Cleaning The Pens

Banzai> Shawn is just about to jump out of her seat now... "So, Kryz, you need someone to show you around...?" she mentioned thinking about it, but the offer now seems to be forthcoming... and its a good offer, really, "I could introduce ya around and maybe we could work on that whole--catching dragons doing what they do naturally thing..." which often involves posing for people admiring them or drawing them.. she glances up at Xaner, "Whatcha workin' on there Xaner?" she drawls out the question-the Ow! having drawn her attention

Banzai> Phea arrives from deeper in the Weyr.

Banzai> Mechelle notes Xaner's entrance, and his occupation, and raises an eyebrow, "Looks like you've got the same job I've got for today. I'm supposed to be mending some shirts that have been torn.." Of course, she's not doing that at the moment, is she? Not until the sun rises! She leaves the artist and dragonriders talk to them. She's not too interested in drawing dragons, after all.

Living Caverns
The rough-hewn majesty of this cavern far outpaces any delight in the multitudes of curves that form its enclosure. The glabrous grey granite is shot through with translucent obsidian, lending subtly-veined sparkle to the walls and the foot-trodden smoothness of the floor that shows centuries-old placements of the scarred trestle tables; carven hollows give homes for the glow baskets and the coat-pegs that line the walls. No mosaics, no painting, no tiles: just a few well-done tapestries mark the pathway that lead to the kitchen to the north and the inner caverns to the west, and frame the nighthearth's stew and snacks, while a heavier strip of oiled canvas shields the unwary from the wind in the bowl.
Scattered about in various perches and niches are fifty-three firelizards.
You see OOC NOTICE (look sign), Look at Me Postcard to Tatia, White Clay Egg Pot, Jaeshri, Large Picnic Rug, Kageri, Chalea, Question Deck, Streak, the Candidate's Rumor Weed, 'What's in the box?!' crate, and Gossip Drudge 2 here.
Shawn, Kryz, Mechelle, Ilare, Xaner, Marianne, and Phea are here.

Standing before you is a woman, a bit short, as she is only about five feet tall. She's also on the thin side, and if you get a look at her hands, you'll see many callouses there, hinting at hard work. She has light brown hair that gets even lighter, nearer to blonde, when she's been out in the sun for any length of time. It is worn shoulder-length, with the ends curling under. Her eyes are a light blue color, framed by long eyelashes. She has a stub of a nose, high cheekbones, and a thin set of lips that, when she smiles, shows nice, even, white teeth.
She is wearing a cream-colored shirt, long-sleeved and warm. The rounded neck is embroidered with light blue thread. Her shirt is tucked into dark blue leggings which look soft to the touch, a material looking sort-of like suade. They fit her loosely, held up by a black leather belt which is joined together in the front by a small green firelizard buckle. Her leggings are tucked into shiny black boots that are starting to look a bit worn. Over all of this, she wears a dark blue cloak, dyed the same color as her leggings. This keeps out the worst of the winter chill. Perched on Mechelle's shoulder is Sombre. Perched on Mechelle's shoulder is Hype.
She wears a knot with a simple white thread, showing she's a candidate from High Reaches Weyr.
Mechelle is 18 Turns, 2 months, and 11 days old.

Ilare doesn't quite clap her hands in delight at the news, but the shine in her eyes takes on a stronger gleam. "Reeeeeally. Very well met, Mr. Kryz." Nah. She won't ask (ie beg,) him to draw her lifemate. Chanticoth can do a good enough job weedling that sorta thing outta him later. "G'morning, Xaner. Mind those fingers - no getting blood on them clothes or you'll have peeved riders and weyrstaff gunning for you!" So she's kidding. mostly. Shawn is offered one of the wide selection of rolls on her plate, while Ilare munches thoughtfully, Marianne being flickered a slightly pastry covered finger waggle in greeting this morn. Hmmm.. As Shawn offers her suggestion, the younger brown rider's eyes dance. "Why not show him the feed pens? Chan's feeling hungry today.." Mwahaa.

Niall walks in from the Central Bowl.

Xaner grabs up what's probably more than he can eat..or at least what /appears/ to be more than he can eat, and goes to sit down. "Oh..mending this shirt." This infernal shirt. One that won't mend. Of would also help if he could sew in the first place. Oh well, there's always time to learn. And pleanty of fingers to maul while he's at it. Faint smile is sent towards Mechelle. "You get to do mending too?" Ooo..plan. He grins innocently at Mechelle.

Marianne enters the caverns, which look to be already bustling about, stretching her arms above her head in an effort to wake up, leaning against the doorframe from the Inner Caverns, blinking about at everyone. "I heard... lots of voices. Doesn't anyone sleep around here? I could recommend it as a wonderful pastime... it's absolutely a beautiful thing," she grumbles good-naturedly as she returns greetings all around with nods or in Ilare's case, a return flick of a few fingers. Blink. Yawn.. As she takes a seat and looks around curiously.. "Kryz, I thought I heard you.. what are you up to this morning? Looking to draw us all whilst we're still too tired to protest?" She asks with a slight yawn.

Mechelle wrinkles her nose up at all the /eating/ going on. Don't people around here know how to eat /healthy/? Oh, well...She nods at Xaner, "Yes, that's what I was told. There's /several/ baskets of torn tunics...Some with sleeves torn completely off!" Imagine! She nods greetings to the newcomers of the caverns, being her usual polite self.

Reiko makes her sleepy way across the caverns, knocking into various chairs and tables along the way, finally locking her fingers around the handle of a likely looking klah pitcher. Gah. Did someone say mending? Xaner gets a glare as she fills a mug. "If I never see another needle again, it'll be too soon," she snarls, taking the full mug to an empty table without bothering to look around. She's doubly angry because she knows perfectly well that she'll be seeing an awful lot of needles.

Kryz looks back at Shawn as she jumps up as he says quietly, "Um...sure, if you wanna go now." The black hat that was earlier thrown on his lap is now placed back onto his head, smashing the loose hair under it. He looks a little nervous at the mention of dragons being hungry. Taking his sketchpad he nods to Mechelle and Ilare saying, "nice meeting you." He then turns as he heards a familiar voice. "Hey, Mari," he says with a smile, "I was just off to get a tour actually," he explains.

Phea is sewing a pair of socks, just to spite Lorsalia, trailing a spindling length of yarn behind her -- and tripping over it. Oof. "Look, look, I'm sewing sooocks. And I didn't prick my finger this time!" The candidate bustles over to fetch a pitcher of juice, still oblivious to the stretch of yarn trailing behind her.

Xaner just grins at Mechelle happily. "And..are you good at sewing?" What's he getting at? He doesn't want anymore poked fingers! After taking a bite of his breakfast, he smirks and holds up the needle that had been laid down on the table, and waves it at Reiko.

Niall finds his way though the living caverns, as the outside is a little to wet for his taste. His sits down in the first chair to be found, in this mad house of a morning. It's time for him to watch, and hopefully not be dragged into a conversation, or drafted to do something.

Shawn nods and turns to Ilare, "Again so soon?" a look to Kruz and she stands up, "If Ilare's serious we can start with the pens... I'll introduce ya to Orsoth and Chanticoth on the way there..." hey, now there's an idea, "You wanna come Mechelle, I'm sure I could sort it all out with the laundry people..." a wave of her hand in dismisal as if chores just aren't really all that important or somethin'... "Although not sure if you wanna lose the breakfast you just ate..." she's /teasing/ really...knowing the candidate is still embarassed by her um, incident several days ago

"Getting a tour?" Marianne wrinkles her nose slightly at her fellow Harper. "Well, Kryz, then maybe you can show /me/ how to get around.. I do declare, I went out the other day to find the kitchen, and I ended up in the crafter's area..... Ah, well, I suppose that's half the fun!" She looks around at everyone engaged in chores and laughs slightly. "Well.. we're quite the busy bunch this morning, aren't we? I suppose I should find something do to myself before I'm dragged off to who knows where to get myself lost again.." She taps a finger against the table, as if considering which chore to tackle today.

Mechelle raises an eyebrow at Xaner. Don't worry, she /knows/ what he's trying to get at, but Mechelle is the nice nanny-type and is used to getting stuck doing other people's work, "Actually, I am. I can't cook worth anything, but sewing, I can do." She won't give in /too/ easily, though. Make him ask. At Shawn's question, she looks at her rider-friend in horror, "Me? No thanks, Shawn. If you're going /near/ the feeding pens, I'll stay here, thank you very much!" Cheeks are, indeed, a bit pink. She doesn't like thinking about that at /all/.

Ilare pouts at Mechelle - Ilare eats healthy food, thank you! Don't make her escort the lot of ye to the pens to watch her dragon eat.. Oh, wait, Shawn beat her to it. Covering her mouth, Ilare giggles, before only a smile remains on her features. Since so many candidates are here, Ilare's eyes take on.. That gleam. A chores-to-be-done gleam. "No, he's not. But we offered to hunt for Cadgwith and drop some food off for her. Since she doesn't leave the grounds much with the eggs there, y'know?" Aren't we just spiffy helpful types? Standing, rolls being pocketed, she grins at the candidates. "Drop what you're doing you lot. You might as well all start this afternoon's chore right no-- Reiko? You're a candidate too?" Oh dear. Ilare's almost.. sorry.. to assign this necessary chore now. Almost.

Reiko eyes the needle narrowly, then turns a wicked glare on Xaner. "Thanks," she mutters sarcastically, finally taking that first sip. Slowly. Over the rim of her mug, she finally lets her gaze scan the caverns, scowling lightly at all the new faces. Of course, she's met most of them. Maybe not that blue-haired Harper... emerald glance turns appraising, flickering over Kryz idly before moving on. Then she hears her name, and her eyes slide over to regard Ilare suspiciously. "Apparently," she drawls, not bothering to glance at the knot on her shoulder. "Why?"

Xaner pulls the fork from his mouth and looks at Mechelle all cutely starry-eyed. Gasp! She sews! Oh lovely! Lashes flutter oh so innocently..or is it cutely. Yes! The Ner shall use his charm to win this! Whee! "Mecheeeeelle! Will you sew for me? Pleeeease?" Oh yeah, great charm there buddy. He beams at Reiko and winks. "You're so welcome."

"Feeding pens?" Phea quips, replacing the pitcher onto the table. "Do we get to see the beasties? I luff the beasties!" She deposits her sewing materials onto the nearest table, juice still clutched in her free hand. Whee. "Wha' chore?" is questioned of Ilare, with a raise of her 'brow. "Is it dirty? Like.. like.. like cleaning Dsalth's teeth?" Ew.

Mechelle frowns. She's /not/ one to give in to 'cuteness', real or otherwise. Not this practical-type nanny for now. However, if they're about to be assigned to another chore...and if it has to do with the feeding pens..."Sure, I'll do it." Maybe Ilare will allow her to keep working inside? She can only hope!

Oh, you pooooor thing. Ilare's expression is fleetingly apologetic, but she HAS her orders. "Alright boys and girls, I was asked this morning by one of the Weyrlingmasters," note her assistant knot, "To get you lot to do some cleaning." Run. Now. Before she registers how many of you there are. Phea's comment earns the gal a blink, before she nods slowy. "Yes it's dirty. I'd recommend not wearing your good clothes. You lot have to clean up some of the bones and the like from the pens." You know, collect all the messy bits left over from feeding. Guts, organs, eyeballs, that sort of thing. Ilare had to do that when she was a Candidate. She and her fellow whiteknots left the remains on Cadgwith's ledge and named it Kermit. *ahem*

"I asked the wrong question, it seems," Marianne says wryly and stands, looking over to Ilare with a wry look in her eyes as well. "Well, we've gotten ourselves in for it now.. and at least if we do it now, then we can bathe later...." As Ilare tells them the chore, Marianne pauses. And pauses a moment more. "Bones? And the.. like? Um... perhaps I could... do some indoor cleaning?" She questions hopefully of Ilare, with an innocent beam in her direction.

Shawn exchanges the protection of stone for the bowl outside.

Xaner has disconnected.
Xaner drifts quietly into slumber.

Kryz exchanges the protection of stone for the bowl outside.

Mechelle wrinkles her nose, face already starting to get a bit pale. "This sewing is supposed to be done /today/..." she hedges, though she hasn't been working on /anything/ since she arrived in the caverns.

Reiko eyes Ilare narrowly, actually considering insubordination before she thinks better of it. Well, she doesn't have to be happy about it. She drains her mug and sets it on the table with a bang, and gets to her feet.

Freshened breezes from the lake to the south linger with the stronger scents of herdbeast and wherry, dust and dung, that fill this ovoid enclosure. The sturdy fence sways out into the bowl, captures an outlet of clear blue lake, and, as it meets the bowl wall, grows into a stout wind-shelter replete with hay and feeding troughs; not too far above, a claw-marked series of feeding ledges lie, decorated by a few discarded and bleached-out bones. A few clusters of green sprout, downtrodden, in the hard ground, tracked over by the stampeding of the herds.
It is a spring before dawn. The air has a damp feel to it this morning, and the cool wind carries a scent of rain. A low bank of clouds covers the sky in the pre-dawn darkness.
To the south, you see Zenzorath and Wiranth.
Squabbling over leftovers is Cocoa.
Green Alymath is here.
You see Kukalaka, Herd of Herdbeasts, and Kae here.

Banzai> Phea emits something between a groan and a whimper. "Ewewewew." Candidate stares at Ilare ruefully, sniffling. "Do I have to? Can't I just sew my socks? My feets are cold."

Banzai> Ilare snorts. Gee, lets think about that now. "No." Oh poot. Sorry, Marianne. Mechelle is given a winning smile. "And you'll have all afternoon to do it. Now, go collect some dirt worthy clothes and I'll meet you all in the pens." And if you don't... she knows where you're living right now.

Banzai> Mechelle sighs and stands, already wearing her standard worn candidate, choreclothes. "Well, you know what happened last time, RIder Ilare...Don't be surprised if it happens again." and with that, she heads outside.

Banzai> Mechelle exchanges the protection of stone for the bowl outside.

Banzai> Ilare motions for folks to go.. change. or what ever. "I'll meet you all there." And no, Chan won't be feeding. the bottomless stomach is *gasp* not hungry. Wow.

Mechelle walks in from the Central Bowl.

Ilare strolls, all casual-like in from the Central Bowl.

Phea bounds, with childish glee, in from the Central Bowl.

Reiko waits, slouching against a fence post with a black expression, scowling at the weather, the fresh air, and the task ahead.

Mechelle walks into the pens, face pale and looking /very/ uncertain. She swallows hard and tries not to look anywhere but at the ground right in front of her. She /won't/ get sick, she /won't/ get sick...

Banzai> As Ilare leaves, Marianne stares after her for a moment, before she heaves a large sigh. "You know.. when I agreed to come here with Imbriath, I guess I forgot where my hands would end up going," she heaves another large, dramatic sigh before looking around her. "Well. At least I have my nice thick gloves with me.." She produces them and walks out towards the pens.

Banzai> Marianne exchanges the protection of stone for the bowl outside.

Marianne sweeps confidently, with just the slightest hint of a whisper in from the Central Bowl.

It appears we've just missed seeing another dragon endulge in a feeding fest. K'sair waves at candidates and asst. weyrling master as Raveth lands and chatters to him, before both head towards the group. "Pen cleaning?" A nod from his wingmate, and the other brownrider grins. "Yup," chuckles Ilare, "Pen cleaning." Mechelle is given a comforting look, before Ilare points at the large shed. "Wheelbarrows and shovels and the like can be found in there!" Go on. Work. Ilare'll just.. supervise.

Phea clambers onto one of the fences, leaningleaningleaning, eyeing the beast-remnaints specutively. K'sair is awarded a nose-wrinkle, and she hobbles off the fence again, trundling in the direction of the shed. "C'mere, Mari, you can help meeee!"

Marianne heaves a large sigh. "You know.. when I agreed to come here with Imbriath, I guess I forgot where my hands would end up going," she heaves another large, dramatic sigh before looking around her. "Well. At least I have my nice thick gloves with me.." She produces them and walks out behind the rider, with the air of a martyr going to an execution, a hand to her throat and all, motioning as if there were a noose above her, before she pulls on her gloves and wrinkles her nose at the pens. "Well. At least the smell didnt' make us faint.. yet," she laughs over to Phea and joins her, leaping the fence to follow her.

Ah, a shed..Maybe Mechelle can supervise the handing out of wheelbarrows and such? that could keep her busy for quite a while! She heads over there and then nearly yells as something squelches underfoot. She will /not/ look to see what that is! Another hard swallow, and she makes it to the shed without further incident, "Wheelbarrow, anyone?" she tries to be helpful.

K'sair would snicker, really he would, but unlike his ex-weyrling wingleader, he's a NICE guy. *bap* *oww...* "Looks like they're none too happy.." Ilare shakes her head in amusement again, eyes twinkling as the white knots start removing equipment from the shed, watching their feet. Have to watch where they step, after all: there's an eyeball here, a skull there, shards of thigh bone.. You get the gist.

Reiko pushes herself off the fencepost and stalks off in the direction of the shed. Mechelle gets a cold once-over as Reiko sidles past the poor girl to grab a shovel and a pitchfork. "Nice try," she murmurs, just loud enough for the girl to hear. Reiko shovels innards, everyone shovels innards. Hefting the implements over her shoulder, she stubbornly strides toward the nastiest looking heap she can find.

Phea exits the shed with a shovel and wheelbarrow, precariously navigating through the wide array of half-eaten anatomy. Grooooss. "Y'gotta get a shovel, Mari, 'cause I only got one." Oops. The candidate comes across a rather large bone, peers at it for a moment, and debates flinging it at Ilare; but, sigh, she subsides and lobs it carelessly into the wheelbarrow. It wouldn't do to knock the assistant weyrlingmaster unconcious, now.

Mechelle blinks at the newer candidate. Mechelle hasn't met this one, and may not /want/ to..."I'm just trying to be helpful..." she comments wryly. Even /she/ wouldn't believe /that/ one! She finally leaves the shed, wheelbarrow and a really /long/ shovel. One that won't cause her to get too near the 'stuff'. She pauses at the door and just watches the others for a moment. "Umm..." she nearly asks Ilare something, but thinks better of it and wheels away to a far corner of the pen. Maybe there's not anything over there.

And said Assistant Weyrlingmaster can move quicker than ye holder and crafter types on slushy, muddy, bloodsoaked ground. Because she's had practice. Yah. So there. Neener neener nyah nyah! Arms folded across her chest, amber eyed rider watches on, nodding her approval of some. Even if she will catch it from Reiko later. Well, not HER fault her friend turned up while she was assigning this chore now is it?

Reiko stabs the pitchfork into a mostly-eaten carcass and is rewarded with a shower of flies. Scowling darkly, she stalks back to the shed for the biggest wheelbarrow she can push. Coldly ignoring the stench, her fellow Candidates, /and/ Ilare, she hefts chunk after rotting chunk into the barrow.

"I've got one, Phea. I'm /not/ going through that without one, let me tell you," Marianne's nose seems to be permanently wrinkled in distaste as she looks down at the ground and the assorted... parts she sees there. Oh. A torn apart eye. Charming. She gingerly puts her shovel into the ground and picks it out, along with a few smaller bones to throw it into the wheelbarrow that Phea had gotten, and them oves onto the next pile. Oh, how simply lovely... A smile spreads over her face, imagining how it would look in the riders' hair, and she whistles slightly as she tosses it in the wheelbarrow.

Mechelle gets into her corner and blanches. Instead of the neat, clean part of the pens she expected, there's /lots/ of mess here. Mostly older bones, though. THey might not be /too/ bad...but that legbone with meat still clinging, and that a liver, or heart or something? Ugh! One hand goes to her mouth, but she swallows it back and tries to be a brave little candidate...She /better/ get used to this, right? After all, there /is/ a chance, however slight!

Oh, yes, blame the person assigned to assign the task. Like Ilare's about to say no to.. um.. Lyri. Lyri SCARY. Lyri aiming to exact revenge for Chanticoth flying her Niahmyth way back when.. Um.. At some point. Either way, no sympathy will be gained from her. She did this job once.. Don't make her call in Chan to add to the mess now.

Phea jabs at a pile of innards, poking here and there, nose wrinkled in blatant disgust. "Ughughughughugh!" A mass of intestines is scooped up with the shovel, along with whatever else may have been mixed in, and the candidate dumps it uncerimoniously into the wheelbarrow; just ignore the little splotches of blood splattering. Eek. "Nasty!" Ilare is awarded a smouldering glare; mean ole' weyrlingmonster.

Barrow full, Reiko pushes the stinking mess of bones, rotting flesh, and flies over to Ilare, and gives her 'friend' a scary-sweet smile. "Any particular place you'd like this?" Folding her arms across her chest and standing with an almost insolent air, Reiko seems blissfully oblivious to the disgusting nature of her burden.

Jumping away from Phea's mass of instestines, Marianne shreiks outloud. "Oh, /wonderful/," she grrrs down at her shirt, which now has splotches of Faranth knows what on it. "Phea!! Oooooh.... well, I suppose this shirt has seen better days anyway...." Her nose wrinkles and she begins to sneeze a moment later, multiple times in quick succession. Oh, dear. /Now/ what? "Aaaaaacho! Aaachooo! Aaachoo!" Her shovel drops on the ground as her fit goes on for a few more moments.

Mechelle slowly gets a bone into her wheelbarrow with the aid of her long super-shovel and a stick. She's /not/ going to touch the thing! One in, fifty or so to go. Next is a...Ewwww! A legbone with a bit of meat still attached, flies buzzing eagerly around it. "Why don't the dragons eat it /all/?" she calls out to Ilare, their taskmaster aka guard-who-won't-let-them-get-away. As Marianne starts to sneeze, she turns to watch her, knowing the feeling. How often does /she/ wake up sneezing like that?

Phea goes home.

"Normally, they do. But the young ones and the old ones can be sloppy eaters," is the cheerful reply, a boot kicking one of those loose eyeballs away idly. Not phazed at all is Ilare. Reiko is beamed at, the ridergal obliviously cheerful. "On the tarp over there." And lo and behold, it appears Blue Peter magic has been worked on Pern, for there is some tarpaulin, lain out for the mess to be piled on. "One of the blues will collect it later."
Niall pages, "I would stash it where Ilare stays. But that's me."

Mechelle sighs and continues her task, actually getting into it. "Maybe if I keep my mind on something else..." she mutters to herself, scooping up an eyeball and a half-foot long length of what must be intestine into the wheelbarrow and moving on to another section of bone. "What about when they're first hatched? How do weyrlings feed them at first?" If she keeps talking, and if someone is talking /to/ her, maybe she'll get through this without the collapse of last time?

"On the tarp?" Marianne manages to gasp out slightly, looking over to Mechelle, wiping her eyes as she shakes her head to signal that she's all right. "It's just... eh. There must be something in here that I'm allergic to. Perhaps it's better if I go inside and clean?" she looks over to Ilare hopefully, picking up her shovel even as she does so, recognizing the likelihood of /that/ coming to pass. Bones. They should be safe. No material on them. And thus, she picks them up to gingerly throw into her becoming full wheelbarrow. "When was the last time this place was cleaned? This is worse than the kidlet's playroom after an afternoon of chaos.."

Reiko spares a withering glare for Ilare before pushing the barrow that little bit farther and upturning it on the tarp in an explosion of flies. She scowls, but stubbornly refuses to brush them away from herself, merely righting the barrow and trundling it back to the spot where she left shovel and fork. And another pile of innards. Shovel. Toss. Shovel. Toss. She lifts an arm to wipe the sweat from her forehead with the back of her hand. So this is how one stays warm outdoors at 'Reaches. Cough. Marianne's comment about the last time the pens were cleaned gets a sly smirk. "Probably when the last batch of Candidates was tortured," she remarks idly.

"You were just fine before, Marianne. And you are just now." No discolouration to YOUR face. Unlike, say, Mechelle after the bloodfest a sevenday back. Reiko's comment gets a wide grin, gold-amber eyes following the other girl's moves as she empties her barrow. But no comment is made. At least, not until Mechelle's question is answered. "Well, when they're very little, they can't exactly feed themeselves. They rely on you to chop up the herdbeast into suitable sized chunks and feed it to them." Thats right, big knives are provided to hack a carcass to pieces. Fun, yes?

"Tortured?" Mechelle turns to look at Reiko with a slightly raised eyebrow, "They don't /torture/ us..." Or at least they haven't yet. Not what /she'd/ call torture, anyway. She actually gets a wheelbarrow full and starts over towards the tarp, not /daring/ to look down at what she's stepping on. Squish, squish, squish. Maybe /she/ should start sneezing? Well, guess not, as Ilare dashes that hope to the ground, forcing Marianne to stay. Maybe it's torture after all! "/We/ have to cut up herdbeasts? We don't have to kill them, do we?" Okay, so this 'break' from nannying isn't what she hoped it'd be!

Don't anybody give Reiko a big knife just now. She'll cheerfully butcher as well as dissect the poor, inoffensive herdbeasts. And anyone else who's got a sly remark. "Oh, no, of /course/ not," she calls sweetly to Mechelle. "This is such /fun/." Don't mind that murderous look in her eyes. Shovel. Toss. Shovel. Toss. She doesn't bother to wonder exactly what's in each shovelful. Whatever it is, it's not worth closer examination, she's sure of it.

"Torture?" Marianne appears to question that word as well, right after Mechelle. "I don't think we've seen torture yet... and I don't think I do yet. At least this is /clean/ dirtiniess," she laughs slightly and then digs in again, putting her best pained 'I'm enjoying this' look on her face and whistling slightly as she works. Ooh.. that'd make a lovely song. "Well, come on now guys, it could be worse. We could.." She trails off and then appears to consider it for a moment. "All right, so it couldn't get much worse in my imagination, but I'm sure it could in a lot of people's around here..." Shovel. Toss! Duck, Ilare! Ooops. "Oh, sorry, rider," she apologizes with a slight flit, before turning back to her work with a grin to Reiko. "But it is /such/ fun..." She attacks her pile whistling. Oh, bones. Lovely bones.

Ilare doesn't torture. She just.. makes you work. Be glad Pyrene is stuck on the sands, and thus is not here to see the creation of Kermit the Mess II. "What? Kill them yourselves? No! You wouldn't have time." You're at your lifemate's beck and call after all. You can't be out trying to kill supper for it instead of in the warm barracks bonding. And in case you missed the fact that Ilare was.. prepared for such activities, the brownrider dodges quickly. Unfortunately K'sair does not, and the male brownrider (yes, he's still here!) lets out an outraged gasp as guts slap messily against his leathers. Oops? Oh my.. Ilare's eyes widen and her gaze flickers to the Candidates. Oh, you shouldn't have done that. If you thought that teasing K'sair about his crush on Hyzen was the only think that would annoy him.. you were wrong.

Mechelle tilts her head to the side, stopping her work for a moment to look at Marianne, "/Clean/ dirtiness?" she questions, sarcastically, and then has to turn away in a hurry, face green. Was that an /eyeball/ she nearly stepped on? Hard swallow, another one...and another. She's got it now, though. She will /not/ look at that again! Bones..nice, clean, white, dry bones..She can deal with those. She actually picks one up with her /hand/! A ribcage drops into her wheelbarrow. Reiko is nearly ignored. She just gets a quick look before Mechelle's attention goes again to Ilare, "Well, that's good...At least we won't have to worry about /that/ part of it..." Not that she really thinks she'll have to worry about it anyway.

A gasp. A rumble of surprise and.. amusement? from brown Raveth. Ilare stands back now, eyes wide. Oooooh, bad BAD candidate! Accident? S'yeah right.. K'sair's eyes narrow as he wipes at his leathers, faint hint of anger in his expression. "You!" Other hand points at the offending Candidate. "Your name?" Eyes drop briefly to his leathers.

"Clean dirtiness." Marianne affirms, looking up from her pile of lovely bones and innards with a sunny smile, the best she can manage under the circumstances, a bit strained, but it's there and evident. "There's dirty, dirtiness and there's clean dirtiness. This hasn't crossed the dirty dirtiness line yet..." She trails off.. "../yet/.. I say.." Toss! Toss! Belatedly, she looks up at the brownrider and then at his outraged face, putting a small hand to her lips to cover their quivering state... no, she's not going to laugh. Her entire body trembles with laughter, watching the rider as he walks forward. Biting her lip on a fit of giggles, Marianne manages a short curtsey. "Marianne, rider. That's my name... and I apologize.. to you.. and your leathers," she adds, biting that lip almost white in an effort to keep it shut.

"These were brand new leathers, sharditall!" is cursed softly, before the ex-herder stalks towards Marianne. "'Sair.. Sair, what are you doing?" Ilare's tone takes on a strict note - no killing the candidates, or Pyrene aND Lyri will have her hide. "Marianne, huh?" Snort. K'sair eyes the ruined(?) leathers darkly, before giggling harper is not quite snarled at. "Do you know how much these leathers cost, Marianne?" Not a trick question.

Reiko rolls her eyes. Clean dirtiness doesn't even make sense. Grunting slightly with the effort, she pushes the barrow toward the tarp again. Load number two, and she's back for more. Shovel. Toss. Shovel. Toss. Moving just a bit more slowly, she pushes the barrow a few yards away from the others, deliberately choosing areas of the pens that are horrifyingly littered with debris and well away from the other Candidates. Which seems like a better idea than ever as an obviously outraged K'sair descends on the hapless - hopeless? - Marianne. She stabs the fork into the still-frozen ground and leans on the handle to watch. Everyone's entitled to a little break now and then, yes?

Mechelle gasps as she notes brownrider's very /un/clean state of the moment. Thoughts are far away from the nastiness that is around her and she stops all work to see what will happen. Half-full wheelbarrow is set down. Shovel laid on top of the bones. "She didn't /mean/ to..." she sticks up for her fellow-candidate, not that she /knows/ if she did it on purpose or not..

Marianne bites her lip on a quick comeback to the 'cost' question and shakes her head at the rider, leaning on her shovel. "I don't know, I'm sorry. And I did apologize for hitting you with it... but you were in the.. er.. line of fire as it were..." She looks over to Mechelle with a grateful smile and a nod of thanks. "As she says, I didn't mean to. It was a complete accident, I assure you, Rider....?" She trails off with one raised eyebrow, as if meeting him at a party or some normal occasion, a polite expression on her face, tinged ever so slightly with panic and the remnants of laughter.

"K'sair, brown Zepyrwing rider, lifemate to Raveth." Snarl? Snarl. "And you, my dear candidate, have just signed yourself up for extra washing duties." Oops. "Be sure to know that I'll be letting the Headwoman know that you'll be the one repairing my leathers. All of them" All five sets of them. Yes, and those with thread score marks. "You'll be washing and repainring them you lady. Accident or no, you don't 'fling' entrails about like pillows." Light snarl, and Ilare rolls her eyes behind his back, shaking her head. "'Sair, don't you have sweeps to fly?" Younger brownrider pushes him in the right direction, watching him leave, before turning back to Marianne, lips pursed. "That. Was not wise." At all.

Mechelle listens to Marianne's punishment, but actually smiles. It's not /that/ bad a punishment, after all. "You can do that in no time, Marianne." she calls /after/ the brownrider leaves. She'd probably help, if Marianne asked, too. She turns back to her work, a bit lighter of heart, at least, not minding those bones as much, though she still avoids that eyeball...

Reiko takes one look at Ilare's face as K'sair departs and decides her break is over. Shovel. Toss. But she's still listening, and emerald eyes peek sidelong from time to time, to see what she can see. Notice she's not offering to help. After this little adventure, she'll be lucky if she can move. Already her arms are aching.

"And it's simply lovely to meet you as well, Rider," Marianne murmurs over to him, making a slight bow in his direction when he's finished snarling, backing up slightly a step or two, wincing visibly. Does he /have/ to snarl so often, really? "Washing and repairing them, sir. Yes, sir. If you'll drop them off in the candidate barracks at some point, I'd be charmed to assist you," she says with an equally sunny smile as earlier, watching him walk away with a grateful look to Ilare and then one to Mechelle. "Well. At least I can do it in a clean environment," she wrinkles her nose slightly, about to turn back to work, it appears only waiting for the brownrider K'sair's departure.

Ilare grins at Mechelle, before Marianne is eyed once more. Don't think you're getting off THAT easily, surely? "Oh, she has to do mine, too. And I'm sure the Weyrleader would love to have someone clean and repair his other sets of leathers." Cough. So speaks Ilare. "If you like, I can ask Chanticoth to check who else needs repairs, and tell them to go to you, since you'll be doing herderboy's there.." The slight sarcasm fades, and she chuckles in amusement. "Or not. We'll see how I feel, eh? As it is.." and now she lowers her voice into a stage whisper, eyes twinkling in amusement, "You ruined his NEW leathers. The one he's trying to impress a certain green rider with." And who might that be? Eh, yer not that lucky. Take that gossip and do as you will with it. "Now, you lot better finish up! I've some paper work to do, although I'm sure bronze Luxonth and D'argo will be more than happy to keep an eye on you."

Mechelle sighs at the thought of all /that/ work. That would even be more than /she/ could bear. She shrugs and returns to work, but wait! It's /clean/ over here! She got through it without throwing up...well, so there's that eyeball left, but she can just forget that, right? The rider's in a hurry for paperwork. Maybe she'll overlook it. "I'm done!" she calls out cheerily, even, wheeling her way over to dump her full barrow onto it. "Can I go put this up and head to the baths?" Yup, first stop!

Reiko fills the barrow a third time, a wide swath of cleared pens all around her. Emerald gaze narrows as she surveys the rest of the pens. Not spotless, certainly, but a sharding good job for three not-very-massive-and-muscular Candidates. Stinking barrow of flesh and flies is wheeled Ilare-wards yet again, Reiko trying her best not to strain under the effort. Reaching the 'rider, she straightens with a little smirk, emerald gaze evenly meeting amber-gold. "We ought to leave some fun for the others?" she says lightly, not daring to sound hopeful.

"Help them finish, then you can all go wash, change and go back to your regularly scheduled chores." Yup yup. Ilare's not totally evil. Honest. "I'll let the cooks know yer to be allowed extra bubblies for a lunch snack while you do your caverns chores." Seeeeee? Someone who rewards with sweet things can't be all that bad, right? Reiko's question gets a wink and a gloved thumbs up of agreement. "You better believe it."

"Oh, wonderful. Well tell Gideon-" Yes, Marianne still calls him by his old name. Whoops. "er.. tell the /Weyrleader/ that is, that if he wants anything done, he can come see me about it..." She sighs slightly as Ilare piles yet another lot of chores on her, grumbling just loud enough to be heard if you're paying attention, with a slightly wry note to it,"Oh, you're going to milk this one for all it's worth, aren't you, Rider?" She then grins rougishly however, laughter ringing over the Pens. "I don't blame you, I would as well.... Oh, all right. Ask everybody! Perhaps if I'm so burried in leather, I cant' be called out here again because they won't be able to find me.." One last shovel of bones and then.. "Well, this place is looking semi-better. May we rejoin civilization? Namely.. the baths?" marianne looks pathetically hopeful as she flutters at Ilare.

Mechelle escapes while she can. First candie to the baths is...umm..a rotten firelizard egg? Ugh! With one last pale look at the pens, she nearly runs out the gate and towards the caverns, though she half-slides over an icepatch on the way...

"Will do, Marianne. Alright, we done?" Eyes sweep their corner of the pens. "I think we're done. Dump the stuff on the tarp, put the equipment away, and go clean up. You'll have bubblies awaiting you when you're done." And so what if you don't have a sweet tooth like 'Lare. Bubblies rule! Rahrah--uhh. Yah. "If anyone needs me, I'll be with my dragon!"

Mechelle heads out across the bowl.

Reiko's relief is palpable, despite her best efforts to disguise it. "Thanks," she murmurs, possibly even audibly. She dumps the last barrowfull onto the tarp, rights the wheelbarrow, and trundles back to collect the pitchfork and shovel. Both are tossed into the empty barrow with a clattering bang, and all are returned to the shed.

Ilare goes home.

So Reiko escaped to what she /hoped/ would be a quiet place to clean up... she really should have known better...

Volcanic Pool
Somewhere in the depths of the mountains heat boils and burns towards the surface of the earth; rock bubbles, stone melts, lava flows. Here, barely on the surface, some faint reflection of those fires warm these pooled waters. One is hot -- almost too hot -- one just right, and one as icy cold as the snow that oftens surrounds them. The contrast of ice and steam set one's skin -- or hide -- tingling.
It is a spring sunrise. The only sign of sunrise this morning is a slight brightening of the gray cloud blanket. The wind has picked up, and it's cool for spring. The air seems almost heavy with impending rain.
To the south, you see one person.

Warm, warmer, warmest; this retreat soothes the soul.

Niall slips into the warmth of the heated water.

Submerged to her neck in the warmest pool she could find, Reiko sits with her head dropped back on the dubious cushion of a largeish rock and her eyes closed.

Niall walks to the pool, guitar playing as he walks. His notes are light an airy, seeming to take a live of their own, as they interact with the other played notes. In from the meadows, and a cave he was playing it=n, to the pools to relax, but he happens not to be alone.

Reiko hears the music first, her brow furrowing lightly. But she's too bone-tired to move, or even open her eyes... so she doesn't. Maybe if she ignores him, he'll go away. So it doesn't work for the other Candidates either. Hope springs eternal?

Niall steps on a rock, and another, lifting himself a few feet higher in the air. He's not about to go away, not after he stayed away from her for a month, because she told him to. Well, while he's up here, he changes his music to something much more influenced by his mood, and attention.

No, the music is getting closer. Which means /he/ is getting closer, too. Reiko sighs deeply and half opens her eyes to glare at Niall. Still she doesn't make the effort to speak.

Niall smiles down at Reiko, and smirks to. He needs the smirk to be back, for it worked when he first met Reiko, and now he's even more determined to try. He plays for a while longer before adding a verse to his music, watching Reiko for her reaction to it.

Reiko just.. eyes. Emerald gaze flickers over Niall as though he were the one naked, and not the other way 'round, her relaxed posture more the result of bone-weariness than ease of mind. But she's betting that's not apparent just by looking at her. "Well?" The single word is drawn out, and hangs in the air. She's not about to guess why he came. He's going to have to speak.

Niall quiets down his playing, speeding up the rhythm, and the complexity of his music. "Well what?" he asks, not knowing what she wants to know.

Reiko scowls lightly, glaring up at Niall narrowly. "You /said/ you prefer other places to play," she snaps, eyeing the guitar with disdain. "So why are you here?" Whether she has an idea or not, she's not saying.

Niall shrugs some, and ends his music, as he spins his guitar to his back. "I was playing to here, and was going to stop and enter the pools, but then I noticed you. And decided to play some instead."

A twisted smirk curls the corners of Reiko's lips. "Your guitar is going to get wet," she informs him lightly, stretching a bit in the water and making herself more comfortable. The chilly rain's not bothering her, not with the hot waters of the pool all around her. In fact, it feels rather nice. One hand comes up to slick dripping bangs back from her face, and she shuts her eyes again. His problem.

Niall removes his guitar, and sets it down, then his tunic is removed, and just to cover his guitar. "Not a problem if it's covered," he informs Reiko, as he steps down off his rock. Over to the pools he moves, dipping his hand into the water. Now to enter the water or not?

Either way, he'll be wet. And Reiko clearly could care less, although she does eye Niall narrowly as he dips his hand into the water. "It's warmer than the rain," she remarks coolly, before closing her eyes again. She will /not/ be frightened off.

Niall stops his movements and looks quizzically at Reiko. That was not what he was expecting her to say. Not when the option he was thinking of, would put him in the same pool with her. He shrugs it off and agrees that it is warmer than the rain, by finishing the removal of his clothing and sliding in.

It's not as if this is the first time Reiko has been in the same water with Niall, in the same state of undress. Or so she tells herself, deliberately remaining motionless and outwardly relaxed as he slips into the pool with her. Eyes firmly closed, she doesn't even notice the quizzical expression that precedes it.

Niall ducks under for a moment, and reappears seemingly happier then when he ducked under. Well, it just probably the company he's keeping at the moment, but who knows. -- See he's not that bad of company, like he told Reiko the first time they were here.

Reiko is steadfastly ignoring the fact that she actually has company, despite the fact that it's no easy task. At length her eyes open again, halfway, to regard Niall narrowly. She'd snap, but it seems to take too much energy to come up with a good reason to do so. So she settles for an indolent stretch instead.

Niall smirks back to Reiko, making quite sure that she sees it with her regarding of him. He stretches some, and slides nearly under. The silence was nice, but he rather talks at the moment. "Do you think we could actually talk to each other, and not snap or be cold, and not be vague and play games?"

Reiko blinks once. Slowly. This was not a question she expected to hear from him. "Talk?" She lifts her head to look straight at him now, her expression guarded. "What about?"

Niall shrugs as he looks at Reiko, serious he was now. None of his verbal games, or his vagueness, those have been left behind at this moment. "I don't know. I want to know if it's even possible for us to." They had before, Niall thought, but between shortness and hangovers, those didn't count.

"Of course it is," Reiko snaps, shutting her eyes again. Nevermind that she's just made a liar of herself by snapping. "I can be civil," she adds, her tone nothing short of sullen.

"Can you be civil to me?" Niall asks, as he regards Reiko, knowing she just killed her own statement with her snap. He speaks calmly, and watches her calmly.

Reiko scowls lightly, opening her eyes again to look at Niall. But her tone is decidedly more civil when she opens her mouth again. "If I must." Emerald gaze is cool, unruffled, locked on his.

"I mean of your own free will, not because you feel you have to or need to." Niall says, touching on the subject again, not letting it drop, but not being vague.

Reiko considers that for a moment, emerald gaze regarding him steadily. "I could, if I chose to," she says at last. One hand slicks back the wet hair again.

"And why do you chose not to?" Niall immediately intones on.

Reiko swallows, inwardly disturbed to realize that she can't come up with a single reason. Not in the face of Niall's interrogation. "I don't... know," she whispers finally, the mask slipping away.

Niall nods slowly, glad to finally hit on something. "Would you like to try actually talking for once? Maybe you'll see I'm not as bad as you've been making me out to be."

Reiko shakes her head slowly, actually shrinking back a bit. "I should get back," she murmurs, glancing sidelong at her discarded clothing at the edge of the pool, white knot still pinned to the shoulder of her tunic. Before someone misses her and assigns a load of extra chores.

Niall nods slowly, his eyes touching on her white knot too. "I'll let you get back to the barracks, and hopefully I haven't held you up long enough to give you extra chores." He pulled himself out of the water then, grabbing his clothing as he walked over to his guitar.

Reiko doesn't move right away, doesn't watch as Niall leaves the water. Not until he's turned away, back to his precious guitar, does she slip out of the water and reach for her own clothing... which unfortunately is as wet as she is from the constant rain. She tugs on tunic and leggings, trying not to shiver as she steps into damp boots, thinking belatedly that the baths would have been a much wiser idea.

Niall slowly put on his clothing, all except his tunic. Thoughts about the conversation filling his mind as he runs over every detail and every word in silence. "You seemed lost Reiko. What about?" He asks, breaking the silence, as he garbs his tunic and guitar; turning to face her.

Reiko whirls to face him, doubt and fear flashing across her features briefly before she composes herself. Mask in place once again, she takes a deep breath. "I'm not lost." She takes a step back, then another. Drenched and chilled, she looks half drowned and vulnerable, despite her efforts to hide it. "I'm fine." More to convince herself than anything else.

Niall shakes his head and puts his wet tunic over his shoulder. "You're not. Something scared you, or shook you up, and I'm wondering what it is. I want to help you if I can." Concern is interlaced in there, in plain sight with tone.

"Stop it!" Reiko shuts her eyes tightly, as if that would make Niall disappear. "I don't need your help." She wraps her arms around herself and starts up the path, furious with herself for letting him get to her. Why does he /get/ to her?

Niall watches Reiko concerned, allowing her to get no more then a dozen paces from him, before he grabs his guitar, and jogs up the path to Reiko. "Stop what? What do you want me to stop Reiko?" He asks with more concern then before.

Reiko keeps walking, even as Niall catches up to her. As his questioning ends, she stops abruptly, turning on her heel to glare at him. "I don't /know/." And she doesn't. Maybe he doesn't even know what he's doing. Or how it's making her feel. Because she won't tell him. But she continues to back away from him, as if he's much too close.

Niall looks over Reiko, he has some clues as to what is going on, but he can't be fully sure. He allows to distance to grow between them before he speaks. "I wish I could help. I would if I knew what was wrong."

Reiko shakes her head, still backing away. "I have to go," she says again, silently hoping that Candidacy will keep her busy enough to never see Niall again. That would help.

Niall nods silently, watching Reiko continue to back away. But he too needs to be heading in now, and the way to go is down the same path, so slowly he walks down it. "I do too."

Reiko takes a deep breath. "Okay," she whispers, unable to fully hide her relief as he finally backs down. She turns away then, to walk toward the caverns, her arms wrapped tightly around herself as she tries not to shiver.

Niall falls in step behind Reiko, keeping a few paces behind her, but his eyes are straight on her. He's concerned, and what more could he do now, then watch her, and offer his help..

Reiko can feel Niall's eyes on her back, but she steadfastly ignores it, quickening her step and disappearing into the caverns.