Plucked, Not Tweaked

Western Weyr - Living Caverns
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.

The Living Caverns are a hive of activity, and for good reason; there's breakfast being served and most folks are filling their tummies before disappearing off for the day's duties. Folks roam between the tables sharing early morning greetings, eating and drinking in various states of awakeness. Rousseaux looks quite perky herself, sitting as she is on a bench with a plate in front of her and a pitcher of klah she's commandeered from somewhere. She's simlpy watching the goings-on while shovelling food down her throat in a not /quite/ ladylike manner.

Within the hive of activity there is another and one who is no stranger to the living caverns or the duties there-in. Kaliena has pulled the early shift for cleaning and to judge by the scowl on her features and the slightly rougher way she sweeps the last of the dirt and dust from the floors, the girl is less then pleased. But she swallows her pride and accepts it, grudgingly and does a decent job despite her mood. At least now she won't have anyone breathing down her neck later and with the last sweep, Kaliena sets the broom aside as abruptly and swiftly as she can. Then it's off to raid the last of the food, not bothering to tidy up or relax as she makes herself a heaping plate and then stalks for the nearest table. Which it just so happens is already occupied by Rousseaux and maybe it's her unlady-like eating habits or the fact the other wears a knot like hers that has Kaliena opting to settle there. But, it could be complete randomness. Regardless, the candidate plunks herself down with hardly any grace and a not-so discreet lack of manners. "Morning." She both half grunts, half grumbles at Rousseaux, making eye contact only long enough for that word before she's tucking into her food.

Zi'on is not a morning person. This is known. When the weyrleader does grace the caverns for breakfast, it's usually because he's run out of klah and pastries at his weyr. Or because he has a morning meeting and has to be up and awake anyways. He shuffles into the caverns this morning, looking like he dressed in the dark. His shirt is buttoned up lop-sided and half untucked, and his beard is more scraggly than usual. He moved to the serving table, picking out a bowl of fruit salad and two sweetrolls. But all the klah pitchers are just about empty, so he just grabs a mug and sits down where he happens to spot a pitcher. Also a Kaliena. And that's at Rousseaux's table, right next to Kaliena. "Mornin'," is mumbled to both girls as he reaches for the pitcher to fill his mug.

A lack of manners doesn't faze Rousseaux - nor does the grunty/grumbling greeting, to which she responds in kind at first, followed by something that could be considered slightly more pleasant. "Morning." Simple, sweet, who needs more? Not this former Ista Weyr resident, who's more interested in chowing down on her next strip of bacon. Zi'on and his arrival get much the same greeting, minus the grunt; an echo of his own word. Only when she's cleaned everything from her plate does Roux look at the two who've joined her, giving them one of those 'I'm going to attempt to engage you in conversation now' looks as she politely clears her throat. "Alright, then?"

Kaliena pauses long enough in gorging herself to glance up again at Rousseaux once the former Istan replies so simply and sweet. Then her blue eyes dart to the bacon she holds and it's envious in nature. There was bacon? Her plate lacks any meat it seems, being mostly the leftovers of fruit and breads. Grumbling something that sounds like "sharding chores", the ex-smith apprentice is about to turn back to her breakfast and let silence reign between them when Zi'on makes his arrival. Maybe she does know he's not a morning person, but that doesn't stop her from making a snide, teasing remark, Weyrleader or not. "You look awful." She points out while brandishing a piece of fruit speared on her fork. Then Rousseaux clearing her throat distracts her and Kaliena promptly silences herself by popping said fruit into her mouth.

Zi'on doesn't even look at his food. Klah. Sweet sweet klah. Once he's gotten down the whole mug he actually seems to wake up a bit. There is a frown given to Kaliena about her remark, also a grunt. Once he's feeling a bit more energetic, he attempts a few pieces of fruit. There's no meat on Zi'on's plate either, but he doesn't seem to mind. There's a brow raised to Rousseaux finally. "Alright what? Oh. I'm Zi'on, this is Kaliena. But you're both candidates, so you probably already know each other." Maybe. Also Kaliena isn't an ex-smith. She's still a smith, just less of the time now. Zi'on looks down at himself and notices his buttons are all wrong, and then promptly starts unbuttoning so that he can fix them. Which normally wouldn't be a problem, except he's also forgotten an undershirt.

Rousseaux nods her head in sympathy at Kaliena's half-heard chores comment; while she may be new to them in Western, she's danced this jig before. Zi'on's question catches her out for a moment, though, and she looks as him with her honey-coloured eyes narrowed thoughtfully. "Alright… then? Everything alright? Sorry - it's a greeting from home. Maybe it's not made it this far, yet?" The introduction to Kaliena is taken with a bob of her head as she looks at her white-knotted fellow. "Kaliena. Pleasure to get your name, yeah? We've seen each other I think, but not had time for pleasantries and the like. Pleasure to meet you too, sir… and your chest." That's accompanied by a wink as he starts fixing his buttoning issue.

This dance is completely unfamiliar to Kaliena and so is most of life in a Weyr, despite having been in Western for over a Turn prior to her Search. But she's doing well enough to cope, at least. Chores are no stranger. The girl has paused in eating again, interest snagged now by Rousseaux explanation to her greeting. Before she can sneak a comment in edgewise, Zi'on is introducing them and Kaliena shoots him a narrow look. Recovering, she nods her head briskly to the other candidate, blue eyes meeting the other's honey-colored ones with a certain degree of neutral aloofness. "We have. Not had time to exchange names. You've mine now, but what's yours?" Bluntness, thy name is Kaliena. "I mean… since I haven't caught it." She hastily (and lamely) amends before awkwardly turning back to her food. Zi'on then decides to fix his wrongly buttoned tunic and she only snorts, eyes narrowing a little further as she directs them to the Weyrleader. But the snort seems amused both for the fact he's flashing them both and for Rousseaux's comment.

Zi'on peers at Rousseaux. "Where are you from? I like to think I'm well traveled, but I've never heard that sort of thing before." Zi'on looks to be forcing down that bit of fruit he's taken. Part of his attempt to eat something healthy before he dives into the sweets and pastries. There's a bit of a grunt about the buttons as he struggles to get them done up properly while he's sitting. "You got a name, candidate who I don't know? I'd say it's nice to meet you, but I haven't met you until I get your name." He adds in to Kaliena's comment. He grins to Rousseaux then. "My chest though is happy to meet you." He catches Kaliena's narrowed look and peers back at her. "What?" The bronzer finally gets the last of the buttons done and turns towards Kaliena. "Better?" Then it's back to klah and pastry. He's decided that's enough fruit for the morning.

"Might've left my manners between on the way here, eh?" Rousseaux snorts at her own mistake, as pointed out by Kaliena. "Rousseaux. Chop it up as you wish to make it easier, I'll answer to most things - pleasant or not." Kaliena gets a playful wink, before the brunette starts answering Zi'on's question. "The back end of the 'Reaches by way of Ista Weyr. There's not many go up the way of our little holding; it's too far, too cold, and too bloody boring, I'd imagine, unless you're keen on rabbits and wool?" The rider's chest is addressed then, in a very deadpan manner. "Nice to meet you too, chest. Come here often?"

Kaliena doesn't chop up the other's name and not purposely, though when she repeats it, it's obvious she has to say it a little slowly to pronounce it. Her accent will otherwise make a wonderful chop job on it all it's own. "Rousseaux. Huh." And that remains her only comment there; save for the smirk that curves her mouth lopsidedly at the wink. Normally the girl is untrustworthy of strangers, bristly and snarky and all around rude. Not now though and it can either be because Zi'on is there or because she finds the other candidate's lack of manners or unlady-like behaviors enough of a similarity to be a little more relaxed. She listens quietly enough while the conversation turns to Rousseaux's roots and quite abruptly, Kaliena chimes back in. "You hunt the rabbits? Or raise 'em?" Leave it to her to clue in on that and toss everything else aside. Then to the Weyrleader, it's another narrowed look and another snort. "Your /chest/?" she drawls with a slight mischievous edge to her voice, "Uh huh. Sure it's your chest." There's something muttered after that, under her breath and a single word only. Zi'on would know it. Then she's side glancing to Rousseaux but not from jealousy or the like and just continued neutrality, until the other candidate deadpans and Kaliena is suddenly covering her mouth to mask her grin and coughing to mask the laugh.

"Good to meet you, Rousseaux. Uh. How about Rou? That's easier. Though I guess my own name was sort of a mouthful before I impressed. Zsriston." The bronzer nods about Rousseaux's former place of residence. "Ah. I don't know too much about High Reaches. Other than they have a lake there that's nice to skate on. Generally my trips there are business only. Other than the skating, right Kali? I grew up at Ista though. Lived there and was fostered for like eight turns or so before my parents separated." He peers at her. "Wool? Was that a comment about my chest?" He laughs then. "He's shy. At least in the caverns." There's a blink then to Kaliena. "Eh? What other body part would be happy to meet her? Oh." He eyes Kaliena, then wraps an arm about her shoulders. "I think I remember your paperwork now a bit. Ila'den searched you, no?"

"Raise 'em. They're wool rabbits, big poofy useless things. Cute, though. My folks're Weavers and spin the wool, sh— stuff like that." Rousseaux catches herself on the would've-been expletive, long lashes lowering for a moment as she looks down into her klah mug. "Rou works, most definitely. I've had Roux, Seaux, Rous," pronounced 'roos', "Roosie, even. Wasn't so keen on that one though, sounds like something you'd name a canine." Kaliena's laughing gets a grin from the older ex-Istan, before the chest is brought back into play. "Shame that, being shy and all. You tell him there's no need for it, he looks pretty fine enough to me!" Then there's the question to Kaliena - which Roux butts into. "And Faranth, I'm not sure I know either of you well enough to voice my speculations to /that/ particular question…" She's laughing now, but doesn't bother to hide it. "Ila'den searched me, yessir. Seems a nice enough guy, he does."

Kaliena's eyes dart swiftly to Zi'on when he mentions skating, but the girl's only reply is a grunt of agreement and a subtle nod. Her plate, now mostly empty, has been ignored until that point and now she's setting about poking and shredding the leftovers with her fork while letting the discussions flow around her. "Ahh," she replies, sounding a touch disappointed by Rousseaux's mention of raising rabbits. Then for the first time since plunking herself down at the table, the other candidate earns a dubious look from the younger. "I didn't think rabbits grew wool. Let alone wool that could be weaved." She mentions, making it seem casual when truly it's skeptical and possibly insulting. The near swearing has the girl grinning vaguely though. It falters though, both because Zi'on is wrapping an arm around her shoulders, which has her tensing a little while she shoots him a glaring look now and also because of Rousseaux's teasing compliment. Kaliena has no comeback for the other girl's remark and so she only snorts again, but at least the vague grin returns when she glances back.

Zi'on rubs his chin. "Wool rabbits. That sounds interesting actually. Better than those little felines or canines. Though I'm not sure I'd be any good at shaving a rabbit." He looks to Kaliena for a second. "You want a wool rabbit for a pet?" Then he moves back to eating sweetrolls and drinking his klah. "Rou I think is good." He coughs a bit at Rou's comments about his chest. "Heh.. I'll uh, make sure he gets the message. He's always a little worried about the hair. Kali told me not to shave it though." Actually it was more along the lines of 'I don't care' but clearly the bronzer heard whatever he wanted to. The bronzer doesn't even seem to notice Kaliena's glaring look. Clearly he's seen it at least a thousand times before. "Ila'den? I love the man, but he is ridiculous. I guess he got you here alright though, so that's good. Technically he wasn't supposed to be searching people at Ista though. Ah well, Th'ero won't begrudge us a few candidates from the northern half of Pern."

The comment made by Kaliena rolls off Rousseaux like water off a duck's back. If she took it as an insult, she's awesome at hiding any ill feeling it may have caused. "Angora, you call their wool. Most folks've heard of angora, but reckon it comes from sheeps or summat. They get about this big," she demonstrates with her hands set almost a foot and a half apart, "with fluff, that's gotta be tweaked off them, rather than shaved - they'd be too fiddly to do that to, I reckon." She's not necessarily the quickest mind on the block, but even Roux can see that there's possibly something between the two people she's breaking her fast with. Nothing's said yet though, as she sits and observes. "I'll try make it worth Ila'den's while bringing me down there, eh? So he doesn't get in trouble - wouldn't want that, now at all… and have you two got a little something-something going on, maybe?"

"Do I look like someone who can tend a pet?" Kaliena remarks dryly and sarcastically while leveling Zi'on with another one of her looks. Rousseaux has her attention then, her eyes following the demonstration of size and any of her rude suspicions from before are replaced with actual interest. "Sounds tricky. I ain't never heard of rabbits being used for wool. Eating, yes." She says casually now, just a girl curious about another's past and nothing more. "But then, I'm from another backwater's region that's pretty much rocks, sea and fish. Don't have the land to tend to herds." Hence her ignorance on that subject and most likely a multitude of others. Kaliena only smirks when Zi'on brings up her opinion and butts in again with her own snarky addition. "Men aren't men without hair. Or so I've been repeatedly told." She says as deadpanned as Rousseaux may have been earlier, though the girl isn't making eye contact save for on her plate. Something Zi'on says though has her tilting her head a bit and glancing between both the other candidate and the Weyrleader himself. "Why's Ista off limits? Th'ero got a claim on it? Didn't think you could. Or you guys fightin' and drawing territories?" At Rousseaux's question, Kaliena flushes just enough to condemn her. "Uh huh," she grunts while pushing her plate away and saying nothing more for now.

Zi'on blinks at Rou as she explains about the rabbits. "Tweaked? You mean plucked? Like with a bird? Bleh, I don't think that I'd like that too much. Does that mean you have to kill them to get their fur?" Because that sort of ruled them out as pets. "Or can you just brush them a lot or something?" Zi'on shrugs about Ila'den. "Eh, he's generally in trouble all the time anyways. He knocked up his weyrmate again, which means he'll be spending even less time in the office." Or maybe it was a competition or something. He nods to Kaliena. "Yes, you do look like that someone. A pet might be good for you. Maybe after the hatching." He laughs at her comment about the hair. "Th'ero's also got a clutch on the sands. I told him Western would take the south, plus Telgar. He could have the north. I guess Ista might be kind of a grey area though. I guess I ought to check on how things are going up there." At Rou's question Zi'on just smiles and lets Kaliena answer it. Maybe he squeezes her shoulders a bit. "So hands off. Actually… if you two would like to…" The bronzer chuckles a bit, insinuating something else perverted.

"Plucked," Roux confirms to Zi'on. "Doesn't hurt them none, though, it's kinda like a massage. Their fur comes out real easy-like, since that's how they've been bred. No need to kill them at all, unless they're sick or summat, and generally brushing doesn't loosen it up enough. You've gotta get in there with your fingers… builds up good muscle, which is great if you want to have Pern's strongest fore- and middle-fingers." She holds her own two up, waggling them. The relationship confirmation has her nodding, pleased with herself for having got it right, before she guffaws at the bronzerider's suggestion. "Hey, you got the marks and the girl's willing, why the shell not? Perhaps it's something Kaliena and I can discuss in the barracks… want me to sneak into your cot for a 'chat' tonight, then?" If it wasn't already clear that she's teasing, she winks and clicks her tongue at the other candidate. Then Roux stands up, picking up her empty plate and mug. "Thanks for the company, but I'm gonna have to leave you two to it. Gotta be down in the tunnels in a bit - we're catching /tunnelsnakes/ today." Something in her voice suggests this might excite her. "Have a good one then, yeah?" And she's off!

Kaliena doesn't comment it seems on Ila'den, leaving that discussion to Zi'on and Rousseaux alone. Not that she doesn't like the Weyrsecond, but she hardly knows the bronzerider that the Weyrleader is so fond of bringing up and mostly just to tease the poor man. The girl is probably incredibly curious on who he is, but all that remains unsaid and to her personal thoughts. "Ah. Search territories then. Ista's an island, right? Could be a grey area." She agrees with a shrug that says she really doesn't know a thing about it, but throws her opinion in all the same. Zi'on's implied suggestion has her reaching out to kick him in the shins, though she's likely too far away to get enough force. So he's likely only to get a sharp nudge from her boot. She shoots him a scowl, but it's Rousseaux who wins in getting the shocked look. Kaliena's mouth has dropped open a little and her temper flares in the way her skin flushes darker as she prepares to bristle and make some heated retort. Then the other candidate winks and the younger clues in. Her mood does a quick turn around then and in place of a scowl, there's a wicked grin as she glances up to Zi'on. "Does it count to an exception of the rules?" she asks, feigning it as a total innocent question when it's anything but. She just wants to see the Weyrleader squirm… or his reaction at least. She probably already knows where it'll go. Once more, Rousseaux earns an envious look from Kaliena and when she takes off, the young girl is almost pouting as she crosses her arms but not before giving a subtle half-waved gesture of farewell. "She gets bacon /and/ the only chore involving hunting. Damn her luck!" she grumbles.

Zi'on blinks. "Huh. Would you imagine that. Though I bet they shed something horrid. Probably not good as pets, either." It'd be like keeping a chicken inside. He blinks at her comment. "Heh. Marks? And hey, if you two want to frequent each other's cots… that's fine with this bronzer." Zi'on blinks as Rou gets up, giving her a wave as she heads off. Zi'on spends a lot of his working hours with Ila'den. And he's not really allowed to talk about her brother. "Well, it's sort of in the middle of the map, too. Though still pretty north technically." He grunts at her kick. "Ow…" He peers at Kaliena when her smile twists into a grin. "No, it's not an exception. Though it's more of a fairness thing. But you guys are allowed to cuddle." He laughs a bit and grins to her. Clearly he's not squirming, unless it's to uh… readjust. No, he's liking this. "Eh? You want some bacon? Hunting tunnelsnakes is hardly hunting. More like pest control."

Kaliena peers at Zi'on, one brow quirking up as if she didn't quite believe the words he just said. Then the girl breaks out into a gruff laugh and maybe aims to kick-nudge the Weyrleader one last time before slumping back in her chair and keeping her feet firmly planted on the floor. "Figures." She drawls, offering him another one of her common smirks. "Sorry to burst yer bubble, but I think it was all to tease." Or was it? Kaliena sure is making it seem that way, considering she's wrinkling her nose a bit now and not grinning as much as before. "I ain't about to cross lines. Not even if the marks are good and they'd have to be /very/ good. 'Sides. Rules are rules." There's a helpless shrug given to that and then she chuckles dryly. "It would have been nice, but I'm full now. Maybe I'll luck out and get something better for dinner." Then she blinks and gives a frown to Zi'on, "How is it hardly huntin'? You're still stalking and killing. Same deal. Only it's huntin' to cull the pests, not huntin' to eat."

Zi'on grins to her and chuckles at the nudge. "What? I can't help it." Actually he probably can technically, but hey. "Was it all to tease? I can't really tell. She is weyrbred after all. Maybe she was looking for an invitation." He grins and nudges Kaliena back. "Heh. I think you're right, it was just a tease. Though she seems nice enough. And willing to tease me. Maybe you two should get to know each other." Become friends, is what he's insinuating. "No, let's not cross lines. Even for marks. If you want money I'll give it to you." He leans over to reach into his pocket, pulling out some marks. "Five? Is that enough? You can take your new friend down to the market or something." He peers at Kaliena. "Because it's tunnelsnakes? They're all over. We used to pelt them with rocks as kids. It's like saying you're going hunting for crawlies."

"Just cause she's weyrbred means nothing," Kaliena mutters, eyeing Zi'on now uncertainly. When he nudges her, she makes a clicking noise with her tongue and nudges back, despite having tried to put and end to that game. "Mhm," the girl agrees and then shrugs her shoulders again. "She seems so. Not like the other girls anyways." In other words, she'll try to be nice and make friends, even if Rousseaux remains the only one capable of handling Kaliena's rougher attitude in the end. The marks are stared at and even before Zi'on can finish putting all five to the table she's leaning forwards to push them back. "Shards, Zi'on! I was kidding!" she exclaims, glancing about to see if anyone noticed the Weyrleader /paying/ her. Won't that look bad too? "Besides, we can't go to the markets." Kaliena smirks. "It's outside of the Weyr." She makes another click-like noise, likely out frustration now and followed by a dismissive wave of her hand. "Feh. I'm still jealous. All I got was sweeping and later I've got my smithcrafting lessons to get to." Not that she's really complaining, but it sure sounds that way.

Zi'on chuckles. "It doesn't? I think it does. Weyrbred girls are generally a little more… open about things." He grins to her, though he doesn't nudge back, letting her win that round. "Mm," he says in agreement with Kaliena. The bronzer seems to be encouraging her to make friends. Maybe that was part of the whole candidate deal? He blinks at her when she yells at him about the marks. He wasn't -paying- her! He was giving them to her! For… stuff! "Huh? Sure you can, just take a rider with you. Besides, it's not that far." He frowns as she pushes them back. "Are you sure?" He chuckles and shrugs. "Sorry. At least you'll be crafting later? What time you figure you'll be out for dinner? We can meet up here, maybe. Go for a walk afterwards or something, unless you want to be with your new friends."

Giving is still the same as paying in a sense. Either way, Kaliena's logic has her rejecting Zi'on's gift, if it even started out as such. "I dunno when I'll be off and it might be before dinner or long afterwards." She grumbles at him once she's settled back into her chair. Then she huffs, "We'll see. I dun got many friends. Not among the candidates. Rou is the only one I actually have a name from." The girl points out, adopting the shortened nickname Zi'on had been using earlier. Much easier and Kaliena doesn't mangle it as bad with her accent. A thought crosses her mind then and with a blink, her mood changes and eases back to something calmer. "I'll need supplies soon," she says, mentioning it as a casual note as possible. "You can escort then, can't you? Drag any of the others with you, for whatever reason." Then Zi'on get's time with her and she can mingle, if she doesn't scare the other candidates off. Kaliena glances towards the entrance of the caverns then and grimaces, placing her hands on the table as she pushes her chair back and gets to her feet slowly. "Time's up. I need to go, before I'm late."

Except that if he was paying Kaliena that meant she worked for him. Which could be… misconstrued. There's a pout at her noncommittal answer about dinner. "Alright then." Which Zi'on seems to take as that he was on his own for dinner and anything afterwards. "Well, maybe you should eat with them, then. Get to know some of them. You'll be stuck with them for a while." He tucks the money away. For now. "Mm. Supplies, right. Sure, we can take whoever.' And Zi'on can spend his money on Kaliena then. Zi'on nods a bit, getting up when she does. He holds onto her arm for a moment, leaning down to give her a smooch. "I should get to the office, then to the sands. Try to have fun." He chuckles a bit and picks up their dishes to drop them off before he heads out as well.

Kaliena seems both pleased and relieved that Zi'on's taken the offer, for reasons that she doesn't elaborate on. Instead she just returns his kiss and then quickly darts from his grip, before too many folk can glance their way. "Mhm. I'll try. I'll send Beast if I can't make dinner." There's a nod then, when he tells her where she may find him if she looses her courage for making friends among the candidates and with a final lingering look and a hesitant smile, she flees.

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