What Game Is This?

Day 1 of Month 10 of Turn 2716
Half Moon Bay Weyr - Living Cavern
Here is the center of Weyr life, the living caverns. These two main rooms were man-shaped from smaller caves, and are joined by a carved arch with depictions of dragons in flight and dolphins leaping in swirling waves. One room has many round stone and wooden tables and a stone fire-pit instead of a hearth. Over the round-walled, gas fired pit is a large conical hood made of polished bronze, with reliefs of dragons with their riders flying over ships guided by dolphins. This hood and chimney keeps the room smoke-free. Through the archway is an enormous hall, with long tables and benches, some carved from the rock floor, many crafted of wood. This room is a combination dining and meeting hall, and can seat over 300 comfortably. Above both rooms, angled shafts lined with polished metal bring in sunlight during the day. Electric lights also burn, day and night.


Tonight is another balmy night in paradise - golden light gilding the horizon as the sun starts to descend, trees a'swaying in the wind, and somewhere little fish are dreaming wet fishy dreams. In the living cavern, dinner has been served and finished, and many are heading off to their nightly routines. Kiele, however, is sitting at one of the trestle tables, focusing all of her attention on a flat board in front of her stacked with various black and white pebbles. It's obviously a game, but no one sits across from her to pose as a proper opponent. She moves one piece in particular back and forth, as if practicing some unseen strategy that only she knows.

Zeltan is humming a certain tune about a certain weyrleader and a certain shiny substance as he appears in the living caverns, a few minutes taken to flirt with an older woman - the result of which is a plate of dinner despite his late arrival, rather than being stuck with whatever is in the hearth pot - and with said plate in one hand, a mug of light ale in the other, he is turning to find a spot - and in doing so, finding a vict-Uhm, companion. Ready or not, Kiele, you have company. "Hey there.." He offers cheerfully as he slides into the seat opposite her, eying the pieces. "You winning?"

Marco? Polo! Kiele glances up from her one-sided game and places a bright smile on the 'independent trader' who is now occupying the seat across from her. "Hello. Zeltan? It's nice to see you again. I'm try to get better at it, but—" She sighs, elbow finding tabletop, chin finding closed fist. "Have you played this one before? I think they call it Go. I watched a group of riders play it the other night on the patio." Her eyes lift from the white and black pebbles to Zeltan, hopeful.

Dinner is shoveled into Zeltan's mouth as if he hasn't eaten all day, though he does at least have enough manners to swallow before he is responding to Kiele, eyes darting back to the board. His fork is waved around a bit, at the board, hmming softly. "Is that the one where you like.. try and take over spaces?" He contemplates, even as he looks over the board in an attempt to confirm for himself. "Its been ages, I don't know how much good I'd do.." He admits after a moment, frowning, before he is back to his dinner.

A widening of green eyes and pursing of her lips is a signal of Kiele's attentiveness, from fork-waving to his line of questioning. "Yes and-no. I don't think it's the traditional one where you take over places, but you-you try to ''win'' by flicking the other person's pieces off the board." She puts her fore-finger and thumb tips together, positioning them against one of the white pebbles as part of a demonstration. "Whoever has the last piece on the board wins. It's interesting, right?" this, as she leans forward, enthused about her new-found game.

"Of course there is more than one version.." Zeltan murmurs with a full mouth, shaking his head, swallowing before he actually attempts to talk again. "That seems.. interesting. Part of me feels like it is safer to stick to carnival games." He teases, glancing down at his plate, which is already rather decimated. "Did you watch them, or happen to ask them to teach you?" He asks after a moment, eyes flicking from the board to the nanny as he peers over the top of his mug.

"Carnival games?" Now, that's another animal altogether, and it's enough to make Kiele sit up from her slouched position at the table. "What kind of carnival games? Where?" is in one breath. But, when considering the flat boars and its plethora of pebbles, she muses, "I watched them, but it seemed very simple. You just flick each other's pieces off, but you have to be careful where yours end up because they could get you in a spot where they might knock off three or four at a time. You're at a loss, then." Though, she doesn't sound incredibly sure about this.

A hand wave to distract her for a moment - because you see, mouth full - it takes a moment for Zeltan to answer (though at least his plate is now clean and he is pushing it away). "Next time there is a gather, make sure you find me, and I'll make sure you have something nice to remember me by." He eventually replies, way too smugly for games of 'chance'. As she explains the game to him in a little more detail, he reaches a hand over, posing his finger over a stone as if he is going to give it a flick with a nail "Why can't I just do this?"

"I haven't been to a gather since we came to the island," is Kiele's answer, complete with a dreamy sigh any young girl would give about the chance to dance the night away. "I think you can. You can hit it and hit mine, so it gets off the board, or you- you don't, you can knock mine 'close' to the edge, if you want. But the point is to knock all of mine off and keep as many of yours on the board as possible. That's what they were doing anyway." Still, unsure, but maybe Zeltan gets it.

"Oh.." Zeltan replies after a moment, blinking down at the board and his hand, before he shrugs a little and gives the stone a flick. Thankfully, it doesn't go too far - while it does knock the other colored stones, they put a quick stop to its motion and he is left to hold the flicking finger in his other hand. "That wasn't very fun.." He murmurs, abandoning the coddling of his own finger to reach for his drink. Eyes flick back to Kiele at the mention of the gather, and he gives her an encouraging smile. "Surely, with Ilyscaeth having gone up, they'll have games either when she clutches or after that. I hope." He has some promises to keep.

In the living cavern, just after dinner, and as the sun slowly sets, there are is a trader and a nanny facing each other across one of the dinner tables. They're talking over a flat board set with a number of black and white pebbles; they appear to be playing a game! Oh! Contrary to the way Zeltan reacts, it's a delighted expression that lights up Kiele's face. "You have to hit it harder, like this," the young woman murmurs, and then she's slouching down, her eyes level with the playing board, one hand supporting the other wrist. Forefinger and thumb pinched together, she's focusing on a particularly clustered group of pebbles. "I'm going.." And then she flicks, sending a few of each color jetting off the board. Not the outcome she was looking for, she frowns, disappointed. "I'd love to see what happens, then," she says, her sunny disposition returning.

Sitting just a bit straighter, Zeltan is quick to ensure that his face is out of the line of fire - or of ricochetted stones, and as a few stones go off the edge he is moving to stop them, picking them up and putting them off to the side. "I think you might have an advantage.." He counters, even as he is leaning to peer at the board, finding one in the middle and giving it a quick thwack with his finger, knocking one stone off but leaving his own rather near the edge. "Are you sure they weren't just bored, Kiele?" He teases her a little, glancing across at the nanny.

Dinner is a pretty good excuse to come into the living caverns, and it seems to be the weyrlingmaster's entire reason for being there. Plate of dinner, glass of juice, bowl of fruit (dessert); all carefully placed upon a tray so that R'sner isn't required to precariously balance things as he walks. Blue eyes scan the crowd, perhaps for familiar faces, but settle upon the pair at their game. Curiosity, or maybe lack of other options, he heads that way and inquires after the empty seat at their table with a somewhat flat-toned, "Mind if I sit?"

"You don't think it's fun?" Kiele accuses, giving the trader a fake glare, which is quickly counteracted with another one of her smiles. "You just have to get into it, or aren't you very competitive? You look competitive." She squints, she squirms, she makes like she's giving a fervent appraisal of all the parts of him she can see above the table, but then it's her turn again and she's hunching down in her seat, her tongue tucked between her teeth. "Oh-" And there's R'sner, who gets a wide-eyed, guilty look from the nanny. "I don't mind," she says, flushing. Caught?

"Can something be competitive, if you don't have a wager on it?" Zeltan counters back to the nanny, giving her a rather innocent smile. "I mean, if you -want- to be competitive.." He shrugs a little - a motion that also coincides with R'sner's arrival to the table, though his words are a bit more definitive. "Fine by me.." A pause, and he tilts his head to the weyrlingmaster. "Maybe you know how to play this game?" He motions at the board and the white and black stones that sit there.

Guilty looks inspire suspicious stares in return, R'sner eyeing Kiele as if trying to decide whether or not he knows he caught her doing something. Or maybe that sort of narrow-eyed, focused, not-so-friendly expression is normal? Hm. Either way, there's a general dismissal of the flushing nanny as the table's other occupant also denotes acceptance of his presence. Or at least Zeltan doesn't tell him to shove-off so… Tray to table. Seat claimed; the scrape of wood against stone as Res drops himself down and scoots in. "Hm?" and those blue eyes turn to the board and its contrasting stones; suspiciously squinty-eyes returned. "Um…" frown. Peer. "I don't think so." Beat. Two. Three. "Should I?" a glance between the pair.

"You want to bet on a board game?" is replied between a series of laughs, because apparently he can't be serious. "I don't know that I have enough marks to make it worth wagering on." Kiele brushes back her hair and settles her forearms against the edge of the table, taking stock of the board in front of her; it's a position good for pretending someone's not eyeing you narrow-eyed. "We're learning. I saw some of the other-you know, riders, like you, playing it the other night and I found a board in the stores, so now we're trying to learn. You just-you flick, like this," she says, putting forefinger and thumb in a pinch to flick a stone towards Zeltan.

"Who said anything about marks? That's not any fun." Zeltan counters, moving to mimic her position on the other side of the board, leaning. Though, as she flicks a stone in his direction, he squeaks a bit and is hurriedly straightening back up, moving a hand to catch the wayward stone. As Kiele offers her explanation, Zeltan glances to R'sner, and then gives a little shrug. "I honestly don't even know if we're playing it right." And a stone is flicked back at Kiele, wrinkling his nose as he does so.

"… riders like me…" repeated in that flat tone of voice one might use when they are repeating something without really asking about it. R'sner heard her. It's that 'like me' part that he's hung up on. But he drops the subject as he does his gaze, taking in the pinch of digits and resulting flick. "Hm. What is the object of the game? To eliminate the opponent's stones?" The confession of the trader gets an 'ah' sort of expression, and the greenrider settles into his chair and moves to the acquisition of utensils, preparing to dig into his meal. "I have found," he continues, injecting himself into the subject of betting, "that people will wager on just about everything."

"Riders like.." Kiele blinks a few times and flushes at the greenrider's response. "I didn't mean it like that." Except she's not going to explain how she did mean it, because she's going back to staring intently at the game board, cheeks still tinged pink - how embarrassing. "Yes. You're supposed to have the last piece on the board. There's some kind of strategy to it, but-I have to learn to play first and then I guess I'll learn the harder parts later?" Right, guys? Right? She looks between them, and then she's scrunching up her nose. "What else would you wager except money? Socks? I'm a terrible cook, so you can't expect anything like sweets."

Gaze goes from R'sner to Kiele and back to R'sner, the trader holding his breath as 'Riders like you' seems to be repeated one too many times for comfort, Zeltan finding the game board in front of him quite interesting - quite interesting indeed. A glance at R'sner, and the trader shrugs a little. "Sometimes, it makes things interesting. How sure are you *really* that you are right? Or the better player?" Eyes flick back to Kiele and he leans back in, resting elbows on the table. "I tend to deal in favors.." Collect them all.

Should R'sner be offended? He doesn't appear to be offended. At least, he's not making any sort of facial expressions one might expect of someone that is. So perhaps Kiele is in the clear, and it's just a general misunderstanding and miscommunication. All that awkwardness tho… that gets a second and perhaps a third look, frown tugging at the sides of his mouth as the greenrider glances somewhat skeptically between trader and nanny. "It's fine," is said with a shrug of his shoulders, Res putting his fork to work flaking the filet of fish on his plate. "Nothing wrong with a wager, though I'd rather bet on my own skills than luck of the draw," he offers. The mention of favors gets an eyebrow arched at Zeltan before that gaze drops back to his plate. "That seems a dangerous bet to take."

Some of the flush disappears with the greenrider's assurances that all is well, though there's a trace of guiltiness that lingers in her green eyes. "What kind of favors?" to Zeltan, and an equally as interested, "What kind of skills?" is asked of R'sner. This big wide world of weyrlife is so, so, so interesting to Kiele, the little Holdbred girl. "I'm not a bad dancer if you think you'd need someone to teach you how," she offers, all smiles; a picture of naivete.

A side-eyed smirk to R'sner, and Zeltan shrugs a little. "I mean, I suppose, but I like to set some ground rules. Nothing that could actually harm someone, and nothing that they would normally say no to." Consent, consent, consent. A flick of his fingers from green riding Weyrlingmaster to holdbred Nanny, the trader shrugs a little. "Maybe you have a family hand fasting coming up, and if you show up alone, all your aunties will demand to know just -when- are you going to settle down. Or maybe you need someone to give you an alibi when someone important is after your head." And then Kiele mentions dancing, "Or, you desperately need someone to teach you to dance, so you don't upset a close friend." And then his hands are spread, palm up. "See, nothing too bad."

R'sner is trying really hard not to stare at Kiele. Really, he is. But he just can't help it. Maybe it's that hold-bred naivety, though he certainly doesn't know her well enough to ascertain whether her demeanor is feigned or genuine. That look of his alternates, between perplexed and somewhat curious, to rather more scrutinizing. Attempting to figure her out, perhaps. But it all takes a back-seat to his meal. Dinner. Very important. "Hmm. Standards of a sort," he decides for Zeltan, though the suggestions are met with a snort and a somewhat dry, "Those seem like to very, very different occasions." Wedding-attendance versus fugitive status. Dancing… that gets a glance though, another look pinned on the nanny (poor Kiele?) "You could just ask," is meant for Zeltan, probably. "To be taught how to dance. Rather than bet on stones and… finger-flicking." But he shuts up a second later, occupying himself with the consumption of his dinner.

It is quite unnerving to be on the other side of a pointed stare, and Kiele can't help but fidget from the greenrider's attention - tucking wisps of hair behind her ears, puffing and pursing her lips, shifting where she sits on the bench. UNNERVED! "Are you planning to do something bad? Why would you need an alibi?" she asks Zeltan, disbelief coloring her voice again. "I don't know if I'd want to do that. What if I got in trouble for helping you? What if I got kicked out of the weyr?" That seems troubling, so she goes back to studying those pebbles, scooting first one and then another with the tip of her finger. "What do you two have against games?" Really!? Pout.

Another hand-wave and Zeltan chuckles softly. "Oh, you don't have to worry about that one - it was just an example - its been taken care of." Pause. "Besides, who knows the reason - maybe there is a handsome young man you'd like to go see, and you don't want your parents to know.." Trader teases Kiele softly, smiling all the while, even as he glances sidelong at R'sner, pausing for a second before scooting just the TINIEST bit away from him. "I don't have anything against games, though. I think its your turn.." The trader, gives the board a tiny nudge towards the nanny then.

That's R'sner; making friends left and right. But he's not unaware that perhaps he's crossed a line into some sort of disrespectful territory, so there's a conscious effort made to focus on food and drink, rather than nanny and trader. "I hope you're joking," for that alibi. And really, Res seems to think he is, for there's no third-degree into the matter of what Zeltan might be running from. "I've nothing against games," he seconds the trader, glancing briefly at Kiele. "Cards, for example. Seems nice enough. Darts; there's a few boards in the Rec cavern. Along with some pool tables," and there's a bob of his head in the proper direction to indicate the cavern of note. "This stone business… I'm not sure about, though."

"I could be convinced otherwise, by the amount of protests you've both made about it." Kiele isn't going to let them off that easily, giving each a long, grumpy look, before she re-focuses on the board in front of her. There's plenty of pebbles left on the board, so it's easy to just pick one and flick, which only ends up sending two of her white ones off the table. "Drat-double drat." She stares for a long time at those pebbles, and then looks up at Zeltan. "I'll have to practice. Would you," aside, to R'sner, "like to try after him? You never know. You might end up liking it. I'm not very good at cards either," is a late admission.

"Absolutely, sir. Totally joking." Zeltan replies to R'sner, perhaps a BIT too quickly, but nevertheless, he is glad for the change of subject, his attention shifting back to the board just in come to catch the two white stones as they fall. "Deal - we both practice and in.. a sevenday?" He ventures after a moment, "We can see how it goes. And if I win, you can teach me to dance, and if -you- win, I owe you a favor." An inclined head towards R'sner, and he offers a grin. "Offer is always open."

R'sner is MAYBE convinced, Zeltan. MAYBE. Maybe. But he maybe also sends squinty-eyes toward the trader for a bit longer than strictly polite. Hrm. "What protests have I made?" he wonders at Kiele, genuinely curious. "My protests have been against betting on games that rely on chance…" but meh. Moot point, maybe. "I like games," he decides firmly, as if it must be known. "Cards can be taught." But does he offer to teach her? No. No he does not. Because creepily staring at Kiele is probably bad enough. "Offer of what?" Trades, or dancing? He doesn't seem inclined towards either. As for the offer? "Um. Hm. Maybe another time?" Attempt at politeness, but still a declination.

Now, the greenrider is staring at Zeltan, and that's equally as unsettling for Kiele. Didn't his parents tell him not to stare? Don't they teach dragonriders manner!? OH THE INHUMANETEE. Something like that. Flushing again, Kiele gives Zeltan a nod for his suggestion that they try this again in the future. "I think that would be a good plan. It's a deal, and-maybe I'll practice playing cards too." That way she can be well-rounded, or maybe she's suggesting that R'sner should lighten up his creepy stare and they can play games together. Whatever the real answer, she's unfolded her petite form from the bench and standing up, where she gives the two men an enthusiastic wave of both hands. "It was nice to see you again Zeltan, and-well, to meet you," she says, at the last nodding to R'sner, whose name she still does not know. What mystery~ she'll back away, and then turn, hurrying off to the dorms where she's safe from prying greenrider eyes.

With Kiele gone, it is only another moment - probably awkwardly quiet, before Zeltan is clearing his throat, and moving to stand up as well. "I should, uh.. I have some.. There are things I should go do." He manages after a moment, moving to gather his plate from earlier, bobbing his head to the greenrider before he is hurriedly taking his leave.

So rude! So awkward! All of the wrong things, really. Poor Kiele. Poor Zeltan. Poor R'sner? I mean… he kinda caused it so… maybe not poor R'sner. "Right. Sure," for cards, a bob of his head given to Kiele as he offers a curt, "R'sner," though… that's it? Cause food. In his mouth. To cover the awkward, maybe. Kiele abandons Zeltan, and soon enough Zeltan is abandoning R'sner, and maybe they're both happy for it. "Yup," given as the trader stands, "sure thing." And then blessed solitude? At least he can eat without weirding people now not.


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