People are the Best Presents (Petra is Searched)

Day 4 of Month 4 of Turn 2720
Half Moon Bay Weyr - Corrals
Enclosed by a wooden fence on one side and the steep walls of the weyr on the other is a couple acres of grass that holds the Weyr's herdbeasts and wherry flock. While this dragon feeding area is smaller than most of the Weyrs on Pern, there is still enough room for a large dragon to swoop down and grab his dinner with relative ease.

Petra is over near the corral fence closest to the path to the Bowl. Sweat streaks her face, her wiry hair is escaping it's runnertail and she is engaged in shovelling herdbeast dung into a massive bucket. The dung is semi-liquid, smells atrocious, and it appears that the green dragon who is messily eating her kill outside the corrals at the other side of the paddock is responsible for the latest outbreak of hysterical diarrhoea in the panic-stricken herd. One shovel of dung misses the large basket and lands with a messy splat, and Petra swears fluently in terms that her father definitely would not have approved of before going to scrape it up.

From pretty early on in candidacy, it was established that the corrals are -not- Z'tan's favorite place - particularly when the young man was faced with cleaning up the grounds - both in situations like Petra's current one, but also of the bits and bobs left over from feasting dragons. The turns have passed, but it seems his fondness for the area has hardly grown, given that he is already looking slightly green as he nears the fence, Ysgieuth gliding in over his head towards the corrals, eying the beasts as he goes, and likely inciting even more unfortunate excretions. The bout of swearing does cause Zel to pause however, wrinkling his nose as he spots the source - and the reason - before raising a hand. "Sorry in advance.." He offers, even if he hardly looks it.

Petra appears not to have noticed Z'tan's approach until he speaks, and she turns sharply to see who has joined her. On realising it's the Weyrleader, she blushes a shade of pink that clashes both with her hair and her freckles, and attempts to cover her embarrassment with an industrious scraping of the truant dung with the shovel. "Sorry sir. Didn't realise anyone else was here." She frowns. "Ortiltith's rider went to swim a while back and hasn't come back, so I was waiting to see if she was going for a second kill before finishing here, since I'd need another bucket." She considers for a second as her eyes go to Ysgieuth. "I guess I should make that two buckets."

A hurriedly hand wave, and Z'tan is attempting to dispel the blushing teen's embarrassment. "You're fine. Maybe they have nothing left in them.." Unfortunately, that is probably not the case, and Ysgieuth seems to pick his target, the bronze dropping down on a larger herdbeast with ease, settling down with his snack, neatly beginning his meal. "He isn't too messy, generally." Is that suppose to be reassuring? A pause, and Z'tan considers the young woman with a tilt of his head. "If its any consolation, I suspect before too long there will be enough candidates you will get a break from this."

Petra gives a wry smile. "One of the senior stablehands did say something about that, sir. Though I gather that he plans to get us all clearing the Craft storage caverns once the candidates take over mucking the corrals. And I've already seen what's in those caverns, we pulled out a load of leatherwork from there already that probably hasn't been touched since your dragon's grandsire hatched, and it stinks worse than the herdbeast dung. I got into trouble for suggesting we just burned the whole lot and started again."

"Shards, maybe we should. I am sure if we got it started, it would be too far gone by the time anyone noticed." Is that the Weyrleader suggesting burning down part of the Weyr? Bad Ideas Weyrleader, indeed. "I bet we could get them really distracted, and solve that problem for you. What did you say it was, the craft storage?" Ysgieuth continues to make neat work of his herdbeast, unlike most of the dragons at the weyr, rumbling a bit as he seems to comment silently on his rider's plan. "We'll just distract Ysgie too, since he doesn't approve." Killjoy. Zel shifts to lean against the fence, watching the bronze, before glancing back at Petra, and the bucket, making another face.

Petra gets the giggles at that, it appears she didn't expect her suggestion to be taken that seriously. "Well, I did mean burn the leather and not all the storerooms, but…." Fortunately given the face that was just pulled, another stablehand has turned up to drag away the full basked of dung on a low-wheeled trolley, and has left another large empty bucket behind. Petra pulls an even worse face at the other man's retreating back. "Two more buckets and then it's his turn and I get a break." She glances at Ysgieuth. "He's defiinitely a lot neater than that green. She ran the herd ragged before she picked off a beast, and the one she did get was probably about to drop dead of exhaustion anyway."

"I mean, is there anything worth saving in there? We can always pull out the good stuff and then just burn the rest of it." No one tell Zel that fire inside is generally frowned upon. As the other stablehand appears and disappears, the Weyrleader pauses, Ysgieuth lifting his head to rumble at Petra's compliment. "He says of course he is, he isn't some uncultured monster." The ease in which Z'tan says this seems to imply that it is a common defense for the bronze. "He needs to bring one back to Chauth, too, but he promises he won't make you more of a mess." Eying the offending green, Z'tan shakes his head a little, muttering something about greens under his breath.

Petra points to the far side of the corral. "How accurate is he?" Scarcely have the words left her mouth than she realises how that sounds, and she blushes again. "Sorry sir. What I wanted to say was that if he can pick off one of those three Keroon Reds that came in the other day, they haven't been here long and they came in with a decent depth of back fat on them still. If they're here for a few weeks they'll be galloped to string and sinew like the rest, he might as well take one of those to the queen while they're still fit to eat." She's lost the blush as she explains her choice, the soft Keroon accent still audible in her words, at present she's entirely the Keroon cotholder's daughter she used to be, and not the Weyr stablehand who constantly says the wrong thing to the wrong people.

There is a loud trumpet from Ysgieuth as he finishes his beast, turning his faceted gaze on the Keroon cotholder turned stablehand, the trumpet leveling off into a rumble. The rumble is echoed by Z'tan's laughter, the Weyrleader leaning into the fence for support. "I do think you just issued him a challenge." He manages after a moment, waving his hand off as she tries to explain. "That sounds perfect. Chauth is a picky pain in the.." He does at least have the sense not to finish -that- statement out loud though, as the bronze is already moving to eye the beasts indicated, seeming to plan his move.

Petra clearly has never thought of a queen dragon being described as a picky pain in the posterior…assuming that was how the sentence was intended to end. She seems uncertain whether to laugh or be shocked, and covers the indecision by turning to watch Ysgieuth's flight over the herd. "Unlike most of what seems to come in here, they aren't lame or elderly either. I saw a brown try for one of them yesterday and miss, the beast literally shot out from under his foot. I never knew a dragon could look surprised before."

"Shards, I wish I could have seen that." Zel comments, watching Ysgie and likely saying a quiet thought that the bronze doesn't suffer a similar embarrassing fate as he takes to the air. A careful loop, and then a second, and the bronze is dropping down amongst the indicated animals, nearly missing, though one happens to be caught under his bulk. There is a rather proud look on his face as he shifts, ending the beast's misery, before he is gathering it his talons and carting it over, closer to Petra and Z'tan - like a giant cat proudly showing off its kill. "Yes, Ysgie, we see it. You did well. You can take it to Chauth, now." But, the bronze just settles instead, turning his head to peer at Petra, as if waiting for her praise as well.

Petra can take a hint. "Perfect. Cleanest kill of the day." She seems a bit uncertain about whether she ought to be addressing the dragon or his rider, and turns to face somewhere between the two of them, though a smile does cross her face at the bronze dragon's impression of a massively outsized stable feline. "I'm sure the queen will be very happy with it." Even the herd don't seem too distressed, perhaps the Weyrleader's earlier assessment that they had already produced all the dung that panic could force out wasn't so far off the mark, and the beasts are milling together at the fence furthest from the bronze and the two people talking.

Even with the praise, Ysgieuth lingers, crouching to peer at Petra more intently, before glancing back at Zel. "What? No, people aren't gifts, Ysgie." He protests, shaking his head. "I don't care, you can't just -take her-." And that sets the bronze back to staring at the stablehand, crouching and rumbling before Zel sighs softly. "He'd like to know if you would like to go see Chauth too. As a candidate, for the clutch." The Weyrleader gives the teenager a hopeful look - probably best to get approval and not have a kidnapping on his hands.

Petra blinks. Then blinks again. For once in her sixteen Turns, she actually seems to be lost for words. Then when she finally does manage to say something, it's clear she's right back on form for saying what she'll regret two minutes later. "Me? He wants me to…." A pause. "Are you sure the queen wouldn't like a second herdbeast instead?" Of course then she realises that sounds like she thinks the queen would eat her and the blush is back tenfold. "Look, can you just forget I said that? Yes. Yes I would like to, and I'm honoured, and…..yes!" She looks dazed. Petra, lost for words. This doesn't happen.

Honestly, with Chauth - never say never. Z'tan is left to fall into laughter once more as the teenager stumbles through all the reactions, while her eventual 'yes' is enough to please Ysgieuth, for the bronze is trumpeting and taking off with his herdbeast to return to the Sands and to Chauth - Thankfully without scooping Petra up in the other foot to take her along for the ride. When the dust has settled, Zel regains some composure, before glancing at the corrals. "I am afraid that might put you back on corral duty, though." Perils of candidacy and all. "But, we can still go burn the leather."

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