Who

M'noq, Amania

What

Amania comes across her Searchrider in the Galleries and ends up revealing something she's told no one else.

Candidate Bingo!

When

It is evening of the tenth day of the eleventh month of the eleventh turn of the 12th pass.

Where

Galleries

OOC Date 07 Sep 2017 06:00

 

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"I wasn't going to be someone's stepping stone…"


galleries.jpg

Galleries

Stone benches rise up.. and up.. and up: grooves upon grooves show marks of their hand-hewn origins, small chips and uneven textures to tell the tale of humble beginnings in a place which looks upon the black-and-white Sands of Southern, a place of greater beginnings indeed. The Galleries take up roughly a third of the perimeter of the Sands: to the west are flat, staggered entranceways, ledges for dragons interested in watching the proceedings. Below and just easterly, a stitched-hide curtain covers the entrance to the bowl, keeping the wind away from the precious cargo often housed upon the Sands. It cannot help the shrieking of the wind above: though it is muted in this hollow, the intermittent sighs and moans of the thermals shrieking through the viewing-ledges above can be unsettling.


It's early evening, sometime after dinner. It has been a few sevens since the clutch was laid, but M'noq still hasn't been by to see the eggs. He's nearby, so he might as well. He steps up into the galleries, standing by the rail. His expression is serious and a little pensive, like he's thinking of more than just the eggs out on the sands.

Amania has been in to peer at the eggs a time or two following her first turn at touching them, though hasn't been back on the Sands since. She's just waiting for her turn to come around again. In the meantime, it's come to the Candidate's free time before lights out, and the Zingari girl finds her feet taking her toward the hatching cavern once more. Ascending the stairs, she sees people here and there…and one of them proves to be a familiar face. "Hello, Wingleader M'noq," she greets once she's near enough, rendering a salute to the brownrider. "I hope I'm not interrupting your quiet."

M'noq gets drawn back to the present as he hears his name spoken. He looks up, and gives Amania a smile, nodding back to acknowledge the salute. "Oh… Amania, right?" Hopefully his memory isn't so terrible that he got it wrong. "Not at all. I just came to look at the clutch. I've been thinking that these will all be full siblings to Ravaith. So it made me wonder about the new clutch, and what sort of new dragons the Weyr will soon get." He takes a seat, then gestures to the candidate to join him. "You've been out to touch the eggs by now, I assume?"

Amania nods with a quick smile to confirm M'noq's guess and sits down to his right. "I have," she says of touching the eggs, peering out over the lot. "Three of them so far. One of them was the one Dhiammarath has been guarding. She let me near enough." Her eyes return to the brownrider, one brow lifting in curiosity. "So Dhiammarath and Dhioth clutched Ravaith, too?"

M'noq glances out over the sands, at the clutch dam, who is carefully guarding her eggs at the moment. "Oh, did you? I think I touched one as well during my day… though right now I can't recall if it was Dhiammarath's or Khalyssrielth's. Double clutch, that time. It's funny, I never actually touched Ravaith's egg." He's kind of rambling now. "So, what do you think of all of it? The eggs, candidacy, Southern's weather…?"

Amania chuckles at that. "Nox said he touched one, too. This one, actually. It didn't sound like it was too happy with him." The fact that M'noq never touched his dragon's egg piques her interest. "So you don't have to have touched a certain egg for your dragon to come out of it?" Somehow, she'd thought that was part of the point. Ever learning! As for what she thinks of all of it… "The eggs aren't at all what I was expecting, but…in a good way. I think. I've been learning a lot, about myself and what friends are all about. I didn't have that growing up." She goes quiet a moment, thinking. "I still feel like I can drink the air. It makes the heat too heavy." Dry heat really is better, in her opinion! "I'm also thinking some of the dragons have it out for us," she adds wryly, "but maybe it's more they like to test us? See if we're worthy of the eggs, maybe?"

M'noq smiles wryly and nods. "I always wondered if Ravaith heard me near him, and that was enough for him to know. Or maybe right when he hatched, he saw me and that's when he knew. It makes me think that a big reason why candidates touch the eggs is for the candidates' sake, so you all will be more used to being around them on Hatching day." That's just his opinion, though. He chuckles a little at the comment about the air. "The humidity makes a big difference. I grew up at Reaches, where the air is a lot drier too. You ever been to a Hatching when you were at Igen?"

"Well…that makes sense. It is kind of intimidating out there," Amania admits. "I'd like to go back out again at some point. But I know there are a lot of us." And more being added each day, it seems like. She shakes her head over the Igen Hatching question. "No; I wasn't there long enough to see one. Truth is, I wasn't at the Weyr more than a Turn, and only for three months when you found me with the Zingari." She's quiet for a moment, worrying lightly at her lower lip. "Have you heard of Kurkar Hold?"

"Likely enough you'll get another chance before it's over," M'noq muses. "Usually candidates go out to touch the eggs right up until the end." He arches a brow at the mention of Kurkar Hold. "Ah… actually, yes. I was there not long ago." The reasons for which he isn't at liberty to talk about, but he will admit to going, at least. "Strange place… I'm not sure if I'd want to go without seeing the sun for months at a time, or longer. You're from there?" Just guessing, since she brought it up.

Amania is surprised - not that M'noq has heard of it, but that he's so recently been there. "All my life," she affirms as she nods, straightening in her seat a bit. "Until I got myself out. Not…everyone stays below and out of the sun." The raiders went out, after all. And those who deigned to trade or scout or hunt, like her. "It would've driven me crazy to. My aunt and uncle probably would've insisted, too, if I hadn't made so much trouble for them." They gave up trying to keep her from going up top, eventually. "Can you tell me how it was, when you went?" she asks, her expression hopeful despite the expectation that she won't hear much different. "I've been hoping things would improve there more, what with the Weyr being involved with them now. But it didn't seem like much had changed when I left."

"Creepy. Dark. Giant pits. A lake." And what they found in the lake. M'noq's answers aren't too helpful for someone who is asking about the people, though. "I don't know if it was improved there or not. It didn't seem that bad to me, but we were there at night, and we weren't exactly looking to run into other people." He basically admits to sneaking around the place. "Are your aunt and uncle still there? Or were they in the caravan?" He isn't quite sure how the family relations work in those groups.

Amania nods, but she is indeed hoping for more information about the people. Hearing that M'noq was there at night elicits a hike of her brows, but she doesn't press for details. If someone wants to sneak around her former home, she has no issues with it…so long as she doesn't learn that said sneaking happened in someone's personal space. There's a certain sanctity to one's little corner called home that needs to be upheld, in her opinion. "They're still there," she says of her relatives, adding darkly, "and they can stay there." She gives a soft sigh and clears her throat softly. "My cousins are there, too. I was…close to the youngest, Maevra. She's just a little one. I wanted to go back and take her out of there when I was steadier on my feet, if I could."

M'noq has probably said a little too much about his illicit trip already. He hums at the candidates dark comment. "People will choose to stay where they're comfortable. Your aunt and uncle may not be willing to give up their daughter, even though you might like to see her with more options. How old is she, anyway?" He muses for a moment. "If you end up staying at the Weyr, no matter how things work out for you, you might talk your family into relocating here. Plenty of options for people looking for a bit of adventure." Of course, if they choose to live in a hole in the ground, maybe adventure is something they avoid.

Amania can't help the derisive snort that leaves her. "They've no sharding intention of that," she grumbles. "They made that very clear. They don't do 'adventure;' they work, and they scrape, and they keep their asses planted where it's 'safe' and hope my cousins will marry up so they can all reap the benefits, whatever those are. I was to stay and let myself get married off, too, 'keeping at least my mother's blood where it belonged,' they said. I wasn't going to be someone's stepping stone, and I'll be damned if I let Maevra be one, either!" She blinks, clenching her jaw as she realizes she's practically been growling this entire time, one hand balling into a white-knuckled fist. "I'm sorry…sir," she murmurs, her eyes darting to M'noq and then out to the eggs, fixing on the red and blue slashed with gold that she'd touched before the queen egg. Then, somewhat thickly, "She's five. She's only five."

M'noq arches a brow at the venom in Amania's voice, then smiles, trying to turn the moment a bit lighter. "Well, it's their choice. And when your cousin gets a bit older, she can make the choice to get out too. Five is… impressionable. But too young to make a life-decision." And he certainly can't advocate kidnapping a child, no matter how you disapprove of how she is raised. "If you go back to see her, tell her tales of adventure in sunlit lands, I bet she'll remember that when she's older. She'll want to do what her older cousin did and get out."

Amania's expression has settled into a mild scowl. She's had a very Definite Plan for what to do about her little cousin for a while, after all, and convinced herself it's the best option. Yes, she knows kidnapping is wrong, of course…but she'd ended up with the notion that could do it with little fuss in the night and disappear. Now here's M'noq being all logical about it, and reminding Amania that Maevra will grow up and develop a mind of her own, just as she did…and damn it, she doesn't like the prospect of waiting that long. That's about all she's got going for her now - the desire to protect Maevra against what time could wreak upon her. "I just…don't want her to have to go through what I did," she says, her tone rough around the edges. She clears her throat again. "And maybe I'm worried they won't let me near her again, especially now. I'm just her cousin; I don't have as much power as her parents." Or does she? "But…you're right."

M'noq listens, though the story doesn't offer any easy solutions. He gazes out onto the sands for a moment, where Dhioth is stirring. A parent, protective of his young. "Well, you don't know what will develop eventually. If her parents are trying to get something from you, perhaps you could strike some kind of deal." Which sounds terrible, like he's suggesting Amania' buy her little cousin or something. Maybe rephrase. "What I mean is, if you can convince them that they can use her for a ladder as well, and you can offer a better advantage…? Just think of what they'd want, you know?"

Amania does indeed seem a little surprised at M'noq's first, her expression taking on a hint of consternation before he explains. "They…want to stay where it's comfortable and climb the ladder within the hold. The only way they see to do that is traditionally, by marriage. And Maevra and the others have to be marriageable." Malleable, demure, obedient, subservient. Despite her assertions, however, a shadow of doubt seems to flit across the Zingari girl's expression. "I don't understand them. I understand why they were to me as they were, but to cling to their little plan as they do…" Suddenly Amania finds a resonance with that tenacity from her aunt and uncle, and something in her recoils, repulsed to find any similarity. "I won't be that way." She turns her eyes to M'noq and, determination glinting in the near-ebony of her eyes, says, "There's nothing I can do until after the eggs hatch anyway, so I still have time to think on it. There's more than one way up a mountain." She needs to stay adaptable. "Thank you for hearing me out, sir. I…didn't mean to let so much out." She glances down at her hands, her brows furrowing slightly. "I haven't even told anyone at home all that yet."

M'noq nods at that, smiling a little as he appraises the Zingari girl for a moment. "It seems to be a difficult situation. Best approach it with care. Don't alienate your family… try to see things from their point of view. It will be your best advantage. As you say, you have plenty of time. In the meantime, keep your options open." Then he gives a quiet laugh. "I think you'd make a good Lynx rider. If your dragon is out there now, or even in the next clutch… your sense of strategy would make you a good fit." Which is his way of saying he hopes she sticks around, no matter what the outcome of this clutch is. "What do you think? Green? Blue? Or… something bigger?"

The look Amania gives M'noq at the suggestion not to alienate her family is strained, an amalgam of emotions with none being prevalent. "They think my parents would still be around if it weren't for me," she says quietly and factually, as if it explains everything. Or she just can't figure out how to elaborate without sounding like she's looking for pity. That's the last thing she wants. Moving on to talk of dragons, however, is a welcome tangent. She shakes herself out of it and smirks a bit, glad to hear the way her mind works sounds good for the job, at least. At M'noq's question, however…she blushes slightly before stating definitively, "I do have a hope for something bigger, sir." After a moment, she adds, "Though I do seem to have a lot of run-ins with browns…" A sign, perhaps?

"It can be very difficult dealing with family," M'noq says. "It isn't easy dealing with them being wrong about you or your life, but they're still your family." A shadow passes over his features, as he thinks about his own situation, but he won't inflict that on an innocent candidate. He looks at her appraisingly for a moment and then smiles. "Yes, a brown might suit you. Or perhaps… but I wouldn't presume to guess. The dragons have minds of their own, and they make decisions without consulting us." He stands up then and rubs the seat of his pants. "Ugh. These stone benches always put my ass to sleep. Keep that mind of yours going, Amania. You never know what dragon might find that attractive."

There are some technicalities about family that leap to Amania's tongue, but she realizes she also can't argue M'noq's point despite what she might say. Nor does she think it wise to after observing the wingleader's expression, fleeting though it may be. She lets her smile grow a bit when he makes his point about them having minds of their own, then stifles a giggle over the bench comment. "I will, sir," she says, and delivers a salute before he walks off to wake his ass back up. She, on the other hand, will sit for a little while longer, contemplating family and the eggs until she finds that the seats put her ass to sleep, too…or until it's simply time to leave for the barracks once again.

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