Questions and What Ifs

Living Area
The residential living area takes up the bulk of the building. Several stories tall, one finds on each level a central common room with a long hallway along the back bowl wall stretching in either direction. Three windows at the far side of the common room offer in light, but the hallway is entirely lit by sconces filled with glows. Gloomy as it may be it allows the rooms linked to it to be lit by windows, at least half of them. Those which bore deeper into the bowl wall can only be lit by glows as well. On the lowest level, one finds a series of well lit rooms which serve as nurseries for the children of the Weyr. Each area seems divided by age and need with infants separated out from toddlers, separated out from young children, and so on. On the next level, one finds large dormitory rooms filled with bunk beds and small chests, one dorm for males and one for females for those age twelve and beyond who are still single. The levels above are filled by smaller rooms and apartments used by couples and families. The highest level is split in a series of apartments used by Weyr staff and Master ranked crafters and their families.

It's only autumn but it may as well be closer to winter with how cold it gets once the sun goes down. There's a wind now with a bite to it, driving most weyrfolk indoors. At least the skies are clear? Eodarin finds her way to the caverns after leaving Orayth to stargaze, satisfied the gold is content enough and won't be dragging her back to investigate something or another. Chafing her hands together, the young woman makes a straight line for the serving tables with anything hot to drink (and eat!).

Count Shailaja among those seeking warmth; she's fairly bundled up with a jacket and scarf, but both of those are quickly shed once she's inside. Ruebalith seems to be sharing her rider's thoughts; as the young woman goes to hunt something down from the tables, the youngling gold is doing the same in the pens. Tea and some manner of tuber stew are Shai's chosen prey - though as soon as she spots Eodarin, she's all smiles and wiggling fingers in greeting.

Ed'ard has been settled in at the back of the room for a long time, curled up around a cup of something warm that he might have well, added something to. There's a passing nod to those he knows well, but he mostly people watches for a long moment, glancing around the caverns tonight.

Eodarin wiggles her fingers back to Shailaja and she'll peer over to see what her fellow goldrider is grabbing for food. "That does look good," she admits, finally serving herself a small portion of it and grabbing some fresh buttered bread while at it. How she balances all that and a mug of klah (well sweetened) is anyone's guess but she manages! Barely. "Come join me? I think I spot someone who won't mind if we join his table." There's a tilt of her head to where Ed'ard is sitting in the back. She sees you!

Shailaja is, as tends to be the case, a woman of little food; just the stew and hot - unsweetened - tea for her. "It's really good, you know? If nothing else, they know their spices here." She grins a bit lopsidedly, nods, and tilts her head toward Eodarin encouragingly. "Sure! It's… really weird to think about eating alone now, after spending- jays, I don't know how long with everyone else." Candidacy and weyrlinghood do not make for a lot of opportunities to eat alone! She'll tag along after Eodarin, sneaking sips of still-steaming tea here and there.

Ed'ard looks a little surprised to be innudated by goldriders, but he shrugs his shoulders and raises his glass. "'Lo there, to both of you. Did they let you out for a moment? Freedom in small doses I suppose?"

"I'm half tempted to see if the cook here would do anything with Istan spices or an Istan dish," Eodarin admits with a crooked smirk. "Just to see if they could. Or if anyone would notice!" Not that it's likely to happen, but this is mostly idle musing on her part. "Really? Do you miss it, then?" Eating alone she means. Setting her plate and mug down, she'll give Ed'ard a faint grin. "Evenin'," she drawls, skipping any sort of formality. How much longer can she get away with that? "And it seems so. Freedom for whatever is left of the evening. You don't mind us intruding?" Too little too late to ask that! Eodarin already is making herself comfortable.

"Oh, oh jays, no," Shailaja laughs. "That just couldn't end well, you know?" She shakes her head and pulls up a seat shortly after Eodarin does, though she does attempt some kind of salute - if awkwardly - with her mug of tea. "Sometimes," is her reply, with a roll of a shoulder. "I mean, it meant that I could just sit with my thoughts. But, she's always there in them anyway, so…" she trails off with another tip-tilted grin and settles in. That grin goes just a shade apologetic when she looks at Ed'ard and, while her fellow goldrider steps into conversation, she quickly sneaks in a bite or two before adding, "Just a bit, yeah, yeah? Have to let us out at some point!"

Ed'ard frowns for just a moment. "I think they'd probably cook something for you, if you asked. Or knew the recipe. You're both important here you know." He's seemingly very distracted tonight, taking a long drink. "Even if Sazey would have you not think that. She's not the end all and be all of the weyr." A wave of his hand. Especially now, with more of you ladies than just her around."

"I suppose that's a good point," Eodarin admits concerning not missing being 'alone'. Hard to feel that way when bonded to a dragon! She snickers and there's a wry look to her eyes but no more is mentioned on the Istan dishes. Not until Ed'ard brings up how they're important! Cue a bit of sheepish silence from the girl as she too digs into her meal. "Yeah, I guess. But I wouldn't want them to feel forced to do it just cause, y'know, I asked." It still hasn't sunk in, quite yet, that after weyrlinghood both of them will have rank. Give it time. Mention of Sazey has her frowning and glancing sidelong to Shailaja, though she'll make sure to cast a quick look around the caverns before opening her mouth. "She doesn't frighten me." Never mind she says that quietly.

It's a good think Shai wasn't taking a sip at the time, else she'd likely choke. "Oh, oh, no," she blurts. "I'm sure they would, but I don't know that it would be good." She abruptly reddens and stammers out a quick, "I mean, I'm sure it would be good, but it wouldn't be-" better to shut up on that note and take a big bite of stew. As conversation shuffles right along, her previous flushing goes back to normal - and maybe a bit more pale than usual. There's a flicked look askance at Eodarin, well-timed to meet the other woman's own, and then she's adding, "I'm more afraid of my mom, you know? Though I guess she won't be here much longer." Left unspoken: given Sazey's tendencies. "Do you think she would try to send us off?" Quiet, that.

Ed'ard shrugs his shoulders. "I think she might try. But the weyr is getting a little tired I think, of her always running off the goldriders. Or, well. You know." He pauses. "But it doesn't bear to think about them. Bad enough she's sent Dei away now, along with only a turn or so ago Kerali." He nods to another rider he knows. "We all think it's getting just a bit excessive of her."

Eodarin tries not to bring attention to Shailaja's stammering and flushing, focusing on her food and managing to polish off a fair bit of it. It helps her to keep her tongue in check too, while Ed'ard brings up the past goldriders now gone. Swallowing (nerves? nah!), she'll look to her friend again before eyeing the bluerider. "She can't send us off anywhere if no Weyr will take us. If she's already chased two, how many places are left?" Logic, right? Leaning a bit to the side, she quickly mumbles to Shailaja, "Do you really fear your mother over Sazey?"

Shailaja wrinkles her nose a little and nods at Ed'ard. "I- jays. I just…" Frankly, there are no words and she leaves it at that, just nodding along with Eodarin when she speaks. She worries her lower lip a bit, then adds, "It's not like anything can be done if she does try, though, is there?" It's supposed to be rhetorical, but maybe it's not - not so much. There's a shallow nod and a sidelong look to Eodarin for that murmured query - her reply is just as hushed and quick: "She wasn't… wasn't always scary, you know? Not until I was old enough to Stand. Then everything went weird with her."

Ed'ard pauses. "She probably worries. I know I do. It's hard not to when you're a parent. You want the best for your children, and while that may include a dragon. It is not an easy life, ever." He nods toward the bowl. "I would not exclude my children from riding, because Denny is the best thing that has ever been in my life except for my children, but it doesn't mean I don't realize all the bad things that could happen. And well, it's also a funny thing when your children will outrank you, you know."

Eodarin's turn to look embarrassed and flush a bit, given Ed'ard is her father and she can pick up on the hints there. Plus, she keeps forgetting that snippet too that she'll basically be the 'boss' of him. Kind of. Weird, that! "Maybe that's it, then? She's just… worried?" Okay, from how her nose wrinkles a bit, she's not quite sure that fits Shailaja's mother. "Wish parents didn't have to worry." Cue a side glance to Ed'ard and then she'll just focus on her mug. Mmm, klah. "Bad things don't always happen."

Shailaja shakes her head slowly, while her nose remains wrinkled. "I don't know. She- I think, sometimes, she wishes I had the life she wanted before she Impressed." The words come slowly and are swallowed hard, chased with a gulp of tea. "I don't think I'll ever outrank her, anyway. I mean, it's not like… we're in a normal fighting dragon wing, you know? Where that kind of thing can happen." Shai trails off a little, ultimately nodding along with their words before settling into her meal in temporary silence.

Ed'ard offers up a slight smile. "Oh, don't mind me. I worry perhaps too much, folks would say. And that's just because I've seen more turns than you folks." He fights back a yawn and takes another long slug of his drink. "And when the weather gets colder, it brings out the maudlin side of me, which shouldn't happen when we have weyrlings about to graduate."

"But… why?" Eodarin lacks tact again and asks that before really thinking on it. There's a lopsided smile that follows, as if to hint that Shailaja doesn't really have to answer that. Lifting her mug and gently blowing on it, she'll take a tentative sip, only to grimace. Ugh, not enough sweetener! "It's true. Not entirely out of danger but not on the front lines. Honestly, there's other things I find just as scary as Threadfall." Like politics! "So… really, it's us who should worry about you, huh?" Eodarin tries a bit of teasing, directed to Ed'ard.

"You'd have to ask her, I guess," Shai replies to Eodarin with a lopsided shrug and a matching smile. She slants a look back to Ed'ard and her smile straightens out into a proper smile, though not quite a brilliant one; it's warm enough, though, and she says, "I don't think you worry too much. You worry and it's important, you know? You know what's important to worry about out. We don't know, I mean, not really. And, yeah, yeah. The politics- ugh. That's so much scarier than Threadfall sometimes. At least you know the Thread will stop at some point." Shudder.

Ed'ard leans back. "But you two. Oh, you two. You get the politics. Leave me out of it. Denny and I will search, as that's what we're good at. And we're decent at thread fighting. But you two can have all of the weyr running that you want." There are dimples out in force then before he finally moves to get to his feet. "But you'll have to excuse an old man who needs his sleep, you know."

"Don't forget the flights, clutches and hatchings and that you-know-who will probably expect us to spaw—- err, have babies." Eodarin points out, coughing a bit as she catches herself before getting a little too crude with her joking and darting a look to Shailaja. Did she miss anything in her list? Only it's not quite a joke, is it? She smirks at Ed'ard, "Gee, thanks? You sure you don't want to swap out rank sometime?" She'll give him a little farewell wave though, not about to stop him. "Sweeps in the morning?" she queries before he goes.

Ed'ard nods his head. "Yes. We're up early, Den and I. Have to go make sure all is quiet on the western front. Or maybe it's the eastern front." He gives a fond smile to Eo, before waving at Shailaja too. "Don't either of you stay up to late now, with all this new freedom to wander about."

"Oh, oh jays. Dragon babies and human babies and hidework. And still flying sweeps and managing ground crews and and and…" Shai stops to catch her breath. "And worrying. Worrying about whether she's caught by the right dragon." Another nose-wrinkle and a bit of a sigh. "Anyway. Take care and sleep well, yeah yeah? We'll be good." Mostly. She polishes off the last bit of her stew and sinks into her seat to nurse the remains of her tea.

Now might be a good time for Ed'ard to leave, given where the conversation is about to go. There's an impish grin from Eodarin but no verbal promise that she won't be up to something! Not really. Wrinkling her nose, she'll listen to Shailaja while sipping more of her tea. "Ugh, it sounds worse when you list it all like that too." She blinks. "You worried on who'll catch Ruebalith? Really?" Yeah, not awkward to ask. Not awkward at all!

"I know, right?" Shailaja huffs out a breath and stares into her mug, though there is a sidelong glance sent askance to Eodarin after a beat. "I mean, really. Some days, it feels like flying Fall is… well, not better, but more… more straightforward, you know?" A shoulder rises and falls. "I just… I don't want her to get caught by a brown, that's all. I don't want her to have weak clutches." Her forehead knits. "She's so small, you know? As golds go, that is."

"Right? Just sweeps and training and then preparing for Fall," Eodarin makes it seem so easy! Never mind the stress and constant worry that it may be the last time one ever goes out to fight Thread. "Though we'll have our part in it. Flamethrowers and all!" She'll raise her mug to that as if to toast their role in the whole hierarchy. Back to more serious topics, the young girl tilts her head. "Yeah? Doesn't mean that she'll get snared by a brown. Plenty of bronzes." And large browns. She chews at her lower lip a bit. "But I mean… is it really that bad if a brown catches? What if he's a larger one? I mean, I know a brown can't sire golds or whatever but isn't the Weyr always wanting more fightin' dragons too?"

Mug meets mug with a muted clunk and then Shai's right back to holding hers with both hands. "Well, yeah. I mean, that part- and calming the injured dragons down and dealing with injured riders and…" All she can do is shake her head to clear it; it's almost too late, given the slow stirring of desert sands in Ruebalith's mind. She blows out another breath and tilts her gaze ceilingward. "I guess? But, I mean. It's a bad thing, or so my mother always told me. Not as strong, not as big. Not as many dragons to help out, you know?"

Eodarin grimaces and has yet again failed to look at the whole complete picture. She forgot that they'd be dealing with the injured too. Joy of joys, that. "Kind of makes you wonder what some girls have heard when they say they'd love to be a goldrider, huh?" she says dryly but with a hint of a amusement. Do even such girls exist? Quiet, she'll nod her head and shrug, "I dunno. I hear the same but I can't help but feel sorry for the browns and their riders."

Shailaja sucks her teeth and nods a little, though the nod is a slow one - numb, in a curious sort of way. "I never understood it, you know? I mean. I never…" she stops, then starts again, "Did you ever really think you would be a goldrider? Really?" She turns just enough to properly look at Eodarin. "I never would have thought it. It seemed- I don't know, too taboo to think about it. And seeing what they had to do, it just- it seemed right for other women." And then there are the browns and she nods, nose wrinkled all over again. "I know, I know. But- everything should be for the good of the Weyr, right?"

Eodarin stares right back at Shailaja when she's studied like that but to her credit she doesn't fidget… much. "Well, no. I never thought I'd be a goldrider. Like you said, it seemed for other women. Shells, I'm not even fifteen yet! So when I agreed to Search, I figured it'd be experience at best. Y'know? Plenty of women for the gold. I thought maybe I'd be, at best, a greenrider. Heh, even thought of blue." How scandalous! And as rare. Eodarin's nose wrinkles too and then she sighs, "Right. But sometimes I wonder if we can't do some things for ourselves too." A little rebellious, is she? Maybe.

"I'm not that much older, you know," Shailaja replies - though there is definitely a difference. "Three turns, I guess. It probably seems like more, but," she shrugs and leaves that there. Her mug, in turn, is set down; any warm comfort it provided is long gone by now. "I kind of, well. I guess I thought the same? Green at best. A blue, maybe? That would probably send her into fits," is half-laughed, half-winced. "Mostly, I figured they'd go for everyone else. That it'd be, like you said, an experience." Not so lucky on that score, it would seem. It's the last bit that has her eyeing Eodarin askance with slightly narrowed eyes - narrowed with a hint of conspiracy, that is. "Like what?"

Eodarin smirks crookedly, "You'd be of marrying age in the Holds by now." she teases lightly. No, it's not much of a difference but it's enough! There's a light snicker too, for mentioning of fits. She doesn't have to ask who! "Yeah, exactly. Guess we were both proven wrong, huh?" When she's eyed, the girl merely shrugs as if to play innocent. "Oh, you know. Just… not listen to them for once! Chose for yourself or chose what you feel is better for the Weyr — not what the Weyr tells you to think. It just… seems weird to have some of our lives controlled. Guess I'm not used to it." If she ever will be.

"Jays, I'd have been of marrying age at your age in some of those Holds." A shudder trips down Shailaja's spine. "At least the Weyr doesn't care about that so much. Well. You know what I mean, right? It's just… it's better here, in a lot of ways." Even with the weird impositions put upon them; she seems reasonably accepting of it all as a whole, but it might be that extra three turns of experience. "I… guess? Maybe? Not that we're really in any position to do too much, you know? Not with Sazey handling most of it and us- well. We're just supposed to behave, yeah? Be good at what we do. Maybe others won't care so much, but she will - and I don't know about you, but I like it here."

Eodarin does show her age a bit by gagging and visibly shuddering in a comical way. "Oh, jays! Are you serious? I… ugh, no! What is with the Holds?" Weyrbred too, she's probably only heard bits and pieces about the Holds. And then there's been all their training about the Holds here but that's more on a political scale. There's a nod of agreement about it being better in a Weyr and for the rest she just shakes her head and sets her mug aside. "Yeah, I know. Behave and do our duties as goldriders." It just seems so stifling! But maybe it's not so bad? Eodarin chuckles dryly, "I like it here too. I'm not of mind to go doing anything to get Sazey on my case." Yet. "Think we should head back?"

Shailaja pushes to her feet and collects her dishes with a laugh. "They just want children. Workers. That's a lot of why my mother left Bitra all those turns ago, I guess. It's probably not as bad at the bigger Holds, you know? But I've heard some stories about those small ones. You know the ones." The ones that aren't really talked about in the lessons, for sure. "It kind of makes things a little easier, in some ways," she finally settles on. "Sort of. Maybe- maybe it'll be better if Sazey's ever, well." It's a thought that could be misworded terribly and she stops herself abruptly. "Yeah. I think I'm just… tired. Ruebalith's getting restless, too," which is no good for anyone involved. Better that she just goes to tend to her dishes and return to the barracks!

Eodarin does the same as well and has an easier time of carrying all her dishes this time now that they can be stacked. No embarrassment here from her dropping things! Her nose wrinkles again and she snorts, "Ugh. Don't think I have and I don't think I WANT to know, thanks…" Now there's a first! Usually she's curious about everything! Shailaja may have stopped mid-sentence, but Eodarin picks up and thankfully doesn't finish it for her. Her raised brows say it all but there's no scoff or shocked proclamation. "Guess we'll see? And I'm getting sleepy too. Orayth grew bored of the stars…" No need to explain further! Eodarin will not be far behind Shailaja and hopefully before either gold get too displeased with their riders prolonged absence.

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