggling, having only two hands). After a moment's glance, he spots a familiar face in the vicinity. He hails Zorya and walks closer. "Zipalla, right?" he says with a large smile. "How are things going?"

Zorya nods, "Right…" she comments, biting the edge of her lower lip in thought, "Well… there's.." she starts again, trailing off only to nod as the boy continues. "Well that's not so bad then? Hmm?" Shandraive's entrance to the cavern goes unnoticed, or well it does at least until he's greeting her cousin - who happens not to be there. Blink, "She's.. Oh, no, Ah'm Zorya. Zipalla's my cousin." she corrects the newest stablehand, offering up a smile towards the teen. "Things are goin' alright. Have a seat?" she offers, reaching over to pull Zipalla's forgotten tray towards her further to make room for the boy. "It was… Shan… Right?" she asks, leaving the name to trail off as she's forgotten the whole thing.

Alix just shrugs at Zorya. He seems content to be anti-social for the moment, though he does watch Shandraive arrive with a slightly narrow gaze. "Hello," he offers quietly. "Alix."

"Shells, sorry about that, Zorya. I'm miserably bad with names." He gives her a guilty grin. "And Alix, well met. Like she said, I'm Shandraive, but feel free to shorten it." He settles into the offered seat, trying to minimize his interruption of their conversation.

Zorya giggles, turning the papers in her hand over to lay them face down on the table. "Its no problem, really." she assures Shandraive with a smile. "Though Ah'd think ya'd have the two of us figured out by now being that your working with her." she adds, teasing lightly by the tone of voice. "How things going over in the stables anyway?"

Alix nods gravely, "Well met, Shandraive," he says politely. "Do you need any help in the stables?" he asks suddenly.

Shandraive grumbles to Zorya, "I've been on dung-duty — pretty solitary." A pause as Alix speaks, and Shan awards him a curious tilt of the head. "I can't speak for the higher-ups, since I just got there this sevenday myself, but I don't think they'd object to a willing pair of hands." He takes a bite of his meatroll and chews it, considering. "You offerin'?"

"Ah, well then Ah'll give ya a few more days ta get us straight," Zorya teases Shandraive. She falls silent then, taking a moment to nibble a bit of fruit from the tray beside her as the two boys talk.

Alix studies the stablehand and then nods, "Sure. I don't see why not. Still trying to figure out what I want to do, and I've never been a stablehand. I know how to handle runners though," he's quick to add. "Got some experience there."

Shandraive nods in approval. "I can't give you the official okay, but if you want to watch me for the afternoon shift, you're more than welcome to see what it's all about." And at the moment, it's about poop. Lots of it. And getting it away from the precious, precious runners, whose precious, precious noses simply won't tolerate the scent of their own fecal matter. Shan takes a large bite of the meatroll, then washes it down with not one, but two full glasses of water. Shards, the Istan climate is hotter than he'd expected! "Zorya, come with? We can make it a party."

Zorya laughs, "Well Ah might be able to work some time into my schedule to head down ta the stables," she replies having swallowed the bite of fruit that was in her mouth. Then again, she tends to spend more than a few afternoons outdoors in the vicinity of the corral, so making it to the stable, at least for a time might not be so hard. A bit of a smile is given to Alix, "See, you'll find somethin ya like yet."

Alix nods at Shandraive, a flicker of excitement in his eyes for a moment. "Certainly, I'd love to watch and help out tonight." It'd give him something better to do than wandering the weyr or washing dishes. He shrugs a shoulder at Zorya, blushing faintly.

Shandraive nods with enthusiasm. "Lovely. We'll make a party of it. Although to be fair, I should warn you: the smells can be offensive to the, uhh, faint of heart. Or nose." He glances between the two, trying to discern if they might back out on him.

Zorya nods, "Ah'll keep that in mind," she replies to Shandraive, lifting a glass to her lips to take a long sip of the juice within. "But," she starts again as the glass is set back to the table top. "Stables an fields aren't exactly something Ah'm not used ta being around," she notes idly. "Only ours weren't runners they were ovines."

Alix looks right back at Shandraive, "I'm not afraid," he says firmly. He'll never back down from a challenge. "I'm good with my hands," he adds.

"Ovines? We had caprines, but it amounts to the same thing." Shandraive finishes his second meatroll, then leans back from the table. Oomph. Full. Albeit mostly full of water, but full nonetheless. "Doesn't take much fancy handwork to muck a stall, but it'll help when they need to be groomed again toward evening."

Zorya inclines her head in a single nod in reply to Shandraive's questioning of the animal. "Ovines." But then she'll let the boys continue their conversation without her interruptions, rather settling to finish off a third slice of fruit.

Alix shrugs at Shandraive, "I can do whatever you need," he says. He almost looks eager. Eager for something - anything! - to do. "Why did you decide to be a Harper?" he asks Zorya, actually initiating a question.

Shandraive sits quietly and begins to tidy up his plate.

Zorya blinks, "Me?" she inquires, the question having caught her off guard. "Um.. well.." she starts, choking down the bite of fruit that was in her mouth at the time of the question being asked. "Ah just wanted ta? Ah like dancin' and such, and… well Ah'm good at it." And so that's what she did.

Alix nods, looking, well, jealous. "I'm jealous. I wish I knew what I wanted to do. It's just so hard to figure it out sometimes."

Shandraive looks interested. "Dancing? Don't see much of that done professionally, or at least, not back home. You'll have to show me sometime." (Flirting? Shan? Wherever would you get such an idea?)

Zorya blushes, the light flush of color, sweeping across her cheeks, "Ya don't see any of it where Ah'm from either…" she offers in reply, though she doesn't elaborate any further on that line conversation. A shoulder raises in a half shrug for Alix, "Some people just know?" she suggests, "Ah was lucky…?" And then the rest of Shandraive's comment hits her and is replied to with a nervous laugh and slight shake of her head, "Maybe.. sometime…"

Alix looks from Shandraive to Zorya and back again, and the boy sighs. Why can't /he/ ever get a girl to blush? He grumpily sips his juice.

Shandraive grins a bit wider at Zorya. "Oh, don't be shy, Zorya; it'll be fun. Besides, I'm going to show off my work to you guys this afternoon, so it's only fair…." He lets the sentence trail off, then gestures to Alix. "We both wanna watch, isn't that right?"

Zorya nods slightly, "Well…" she starts, "Ah dunno… Ah'm just .. still working into the performance area of it all." she replies, ducking her head a bit as the blush continues. "Maybe though.."

Alix smiles briefly at Shandraive before nodding to Zorya, "I can show you how to whittle, too," he says. As if that sweetens the pot any.

Shandraive chides, "An apprentice should never pass up a chance to practice, you know." He gives the boy a quick wink of gratitude for the contribution. "And Alix will teach us to whittle. It's kind of like a craft show, right?"

Zorya laughs lightly, shaking her head. "That's alright," she replies to Alix, offering up a smile for the both of them. "No need, and.. Ah know, Ah'm just still working on the performance, like Ah said." Practice she doesn't lack, its practice in front of other people that's the issue. "But… Like ya said, couldn't hurt."

Alix glances at Shandraive again and grins back, before nodding at Zorya, "Please."

Shandraive claps his hands together. "Then it's settled. We all get to show off a little, and everyone learns something in the process. Good all around, right?"

"…Ah guess.." Zorya agrees, a hint of reluctance coloring her reply as she reaches to take hold of the papers on the table once again. The short stack is given a light tap on the table to straighten it. "So, this afternoon then. Yes?"

Alix looks a little disappointed. "I thought you were going to show us now," he says with a sudden smile.

Shandraive catches on to Alix's idea. "Yeah, Zorya, why don't you go first? Our demonstrations require physical resources, but you.. Well! You could entertain us while we finish our lunch break." Nevermind that he's already eaten both his meatrolls — this isn't a matter for logic. Shan is the picture of innocence and good cheer as he beams at the blonde girl.

Zorya blinks. What? Que mental panic. Now? No no no. That wasn't the deal. A glance is sent about the caverns, crowded as they are for the midday meal. "… Not here." she replies softly. If she's not going to be allowed to put it off until later at least it can be a less occupied space. Right?

Alix gets to his feet with a grin. He's gained confidence in Shandraive's presence. "Where should we go?"

Shandraive looks understanding. "Oh, of course. If you're not comfortable with a public performance, we could always go somewhere more private." There's an inneundo there if anyone wants to look for it, but darling Shannie is all smiles and innocence. He follows Alix's lead in standing up, and looks expectantly at Zorya.

Zorya nods, "Ah suppose," she reluctantly agrees, pushing to her feet as the boys stand. "Maybe.." she thinks for a moment, "Out at the corrals?" It is a nice day after all, well that and its an area of the weyr she frequents. "Its relatively flat and quiet.."

Alix nods, "Sounds good to me," the teen says, motioning for her to precede him while he gives Shandraive a wide grin behind the back of his hand.

Shandraive has no problems with being open about his triumph, and smiles broadly at both of them. "Ladies first, then." He makes an 'after you' gesture in Zorya's general direction.

Zorya sends a glance to each of the boys in turn. They're plotting against her, aren't they. So very not fair. But all the same she leads the way out of the cavern, steps placed with the careful precision of her chosen profession.

Ista Weyr - Corral
A large expanse of more than a hundred acres, the fenced-in Corral sits on the plateau, half in the bowl, half out of it. There are entrance gates in the fencing. Half in the Corral, there is a watering pond for the animals that's fed by pipes from a set of underground tunnels. For an overflow, and to keep the water from stagnating, a little stream has been cut at the western end of the pond, that flows across the plateau, and down to the beach below. The nutrient-rich grasses are kept trimed fairly short by the grazing of the animals, and look like a rich, verdant carpet.

Alix follows after them, even reaching over to try and give Shandraive a nudge. His mood seems much improved since he first entered the Caverns.

Shandraive meets Alix's nudge with a boyish smile, but still keeps that metaphorical halo over his head. "Should we accompany you with music? My voice is likely to scare the beasts, but I can clap to a rhythm." So can every four-Turn-old, but don't tell Shandraive that — he thinks it's an accomplishment.

Zorya shakes her head, "That's alright," she replies, oblivious to the grins taking place behind her as she moves towards a place in the field beside the corral that may well have been predetermined. Upon closer inspection there are in fact a few small patches in the grass where the greenery has been worn away. A slow turn brings the girl into place.

Alix grins as he watches her move, noting her grace and ease. He leans against the fence and watches her as if this were the finest Gather performance, instead of a practice session in a field.

Shandraive lifts himself quickly so he's sitting on the fence, legs tapping idly against a lower rail. "And now for the main event, ladies and gentlemen." He gives Zorya a supportive gesture. "No pressure, Zorya. It's just a practice, right?"

That blush across Zorya's cheeks never quite vanished completely and with Shandraive's announcement it only returns. The blond closes her eyes however, taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly before she begins. The first movement is a slow drop to the ground, crumpling downward as she releases a breath until she's left resting on one knee, the other foot having swept around, toes pointed behind her.

Fingers flutter, wrist lifting and falling. Once, twice, before sweeping towards the sky - still crouched, rocking gently the motion of the sea's swell. Until finally the fluid movement works the girl once again to a standing position.

Each move is felt out with her feet, one following the next. A step, a turn, a twirl. Ever muscle tense to accentuate the movement in one smooth flowing rhythm of the song that must certainly play in her head. A bend, a twist a reach.

A leap and a twirl, a few more steps in which there might have just been a little waver before the dance abruptly ends and she stands silent for a moment longer before finally opening her eyes, biting her lip as she waits for a response.

Alix's brows lift in surprise. He didn't expect it to be /this/ good. He lifts his hands and begins applauding slowly. Not because he's hesitant, but because he's impressed. "Wow."

"And you said you weren't good enough for performances!" Shandraive sounds impressed too, but he's reserved about it — apparently the girl doesn't like that much enthusiasm, and he has no qualms with changing tactics. "For a minute, I swear I could hear the music."

Zorya smiles, even as she continues the pressure on her lip from her teeth. "Thanks?" the girl half questions her reply to their compliments. "Its not finished yet," she's quick to add, "Still workin' on the end there but…" And she's blushing once again, maybe even a touch more than she was before. "..Thanks.."

Alix smiles, "I thought it was beautiful," he says, pushing himself upright from the fence and looking at the sky. "How long have you worked on that?"

Shandraive looks at Zorya, interested in her reply to the question.

Zorya thinks for a moment, counting perhaps. "A few months now." she finally replies, "Ah'm not exactly sure on the number.." The girl glances between the two and then back towards the caverns from whence they came. Nope, she's not feeling self-conscious at all.

Alix smiles again, "Well it was beautiful, thank you for showing me. I'd best go find mom, but I'll be back at the stables later, if you're there."

Shandraive hops down from the fence. "And I should probably go back to oiling tack. I don't think they meant for me to take such a long lunch break." He starts off in the direction of the interior of the stables, then turns over his shoulder to add, "Meet you guys in the stables later. I'll be the one knee-deep in runner dung. Can't miss me. Oh, and be sure your shoes are okay with a lot of dirt."

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