Can You See Me? WL #1

Weyrling Barracks
The weyrling barracks are two large buildings built against the bowl wall to house newly partnered dragon pairs until they are old and mature enough to move out into their own private weyrs. Originally separated by the riders sex, the smaller number of greens and blues impressing females and the rarity of a gold's arrival has reduced their territory to about a third of one of the barracks. The sections are separated by heavy leather curtains. There are wide wooden doors covered by a thin sheet of copper which roll open and closed as needed. Metal shuttered windows are found along the west wall, most often thrown wide open for both light and ventilation. The barracks are subdivided into areas for the dragonpairs which consists of a raised wooden platform couch for the dragons and a cot and small press for the rider. Pegs along the wall help to hold riding gear and there is a central area in which large barrels of oil, rags, brushes and cleaning supplies are gathered for all to use.

Practice Field
A wide expanse of trampled grass that unfolds in front of the weyrling barracks, this area has been used for turns for the play and exercises that growing dragons need. Here, they take their lessons, both for the riders and dragons, in everything they have to learn to be a functioning part of the weyr. Well, at least in the outdoor classes. Straps are first put on here, as well as first flights, both for dragons and then dragons and riders together. Oftentimes, if a wingrider is curious and has a free moment, they may wander through to see just how those new riders are progessing. Especially those they have a particular interest in.

After the normal morning feed and exercise session, the weyrling dragons were sent to take their normal early nap. As per the usual, Pen took the riders to the classroom for basic instruction which today focused on the mental bond and its effects. Unlike normal, after the class was over he left the riders to their 'homework', locking them in the barracks after he left. Now lunchtime approaches and with it hungering waking dragons. Outside the icy cold of winter is in full effect though with the threadfall shutters closed, little can be seen but hints of light and snow. Suddenly, the wooden doors open and P'wyn walks in, wrapped against the cold but looking flushed and smugly happy. "Rise and shine, children. Time to play."

Eodarin isn't exactly thrilled to have been locked into the barracks but she'll settle by Orayth's couch and absorb more of today's lesson while the young gold slumbers on. Of course, this means she'll also converse with any of the other weyrlings in the mood to talk. It's sort of 'homework' if they sort of breeze by the topic of their lessons… Kind of. She's just turning her focus to a now waking Orayth when P'wyn makes his return. His smugness earns a skeptical look from her but an intrigued rumble from Orayth. Can the play time come with food? "We heading out?" Eodarin asks, already pushing to her feet.

Shailaja will endure the locked in state as she usually does - mostly by reviewing her studies (alone and with the others, if they're so inclined), chewing her lower lip, and oiling Ruebalith to an unnecesssary degree. It's just a thing. The slumbering gold doesn't seem to mind either which way, so deep is she in her slumber; it's only when the door opens and Orayth seems to rouse herself that she opens her eyes. Shai worries over her lower lip and rises when Eodarin does, her expression mostly curious and a little cautious. "Oh. Um. What are we doing, sir?" She flicks a look to Eodarin, then back to P'wyn.

P'wyn just smiles at the combination of sullen looks, moans, and honest curiosity he receives in welcome. "We're headed outside, yes, Eodarin. It's still snowing a bit so dress warmly and in layers cause the sun is high. I know some of your 'mates are already starting to feel a little hungry." This is said with a significant look for H'dae and his brown, known for eating just about everything in sight. "But they can and should be able to wait just a little while longer." A few others tease at H'dae good-naturedly while adventurous Tatoith comes running to up Pen's feet. "Hello, little lady." He says with a smile for the large green. After L'ke has collected her, P'wyn looks up again, frowning. "Five minutes, people! I want all of you out and ready to go in five minutes. And don't forget your lifemates." As if the dragons would stay behind.

Eodarin would have joined on the teasing of H'dae if she wasn't hastily grabbing her winter clothing and dressing as rapidly as she can. Orayth is up now and stretches a little, tilting her head to watch Tatoith. Her impatience to be off shows only in the way she 'fidgets'. A twitch of the tail and wings and Eodarin's near to constant muttering under her breath. She has to be worried about being left behind, not the other way around! "We're good!" she calls before wrapping her scarf snugly around her neck and chin. She'll leave her mouth uncovered just enough that her talking won't be too muffled. Spying Shailaja and Ruebalith, the girl grins. "Guess it's a secret and we'll find out?" she muses.

"Oh." Beat. "Oh! Oh, jays." Shailaja's eyes widen at the proclamation - or maybe at the idea of making Ruebalith wait a little longer for food. In either case, she hastens to get herself bundled up, while her angular lifemate stretches like the clumsiest feline that ever was. Her toes splay, her tail thrashes, and she yawns mightily before settling in to sit. Of course, Shai's ready before the five minutes are up, but her ostensibly better half doesn't exactly seem enthusiastic to get up and get moving. The gold chuffs and cranes her head this way and that to see what the others are doing. "I don't know if I like the idea of secrets," Shai replies warily. "I mean, it can't be that bad, can it?" And, yet.

Shailaja comes out of the weyrling barracks.

Eodarin comes out of the weyrling barracks.

As the last of the two clutches are struggling to get themselves ready, P'wyn steps outside, being very careful not to open the door too widely. This might be to prevent the accumulation of snow or to keep out the icy wind. But as the first pairs spring the doors wide and the glaring winter sun hits the massive piles of snow outside the barracks, it's clear the intent was to keep this lesson a secret as long as possible. While the practice field is usually kept fairly level, if not completely snow free, it seems someone has been building while the weyrlings were locked in. Great walls of icy snow stretch up a good 10 feet or more, held in place with the slightest glazing of ice, as if someone had sprayed water over the snow. The uneven tops can be seen spreading all the way across the field in maze-like fashion, so there is just enough space for the 35 pairs to comfortable fit. Four openings are set in the walls, hinting at the maze with in. Two of dragon width. Two of human width. A single tunnel runs straight through the center to the bowl, but Enolth's bulk is blocking entrance. P'wyn strides over to a pile of black cloths. He scoops two up, one a bit like a bandanna. The other is much closer related to an equine fly mask but blocking at the eyes as well. Delicate straps allow the width to be changed several sizes. "So. I hope you all studied well." P'wyn says with a grin.

"Nah, it can't be that bad." Eodarin will regret her confident words to Shailaja the moment it's made clear exactly what they'll be doing. Orayth doesn't seem to mind the cold, her rider shields her eyes for a moment as she adjusts to the brightness outdoors. She gapes in surprise to the change, then promptly swallows both her words and her nervousness. Studied? Those black cloths and masks are now eyed with suspicion, but she's eyeing the structures of snow and ice too. "… what is it that we're to do?" There's a side glance to Shailaja and the other weyrlings too. How're they handling this? Orayth rumbles, having taken a few steps ahead of Eodarin but now she returns to her side and leans in close. She appears almost… eager for this challenge, gathering confidence where her rider is beginning to falter.

Shailaja's face falls as soon as the maze is revealed. Or, at least, the walls and the maze that presumably resides within it. Clearly, this is worse than whatever she was thinking. Ruebalith picks her way along behind her rider, her movements inherently clumsy - and, oddly, self-conscious. That flick of wings, that twitch of tail; all nervousness. "I think we did," is lacking a little in confidence. She did study, Eodarin and the others can attest to it, but still. Some of her lifemate's uncertainty is probably bleeding through. She opens her mouth to question - but Eodarin beats her to it and all that escapes is a pretty pitiable sound. And if she takes a few steps closer to her fellow goldrider, so be it. They're in this thing together, after all!

P'wyn waits out the expected response. Most are like those of the two goldriders, to varying degrees but some extreme confidence, fear, and complaining ensues. He allows it to go on as the pairs shuffled out but once everyone is ready, quells the noise with a frown. "Today you will be practicing your imaging and mental link. These mazes are relatively simple as you are still young pairs. Expect several similar tests over time, getting more complex with time and experience. So. First." He motions towards the 'doorways' on either side. "There are two paths on each side. Riders in the smaller door, dragons in the larger. When your dragon get to the first split there will be a sign on both directions. Enolth will tell your lifemate which path to take. Once he or she passes the split there will be a second sign. Your lifemate will tell you the image on the sign and that will indicate which split /you/ take. Your second sign will then tell your lifemate which path to take. When you both reach the end, pull one of the ropes. It will contain your food bucket." He holds up a blind fold. "These come in for the second half when you get to fill that bucket." At this Enolth moves and behind him at the end of the tunnel is a long trough of fresh cut meat. "First your lifemate will walk you through. You will fill the bucket. Then you will walk your lifemate through." With each 'walk' he indicates the walkee's blindfold. "Are there any questions?"

Eodarin was paying close attention during lessons but to put it into practice so soon and in a split challenge like this? She isn't so certain but she's going to give it her best shot. Could be Orayth's bolstering her or she's found it on her own and is further encouraged by the gold, but she straightens her shoulders a bit and flashes Shailaja a reassuring smile as P'wyn explains. "Doesn't seem so bad?" she murmurs to her friend, before turning her attention back to the Weyrlingmaster and nodding her head. "None here…" But she'll fall silent quick enough for any of the others to speak up.

The explanation is heard. Focused on, in fact. And Shailaja does follow it all as best she can, but it's obvious she's… cautious about the whole thing. She glances at Ruebalith and the gold looks back with eyes that seem somehow wider than they should be. "I think we'll be okay," is supposed to be either reassuring - or convincing herself of the fact. Eodarin's smile may or may not work - it's hard to tell, given givens. Shai worries at her lower lip while she looks from the masks to the maze again, clearly thinking about the puzzle, such as it is. "We'll be okay," is more firmly stated. And, when she realizes there was a question, she gets a bit pink around the edges. "No, no sir. No questions."

P'wyn nods as most seem at least hesitantly ready for the challenge. A few of the youngest riders need a little reassurance and so P'wyn gives some encouragement. Then Ceratoth rushes forward to be first. "S'mum! Control your bronze please." The now embarrassed young man pulls the weyrling dragon in hand as P'wyn motions to the two golds standing conveniently nearby. "Eodarin and Orayth to the left side, Shailaja and Ruebalith to the right please. Take your places. Once you both reach the first split, have your lifemate request Enolth's key. There are at least 4 splits in each maze before the end. Once you have your bucket return the way you came in and you'll be allowed to move on to the second step." He grins. "They should be good and hungry at that point." With a pause he adds thoughtfully. "And easily distracted."

It's a good thing Ceratoth is pulled back as Orayth was about to bound forwards, thinking it was the start of the challenge. Eodarin keeps her in place, though she can hardly keep from snickering under her breath for the gold's slightly embarrassed huff. No time to reflect on it as P'wyn is calling for them to take their places. Eodarin flashes Shailaja another reassuring grin and gesture with her gloved hand. They can do this! Might not be perfect but it'll get done! Stepping into place, the pair wait with Orayth snorting. She won't be easily distracted (yes she will)! "Got it!" Eodarin calls, raring to go less her confidence flee again and she ends up balking or making a true mess of things.

Oh, Ceratoth. Shailaja winces in preparation for something terrible to befall the young bronze but, when nothing does, she relaxes. A little. Once the directions are given, she nods - if a bit stiffly - to P'wyn and moves to take her place, while Ruebalith cautiously picks her way along to her spot. She warbles uncertainly and shifts her weight from one side to the other with an anxious flutter of wings. As for Shai, she tries to return Eodarin's smile with one of her own, though it might be just a little lacking in reassurance. All the same, she's there and she's going to try with everything she's got! And, hey, it can't be too bad, right? She bounces in place once she's in the position, trying to work herself up to actually go in. Once they're bid to go, though - they will. Maybe not confidently - but they'll do it, all the same.

With both golds in place, P'wyn nods. "Ok ladies, show us how it's done." He waits long enough to see each pair step out of sight then turns to chat with a few of the other impatient weyrlings. Enolth meanwhile rises up so that he can see into the maze and watch curiously. He sends each little queen an encouraging warble as she enters the maze.

Eodarin rolls her shoulders and bounces a bit on her heels as well, mostly just to keep from getting too chilled. Warm clothing or not, it's cold out! Then it's their turn to go and there's no backing out now. Both she and Orayth approach their respectful entrances and for the first bit it seems like they'll go about it just fine. They're slow, cautious but handling it well. It's as they reach further into the maze, onwards to the second stages that things begin to gradually fall apart. P'wyn guessed right, Orayth does become easily distracted as her hunger grows. Distracted and frustrated, which in turn frustrates Eodarin. Especially so when Orayth insists that the pulley system for the buckets be inspected in detail while Eodarin just wants to get on with it. It takes a moment for them to work it out, compromise and get back to working as a team on the same page but they manage! Just with some grumbling and (loving) bickering.

As for Shailaja and Ruebalith- well. They're slower. Much slower. Mostly because Ruebalith is unsure of her footing on the ice and snow, despite her claws; and Shai's equally unsure of her own footing. The anxiety is more of a distraction than the hunger is and, more than once, the young gold stops to creel piteously as she struggles to make sense of what Enolth says to do - and send that along to her rider, all with the heavy feeling of hunger in her belly. It does get progressively worse as the gold gets even hungrier - and Shai, by extension, suffers from that shared sensation - but they will make it out. Probably after another pair's gone through on Eodarin's side, of course, but all the same.

As expecte for a first attempt, there are plenty of 'failures' though only one poor blue has to actually be rescued. P'wyn over all seems pleased with the first attempts and all the dragons do get fed, though perhaps not as quickly as they'd expected. "Now that you understand some of the things that can be asked of you and your lifemates, I hope you'll take your studying more seriously." It seems Eodarin wasn't the only one who wasn't as aggressive with homework. "You'll be adding imaging practice to your daily exercises. From now on, with your morning work out, I'll be holding up signs that you will need to practice sending back and forth to each other." He looks over the feeding dragons approvingly. "For now, finish up with their meals. Then it's wash and oil and down for naps. After your 'mate is asleep you are free to get your own meal and take a little time for yourself." Enolth rumbles as P'wyn calls out a military "Dismissed!"

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