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 forty-seven firelizards.
You see OOC NOTICE (look sign), White Clay Egg Pot, Kageri, Chalea, Question Deck, Streak, the Candidate's Rumor Weed, and Wherry-hide bag here.
Tevya is here.

Hiliza arrives from deeper in the Weyr.

Hiliza
Not even reaching a full five Terran feet(4'9, really), this usually cheerful woman can only be classified as short. She is more cute than pretty, with an oval face, sharp nose, strong chin, and thin, rosy lips. Fern green eyes are expressive, framed by thick lashes and thin eyebrows. Skin is pale from a lifetime inside, and contrasts with the deep onyx of her hair perfectly. Bangs cut choppily across her forehead, lengthening to chin level gradually. Now a jarring mixture of bright pink and /yellow/, still rugged layers fall to her shoulders, too long to poof out energetically. She is built slightly, with thin, delicate limbs and just the slightest hints of curves where curves belong on a woman. Though full grown, her height and build remain nearly identical to what they were at twelve.
Soft, light fabric drapes around Hiliza in vibrant greens. Loose green sleeves slide down her arms, jangling with tiny bells circling the end of each sleeve. Scooped neckline is decorated with white diamond shaped embroidery. Bodice is loose like all, and undecorated save princess seems. Hemline reaches to mid-thigh, meeting black boots that shine and have more bells tinkling at the ends of their laces. On each forearm lies white cloth, wrapped up and around like bandages but merely for decoration. Pretty Bag hangs loosely over Hiliza's shoulder.
A ribbon holding charms, Dusty Grey Necklace is worn with pride. A necklace, glittering and loved, hangs an Amethyst Charm about her neck as well. On her left shoulder, a lithe blue firelizard seems almost smug. A rotund and odd-looking green firelizard rests comfortably on Hiliza's carrying tote. Observing from atop Hiliza's head is a smallish brown firelizard. Occasionally nuzzling her neck from her right shoulder is a good sized blue firelizard.
Again, a single loop adorns her shoulder, but the color is not black. In fact, the opposite. A pure and seemingly innocent loop of white. Worn with a smile. Flag me down: I sweep.
She is awake and looks alert.
Hiliza is 20 Turns and 8 days old.

Reiko
Jet black hair falls shiny and straight just to her chin, a fringe of shorter hair in front just brushing delicate brows. Her skin is creamy-pale, with just a faint blush on high cheekbones and and full lips. Wide-set emerald eyes are tipped up slightly at the outside corners and framed with thick black lashes, giving her a vaguely feline appearance. Neither overly tall nor overly short, Reiko stands straight-shouldered with quiet confidence and moves with an easy, quiet grace.
A soft blouse of white cotton, sleeveless and open at the throat, ends at her waist in a wide, brightly-embroidered band. Jade-colored skirts swirl heavily about her legs, devoid of decoration, from slender waist to delicate ankles, just a flash of creamy skin showing beneath the hem. Soft black wherhide slippers cover her feet, enough protection for moving about indoors and occasional treks across the bowl.
A single cord, white as new-fallen snow, loops once at her shoulder.
Reiko is 20 Turns and 14 days old.

Hiliza sashays into the Living Caverns, smile already on her face as she oh-so-cheerily calls, "Afternoon, Tevya, Reiko!" Little pink and yellow nanny-candie shuffles toward the meatrolls, lips twitching upwards, "How are the both of you? Mind if I sit down?" She hovers, chewing on a meatroll as she waits for an answer.

Reiko looks up from her meal with a twisted halfsmile, eyeing the pink and yellow with thinly veiled amusement. "Morning, Hiliza," she responds, almost cheerfully, stubbornly oblivious to the actual hour. "And I don't see why not, there are any number of empty chairs." Some over here near Reiko, a few over there near Tevya... and -look- /dozens/ of them all around the caverns!

Tevya raises her head, offering a small smile to the others. "Hi," A few blinks and she rubs sleep from her eyes and then a yawn, "How're you two doing?" Dyed hair is noted and not stared at, too much, "Huh..empty chairs?" Tevya asks of Reiko, glancing around. "Hm..that's strange.."

Hiliza slides into a chair near enough to both for talking, waving a Tevya, "Yes, there are a few less people here that I'm used to, at least.." A shrug of her shoulders and she chews some more at the meatroll, offering bits and peices to one of her fair, all of whom seem to find it a good time for warbling.

Reiko busies herself with stew and bread, as unconcerned now about the empty chairs as she was before Hiliza entered and asked about them. Or asked about something. Whatever. "It's nice to have a few empty chairs for a change," she remarks idly, having found the Weyr in general just a bit too crowded lately.

Tevya grins, shaking her head. "Well I didn't even notice the quiet, just slipped off to sleep," A huge yawn as she proves she had just woken from sleep, "Speaking of which..I've got to get into the dorms.." Hefting of herself to her feet and Tevya hobbles off into the Inner Caverns.

Hiliza wiggles her fingers at Tevya and then scooches closer to Reiko, since the Other Person to talk to has left. "It can be, yes..." Hiliza shrugs again and leans back to study the ceiling. "It's almost unnatural, though, not to have a whole flock of people around." At least, it is for Hiliza, who Loves Everyone and is used to having lots of people to flitter back and forth with.

Reiko stops eating to give Hiliza a long, appraising look, then she smirks. "If you say so. I find it relaxing." As anyone might, who worked so hard at keeping their guard up around other people. With a little shrug, she sets down her fork and picks up her mug. "Either way, it'll all be over soon enough."

Hiliza turns her head to study Reiko, "Relaxing, mm?" She looks back up at the cieling, "I guess it could be. After all, there are no kidlets running around acting like 'lizards, or drunkards hitting on you, or swarms of conversation that make my head hurt tryng to follow them, but..." She gives another little shrug, "I suppose it will be. People get hungry often enough."

Reiko smirks again, returning her empty mug to the table. "I didn't mean the quiet. I meant the candidacy." Standing, she gathers her dishes and quietly crosses the room to dispose of them, returning a few minutes later from the kitchen door with a bucket and a rag. Splash. Scrub. Splash. One down... nevermind how many are left to go. Some things are better not counted. Bang, she deposits the bucket on the table next to Hiliza. "Then maybe things can get back to normal around here." Nevermind 'normal' and 'High Reaches' don't belong in the same conversation... or the fact that Reiko is having trouble remembering how she used to spend her days. Could it be that she never did anything? Nah.

Hiliza laughs a little bit, "I suppose the eggs are getting harder and harder every day, aren't they?" Hiliza scoots out of the way of water that splashes from the bucket, and then gives Reiko a serious gaze, "Do you really /want/ to go back to before candidacy? To... be left?"

Reiko scowls, scrubbing harder. "Of course not," she snaps. "I just don't see the point in getting my hopes up." The words are out of her mouth before she can think to censor them, and she bites her lip angrily, splashing the rag into the bucket with particular vehemence before moving to the next table.

Auri sparkles in from the Central Bowl.

Phea arrives from deeper in the Weyr.

Hiliza bites her lip, "Reiko... I'm not either..." She breaks off her words as more people enter the Caverns, and rises to do some mock-up of a chore, slipping past Reiko and whispering, "I'm sorry," before grabbing a broom and sweeps the same spot about fifteen times, chirruping, "Hello Pheo, hello Auri..." and moving on to the next spot.

Phea is sewing, tails of thread trailing carelessly behind her. "Flowers, flowers, I really love flowers," is sung obliviously, until, that is, she realizes other candidates are present. "Hi'! Reiko! Hihihiiiiiii! Look, I'm sewing! But you can't know what I'm sewing, 'cause it's a sur-prise." How obvious.

Whether Reiko hears Hiliza's whispered apology is unclear, since she gives no outward indication of having noticed it. Splash. Scrub. Splash. Scrub. Phea is eyed at her yodeling entrance, emerald gaze narrowing slightly before looking away again. "Morning, Phea," she says dully, not bothering to encourage the babbling. Auri gets a quick glance, nothing more.

Hiliza quirks an eyebrow at Phea, sweeping away at what is evidently her favorite spot of the Living Caverns. "Do we get to see it when you're finished, Phea?" Hiliza does encourage the babbling, mostly because she's used to it and enjoys talking. A mental note is made to apologize to Reiko in a better way later, but for now she hums merrily and waits for Phea's reply.

P'rru clips in from the Central Bowl.

Kinecha treks in from the Central Bowl.

Hynolonie walks in from the Central Bowl.

Tamber scampers in from the Central Bowl.

Phea perches herself into a chair, tugging the stray tails of thread underneath her chair to avoid tripping anyone. "'Course y'do, Hi'! I betcha' you'll liiiiike iiiiiiit." Something is rememered, and the candidate deposits her sewing materials on the table to leap at Hiliza and hug her fiercly. "Oh, Hiiiii', I luffed my rock! It was bee-yoo-ti-ful!" Ex-healer is oblivious to those entering the caverns. Oops.

Tamber goes home.

P'rru marches in, tailed by...people. And he heads straight for klah, giving a smile, nod or wave to people he knows. Yah. "Klah, klah, whose for klah?" he chants, testing various pitchers and pots, trying to find a clean mug amongst the rubble. "I need a klah, fast"

Hiliza beams at Phea, "Oh, I think 'Upa painted your rock, but I'm glad you like it anyway. The rock she gave me," Hiliza digs it out of her bag, "Looks like those cookies we made." She puts it back in her bag and continues to sweep, if outward more than inward. Reiko was right, it can be relaxing without lots of people around. But she smiles and says, "Over there, P'rru..." shrugging a shoulder toward the ever-present ple of clean mugs.

Kinecha steps into the shadows that lead back into the Weyr.

Reiko only seems oblivious, moving from table to table with bucket and rag, scrubbing and scowling. But inwardly she cringes at the press of people entering the caverns. Splash. Scrub. Splash. Scrub. Bang. She doesn't even have a smile for P'rru just at the moment... but she's nearly finished.

Hynolonie wanders into the room then promptly dives under the first table she finds that has a large tablecloth sitting on top of it. She uses the tablecloth to sheild her presence from everyone else in the caverns. Lonie then curls up on a ball and closes her eyes as she listens to all the conversations. All she needed now was a meatroll.

P'rru gives Hiliza a smile and retrieves a mug. "Reiko? Want some klah, m'dear?" he raises his voice to garner her attention. Might aswell pour two while he's pouring one..or three for that matter. "You too, Kinecha? It's fresh...well I think it is." sniff. Glug glug glug and he brandishes the brew, turning to regard those already in the caverns. Little beam of sunshine alert. "'lo Auri!"

"No thanks, P'rru." Note the date. Reiko refused klah. Finishing the last table, she drops the rag into the bucket and slips into the kitchens without another word to anyone.

You head into the kitchens' warm, food-scented depths.

Later...

Galleries
Row upon row of stone benching rises above the Hatching Grounds, seats for those who come to watch the incredible experience that is a hatching. Each individual seat is embellished with a worn cushion, the only concession to comfort in a place that traps heat, holding it within so that those who watch are inflicted with its intensity, though on a milder level than those who must stand and face the dragonets. The expanse of sand that is the hatching grounds spreads out in front of the benches, a huge stage for a spectacular show.

Hiliza comes up the stairs.

Reiko sits curled on a bench with her chin on her hands, staring absently at the Sands without actually seeing anything, seemingly oblivious to the heat.

Hiliza peers about and lets out a mild grin, "I found you... I hope you don't mind..." A big-eyed look is given to the other candidate, and she half-slides over, hands behind her back, "About... what I said, I-" she starts, then pauses, averting gaze toward the galleries and slipping onto a bench. "Did I upset you, Rei?" The second part of her name is dropped suddenly, though up until now the other hasn't had a nickname.

Reiko blinks a little as a voice breaks the silence, straightening herself quickly and leaning back on her hands, affecting an indolent posture. "Of course not," she replies immediately.. but her tone is subdued and her eyes firmly fixed on the Sands. "You didn't come all the way out here just to ask me that, did you?" Because why should anyone care how Reiko feels? If she feels at all.

Hiliza bites her lip, "I did... I felt bad... I didn't mean it so meanly.. it's just that earlier they were talking about not caring if each other Impressed and..." She wrinkles the fabric of her dress a bit oddly, "You were saying it would be over soon... and I just.. I guess, " She turns her gaze to Reiko, "I guess I took it wrong, is all. I'm sorry."

Reiko shrugs a little. "It doesn't really matter," she says lightly, although her tone might sound a bit forced to a sensitive ear. "Whatever happens, happens. They'll trot us all out there..." She waves a hand in the general direction of the Sands. "And we'll either get chosen... or left. Or possibly mauled." She does manage a twisted grin at that. "In which case, Marianne can write her ballad." Provided HarperCandie isn't the one who's mauled.

Hiliza gives a slight laugh, and says, "I really don't think anyone will be mauled out there, Rei.. I mean, so long as we don't stare stupidly as a hatchling tries to get past us to someone... everyone ought to end up fine...I don't remember anyone getting hurt last time I Stood.." A shrug and then she belatedly echoes, "Whatever happens..."

Reiko picks at a fraying edge of the cushion she's sitting on, staring thoughtfully at the eggs. "I don't think I knew you Stood before," she says quietly, trying to picture the Sands filled with Candidates and spectators and hatching eggs. And wondering what that'll be like but not liking to ask.

Shawn comes up the stairs.

Hiliza nods, "I did, with G'deon, Tatia, Sora... all of them," She shrugs, "Of course, they Impressed and I didn't.. and I was upset, of course.. but now I look at it this way: If I had Impressed, one of them wouldn't have.. and I wouldn't take that away from anyone, even if I want it for myself." She leans back, hands on the edge of the beam. She doesn't notice Shawn yet and so continues, "It really was... I guess a good expirance, but I think that's why I put so much more importance on what might, can, will happen when those eggs start to rock.. Rei, I really wish there were enough eggs for each and every candidate... I do..." Sigh.

Shawn is humming a tune... obviously its a good day... dum de dum... overhear... ooo, we're talking hatching...'tis a lovely day for rolling eggs... Shawn is in an ever-so-much better mood these days with the dissappearance of the sharding snow, "Afternoon y'all..." she drawls, an eyebrow arches ever-so-slightly as she overhears Hiliza's comments... "Whassup?" and approach she does, flopping (yep, that's a flop) down on a bench next to Reiko...

Reiko just nods. Listening to Hiliza. Then she shrugs. "It's not about us, really," she reminds her... as well as herself. "The dragons are what matters to the Weyr. And they're the ones who choose." And the dragons must have a choice. Everyone knows that. Emerald gaze slides Shawn-wards as the rider flops to sit next to Reiko. "Morning, Shawn." Gee, she didn't answer the question. And she /still/ didn't get the time of day right..

Hiliza stiffens a bit at Shawn's entrance, and then gives a bright, "Hi Shawn..." She twists the sleeves of her dress around her hands, making the bells jingle. Her head turns and she smiles at the rider, commenting, but avoiding the question because she feels like it, "How are you?" More jingles as fabric is stretched tighter around hands, but she keeps smiling.

No comment is forthcoming regarding the overheard bits of conversation, Shawn, knowing when a question is being dodge and more than that being fine with it will offer no comment unless asked for it... Why? Because that's just the way Shawn is, "I am quite good this afternoon, Hi..." she drawls, stretching out on the bench and putting feet forward to hook her ankle boots on the bench in front of her, "I truly do love spring..." if there is any other reason for Shawn's good mood this day it is not obvious...

Reiko pushes off the bench and shakes out her heavy skirts. "That's good, Shawn," she says absently, quite forgetting to add her duty to Orsoth. "I've had about enough for one day," she murmurs, not to anyone in particular, and not really making terribly clear just what she's had enough of. "See you later." Or something. Hiliza gets a quick nod as Reiko heads for the stairs.