Ginger, Kyriatis


Candidates versus the Weed from Hell.

Candidate Bingo Log.

Accidental misappropriation of a herb garden from elsewhere on the continent! Recycling is good, yes?


It is mid-morning of the thirteenth day of the fourth month of the fourteenth turn of the 12th pass.


A Herb Garden somewhere in Southern Weyr.

OOC Date 20 Jun 2018 23:00




Herb Beds

These carefully tended beds are a testimony to the cooperation of the Gardener with FarmCraft. In painstakingly planned and flawlessly executed beds lie herbs of every type and utility. Medicinal herbs are in greatest abundance, but herbs for the flavouring of foods and beverages, and herbs for the making of dyes, are close behind. They present a giddy kaleidescope of shape and colour, and refresh the mind with their functional and effervescent beauty.

That it has made Kyriatis happy to be tasked with working in the kitchen gardens is clear: she's been leading the small group of candidates with the same chores all the way from the bowl, almost-but-not-quite skipping as she goes. "We're mostly just weeding for today," she says, as if the others hadn't received the same instruction she has, "But let's see what's ready to be harvested, too. Do we have the list of things the kitchens want? I'm sure I can identify them all." At least the rain has stopped, and the sun keeps threatening to come out, even if it isn't especially warm.

"I've got it," Ginger answers from a few feet behind Kyriatis. "Salvia, mint, any chives that haven't died back… can't remember what else." But she's got the list, and accelerates a little to come up alongside Kyriatis and hold it out. It's a tiny roll of hide made from an irregular strip that looks like an offcut from the edge of a page, already scraped clean multiple times. "At least it's not too hot. And it's not digging. Hey, how are those secateurs of yours doing?"

"And rosemary," concludes Kyriatis, giving the list a quick scan. "Well, none of that should be too difficult, right?" Right! The secateurs in question are drawn from her over-sized pockets, fist squeezing the handle to demonstrate the well-maintained blades. "They're doing great— much better now, anyway. Poor things have been so abandoned, these past sevens, while I've been mostly stuck indoors." She exhales, content, as they enter the herb beds themselves, then draws in a big, long breath through her nose: ahhh.

"Comes of having a proper edge on them to start with, and then knowing how to sharpen your tools," Ginger says with some satisfaction - having, as promised, put said edge on the blade and provided the necessary instruction to the secateurs' owner. "Yeah, some of these chores are pretty boring. I did get to sharpen every cook's knife and meat cleaver in the kitchen, though - that was fun. And working with the kiddies is pretty much like being with the family, so that's not too bad." She stops walking when Kyriatis does. "Well, you're the expert - why don't you dish the jobs out and tell us what to do." Her glance flits from plants to candidates and back. "Might be a good idea to show us what is and isn't a weed, too."

Kyriatis squeezes the handle on her secateurs just once more, for emphasis and agrees: "I really appreciate you helping me with that. It's made such a difference." Though she doesn't specifically comment on the other chores they've been assigned, her wrinkled nose says a lot about her feelings on most of them - but today, nothing can (yet) daunt her mood! In this, where she's confident of her knowledge, leadership suits: she's quick to assign tasks to the other handful of candidates, and send them off on their way. To Ginger: "We'll take the beds here. The weeds look like this— see, the leaves?"

"The long stalks with leaves sticking out in rings all round? Got it. There's tons of the stuff - does it grow really quickly, or don't these beds get weeded when you're not there to do it?" Ginger's got a small gardener's fork tucked into her waistband,but takes it in her hand before she squats by the bed. "Just pull 'em, or dig up the roots? Are there roots?" An exploratory pull would suggest that the plant comes away in her hand with no resistance to speak of, but: "Eww, it's all clingy!"

Whether or not it is actually true, Kyriatis' answer is decisive: "Big of both. What'll they do if I Impress and don't come back?" Find another very junior weyrbrat to take over, probably, but no doubt that's not something the teen would like to hear. "— yes, just like that. Nasty, aren't they? All the rain makes 'em grow like crazy. I've got gloves, if you want some."

Ginger wiggles her fingers and brushes off a few bits of weed. "They don't actually sting or make your hands come up in a rash, do they? 'Cos I don't much like doing fiddly stuff in gloves. " Not that weeding is exactly delicate work. "Have to wear them sometimes for work, of course. Protective ones." She continues to pull the weeds, and is starting to make a small pile of them on the path. Its not making much visible impact on the state of the bed, yet.

"No, no," Kyriatis reassures, dropping herself into a more comfortable kneeling position in front of the opposite bed, adding her weeds to the pile Ginger has started. "They're gross, but not that kind of gross, thankfully. Shells but there's a lot of them!" It's not really a complaint, though: she may be facing the other direction, but there's a smile in her voice. "D'you get to touch the eggs, yet?"

"Yes! F'kan and Z'bor took a group of us the other day. It was… odd." Ginger's sudden frown seems to slow her hands, but she starts weeding again as she explains, "Different to the other times. A couple of them were quite… scared, maybe? Or dis…" She pulls fragments of clingy stem from her cuffs as she searches for a word, and finally produces, "Disorientating. How about you - have you been yet?"

Kyriatis turns to glance over her shoulder at the other candidate, visibly curious for her answer. "Huh," she says, almost more exhale than actual word. "No, not yet. Scared. Disorientating." The words get tried on for size, carefully, and her own work slows to rather a stop as she considers. "I wonder what it means, that it was different. Just that the eggs are different, and these ones are more…" She waves a hand, evidently using the gesture in place of an actual word.

"Different dragons, different eggs," Ginger surmises. "Different parents, too - I don't really know what Zymuraith's like. Or maybe, I mean, maybe it's scary being in an egg in the dark? And some of them were just fine. Nothing much ever happened when I did it before, so I was a bit startled. But that one with the lines that look like cracks all over…." She pulls at a long strand of weed that just keeps on coming, until she's dragging it hand-over-hand from between the wanted plants. "And I didn't much like one of the ones I'd had my eye on."

Kyriatis turns back to her work, but she's not done with the conversation. "Amani said Zymuraith was— how'd she put it? Um. Oh yes, she wanted the measure of all of us. And it kind of scared me, because even they she said Zymuraith didn't object to me… what if she changed her mind? I had a dream about it. I've been having lots of stupid dreams." Her rambling breaks off as she adds, curiously, "Did you like any of the eggs? Particularly, I mean. It must be so strange for them. Stuck inside eggs for all that time."

"The really big blue one," Ginger says promptly. "And the one that's kind of rough except for one sticky-out bit. And the really dark one that looks like a sleeping hearth-feline. There wasn't time to touch that many. Well, you know how it goes." This isn't the first clutch for either of them. "I expect you'll get a turn soon. Can't work out if it actuallly makes any difference, though." She's cleared the bit of bed in front of her now, and moves along the path to reach another part, still close to Kyriatis.

Wistfully; "Last time, I really fell for that green one— remember? I was so sure that it held my dragon in it. And then…" Then it hatched a bronze, who, understandably, Impressed someone else. "I do want to touch these ones, I guess, but I need to not get attached to any of them. Did they feel hard? I mean, I know it's still a while yet, but…" Kyriatis sighs, and tosses another weed into the pile, just short of desultory.

"Yeah," Ginger says gloomily. "I remember." She's done the same herself, though she's not planning on admitting that any time soon. "And I guess the blue one is too big for a green, anyway. Might be a bronze in there." She recalls the other girl's question. "They're not that hard yet. Hard enough to touch, but still kind of leathery. Some of them felt a bit like dragon hide. They've got sevens to go still. Sevens of sleeping on the sand while we do lots of lovely chores." She pulls viciously at a large tangle of the clingy weed.

Kyriatis makes a non-verbal noise, but one that does a fairly good job of illustrating her feelings: ugh, ugh, ugh. Not for the first time does she sigh and say, "I wish they'd just hatch tomorrow." On the other hand, they're outside, the weather is not-too-bad, and there's gardening to be done. "That big one," she continues, more even-toned and cheerful, "it could be a brown. Brownrider Ginger."

Ginger looks only moderately horrified. "Not sure how I'd like having a boy in my head," she protests, then goes on to admit, "but I guess if one wanted me, that'd be OK. I'm kind of thinking green, though. For one thing there's a lot more of them." And so a better chance of Impressing. "Not that what you want is going to make a lot of difference, I reckon, unless you're actually putting out bad thoughts out there on Hatching Day, and making 'em all think you don't want them." Curiously, she ventures, "Is there a colour you fancy?"

That reaction makes Kyriatis laugh - well, no. It makes her smile, and let out a breath that sounds at least a little amused, but it's not outright laughter. "Yeah," she says. "I think you sort of… get what you get. If there's a dragon that suits. I think… I don't know if I care about boy or girl. But blue or green seems most likely, right? And they don't fly a full 'fall." A hasty follow-up, "Not that I wouldn't want to do as much as I could, if I were a dragonrider. Just. You know."

"But they can do some pretty fancy flying while they're up there," Ginger says, grinning. "I kind of fancy that, y'know? And no Weyr ever had too many greens." No doubt she picked up that sentiment from one of her numerous dragonrider relatives. "But if it's the right dragon for me, I'm not going to be complaining about whatever colour it is. I just want… you know." She just wants to Impress this time, when it comes down to it. Her hands haven't stopped pulling at the weeds, but now she frowns and picks something out of her pile of discarded vegetation and holds it up. It's not the same as the rest of what she's been pulling up, and she eyes the bed cautiously before enquiring, "Uh, Kyri, is this a weed or a plant?" Of course it is a plant: it's distinctly vegetable in nature and has roots, stems, and fleshy and rather hairy leaves. But is it a wanted plant?

"Yeah," agrees Kyriatis, with a contented-sounding sigh, though it could easily be in response to several things that Ginger has said, or perhaps even all of them, up until the arrival of that particular plant. "Hm?" She turns, blinking somewhat owlishly in the direction of the pulled plant. "I… I've never seen that plant before in my life. It doesn't look like anything that should be planted here… does it smell at all familiar?" Her expression is dubiously uncertain.

Ginger runs her fingers over the hairy leaves. "Hey!" she smiles. "It's really soft and furry. Like a kitten." She raises the leaf to her nose, rubbing the tip of that in the process, but shakes her head. "Can't smell anything. But maybe if I give it a squeeze?" She digs a thumbnail into the soft flesh of the leaf, which proceeds to ooze somethng white and sharp-scented. She sniffs again and wrinkles her nose. "That's strong, but I don't know what it is - don't recognise it. Here, you try!" She holds out the plant, with white sap still oozing from the torn leaf - sap which she manages to get over her fingers and some of her palm.

"Maybe—" begins Kyriatis. But she stops, shaking her head in some amusement as Ginger describes the leaf as 'kitten-like': it's kind of adorable, and that's a distraction from whatever it was that she was going to say (possibly something sensible like 'maybe we shouldn't touch the strange plant too much'). Still sans gloves, she reaches out to take the plant, and though she does little more than sniff it, and turn it over in her hands, the sap leaks steadily, and spreads itself across her fingers. "Weird," is her conclusion. "It doesn't smell like anything I know. I wonder how it ended up here. Maybe I should take it to the head gardener. You don't want strange things amidst anything that people eat."

"No, I guess not. But it's definitely a weed, then, if you don't know what it is? 'Cos you'd know if it was something you were growning, wouldn't you? And I think there's a couple more in there." Which Ginger is eyeing suspiciously. Those furry plants may not be long for this world! "Do I pull 'em up, or leave 'em?" She rubs her thumb idly at the palm of her hand, then wipes the ooze, which is now on both hands, on her trouser legs.

Kyriatis is uncertain, now, and hesitates before answering Ginger. "Better leave them," she decides, finally. "Just in case. I don't think they're important, if I don't know them, but just in case. And it might be important to see them in position, or at least very freshly uprooted." She lifts her hand towards her face, rubbing at her nose and - oops - spreading some of that goop. Hastily, she wipes her hands down. "I'll take that one you pulled when we're done here."

"Right!" Ginger carefully pulls the original weed from around the two remaining mystery plants, as if they were prized specimens. Plants, you are reprieved! She can't resist running the backs of her fingers over a furry leaf or two, though. The weed pile continues to mount. She shifts along the bed a little more, and weeds without talking a lot for several minutes. Then she stops and idly scratches her fingers. The fingers that got the sap on them, that is. She looks down at her hands, and frowns, then holds out her fingers in her friend's direction. Those fingers look distinctly red and a little inflamed - no wonder they're itchy. "Uh, Kyri?"

Kyriatis, too, returns to work, and if she idly scratches at her hand - and then at her nose - a few times, she doesn't seem to have actively noticed the effort. Which means she's surprised to glance up and register Ginger's fingers… and then her own. "Shells," she swears, breathlessly. Her eyes are wide and a little scared, possibly more scared than some itchy, red skin ought to encourage. In a tiny, tight voice: "Infirmary. Now."

Ginger nods briskly, gets to her feet, and scoops up the little fork which she brought with her, and which she now tucks back into her belt. "Yes, I think we'd better. Better bring the plant, too. Uh, maybe put your gloves on before you pick it up? Just our luck if we found some Southern horror that nobody's ever seen before, of course." Because Southern has huge numbers of species, some of them rather nasty. "If nothing else, they'll have numbweed there." Blessed, blessed numbweed! "My fingers feel like they're on fire." She jams a hand into each trouser pocket in an attempt not to scratch.

It's a good thing Ginger is calm and sensible about this, because Kyriatis - despite her exposure to gardens and all the things in them - looks about ready to panic. She takes Ginger's advice about picking up the plant almost too late, but does hastily put on her gloves and pick it up. It probably doesn't help that her nose is red and angry. Either way, her eyes are showing the faintest glimmer of tears. "It's awful," she declares, holding the offending plant in front of her at a distance, barely connecting to her gloved hands. She sounds genuinely betrayed by this. "Let's go. I want that numbweed bad."

Ginger is apparently still thinking, despite the burning of her hands and the fact that the tip of her nose now has a rosy glow. Because there are other candidates there still. "Hold that thing up, can you, Kyri?" She raises her voice to get their attention. "Guys, look out for these furry things, and if you see one, don't touch it. Really, seriously, DO NOT touch it, 'cos you won't like what it does to you. Just keep well clear, OK? " She checks she's got their attention, then tells Kyriatis, "Right, let's get that numbweed." And off she goes at a trot.

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