Strange

Spring in High Reaches means the worst of the cold is over. Instead of snow though, it’s rain that falls. On this particular evening, the very skies seem hell bent on drowning the Weyr. Sheets of rain fall heavily, sometimes flashing silver in the feeble glowlight outside most of the main cavern entrances as the rain is tousled by the winds.

Late though it may be, the cavern holds host to a few lingering souls. Among them are one of High Reaches newest (and youngest) Jr. Weyrwomen. It’s been well over a week since Orayth’s eggs have Hatched and Eodarin still finds it uncomfortable at times to be out in the crowds even IF her position dictates it. Though at least she has duty to hide behind in most cases. Right now? She’s content in nursing a mug of klah and enjoying a moment where she isn’t playing host to someone or a group.

What a wonderful time to arrive in his new home. Soaked, bedragled, half drowned, dripping, sodden, and sullen, Kalur tromps into the caverns in a coat that’s too big, shuffling along behind a Harper Journeyman who seems less interested in his charge and more interested in shedding his coat and making a beeline for the beverages. Hesitant, Kalur just stands in the doorway, looking around and up with huge, round eyes. Overwhelmed much?

Hard to miss two very soaked individuals walking in! Eodarin looks up from her drink and while she notes the Journeyman with a polite nod (if he even bothers looking), her attention is more on the poor half drowned Kaldur. Setting her mug down and trying not to sigh about the loss of her otherwise quiet evening, she’ll stand and gesture to the nearest drudge. “Towels. Quickly, now!” She quietly orders and tries not to squirm at how odd it is for people to scurry away at her bidding. Ugh. “Evening! Best if you come closer to the hearths. Try and dry off before you catch any more of a chill.” She offers, only a touch awkwardly.

Kalur looks up and over, eyes flicking automatically to her shoulder. “Miss. Ma’am. Goldrider. Um. Hi, yes, sorry, it’s raining.” No kidding. Shuffling, and tripping over the hem of the overlarge coat, he moves slowly towards the hearth fires.

Right. Eodarin forgets that the knot is often what people look for, rather than at her. “Eodarin is fine,” she supplies with a smile, doing her best not to smirk or grimace. “Orayth’s rider. Why are you sorry? The rain isn’t your fault, is it?” Ooh, she was doing so well with her sarcasm! She gives a bit of an apologetic look before reaching out for him hastily when he trips. Now she can’t help but chuckle. Just a little bit. “Careful! The Weyrwoman would have my head if you cracked your skull this soon on arrival. Go on and sit. Is that Journeyman with you too?” Where’d he go, anyways?

Kalur cracks his first smile. “Maybe it is!” He replies, accepting her help to steady himself. Lifting the hem of the coat he shuffles over to flop into a chair. “Yeah. He was. We rode up from the Hold. Well, we rode from Fort originally. I liked my runner. She was good.”

“How would you be at fault for rain?” Eodarin challenges but in as playful a manner as she dares. There’s eyes and ears here and while the young goldrider wants to be more relaxed, so far she’s restrained. Which is difficult! So difficult. Once he’s safe in that chair, she’ll remain standing until that drudge shows up with some clean towels which are promptly offered to Kalur. “Here! Hopefully any of your spare clothes are dry?” She muses, only to give him a very curious look. “Fort? So are you posted here then or passing through?” So many questions! Runners seem to interest her as well. “Where is she now? Our stablemaster is quite good with the beasts. You needn’t worry if you left her with him or any of his charges.”

Kalur shrugs with a grin as he peels himself out of the coat. “I don’t know.” It sounded good though? He takes the towels hastily, draping one over his head while the other goes over his shoulders and one across his lap. “Everything’s soaked I think. I didn’t have hide bags, just canvas.” Not water-proof then. “I’m posted here. And yeah, she’s in the stables but he’ll,” he nods towards the Journeyman, “be taking her back when he goes in a sevenday. He’s just dropping me off and doing some of his own business.”

Eodarin reaches for his coat and gingerly brings it over to some of the pegs by the hearth where hopefully it’ll dry out. Somewhat. “Should always travel with hide, not canvas. Especially in these parts,” she chides but gives just enough of a smile to take the worst of the edge off. Not that there was much to begin with. “Ahh, that’s a pity you can’t keep her! So if he’s…” And she nods to the Journeyman, wherever he’s lingering, before glancing back to Kalur. “So you’ll be under one of the posted Harpers here, then?” She asks.

Kalur shifts a bit uneasily, hiding his face under the towel. “Didn’t have a choice, that was all we had.” Canvas. No hide for his family. Then he laughs. “Keep her? Me? I’m just a Harper Apprentice, there’s no way they’d give me a runner!” The very idea is…well. He’s laughing. “Yeah, I guess so?”

Eodarin might be aware, in some way, that she was a touch callous with that teasing remark. “Oh well…” she begins awkwardly, before clearing her throat. “If you need it, we might have some spare clothes in storage? I can’t guarantee they’ll fit well but they’ll be dry?” It might not be her position either to offer but she does so anyways and she’ll suffer any lecture from the Headwoman. “Well, I mean… sorry,” she finishes lamely and with a smirk. “Guess you’re right.” At least he’s laughing! “Welcome then, to High Reaches!” She’s about to take her seat, but hesitates, giving him another look. “Are you hungry? Thirsty?”

Kalur looks down at his sodden clothes and shrugs. “I dunno. I just got here.” He doesn’t even have a bed at this point. Then he smiles a bit, glancing at her and looking /at/ her for the first time. “Thanks.” Then he blinks, a bit taken aback and looks around for a drdge. “A little…”

She best not find out about that. Eodarin returns his smile and when he does look at her, he may realize then just how young she is. Seeing him look almost shocked, she chuckles. “Don’t worry. There’s bound to be something still on the fire. Here,” And while he may never have been able to get a prompt response from the drudges, she seems to gain one’s attention fairly easily. There’s a quiet spoken request and then the drudge scurries away again while Eodarin takes a seat across from Kaldur. “Now that that’s taken care of… I’m going to guess that you’ve never been outside of Fort before?”

Kaldur is starting to see that, now that he’s looking past the knot. “How old are you?” he blurts out, before dipping his head and blushing. “Sorry, miss… uh, no, never been out of Fort. Well, into the forests and things like that but never traveled anywhere.” The trip here was certainly eye opening!

Eodarin blinks and bristles for half a second before she calms herself. Just an innocent question! Unlike what some might be muttering about around here. “Fifteen,” she answers with just a slight lift of her chin. A challenge, maybe? Though her nose wrinkles, “Please don’t call me ‘miss’. Eodarin… or even Darin.” Formality? Who needs formality! “I’ve never been to Fort myself. Hopefully it won’t be too much of a shock, coming this far north. I’m originally from Ista.”

Kaldur brightens. “Me too!” Then he gapes at her. “I…can’t…call you miss? I. But. What.” She’s broken him.

“Really?” Eodarin sounds skeptical right from the start and whether or not it’s rude, she’ll peer a little closer at Kalur. At least she seems satisfied with whatever she sees? Because she doesn’t deny him, though there’s a faint snort as she sits back again. “You must have started young, then, in your Craft? Do you sing, then?” ALL Harpers sing, right? When he appears ‘broken’ by her simple request, she can’t help but laugh a little. “What? Why is that wrong of me to ask?”

Kaldur tilts his head. “Young? No…? Don’t most kids start at 12 or something? I just started.” He coughs. “I don’t sing /well/. And, um. I don’t know? I was taught that all goldriders are miss or ma’am or something like that, else they’ll get angry.”

Eodarin shrugs her shoulders before she remembers her manners and that it’s likely “unbecoming” of her to be so relaxed with her actions. “I… sorry, I forget that the Crafts start young. I never was part of one, though it was suggested to me. I stuck on as a stablehand. At least — I figured I would BE one for awhile.” Not so. She laughs again, a little quieter this time. “Some of them prefer it. I’d probably stick with ma’am for Weyrwoman Sazey and definitely call Weyrleader O’mohe, sir. I don’t mind being called by my name. It’s tiresome always hearing ‘Jr. Weyrwoman’ or ‘miss’ all day.”

Kaldur shifts a little bit but he nods, willing to take her at her word. There’s another, firmer nod. “You think I’ll meet them?” It seems unlikely, to him. Of course, he’s sitting here with a Junior so clearly things aren’t going as he’d thought they would. “Eodarin, then?”

Eodarin shakes her head, “Probably not? But in the rare chance that you do… Well, now you know? You’ll probably get to know most of the weyrfolk here and perhaps a few of the riders. Some are like me and don’t really stick to stiff formality. Others prefer it…” And from her tone, she doesn’t seem very approving. Old sticks in the mud! Now she smiles, crookedly this time. “Yeah, that’ll be fine.” So he does learn! Brows knitting, she turns the conversation back to his Craft. “So if you don’t really sing, what DO you do?” Tell her more? Though he may be saved by the arrival of the drudge with a tray of food and some water. Not terribly thrilling, but the food is hearty and warm and the water no doubt refreshing. Once the tray is on the table, Eodarin excuses the drudge. “Help yourself,” she murmurs, pushing the tray towards Kalur.

Kaldur nods, committing that bit of advice to memory. Then he clears his throat, looking down and shrugging a shoulder. Saved, indeed, as the drudge returns and he perks up. “Wow,” he says, eying the food with wide eyes. “Is this normal?” he asks, reaching for the fork and digging in. What question? He’s trying to eat slow but he’s still shoving it into his face.

“Is what normal?” Eodarin prompts again with a chuckle, giving him a bit of a look. She’ll let her previous question slide too, so he can at least enjoy his meal.

Kaldur swallows hastily, coughs, and answers. “This food. There’s so much, it’s so good!”

Eodarin blinks and glances about the cavern to be sure no one is nearby. Only when she’s certain, she’ll lean forwards and quietly ask, “Is there not this much food in Fort?” All he was given was some reasonably fresh bread and some thick, hearty stew.

Kaldur blinks back at her and then he blushes, dipping his head. “Fort is a very good Hold,” he says firmly.

Eodarin’s gaze slides away, embarrassed as well. After a few seconds of awkward silence, she’ll clear her throat. “I’m sure it is a very good Hold. Didn’t mean to imply otherwise? You just seemed so surprised about the meal and yet…” It’s so plain!

Kaldur. “I’m hungry.” That’s his excuse and he’ll stick with that. Even as he’s shoving more food into his face. “What’s your queen’s name?”

Eodarin covers her mouth to block the snicker that almost escapes her. Yeah, obviously he’s hungry! “There’s more, if you want? Otherwise the next meal isn’t until the morning.” And something is telling her he wouldn’t step foot in the kitchen and ask for a snack himself. “Orayth.” She says fondly, only to realize she had skipped one important step herself. “What’s your name?” There’s a pause and she’ll forget her rank as she jokes: “Or should I call you Harper Apprentice, sir?”

Oh, don’t put it past him. He’ll be sneaking into the kitchens in no time. Just not yet. Shock, and all that. Then he laughs, blushes, pauses, and laughs again. “Harper Apprentice or sir, either is acceptable.”

Good. Eodarin’s already a pro at it, plus the fun got sucked out of it the moment she was tapped into her rank. It’s not like the kitchen staff will deny her. “Not fair,” she intones dryly. “I’ll call you sir if you’d at least give me your name? You’ve got mine.” It’s the Pernese version of exchanging phone numbers!

Kaldur grins crookedly, his personality beginning to shift into more himself and less ‘stunned’. “Kaldur.”

“Well met, Kaldur.” Eodarin dips her head politely and even though she’s being ‘formal’ it’s almost in a mocking way. Almost. He may be relaxing, but she’s still got her guard up. For now. “Is there anything else I can get you this evening?” Okay, THAT was quite formal but she seems to be running out of anything more to say.

Kaldur is thrown by that, again. “Shouldn’t I be asking you that?”

Eodarin rolls her eyes and scoffs again, “No? I mean, I can take care of myself but it you thought I needed anything then by all means, ask. But it’s not… necessary.” Clearly she’s not adjusting very well to the whole ‘rank’ thing. Even if it’s not rank and just general politeness.

Kaldur glances around, hesitating. Then he leans forward and whispers. “I think…I think you need to run around outside in the rain.”

Eodarin leans forwards as well, only to promptly lean back with a look of amused shock on her features. “… what?” She says through a bit of stunned laughter. “At this hour! And I’ve already got enough of a walk back to my weyr.” Now she peers at him, “Or are you hinting I should scurry home?” Ooh, who’s had his words twisted!

Kaldur is momentarily confused. What you see is what you get - at least right now. “No, no.” He stands and drops the towels onto the hearth stones. “I’m going.” And he darts across the Caverns and outside again into the rain. Does she follow?

Of course she will! Mainly because of the way he bolts and because he’s left his jacket hanging by the hearth. Eodarin might have left him be otherwise! Instead she’s grabbing that jacket, hiking her skirts and giving chase. “Hey! Kaldur! Wait!” She calls after him.

Kaldur is running fast through the rain. Until he reaches a puddle left by a dragon’s footprint in the mud. Then he JUMPS into it. Splash, splash splash!

“What are you doing!?” Eodarin exclaims over the rain and it sounds both incredulous and mixed in with some amused laughter. Of course by now the rain has begun to soak her through and his semi-dry jacket. Over the sound of the wind and rain, Orayth’s arrival is almost silent. Almost. She’s a large gold, almost thirty-two feet long and even in the night her hide is a rich sunstone hue. Large as she is, she’s graceful enough to avoid squishing Kalur or even knocking into her rider as she steps about the bowl and extends an equally as long wing to buffer the worst of the rain. Maybe it’s meant more for Eodarin but if Kalur doesn’t flee it absolute terror, he’ll be shielded too.

Kalur doesn’t see the queen until she’s almost RIGHT THERE, and he yelps in fear and tries to turn, ending up slipping in the mud and falling flat on his backside. Wide eyed, he just stares up at the queen. Damn. He’s only been here a candlemark and already he’s going to be sent home, he just knows it.

Or he’s just going to be the butt of a lot of gossip and rumors (and much snickering). Eodarin isn’t laughing. Not on the outside at least! She’ll hurry to his side, not caring how muddied her own clothing becomes. “You alright?” She asks, extending her hand to him. Orayth for her part stays quite still, though her head will tilt a bit to peer back at Kalur. She rumbles and for a moment Eodarin is distracted, before glancing back to the strange boy. “She apologizes, by the way, for spooking you. Not that you’ve anything to fear of her! She’s just wanting to know as much as I why you’re out here, splashing about.”

Kalur takes Eodarin’s hand, and briefly there’s a flicker of mischief in his eyes, but he pushes it back and only uses her help to stand up. “I’m fine, I’m fine. I just wanted to play, that’s all. Thought you should too, because you asked what I thought you needed…” He trails off, looking up at the gold and he clears his throat, dipping his head a bit.

“Play?” Eodarin’s reply is incredulous and she’ll laugh a little as she helps him to his feet. Though it jostles something in her head. Play. When WAS the last time she just… relaxed and did whatever? Probably sometime now. “We’re fifteen, Kalur. Not five.” She chides gently but he may be able to tell that even that doesn’t settle well with her. Orayth rumbles again and Eodarin’s attention is split once more before giving Kalur a lopsided smile. “Thanks though? For trying. Orayth’s got a point though… we best get back inside. Are you and the Journeyman who came with you staying in the lower caverns?” She asks, while handing him his jacket. Which is probably useless, really, but the gesture is all the same.

Kalur frowns, wiping (or trying to) mud off his face. Taking the jacket, he shrugs into it. “Play is important,” he says stubbornly. “And you don’t have to be five to play. Or any age. My parents never play and they’re miserable all the time. Harper Seth said we should play whenever we can because we don’t get as many chances when we get older. So. I’m just.” He exhales. “Never mind.” Moody, suddenly, he turns and begins to trudge back to the caverns. “Yeah, we are.”

Eodarin has nothing to help him for the mud. She frowns at his stubbornness but not out of disagreement. She DOES agree with him, but it wars with the lessons drilled into her and is reminding her of just how much she’s changed (or has she?) in such a short span of time. “What about reputation or rank? It’s not so easy.” For some. Or is it? Her frown deepens and with Kalur now moody, she’ll simply dip her head and push some of her wet hair from her eyes. Not that there’s much in length to begin with. “I can see you then, to you room and show you where the bathing caverns are and where to get towels.” She offers, a touch crisply. Orayth will follow them as far as she can along the bowl, keeping the worst of the rain off of them by the use of her wing. Once they’re at the entrance to the living caverns, they’ll be on their own and the gold will return to her ledge.

Kalur pauses, and gestures around a bit. “Who is here to see? Besides, do people more want to follow someone who’s stuffy all the time? Or someone they know is human and wants to have fun and all that?”

“The Weyr is always full of eyes and ears,” Eodarin quips and who knows if that’s part of a scripted lesson or just something she’s overheard. Stepping back inside the caverns, she’ll give him a long, lingering look. “… and it’s not so simple. You’re an Apprentice, folks don’t look at you the same.”

Kalur stops and looks around, up and across the bowl. “So?” He gestures to himself. “I’m sure folks are looking at me however they want to look at me. I don’t really care.”

Eodarin doesn’t stop in the caverns, leading him instead towards the lower caverns. She’ll give him another look over her shoulder. “You don’t?” She sounds skeptical again. “Not in the slightest bit?”

Kalur follows her. “Don’t what? Care what people think?” He pauses. “I guess not? I mean, not people I don’t know. People I know, I care what they think, but just…” he vaguely waves a hand, “people out there? I don’t care.”

“I used to think like you,” Eodarin admits with a grimace. Maybe somewhere deep down she still does? “But I can’t just… not care.” Yet she hesitates in admitting that and will gesture with her hand towards the lower caverns. “It’s probably best if I allowed you to get properly settled in. If you’re looking for the bathing caverns, they’re further down and to the right. You can always ask any of the lower cavern workers for help, if need be.”

Kalur shrugs. “Well, sure, /you/ can’t not care. But I can.” He peers down the caverns and nods. “Thank you, m - Eodarin, for your help. I appreciate it. Hope you have some fun later.”

Eodarin shakes her head and bites her tongue on further debating with Kalur. It’s getting late and she’s starting to feel chilled by her soaked clothes after chasing him down outside in the rain. At night. What was she thinking? “You’re welcome. And maybe I will!” She boldly states before dipping her head again and taking her leave in a swirl of skirts as she heads back towards the caverns and presumably back to her weyr.

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