/I/ am a rural master of the kitchens

Ista Weyr - Candidate Barracks
Rows and rows of cots fill the length of this room, which is far too big for the amount of candidates that Ista commonly hosts - it's a remnant from turns gone by, when space for up to eighty candidates was necessary. The cots have been pulled further apart, many discarded, which means that there is plenty of space between each of them for a press and even a small table, although it's still not the most spacious of areas - there are far more cots than could ever be needed. Boys and girls have been mostly separated, with a curtain able to be slung down between the two areas, although there's still a communal sense between the two areas.
A tunnel, kept firmly covered by a great door, leads deep into the bowels of the weyr; it's a long walk to the end, wherever it goes, and glow lamps are required for any who walk that way. The barracks themselves are well lit - glow lamps kept filled, as yet another chore for the candidates, both on and off duty. Upon one of the walls, a brilliant mural has been painted, depicting a queen and her mate, and a clutch of eggs (+view mural).

Shandraive is sprawled in an elbows-and-angles heap, facedown on his cot. A small, poorly-made sketchpad is discarded by his pillow, and a pen seems to have fallen to the floor. He's visibly awake, since his open eyes are staring flatly across the room, but it's equally clear that he's not seeking company.

Candidacy keeps those in it busy most of the time, but then there are those few days of it which are left free. Its one such day for Zorya, the blonde making her way into the barracks, blonde hair still wrapped in a worn towel. At first Shandraive goes unnoticed as the girl hums quietly to herself. A second glance, only after she's passed his cot, is given and she offers a smile as well as a verbal greeting, "Looks like they've taken two hands out of the stables."

Shandraive doesn't recognize he's being addressed until she says 'stables.' Slowly, he hauls himself to a sitting position. "Zorya!" he says warmly, clearly having expected someone different (and presumably less pleasant, if his tone is any judge). "I didn't know you'd been Searched." He closes the sketchpad rapidly and, after a moment of searching, collects the pen from the ground. After a quick glance at her, he wrinkles his nose. "You look.. relaxed." It's almost an accusation.

Zorya laughs lightly. "Yeah, about a sevenday ago," she replies, gaze shifting from the sketchbook back to the boy when he closes it. "Didn't know you'd been searched either." Until obviously now. A smile still plays on her lips and she nods to the last of his comments, "Free day, just came from the baths," she explains as if it weren't clear enough.

Shandraive groans in envy. "Lucky you! I thought being Searched meant I could /leave/ the stables." He indicates a pair of mud-encrusted boots by the wall, and a discarded, dust-colored shirt that was probably of another hue hours before. "An injured runner needed light exercise on a lead rope, and no one bothered to tell me he was a puller. Needless to say, I got yanked around a paddock all morning." A wry smile crosses his face. "Not fun for me, but a good indication that his tendon's healing nicely — couldn't haul me around if it hurt. What sort of chores have they set you to doing?"

Zorya nods, "Yeah, being searched just means chores all over the weyr," she replies, tipping her head down to release her hair from the towel. A quick rub to catch the last remaining droplets of water and its tossed to the side on the edge of her cot to be taken care of a bit later. "Was in the kitchens a couple days." she continues, finding a brush from storage unit at the foot of her cot. "Though suddenly I'm happier about that." she adds. Apparently his runner story isn't something she would have enjoyed in anyway.

Shandraive makes a face. "I guess caprines-breeder-turned-stablehands aren't exactly kitchen material." He puffs out his chest with faux pride and adds, "Little do they know, /I/ am a rural master of the kitchens." The show of arrogance makes him self-conscious, and he fidgets, dislodging a small puff of dust from the hem of his pants. He grins charmingly. "Well, I cooked for my family, anyway. It's roughly the same thing." A pause. "Wait. Unless the chores are gender-based? Girls take the domestic chores, guys get physical labor?" It's clear from his expression that this isn't a desirable state of affairs.

Zorya shakes her head, "Not particularly, no." she laughs, "Just chores. Kitchens is more dishes and chopping vegetable than actually cooking though," she adds, working through her damp locks bit by bit. "I take it ya haven't been before…"

Shandraive wrinkles his nose again. "Dishes. I'd rather clean runners." He stands and stretches, his back popping audibly (pain courtesy of a certain not-so-injured runner). "Haven't been what?" he asks, sounding distracted.

A few more strokes of the brush and she's finished, setting it aside. "Searched." Zorya clarifies her previous statement with the word, "Sorry." She reaches up to pull her hair into a loose runnertail that's then tied with a thin strip of weyrhide at the base of her neck. "How's it goin for ya so far?"

Shandraive shrugs his shoulders. "Guilty as charged. Never left the Hold until I came here." He considers the question for a moment, chewing on his lip. "It's been.. a lot of change. A lot of change without much time to think. Whisked into the stables, then out for Candidacy, then back in for chores, you know?" He studies her for a moment. "I take it this isn't your first time, then?"

"Yeah…" Zorya replies, ducking her head in a bit of a nod. "Sounds kinda how Ah was when Ah got here. Was only here a couple months 'for Ah was searched for Eastern." she explains, shifting her position just a bit. "It was… well… different." And perhaps not something she'd particularly like to discuss further, "Stood for Igen's last hatching too."

"You're all over the place, then," Shan says, obviously appreciative. "'Course, I can't imagine doing all that moving. Just the trip up here from the South was bad enough. Didn't you get homesick, or forget where you were or something?"

Zorya blinks, blue eyes looking up to meet Shandraive's momentarily. She shakes her head looking back to skirt of her dress, fussing with straightening it a bit where it doesn't really need to be. "Well.. A little, but a few people from Ista came ta visit a couple times." Beat. "That helped some.."

Shandraive can recognize a sensative topic when he hears one, so he lets the conversation lull for a moment. To disguise the pause as something productive, he smooths out the wrinkles on his bedding where he'd been sitting previously. "What are your thoughts on the hatching?" That has to be a safe topic, right? "Impression dreams, plans for afterward if that falls through.. that sort of thing? Unless it's too personal."

Zorya shakes her head at the question, "Zipalla's the one with dreams of being a rider," she replies being that she knows he's met her cousin. "Ah'm happy with bein' a harper. So if Ah don't impress this time won't be much different from the last Ah guess…" She trails off with that comment however, the expression on her face pulling more towards a frown now as she considers what she's just said.

Shandraive nods. "I never much thought of it myself, but I'm not one to turn down an experience." He gives a small shrug. "No real hopes and dreams pinned on it, I guess, but I don't see any reason to decline the opportunity when it presents itself." He smooths a final wrinkle from his bedding before seeming satisfied with its presentation. "What's Zipalla got in mind?"

Zorya nods a bit as she listens. A shoulder then raises in a slight shrug at the inquiry on her cousin. "Ah'm not really sure actually." she replies, "Ah know she's talked about bein' a rider before, but dunno if she has any real plans. Would have ta ask her about that really." Beat. "Same here though. With the whole experience thing Ah mean. The first time was like that." Her she pauses for a second, most likely to observe his reaction, "Igen.. well Ah wasn't about ta tell their Senior Weyrwoman Ah wasn't interested when she asked. And this time… this time with this thing goin' around with the dragons. Ya know we've been banned from most a the other weyrs now?" He does know that. Right? "They need all the candidates from round here they can get. So when my uncle asked.. Why not right? An' Ah'm standing with Zipalla this time too." So its logical at least. Yes.

Shandraive suppresses a swince. "I was in the Stands when the gold clutched. Being new around here, I didn't know all about the sickness yet.. Had to ask why everyone was going pale over a little cough." He blushes slightly at his own ignorance, but moves on quickly. "I guess it's not really something you can keep quiet, is it? But.. I don't know." He makes reluctant eye-contact. "What if the dragonets are affected? Standing is just a temporary thing for me, and if the dragons are sickly at birth…" His voice trails off. "If I have a lifemate, I want the 'life' to be substantial. I don't want to Impress a dragon to just watch him wither away. Call me selfish if you have to."

Zorya nods slowly, "Yeah.. Ah dunno. Heard from a couple people dragons don't get sick like we do. So its kinda a big deal. But the healers are keeping close watch on things. Specially with the eggs an' all." But then again she's by no means an expert on the subject. "But yeah.. Ah know what your sayin' with that." she agrees.

Shandraive doesn't admit that he had to be told the same thing about dragon illnesses less than a sevenday before. "No one will tell me if there are other symptoms. Yeah, a cough is bad.. but if it's just a cough, it's just a cough, even if they don't get sick otherwise." He scrunches up his face, trying to explain better. "They make it sound like it's the beginning of something horrible, but do we have any reason to believe it's going to become anything more than it already is?"

"Ah dunno…" Zorya replies, eyes finding the boy once again, "Ah wouldn't a though anything of it, but with the way things have been going." How people have been acting due to it and all… "One of the first ones that had it, they said was fine and a few days later he could hardly get up for the healers ta look at him. So… Ah dunno, but its certainly not good…"

Shandraive frowns. "No one told me that. All I've heard is 'cough' this, and 'cough' that. I asked a brownrider about side-effects, but she closed up like a shellfish as soon as I asked, so I let it drop." He fidgets again, clearly not used to sitting still for long periods of time. "Couldn't move, huh? That's.. not good. And if the gold's got it, what happens when she's stuck on the Sands? I guess they can call in dragonhealers for her, but that's still putting contagion on the Sands.. the dragonets will be hatching into a stew of germs." He bites his lip more heavily at the thought. "And if they're anything like caprines, the young have such delicate immune systems…"

Zorya shrugs lightly, unsure herself. "Ah dunno, might have just been that one. Haven't heard much other than the cough thing really. Ah mean, just a mention of that, but that's just cause Ah happened ta be running a message from the healers and happened ta be there when they were talking about it." Otherwise her experience has been similar to his in regard to hearing more information related to the spreading sickness. "Hopefully though, everything'll be alright."

Shandraive shakes his head abruptly, brown curls flying around his head like a small halo. "Enough morbidity," he announces succinctly (possibly the only succinct thing he's ever said, for that matter). "Let's talk about something cheerful — well, anything's cheerful after that. Oh, I know! Have you seen that Alix guy around?"

Zorya shakes her head, "Not really much, no." she replies, silently agreeing to move on to a new, more cheerful topic. "Been rather busy with things though too.." which may be reason enough for not having run into anyone specific.

Shandraive accepts her excuse with a slow shrug. "Shame. I wanted to talk to him about a project I've been mulling over." Cryptic much?

Zorya ohs, curiosity coming into play though she doesn't press any further. "Well, if Ah see him Ah'll mention it." she replies. A moment of silence passes as she considers, "Ah was thinkin of maybe a walk.." she offers.

Shandraive agrees readily. "A walk would be nice. I've been lying around since chores ended, and I'm starting to feel useless." He steps away from his cot and into the aisle. "Are there any.." He pauses, clearly debating whether he should finish the sentence, then presses on. "I love to garden. Used to keep a little plot of flowers out behind the animal pens, and I miss it. Is there anywhere like that around here?"

Zorya hmms, "There's some nice flowers sometimes at the edge of the forest," she replies, "Down by the lake." The harper slips to her feet, running a hand over her skirt as she does so. "Could head down there.."

Shandraive smiles brightly at the idea. "Sounds lovely. I'm interested to see what sort of plants you grow here — I'd bet they aren't the same as the ones down South." He slips his feet into sandals (the boots being too hot and too dirty for wear) and begins to walk toward the exit. "Wait. Where do I think I'm going?" He allows himself a brief, self-mocking laugh. "You know this place better than I do — do you want to lead?"

Zorya laughs, nodding a bit as she follows towards the door. "Not to hard ta find," she assures, "Just out ta the bowl and then across down ta the lake. You'll see it." The girl makes her way through the doorway and out into the caverns, offering soft, if somewhat shy, smile as she passes.

Ista Weyr - Main Beach
The famous black sands of Ista spread out about the great cove upon which the weyr has been built, gleaming under the rays of both sun and moon, like diamonds in their own pristine beauty. Caught between the brilliance of the deep, verdant greens of the forest, and the crystalline blues of the shallows, gradually deepening their colour deeper into the great ocean, the beach is no less striking, truly beautiful in its own way.
The hot, heavy rays of the sun reach deep into these sands, forever blazing underfoot, although the water remains cool and refreshing even upon the hottest of days, never quite reaching the point of being tepid. Off to one side, coming from the plateau, a small, thin waterfall, empties into a catching pool that runs off into the water through dark sand and pebbles.

Shandraive follows at her heels, leaving just enough personal space for courtesy. The path is familiar enough — it's the same as the stables, most of the way, and he's /quite/ familiar with that half of the trek. But as he descends to the beach, the scenery becomes foreign, and as such, fascinating. "Look at the waterfall." Okay, so she's seen it before, but he can't help the hushed exclamation. "Small, but it's lovely."

Zorya nods, a subtle flush crossing her cheeks as she turns a smile on the boy once again. "Yeah, Ah like it. One of my favorite places here really." The beach, the waterfall, and all that. "Spend alot a time out here some days. Well.. when Ah'm not stuck with chores here lately."

Shandraive wanders closer to the waterfall, dipping his hands into the small pool at its base. "This comes from the stream up by the corral?" he asks, his eyes following the water's path up the face of the plateau. Experimentally, he cups a hand and tastes the water. "Fresh," he announces. "I guess that makes sense. Couldn't really get ocean-water up on the plateau, 'cept with a well." And really, who'd want a well to pull up salt-logged water?

Zorya nods, hesitant as she glances up back towards the corral. "Yeah, Ah guess so," she agrees uncertainly. Clearly its not something she ever really put much thought to before.
Shandraive has partially disconnected.
Shandraive meanders away from the falls and closer to the waves, drawn by the lulling noise of the tide. "Swim much?" he asks, a curious smile creeping onto his face.

Zorya shakes her head, "Not really…" she replies, moving to follow the shore line though far enough from the water's edge that her feet are sure to stay dry. "Like coming down here, but not so much into the swimmin'."

Shandraive makes a noise of acknowledgement. "Not a fan myself. Well. More for lack of skill than lack of interest, but it boils down to the same thing." And while he's more than willing to dip his toes in the water (which he does now, walking ankle-deep through the surf), the glances he sends toward the depths make it clear that the ocean is something to be feared. "They say I nearly drowned as a toddler. I don't remember it, but I've heard the story often enough that I'm not inclined to repeat the incident."

Zorya nods a bit, showing that she is indeed listening despite the fact that she might look lost in thought. "Don't think Ah'd be every inclined to do that either," she agrees, turning to pause where she is, looking back towards Shadraive's position on the water's edge. ".. Do you mind?" she starts, hesitating just a bit, "If Ah ask why ya left? Ah mean.. why'd ya come here?"

Shandraive shrugs, a bitter look flashing across his face before it's replaced by an enforced expression of calm. "A mix of things, really. Wanted to get away from home, meet someone other than family. Sick of sitting in a backwater Hold, being sheltered by a mother who manages to mix a high level of sheltering with borderline neglect." After a moment's thought, he truthfully adds, "And girl troubles brought it all to a head, but that's hardly a reason to leave the continent." Okay, so all of the elements are there, even if they're not emphasized in the truthful proportions.

Zorya ohs, giving a bit of a nod as she lets her gaze slide back out over the water and towards the ocean. She asked, he answered and she'll not push for any more information on that. A long moment of silence on her part passes before she speaks again, "Ya likin' it here so far then?"

Shandraive tries to brighten the atmosphere with a saucy smile. "Company's better, for one thing." And while it's about 90 convincing, the tone is just a little bit off.

Zorya giggles, a smile pulling at her lips as she sends a glance his way at the comment, "Well, Ah'll take that as a compliment then.." she half questions. "Ah like it better too."

Shandraive tilts his head slightly to one side, a wry smile growing on his lips. "Oh, there's a compliment in there somewhere, but take it with a grain of salt. I mean, the other company was mostly made up of my /sisters/." He winks to take the edge off the ammendment.

"Ah know the feeling," Zorya assures, a smile continuing to play across her lips. "Back home was all family for meh too. Brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles. But most all family."

Shandraive nods in understanding. "How many siblings?" he asks ruefully. "Can you beat seven?"

Zorya laughs, "Ah can," she replies, a certain smugness in her voice. Its all in good fun of course, "Ah've got eleven, an' Ah'm stuck right in the middle of all of 'em." she adds, "And more cousins than Ah can count."

Shandraive claps his hands slowly and lets out an appreciative whistle. "I cede you the victory, then. Eight, and I'm fourth." A pause as he tries to multiply without paper and abruptly gives up. "And I've got somewhere in the vicinity of twenty aunt-and-uncle pairs, each with a smattering of kids, so I wouldn't be surprised if the cousin-count was reaching the one hundred range. Don't know most of them, of course, but they're there for numbers' sake."

Zorya nods, "Yeah, Ah don't see much of my father's family, but my mother has seven siblings. So… there's plenty floating around. Well," Beat. "Back home there's plenty at least."

Shandraive snorts. "Wish I didn't see much of my father's family. Or him, for that matter." He squints. "Well, now I suppose I won't, will I? That's an unexpected bonus." To explain, he continues. "My parents have a quiet dislike for each other, which is almost harder to deal with than outright hatred. I don't know why they had so many kids.. or for that matter, /how/ they managed to do so mostly without speaking to each other."

Zorya shrugs lightly, "Ah dunno, never really met my father's family. They were .. from elsewhere." she explains, "But Ah can agree with ya on that. Ah'm glad Ah don't have to deal with him anymore." A curious gaze continues for the rest of his story, a slight nod. "That's a good question though."

Shandraive makes a dismissive gesture. "No use talking about family — not mine, anyway. I'll just make myself broody, and that won't do us any good." There's silence for a moment as he thinks about what to say. "I started the last tangent in the Barracks. Your turn to think of something," he jokes.

Zorya nods, "Yeah… probably not the best topic." Family that is. Hmm… what to discuss next. This she ponders, shifting to find a seat on the sand. "So.. what'd you think about all this? Candidacy Ah mean, the hatching…" He asked her already after all.

Shandraive shrugs slowly. "It's something to do, and it's a new path. Much as I like animals, there's only so many Turns you can do the same thing every day." He grins. "And if you'd seen brownrider Leona's face when she asked me, you'd know it was more threat than offer." Well, not quite, but he was allowed a bit of embellishment, right? "Not really hoping for anything, but I'm open to surprises."

Zorya laughs lightly, nodding at his tale. "Yeah, .. well your uncle's dragon isn't the sire of the clutch either." she notes idly, "Ah mean he said he wasn't disappointed before, but.." she trails off to a shrug.

Shandraive laughs in surprise. "L'ton, the bronzerider? I didn't know you were kin." It's not exactly like he has time to read geneologies, what with chore duty and all. "Related on the same side as Zipalla, or the other?"

Zorya nods, though there's a distinct lack of laughter in her reply. "Yeah.." she admits, nodding a bit more as he continues the question on to include her cousin, "She's his oldest." So yes, the same side of the family. "He's part of the reason Ah came here ta begin with. Little bit a family, least someone Ah'd know.. kinda."

Shandraive shakes his head in surprise. "Learn something new every day. So it makes sense that you'd both be Candidates." He seems to realize that this might not imply what he's meaning it to. "Which is NOT to say that you wouldn't be Searched otherwise, but just that— Oh, shells. You know what I'm trying to say. If you're already eligible, bloodkin means you're kind of obligated to say yes."

Zorya nods again, the slight bob of her head causing the already loose tie in her hair to slip further. "Yeah, well Ah'm here now either way." she remarks with a light shrug of a shoulder. "But Ah suppose that's not something Ah should dwell on for now anyway."

Shandraive is picking up on a strange mood coming from Zorya. "I'm stumbling onto all of the wrong topics, aren't I?"

Zorya shakes her head, "No, its alright really." she attempts to assure. "Ah'm just not used to talking about things so much," she goes on trying to explain, "It still seems strange sometimes, even with Zipalla."

Shandraive drifts away from the edge of the water, shaking the excess droplets from his feet and sandals. "Understandable. You wouldn't be the first to find me…" a pause, "I think their phrase was, 'painfully open'." He offers her a disarming smile. "Mind if we head back toward the Barracks? I woke up to wipe the crack of dawn this morning, and I'm kind of exhausted."

Zorya shakes her head, "Nah, that's alright. Ah think Ah'm gonna sit here for a bit yet though," she replies, "Don't have ta stay here on my account though," she adds, offering up a smile towards the boy. "Ah'll see ya back there later though."

Shandraive nods. "Been nice talking," he says, starting to walk away. It seems rude to leave with nothing more than that, so he adds over his shoulder, "We'll have to go on another walk like this sometime. It wouldn't hurt me to get out more often." And with that, he's making his way back up to the Plateau, and heading home for a nap.

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