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Hatching Sands
It's a large bubble of stone, captured and frozen in time from some volcanic activity way back in the ancient past. Now, the gentle heat from the long dormant volcano heats the dark glassy sands to a temperature just right for hardening eggs. Over the turns as clutches have hatched, tiny bits of shell have gotten mixed leaving the sands half glassy and half opaque.

L'el is looking a bit diffident, if unsure of welcome as he stands at the entrance to hatching grounds, watching the two queens keep a scrupulous distance from each other. Finally spotting his quarry, he walks quickly over to where Orayth has commandeered a section and offers up jug and a glass to Eo. "Thought you might be thirsty."

Any visitors are safe. Even if Orayth is awake, which she isn't at this time, she's not overly possessive of her small clutch. Her very small clutch. Numbers matter not to the gold, she's pleased and tends to them as though the number were quadrupled. Ruebalith's arrival to clutch did cause some tension but Orayth settled quick enough when the other queen stayed well out of her way. Eodarin has been staying more and more often on the platform made for her and has grown oddly more quiet since Shailaja's queen clutched. L'el's arrival isn't acknowledged until the jug and glass are offered. "Oh. Thank you, L'el. That's nice of you…" she murmurs, moving to help relieve him of the jug at least and set it on the small table. With a free hand, she'll gesture for him to sit.

L'el flushes slightly and errs. "Well, you know. I'm supposed to be helping you out here. At least, that's what P'wyn drilled into us." He pauses and colors a bit more red. "And err, since it's kinda my fault that you know. Anyhow, I'm sorry. Suareth's sorry too."

"I wouldn't be hurt if you were too… busy to help?" Eodarin admits and while it may be meant as a kind thing, it likely comes off as awkward. She'll take her seat again, the only other one available right next to her. Probably not helping things, is it? She frowns a little, "How is it your fault or even Suarath's? If it's your fault, then it's mine and Orayth's too." Maybe the young goldrider is taking it more on her shoulders than anything.

L'el sighs very softly and finally takes a seat, before glancing out at the sands. "Well, mayhaps it's the fault of both of us, for not being more experienced? Not that I wanted to be, I mean. Honestly, I'm really happy that Suarath was the winner. Just, seems that we shouldn't have taken the first chance, from what I've been told."

Eodarin carefully pours two glasses from the jug, offering L'el his first before taking her glass and resting it in her lap and held carefully between her hands. Now it's her turn to blush a bit, a touch flustered. "Right, I wasn't experienced either." And she's young. Two odds against her? There's a faint smile, "Suarath is a good bronze. Orayth is fond of him." Not that the gold has been very vocal about it but she's been quite welcoming of the bronze if he does come around to the sands. A frown returns and she huffs softly, "Funny how they all have different opinions on what should have been done? Like they can control flights. It happened and there's still four healthy eggs! It's not like… she was caught by a brown or something."

L'el looks down at his hands for a long moment before answering. "Just, you know. I should have done better." A slight grin. Well, Suarath is very fond of Orayth, but I think that's too be expected, right?" He glances out at the sands. "And I guess, they should have done better, right? And not much can be done about it now. You'll be more ready the next time, and so will I, and everyone else." A faint sight. "And clutches by browns do alright. I mean, there's no reason it can't happen. Just it doesn't most of the time."

Eodarin will quietly sip at her drink while L'el takes a moment to answer. "According to some, we both could have done better. So? No sense beating ourselves up over it, huh?" There's a faint smile to answer his grin. "I suppose so. I'm glad she's not the possessive type." Her head tilts a bit and her shoulders shrug, "I guess we'll see? It… really bothered me at first with how few eggs she clutched. Folks muttering about here wasn't helping but — I'm just glad they're healthy. And she's healthy. She'll rise again and you're right… we'll know a bit better." She shakes her head, "I didn't mean anything bad by it. I'd not have been upset if a brown had caught, but you know some would have found that equally as scandalous?"

L'el glances over at the eggs. "Honestly, I know. And we should be thankful that we got a clutch, and Ruebalith got a clutch and that they seem like they're moving along as they should." He dimples and offers. "I could get you something to eat? If you wanted, or just keep you company for a while, if that's okay too?" He slumps a bit in his seat. "Su and I are done with our job for the day, so it's really no bother."

"Ruebalith clutched well," Eodarin remarks and there's maybe just a hint of jealousy there. No reprimands for her fellow junior, no doubt. She'll exhale softly and enjoy a little more of the drink that L'el so thoughtfully brought to her. Now there's the offer of food and she'll glance at him sidelong as she considers it. Or is she considering something more? "Both would be nice. It doesn't have to be here? We could go elsewhere." Which might be code for 'private'.

L'el pauses to glance over at the other queen. "But, no worries. I'm glad Ruebalith clutched well, but we did also. At least, that's how I'm going to say it. We didn't have any damage in the flight and we've got lovely eggs." He moves to stand up. "Well, would Orayth mind if you left? Some of the queens I know, expect their rider here all the time, and such. I wouldn't want to get you in trouble with her. Otherwise, well. I wouldn't mind leaving the heat behind."

Eodarin's smile may be small but it could very well be the first genuine one she's given. "I'll agree to that," she murmurs and as she sets her glass down she'll stand as well. Her head turns to where Orayth sleeps and now there is a chuckle to her voice. "She doesn't mind. It's not like I am going far? She'll call for me, if she needs me but right now I think she is content to rest." Which makes for an opportune time to leave. "The platform doesn't offer much from the heat, huh?" she muses, while offering her arm to him. Politeness or just a matter of formality?

L'el stands up slowly, taking Eo's arm before he begins to lead her out of the hatching sands. "So, after something to nibble on, where did you want to go and sit and talk? I've honestly no idea where would be a good idea, myself." He is moving rather quickly, hot footing it over the sands. "Sorry if I'm dragging you. But, the faster over the sands is better I think."

The kitchen is an absolutely huge facility located at the northern end of the main residential building. The ceiling is two stories above, allowing some reprieve from the heat generated by the various cooking activities. The kitchen is carefully laid out working from preparation areas to cooking to cooling: it has it all. Long wooden cabinets are capped by durable stone counter tops for utensil storage and food preparations. Elongated windows bring light to the preparation area and offer the hard workers a glimpse outside. All manner of pots and pans can be found hanging from hooks along the walls as one shifts into the primary cooking areas. A series of six ovens and a dozen coal fired stoves provide the necessary heating for everything from baking bread and pies to frying fish or steaming vegetables. Four open hearths are usually stoked by firewood to heat the batches of soup or stew in enormous copper kettles. A smaller area to the back looks perfect for cooling newly baked cookies and bread on racks stacked six feet high. A full third of the area is taken up by a series of sinks. It is nearest the doorway into the inner caverns handling the washing, drying, sorting and storage of dishes. A pipe sticks out of the wall, the steady flow of water filling a semi-circle stone well centered between the dish and cooking areas, from which the water is taken by bucket or cup as needed.

Eodarin can keep up relatively well to the pace set by L'el. She chuckles, "Do you always apologize so much?" she asks and there's no masking her relief as they step into the cooler archway and then out and beyond. Arm still linked with his, she'll let him lead onwards while she focuses on answering him. "My weyr would offer privacy? And it's not that hard to access."

L'el pauses as he thinks and shakes his head. "I just keep think that I am maybe bothering you or something. Not quite sure how this all works out, really. Suareth never caught a gold before. We actually haven't won that many flights and all." He's making quick work of grabbing anything he can find, that would be portable. "You want something in particular?"

Eodarin frowns as they step into the kitchens and she'll be careful to keep out of the way of the workers. "You're not bothering me? And well… this was my first flight. But that doesn't mean we automatically have to dislike or avoid each other does it?" She doesn't seem to concerned over what L'el is grabbing, though when he asks, she'll be prompt to give her request: "Any of the soft cheese? If you haven't grabbed it already."

L'el continues to put items in the carrysack he has. "I think that's enough for right now, and I think I have some of the cheese. Maybe a bit more to be sure?" Then he's moving toward the door.. "You'll have to lead the way, I'm afraid, can't say as I know where you are placed, beyond just a vague idea of somewhere on the north wall."

"We've probably enough. I don't want to take too much from the kitchens," Eodarin murmurs, knowing full well they're in no danger of having that happen. "Should grab something more to drink, though? I'll get that." She may as well help, a little, with gathering some sort of refreshment. With a new jug in hand, she'll motion for him to step through the door and she'll take the lead but not by much. "It's not that hard? Just follow the stairs. We're nearest to the bottom."

L'el is working on striding away then, heading back to where the queens are quartered. It will be nice to be away from all the folks as well. "Got any other things I should grab as we go?"

"I think we'll have enough gathered from your stash alone for a feast," Eodarin drawls, amused and feeling a little more relaxed as they leave the kitchens and head towards the stairs that will lead to her and Orayth's ledge. She wasn't completely off either, they do not have to go far and once inside, she'll direct him to a low, wooden table where he can begin to unpack all that food. Two matching chairs rest by the table, one for each of them. The rest of the weyr is modestly furnished. She hasn't had much time (or expenses) to decorate it. It's comfortable though and serves its purpose and in the coming Turns it'll develop more of her tastes. "Make yourself comfortable," she murmurs, while setting the jug down and going to fetch some glasses from the cabinet she keeps against the far wall and not far from the hearth.

Orayth's Ledge
Spacious could be one word to describe the ledge that one of High Reaches larger queens calls her own. It is just large enough to fit the resident gold and perhaps one other visiting dragon. The ledge leads into a wide covered alcove where a heavy chest holds dragon care and Threadfall supplies and pegs hold a well tended pair of flight straps. From the alcove, an opening leads to the weyr itself. While the furnishings are sparse for the time being, they hold a rustic feel to them and overall the weyr is kept clean… though some surfaces and carved shelves hold some clutter. The inner weyr, which holds the bedroom, is another story. The goldrider who resides there lives quite comfortably and it shows as the room is never quite entirely neat and is always in some state of disarray.

L'el finds a seat to settle into, before he looks back over at Eo. "I guess, I'm not totally sure what you would like, from both myself and Suareth." He moves to brush at a bit of hair. "I mean, err, just what exactly is what we're supposed to be doing?" He looks rather fidgety, sitting down and not looking at anything in particular.

Eodarin sets one of the glasses down by L'el and pours some of the drink from the jug. Then she'll pour her share and it's while she's setting the jug aside and sinking into her own chair that she sighs. "Why is it always what I want? What do you want, L'el?" His fidgeting is noted and while her cheeks color a bit, it doesn't stop her from being bold with her next statement. "I didn't bring you here just to bed you, if that's what you're worried about? I just thought we'd talk. Maybe." There's a shrug. "I just find it strange to ignore a rider after a flight. I know it happens and I'm not even sure if a friendship will form between us…"

L'el shakes his head. "I didn't worry about /that/. I just. You're so much younger than I am and err. It's not like I've spent all that much time around women, at all." He closes his eyes. "I want us to be comfortable talking together? I don't want to keep thinking I'm tripping over myself when I say things, or do things." He waves absently. "I just don't know what is really expected. You get the lessons, which is basically take care of the queen rider. But I don't know you."

Eodarin looks a little relieved. "I'm not that young," she protests and then smirks, "Neither do I bite? And… when do you feel that you're tripping over yourself?" It's asked curiously, not in an aggressive or accusatory manner. Then she laughs quietly, "Well, I don't really need to be cared or fussed over. Not that I mind the gestures? But don't feel like you must be at my call just because…" Of the flight. "No, we don't know each other very well, do we? So… we can fix that? If you want."

L'el glances up finally and nods. "I would like that, so I don't feel like I'm completely out of sorts all the time." He shrugs his shoulders before continuing. "I mean, that's all the advice that was given, was make sure you were fed, like a pet or something, and to keep you happy. But without knowing what would make you happy, that's kind of a tall order."

Eodarin's brows lift and her posture changes. Stiffens even. It's not because of L'el but more because of the words. "Really." she says cooly. "That's what they teach you? Every bronze or brown rider?" With a careful inhale of breath, she'll reach for her drink and take a long sip to calm herself down. "Well, I'm no ones pet and I'd never want to be. You want me to be happy? This…" She waves a hand to gesture between them. "… is a start. Conversation. Food and drink isn't necessary. But if I were honest? I'm short on friends, L'el. I'm not from High Reaches and while I made a few, most drifted away once Candidacy began."

L'el shakes his head. "I'm saying this wrong, I mean, I don't think they really think you're a pet. Just it's kinda, here. Once the queenrider is on the sands, make sure she's fed and watered because her queen is demanding. And I am probably saying it wrong, but that you need to take care of your queen, so you need someone taking care of you?"

"But what if her queen isn't demanding?" Eodarin counters but with enough of a smile to take the bluntness down a bit. Setting her drink aside, she'll reach for some of the food L'el went through the trouble of gathering. Settling back in her chair, she'll silently mull over what he's said. "I think I understand now. Again, though? You don't have to worry that you're not… measuring up or something."

L'el is still fidgety, and shakes his head. "I'm not trying to worry you, just I with never having done this, didn't want to mess it up. And you're a queenrider and even if Suareth is bronze, not like I thought we'd ever win a flight, you know? Wasn't expected." He grabs something to eat and fiddle with. "Not that you're not very nice. Just I'm unsure of all of this. I hope you got better lessons?"

Eodarin quietly nibbles at the bit of food she grabbed earlier, carefully watching him as he fidgets again. She'll sigh, "How about you… not look at me as a queen rider? And you as a bronzerider. Would that make it easier for you?" she murmurs and then snorts. "We got different lessons, I think. Mine mostly focused on keeping control and… well, all of that."

L'el works on not sitting quite so hunched up and he nods. "And I'd like a new friend, honestly. Just we're taught that you're to be respected, you know. Kept apart. Never told us how you'd feel about that, though. I guess I'd be lonely and bit frustrated too." He pauses to actually take a bite to eat and not mangle his food. "And I'll work on not being so worried about what you expect."

Eodarin likewise tries to relax as well. "You can still be a friend and still offer respect," she points out with a faint, crooked smile. "At least that's how I see it in my head? And yeah, it's frustrating! They expect goldriders to be this or that and there's very little room to just… be. I don't really like being told how I'm supposed to behave." Her shoulders shrug. Not that she has much choice? "What did you think I expected of you? Minus bringing me food and drink."

L'el shakes his head. "That's it, I didn't know. I mean, we've barely talked before this, but we're supposed to be together for this time and I guess, Suareth is always going to be interested now in Orayth, more so than if he'd never caught and I just wasn't sure what was going on. And here I am, older than you by turns and if I don't know, how are you supposed to know?"

"Does that happen, with all the bronzes? Or is that Suareth, you think? I've… no idea who Orayth will allow to fly her next time. I had no idea who would this time." Eodarin may have had some part in that, catering to no particular rider. Yet why would she? She grimaces a bit, "You're not THAT much older than me. And what do you mean, if I don't know, then you don't know?"

L'el looks a bit sheepish "Just that I was older, was all. And if I didn't know what I was supposed to be doing, how was someone younger than me going to tell me what I was supposed to be doing?" He shrugs. "Sweeps are so much easier than this. No one to get upset or anything."

Eodarin's brows knit together again and she'll tilt her head a bit towards where her bedroom lays. Not that it's hard to miss it. "Are you meaning about what goes on there? Or rather that part of the flight?" she asks, bluntly but trying to soften it again with a vague smile. She chuckles dryly, "I'm not upset. Do I look upset? … are you?"

L'el turns bright red again. "No, no. Just, I felt like a fool, not knowing what you'd want or need as a rider on the sands." He can barely speak he's colored so much again. "That wasn't it at all. I mean, it didn't upset me, were you?" He looks mortally afraid for a bit, tensing back up. "I mean, Suareth and I did do alright, right?"

Eodarin makes a quiet sound of understanding at last. "Oh! Well… you didn't need to? I mean, it's — you pretty much have been taking care of it. Drink. Food. Stuff I'd probably forget about." she muses, only to look a little mortified herself. "What? Shells, no. I mean…" Cue a bit of flustering on her behalf. "No, I wasn't upset. L'el," Young or not, she'll reach across and try to rest a hand against his arm. Platonic but meant to comfort or at the very least reassure him. "Relax. You both did alright… Don't fret yourself to death over it."

L'el relaxes again and tries to laugh. "I'm making a right muddle of this, aren't I? I mostly just wanted to make sure I was taking care of things like I was supposed to. And not make you upset. Or me upset. Or anyone upset." He looks around once more and frowns. "But you're not upset so I'm off the hook there and now I can get back to trying to be a friend."

Eodarin will pat her hand against his arm before withdrawing and leaning back in her chair. "Not really? I mean, neither of us know what to expect. For all I know? This is normal. At least we can talk?" Small bonuses, right? She chuckles again, "I was never upset. Maybe about Orayth only clutching four eggs but… you've helped make me feel better about that. I can ignore the whisperings of others." To a degree.

L'el shrugs. "Well, not much we can do about that, and I think as long as Orayth and Suareth are happy about it, then we are as well. We'd be rather silly to make our dragons unhappy about it." He relaxes just a bit more, leaning back himself. "And it helps that we could talk. Because I was worried about what was going on." He waits for a second or so, "Do you think, or know how much longer it will be on the clutch?"

"I'm not that unhappy about it! It just bothers me how folks talk. I worry that Orayth will pick up on their blathering and get all prickly about it. She adores those eggs. Even if there are only four." Eodarin seems proud of that at least. Now that the tension seems to have lessened, she can let down her guard a little more. "Hmm. I'd say… not much longer? Half way, at the least is my guess. I could try to ask Orayth?"

L'el grins now, for perhaps the first time. "Well, she should be proud. Those are lovely eggs, even if I have to say it. I think they're just about perfect, myself." He offers quietly. "Suareth thinks that they're perfect as well and that they'll hatch when they are ready too. Why are dragons so patient?"

Eodarin's grin is a little slower but will eventually quirk up the corners of her mouth. "Guess we're all in agreement then and forget what anyone else says?" she muses and then laughs softly. "I've no idea. I'm half expecting to get a 'be patient' answer from Orayth when I do ask her." Reaching for more food, she'll give him a curious look. "So we're good, then?"

L'el nods his head slowly. "I think so. I can happily be around and be someone for you to talk to and all that. I just wasn't err, really ready to be anything more to anyone, if that makes sense? And I'm not any good around girls besides Mariel, but I've known her for ages."

"So you'll be around as a friend," Eodarin states simply and with a crooked smirk. "Which is all I want. I'm not, uh… looking for anything more. If I gave that sort of hint, then I'm sorry? But I mean it. I'm not trying to trick you or anything." Which is the honest truth. She IS young yet for that sort of stuff.

L'el shakes his head slowly. "I don't think so. I just didn't have any idea what to expect, at all. It's not like this was something where Suareth and I, we've been out winning gold flights left and right. Not that we weren't happy to win, though. Very happy."

Eodarin chuckles dryly, "Well I'm glad you're both happy. So am I. I was a little… worried over who would catch Orayth. You think you're older than I am? There's riders twice your age and far more set in their ways." Would he be offended if she grimaced a bit? Because she does. Suddenly her head lifts, slightly cocked to the side. "She's waking up. I should probably be there, in case she does want my company." Yet she doubts it. "Want to help me bring some of this back to the Sands? Whatever can withstand a bit of heat." she murmurs as she stands.

L'el nods and moves to stand up quickly. "Oh, sure. I can do that. Then I should find K'llian and find out how the rest of sweeps went today, see if there's anything else I need to do before I have to head to bed."

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