Majel, Prineline, Tasna


Majel and Tasna share observations about weyrlinghood over lunch. Prineline whirls in to exult in her triumph over a sooty stove.


It is noon of the sixteenth day of the seventh month of the first turn of the 12th pass.


Living Cavern, Igen Weyr

OOC Date


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Living Cavern

Dim light from hanging glow-globes cannot fully camouflage the ravages of time and neglect on Igen's busy living caverns, though hints of its former glory peek through in the decorative cuts to the cave's natural limestone and the high quality of dusty, tatty-ended tapestries. Here and there, skybroom tables — stained dark by wood finish and a decade of grime — sit in loose groups, flanked by wicker chairs with pointy, broken rattan that pokes out to invariably find unprotected skin. The seemingly randomly placed furniture, however, at closer inspection, forms a sort of cross-shape of negative space. At the northernmost walls and nooks of the caverns, a long buffet table with tarnished lazy susans hosts an array of finger-foods and pitchers for the interested, refilled occasionally by drudges that shuffle in from the curtained entrance to the south, beyond which lies the kitchens. To the east is a large arch leading outside and, across from that, to the west, a set of rattling doors that open to reveal the tunnels and stairs of the inner caverns themselves.

With the weyrlings' morning duties only just completed, several have snuck away to the living cavern to grab an early lunch before the day's heat becomes so oppressive they can't get back to the barracks in time. Tasna is one such, already sitting at the end of a table with some of the others. While it's far cooler within the cavern, she has that sticky look of someone who's already managed to work up a sweat and is between activities. Before even touching her food, she downs an entire glass of water and refills it, then stares at her food. "Shells," Tas mutters darkly, poking at her salad with a fork. "I know I should eat, but the heat just kills my appetite."

Majel is another of those proactive, early diners, gait tentative as she scopes out the seating before veering for the table-end with fellow weyrlings. "It's better to eat now than wish you had later when we're working indoors with nothing but raw meat available, " she advises as she approaches, thanking the greenrider who scoots over to make room for her across from Tasna. It's a light, assessing look that she gives to first the other woman, then her salad. "We need to keep up our strength, as Nana would say." In a way, they eat to nourish two each, these days. For her part, the tailor digs neatly into a bowl of soup and a slice of crusty bread, keeping a glass of ice-water close at hand to pull from between bites.

Tasna wrinkles her nose slightly at mention of that raw meat. "Faranth, don't remind me," she mutters, though she's fighting back a small, crooked smile. "I feel like I'll never get that smell out of my nose at this point, and Tseylath often wakes up already thinking about it. I think I want all my meat well done from here on out," she adds, breaking into a grin. She does, at least, shovel a forkful of lettuce into her mouth. After more water she asks, "Doing all right? Between the heat, the work, and… y'know. Everything else?"

"Nothing less than positively seared black around the edges, ever again, " Majel agrees at once, attention diverting to the careful, repetitive movements of her spoon until the girl to her left is quickly drawn into a discussion that keeps her focus mostly off of the older weyrlings. Perhaps belatedly, "It would seem so. The heat, I've seen every turn. The work is growing to be physically tolerable as they give us more of it." There's a rueful twitch at the corners of her mouth for the steady progression of sore muscles. "As for everything else - well. I'm trying not to think too far ahead and get Dyxath wrapped up in concerns he doesn't need just yet. It's enough, for now, that he's growing more independent and that we're getting closer to being a mobile unit, bit by bit."

Tasna nods in agreement as she works on another mouthful of salad. "The work, I don't mind," she says once her mouth is empty again. "This dry, baking heat, though? I feel like I'm one of Ravene's cakes or something, just waiting for the mits to come down from the sky to pluck us out of the oven." More water. More salad. She watches the other weyrlings at their table, then some other weyrfolk passing by. "I definitely like not being chained to the dragons' sides quite so much. Stretch our legs now and then. Real baths. Real food." She must be hungry after all, because the salad is gone. Time for some buttered bread. "You have concerns for the future, then?"

Majel's lip-pursing is thoughtful. "It is a different sort of heat than what you'd find in Southern or Ista, " she admits after a few more spoonfuls of soup. "Even from what little I experienced of it in the autumn, anyway. Nowhere near as dry or grainy." Her all-too-quick nod for the mention of real baths and real food shows that she's certainly enjoying those new freedoms, too. Despite the small furrow that appears in her brow at that last question, her expression remains pleasantly neutral. "Don't we all?" Cue deflection. "I think our chances of a lower life expectancy greatly increased the minute we became future dragonriders, for instance." She's certainly not telling all, but what she offers is at least delivered truthfully. "There are so many unknown variables to consider now."

Tasna washes down her bread with still more water. Just can't get enough of the stuff today. "True," she says quietly before she gestures back at Majel with a chunk of bread. "But then again, life is always full of unknown variables. New people to meet who could change your life. Storms, Thread, promotions, demotions, new discoveries…" She trails off with a shrug of her bony shoulders and mulls over her bread for a moment. "In a way, it's not the variables that changed. Just our routes toward them."

"More unknown variables, then, " Majel concedes slowly, giving Tseylath's a long look. "And the routes, yes. You've a good point. Points, rather." In that moment of study, she looks very much like someone attempting to solve a very intriguing puzzle - and then it's back down to resume making her soup disappear with steady, even scoops. "How about you?" is ventured at length. "How are you, as you say - " and she wiggles her own piece of bread - “holding up?”

Tasna either doesn't notice or doesn't mind the studious look as she continues right on with her bread. At the returned question, she gives Majel a small, lopsided smile and shrugs again. "So far so good, I guess. Tseylath and I seem to be figuring out how we work in the here and now. I don't dwell too much on the future. Just kind of nice to have one, you know?" She finishes her water and sits back, now that her plate is clear. "And not just a future, but a shared one. It's wild, isn't it? Having them in our heads like that? He doesn't even have to try, and suddenly he knows stuff I've never told a living soul," she admits, hazel eyes twinkling. She reaches for the water pitcher to once again refill her glass.

Majel pushes her bowl to the side after a bit, gradually sipping down to the bottom of her water glass. "I do know, " is said earnestly. It's a hesitant but genuine display of emotion, something that happens more frequently with Dyxath in the picture than it ever did with those who knew her well previously. "It's oddly comforting, really." Even to someone who tries to think six steps ahead. Still, there's a shifty, half-wince for always having another in their heads. "Disconcerting, " is her adjective of choice, "but not entirely unwelcome. It's just hard for me to find - mental privacy? If that makes sense."

"Total sense," Tasna replies before letting out a short laugh. "I'm sharding lucky Tsey isn't a gossip, or… well. I'll just leave it at that." Can't be too bad for her to be grinning like that, right? "But privacy… yeah, I don't know," she admits, pulling her glass to herself, though she doesn't take another drink just yet. "I know there's a way to actively block them, but… haven't figured it out, myself. Haven't really felt the need to. Tsey's so quiet, I can feel him there," she continues, gesturing toward her head, "but I don't hear him a lot, so I can still forget sometimes. Which is both good and bad, I guess." Between the lines: dangerous. "If you figure it out, though, let me know? I keep feeling like there's gotta be a trick to it or something."

Majel raises an eyebrow, amused. "Dyx doesn't gossip, either, " since they've dropped to nicknames. "Not that there'd be much of interest to share with others, mind. I'm not very imaginative. It's hard to forget that he's here, though. He can be very quiet, but there's always something there, some undertone. It's slowly getting to be less of an immediate with each other and more of a display of intent to be present." Their practicing in their spare time might be paying off in that way, at least. "I'm almost afraid to ask the weyrlingmasters if there is a way - not that I ever want to be parted from him, of course. Just - a little more distant than he currently is when he's asleep, perhaps."

Prineline arrives in her usual flurry of activity, though this time she seems to have shed her cloud of assistants in the kitchen. Something of note has been happening in the last slew of minutes as the Headwoman is smeared in soot: it dusts nose and apron, skirt and boot. She does, for all her grime, appear triumphant to some degree, and it is with flourish that she enters the caverns and hunts around for a mug in which to pour some sweet tea.

Tasna nods a few times as she listens to Majel's reply. She takes another drink of water, and just as she's about to reply, she spots Prineline. Stares, really. Blinks. "Uh…" is the quiet, intelligent observation as she scoots her attention to Majel, then back to the headwoman. Another second or two passes as Tasna slowly leans toward the table and drops her voice. "That 'almost afraid to ask' thing? Happening right here and now," she murmurs to the other weyrling.

At Tasna's eloquent observation, Majel automatically turns to see what the object of her stare is. The end result? Two pairs of hazel eyes blinking at the soot-covered headwoman before the bluerider-in-training tilts her head forward, just slightly, to catch the other's murmur. "I doubt there's a reason to be fearful, " she returns sensibly enough, albeit at the same volume. "Neither of us were responsible for it, and she doesn't look perturbed."

"What are you whispering about?" is shot over her shoulder at the two weyrlings, though she has yet to turn and face the new riders. Instead, Prineline is giving her tea a stir and nabbing bits and pieces of edibles to drop on an awaiting plate. Of course, this cherry picking has left all the bits she didn't take covered in soot. This does not appear to bother the Headwoman as she pops a wad of bread in her mouth and begins chewing, finally turning to lay sharp eyes on the women. Though her gaze says authority, her smudgy attire and chipmunk-pooched cheeks say laughable. She chews some more and the cheeks begins to deflate to a normal size. Laugh. She dares you.

Tasna clearly isn't put at ease by Majel's statement as to the condition of Prineline's perturbation, going by the wry look she gives the other weyrling. When the headwoman addresses them, Tasna quickly leans back again, watching the older woman warily. She does not laugh. She does salute, though. As her hand goes back to her water glass, she continues to stare at the headwoman before answering, "We were discussing whether or not you might want to be asked why you're covered in soot." Honesty. Policies. They exist.

Majel's salute is crisp on the tail of Tasna's; she doesn't laugh, either. If anything, she seems politely puzzled. "Headwoman, ma'am." And she goes for it. Respectfully. "You won your skirmish against the soot-covered object, I take it." There, not quite a question.

The other weyrlings nearby swivel in their seats as they see Tasna's salute and hear Majel's "headwoman" and "ma'am." They're all quick to follow suit: They salute, they gape, but they remain otherwise silent.

Prineline points a thin, sooty finger directly at Majel as she scoots closer, taking small sips of tea that bead the smear of black on her lip into a mustache of sorts. It just keeps getting more undignified… "correct! you are correct, weyrling." A smile curves her lips, unveiling a few teeth as the grin becomes thoroughly predatory. "I have finally shown that useless stove who's the Headwoman around here!" Language not in check, one thumb smashes into her grimy chest as she nearly expands with pride. "Had to climb up in that bitches belly, but in the end, only one of us could come out on top. And today, my dear baby beast riders, it was THIS bitch." Eyes dart back towards the kitchen and then to her captivated audience. She gives a soft inhale-snort, then a sneeze which allows sparkling black particles to hang between the three of them.

Tasna watches the particles after that sneeze, then studies the headwoman a moment longer before glancing sideways toward Majel. "I am very happy to hear you were successful, Ma'am," she says carefully while easing away from her chair. "Speaking of stoves, though… and ovens… it's getting pretty hot outside. I'm going to get back to the barracks before it gets too painful to cross the bowl." She salutes the headwoman again, nods to her fellow weyrlings, then hightails it toward the exit, still carrying her water glass.

"Ah." Majel manages to inject many layers into that single syllable including congratulations, uncertainty and a pointed glance to some of the younger weyrlings down the table, who look mortified, frozen and hesitant by turns. "Your victory looks hard-won, ma'am - er, good idea, " on the tail end of Tasna's escape. "Sensible idea. Good afternoon, ma'am." Another salute, a raised eyebrow for her fellows, and she's hot on the brownrider's heels.

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