Who

Quentin, Linden

What

Two Candidates swap stories and get to know one another while working in the stables.

When

It is evening of the sixteenth day of the twelfth month of the first turn of the 12th pass.

Where

Stables, Galleries, Southern Weyr

OOC Date

 

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Stables

The stone stables of Southern sweep breezily in arches and vaulted ceilings, done in the same architecture that figures so prominently within the inner caverns. A half-loft in the back shows neatly stacked hay bales, the sweet scents from the fodder drifting down to commingle with the aroma of runner and leather and sweat. There, broad box stalls house inhabitants safely away from the fancies of dragons: nickers and restless stompings fill the air, nirvana to those so inclined.


What? The herder has stall mucking duty? What a shocker. It's even odds whether Quentin was actually assigned to do this, or whether he traded with one of his fellow Candidates for the familiar chore. Whichever is the case, he's currently tucked in one of the stalls, the mare which usually occupies it tied up outside as he gathers up the musty, used straw. From the mussed state of his clothing - and the fact that half of the stalls are pristine - he's been at this for a while.

Linden had this duty earlier, then got pulled away to wash a bronze, and now he's back to finish. Stepping into the stables he halts in surprise, peering around. "Wow. Someone…" Did all of his work! Awesome! "Hello?" he calls, moving forward slowly, offering his hand towards the mare, hand flat, palm up.

The mare eyes Linden thoughtfully as she lowers her head, nostrils flaring to take in his scent. Deciding that this is not a dragon in disguise, she pushes her muzzle into his palm and whickers softly. With an armful of dirty straw, Quentin pokes his head out of the stall, brow furrowing at the call and the runner's answer. "Hello?" he replies hesitantly, blue eyes focusing on Linden. "Hey," he repeats more surely as recognition of his fellow Candidate comes. "Linden, right?"

Linden chuckles softly, gently rubbing the mare's muzzle and pulling a fingerroot from his pocket to give to her. "Oh, hey! Yeah, Linden. I…sorry?" He gestures with his free hand. "I was doing this this morning but then S'yn needed people to help wash his bronze, so. I was coming to finish…"

"Oh, huh," Quentin murmurs, looking a bit perplexed. "I traded off with that one guy - the one with the big nose, you know? He had this, and I had mending." The annoyance in his voice shows how much the herder-candie enjoys that particular chore. "I guess they double us up though, eh?" Making his way towards the barrow he's using to transport the dirty straw, he dumps in his armful, then moves to join Linden at the mare, stroking her neck gently. "Don't worry," he adds cheerfully, "this is a chore I can do in my sleep. I'd rather do it than most of what they got planned for us."

Linden ohs, with a laugh. "I'd trade mending for this too. Guess the guy," he doesn't remember his name either, "really enjoys girl work." Then he shrugs, rubbing the mare's muzzle again. "Oh yeah? I like kitchen duty best, and runner duty. This one is okay I guess, but I'll trade you if you want it, when I have it." He smiles. "I'm Linden. From Ista."

"Girl work?" Momentarily distracted, Quentin stares quizically at Linden as his fingers scratch along the mare's jaw, something she clearly enjoys from the way she leans into his hand, eyes half-closed. "I guess." Shaking his head, he dismisses his confusion and instead gives a brilliant grin, pulling his hand away and moving back towards the stall he was working on. "Runner duty isn't so bad, but if I get kitchen duty when you have stables, I'll be happy to trade." Ducking into the stall, he grabs a pitchfork and begins to gather up another bundle of straw. "Ista, huh? Quentin, of Keroon. Well, s'where I'm from. Been here a bit before Search, though."

Linden nods a little. "Well yeah. Girls always did the mending…" Do his mending anyway. Because he grew up with his father and his father sucks at mending. "Deal," Linden replies with a grin, following after. "So what should I do to help out? Two of us here…finished faster then maybe we go to the beach?" He smiles. "Keroon. Good runners in Keroon still? They always had the best back in oldtime."

"You're oldtime?" Interested, Quentin pauses in his forking, peeking out of the stall at Linden. "I always thought - " But he breaks off before he says any more, merely smiling. "Lotsa Weavers are guys," he points out gently instead. "Now, anyway. I don't know what it was like back then." Pulling his head back, the sound of the tines of the pitchfork against stone can be heard. "Lots of good runners in Keroon. My grandfather, he's stablemaster at the Hold, and, of course, the beastcraft," and the pride is clear in his voice, "still has the best bloodlines available. I worked mostly with canines though," he adds. "Too many runners growing up, wanted something new when I joined the Hall."

Linden nods, "Yeah. Thought what?" he presses curiously. "Well yeah, Weavers." That's different? "But like…mending stuff." It's different in his head apparently. "Oh, that's awesome. Canines? That's awesome too. I always wanted one when I was a kid." He's still a kid. "Dad always said he might fall off the ledge though."

A curious look crosses Quentin's face as he pokes his head out of the stall to stare at his companion - his expression comprised of equal parts shock and frustration. "Ledge? Your dad was a dragonrider? And you lived with him?" The look on his face lingers a second longer, then he pokers up, replacing it with a smile that rings just a little false. "I like canines. You can do so much with them. Train 'em right, there's nothing they can't do. Never yet met a runner that'll fetch anything for you."

Linden looks surprised at Quentin's shock and frustration. "What? Yeah…he's a bronzerider. I lived with him, yeah…" His posture shifts a bit. "Is that…a problem?"

"I, no.. it's not a problem. I'm sorry." Quentin places the pitchfork against the wall and steps over to the mare again, buring his fingers in her mane. "I think," he says carefully, "I'm jealous. I shouldn't be," he adds, clearly annoyed with himself. "It's not like my father didn't make sure I was cared for. He made sure grandfather took me, and he visited. I just… I didn't realize dragonriders could raise their kids themselves." Shaking his head and making his curls bounce frantically, he scowls at the floor. "Shards, fifteen turns of being okay with it, then I get here and I'm all kinds of wonky. Sorry, I'm being stupid."

Linden shifts a bit. "You're nowtime though right? I'm oldtime. There was no thread back then…my dad had the time to raise me." His voice is quiet, understanding. "So now…now I don't think dragonriders can. Having getting ready for thread and all…it's good you had family. Most kids are just fostered. And Keroon…what a great place to grow up."

The slight smile that touches Quentin's lips holds no bitterness. "Nah, my parents aren't really, well… parents. Love 'em both," he adds loyally, "but let's be honest. My mother had enough trouble being a greenrider and my father… well, I'm sure you'll hear plenty about Q'fex." He laughs softly, the humor directed at himself as much as at the situation. "I'm just being an idiot. I think it's great your dad was able to raise you. Me, I had a great childhood. Grandfather's strict, but he's a good man. And I'm lucky, you're right." Okay, crisis over. Yay!

Linden ohs, his mouth rounded. "I've heard of Q'fex, yeah. He was Weyrleader here right?" Linden's eyes are big, and he sounds impressed. "My dad's a bronzerider but he's never been Weyrleader." Crisis over? Awesome. "Yeah, way lucky!"

"Yeah, he was." Quentin doesn't sound terribly proud - but then, he had little to do with his father being Weyrleader. "He got hurt though. That's, uh… why I'm here." Aww. Is Quinn blushing? Just a bit, it seems. Having calmed, the boy once more moves to finish the stall he's been working on. "Being Weyrleader is nice, but I think it's pretty awesome just being a dragonrider. Did your dad come forward, too?"

Linden winces. "He did? How?" he asks quietly. He's not doing any work either, just talking. "Yeah, he did. My mom did too, but we didn't know she did for a while. Then she got hurt so I was in Igen for a while helping her get better."

"Was he at Keroon? At the gather?" Quentin scrapes up the last of the dirty straw and takes it to the barrow, then grabs a scrub brush and gives the stall floor a quick going-over, making certain to get in the corners and under the troughs. "I'm… not entirely certain how Q'fex got hurt. I just know he was a good reason to come here." Linden can't see the wince that crosses the herder-candidate's face. "Uh, I mean, I'm glad I was able to come and help him." Yeah.

Linden shakes his head slowly. "I don't…think so? Which Keroon gather?" The teen tilts his head a bit with a slow smile. "Wanted to see more of Pern than just Keroon?" he prompts.

"Something like that." Quentin, being evasive? Naaaah. "The big Gather, the one where Thread came unexpectedly and everyone went to fight it." So, Linden can't see the boy's shining eyes, but he can sure hear the excitement in his voice. "I was there. Shards, but that was scary. Never been so grateful to dragonriders before - 'specially the oldtimers. They risked it all." There. Stall's done. Dusting his hands, the young man comes out to gather up the mare and bring her in.

Linden shakes his head. "Oh, no. He wasn't there, I wasn't either…Shards," he swears, "I'll bet it was terrifying." But exciting, his expression betrays that at least. "The oldtimers risked it all coming forward too. Dad left everything but me behind."

"They did. I don't get why people don't see that." Quentin shakes his head over the foolishness of all too many nowtimers. "But I think they're starting to," he adds, as he moves to the next stall, offering his hand to the gelding peering curiously at him over the door. "S'why I glad I'm here. People are appreciated for what they do, not what they are. Mostly," he adds, with a slight grin.

Linden nods. "Yeah. It seems like a good place. Just been here a few days but…yeah. Seems neat." He leans against the stall wall with a smile, arms crossed. "So have you seen a dead body?"

Quentin chuckles as he moves the gelding out, tying him up outside of his stall. "It's interesting. I haven't been here that long, myself. A dead body?" Distracted from his work - again - Quinn turns and stares at Linden. "Ew, no. Well, not human, anyway. Seen plenty of dead herdbeasts, of course. But why do you ask?"

Linden looks around the stable with interest. "I heard dead bodies are, like, everywhere in this weyr. Wondered if you'd seen any yet."

"No, and I don't particularly want to," Quentin replies stoutly as he begins to scoop out manure. "I've heard there have been a couple, though," he admits. "Before I got here. Kinda creepy, if you think about it."

Linden shrugs with a grin. "I think it'd be neat! See someone, and figure out what happened to them…" He shivers with boyish delight. "I think it'd be cool. Creepy, yeah! But great."

"Mmmkay." Quentin doesn't seem inclined to agree or disagree with his fellow Candidate, and instead simply makes a noncommital noise, wielding his spade expertly to scoop up the last few piles of horse poo. "Got plenty of other things to be excited about right now," he points out. "Have you seen the eggs?"

Linden nods his head. "Yeah! I've seen…well as many as we can see at a time. They keep getting covered up. They're kind of…lots of them are the same, yeah? It's different than ones I've seen in the past."

Quentin shrugs his shoulders as he exchanges spade for pitchfork, starting work on exchanging dirty straw for clean. "I haven't seen them," he admits slowly. "I was busy during the clutching and… I don't know. I never really got around to going and having a look." What, Quinn's nervous about the eggs? Seems so, from the faint thread of anxiety in his voice.

Linden tilts his head. "Why haven't you gone to look yet? You know we're gonna touch 'em, right?"

"Yeah, I know." Quentin's voice has a distinct edge to it. Not angry; more anxious than anything. "I dunno why, I just… I don't want to disturb anything." Like the status quo. "I guess I should, sometime. It's just, there always seems to be something else to do." Who would have thought Candidate chores could be useful?

Linden just looks confused now. "Well…let's go. You're almost done, right? It's almost time to head back to the barracks, we can stop by the galleries, I'll bet no one's even there right now. We can go peek!"

Quentin stares at the pile of straw on his pitchfork, visibly torn between finding an excuse not to go and looking the fool in front of his fellow Candidate. Peer pressure wins out, though, and he dumps this last load of straw on the barrow. "Help me finish this stall then, and we will," he replies, with quite a bit less enthusiasm than his companion. But hey, he agreed, right?

Linden grins widely when the other Candidate agrees. "Great!" He moves forward eagerly and with energy, going to fetch come clean straw to haul over for Quentin to spread around.

With both of them working, it takes only a few minutes more to finish out the stall. As Quentin closes the door behind the gelding, he reaches out to stroke the runner's long nose, taking a deep breath. "Well then," he sighs. "Shall we?"

Linden nods eagerly, grinning at his new friend. "Yup! This way!" He knows how to get there, and happily leads the way there.


Galleries

Stone benches rise, black and showing the lack of polish from a thousand seats — by the look of it, these have not been used in… forever, if ever indeed.


Trailing behind Linden, Quentin follows his fellow Candidate into the Galleries, his eyes focused on the bleachers rather than the Sands below them. "Have you ever stood before?" he asks his friend curiously as they make their way to a prime location for egg watching.

Linden walks up into the galleries and then stands against the railing with a grin down at the sands. "No, I haven't. Have you?"
"No. I never even really thought about it before Q'fex asked me," Quentin replies. He hesitates, then adds slowly, "I'm still not sure about it."

Linden smiles. "Your dad Searched you? That's really neat." Leaning on the railing, he looks out with a happy sigh. "No? Why not?"

"Is it a Search if there's no dragon involved?" Quentin asks whimsically as he rests his elbows on the railing and finally looks down at the Sands. Whether or not he's actually focusing on the eggs is anyone's guess. "But I think it was pretty great that he asked me. And he seemed really pleased with the idea of me Standing."

"My dragon?" Yes, Quentin. That's usually what Standing is all about. You know, Impression. Dragons. Bonding. That kind of thing. Still, the boy looks startled, as if he hadn't really considered such a possibility before. "Ma-aybe," he drawls slowly, brow furrowing as he studies the eggs - or at least the eggs he can see.

Linden looks baffled by his surprise. "That's why you're Standing, right? To…hopefully Impress?"

"I think so." Congratulations, Linden. You seem to have broken Quentin. Not that that's really so hard. "Honestly, I really wasn't thinking of that when I said yes," he confesses slowly. "I just saw Q'fex - my father - really wanted me to do it. And it seemed right at the time. But dragonriding… I dunno, Linden," he murmurs. "I respect 'em. They saved us time and again and they're super important. I just…" He trails off before he can complete that thought, shaking his head. "I doubt my father would have asked if I wasn't good for it, though."

Linden shakes his head slowly. "It's a dangerous job. I don't know many parents who would…ask their kids to do it. With Thread and all…" He smiles then. "Well you've got some time to think about it? You're here now, the eggs have a while yet."

"Q'fex was very careful to remind me how dangerous riding is." There's a little glow about Quentin - perhaps a bit of pleasure knowing his father thinks him up to the challenge of dragonriding, with all of its attendant dangers? "But that's for the future. Now… now is eggs. Do you see that one there? It looks cold." The boy leans out a little, lifting a hand to point out the egg. With that, the conversation turns to happier - if chillier - things, and Quinn finds solace in making a new friend.

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