More to Fear than Spiderclaws

Western Weyr - Kitchen
Perhaps you followed your nose here.. the cooking aromas are tempting. This is the main kitchen of the Weyr. At any time of the day or night you find cooks and drudges busy making meals and preparing foodstuffs for storage for later use. The cavern has been shaped into a huge room with a domed ceiling. The huge ovens and cooking stoves line the outer wall, their perpetual fires fueled by natural gas from a nearby well. Vent holes pierce the cavern walls, keeping the room amazingly clear of smoke. The inner wall has long counters of smooth stone, carved from the walls. You see a large, heavy looking metal-clad door. This is the large cold storage room, much like a man-made ice cave. The walls are made of volcanic rock, known for it's insulating properties. The heat exchanger is also powered by natural gas.


Mornings in the kitchens are never a quiet affair, and today is by no means an exception. Those white-knotted few who've been allotted duties in the bustling cavern have been assigned to peel and prep vegetables for the day's lunch, and they stand around a table with a mountain of various roots and so on piled high between them, with buckets of water to drop the peeled veggies into, and empty buckets for the scraps. This is the sort of kitchen duty that Rousseaux is capable of handling without too much bother; she's well-accustomed to working with tools, and handles her peeling knife well as she skins a fingerroot.

Accustomed to these tasks as well, Kaliena has settled herself into a comfortable and idle routine that is borne out of many hours and days past of repetition. The tools are of no concern, but what does grate against her nerves is the dullness of it all. So it's no surprise that the girl becomes distracted at times, turning instead to clean the peels away or venture off to find more veggies and roots to peel when the pile begins to dwindle and the call for more goes out. She's just returning from one such trip, settling the basket with an audible thump on the table and an exasperated sigh to follow. "You'd think we'd be feeding two Weyrs rather then one at this rate," Kaliena grumbles to all, though her gaze flicks to Rousseaux as she dumps the basket's contents and then quickly catches the roots that threaten to roll away onto the floor. "Guess it could be worse."

Rousseaux grins over at Kali, scraping her knife along the tuber that's now in her hand with ease. "Shell, I dunno if there's enough here for /two/… I bet I can polish off a mount of roast tubers as big as we've got here. They're the /best/ when they're roasted, especially in goose fat. Have you ever tried it?" She finishes with the tuber tossing the peel - a perfect spiral! - into the bucket of discards. Then she chops the vegetable into pieces as they've been told to do, dropping those into the bucket of water. "I've kinda liked hunting down tunnelsnakes as a chore, 'cept when they've bit me. It beats looking after kids, or something."

Kaliena shoots Rousseaux a sideways look of disbelief, blue eyes darting from the pile of tubers and roots and then back to the other candidate. She scoffs, "You'd be here for days trying to get through all this." But her mouth then twists into a lopsided smile and it's obvious she's simply teasing in her usual roundabout and gruff way. "Nah, can't say that I have. Don't think I've even had goose. Though I'd welcome it. 'M sick of spiderclaw and fish and it gets dull eating roast herdbeast and wherry day in and day out." The girl rambles and with the pile now stable and in no threat of tumbling off all over the place, she hooks a stool with her foot and plunks herself down with little grace or care. "The huntin' part is fun. Where'd you get bit?" Kaliena asks, sounding intrigued as she peers intently at the other candidate. Then she's rummaging about for a spare peeling knife, remembering that she has her own fair share of the chore to do even if it's making her restless with boredom. She grunts, grimacing. "Ugh. Yes… dunno why they put us in charge of kids. Rider shadowing has it perks though. You pull that one yet?"

Solarus comes into the kitchen with a look of utter humiliation and anger on his face, and trying very hard not to look anybody in the eye, lest he have to kill them for staring at the…um…the bandages on his fingers and…nose? "Sorry I'm late," he says to the head chef, through gritted teeth. "I got pulled into…sandclaw duty for an hour…and then had to go to the infirmary…" he grabs an apron. "Are you sure you can do this?" the chef asks him kindly, almost afraid to speak to him to make things even worse. "I'll be all right." he sighs, and joins the other candis working on peeling tubers. "Hi," he mumbles, finding a knife and grabbing a tuber. Boy what a day this has been!

"Y'think? I reckon I'd clear at least /half/ between lunch and dinner. Didn't you see me eating breakfast that day? Girl, I've got more room for roast tubers than I do /bacon/." And Kaliena will have seen how high Roux piled her plate with pork that morning. "I can't stand spiderclaws. They look gross, they smell gross, they /taste/ gross. We never had them back home - home before Ista, that is. Ista's got 'em, lots. I'd take tunnelsnakes over them /any/ day though - you ever tried to eat one?" She holds out her hand towards Kaliena, pointing to where there's two little injuries still healing. "I've not done the shadowing bit yet. Probably I'll get it soon, cos I know there's some others haven't done it, either… /heeey/, Solarus. What the shell you been doing to get all bandaged up?"

Kaliena snorts and her lopsided smile shifts to one that is a touch more genuine then before. "I ain't challenging you or anything. I saw and there's no way I'd ever match you." It's true. The girl does eat but nothing close to the amount Roux had piled on her plate this morning. When the other girl shares the same dislike of spiderclaws as she does, Kaliena grins, finding a kindred opinion there at least. "I've had to deal with 'em all my life. Sick of the things. Figures they'd invade the Weyr, eh? Just our luck." She remarks dryly and then wrinkles her nose. "Ugh. Tunnelsnakes? They can't be /that/ good to eat. And no, I haven't and I dun think I want to." She huffs, turning her attention back to peeling for a moment, less she skin her finger by mistake. Glancing up when Roux shows her the bite marks, Kaliena grimaces again and winces faintly. "Bad luck." She mutters and was about to add more but in comes Solarus and bandaged. So of course the poor boy instantly gets her attention and a long, lingering once over with her eyes. "You pick a fight with a barrel of 'claws or what?" she asks, smirking.

CUE ILA'DEN. And V'ric, because V'ric's player is le lazy. The weyrsecond has his best friend under one arm in what could be, arguably, a headlock. If it /is/ some form of affection between the two, it's of the rather violent, drag-you-with-me-unwillingly sort. Ila'den releases the brownrider only once tuber-peeling candidates have been spotted, and with a gracious smile towards the head chef, Ila's beelining for the three of them. Yes he /did/ just lean over Kali to steal a peeled tuber, and yes he /did/ just pop it into his mouth with another of those smiles. "Ladies," he says, before those eyes settle on Solarus. Brows draw together in genuine concern, and the weyrsecond moves closer to get a better look. "Are you okay?" he inquires, around the deliciousness of stolen foods.

"They ARE gross!" Solarus says, agreeing with Roux's comment, and looking at Roux's tunnelsnake bites with interest. Looking over at Kaliena he nods with a slightly sarcastic smile. "Oh yes, it was a spiderclaw fight all right, but they were the ones picking on me!" he starts slicing at the skin of the tubers, severely, as if imagining they were 'claws. "One of the Weyr nannies thought that one of the 'claws got passed the cleanup detail and snuck under her bed. So I was gently told to go check it out. Poor little old lady was afraid to sleep at night. Said she could hear something. So I get under the bed to have a look…" he shrugs a little, tenses a bit. "Nothing. Not a thing. I did hear one though. So I told her to get on the other side and make a bit of noise, maybe it was in a dark corner. She does so…" another deep breath. "Nothing. THEN I get underneath it a bit more, and see that there's some holes in the bottom of her mattress. 'AH!' I said. "Must be inside." he shakes his head bitterly and chuckles. "Shake the mattress a bit is what I told her to do. And she does. And suddenly I'm being rained on by dozens of claws!" he covers his face with his hands to demonstrate the experience. "I'm shrieking and the nanny is shrieking and they're pinching my fingers and one gets me on the nose and is clinging to dear life as I'm trying to get out from under the bed and the nanny has run screaming from the claws…" he looks at the bandages on his fingers. "Oh, she was so nice afterwards. Promised she'd knit me a sweather to make up for it…" being one of the Weavercraft, used to wearing find hand woven fibers and the like, his eyes take on a certain sort of look. One between gratefulness and slight discomfort. "So…that is my tale of woe." And the moral is; Never stick your nose where it doesn't belong.

V'ric is..ruffled. And dragged, really, though he doesn't seem to fight Ila'den's hold on him all that much. He grumbles though upon release, straightening out his tunic to glare after his friend. One who has /abandoned/ him for ladies and tubers. "Desperately needed in the kitchen, my ass." It's a quiet rumble of words, but he does at least follow, arms folding on his chest. Solarus'..state..is taken note of though, a brow starting to rise at his tale of woe. "I'd have guessed he'd been gotten by an angry wherry. Not..spiderclaws." Which are delicious, non-believers!

"Sir," Roux replies to Ila'den, giving the tugged-along brownrider a curious look. Ila's at least got a warm smile when she looks to him, given he's the reason she's here and all. Solarus's explanation of his injuries makes her laugh, and she shakes her head. "Yeah, I reckon you deserve a sweater for that. Spiderclaws are worse than tunnelsnakes, by /far/. All them little snappy ones around my bed? Faranth, I /freaked out/ when I first saw them. Then I just figured I'd put on my heavy boots and /stomp/ through the buggers, tough luck if they couldn't stand it."

"That's why you smack 'em with a club. Then they don't pick on you or get close enough to pinch. Smack 'n stun, less you've the skill to avoid their pincers." Kaliena drawls before he begins his tale and gives another smirk as she eyes Solarus' bandages. Clearly, she's thinking the other candidate's skill is sorely lacking. But as it unwinds, her eyes widen a little bit and she's eyeing him almost skeptically. "You have some shardin' bad luck." She remarks dryly, before turning back to her work. Roux is given a chuckle for her comments and Kaliena chimes in with a quick, "You weren't one of 'em shrieking the entire time, were you?" she teases, eyes watching where her knife goes as she peels and peels away. "I was usin' one of my boots as a weapon. They were everywhere, once the lights were turned on. Never seen so many on land at once like that." Says the girl from a fishing cothold. When Ila'den arrives, dragging V'ric with him, her gaze settles on them briefly before promptly turning back to her work. It's not until the Weyrsecond is leaning over her that she tenses slightly, side glancing over her shoulder with narrowed eyes. Normally she would make some snarky comment right then and the words are half way to her lips before she catches herself. "Sir." Kaliena says tersely after coughing slightly.

Solarus looks up at V'ric with an 'I know who you are' sort of look at the Wherry comment. The bandages are getting a bit in the way of his cutting, so he unwinds them, showing the dark red marks and bruises where the pincers had grabbed him. "I'd like a closet full of sweaters for it, but I'll be happy never to touch another spiderclaw in my life ever again," he says. "Ever." he adds again thoughtfully. Then smiles, a tiny bit maniacally. "Ever!" he chirps, then picks up another tuber. "I was shrieking," he says without embarassement. "I hate those things. Hate hate hate." Slice slice slice. Another tuber peeled. At least he knows how to do this without getting his fingers injured. He does stop complaining though, and gets down to work. "I like them with butter though. And a bit of herbs…" Yum.

Ila'den looks thoroughly amused by Kaliena's biting of tongue, though he's too much the gentleman to actually laugh about it. Instead, he's leaning over Rou to steal one of /her/ tubers this time. "None of this 'sir', business," the bronzerider murmurs, before hefting himself up to sit on a clear counterspace. "Just Ila'den. Or Ila. Or Kilarden, even, but no 'sir'." Those grey hues flicker to V'ric, the best friend who earns a wicked smile just for existing, and then the rider is patting the spot beside him. "So did any of you ever figure out who unleashed all of those spiderclaws on you? When I was in candidacy, we had a panty thief." It could always be worse… right?

V'ric stares right back at Solarus for a moment. Even if the face is a tad familiar, there's little recognition on the man's face. Still, after another moment or two, the brownrider nods. "Candidates." Sure, he's just a tad late with his greeting, and the word come out a bit rough, but it's there nonetheless. He does, however, tilt his head a bit to /eye/ Ila'den just a little. "Infestations seem somewhat..worse." There's a brief flicker of a smirk at that, however. "Though I never had anything…taken."

"I'll admit to maybe shrieking once or twice, yeah - but they're fricking /scary/ things, Kali! But then I started stomping, and I swear /they/ were squealing. Or whatever noise 'claws make. I hate hate hate them, too." Roux echoes Solarus as she shrugs her shoulders, tossing another sliced tuber into the water. The peel, another perfect spiral, is bounced for a moment in hher fingers like a slinky (just so she can show off!), before being tossed into the waste bucket. She would've smacked Ila'den's hand away from the tuber but manages to stop herself, giving him a /look/. "Ila'den. You're stealing our lunch, y'know… but raw tubers are kinda tasty, right? Not as good as roasted… I was saying to Kali how I reckon I could eat this here mound of tubers if they were all roasted." V'ric is given a little half-salute, a touch of her fingers to her temple, and a bob of her head. "A panty-stealing spiderclaw would definitely freak me out… though I bet it'd be scared shitless of /my/ knickers."

Kaliena peers a little more closely and curiously at Solarus when he mentions he was one of those shrieking and then a vague recognition strikes. "You're the one that was shrieking, with that girl, right? What was 'er name again? Bah. All I know is you and some of the flightier girls were making such a fit it's no surprise half the Weyr didn't come chargin' down on the dorms." She replies dryly, tossing her now peeled tuber with the rest of them and wiping the peels aside. The girl only snorts and shakes her head, nose wrinkling again at the mention of eating spiderclaw. Not a fan, is she. "They are when they're in droves like that, yeah. But shriekin' doesn't do a lick of good. And they do scream when you boil 'em. Been around when they toss 'em to the pots?" she asks, grinning a little as she glances to Roux. Is she serious or joking? And Ila'den should take advantage that Kaliena is biting her tongue. Zi'on's finally put his foot down and warned her to be respectful to his riders (that includes /all/ of them, no matter of rank), though truth be told the girl really wants to tell him where he can shove that. But she's being good - for now. "Ila'den, then. And no, there was a drudge who I ran across though and she was babblin' about how it has something to do with the sea or somesuch." She points out with a slight shrug and then eyes the Weyrsecond. "A panty thief?" she echoes, sounding skeptical as she does. A brisk nod goes to V'ric, followed by a lingering and curious look to the unfamiliar brownrider. Roux next comments have Kaliena stifling laughter under her breath but she keeps her comments to herself.

Solarus looks appologetically at V'ric for a moment, sheepishly, and scratching his face. "Panty raids are nothing, they stole my good glasses, I'm wearing my mom's spares until I have a chance to get new frames made, and the glass," he looks so upset, and he scratches his face. "I keep mistaken faces, and things. It no wonder I couldn't see much of anything under that bed," and he blushes. "That was my cousin, those things took her…things too…" he looks a little amused by it. She was the one with the stolen bra. He turns to have a look at the two riders. "If there was a prankster behind this, then he or she'd be the least liked person in the whole weyr after all this. I don't think it was a candidate that did it, everyone I know is furious about it. Must have just been nature," he grabs another tuber. "Shards, how many of these things get eaten in a day you think?"

Why do you do it, V'ric? Why do you walk into /teasing/ like that? Ila'den looks absolutely mutinous as he leans forward towards V'ric. Calloused fingers grip the edge of the counter tightly, brows go up, and Ila'den whispers in a whisper that's not really a whisper at all, "You /had/ panties to be taken? Do we need to have a conversation, V'ric? What other secrets are you hiding?" Luckily Rou is there to save the day, and Ila'den's head goes to one side as he offers her a rather surprisingly /innocent/ smile. "If there isn't enough left, I will personally peel you a mound myself." And he is good to his word! Choke, laughter. "What on /Pern/ is so scary about your knickers?" Kaliena is spared another smile, as Ila'den's shoulders roll back and he leans backwards now. "Nature seems most likely, since there were so many and I doubt anybody'd be able to hide that many spiderclaws. Still, seems a little coincidental to me that they stormed the candidate's barracks." A pause, and sullenly for Solarus' final question, "Too sharding many."

V'ric narrows his eyes just a bit at Ila'den, although he snorts a moment later. "You know as well as I that underthings are useless." Well, to some. Or at least V'ric. Can't steal underwesr that isn't there! He does sigh, however, shoulders lifting in a broad shrug. "I'm not going to complain about the influx of free and easy food."

Rousseaux raises an eyebrow at Ila'den. It's a look she's good at. "I could tell you, but I'd have to kill you. Maybe /with/ my knickers." She offers him a piece of sliced tuber, before the rest is dropped into the water bucket. "Whoever would want to transport that many spiderclaws for the sake of a prank definitely has a screw or two loose, in my books. I mean, c'mon. The damned things are butt-ugly, spiky, crawler-like, smelly, wet, probably /sharp/… and they nip and stuff, too. Send that person to a mindhealer, I say." Whether 'that person' exists or not doesn't matter! She starts working on another spiral of tuber-peel, shaking her head. "Chickens might've been better. A dorm full of chickens would've been /hilarious/."

Oh, the look Ila'den gives to V'ric. Those brows waggle, and then the weyrsecond is dropping from the counter to his feet. "Not going to complain about the influx of free and easy food?" Ila'den inquires, teasing. "You /renegade/, you." Yes, there is easy laughter from the bronzerider as if he may have just shared the world's most fantastic inside joke with his best friend, and then he's stealing one last tuber for the road as fingers splay and the rider waves from over his shoulder. "Teimyrth is insisting that I join him." It is all the explanation they will get, as his final act is a gentle clap and squeeze to Vel's shoulder before he's headed out the door. Vamoosh! Gone away to do a dragon's bidding!

Solarus gives V'ric a look of dismay. "Easy? You call catching spiderclaws easy?" he holds up his red and bruised hands as evidence of such a possibility. "Besides, in order for a spiderclaw to be cooked, it has to go into the pot alive, right? Cooking a dead one, that may even have been crushed by a boot, I dunno, maybe asks the chefs about that, but I think they only cook live ones," he looks over at Roux. "Chickens would have been crazy funny!" he laughs. "Chickens wouldn't have stolen my glasses," he pushes the brown ugly ones he's wearing up on his bandaged nose with a sigh.
Ila'den has left.

"Ahh…" Kaliena remarks towards Solarus and there's a notable look of understanding in her eyes. She knows of the articles he speaks off and the candidate grins in obvious amusement. Then it's back to glancing between Roux and Ila'den, the girl likely just as curious to hear what makes the other girl's knickers so potentially threatening. "Weren't they just stormin' the whole Weyr?" Kaliena frowns at the bronzerider, hands pausing in the middle of peeling as she rummages through her thoughts. "You think someone could've seen 'em coming and just directed 'em to the dorms then?" Now /that/ would be a low move. To V'ric, she gives another curious look but not for his previous comments. She hadn't heard those and it's likely a good thing. "I wouldn't say they're easy. Not while they're alive and have fight to 'em. He's a perfect example." And she jabs a thumb over to indicate Solarus and his current bandaged state, before resuming her peeling. Luckily she has a good handle and skill with her knife, because Roux comment to Ila'den has the girl laughing, full out and gruff. "Now wouldn't /that/ be a way to go. Death by girl's knickers. Ha!" she snickers and then shakes her head, leveling the other girl with a deadpan look. "You serious? Chickens are messy things. We'd have to /clean/ that you know." And that's not something she'd like to do, to judge by her tone. Kaliena would have stuck around too, enjoying the unusual discussions but fate won't have it. Another joins in, a server and promptly taps the girl into helping elsewhere. With a sigh, she pushes back her stool and sets her knife safely aside. "Great. Serving duty. Have fun, you lot." She grumbles and quickly wiping her hands clean, she shuffles off with one last envious look over her shoulder and of course a parting nod to all.


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