T'ral, Sevreni, Niyati, Ebben


Novice cooks attempt to make stew.


It is midmorning of the nineteenth day of the twelfth month of the first turn of the 12th pass.


Kitchens, Southern Weyr

OOC Date


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Renowned, the culinary prowress of Southern, and suitable her kitchens to the task. A broad and airy sweep of room, it cannot help the sweat-drenching heat — though hearths are cleverly set within the ground itself to maximize efficiency. Big copper pots gleam along long tables, cooks hustling to and fro to prepare the necessary meals. There is never a candlemark the kitchens are left unstaffed: even in the wee hours of the night, bakers can be seen shaping loaves and mixing biscuits. For those who miss meals, a sideboard brims with leftovers that are easily transformed into portable potables, complete with sweet herbal tea and a large wheel of a soft, white, crumbly cheese.

What with all the madness going on these days - people running around naked, bartenders being Searched, shifts to be filled - Sevreni is in a mood and a half when she finally manages to grease permission out of Ardstelle for use of a corner of her kitchen. Hair bound back tightly, she's tying an apron around her hips under the amused glances of the permanent kitchens workers, who seem to be taking a break from washing up just to anticipate the strangeness about to happen. On the small surface, laid out neatly, are some potatoes, cubed-up herdbeast, some onions, carrots and a confusing tangle of herbs. Also a large spatula, which she picks up to wield with a certain grim intensity. Now just to wait for her partner-in-crime.

Niyati enters the kitchens and dons an apron, already clad in tunic and pants instead of her usually flowy skirts and scarves. The first order of business is to look around to assess the work to be done and when she sees the assortment of meat, potatoes, and onions she quirks an eyebrow. "I've been told to offer my help where it's needed… I have to admit I've not spent much time around cooking. My last chore was to help clean up the messes."

It's a shock and a wonder that Ardstelle was greased out of permissions in Her Domain… though these days the corpulent butter bandit's domain has expanded and there are gaps in that iron grip. Like letting riders slipstream along behind Kitten Proprietors. T'ral walks into the kitchen, bootheels ringing with his strides, snares an apron from a hook near the door and WHOMP deposits three parchment wrapped parcels: one very greasy, two not-as-greasy, the last is least-greasy-of-all. "Bacon, dates, cheese. Morning, Sevreni." He cocks his head at the … what is that? Stew fixins? And looks up quizzically at Sevreni. He smiles at Niyati, "Morning, Candidate," he takes her presence here in stride and brings her right along, "First things first, wash up." All that dragonhealer training has driven this above all things home. NO CROSS CONTAMINATION. He ambles over to the sink and pumps water for Niyati. "Where are we starting, Sevreni?"

Sevreni takes in Niyati's appearance with a distinctly displeased eye — is that her favourite weaver she sees, nabbed and put into a white knot? DISPLEASURE. "They got you too, huh?" she says low, calm, as she retains her grip on the spatula. T'ral's whirlwind entrance makes an eyebrow twitch. "Yes… please wash. Although I hear that you've got odd habits whilst in the bath, poacher."

"Morning!" Niyati isn't actually perky in the morning, she's just used to being up. Once the water is going she reaches out for the soap to wash up, giving herself that 'get the dye out of your skin' Weaver scrub. Once that's done she dries her hands and forearms and waits for instruction. "Quite by surprise, yes. Fortunately, I'm managing to finish off the projects I'd already started before going to sleep." The mention of the baths earns a stifled laugh- That subject is NEVER going to get old. "At least there's never time to get bored. I was afraid I'd have too much time on my hands. Oh, we're making stew?"

And the reason T'ral takes Niyati's presence in stride - he's hoping to avoid mention of events on evenings past. T'ral's ears go red, jaw muscles bunching, before he grins mostly to himself because he's mock-glaring at the wall as he leans into pumping water for one of his poachees. "I assure you, that it's not a habit." There's muttering, prooooobably about his lifemate. "Poacher." T'ral lifts a brow, "She was free to decline. How she could refuse Esanth is beyond me, though." He cuts amused eyes, narrowed, at the Proprietress. Swapping out with Niyati, T'ral scrubs, "I can always find things for you to do," T'ral's voice is leavened with Dire Menace, "Candidate." He returns to scrubbing and wriggles his nose. A lot. It's gone itchy and he's Scrubbed Now. Drying hands on a towel he joins Niyati, surveying the assemblage before Sevreni. "I can hack up carcasses for dragons. This looks a little more… delicate."

There's a sniff from the Kitten's proprietor. Her displeasure is somewhat mollified by the news that she'll still get her outfits, but there's no disguising the stiffness as she scoots sideways to stand in front of a heavy cast iron pot. "I'm making stew," she informs Niyati. "With T'ral. You can stand there and give helpful hints, but not too many." They can't get over their cooking fear otherwise. T'ral earns a bump against his shoulder, a playful-dire shove. "You still interpreted. I am holding you equally as guilty. What happens if she up and Impresses now?" She'll be down a bartender, she will. Tossing the meat into the pot, she just stares at it. "It has to get brown somehow," she informs her pastry chef. "Somehow." Of course. It would help if she preheats the pot and adds some oil as well.

Niyati smiles at T'ral, both eyebrows raising as she tries to keep her mirth in check. "Oh, I'm sure you could. Everyone who sees the knot seems to have a list, but it's all been quite enlightening!" Sevreni is given an understanding nod. "I don't know if I can give many hints beyond what I've heard. All I know about stew is a hot pot and cold oil, but that can go for some dyes as well. Oh, you know. I've heard that if you use a bit of flour and pepper… but as I said, I'm by no means learned in the ways of cooking."

The bluerider blinks at Sevreni. "Where is the recipe?!" There's supposed to be a recipe. "If there's not a recipe how do… Sevreni! We can't waste food!" It's food. And waste. He looks around the kitchens for a shelf or SOMETHING that might have a clue for them in what to do. He's certain there's something or SOMEONE who can help. He narrows his eyes at the bustling, hard-working kitchen staff. Considering, that look. Snag one of Ardstelle's duly appointed workers or no… hmmm… To Niyati, "You'll see every bit of the Weyr in Candidacy. Every Bit." Oh, the latrines. A flicker of puzzled melancholy flashes over T'ral's face and is gone with a swallow and a hiking of brows. "Browning takes heat doesn't it? You've cooked out, haven't you? Maybe we could put the meat on spits and roast it on the fire." It's a kitchen, there's a fire, right?

Ebben strolls in from the Living Caverns.

"I asked, okay?" Sevreni says shortly, already stressed out by the twin irritants of observers and T'ral's whine. "Don't take that tone with me. You're supposed to get the meat brown, put in the vegetables, put in water and it turns into stew in three hours or so." Too stressed to remember the spices at the moment, she cautiously touches the side of the pot with a finger. Seconds later, cursing like mad, she sticks the burnt fingertip into her mouth. Okay. So the pot is hot, but there's no oil. "Damn it, man, I'm a bartender, not a cook." She chin-nods to Niyati, flicking her eyes to the pantry with wordless appeal. Be a love and fetch the oil?

Niyati heads to the pantry to retrieve the oil, bringing along some flour JUST in case. "Do you want me to fish the meat out of the pot, then? So that it doesn't stick- does it stick?- to the pot?" She's clearly wishing she had more kitchen know-how but guesses are better than nothing, right? "I'm used to working with hot vats, I'm sure I could do it without too much trouble."

T'ral most certainly did not whine. FOR THE RECORD. There's no whining in … baseball? Self improvement? Well, probably a LOT of whining, but not from THIS bluerider. "Hey. This isn't gonna be any fun if we're snarking at eachother." He fixes her with a look, "It's supposed to be fun, right?" Wasn't it? Did he get the wrong memo? He snags the elbow of a passing kitchen worker who looks surprised, then put out, then surprised again, then put out as she explains things. He nods at Niyati, "Yon cook says…" he rattles off a list of instructions. Harper recall is good for something. "I'll take care of the meat. Sevreni, you do the honors with the oil," he's using clawy-hook-snare-hand-fingers to lift the meat out of the pot, but, uh… no where to put it. "Niyati, grab me a plate or something, hey? And then prep the flour." He looks over at 'yon cook' who is equal parts exasperated and amused. He wrinkles his nose at her.

Ebben walks casually into the kitchen, attempting to snag some nibbles to replaced a missed breakfast. As he moves in the snatch a hunk of bread and some of that crumbly cheese he adores he sees… well, he's not entirely sure what he sees. With a hand halfway to his mouth, Ebben's expression is neutral but verging on the concerned. There appears to be some sort of culinary kerfuffle in the works. And it involves that nice Weaver-turned-candidate and his crush and… stew? The bread makes it to his mouth; he chews slowly, maintaining his silence he leans against the butcher block to watch.

There's a huge eye-roll. See why the Kitten's cook normally never lets Sevreni into the kitchen. "I started with the beef, I'll finish it," she informs both Niyati and T'ral, waving the oil over to the bluerider. Using the same spatula as earlier, she scoops the meat out of the pot again (luckily pre-stick) and dumps it onto a plate so that she can get the flour-pepper mixture going. Luckily for Ebben, she doesn't see him yet, or his new knot. Niyati is snagged, however, motioned closer to get involved with the flouring of the meat cubes. "Are they working you hard yet? He stole my bartender." That, of course, to T'ral-with-the-oil.

Niyati makes off for a plate, snagging a towel in the process because she may have seen someone using a towel on beef at some point. She makes no protest of being relieved of flour duty, though she does still look a bit confused over the entire process. "Shall I cut up something? I'm pretty good at that, at least. I've had to cut up a lot of things for dyes and such." Ebben is given an envious look, because he's currently not in a state of confusion over the hidden secrets of stew making.

Ebben sticks out his tongue good-naturedly at Niyati. He just pulled his kitchen chore shift yesterday, and that big ol' pot their using? Yep. Scrubbed by yours truly. Well, ok, more like, Kultir scrubbed and he rinsed, but still, it was big and involved a lot of sloshed sleeves. Sevreni he admires because, you know, that's his thing. As for the… whateverthisis going on in front of him, he smiles politely as he smears a bit of cheese on his bread and keeps on chewing. The best in kitchen entertainment.

Sevreni nods towards Niyati. "Right. Wait. There was a knife here somewhere." The one that she produces is a fearsome chopper, almost more suited to splitting necks than vegetables, but it's quite courteously handed over so that the girl can grip the handle instead of the blade, and she waves her at the pile of potatoes, carrots and whatever-the-hell that green stuff is. It's as she turns to scoot around and give her space that she espies Ebben. Her eyebrows arch slightly, sweep over him from top to toe. Such a comprehensive glance that. "Congratulations are in order, I see?" she asks quietly, nodded to his shoulder. Well. This'll put a cramp in things.

Niyati mutters "And a little revenge," under her breath but sets about cutting up vegetables with efficiency, if not a great deal of speed. Fortunately, she knows enough to cut the vegetables into bite sized chunks, celery aside, and soon has a small pile of ingredients beside her. "I imagine that Ebben would be perfect at stirring, if you want extra hands to keep the stew from getting lumpy." If stew does, indeed, get lumpy. To punctuate her words, she chops an onion in half with one thwak of the knife. Maybe one really should fear the weaver.

Ebben follows Sevreni's gaze and as she comes back up to eye level he gives a half-shrug of agreement. "I think more condolences, depending on how things go. Couldn't have come at a worse time either, I've still got mounds to do with those novices I've been tutoring." He moves forward, rolling his sleeves back and holding his sun-glazed hand towards the weaver, fingers waving inwards in a 'gimme' fashion. "I've been known to stir a few things in my day, any wooden spoons?" Yeah, he's stirred. Manly, manly stirring. Casually he gives Sevreni a bright smile, all teeth and charm. "And who knows, maybe I'll die on the sands, or I'll end up with one of those big flying things, either way…" he leans in slightly to mutter the last bit before his innocent expression is turned on for Niyati. "Any more thoughts on that shawl? She's got gray eyes, I thought maybe we could bring that in somehow?"

You overhear Ebben mutter, "I'm going … … you. … … …" to Sevreni.

"Yes," Sevreni says, cat-grin curling into being and eyes a-gleam. "Let him make himself handy and get with the stirring." Surely, between the three of them, they'll be able to produce something edible? There's a hitch in her stride as Ebben leans in to whisper to her, a subtle tensing that almost sees the container of flour upend in her hands. Luckily for all of them - Ardstelle's assistants are staring - she manages not to push it over, and begins to coat the beef chunks in the mixture as T'ral pours oil into the cast iron pot for Ebben to start stirring. In go the cubes, one by one. "Isn't it a bit difficult for you journeymen, having to move from your own private cubbies to a barracks situation?"

Niyati reaches out for a spoon to hand over. "I do! I thought that a screened scarf would be nice. Do something with the ocean and sunset. Add in a few stones to add some sparkle and a little weight. In fact, I may have something started that you can look at and I'll just finish up. It was going to be fore me but I'll have little use for it for now." She chuckles, then gives a shake of her head to Sevreni. "Oh, not really. Considering the amount of time I've spent going from dorm to dorm or sleeping on a bunk in ships, it's a bit nostalgic. I do miss having everything I need right where I can get to it but I /did/ say yes when asked, so I can't complain too much." All the while she chops the veggies and adding them to the growing mounds on the table.

Ebben smiles to himself as Sevreni jostles the flour, but he keeps on stirring, quiet as a the Pern equivalent to a mouse. After a tick, he cranes his neck to peer into the pot and prod a bit with the spoon. "What are we making here, ladies?" Because on first glance it's not exactly apparent… so… there's that. As for the scarf, Ebben is aglow with delight. "That sounds perfect, Niyati. It was Niyati, right?" They only just met the other day, you see. "Like I said, when you're ready to talk payment, I've saved up a bit."

There's a small sliver of a smile from the older woman as she looks over their little corner of the kitchen: almost all the beef cubes are in, the vegetables are almost all chopped, the stuff in the pot is beginning to smell good, and so far no one has had to put out a fire yet. Win-win scenario. "We're making stew," she informs Ebben. "Remember that I've told you not to let me near a kitchen or a recipe that's not for alcohol? This is why." Unashamed, really, at the fact that she doesn't cook. "Who is this scarf for? If you need a bit more time, my fancy clothes commissions don't really have to be ready right away, Niyati."

Niyati nods. "When it's finished and since it was made for someone else to begin with it'll be a discount. I don't like to rob my customers." The last potato is cubed and she puts the results in their pile. "Oh, I've been told that anyone can learn to cook. But don't worry about your clothes. I just snuck some of the finishing touches in before going to sleep. Fortunately I work better under pressure. …or so I've learned. It's for Ebben's mother I believe. I should have your order ready to deliver shortly after the day's chores. They just need a going over and to be folded and wrapped."

Ebben scrunches his brow coyly towards Sevreni. He can bring you citrus plants, he can stir things, he cares about his mother… clearly he's the package, ridiculously young or not. Just sayin. "Alright, well, I want to make sure you get paid for the work, it sounds beautiful." Taking in a big whiff of the meat, Ebben 'mmmmms' and stirs with a bit more vigor. "For someone who apparently can't cook, you're fooling me."

There's a sigh from Sevreni, edged with warmth. "Don't work your fingers to the bone, Niyati. They're going to work you to the bone, after all." Free labour is free labour, and if all they're doing is sitting around and wait for the eggs to hatch, it makes sense. "Next seven will be fine with me as well. As it is, I'm going to have to fill in nights until we can hire another bartender." Rounding around the girl, resting a well-done pat on one of her shoulders, she peeks past Ebben into the pot. "I have three able assistants," she murmurs back, patting him on the shoulder as well. "And that bottle of wine is still waiting. It'll keep for another two years."

"Oh, I'll charge you what it's worth but not for labor that was done before the order. There's getting a good price and being a crook and a Weaver doesn't keep a good reputation by being a crook." Niyati gives Sevreni a smile. "Oh, I'm only finishing up the work I owe. Wouldn't do for me to go back to my craft without having made good on orders that came before. Nothing's ever certain, not even on the hatching sands. Besides, keeping busy is what I do. Otherwise I get myself into mischief."

Ebben peers down at the slender hand on his shoulder for a moment, a smile creeping up the corners of his lips. "It will only get better with time, I'm sure." He stirs a bit more and peers around at any loose ingredients still in attendance. "Not that I'm not an excellent, and highly skilled stirrer, ladies. But I'm afraid I've got to get to my actual chores, which involve something far less tasty and far more dusty." Alas, the work never finishes. "A pleasure, as always," he says in passing to Sevreni with a wink. "Niyati? I'll see you in the barracks!"

T'ral returns from an impromptu lesson on 'knife skills' from a brusque kitchen worker, his hands full of freshly chopped herbs ready for the pot. Unless they'd been added already, he poises hands over and raises a querying brow at Sevreni. He nods soberly at Ebben's assessment, "Smells good. Edible even," crowsfeet fan with his grin at the Proprietress. "Who's this 'they' then?" The goldriders? Idle, bored, hot, 'sitting around' goldriders were even MORE dangerous than an idle Niyati. "To the bone. And then to the marrow." You can count on it. He can already hear the sounds of sucking the candidates -and later the Impressees- dry of everything they'd thought they had. It's a hollow satisfying sound. The bluerider smiles to himself. Hands still poised over the pot as Ebben makes his departure, "Afternoon, Candidate."

There's a wink back, a gesture Sevreni gives very few. She takes over stirring duties, ducking her head forward to peek into the pot. "Everything seems… brown. And there's brown stuff on the pot. Shall we just toss the vegetables in with water and the spices, and cover it?" The wooden spoon taps against the side of the pot, one fingertip noticeably pink. She holds up said finger to T'ral, helps to pour in the cubed vegetables and stock first, then nods to him to pour the stuff in. What the heck. It can't hurt. Once done, she gives everything a good stir-through, puts the heavy-ass lid on the pot and pushes it back to a point on the large stove that'll see it at a simmer. "And now… we wait three hours?" The spoon turns to point T'ral-wards. "You! Go and recruit me a new bartender, please. Good with her hands, preferably."

Niyati nods and stands to help convey the veggies. T'ral is given a wry smile. "You make it all sound so very pleasant. I wonder you don't have crowds of eligible folks just knocking down the doors." The pot is considered and then she tilts her head to look at the fire providing the heat. "May want to bank that a bit to even the heat now that we've got the meat browned. The longer it stews the better it is, and all of that." She stifles another laugh. "You could Search them. Tell them that your dragon has decided they'd make a wonderful … cocktail."

A speckling of stew juice archipelagos up T'ral's apron from Sevreni's brandished spoon. He frowns down at the stains. They'd juuuuust missed his shirt. He looks up at Sevreni from under bunched brows, squinting with ire that's only superficial. 'Watch it, there, you' says the look. "I'll keep an ear out." He brushes the herb remnants from his hands on the be-stew-spangled apron and looks at the pot, the lid, Sevreni's skinny arms. 'Daggum,' say his raised impressed eyebrows. He gets tongs to shift coals away from under the pot, looking at Niyati as he does, "You shouldn't have any illusions about what you're getting into. We'll wring everything out of you." Shift, shift, coals tumble and sends up a few embers, "So you and we and," most importantly, "the dragons know your measure." He jabs at the coals a couple more times for good measure, squinting at the shimmering heat and the pot. He straightens and hangs the tongs, dark eyes seeking out Niyati, "It's all to a purpose." He looks sidelong at Niyati, brows raised, lips pursed. 'Cocktail.' He sees what she did there. His pink-tinged cheeks and ears attest to that. Or was that heat from the coals?

"But how does one define the measure of a man? Merely by the amount of work that he does before he grunts and falls down?" Sevreni asks rhetorically. "Or women, for that matter." It bears some thinking over a nice bottle of wine. Taking all the dishes and implements to the sink, she does the washing and drying herself before nodding to Niyati. "Bank it for us, please? I think one of these lovely ladies will watch it for us…" Said lovely ladies being the kitchen staff, of course, who all could use a free drink at the Kitten sometime. With that done, her hands dried and the apron removed, she wanders back to the team. "I'm going to bed. T'ral, I'll see you in three hours. Niyati… thanks for the help, I do appreciate it. Drink at the Kitten sometime — juice, of course." T'ral may have harder tack, of course.

Niyati grins at T'ral so innocently it's nearly believable but then she's picking up the coal shovel to carefully pile the ashes over the coals so that they heat without burning. "Anytime!" Is the candidate's reply as she stands to wash the remnants of veggie death from her hands. "Oh, I imagine that it's your willingness to do it and not complain too much. Or at least not really mean it when you complain." She considers the matter of drinking and then chuckles. "After all that I've been doing, juice is just the thing. Remind me to hand over my bottles of wine. One was opened the night I was searched, something has to be done with it before it goes over."

"You can only begin to define something something when you can describe it's," T'ral's hands go around to untie the stays of his apron, head tilted trying to find the right word. "Limits? No. Boundaries. Or lack thereof." He shrugs, "As I say, all to a purpose." He frowns momentarily, a memory surfacing. He nods at Sevreni, "Dinner, then," a bow over an arm folded against his abdomen. "That's part of it, Niyati." That troubled look returns and the bluerider puts a hand on Niyati's shoulder, "Listen, we don't understand everything," he looks up at the ceiling, and back down, "Or even much about The Bond." Capital 'T' Capital 'B.' "Everything we ask of you is intended to keep you safe. And that," he sighs, "That will be especially important after you go amongst the eggs on the Sands." Egg touchings.

Ah, and there's her cue. If it's egg touchings, Sevreni has no business listening in. "You two do that. If I don't wake up, someone drag the pot off the fire, please!" With that she nods and idles out, humming as she goes.

Niyati blinks. "Touching. I'd heard something or other about that but I've never really /been/ to a hatching, much less able to pay attention to anything that leads up to it." She thinks this over for a second and then nods, giving a parting wave in Sevreni's direction. "I suppose you don't need to understand all of it and I honestly haven't minded the chores. I'd never even had a chance to enter a kitchen before now much less the inside of a stable or the rest of it. I've climbed ice and been on sea voyages but none of this. It's kind of enjoyable, really." She was born under the sign of weirdo.

T'ral grins at the Proprietess trying to catch the tune she's humming but misses it in all the kitchen clamor. The bluerider hangs the apron up and grins over his shoulder, "A kindred spirit. I felt the same way," his eyes glint, "It will make you uncommonly difficult to punish." He draws up considering the young woman (not that he's much older, especially given the two-turn gap in his memory). "If the need arises." His lips twitch. Speaking of punishments and embracing them, T'ral switches tack, "What does respect mean to you? And contrast it with courtesy." He clears his throat, fishing around in a pocket for Aha! a little notebook and a stylus. The kitchen staff are giving him The Eye. "Uh, while you peel those." Tubers. Because… Candidacy. It's, like, required.

Niyati chuckles. "Let's hope I spend very little time actually deserving punishment." She settles in with the tubers and her knife, getting down to peeling lest she start getting those looks for idle hands. "Oh, well… I suppose courtesy is simply the way you act. I could be outwardly courteous to someone- and have been- while in my head I've dyed their faces pink a dozen or so times. Respect you actually have to mean or at least afford. But you know, there's respecting someone for their rank an affording them courtesy and respecting someone for their actions in that rank. For instance, I have a lot of respect for the crafters here. Many of them have carved out rank for themselves based on their own abilities and not craft politics. That's an accomplishment whether their rank is recognized or not."

"Let's," T'ral agrees, dragging a stool and perches, eyes narrowed on the Candidate, glinting still, appraising. He STILL hasn't forgotten that 'now' she'd addended to her excuse for being out when Esanth had Searched Dione. NOT THAT HE'LL BRING THAT GEM UP. Ahem. He nods, scribbling as she writes. "Mmmhmmm." More scribbling. "So…" he looks at his notes, summarizing, "So… you can have respect -or not have it- for someone whether for their rank or their person and courtesy is how you demonstrate it?" He squints at the notes, cocking his head, looking at Niyati for confirmation or clarification.

Niyati picks up the next tuber and appraises it before beginning to peal, as if she had to find the right place to start. "Well, courtesy is how you CAN demonstrate it. I've been courteous to people I have next to no respect for. Genuine courtesy you don't really have to try. Let's put it this way. I've met some people of rank that didn't deserve more than a nod of your head, but people who work in the kitchens or muck out stalls and make things work that deserve the respect that a Master simply expects for being who they are. I suppose it's rather hard to explain, isn't it? Though I do try to be courteous at all times. Try. I don't always succeed." Like laughing at naked riders. BUT IT WAS FUNNY.

T'ral frowns at his notes, "I may be parsing courtesy and respect separately for no good reason…" Mostly to himself that last. He looks up, eyebrows raised, a stitch of worry on his brow, "Sorry, your answers are good and just what I'm looking for. I need to recalibrate a bit." He shifts on the stool, folding the book closed over his fingers and leaning on the counter. Changing the questions MID STUDY! T'ral is invalidating all his work heretofore. He nods at Niyati's last, eyes echoing her sentiment, Former-interim-now-deceased Weyrleader, "Ja'kai springs to mind." Dark eyes dip down, brow knitted. He looks up, squinting, narrowed eyes telegraphing a DARE to mention a time when she might not have been so respectful. Courteous. WHATEVER. "Mmmhmm," he agrees, lips pressed together. "Where does saluting fall in there?" He reopens the book, stylus poised, to collect Niyati's answer. He looks at the tubers she's peeled. Inspecting.

"The rank. You're supposed to salute them for the rank they've earned. Obviously a rider earns their rank on the sands but they'll be doing much more than just flying about looking riderly." Niyati seems fairly sure of herself in this, though she doesn't stop pealing. At least she's used to sharp objects and hasn't come close to cutting herself just yet. "I mean, even if that rider is an inconsiderate ass and so full of himself he could be twins, he'll still be doing his duty so you salute for that." Finally, she pauses. "So, if you think you're owed an apology for my laughter, you're right. I do apologize. Although, most of it wasn't for your… ah… state of dress. It was for the prank your dragon managed to pull on you. THAT was impressive." Sure. She was laughing at the dragon. "So if you have to separate respect for the position and the action from the personality in order to do it, you do."

"Mmmhmm. 'Supposed to…'" T'ral scribbles, "'…looking riderly,' … 'salute that,'" more nodding. Eyes still on his notes, "Why? Why do you have to separate it?" Saluting protocol -where, when, under what circumstances- would come later, he's collecting impressions at the moment. Dark eyes flick up at the mention of an apology. The notebook closes again, "Owed." His brow furrows, "No." The rider sits back on the stool, drawing up, considering Niyati with his head tilted back and to the side, "Appreciate?" He tilts his head the other way, still considering. "Yes," he decides. He snorts at Niyati's assessment of Esanth's pranking prowess and lofts a single brow, "There might be a dragon that clever on the Sands for you. Be careful what you wish for."

"Well, think of it this way. If someone from the kitchens or the stables or the lower caverns went about acting like an ass and so full of themselves they may as well be their own twin, would you feel compelled to salute them? But if that same pompous ass saved a hold full of people or even one person's life selflessly, you'd salute that moment of selflessness. So you separate the two. Mainly just to make yourself feel better about the salute but that one act was deserving of it." Niyati stops and blinks, then nearly facepalms except she has a knife and a tuber in her hands and that'd get messy. "I truly hope not. One master prankster is quite enough." So is one streaking rider, but she's not saying THAT.

T'ral purses his lips, listening, recording her further explanation. He nods, satisfied, and closes the little book for true, stylus stowed away, "My thoughts: saluting is a courtesy of rank extended upwards and acknowledged downwards to reinforce the chain of command and flow of authority ultimately in service to our fight against Thread. Conditioning, in other words. Important conditioning. 'But, T'ral' I can hear you thinking, 'Doesn't showing the conditionee the methods of conditioning interfere?'" A smile twitches, some of his dragon's mischief evident, or is it the other way? "Possibly. Judgment is important too." How'd ya like them tubers? T'ral fixes Niyati with an intent look and then laughs, a quick bark, "There's no WAY to know what's waiting for you." Exciting, isn't it?

Niyati thinks it over then nods. "There's mindless conditioning and mindful? If it's route then we won't forget to do it when the time comes, whether we think the person we're saluting is an ass or not." She grins. "And the person being saluted will never know, either. It's sort of a win/win." A firm shake of her head is given. "I'd prefer not to know. I otherwise I might go running back to my nice, safe, and sensible craft. All of this is a bit like going ice climbing without ropes or shoes, except it's also frightening."

The bluerider adds, "Especially if you think the person is an ass." He snorts at 'win/win.' "People are more perceptive than you might think. Some of them." T'ral can't help but goggle and grin at Niyati's last. "Going ice climbing without ropes or shoes isn't frightening?" He may have misheard.

Niyati blinks. "Well, no. Not as long as you know what you're doing. It's /risky/, but probably quite exciting. I've never tried it because it's not exactly the smart thing to do, but it certainly sounds like it would be thrilling." She takes up another tuber, cutting away the skin with more efficiency now. "I've never hunted, either. I was hoping that we'd spot some of those large felines while we were working at the new hold taking samples, but there weren't any and then Nevik fell. I suppose there still might be a chance but we wouldn't be allowed to actually /hunt/ them, being candidates now. I suppose I'll have to settle for hoping to spot one and for the adventure of helping get a new hold in order while waiting for the chance to touch the eggs and for the hatching."

Knots aside, T'ral is in Ardstelle's domain. An intruder. Distracting some of the help. He's one of those perceptive sorts mentioned previously and rather than cut the conversation short and bail out off to other duties, the rider scrubs back in, be-aproned, a paring knife wielded handily. He done this before. Maybe lots. Or he's just gifted. "I think you and the other Candidates are going to get along swimmingly." Some of them in particular. "They're about, those felines. I met some cubs once." His face falls a bit, eyes narrowed, staring deep into the eyes of the tuber in his hands. Scrape, scrape, scrape. Chuck. Another tuber snatched. There's a trick to T'ral's tuber peeling method, if Niyati can suss it out.

Niyati looks quite excited at this news. "You've seen them? Oh wonderful! I do hope we get a chance to spot them. …and I do hope so. I already know a few but all of this will be so much easier if we get along." Less chance of tunnelsnakes under the bed and all of that. The tuber peeling is watched with a sort of awe and she does attempt to copy it. Unfortunately, her tuber pealing is still a bit on the slow side. "I suppose it's a very good thing I never wanted to be a cook."

T'ral nods, dark eyes thoughtful. The record of that encounter was not a happy one. He's rather glad not to have that particular memory. "They're beautiful creatures, but very dangerous. Even riders with dragons treat them with respect." There's that word again. "Ask Z'bor about them…" Er… he trails off and there's a flicker of wishing he could take that back and a small headshake for milk already spilt. He grins and watches Niyati's technique, "Choke up on the blade a bit and hold the tuber thusly," he demonstrates. "Then," scrape, scrape, scrape. Chuck. "Tada."

Niyati thinks about it for a moment and then shakes her head. "I'd like to see them for myself. I'm a bit envious of anyone who has seen them. I'm not particularly eager to get up close- that's just dangerous without the excitement- but I would like to see a real one. At least from a distance." She watches the peeling and then attempts to mimic it, moving her hand up on the blade and it seems to make a difference in speed. "I suppose the rest is practice."

"They're beautiful to be sure," T'ral scrubs his cheek -itchy- against his shoulder. Scrape, scrape, scrape. Chuck. Dark eyes search the ceiling and an inner catalog, "Get Kultir to imitate their cry for you some time. Have you met him yet? His rack is," mental counting, his mouth moves, "Three down from yours, Bowl-wards." They're STILL getting The Eye from the kitchen supervisor, so T'ral bends to the task and in no time there are just two tubers left. He sits back, wiping his brow with a wrist, the non-knife-bearing wrist. "There's the last of it. Race?"

"I have. He can imitate animals as well as Nevik can accents. It's truly amazing, I'll have to ask him!" Niyati takes up the last tuber and nods. "You're on." Of course, she's still slow at it but that's to be expected. She still manages a faster pace than she had the last and all without cutting her fingers. At least she's a good loser, even going so far as to laugh at the loss.

T'ral laughs along with Niyati. Well done, Grasshopper. "Looking good. You'll be smoking these guys," the kitchen staff, "In no time." His eyes unfocus, consulting Esanth for the angle of the sun, "It's time I got to the Infirmary. Good talking, Niyati." He puts the knife where it can be cleaned and returns the apron to its hook and is out the door, ducking back in to holler, "How much do you want for the robe? I really like it."

Niyati begins to sweep the peals off into a bowl- there's a use for everything- and then nods. "It was really nice to talk to you." Clearly, she means it. "The robe? Oh, keep it. Think of it as a remembrance of the strangest search I've ever witnessed. They weren't for anyone in particular, but clearly one was meant for you."

The bluerider looks at Niyati with a grave look, "I think it's the flowers," he nods once, decisively and ducks out of sight. "See you bright and early for PT!" comes from around the corner as his heels ring on the stones in the hallway.

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