Ginger is getting ready for another Hatching. (Candidate Bingo)


Evening of the sixth day of the fifth month of the fourteenth turn of the 12th Pass.


Candidate Barracks, Southern Weyr.

OOC Date 28 Jun 2018 23:00




Candidate Barracks

Perhaps the safest place in the weyr, these barracks: the stonework here is old, perhaps as old as the weyr is itself, for the uncanny cleanliness of ancient stonecutters marks neat corners and perfect arches. Richly-lit by glowlight, tapestries reflect scenes of yore from the walls - dragons flaming, holders farming, and one particularly well-made that depicts the impression of a dark-haired girl to a light-toned gold dragonet, dripping and fierce. The barracks themselves are open-air, with not even a curtain to divide the space of male from female. Bunk-bed style cots line each wall, hammocks strung along the middle for those unfortunate enough to lack the privacy that an adjoining wall brings. There are privies in the back and locker-style item storage in the front, and one especially large table next to a book-case filled with basic Harper texts.

Ginger takes tiny stitches, small enough to hide in the weave of the white fabric of the robe. It’s been let down, let out and laundered, its fabric charting her own growth, and now she readies it again.

The first time, the robe was new: brilliant white cloth laboriously stitched together from pattern pieces provided by her mother, a little too large and a little too starchy, its hem heavy with hidden length. The first time, the experience was new, and she was excited and full of expectation. When she walked off the Sands alone and washed her sweat from the robe, some of the excitement vanished with the starch.

The second time, the robe fitted better and the fabric was softer, but some of the brilliance had faded. She knew what to expect now, and candidacy itself was more familiar and comfortable, especially with a friend by her side as they walked on to the hot Sands. But they left in different directions, and as she washed the robe, ready for next time, it was her certainty that swirled away.

The third time, she let out the tucks, making room for a more womanly body. She claimed some of the extra length, glad of a provision that she’d never thought she’d need, but the last-minute stitches followed a last-minute decision, as she chose to Stand despite the newness of her apprenticeship. Maybe her heart wasn’t in it, as fear of displeasing her masters weighed on her mind. The dragons can sense that sort of thing.

The fourth time, it really was too short, though it wasn’t her new height that let her see other possible futures. If she’d made her decision sooner, she’d have thought to let the hem down, but she still put her foot through the stitching in the scramble to reach the Sands in time. Sevendays of self-examination had left her with no real sense of anticipation, only a bone-deep longing, and by now either outcome represented loss as well as gain. It didn’t seem to ease the let-down.

The hem that she’s finishing now has the tiniest of turnovers, and the robe is four inches longer than when she first wore it. It’s a good job she’s stopped growing: this robe has no more room to give. But now it’s ready to be worn again. Ginger’s getting ready too. As she prepares to face another clutch, she needs to hope that this will be the time. Five wearings are nothing for a well-made garment, and this one could last for many more visits to the Sands; but candidates can wear out too, and each rejection frays her fabric more. As she puts her sewing kit away and lays the folded robe back in her locker, Ginger wonders how many more times she will want to put it on.

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