A visit to Fort!

Fort Weyr- Living Caverns
This cavern, having been created by bubbles in the volcanic flow of this extinct volcano, has a breathtaking ceiling — a vast dome that arches high above the heads of the weyrfolk that scurry around beneath it. A hollow echo can be heard from loud enough noises, and the chatterings of various firelizards are consequently multiplied into a chaotic babble. All in all, the living cavern is a loud place.
Tables are scattered around the room, apparently in no particular order. Over to one side near the kitchens, two medium sized serving tables are constantly spread with snacks, klah, and other goodies. The tables look worn, yet perfectly fitted to the atmosphere of the caverns. In the 'corners' of the cavern, smaller two and four place tables are set up for more private talks or just a less chaotic atmosphere in which to eat.

Having arrived with another of Monaco's escorting riders - and having shadowed the bluerider the whole time a bit behind the others - Vantayne only now finds himself and said escort entering Fort's living cavern. The holder struggles not to look like a greenhorn as he peers all around at the oldest Weyr on Pern, some awe still managing to find a home on his features, in hazel eyes. The dark-haired rider beside him just grins some to herself as she observes her charge's reactions, soon dropping him off with R'en and company while she murmurs something about getting them both some food…then moving off. By this point, the candidate is stepping up to the little knot of Monacoan (and non-) folk, and politely bobbing his head at them all as he takes it all in.

"We didn't bring the candidates here to fill their heads with doubt. We brought them here to learn something about the challenges that might lie ahead. Nobody said they would be easy, and nobody said there won't be something lost for something gained." R'en says as he pushes himself to his feet, and picking up his plate so he can put it away. He's tired, irritable, and knows he should probably just excuse himself before he snaps much more than that. "But, with the way that things are now, you /can/ keep your craft and be a rider. You can do a lot more than when thread was falling. I'm think I'm going to head back to Monaco." He stops his little tirade to just walk away. There's other riders around to escort the candidates home, so he goes to find someone to take him back since Sindrieth left him here alone.

"Yes! Guess the white knot kind of gives it away, huh?" Feyran shoots another grin at the healer. "Well it's nice to meet you Laurali." And then there's Ezra's introduction which reminds the trader girl that she /just/ learned the proper way to do it not too long ago, "Ah…Monaco's duties to Stonehaven as well. Pleased to make your acquaintance!" And really, the words sounds nice but she's shooting him another cheeky grin. Formal? Nah, not really but she does the greeting properly this time at least. And oh look, there's a Vantayne! Despite the whole thing with the wild feline and all, she shoots him a grin which soon fades at R'en's words. Irritated indeed. "Um…have a safe trip and all that." Best not to poke his temper right now, nope!

Laurali chuckles quietly, "It's a bit of a give away? You'd have blended in though if there were a clutch here too." Now wouldn't that be a headache? Who's who and which Candidate to what Weyr? She'll watch R'en silently, almost wary of the bronzerider's sudden irritability. Having not been here earlier, she's at a loss as to what sparked it, only aware that it is something in regards to what C'rus had said. "Clear skies," she murmurs in farewell to R'en, only to glance to Ezra and gently touch his arm. "I think I am going to go back to the room and study for a bit…" she murmurs as she pushes back her chair and slowly stands. "If you'll all excuse me? Enjoy your visit, Feyran." And now there's another! Vantayne has joined them and Laurali nods politely to him. To C'rus, she smiles briefly. "Good to see you again."

Ezra smiles at Feyran, nodding his head. "Thank you." Hey, at least she said it, even if her cheeky grin has him a bit puzzled. He keeps quiet on the talk of riders, nodding a silent greeting to Vantayne. When Laurali touches his arm Ezra's full attention shifts to her, and he smiles. "I'll go with you." He won't be distracting…promise. "It was a pleasure," Ezra says to those who are left. "Enjoy the rest of your time in Fort. Check out the pillow cavern." With that cryptic remark, the cotholder follows after Laurali.

C'rus 's face darkens, the temptation is growing by the moment, he had thought that silence would do the job, but apparently not. Come on C'rus keep your mouth shut! The other rider is leaving. Hang in there for just a moment. He begins to open his mouth but instead offers the rider a salute and says nothing as he departs. After he is a few steps away he sighs and gives his head a shake. Temptation overcome. Never let it be said he hasn't learned something. He smiles over to Laurali and Ezra, "Have a good evening both of you." He's then left with the Candidates. Great.

Well then… the group is now sans one pissy R'en, who Vantayne watches stride off with a look of faint disbelief. When the bronzer is beyond his line of sight, his eyes flick over to Feyran, one of his light-brown brows cocking at his fellow candidate's peer towards the departing clutch-pappa. Quietly to the caravan-trader, "I take it /that/…" cue a slide of eyes R'en-ward "…wasn't due to you?" For once. A ghost-hint of a smile is given to Ezra and Laurali, the taller man once again nodding, then shifting his gaze towards the unknown C'rus.

"It was nice meeting you both!" And maybe she'll even remember Laurali and Ezra's names next time! Wait…did someone just say pillow cavern? There's a glance to C'rus then, the one that obviously lives here. "Was he serious about that? You guys have a /pillow/ cavern?" Forget learning about baby dragons, this is much more interesting! "For once…that wasn't because of me actually." She glances over to Vantayne and then sort of jerks her chin subtly in C'rus' direction. But enough of that. "Don't you want to check out this pillow cavern thing?"

C'rus offers a little shrug, "I have that effect on people." C'rus seems to just bring that out in others with ease, even if he is getting better. He looks up to Vantayne and offers him something of a smile, "I'm C'rus. Welcome to Fort. Please have a seat and make yourself comfortable…" he says as he motions to a seat at the table. Now that he is reasonably sure that they are alone, finally, he can speak freely, "Yeah. We have a pillow cavern somewehre. I've not seen it. I've just heard about it."

When Feyran gets all wound up over this new thing presented like a carrot towards her, Vantayne only puffs out a small breath, then looking between his fellow candidate and the place that once held R'en. 'Ahh…' his eyes silently speak as he takes the cue from Fey's chin jerk towards C'rus, the holder simply remaining silent, even as he shrugs noncommittaly to the young woman's inquiry. With the Fortian's invitation comes not only Tayne's small smile and murmur of, "Thank you," but the return of his escorting bluerider, as well, two bowls of stew balanced in her hands, with warm rolls atop them. "Eat, lad…" the brunette notes to her charge, then smiling at C'rus as she wanders off to chat with some riders a few tables away. After accepting his bowl of chow, Tayne does take up a light seat, soon feeding himself and listening to the other two chatter.

"I believe that we should all take a trip to find this mysterious pillow cavern." Feyran looks at both C'rus and Vantayne with all the excitement of…well, of a Feyran. It's hard to explain really, but there might be a sort of crazed look in her eyes. Oh wait, people have to eat don't they? "After the meal's done maybe." She's already almost completely finished with hers. The bread has disappeared completely and now there's mostly meat on the girl's plate.

Ha'ze sweeps into the cavern and pauses as he eyes C'rus with… strangers. He's lived longer then anyone else in his weyrling class here at the weyr and for the most part knows everyone. Only after a few moments of careful consideration does Ha'ze finally step forward, keeping to the edge of the group. At least C'rus gets a greeting. "Who are they?" He flicks a thumb at the others.

C'rus spots Ha'ze coming into the cavern, but doesn't motion to him. He's known Ha'ze long enough to know that it wouldn't help anyway, even if C'rus is glad to see him there. When he comes a bit closer he smiles to his fellow weryling, "These are the candidates from Monaco bay. They have come here to get the real scoop on what it's like to be a weryling. I've been doing my best to be honest…" C'rus is nothing if not honest. Even if he can be a bit off putting at times, "Feel free to pull up a chair and share your thoughts."

The look Vantayne slips sideways to Feyran smacks slightly of 'crazy woman,' but the holder doesn't say anything, simply continuing to eat his stew and bread as he sits by his fellow candidate, and C'rus. Still, there's more of Fort to be seen, and he'll not waste the opportunity, if it presents itself, so Tayne finds himself nodding once to Fey's 'after dinner,' instead of just writing her newest adventure off. Ha'ze's entrance and subsequent inquiry and thumbing of the two Monocoans ears him a bit of a flat stare from the seated candidate, then a faint shake of head as he returns to his chow, giving C'rus a questioning look as the rider sort-of fills him in on what's going on. You know, since Tayne sort-of just arrived.

Two weyrlings quickly becomes three, as Thys makes her way in from the kitchen, carrying a plate that's piled high with cookies - that, from the warm, sweet scent of them, are quite possibly fresh-baked. C'rus, with Ha'ze by his side, catches her attention, and she meanders across to her fellows with a smile to them, and one to the unknown faces, too. "Cy, Ha'ze… and hello to you all, too. Candidates?" She overheard that bit, and her smile is amped up a notch. "Best of luck to you! Did you come here to ask us questions?" Since Cy's invited the visitors to sit, she sets her cookies down on the table and perches casually on the edge, beside them.

"It's a lot of shoveling s*it and having another brain decide to take over. If you have plans for your future that don't involve another creature, drop out now." Isn't Ha'ze just a bundle of joy and optimism? Thys' entrance gets the briefest of nods and, "Thys." before he is folding his arms across his chest and staring at the candidates from the other weyr. For the moment he's just going to gloss over the fact that this last month of Kainaesyth's.

C'rus smiles, yep, he smiles when Ha'ze pipes up, "Ha'ze have I ever told you how much I enjoy having you in our class." he says genuinely. Next to Ha'ze C'rus gets to look positively diplomatic, "I guess if you want the unvarnished truth of things now's a great time to ask. Because I guarantee your keepers won't tell you everything" He smiles as Thys appears, "Hi Thys. Good to see you, and you even brought cookies." he says, his smile continuing unabated. This whole evening just got a great deal more interesting.

Another perky kind? Vantayne's hazel eyes flick up to take notes of the arriving Thys, the mostly quiet candidate offering her a faint smile and bob of head, along with a light baritone, "Thank you." Those cookies, however…they get a look of near-lust for a moment, 'Tayne quickly schooling himself to a more neutral expression, however. Wouldn't be kosher to be seen looking like a starving wolverine in someone else's home. His attention is quickly enough refocused, however, by Ha'ze's blunt assessment of Impressing. He almost remains silent, but some inner chagrin forces the candidate to levelly inquire, "You regret Impressing, then?" To the other two weyrlings, "Do you?"

Ha'ze's eyes flick over to where C'rus is speaking, and quirks a single eyebrow up. A whole bunch of 'really?' before he turns his gaze back to the candidates. "I didn't say I regreted it." Ha'ze may be blunt but he's not about to disavowl Kainaesyth, no matter how rough things have been. "But having a dragon changes every aspect of your life. You will not be you if one of them decides to move in and take over. Any plans or ambitions you have take second fiddle, if not have to be set asside for ever. Every emotion has to be explained to a baby who doesn't know any better and will most likely be upset the first time you want to murder someone in cold blood."

"I guess that's the truth of it, what Ha'ze said, but it's not all as intense as that - and it doesn't have to mean the end of whatever career you have now, though. My Rhenesath is very keen for me to get back to work, once we've graduated… and in between all the hidework I'll be drowning in." Thys wrinkles her nose, then nudges the cookies towards the others - she can't help but notice that hungry look on Vantayne's face. "These were for someone, but you guys are welcome to them." Helping herself to one, she shakes her head at Vantayne's question. "Not in the slightest. It was unexpected, especially that I became Fort's newest goldrider, but I'd never regret it. What made you say yes, um…?" That's the cue for an introduction, from Vantayne or someone else who may be willing.

"I didn't say that I regretted it." he states just as bluntly as the question was intended to be, "But Ha'ze is right. Your life's path alters in a very significant way. Jaicoureth, my blue, and I work very well as a team. We've really found our groove. He's terribly understanding and to tell you the truth he's a very good soul. I couldn't regret having him in my life. But you have to understand the pricetag attached. You are no longer completely belong to yourself. In many respects its like getting married. Only they move into your head not into your house." C'rus tries to explain, "So far Jai and I are on the same page about most things, and I hope it stays that way." How the healer hopes it stays that way, "I have a girl that I love that I've seen a handful of times since I impressed. To be honest parts of werylinghood suck massively. Parts are really great too…" Thank goodness Jai is sleeping right now so that he can speak as openly as all this without having too many questions pop up.

He listens quite intently to the Fortian weyrlings' words, Vantayne becoming just a hint pensive during such. He doesn't seem quite so certain in his choice, anymore, but at least Thys' offer of cookies gives him reason to push his indecision aside, for the moment, the candidate smiling at her and taking only one of those delicious smelling cookies. "Just one. Others want them, too. Thank you." Bites of said cookie are taken between those of stew and bread, the holder careful to eat mostly neatly, though he almost chokes when the new goldrider's question inspires an inhale. A few coughs and throat clearings later, the now-sobered Monocoan murmurs, "Personal." Shrug.

Has Feyran been paying attention? NOPE! Faranth, do you really expect her to be paying attention when someone puts talk of pillow caverns in her head? This also means that she doesn't quite understand why the atmosphere suddenly seems a little serious. She leaves her daydreaming to…find some other people she doesn't recognize there. "Ah, hello…" Yes, the girl can speak and speak a lot! "What's got you down?" This is asked with a glance to Vantayne.

When Ha'ze doesn't have to hide behind a persona he's blunt and forward. "And Kainaesyth and I haven't hit that grove yet. We may never hit it. Just because it's impression doesn't mean everything is beautiful and lovely. You and they are still two different people that have to figure out how to communicate on a leve you probably don't even realize is there yet." Thys' question is shrugged off a bit as the Weyrling glances over at her. "Honestly, it doesn't matter why you said yes. But if you're having second thoughts and you haven't touched the eggs yet… Get out. No one is going to force you to say." Abruptly Ha'ze stops again and shakes his forehead. "C'rus, Kainaesyth says that if Jai wants to listen to the story he's going to have to wake up." No cookies for the bronzerider as he turns back the way he came and strides out through the doorway.

"Personal is a good reason," Thys agrees. "I said yes out of curiousity, because I didn't think I'd Impress… I actually thought I'd have my journeyman's knot by now. Things didn't go as I expected, though!" But, as she said, she has no regrets. And also no names, despite her prompting attempt - so she tries again. "I'm Thys, by the way. Weyrling to gold Rhenesath." Feyran joining the conversation is met with a finger-wiggling wave, and a nod of her head to the cookie plate; help yourself! She watches Ha'ze do his grumpy storm-out, then smiles to the candidates. "Don't mind him. He's… like that. It's honestly not all doom and gloom, and while your reasons for accepting candidacy may not be important to everyone, I think they're important, especially to you… what happens on the sands could really change your life, you know?"

Those words from Ha'ze are yet more reason for Vantayne to look even more serious and pensive, the candidate on automatic only as he polishes off his food without thinking, without really tasting it, anymore. A jerk of head up finds Ha'ze leaving, and the Monocoan inquires in some small distress of C'rus and Thys, "I…touched the eggs." Is it too late for him? Shells, too late for /what/? Is he in over his head? Even the new goldrider's assurances don't do much to reassure him, Tayne's lips thinning some as he starts to second-guess himself…feels the first hints of desperation. Fayren's inquiry isn't even acknowledged.

"That enough really!" Feyran actually…well, she kind of looks upset. "They brought us here so that we could talk to the weyrlings about how life is like with dragons and interacts with the growing dragons. And all we've heard from all of you except…Thys, is it? All we've heard from all of you except Thys is that you should run away because you don't know what you're getting into. No wonder R'en got upset. I don't know /why/ they chose any of us, but they chose us for a reason…even your Weyrwoman said so!" The trader girl shoots a glance to Vantayne. "You touched them and if you Impress it will be hard work but you will be happier than you've ever been before. Don't let these downers tell you any different, every other rider says the same. Now snap out of it!" And now, now to address the only other 'friendly' person here. "It's nice to meet ya, Thys! Sorry to make a racket…and I'd love a cookie!" In fact, she'll take THREE.

C'rus can't help but smile to Thys. She can be so gentle, and its certainly a great counterpoint to Ha'ze's bluntness. He winces slightly when Thys introduces herself, he probably should have done that but he'd been distracted with the conversation, "I don't honestly mean to sound all doom and gloom. There really are wonderful things about impressing too. It's just that I've noticed that weyrs tend to really talk up how wonderful it is and skip some of the hard things. I feel obligated to share. I'm a holdborn you see." he explains. Hopefully that will help settle some minds, but maybe it won't either way he thinks what he thinks.

"Don't worry, you'll be fine," Thys tries to reassure Vantayne, nudging the cookie plate towards him when Feyran's taken what she wants. "We can be truthful with you," as C'rus said, and she looks to her fellow weyrling with a fond smile, "but I think, from what I've come to learn, that everyone's experience is different. We're all different, right? And dragons are all different, too. A pairing will never be wrong, no matter what your personal relationship is with your dragon. If you Impress, then you're right for your dragon, and vice versa." She picks up another cookie, fiddling with it before taking a bite. "You," to Feyran, "seem to get it the way I do. Snapping out of it is a good attitude, I think. Though, um… would you guys mind telling me your names? I'm not sure I picked up on them yet…"

Assailed by self-doubts, someone like Vantayne doesn't do too well on unknown ground that involves questions of such. And though Feyran's a pain, she seems self-possessed enough to offer at least a temporary anchor to her fellow candidate. Tayne focuses on her at last, nodding dourly, then rubbing one hand across his forhead, as if to banish something within. A long, soft sigh is followed by a quiet baritone mutter, "I /promised/…" Who? C'rus' confession makes the Monocoan young man lift hazel eyes to him again, their focus narrowing just slightly as he tries to parse things out some. Finally, "Life…is hard things. Some good, too." Okay… he's not reeling anymore, and Thys' further explanation finally evens out his ruffled waters to a certain extent. Unconsciously, a hand moves out, and takes another cookie, then feeding it to his yap while the others continue to chat. After a moment, the male candidate mutters, "I'm Vantayne." Blink. Oh! "Well met, Thys."

"As long as you mean well…" Feyran says to C'rus, her eyes narrowing just the slightest. I'M WATCHING YOU BUDDY! Okay, not really but the message is something like that. There's a grin over to Thys then and a bit of a nod, "I think I get it. Course…I don't really worry about anything much, so that probably helps a little. Overthinking things just ties you up in knots. You've got tomorrow to deal with, why worry about what could happen in a couple of turns." The trader girl shrugs a bit and finishes one cookie before starting on a mother. "Feyran River of the River Traders, tacky name…I know." There's a bit of a grin, but she actually says the name with a sort of flourish. Maybe she likes it after all!

C'rus is a man of many fears himself, some that have been dealt with and some that are yet to come, and boy is he dreading what is yet to come. He regards his fellow weryling for a moment, "I don't think it would be right to tell them they are going to be fine, but you do have a point that every dragon is different. No two are alike. They all want different things and they do pick well." He stubbornly refuses to admit that anybeing, even a dragon, is infallible in any choice they make, "Yeah good and bad things happen. I agree." Boy does he agree. He meets Feyran's gaze steadily, "I do mean well. I am trying to help. I always try to help." And boy does that make him unpopular at times, "You do have to do some planning ahead though. Know what you want, and follow your dreams…" he balks at that sentence, where on earth didt hat come from. He looks over to Thys, "I'm getting far too touchy feely these days."

Thys gives the candidates a smile in turn when they introduce themselves. "Well met, Vantayne, Feyran - and trust me, I know about tacky names. My family are Miners, my parents named us Flint, Jade, Ruby, Coal, and I was Amethyst." How's that for unimaginative naming? She laughs at C'rus, playfully bumping her fist off his shoulder. "You're awesome, Cy. But we ought to be encouraging the candidates that this is the best decision they'll ever make! Can you imagine what the reaction will be if they go back and say that Fort's weyrlings put them off standing because it's the worst thing ever?" She winks at the two candidates at their table, cracking a bit, toothy grin at them. "Did you guys have any specific questions you'd like to ask us?"

For whatever reason, Vantayne's mien is already firming as C'rus speaks, the holder appearing ready to saddle some monstrous weight upon his shoulders, if needs be. For some long moments, he ponders what he might ask of Thys and C'rus, finally murmuring, "Are you still… /yourselves/?" The faintest hint of fear touches the edges of his baritone.

"Faranth! Have /any/ of you EVER heard of a dragon leaving his lifemate on purpose? Forever? Of course they don't choose wrong. I'm a trader and even I know that!" Feyran just rolls her eyes at both C'rus and Vantayne now. She never has been one for comfort. Instead, she turns a grin on Thys who she apparently deems the most normal of the group. "Now /that's/ a good set of names. Interesting!" The candidate might just be a bit amused. But in the end she does have to laugh a little bit, "We tell them that and I'm pretty sure R'en's going to come down here and put his scalpel skills to work!"

C'rus just shakes his head with a smile at Thys and her reaction to things, "That they have very persuasive werylings?" he asks with a grin and a chuckle to Thys in response to her question about what they might say back at Monaco. He zeros his focus in on Vantayne. This guy is asking a great question and its something that he was horribly scared about himself, "Yes. I'm still very much me. And I suspect I always will be. At least I hope so…" he trails off. Vantayne may have touched a chord there, "It's a daunting thought I know. But I still believe everything I did before I impressed. I still think the same way. Talk the same way. Love who I loved before. I think that he makes me a better person." Feyran's rant goes largely ignored, because its clear she's a true believer already.

"Am I still me? Absolutely." Thys nods, certain of this - though after a moment of pursed-lip thought, she adds; "I think I've been tempered a little by Rhenesath's personality, but not for the worse. There's nothing about her that could make me worse. But I've seen differences in some of the younger weyrlings, in particular. Nothing drastic, nothing bad," she's quick to add, "but it's like they've grown up. It's been good for them." She nods encouragingly at Vantayne. "A dragon sort of rounds you out, makes you the person you were meant to be, that you could never be without them, but it doesn't make you not you." To Feyran, she gives a short bark of laughter and a shrug, as she shakes her head. "Good is subjective, I think, but interesting? Yes. I agree there."

Feyran just shakes her head at the group, but now the trader just seems more amused than anything. "I think I'm going to leave you guys to your debates…I think it's time for me to head back." There's a finger pointed at the greenie who brought her, and said rider is clearly looking at the candidate impatiently. "Nice meeting you all, see you back at the barracks…have a good time!" There's a cheeky grin for the group and then Fey is weaving through the tables and heading off!

All else is mere dross to Tayne, the Monocoan listening to each word of C'rus' and Thys' individuality as if his life depended upon it. It's all at least somewhat reassuring… except for C'rus' 'hoping so.' Thanks, buddy. Still, at least his personality isn't going to potentially be stolen away from him by some pod of a dragon, at least in Thys' eyes. Slowly, he begins to unwind. Cookie…yeah, cookies help. "Thanks…" Tayne again murmurs to both. Feyran's word of R'en makes the promise the candidate gave rise before his mind's eye, however, and for the sake of scrupulous honesty, he tries to live up to the spirit of it. "Pillows, you said?" is offered to Feyran, the young man soon heading off with her, as well… but not before he smiles hesitantly, and nods his farewells to the two left over Fortians.

C'rus listens to Thys as she describes her own experience and there is nothing there that he would disagree with, except for one particular point, "Good isn't really subjective though. There are some absolutes out there, even if most people simply choose to ignore them." He isn't accusing Thys of being one of 'those people'. Thys is his friend after all, one of the few that seems to put up with him. There is something about Vantayne though that catches his attention. He seems to be a kindred spirit of some kind, "If you ever want to talk. I'd be happy too." Because there is so much more to say.

"Well met, Feyran - good luck on the Sands, if we don't see you before then." Thys waves after the girl, then grins at Vantayne too, when he gets up to follow. "You too, Vantayne; don't worry about it. Whatever happens on the Sands will be the right thing for you." When the Monacoans have departed, Thys nudges the cookie plate towards Cy, wrinkling her nose in amusement at him. "You're so serious," she teases, running a hand through her cropped hair. "They seem ok though, don't they? They'll do alright on the Sands."

C'rus watches the candidates go and offers a shrug to his clutchsibling, "Of course I'm serious. It's pretty serious stuff. Just have to make sure that they know what they are getting into. No one really was there to tell me this sort of stuff, and it would have been nice. Not sure if would have changed anything but it would have been nice." C'rus sits back in his chair, "Yeah. They seem alright. Vantayne is thinking along the right sort of lines now I think. I'll bet he's holdborn."

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