Who

Kelati, Kyriatis

What

On the morning of the hatching, candidates are put to work tidying the galleries.

When

It is morning of the twenty-eighth day of the fifth month of the fourteenth turn of the 12th pass.

Where

Galleries, Southern Weyr

OOC Date 06 Jul 2018 04:00

 

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"This time tomorrow, we could be shovelling dragon poop instead of sand."


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 morning — earlier than mid-morning but later than early morning, somewhere in that nebulous 'morning' period one would not call anything else — and Candidates are off to their first round of chores. The Galleries are not the possibly cluttery and otherwise barren wasteland of between-clutches, but they have gotten lots of sand tracked into the stands and various food-related detritus from onlookers left behind. And a few other things from onlookers. Scuttlebutt has it that those eggs will crack any day, or perhaps any hour, and so a few candidates have been dispatched to the specific task of making the Galleries more vistor-worthy. Kelati, hair up and back in a headscarf and armed with a broom, is sweeping out a few of the front aisles and mostly getting sand, but occasionally — "Oh, free pencil."

(Because pencils are normally very expensive.)

Kyriatis has moved past the intensely apprehensive, jittery mess she's been the last few days, and into some kind of eerily placid calm: honestly, it's like she's just shy of zen. That hasn't removed her perpetual energy, though, and she's been an enthusiastic gatherer of trash-and-treasures all morning. "Blunt? Oh— no, actually sharpened. How'd someone manage to lose that… unless maybe they were drawing graffiti and were afraid of being caught." She's one row above Kelati, and leans down, now, to look: just in case this hypothetical graffiti a) actually exists and b) is interesting enough to marvel over.

"Some artists I've seen always carry a spare." Kelati probably saw a lot of them when she spent at least half her waking hours on the Boardwalk; it would have been more did she not also have to make her wares. "In case of breaking or something, I would think, but I'm guessing this is one." Either way, it is Kelati's now. She moves it to the side so not to forget it. "There's probably graffiti somewhere toward the front, though; if you find any, do let me know." For the sake of it being a two person job and potentially interesting. "I think a couple of clutches ago someone wrote 'TSIROTH SUX,' s-u-x. Bitter losing bronze?"

"No doubt the other bronze would have sired twice as many eggs, and a queen," decides Kyriatis, her laugh loud and light, carrying through the massive expanse of the hatching grounds— but not enough, at least, to disturb either dam or sire. "Poor Tsiroth." She's not found anything more exciting than someone's now-mouldy sandwich, which she collects with dustpan and broom and a resolutely horrified wrinkle of her nose. "That's just gross."

Kelati gags, as soon as she catches the scent of delightful rotting and moldy ex-food. That's the problem with working with smells, developing a very specific nose, and sometimes that's not the greatest thing … "Ugh. Sorry. Don't want to go anywhere near that," she admits. "Do you have something to cover your hands with, or a shovel, because I wouldn't just pick that up-" Her sweeping uncovers a marble along with a largely growing pile of sand. That one she doesn't seem as concerned about claiming. "I wonder if they expect us to wood polish every bench."

Kyriatis gives the sandwich a very dubious glance and then, shuddering, glances away. "I've got a— let me put it in here." A portable trash can, lid and all: very convenient. Her dustpan is shaken off several times - and then several more after that - just to be sure every trace of the grossness is gone. "They can't possibly," she decides, of the benches. "We'd be here for turns, and we may not even have hours." The look on her face is, just for a moment, uncertain, but she's determined enough to wash that way and focus instead upon setting down her trash can well out of the way. "This time tomorrow, we could be shovelling dragon poop instead of sand."

It's magic. Kelati's eyes widen and then she nods once, curtly, satisfied. Approving; she's done some of that older-positive-influence thing on the younger candidates as well as the older-and-experienced-let-me-look-down-upon-you-and-deem-you-correct at times. At least she's not annoying about it, and has grown out of being judgmentally corrective; now it's generally a constructive and gentle corrective. No correction here, though, just thankfulness for that innovation. "Not sure," Kelati finally concludes, "what's better, polishing benches — which ones, it's hard to tell, probably the ones where leaders tend to sit and any that look really awful," it's not been long since Rhiscorath's clutch so that can't be too many, "Or shoveling dragon poop."

"Depends if it's my dragon's poop or not," is Kyriatis' opinion on the subject, though she's sensible enough to add, "Though I'm not sure that would make it smell any better. I mean, they eat meat." Why couldn't they be nice, sensible, plant-eating dragons? She stretches, rolling her shoulders back, her broom once again clasped within one hand, though she's leaning on it rather than actually sweeping. "What colour do you think you'd want? If you could choose, I mean."

She has four blue firelizards, so it may not be a surprise when Kelati says, "Blue," though she certainly couldn't have chosen to specifically have four blue firelizards. Perhaps she's just a blue kind of person. "Doesn't your plant eat meat, though? It's just a — substantially larger scale. And wha about you, about your dragon color?"

"I don't think I'd mind a blue," agrees Kyriatis, her smile conspiratorial, as if they've joined a club based on their interest in a certain, relatively common, colour of dragon. "I've always figured I'd end up with a green or blue, if anything, just because they're the most common. I wouldn't be upset with brown, though, either, you know? It surprised me that Ginger seemed horrified by having a boy in her head… it doesn't bother me, much." As for Betty? "It's not the meat eating itself that bothers me, it's the poop. It smells so much worse. That's the benefit of Betty as a pet: I don't have to clean up after her."

"Oh, that's true, I guess plants don't poop." Kelati is pretty sure plants breathe or something like that, but is … not thinking too hard about it. "I suppose I never thought about it like that? The only thing I knew for sure was I didn't want Zymuraith, and I thought very hard about not wanting a gold throughout that whole time. Might've repelled the other dragons too," but it was apparently worth it to not end up a goldrider. "Is herbivore poop much better?"

Quietly, "I'm so glad there's no gold this time, or in Rhiscorath's clutch either. I mean, not so good for the Weyr, because I think another one would be useful, but I'd run a mile. Maybe this'll be your time. And mine. And… I was going to say everyone's, but obviously that's not going to happen. We can't all Impress." Kyriatis seems to remember her broom only belatedly, and hastily begins sweeping again, though she's not done talking. "Herbivore poop's at least a little better. Poop's still poop, though, I guess."

"Perhaps just everyone whose first time this isn't," Kelati agrees, starting to polish a particularly gnarly bench (meaning the scent of wood polish is permeating, but she added some citrus to it!) after being sure to sweep sand away from where she'd have to put one knee down to do the job well. "Though I think I figured Ginger for a gold."

Kyriatis' efforts have stalled again, so that she can lean on her broom and watch Kelati. "Right," she agrees. "All of us second-or-more timers, and then people like Kat, because I'd hate to see her left behind." Maybe, for a moment, her gaze slides towards the eggs: did they hear that? Do they understand their instructions now? "Ginger? On a gold?" Clearly, the possibility has never occurred to her before. "I mean, sure. I don't know if she'd want it, though. She," she adds, chewing at her lip, "is the one I most want to Impress. She's Stood so many times, and she wants it so much."

"Yeah, she seems to have the — solid backbone for it, if none of the expected girlishness." Of course, Kelati's views of goldriders growing up Tlatoani are generally that they have one or the other. Ridiculous, offensive femininity or a good head on their shoulders. "But don't hold much of a candle to my predictions; I was sure Zymuraith would pick Ariele. Amani's all right, though. And I could also see Ginger on another dragon, sure, just if anyone in this class were to be gold material I think it's her." That probably says something good about Ginger and nothing particularly winning for anyone else. "Not that I really," polish polish, "know what I'm talking about beyond vibes. I'm not Weyrbred," mostly.

"And Ariele never Impressed at all, and now she's too old. She's bossy enough to have been a goldrider, though." Kyriatis' tone is thoughtful as she works through all of this. "But I see what you mean. Ginger's…" She waves one hand, a gesture that's not quite helpful in explaining anything. "Dad and I used to sit in the galleries and make bets. You know, what colour would hatch next, but also which candidate each dragon would go to. Not that I mostly knew who them were? But. It was fun. I was terrible at it, so it's a good thing we didn't play for marks, though."

"I think more people are terrible at it, and those who aren't, it's just luck. What are your bets this time?" Kelati's eyes twinkle when she asks that, brightly curious and now not even paying attention to the polishing (her hands keep moving, but it's not as good a job). "I've never tried to do that kind of thing; I don't gamble — even pretend — any more than I drink, though I've been told weyrlinghood might drive me to. Drink when you're able, not gamble."

"Most dragonriders I know drink," confirms Kyriatis. "I don't know if I can think of any that don't at all. So maybe that's the reason." Correlation vs causation is lost on her in this particular moment: she's busy scrunching her face up thoughtfully, and turning her broom idly between her fingers. "It's harder to make bets when it's personal," she admits. "On individuals, I mean. Colour-wise… 3 bronzes, 6 browns, 10 blues, 16 greens. Around that. What are your vices, if you don't drink or gamble? Sugar?"

"Mm, that's probably one of them — I like candied fruits a lot, in addition to, are there people who can resist baked goods?" Another reason Kelati is the black sheep of her family. "I think my primary vicelike luxury is luxury, though. I like to sleep in, I have nice jewelry and clothing made of finer fabrics, everything I touch smells wonderful." The gifts of a successful business! When she came to Southern, she had most of the jewelry, but less the clothing. "Including this bench, which is polish I altered." It's also working, so it's not a problem that she … modified it.

Kyriatis looks… well, a little dubious. "I don't really get that," she admits, though she's cheerful in the admission: it doesn't actually bother her. "I mean… I'm always awake at dawn, sleeping in doesn't work for me. And nice things are just going to get lost or dirty or something, in my experience. Nice smells are nice, but… I think I'm still on the search for my particular vice, unless sunshine and dirt beneath my fingers counts. Oh! Overthinking. That's my vice."

Is it mean of Kelati to laugh? Because she doesn't mean to, really, but she does — it's brief, at least. "I stay up late. You're a lark, I'm a nightbird, I think they say. Does overthinking bring the satisfaction associated with a vice?" Even if she is looking at the bench and not at Kyriatis, her head is still tilted to one side with curiosity.

It doesn't seem to bother Kyriatis: she's cheerful enough in her self-deprecating smile. "It's a kind of guilty pleasure. I mean, not always satisfying, but kind of, in a weird way? Because I know I shouldn't be— I know I should let things go and stop worrying, but I can't, and just doing it feels good, even when it doesn't. That makes absolutely no sense at all, right? I'm just weird."

"It might not make sense, but I've heard it before?" is both accurate and the best Kelati can do, "So you're not alone in having an odd emotional satisfaction of a sort from repetitive worrying. Try not to go absolutely mad from it, though, then you probably won't find your dragon." Though not everyone really wants or needs to. "I doubt I'll stand again after this time, myself. These benches will miss my touch."

"Great," says Kyriatis, dryly. "Now I have something else to worry about, thanks Kelati." No, she's not wholly serious, not given the way the corners of her mouth are twitching upwards. "Pretty sure Ginger won't, either, if she doesn't Impress. I'm… I'm glad there probably won't be another clutch for a turn or so, so that I have some time to figure out what I really want. I mean, I'd rather just Impress this time and know for sure, but if I don't… I don't know if I want this kind of stasis forever. Life can't wait on hold for dragons, not forever."

"No, it shouldn't. That's why I stopped bfore, but I end up saying yes again whenever a dragon compliments my work." That's 3 times for Kelati's record. Three out of four clutches. "Though at least I think we all have our things. My business is doing pretty well; Ginger has her craft, so does Jaymes, you've got the garden. Katryana has her craft, too." It's something, and for many happy, successful people: everything. The bench nearly polished, Kelati is eyeing it suspiciously. As if she missed a nonexistent spot.

Slowly, Kyriatis gives a nod of confirmation. "We're all well-rounded people, in our own ways. In different ways. So… whatever happens, today or tomorrow or whenever it is, we'll be okay. We're not define by Impression." Or not-Impression. She gives the sands another long glance, those un-moving eggs scrutinised for movement— but she's quick to be distracted by more cleaning, more gossip, more chatter, until they're relieved of this particular duty. It can't be long now.

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