Don't Get Mauled

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.

It's late in the morning, and clearly Zi'on is late for breakfast. By this point most of what was hot and ready to be eaten several hours ago is in fact eaten. Or has been cleaned up and packed away by the serving staff. By now most of them are sitting down to finally take their meal, likely with plates of things set aside earlier. Zi'on really only wants klah and pastry anyways, so coming to breakfast late generally isn't a problem for him. The pastry is cold, but still tastes good, and there's always a fresh pot of klah no matter the time of day. The bronzer examines several of the pastries, before settling on two that look cream filled and one fruit filled and glazed over with sweetener. Then he grabs a pot of klah and sits down at a table, pulling out a pad of notes to read over while he eats.

Kaliena was one of the (un?)lucky of the candidates to draw early morning serving duty this day. Serving duty she can handle, as she's done it before and while she dislikes it she can at least keep her mind focused on other things and still be able to complete the task. Mindless work! But her shift is done now and like any smart girl, she's hoarded some of the best choice bits from breakfast - including bacon. She definitely pilfered enough to feed two people, but today Kaliena is in a bit of a non-sharing mood. So she shirks her fellow servers and goes to find a table to hole up in and devour her prize. And of course, her table of choice would be Zi'on's and for more reasons then he being the Weyrleader and her knowing him beyond that. No, it's because she knows he usually has no interest in the food she picks and thus she's safe. "Mornin'" she drawls with a bit of a yawn, setting her plate down while she flops ungracefully into the chair across from him. Nibbling on a strip of bacon (and foregoing the use of utensils - who needs those?), she eyes the pad of notes with a skeptical look. "Work?" Grunt. Early morning shifts apparently means lack of full sentences too.

Seryic makes his way into the living cavern whistling softly to himself as he goes. The young beast crafter appears to have been up and about for some time already today, though there seems to be some straw stuck in his hair. He makes his ways to the serving table seeing it mostly picked clean he frowns a bit before making his selection and glancing about to find a likely spot to sit.

Zi'on wishes he has more mindless work these days. Most of his work involved him making decisions that affect people at the weyr. Though filling out paperwork wasn't very taxing, even for Zi'on. The bronzer is a safe bet though for not getting your food picked over, unless Kaliena had a plate of pastries, then he might. But she doesn't, so he doesn't even give her plate a second thought as she sits down. Instead he just pours her a mug of klah. "Mornin' metal-molder. Kitchen duties today?" Kaliena smells like bacon! Though it's probably because she's eating it. He doesn't seem to notice her lack of utensils either, he's not using any as well. He shrugs about the notepad. "Yeah. Just reviewing some things." He bites into the fruit filled pastry, some of the filling oozing out and dropping onto his plate. "Eggs are hardening up."

For all her griping about it, Kaliena does enjoy the mindless work for those days that she just wants to escape inside her head. Now that she's free of the task though, she's restless during that lull of idle time between chores and Craft studies. When Zi'on pours her a mug of klah, there's an appreciative sigh and the candidate reaches for it even before he can offer it. "Mhm. Serving duty." No reaction for the name metal-molder? Either she's too focused on downing her drink or Kaliena doesn't quite mind the Weyrleader's choice. And yes, she does smell of bacon. You are what you eat! Licking her fingers clean, the girl begins picking at random other edibles on her plate. A little bit here, a little bit there. "Some things?" she presses gently, one brow arcing up as she regards the bronzerider curiously. Her nose wrinkles a bit when the pastry he's eating oozes out onto his plate, but his last comment draws her attention away. "Figured. How long now is the guess?" Seryic would have likely have been missed, if not for the whistling. That has Kaliena's eyes darting his way briefly and there's a vague recollection there. So she offers a quick half-wave and then she's focused back on her food and Zi'on too of course.

Seryic catches the half waves from Kaliena and smiles making his way towards her, taking that wave as an invitation and smiles, "Morning.' he in a cheerful voice." he motions to the near by seat and says, "Might if I join you all?" his small plate of food held before him, in fact containing mostly pastries.

This is one of the few times of the day when Zi'on can reliably catch Kaliena idle. Which might explain why he's here so late. Though likely it's because he was up late last night and didn't have any meetings requiring him to be at the office early. Without his girl around he's reverted much back to his old bachelor ways. Zi'on figures eventually she'll give him the scowl for the name, but right now he's gotten away with it. He eyes her after her question. "Some things. What, you're interested in yesterday's meetings with the holders? I've made a chart of last year's tithe versus this year's so that I can ask about any differences." There's more information than she probably wanted. "Maybe another couple of sevendays, a month at the most. You ready to stand out there with the dragons?" There's a nod given to Seryic and Zi'on waves to offer him a seat. "Morning. Sit where you'd like."

Mornings are a good time as any to find Kaliena and that is true. Mornings or the later hours, she's predictable that way. Zi'on is freed from any scowls for now, but give it time. Something is bound to have her scowling soon enough. "Shards, no. Boring." She snorts, grimacing and making a dismissive gesture with her hand. Nope, the Weyrleader can keep all that to himself. Trade tithes are not on the girl's interest lists it seems. "Dunno how you can stand all of that." Isn't she so helpful? There's a small, vague-like smile given to Zi'on's estimate on time and Kaliena's gaze turns down to her plate where she's now idly plucking at some roll. "No, not really. Who's ever ready?" she grumbles. To Seryic, she waves again, but this time her hand sweeps the table though her eyes don't lift to glance up at the Beastcrafter. "Feel free," she drawls and then finally pops a bit of food in her mouth after sufficiently shredding it.

Rumor mill — and other odd happenings — aside, Draval is lurking in a corner of the Living Caverns, hunched over a plate of food like some beastly little creature. Food is being shoveled down his throat at an alarming rate, giving the skinny teenager the look for all the world of a human vacuum. As conversation bubbles up, the skinny lad looks up from his meal, curiously shifting his gaze from one group to the other with his brows raised.

Zi'on laughs at Kaliena's reaction to his explanation about his work. She ought to know by now not to ask. Though at least she has the good sense to stop him before he goes any further. "Yep. I thought you might say that. I dunno. Someone has to keep track of all this nonsense. And I get to argue and haggle with the holders which is kind of fun. And make them all afraid of me." He grins to Kaliena when she claims she's not ready. "Well, the candidates who have been through it before are probably ready. At least in theory, they won't be any more ready than they already are. I think you're ready, as well." There's a bit of a nod to Seryic. "I'm fine." Zi'on shrugs. "Just getting some breakfast. How about you? Other than starving."

How else will she know of the good stuff then, if she doesn't pester Zi'on over his work now and then? "Only time to get the good stuff," Kaliena intones in a "wise" voice towards Seryic, smirking a little in ill-placed smugness. See? She was smart for once. There's a shrug to his general question on her well being and between a mouthful of food, she mutters. "Can't complain," she drawls with a faint snort. Gaze darting up to the Weyrleader again, she smirks and tilts her head a little. "Uh huh. Find it hard to believe you can make a Lord Holder or any holder afraid of you over some haggling." Kaliena taunts, eyes narrowing a little as if to challenge him. At the mention of the impending Hatching (of doom), the girl slouches a bit in her chair and she's back to picking her meal apart. "How do you know?" she grumbles. "I don't feel ready and I don't think you /can/ be." So there!

Zi'on doesn't tell her of the good stuff? Well, he probably didn't. Being a boy meant Zi'on doesn't really understand gossip, or what is good to tell about and what isn't a lot of the time. You don't want to hear about the drudge who got his finger smashed under a cart but you want to hear that so-and-so broke up with what's-her-face? He peers at Kaliena as she doubts his ability to haggle holders down to FEAR. "Not just about the haggling. I'm big and intense and scary. Or haven't you noticed? Your eyes probably aren't that good anymore from all that scowling you do all the time. To scare you all I have to do is mention the hatching." He laughs a bit. "Well, at least try not to be mauled at all. Better to let a dragon by than end up beneath it down on the hot sand." He shrugs to her then. "You were mostly ready when you were searched. There's not much to be scared of." Besides the mauling and impression in general, of course.

No, Kaliena is not that type of gossip. She could care less about the relationship stuff most of the girls twitter over. She wants to know of the drudge who got hurt, or of the darker things a Weyr can have. Conflicts and the like, most of which the girl probably just makes up in her head, being the suspicious creature she is. When Zi'on peers at her, she simply lifts her chin up defiantly and peers right back. "Liar. You're anything but intense and scary. And I can see just /fine/." She growls, taunting him some more and right on cue, she scowls at him. "I'm not afraid!" Now she's the liar, but she's not about to admit it or even show it too much. Really, the only time the Weyrleader actually scared her was when he threatened to take her knot. "We've been warned on that." Kaliena scoffs, but she eyes him in a long, lingering side-glance all the same. A pause, and then of course her curiosity is piqued and she asks. "Maulings something common?"

Zi'on bets Kaleina would like to take a trip down to Western's jail to see all the riff-raff that get caught by the guards for this or that. A lot of them dock workers and other unsavory types. Or about the candidate that got his ear pinched by a spiderclaw and how it swelled up and turned all black and blue. The weyr is a horrible place! Even though it's really not, and most accidents and other horribleness is spread around fast because of its rarity. He laughs. "I am too scary. Or I can be, if I want. I'm just not towards you. But I can be if you want me to be." He grins to her. "You are so afraid. You pretty much just told me you were." But really he's just teasing. It wasn't in Zi'on's nature to be threatening unless the situation warranted it. Then he has to wear the weyrleader mask, which apparently he does well if he actually managed to scare her a little. He shrugs a bit, then nods. "Fairly common, yeah. Bad ones not so much, though."

Rarity has its alluring qualities! And those sorts of tales would be exactly up Kaliena's interests. Leave the relationship gossip to others! Still not quite believing Zi'on, the girl does relent on her persistent teasing with a sharp snort. "Yeah, right. Typical excuse." She scoffs, finishing the last of the food on her plate and then shoving it aside. It leaves her free to lean back against her chair now, arms folded across her chest. "When did I say that?" Kaliena snaps, frowning heavily at the Weyrleader even though he's teasing her. Her defensiveness of course seals the truth. She /is/ afraid. Who wouldn't be? "So no one has ever actually died from a mauling?" she asks, not caring how morbid that may be for a candidate to ask.

Zi'on chuckles. "What? I need to make excuses for you to hate me? I'm pleased with our -nice- -loving- relationship right now." Though the emphasis that he puts on nice and loving certainly makes it seem like he's teasing her. Which he is. Not that their relationship wasn't loving, at least it was loving most of the time. Or some of the time. The time it counts. "You didn't say it. You just insinuated. Now you're asking me about maulings. Because you're afraid you might get mauled. stand behind someone bigger than you. Like that Xander guy, or something. Someone with some mass." He scratches his head. "I'm sure people have before, but no one recently. You won't die. You probably won't even be mauled. It's generally the stupid people who don't move or don't pay attention that get mauled. You're not really either of them, so you'll be fine."

Kaliena shoots Zi'on a puzzled look for his teasing, as it goes up and right over her head. "Never /said/ that either. Don't need to make excuses for nothin'," she remarks with a hint of sarcasm, regarding the bronzerider through narrowed eyes again. Didn't he know that her gruffness and roughness IS the way she shows love? "That's awful advice," The girl points out with a huff of amused laughter. "Using a poor fellow candidate as a shield seems pretty low." Which means she's probably going to do it. At his reassurances, Kaliena only nods and perhaps that's all she needed to hear. But she's still feigning that she wasn't scared. Stubborn until the very end! "So just duck or dive out of the way and all is good? Feh. Easy enough." Yeah right.

Zi'on peers at Kali when she doesn't seem to understand his teasing. He doesn't facepalm, but the urge is there. Ah well. By now Zi'on takes anything that Kaliena does towards him that's not yelling or slapping as love. It's the only way he can sleep at night. "Admit it, you're afraid of the baby dragons." He laughs. "Well, it happens. You start as a semi-circle and at the end you're a big bunch, hoping that a dragon picks you so that you can get off the hot sands and not have to worry anymore, instead of wanting a lifemate. And at the end if you're left there in a field of sand and broken shell you wonder why you wasted your time. And if you should even bother again. But when you do impress… it's all worth it." Zi'on grins to her then. "We should sneak off someplace for a little bit." Now that he's eaten three pastries, he's looking more awake and… alive?

It won't be the first or the last time Kaliena may make Zi'on facepalm or come near to it. She snorts and sits up a little straighter in her chair, chin up too. "Am not! I bet I won't be cowering behind no other candidates, no matter what happens." Yeah right. But he won't get her to admit her worries so easily! Look at all the prying and nudging he had to do just to get her to say a few words in the past. She listens intently at least when the bronzerider does seem to impart some good advice or at least a curious forewarning of what's to come. Kaliena shakes her head and mumbles, "I'll take your word for it then. I'm not scared of what's going to happen… but the waiting is grating on my nerves. I'm ready to be /done/ with this already." At his grin, the candidate only smirks and a brow quirks up. "To do what?" she asks, in a mockingly innocent tone.

She still hasn't said those few words Zi'on longs to hear. And don't think he's forgotten! Even if she's admitted to feeling that way, Zi'on still wants to hear the words. From Kaliena, with her saying them, unprovoked by his begging or pleading or ultimatums. "Sure you won't. Just try to stay in one piece, okay? I'll have enough to worry about with the new dragons than to be worried about you in the infirmary with a big dragon gash. Not to mention all the pain and suffering you'll have to go through and I'll have to endure." He chuckles a bit. Then he peers at her. "You know what. Come on, let's go to the stores." He'll insist. Even drag her along if he has to.

Didn't she? In a sort've subtle and not quite outright but cryptic way? That counts, doesn't it? Kaliena can be so stubborn sometimes it's a wonder Zi'on is bothering to go to the lengths he is. Patience is a virtue? "Promise I won't go do anything stupid. I don't want to be mauled… it's not on my list of things to do before I die." She remarks dryly and sarcastically, rolling her eyes a little. "The stores? Really?" The girl wrinkles her nose and looks ready to dig her heels in and refuse to budge until the Weyrleader comes up with a better option. But he'll win in the end with his insisting and while she'll make him drag her part of the way, it's really only Kaliena playing one of her games. In the end she goes willingly, despite anyone who may catch her sneaking off with Zi'on. Not like it's new news! So he'll have some company, at least until she has to leave for her Craft duties.

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