==== January 1, 2014
==== Yules, V'dean, and El'ai
==== After a long day of training, Yules and V'dean take in a meal. El'ai arrives with a scented jacket of (somewhat) unknown origins, insisting it's Yules', and then the talk turns to an expedition to see these ghost ships for themselves.

Who Yules, V'dean, and El'ai
What After a long day of training, Yules and V'dean take in a meal. El'ai arrives with a scented jacket of (somewhat) unknown origins, insisting it's Yules', and then the talk turns to an expedition to see these ghost ships for themselves.
When Three months and 27 days until the 12th Pass
Where Living Caverns

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Living Caverns
Grand and spacious, the cavern curves high aloft in naturally-vaulted ceiling that soothes any sense of claustrophiba. Rich woods line the cavern floor, varnished and stained a rich mahogany, while round tables scatter about candlelit and intimate. The largest table lies southerly next the sideboard, long trestles that seem oriented to providing for the weyr's youngest. The rich blue of Azov can be seen from a distance in good weather, when the heavy stone doors covering the entrance are allowed to stand open.

The day stretches long when you're a wingrider with Ocelot, with drills starting in the grey of morning and the intensified sweep schedule keeping everone on edge since Keroon. Perhaps the wing's table is cheerier for it as dinnertime winds towards a close, a pint of ale settling with heavy comfort upon taxed synapses. Things are now breaking up as the evening progresses, and a number of riders are easing themselves from their seats to head off for baths or their loved ones or a good check over of straps before it begins all over again. V'dean, however, is in no particular hurry. The bluerider is still working on a rice pudding, his posture easily slouched even as he offers farewell to the man making an exit at his right shoulder. It's just part of the changing of the guard that shuffles the conversations at the table, but this one has him scanning a look about to see who's left.

Yules is back. She had seized a bite of something before scampering to the baths to get clean clean glorious clean, and now, hair still damp, she wanders back in, seizing a plate of foodstuffs and a clean glass as the newest Ocelot rider makes her way to the table earmarked for that wing. She eases slowly into a chair across from V'dean, eyeing that rice pudding as she starts to make work on her own dinner. What do you say to your new colleague in arms? How's the flaming going? How much rock did you toss today? "Hi," Yules opens with. It's a good start. She's reaching into her jacket and pulls out… a wineskin! Ta dah! "When does the body get used to this?"

How about those cumulus formations? But no, Hi seems good. Though V'dean tries a varient. "Hey." There may have been a bit of side-eye watching the approach of the new girl rider, but he is easy enough in offering a smile across the table as he lets his forearms rest back upon the edge. Cool green eyes are attentive upon her conjuring act despite the laziness of the comfy slouch he adopts. "I'll let you know when I find out," the bluerider answers with a briefly wider flash of grin. His spoon lifts from poke-poking at his pudding to point at the wineskin. "You still have the supply connections, huh?" he teases good naturedly.

And then the always-winning follow-up, how about that weather. Yules pours a bit of wine into her glass, sniffs the wine skin, then shakes it suspiciously. "Huh," is all she says to whatever she hears, but takes a sip readily enough: that elicits a satisfied 'ahhh'. This production, brought to you by wine. "Still haven't gotten used to it?" the newest rider asks with a bit of surprise, eyebrows arching. As for the skin, Yules offers it over, "Want some? I had a bottle left with me… a weyr-warming present, I think." As for connections, the brownrider looks smug for a second, with a simple, unclear, possibly coy, "Maybe." It's not a good expression for her. "What about you? Downing the pudding?" Sooner or later, it really is all about food - Yules tucks into her own some more, managing to smear a little herdbeast jus on her chin.

Later, maybe, in this case — with Ocelot's table starting to depopulate. Yules may be just getting to the main course, but V'dean is happily on to the rice pudding portion of the evening. He twists his spoon from pointy-pointing to plop back into the little bowl. "I guess I have a bit of a sweet tooth," is inflected as wry as the little twist of mouth pulling into the shadow of his dimple. But mostly, he's considering the skin being offered across the table. "You think?" It spreads his smile looser and lifts his brows. "You don't remember who gave it to you?" And despite being tempted, he ends up shaking his head to the offer. "Thank you. I'm not sure it'll go with this." The pudding, which he'll fish in now for a lumpy spoonful of tastiness.

And here comes El'ai, a catastrophe of chaos as he juggles a tray and what looks conspicuously like a jacket. It's not new — only wing seconds get new jackets — but it's not that worn and done in shiny black leather with green accents. V'dean would recognize it as the wing 'jacket', complete with the wing patch shown on the shoulder. "Oh, Yules." He dumps his junk on the table, not really paying attention to see whether he disrupts V'dean or Yules. "This is yours." It's a slightly nervous El'ai — the jacket bearer — that's shoving the thing in Yules' face. THINK FAST. "From Q'fex." Right? Right. You'd better believe Q'fex's is shiny and hot and new. Hot. Ahem. He waggles the jacket impatiently. Taaaaaake it.

Yules eyes the remaining pudding with some interest - amateur interest now, of course, but she's busy chewing on her herdbeast sandwich, smearing at her chin with one hand. The skin is retracted, Yules shaking her head, "No, I know who gave it to me, I just don't think the reason was as a weyr-warming present." Hey look, new topic… It's El'ai… with a jaaaacket? Yules' sandwich is put down, a slug of wine taken. Just in case. Ew, ew, jacket of unknown origins in the face! Yules looks over at V'dean, a mix of surprise and suspicion. "Why?" she asks the younger bronzer, hints of not-trusting in her tone, "I have a good jacket," let's be fair, it keeps the wind out, "of my own. Already got my patch on it, too." Q'fex is hot and shiny and new himself, why not his jacket? Well, at least the first two.

Q'fex is WELL-SEASONED. Of course the ex-cook would appreciate that about him.

"Oh?" Well doesn't this not-weyr-warming sound intriguing… but then shove goes that familiar black-and-green-and-patch and V'dean straightens in his chair and de-leans forearms from the table in order to flick a smile up at the bronzerider. "Hey, El'ai." He'll also sneak his bowl a little further from the center so it's not in as much risk of junk flopping. And while maybe he can't really talk when it comes to jackets, having suspiciously let his own Southern colors go absent and instead typically favoring a nice grey thing with no green at all… "But did that jacket come from The Weyrleader?" He beams. He gives a little knowing nod. The waggle of his eyebrows… is nothing compared to Q'fex. Impishness is shared in aside to El'ai.

El'ai blinks. Then blinks again. The sends a look V'dean's way. "Why? Because it's the official wing jacket. It means you're one of the guys." It's here that the bronzerider catches V'dean's impishness and starts to withdraw the jacket. "I mean. Hey, if you don't want to really be part of the wing and really be one of the guys, then I guess you can do whatever. I mean, no skin off my back. I'll just tell Q'fex that you rejected us." Yes. El'ai has had turns and turns of sibling (and therefore, people) manipulation with those blue-blue eyes and downtrodden expression as he is now jealously pulling back the jacket. "And that his jacket wasn't good enough for you." Lay it on thick, much? The clue to the lack of seriousness to the boy's little shenanigans would be the quick flash of a grin to V'dean, which Yules could totally catch if she's got her antennae going.

Thankfully, the subject of where the wine came from has been overtaken by that of this… jacket. It looks like a jacket… Feels like a jacket (yes, Yules just reached out to touch the sleeve)… She doesn't get to sniff it, distracted by looking up at V'dean for confirmation. Still, she's been around three older brothers long enough to eye the seemingly earnest El'ai. Sure, he's saying words, but honestly? "I can't reject Ocelot," Yules says stubbornly, "I asked for it." But did she ask for the jacket? Even as Yules is reaching both hands, gimme fingers style, for the jacket, she does look up to catch the tail end of that smile. Is it too late to retract her grasping attempt to accept the shiny jacket?

V'dean plays harmonic chorous to the bronzerider. Yes, one of the guys. If you don't really, Yules… his look of solemn hurt across the table is only a little crumbled around the edges by his humor. And, so rejected, the bluerider will even gust a long sigh. Not that his grin isn't catching creases about the cool green eyes that flick to catch the flash of El'ai's grin. And now he'll chorous for the brownrider, too, leaning a nudge to the teen. "She's asking for it." The wing, the jacket… can anyone believe his innocence? He beams it across at their newest wingmate, but saves himself from holding the expression very long by stuffing another spoonful of dessert in his face.

Oh? Grabby fingers? Suddenly, Yules is crushed beneath the weight of so much fine leather with a hint of Q'fex musk on it. Don't sniff the pits. Pernese don't have deodorant. "GOOD. I don't have to go to the Weyrleader," the bluerider gets the innocence of a mischievous grin flashed his way,"And tell him his newest isn't that bright." This is hazing, El'ai-style. One of the boys, see? "Now, who's famished? I'm famished." Yules has her jacket and he has dinner. Full of unhealthy things like full-fat creamy vegetables, mashed tubers, a giant steak and the biggest, baddest dessert ever. He's drinking the full-butter, full-sugar kool-aid the head cook is giving out. "So." Now V'dean, as the older of the three of them, can provide the next round of entertainment.

Asking for Ocelot was totally not asking for eau de Too Much Man - Yules finds her way out from under the jacket and nearly throws it over the chair next to her. Catching sight of El'ai and V'dean, Yules grits her teeth and gently places it over the back of said chair with a hopeless, "Don't let me forget this." Really? Pern hasn't invented under-arm soapsand absorbant pads? Yules is patting her own jacket again desperately for that wineskin, refilling her glass to near the brim. Gonna need that. "I was fa…" Oh what the heck. Yules picks up her own sandwich for a bite, all the while eyeing V'dean cautiously, in case he throws Q'fex's leather pants at her or something.

It's like the hemisphere's secret weapon; you can smell them coming, the sheer animal magnetism of the nestling spot of not-arm pit as V'dean leeaaans to the side to grab… Oh, wait, no. He's just scratching at his ankle as he gives a loose chuckle. "I'm surprised there was anything else left after I filled my plate. They must have been hiding it," is the way the bluerider agrees amicably. FAMISHED. "You guys scheduled for long sweeps tomorrow?" he wonders as he settles back in to prod at his pudding. "I haven't gotten the section up north for a while. There was a trader putting in routes up there I think I heard. Was some problem with cats. You guys hear anything about that? Since… you know." Cough. Thread and all. His brows go wonky and he sucks on his spoon, glance darting between brown and bronzerider.

Yules lucked out. El'ai does not have a freshly used pair of Q'fex's pants to give her, but if she's interested in that sort of thing, he'd be happy to relay a message… "I think I do. I don't know, I never check until it's time 'cause sometimes it changes." Sometimes, Q'fex is indecisive. Changing his mind over and over and over again, until THE LAST MINUTE. Really. "I haven't heard much about cats since Thread fell and ruined the gather." How dare it?! El'ai isn't afraid to stick his foot in his mouth, it seems. "Has it fallen since? I've not heard, but I think so many are focused on Thread that the feline problem has been put on hold — I haven't even heard anything about those ships." He waggles his brows significantly. "You know, the ones showing up all empty and abandoned."

As the lone woman at this table, Yules quietly ignores any animal magnetism that V'dean is emitting - as long as he doesn't get it between her and her sammich, that is. As for assignments, she's eager to respond, proving she's one of the very new guys, "I think I'm paired up with Andi to go up that direction." She also misses any threat of incoming Q'fex-pants in favour of talking about her first Threa… okay, pretty much everyone's first Threadfall, "I haven't heard anything about new Thread. Would we get the news down here, do you think?" Yules hasn't missed the fact that a certain Lord Holder learned his lesson about withholding firestone, but what about information? The last of sandwich disappears into Yules' mouth, but she's polite enough to finish chewing before asking, "Is that still happening? Wouldn't people have the common sense to stop abandoning boats after news of Threadfall? Just leaving them out in the open to get eaten by Thread!" A sniff of disdain: silly people.

Oh! Yes, V'dean has sandwich aspirations, but is also woefully (thankfully?) devoid of Q'fex's pants, is what's essential here. In the lack of threats. Unlike Thread, or cats, or boats… Those all leave his mouth quirking unpleasently to the side. "I think we'd hear. About Thread. The ships…" He scritches at his nape and then turns an unknowing palm upward. "It sounded like Lynx had found some of the ships. And the cats." He offers on a… semi-positive note. Maybe that's just because he gets another bite of pudding. "I guess they go out hunting. Or." His spoon flops out in gesture. "Some of them go out hunting. Not like Leopard." Where it's practically in the drill schedule, right?

El'ai is stainless steel to magnetism: blind to it. He's not perfected his mate-finding skills in the least, but he's not too torn up about that — clearly. "I heard," now El'ai leans forward, sharing precious secrets probably heard on the gossip popcorn chain from his sister, "that Lynx found a cat that attacked them and they all got grounded so now everyone is too scared to defy Lendai and go search again." He nods his head for emphasis, turning those big blue eyes on V'dean. Blink-blink. Hi. "I bet we could find those ships before Lynx does." Why? They're better, of course. The charming smile is turned on Yules. "And we wouldn't have to worry about," now his voice drops lower, to the rasp of a whisper, "the crazy Weyrwoman. We have Q'fex." Dude. Serious hero worship.

Wing competition since 1999.

Where there's Yules hearing a secret, there's a brown dragon nearly skipping on the spot in delight. Yules leans in curiously, one finger curling around on the table like it's writing some exotic language. "Do we know where Lynx found the ships?" Yules asks, her tone already searching along lakes and streams for any trace, "We could start there." The tall, rangy ex-cook would have to be less feminine to not stare at El'ai's ever-so panties-loosening smile an extra second, "And if a group of us went, we probably wouldn't have to worry overly about felines." It's like there's a big red button that someone left a diary about 'Why Not to Push This Button'. Yules' eagerness to get going is starting to show - she wets her lips with wine and then that finger starts tapping an un-even statacco, "Would we need to tell Q'fex?" Just in case one of the adventurers gets eaten, of course.

Alright, alright — secret time. V'dean will give a sigh and wind himself in, bowing conspiratorially over the lean of his forearms about his dessert bowl. He does a good job of looking rather wide-eyed in his own interest as he matches the blinking bronzerider's glance. It corrodes as his dimple pulls up his smirk at the whispered mention of The Weyrwoman, though he might try to mask his near-chuckle by the lift of his hand that drags a thumb's knuckle below his lip. Pulled down while he schools it, there's still silent laughter couched in green eyes when they lift back across to listen to Yules' input. He doesn't know where the ships were found, claims a slight shrug of his shoulders. The slant of his brows turns more thoughtful as he dodges a look back to El'ai. "You know she's a luck charm for these sorts of things?" There's a touch of droll there as he angles his thumb towards the brownrider. Also: "We would tell Q'fex if we found anything." Sensibly. Right?

Sudden realization dawns on El'ai's face as youth's adventurous spirit blooms within. "That's right. You're the bones girl." She's the one finding all the dead bodies, right? Right. "Exactly! What V'dean said. Q'fex, listen, Q'fex is a busy man. Q'fex only needs to know when things become important. And this would just be a distraction from Thread. So long as we don't go getting hurt, Q'fex's energies can lie elsewhere." A wide smile follows, encompassing both of his wing mates. "And then we'll do the swoop and give him all the answers. V'dean. You should sweet talk someone for information. I have heard," do those brown lashes lower, giving the bluerider such a knowing look? "That you might be good about that." Because brothers are awful and always find out. HE SEES YOU V'DEAN. YOU GOT SISTER COOTIES ON YOU. Ahem. "So. This — this a plan?"

Note to self: Time it back to before bodies were findable at Southern and hide them all. Oh wait, that didn't work. "Whoa, I'm not a bones girl," Yules tries to protest, but at that moment, the room quiets for that crucial second for everyone to hear her denial. Thankfully, the snickering dies away quickly, but Yules determinedly ignores the peanut gallery for the matter at hand. "Alright," she says organizationally, "Maybe next rest-day or something. And we'll tell Q'fex if we find anything." Usually subtleties are lost on Yules, but she does become aware of some of what El'ai's sending in V'dean's direction, "V'dean's good at talking with people? That's nice." Take it from someone who's far too aware of the taste of her own feet, "I wish I could talk to people that easily…" Oh sorry, was there a subtext to that? Yules eyes El'ai very curiously now.

Oh, him? V'dean has his own easy blink… that only goes a little frozen at THAT LOOK. El'ai may be a smidge less terrifying than Khalyssrielth. For kid-Ocelot, he just clears his throat with a dry chuckle. That thumb knuckle is back, scritching along his scruffy jaw as his smile skews off to the side. It maybe distracts him a touch from attending quite so dutifully to Yules' organizing timetable. "Oh, sure," dry. "I can talk myself into all sorts of trouble." Maybe not as much as El'ai is talking him into, but. Maybe he can… return the favor? Glancing between his two wingmates. "There might be some people I could ask." So. "Sounds like a plan. You two should figure out supplies," he supposes, turning a gesture out between them. "You know. Collaborate."

"I knew it!" Whatever that means, El'ai levels a happily judgmental finger at V'dean, confident in his assessment of the bluerider. "He'll get us the place." Wait, collaborate? Woefully, he looks down at his shrinking dinner — he's totally been eating, yo — and hops up. "Yes, yes. We'll figure everything out. Yules has experience." That look is guileless and full of big blue eyes, but not quite the innocence of yesterturns. "I need more cake. Anyone want more cake? Yes? No?" He snatches up his wing jacket and dashes towards the line. He'll get distracted — clearly, V'dean and Yules will need to lead this operation — in line and probably meander back to the table at some point. Full of renewed vigor. But for now? He's caught up in the getting of food and telling of stories. Pro tip: Don't tell El'ai secrets.

Yules huffs quietly. Excuse me, we're organizing an expedition here! Completely misinterpreting the look V'dean sends El'ai, Yules slaps her hand on the table, just cuz: "Alright, alright, I'll look after the provisions for this." Trust an ex-cook to think of food first. The bluerider receives a less-freeze-inducing wide grin from Yules, "Those 'connections' might come through. No cake!" she tells El'ai's retreating back, though who knows if the message was received. It's at that point that something below the belt introduces its need to Yules - her face screws into an annoyed, yet uncomfortable look and she tells V'dean (thankfully, El'ai's off getting lost for cake now), "If you'll excuse me… I have to visit the latrines." What a way to make an exit. Yules slides out from her chair and grabs the new jacket before making tracks to the loo. What will it smell of next?

V'dean takes a breath, his mouth starting to skew towards some protest, possibly. But who can argue with El'ai? Especially when the striking eyed bronzerider is dashing. Not that kind of dashing, but… oh anyway, the bluerider shifts his attention to Yules. But he has little better luck getting anything out before watching her latrine-ward departure as bemusement slants across his face. Cake? He's got pudding. And he'll go ahead and slip the bowl into his hand and sneak off with it to the hearths instead of risking the return of tempting second desserts or the evolving complexity of the Ocelot wing's jacket's aroma.

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