The Fort's Fall

Day 12 of Month 8 of Turn 2720
Half Moon Bay Weyr - Candidate 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.


Garland's fort is…suffering. Barely anyone is coughing up anything to sit in the areas the candidate 'commands', and it seems as if they've given up on taking the numerous signs down. Garland isn't anywhere to be seen this morning - nor any of his posse. No, it's just Etinei, who's sat reading a book that looks to have illustrations of fire-lizards in it; her blue, Ice, is roaming nearby, investigating under someone's pillow. Summer's in full swing, so being inside out of the sun is rather pleasant.

Teinon has been making a point to check in regularly, just in case the signs have been taken down, but with Garland and his buddies losing interest, he probably hasn't really needed to bother. Just now, he's coming in from whatever chores he had been doing, and goes directly to his own bunk. Etinei gets a little wave of greeting, if she should look up, as he passes. Then he's digging into his clothes press for a clean shirt.

Etinei has got used to sneaking glances when there's the movement of someone entering the barracks, for a number of reasons. So Teinon's wave is noted, and returned. The book is closed and set aside, and she uncurls her legs to leave her cot. She crosses to hover near Teinon's cot, an earnest sort of body language about her. There's something she wants to share, but she seems to be waiting for him to finish what he's doing rather than interrupt.

Teinon doesn't have much to sort through in his press. Just a couple of changes of clothes and a few mementos that wouldn't have meaning to anyone but him. At the very bottom there's a stash of paper and writing implements, but those are mostly hidden by the clothes. He catches Etinei lingering nearby pretty quickly, and being a generally friendly chap, he smiles in a way to encourage her, turning away slightly from the task at hand to transfer his attention.

Etinei isn't necessarily trying to also get a peek of anything interesting in Teinon's press. She just happens to be looking that way anyway. Yep! when he half-turns towards her with that smile, she stops peeking at the press and looks at him instead. Even though there's nobody about, she still inches a bit closer, her voice low as she speaks. "The signs were you, weren't they? I think - because of them - some of the candidates were talking about tearing down all the forts." She sounds actually rather excited about this prospect, eyes shining at the rebellion.

There's a little echo of that spark of rebellion in Teinon's eyes… But he smiles with faux innocence, looks toward the ceiling, and shrugs. Twern't me, said the flea! He lays out a clean shirt on his press, and closes it up again. But then he cants a thoughtful look toward the pillow fort area. He tosses a glance toward Etinei, with a little shrug, and walks over to take out a pillow from the middle of a wall. This causes a small section to cave in, and that seems to be enough for him. His point made, he steps back from it and looks back toward Etinei.

Was that the response that Etinei expected? She continues to watch Teinon, blinking as he heads towards one of the walls of the fort. Her eyes widen as he takes the destructive action, and she wavers. If he's bold enough to do this…and if more than one of them does it…they won't all get in trouble? Is there even a rule specifically against doing this? Uncertainty keeps her frozen for only a moment; then Etinei looks about, picks her spot, and takes a few tentative steps over. She reaches up and pulls down a blanket that was once a roof. Now it's her turn to look back at Teinon, a thrill of rebellion in her.

If there's a rule against it, Teinon apparently isn't worried about breaking it. He grins when Etinei pulls off the 'roof', and looks speculatively at what's left of the fort. After a thoughtful examination of the structure, he wades in to somewhere near where two walls intersect, and after careful choosing, takes two pillows and pulls them loose. It's like that moment when someone pulls the wrong tile of a Jenga tower. Two walls come tumbling down, freeing the pillows that had been used up making them. He looks around, conspicuously checking for onlookers, then picks one of the fattest pillows and carries it back to his own bunk. He glances back to see if Etinei is watching, and if she is, he gives her a crooked grin and wink as he trades out his pillow for the better one, then tosses his old one back on the pile that used to be a fort wall.

Etinei watches as Teinon's interference causes that part of the fort to come tumbling down. Hand muffling a giggle, she turns back to the beginning of her own destruction. Her other hand runs over the pillows that are still there, pondering if she can replicate her friend's action as efficiently. This one? Her choice made, she removes the pillow. It's not as dramatic as Teinon's, but the wall does sag significantly, and when Etinei turns back to look at Teinon, she's beaming. And also clutching the freed pillow to her. What to do with this? She also throws it at the pile that used to be the fort wall, but misses impressively. Oops!

Teinon grins a little and gives Etinei a thumbs-up of approval for her wall destruction. Now that the process is well under way, he leaves the rest of the fort for the other candidates to have the fun of disassembling. However, he starts to walk around the room, taking down the various posted signs, since they aren't going to be needed anymore.

Etinei seems keen to do some more wrecking, hands reaching to touch the corner of a pillow - but no, Teinon has stopped so, so she probably should, too? The hand changes its target, and a sign reading 'FREE ACCESS' is removed instead. Etinei's eyes read over the words a few time, look at Teinon, then back to the sign. She folds it and stows it away in the pocket of her shorts. At a loss now the initial excitement of the destruction has worn off, she returns to sit on the edge of her bed, Ice creeping over to take up his post beside her as the pair watch Teinon at his work. There's a satisfied sort of smile on Etinei's face - not a huge one, but a subtle expression that something has happened she's rather pleased with.

Teinon continues his work of retrieving the notices. He catches Etinei taking hers, but he lets it go without any apparent problem. Once he has finished taking them down, he returns to his bunk with the small stack of papers. He leaves them on the mattress for a moment, and digs through his clothespress until he retrieves a smallish, lightweight board and a chunky eraser. Thus armed, he sits on the bed and starts erasing the writing.

Etinei's curiosity is at a high again, as she focuses on Teinon's new task. Gathering Ice up and setting him in her lap, she strokes the blue idly as a topic of conversation comes to mind. "Do you think the eggs are going to hatch soon? I was reading about how long they take to harden, and it seems like it should be any time soon, according to the date they were laid." Numbers, figures, and putting it all together. She sounds oddly enthralled at having some calculations to do.

Teinon glances up from his task, his brows lifting a bit at Etinei's approach to the task. He looks toward the ceiling, thinking it over, then retrieves a now-erased page to scrawl a quick answer: "Probably. The riders seem to think so. Are you nervous?" He passes the note to her, then goes back to erasing signs while she reads.

Etinei leans over to take the note, taking care not to disturb Ice as she does so. She reads the note, still stretched. "Um." Now it's her turn to think. She passes the paper back, since it seems more polite so that he can recycle it. It's her turn to consider the question, now, her answer coming slowly. "I suppose so. I've heard and read about candidates getting hurt. That's…pretty scary." She's straightened up again, stroking Ice as if the action is soothing her more than the fire-lizard.

Teinon sets the paper aside to preserve the conversation for the moment. He continues erasing the signs, though his attention is more than half on Etinei. His brow furrows when he realizes the source of her hesitation. He returns to the conversation paper and writes another note. "I've seen hatchings before. People don't get hurt that often. Stay out of the baby's way and let it come to you. You'll be fine." After he passes that over, it's back to erasing again.

Etinei leans, takes the note. This time she holds onto it, as if by clutching it, the advice written on it will give her some protection come the hatching. "That seems sensible," she comments calmly, trying to stay logical about the whole thing. Her next is more a sharing of something confidential, voice quieter as she passes the note back to Teinon. "I'm…a little worried I won't Impress. I suppose everyone's anticipation is rubbing off on me." There's a small smile at that admission, before she asks: "What about you?"

Teinon smiles an odd little smile at Etinei. He's oddly reticent about responding to that. He fastidiously finishes cleaning off the current sheet of paper before he takes the conversation back. Even then, he stares at the blank section of the paper, trying to choose what words to write there. Finally, he carefully prints a message, then hands it back to her with a rueful little smile. "Pretty sure I won't, and that's okay."

Etinei is patient, watching silently as Teinon takes his time before replying. Ice gets some more petting, the fire-lizard oddly silent - though his eyes are slipping closed as he relaxes. When the reply comes, Etinei reads it, then looks up from the note with a sorrowful look. "You don't know you won't," she says softly. "None of us do." Which…doesn't make her feel any less uneasy about her own prospects.

Teinon shrugs and smiles, declining to respond to the question of whether he will or won't Impress. Instead, he takes the note back to add something. It takes him time, once again, to think of what to say and compose it properly. Eventually, he passes it back. "If we don't, we'll still be who we were before. Except with these friends and these experiences to remember. There's no shame in who we were before. Whatever happens will be okay."

Ice is fully asleep, if the tiny snores coming from the small fire-lizard are anything to go by. Etinei looks down at him, a serene expression on her face. Teinon's note comes in time, and she reads it over. There's a bright smile for her fellow candidate. "Definitely." She seems to hover on the edge of something, rocking a tiny bit, and then scoops up the snoozing Ice and blurts out: "I have to - go get a book I forgot." There's a definite hoarseness to her voice that implies she might well be fighting a few emotions, before she darts out of the barracks to this apparently just-remembered task.


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