Who

Divale, Fergus

What

Fergus gets to shadow a rider on sweeps! And gets to bring home a little souvenir…

When

It is sunrise of the seventh day of the seventh month of the thirteenth turn of the 12th pass.

Where

Lost Oasis, Igen

OOC Date 21 Mar 2018 04:00

 

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Lost Oasis

Blocked from view in the south by one of the largest sandstone formations jutting from the desert, this lovely oasis is truly a hidden jewel in the sand. Leagues away from any trace of civilization, it boasts a tranquil blue pool of fresh water and shallow stream fed by an unseen spring beyond a dark crevice in the bluff. Trees spring up against the rock, providing merciful shade and filling in the narrow recesses surrounding the water. The height of the outcropping funnels a near-constant light breeze through the place, cooling the air considerably in comparison to the desert beyond.

However, for all its beauty, there is an unaccountable air of fear and uncertainty about this oasis. At night, the otherwise friendly wind can cross the space with a low, unnerving howl, and creatures passing in the shadows do so in nervous, unseen movements. This has, unfortunately, been a place of grisly discoveries for Igen Weyr - most likely due to its out-of-the-way nature. Sweep riders have observed no renegades, bandits, or criminals of any other stripe in the area thus far, adding to the mystery here.


Sunrise is just on the horizon and already the desert is a living, breathing, oven! Who would go out in such conditions? Sweep riders, of course! And a few Candidates are selected again to ‘shadow’ a rider, well before the day becomes too unbearable to risk being exposed to the harsh desert conditions (or maybe this is a crash course to toughen up?). Regardless, it was very early when Divale met with her charge of the morning. No Bazaar shifts (like a Candidate would ever be permitted to tag on Guard duty), nothing within the Weyr itself! Just sweeps. Which starts with a lesson on straps and being properly prepared and what to expect. All that fun, kind of boring lecture-rambling talk stuff. Then it’s time to leave and it’s out on shadow-cloaked wings that they and Lukoith traverse the vast desert. It’s not a half bad experience, really! At least the breeze from flight keeps one decently cool, while getting a wide, aerial view of what might become one’s home should fate swing a certain way on Hatching Day. Out and out they fly, before Lukoith dips his wing and they make a wide, slow turn and begin to swing back around with the Weyr way, way far off in the distance. Only… they’re landing? Sure enough, the brown is gradually descending towards the waters of the oasis, now that it’s been exposed by the direction they’re taking. And look! TREES! “You may dismount,” Divale informs her ‘charge’, with a hint of a dark smile. “Stretch your legs. We will linger here for a moment.” Which may have been a subtle invitation for him to “explore” all he wants. She’ll be watching, of course, even as she prepares to dismount.

It's just like Fergus to actually enjoy such long, boring and rambling lecture talks. He'll be an attentive listener, not so much a talker, for the morning's jaunt - he'll add his usual grunts or to the point comments here and there. Even on dragonback he's respectfully silent, despite the fact the wind is literally whipping his beard partially into his face at intervals. At least he was smart enough to braid his long hair back into a tight plait that doesn't move much in the wind except backwards where it may have endangered Divale depending on the seating arrangements. As they land in the Oasis, though, Fergus' pale blue gaze goes immediately to the scraggly trees clinging to life in the distance. He slides down rather deftly despite his stocky frame and lands adroitly on the sandy ground. "Those are trees?" he manages in his deep basso rumble as he starts towards them to investigate, "Thought you were joking before." Because he probably had been pretty much despairing at ever seeing a tree again at this point.

“Those are trees,” Divale confirms with bemusement. “And it could still be considered a joke.” Given they’re hardly the beauties of Southern’s jungles or the behemoths of Lemos. A tree is a tree, however and she won’t stop Fergus if he chooses to venture towards the small, hardy little grove of scrubs. Lukoith rumbles low and deep in his throat, wings rustling against his side as he shakes out his neck and turns towards he deepest part of the oasis; he’ll spend his time resting after a long, slow drink from the cool waters. “The desert is a barren place compared to much of the rest of Pern,” Divale continues after an interval of silence and likely from behind him, as she shrugs out of her jacket. No need to broil herself! “But there are pockets of life, like this oasis and some of the hidden caves. They’re essential — and potentially crucial, should you ever find yourself out this far. Not,” She smirks. “That I’d recommend it.” Flying here was one thing! By foot? Yeah, no.

Fergus actually has to stop after only a few steps as he suddenly realizes the pleasant breeze from the air is gone. That oppressive heat is starting to press down on him and his layers and layers of hair. He grunts in annoyance and shrugs out of his own jacket, setting the garment aside on a relatively clean bit of ground. He can't really do anything about his beard or his braid, though, but he pauses to wipe a bead of sweat from his forehead. "Surprised there are any at all," he notes as he ventures slowly up to the trees, reaching one hand out to pull a branch towards him and inspect it. He carefully bends it, testing the tensile strength of the wood before running a thumb over the bark. It's probably obvious he's calculating what sort of things might be made with such a wood and how it might best be used. "There many of these patches? Seems like a useful thing to have mapped." He pauses, scanning the horizon away from the peaceful oasis where the desert looms large and foreboding.

And suddenly there comes a tapping on his shoulder from Divale’s fingers. “Don’t forget what I told you. There should be an adequate headscarf in that jacket’s pocket and do not allow yourself to become dehydrated.” How cloth would help is anyone’s guess, but perhaps there’s some sanity behind it? “You’d be better off shaving, you know.” Her fingers lift to her own head, where she keeps a modified, yet masculine style short-crop cut. Which she’ll soon be covering, if they linger long enough for the sun to broach the shadows further. A low chuckle for Fergus’ immediate observation of the tree and she nods, “There are maps. You could find them in the Archives or for a price in the Bazaar. Just be certain of your source and supplier, if choosing that last route.”

Fergus straightens a bit at the sudden tap on his shoulder, somehow not startling at the sudden touch. Her mention of the scarf has him grumbling slightly in his throat, apparently stubborn about that whole 'scarf' thing, "Seems girly to me." He squints balefully up at the sun and grunts, as though his gaze might make it stop heating him up. "I'll be fine." He waves off her concerns over his hair and beard with a roll of his shoulders. Besides - he probably doesn't want to shave the thing off unless he's actually going to be staying here, stubborn as he is. Or until someone physically holds him down and shaves him, perhaps. "People make map forgeries?" he grunts, doubtful as to why this would even be a thing. He goes back to examining the tree, digging his hands further into the shrubbish foliage to try to find a thicker branch or limb. He may be thinking about absconding with a bit of the tree if he can manage it.

“Would it be girly to have addled brains from sunstroke or heat exhaustion?” Divale’s comment is as dry as the air around them, while she levels Fergus with a look. She won’t twist his arm further, but she’ll be keeping a sharp eye on him. While she personally doesn’t care if he succumbs, she does care about her own hide and the tearing it’ll get if she returns to Igen with a half-cooked Candidate. Bad enough what she did to Iandicael and Talya in the swamps… “There are all sorts of forgeries,” she replies, bemused again for his surprise. “And they are especially rife in the Bazaar.” If he wants to leave with a souvenir, Divale won’t stop him. Neither will she help him, however and she goes on a quiet hunt of her own; not far, a few paces and still within comfortable distance for their conversation.

"No," is Fergus' bland reply, short and to the point. "What's the difference - covered by hair or covered by cloth? Seems silly." He adds a grunt to the end of that statement by way of punctuating it for emphasis. He pauses again to wipe another bit of sweat from his brow, his eyes narrowed against the glare. There's a lot of rustling and rattling as he roots about in the tiny, twisted tree, seemingly happy for the moment and not paying much mind to the baking heat. He does take a moment to pull a water skin from his belt and take a hearty swig. At least he's smart enough to keep hydrated! "What's the point? Forgeries could kill someone out here," he notes, a grunt of annoyance this time at the thought of someone selling off merchandise for a quick mark. Replacing his water skin, he pulls out his belt knife and starts to saw at a place very deep within the bristling tree.

A debate is what he wants, is it? “Because hair is not enough,” Divale counters, equally as blunt and short. As he’s at least keeping hydrated, the brownrider won’t loom over him (literally) and breath down his neck about the head cover. “Marks. Profit. They don’t care if the fool they sold the forgery too dies or fails! If there’s adequate interest, someone will seek to fleece the unwary.” Hearing the sound of his knife sawing at the tree draws Divale’s curiosity. She had been quietly foraging from some of the other various low-lying plants and the bounty she’s claimed rather swiftly is now collected in a makeshift sack from folded cloth. “What’re you doing?” Softly spoken, but of idle interest rather than scolding.

"Idiots." He obviously has disdain for such people, though he never really even met anyone that would do such a thing. He continues sawing at the tree with his knife, face set in grim determination. He doesn't even pause as Divale appears behind him and asks what he's doing, "Grabbing a sample of the wood. Might be nice for carving. Lacquering. Something. Must be rare." The tree itself seems a bit hardy, though, so it's taking him a while to free the limb from the tree. When he finally does, he lifts the limb into the glaring light of the sun with a grunt of satisfaction. It's a squat sort of limb but quite thick and twisted. The grain has an interesting sort of pattern to it, as well. "I can bring this, yes?" he finally remembers to ask, blinking at Divale.

If it’s a rare tree, Divale doesn’t comment on it and very possibly doesn’t know for certain on that fact. As Fergus earns his ‘trophy’, the brownrider manages a very rare small smile that lacks much of the usual shadow behind it; she’s genuinely amused by his antics! Or perhaps a glimpse of a kindred spirit. “You’ve a good eye. To me, that tree serves no purpose beside the obvious: shade, shelter and perhaps wood for fire. I don’t believe the fruit of it is edible…” she trails off with a dismissive shrug of her shoulders. His query is met with a light scoff. “I don’t mind and it’s no hinderance to Lukoith, but you’d have to convince others to let you keep it in the Barracks!” Which he shouldn’t meet resistance, really. If jungle vines can be dragged in, then a lone branch shouldn’t be a headache, right? Right. Gesturing for him to follow her, she’ll find one of the last shaded and “cool” spots by the stones to settle. “Hungry?” she inquires, as she spreads that cloth and its “bounty” beside her.

Fergus sheathes his belt knife with an easy motion and then starts to strip what few twigs remain on the limb he's managed to extricate, grunting in pleasure every so often. He's probably already imagining what sort of thing he could carve this particular bit of wood into. "Masters at Lemos always said I had a good eye," he finally glances up from his treasure to grunt a response, seemingly happy with his find despite the baking heat. The heat which he finally remembers now that his elation at finding a useable bit of wood has subsided. Squinting, he glares up at the sky and the hateful ball of warmth that is causing him so much grief. He seems a bit determined not to show weakness to this onslaught of heat, though, considering how much he stubbornly railed against wearing a head scarf. "Food'd be good," he agrees as he moves over to settle into the shade with a grateful noise. He settles the bit of wood next to him, which now looks rather like a rough clubbing instrument. "Others won't be mad about it coming in as long as there are no spinners on it." There might be a twitch of a grin from behind his bushy beard at that.

“I forgot you were Lemosian,” Divale’s tone takes on a strange infection, but it’s largely hidden behind that vague smile of hers. “And woodcrafter. Will you return to Southern, should Impression not be in your cards?” Her gaze will settle on him for that time he spends glaring at the sky. No doubt the heat is getting to her too and their respite here won’t be lasting much longer. There’s a quiet chuckle for his mention to he spinner, “Was that what all the chaos was about some time ago? I remember hearing mutterings among the caverns about it.” Perks of being the lone wolf and always aware to the nuances of gossip circulating about! She’ll gesture for him to help himself to the “bounty” of food… which disappointingly doesn’t look like much at all. But being a man of forests and jungles, perhaps he sees beyond that? Regardless, Divale names them quickly — a variety of seeds, nuts and what looks to be a small cactus-like fruit. “Doesn’t seem like much, but you don’t want something heavy on the stomach out here. These have enough nutrients to them to stave off the worst of hunger and that fruit can help with thirst. A desert can provide… for those who have been taught where to look.” Which she has no doubt been taught. Igen Desert Survival 101?

Fergus bobs his bushy head once in affirmation, "Might as well do what I'm good at if I don't Impress." He rolls his broad shoulders in a bit of a shrug to add to this. There's not much use for a Woodcrafter remaining in Igen if he doesn't have a dragon to show for it. He gives a grunt of amusement regarding the whole spinner debacle, "Xanthee. She's afraid of spinners. There were a /lot/ of spinners." He reaches out after only a moment's hesitation towards the cactus-like fruit. Then he squints at it, as though unsure how best to eat such a thing, "This need peeling?" He gives the fruit a dubious look, as it's obviously not one he's seen before. He nods his head slowly at the mention of the desert providing, "Most places can provide." His eyes narrow slightly in thought, "Do we get to learn this sort of thing if we Impress?" He gestures a hand at the 'bounty' of food, likely indicating where to find such a thing. Because he has no idea.

Divale chuckles again, low and quiet as she shakes her head. “Spinners are such useful creatures,” she remarks with a bit of a sigh. Is it any surprise that such a comment comes from her? “It’s a shame most react in fear of them, given the purpose they serve. A spinner in a garden is a welcomed thing.” Tempted to leave Fergus to solve the puzzle of the cactus fruit himself, she will merely look at him in silence as an answer to his question. What does he think? Nothing must be harmful of the fruit, so if he should get it wrong, he won’t run afoul of any nasty surprises. “Mhm, that is very true.” she agrees instead, on how nature can provide. “Weyrlinghood will teach you, largely and primarily, how to survive up there,” She points towards the very clear sky, but the obvious is implied. “But yes, there are brief moments to study such things as this.” Precious little time! “I’ve always had a deep affinity with plants.” Divale admits in an even rarer direct comment on herself, as her gaze lowers and fingers nimbly pick up a few seeds and nuts to snack upon. “I wanted to know what lived here and what native species proved useful.”

Fergus looks right back at Divale in silence, as well - staring contest! But then he merely grunts in resignation and squints back down at the fruit. Shrugging, he digs out his knife and splits the fruit open along the center. Rather than risk eating the rind, he'll merely gnaw at the juicy interior flesh. He'll also munch here and there on a few seeds and nuts, being sure to try at least one of each variety on offer. "I've more an affinity with trees .. but … you need to know plants, too," he considers aloud in his deep basso rumble, eyes narrowing slightly in thought, "Ones to avoid, ones to know if you get lost." He idly scratches at his beard with one hand, half a fruit in the other, "Will have to see about learning here, if I'm to stay here." Meaning if he finds a dragon on the sands that'll forever shackle him to a treeless place. Or at least a place with no tall trees. But, at the very least, he'd be a mere 3 second jump away from trees if he had a dragon at his disposal. Probably that thought is what's keeping him from running away from this whole ordeal. There's a friendly sort of silence during all this as Fergus munches on food. Then he arches a brow at Divale, "Lots of plants where you are from?"

There’s an approving look when Fergus choses to cut into the fruit and eat around the rind that way. Could be he figured out one way to eat it! Divale doesn’t correct or praise him, however and merely reaches for her own waterskin to keep herself from becoming an example of heat exhaustion. “It’d be worthwhile,” she suggests again, while glancing sidelong to the bearded Candidate. Realizing she may have given too much in regards to herself, she merely smirks. “Yes,” she begins, cryptically. “But that was a long time ago. Where I was before all this,” She gestures vaguely to Lukoith and the general direction of the Weyr. “Little to nothing grew. I lived below.” A hand pats the very ground they sit on. “In what is known as Kurkar Hold, now. Formally the Underground.” How charming? With the food now consumed, she’ll gather the cloth, only to glance skywards seconds after Lukoith lifts his head and growls. In the distance, more sweep riders can be seen making their way over the desert. “It’s time we return.” Divale calmly notes, while getting to her feet and brushing herself free of any dirt or sand. She’ll keep from shrugging back into her jacket until they’re just about ready to mount up and leave. No sense in sweating unnecessarily!

Fergus brushes his hands against his pants briefly to remove any lingering fruit juice and then unhooks his own water skin to take one long gulp. A bit of water leaks out into his beard, but he seems not to notice. It's probably cooling under all that hair. Seriously - the man seems to have hair on every square inch of his body somehow. Or at least what is showing. "Sounds rather depressing," is his comment on Kurkar, his assessment punctuated with a grunt as he pushes himself to his feet. He replaces his water skin to his belt and stoops to pick his jacket up. "At least you have the open air now," he notes as he makes his way back towards Lukoith, his own gaze briefly going towards the sky. "Back to the grind, then." He, too, waits to don his own jacket until he absolutely needs to. And, naturally, he doesn't forget his club of desert wood. He holds this up to Divale, "This need to be packed away?" He'll do whatever Divale thinks is best to transport the wood, but he's certainly not going to leave it behind. And, whenever that is taken care of, he'll easily mount into his place atop the brown.

“Depressing is a light way of putting it,” Divale’s not going to reflect further on that for the time being. It will be a tale for another day or never to be brought up again. There’s a scoff about the light and for a moment dark humour flickers in the depths of her eyes but she says nothing. She’ll nod to Fergus, “It does and I’ll show you where,” Since this may as well be a lesson of sorts anyhow. Lukoith is in an amicable enough mood not to be a royal pain in the ass while Divale leads Fergus through a basic ‘how to store things securely’ hands-on demonstration. Since the branch belongs to the Candidate, she’ll leave him to do most of the work before they mount up. Checking to be sure everything is secure, including themselves, she will have Lukoith take to the skies and bring them home… and maybe they’ll cheat, just a little bit, with a tiny skip Between.

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