Pillows and Plans

Half Moon Bay Weyr - Candidates' Barracks
Carved from a natural bubble in the volcanic stone, this small dorm room has room enough to hold around two dozen occupants comfortably. Along the walls are stationed sets of cots and clothes presses, each made up to the standards of the weyrwoman. Above, the soft white light from electric lamps cast down during waking hours.


Isn't summer too hot for pillow forts? Apparently not, for the barracks have been transformed by whichever candidates have not had chores (or skipped chores?) over the course of the morning. Every damn blanket in the place has been draped over every available support, until the barracks resemble some sort of tent village more than a dormitory. Pillows are scattered everywhere below the swathes of wool and cotton; in one such den Etinei sits, cross-legged, on a pillow. A book is open on her knees, and she's hunched over it, engrossed in reading whatever the tiny words are going on about. The pillow fort? A backdrop to her reading, thank you very much.

Hair damp, clad in a more climate-friendly outfit of light linen pants and a thin cotton shirt, Aishen steps into the barracks after a long morning - and, really, early afternoon - of stables duties… only to find it looking like something out of the Igen Bazaar. "You know," he remarks after several speechless moments spent halted in the doorway, "this should make me think of home. It just makes me wonder if we've been invaded by a bunch of rugrats." Distastefully, he glances around as if expecting to see pint-sized candibaits running around like the nuisances he clearly thinks they would be. "The hell?"

During those silent moments, Etinei's still poring over her text. Then someone speaks, and she jerks her head up. Oh. She blinks a few times, then looks around as if just now remembering the current state of the barracks. "Oh. Yes." She slips a marker into the book before closing it carefully, watching Aishen. "Garland was in here earlier charging people entry to this bit…." Her pockets have, undoubtedly, been lightened to earn her the privilege of sitting in this spot with a good view of the door. That's what her slightly bitter tone suggests, anyway!

"And you paid?" the vintner asks flatly, his blue eyes glinting incredulously at Etinei as he glances from to the room and back again? "I see he and I will be… having words, later. Remember," Aishen chides as he picks his way through cloth and pillows towards where his cot has been swathed with sheets done in pink and purple polka-dots, "this is your room too." Reaching his bed, he eases off the leather sandals he'd been wearing, wiggling his toes as he glowers at the cloth before beginning to yank it down. "Whose madness was this? Same git, or someone else with too much time and not enough sense?" Hopefully, not hers!

Etinei doesn't seem to know what to say to that, though there's perhaps a twinge of happiness that someone would stick up for her. Though this is Aishen, and based on previous interactions, she's not convinced it'll just involve "words". "I just wanted somewhere to sit," she mumbles uncertainly as she watches him traverse the place to where his bed once…was. Is. Sort of. "I don't know." Her voice is a little louder as she speaks the truth. "I came back and…Garland was here and…." She looks at the pink and purple polka-dots sheet that's now being pulled down. "I think maybe he was part of it…." Dobbing in a potential guilty party seems to stick in her throat, bless her.

What fun is "just words"? "Like I said. Git. I mean, if you want a tent, feel free. But this?" Ash holds up the remains of what had once draped above his own cot, clearly stolen from the nursery stores. "Totally bullsh- ah, unnecessary. Don't worry." With a feral grin, he balls up the sheets and tosses them in the direction of Garland's cot, leaving them strewn across the already-messy bed, "you're not the only reason I intend to discuss… things… with him. But," he adds, shooting an oddly abashed look at her, "I promise I'll wait until you're not on the infirmary rolls. Fair?"

No fighting? Please? Though Etinei can't help but look a smidgen relieved when he offers to - er - have words when she's not in the infirmary. "How is your forehead?" She asks, as much to detract from the current topic as out of genuine concern. There's a look given at the various sheets and blankets as a thought occurs to her. "I hope nobody stole any of these from the infirmary…they were talking about being low on some things when I was last there…."

How about he just doesn't tell her about the fighting? Fair compromise? "Forehead?" Ash lifts his hand, fingering the spot where the cut had been - now healed over cleanly. "Fine, and my thanks to you for it." His smile is wry as he leans down to begin sorting through the pillows clumped upon and around his cot, trying to find which ones belong to him while tossing the others in random directions throughout the barracks. "I like to think no one here would be stupid enough to piss in that pool, but, well…" He casts an ironic glance out over the fabric-encumbered room. "But."

There's the briefest flash of a smile when Aishen gives his thanks, his cut nicely healed. "You're welcome," she says quietly, before unfolding her legs and slipping out of the expensive den to stand, waiting for the feeling to come back in her feet. A pillow flies past her, and she elects to stand perfectly still, holding her book in front of her as if that's going to shield her from any further errant cushions. "I hope not." She regards the room again with a quiet sigh. "Do you think the Weyr is going to run out of things? I always thought they got everything they needed…."

Aishen snorts quietly as he wings another cushion off into the room, then collapses on his cot amidst the five or six he's kept for himself. Were they his before? No matter - they're his now, and possession is nine-tenths. "I mean, the Weyr only gets what the Holds can spare, and it all depends on who's managing the supplies, who's supplying the supplies, and who's siphoning the supplies. Probably someone up the chain on one side or the other getting a bit greedy with their grabby-hands, and it's the Weyr who'll pay the price." He grins suddenly, his teeth a flash of white amongst the russet bristles of his beard. "Don't worry. I'll make sure the Weyr keeps stocked in what really counts." Booze. Natch.

Etinei watches that final pillow go soaring off, and now the coast is clear and Aishen has settled down, she shuffles closer, thin arms still clutching the book to her chest. "You think the Hold is - " she cuts her exclamation off at the sight of his grin, perplexed for a moment, before relaxing a hair. If he's not worried…she shouldn't be, right? "I suppose so," she concedes, still sounding a touch worried about the whole situation. "Wait. You'll make sure?" She seems confused by his phrasing, looking at him with evident puzzlement.

"I'd say you remind me of my sister, but Wendyn was never so naive as all of that. It's bloody adorable." Pillowed in his nest of… pillows, Aishen peers at Etinei upside-sideways, still grinning as he crosses his legs at the knee, allowing one unshod foot to kick the air lazily. "I think it's possible that someone, somewhere, is stealing. It's also possible that some disaster has occurred that we haven't heard about, or some Renegades have been causing trouble for the trader trains. They do that, when they're bored. I can't speak to why the Weyr is low on supplies - I can speak to the fact that the rum won't go dry on my watch."

Etinei blinks. Then blinks again. Is he…is he being mean? But no, there's a grin from him as he sits in that funny twisted position. After a beat, Etinei smiles back, despite the topic of conversation. "Oh. Of course." Vintner, right. "So - um. If I don't Impress - there'll be plenty to drink? Some of the other candidates were talking about…when they didn't Impress at other clutches they drank. A lot, apparently." She seems equally intrigued and slightly sickened by the idea.

Mean? Aishen? Maybe to some - but not to someone so adorably innocent. "I mean, of course. Not that I think you have much to worry about. Those hatchlings will just gobble you up. In a good way," he adds hastily, foot pausing mid-airtap as he thrusts out one large hand towards her, patting the air ineffectually. "I mean, there's sure to be at least one who'll be all kinds of smitten with you, so really, you have nothing to worry about. But should you be joining me on the sidelines after, I'll make sure you get something that won't kill you."

Etinei stands there, stock still, in the face of Aishen's…compliments? Encouragement? Is this a pep talk? She does not now how to react at allll. Finally, she offers a barely audible, "thank you?" before giving her head a shake at something he's said. "You don't know that you won't Impress. If you do - you won't be able to drink for a while, will you? Weyrlinghood?" Is this her attempt at a pep talk? Because it is, honestly, shit.

"Honestly, I'm fully aware that my "Search" was all Leia's ruse to try and get more of my beer. It failed her, and it means I get to spend some time learning about Half Moon's ecology at their expense instead of my own." Aishen may be big, and his vocabulary may, on occasion, be lacking - but clearly, he doesn't lack for imagination. "So, win-win for me - stymieing an annoying bluerider, and getting the opportunity for some free research. And, hey," and here's that grin again, all teeth and beard and half-mocking glint, "I got to meet you, so, win-win-win, right?"

Search a…ruse? This is a new concept for Etinei, and she stands in mute bemusement at the idea. Aishen doesn't seem annoyed in the slightest by the whole situation, nor the idea of being left without a dragon when the time comes. Her cheeks flush when he grins at her once more, with that final comment. "It- I-" Words, what are they? Clutching that precious shield book tighter, Etinei tries to deflect. "It's been lovely to meet you too, whatever happens," she practically squeaks out.

The laughter is a tight, low rumble deep in Aishen's chest, caught behind tightly clenched lips but still audible as his shoulders shake with it. He's speechless for a moment, then two, until his mirth peters out, leaving him with bright blue eyes and a tight smile that speaks of a greater grin carefully trapped within. "I'm sure it has. Don't let that little shit try and bilk you for more money, hey? Your room too, you can sit where you damn well please." With one last, tight smile, the vintner drags a pillow over his face and settles down for a well-deserved nap. Well - at least until the rest of the Candidates come home and disrupt things all over again.


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