Crabs at Noon

Half Moon Bay Weyr - Kitchens
he kitchen cavern is a huge and perpetually bustling place, one that rarely seems to slow down - if at all. The cooks certainly seem to be busy both day and night, preparing meals or getting things ready for the next day. The cavern itself is large and with a domed ceiling that seems perfect for trapping the aromas of deliciously prepared food. New steel-bodied ovens and stoves have been designed and installed along the walls, utilizing the natural gas that's piped in from a nearby well. The vents are also new - shiny metal exteriors that house silent fans to pull any fumes and smoke from the space. The walls, too, appear to have been painted fairly recently in a warm off-white color to contrast the dark tile floor.
The interior is an open space - or would be, were it not for the rows of neatly organized counters. The counters feature a dark wood as the main body - some have wood surfaces while others are capped with black marble. Several islands have wheels on them and can be moved as necessary. Many of the counters double as storage and the fixed ones have shelves built into the ends for storing various odds and ends, like spices and herbs. Hanging from the ceiling are wood and metal racks that have been arranged, just so, to allow pots and pans to be hung out of the way - but still within easy reach. A heavy, metal door leads to the cold storage chamber, which has been outfitted with a refrigeration device of some sort. Cold foods and ice are kept there, ensuring that the Weyr's foodstuffs are always fresh.

It's evening now, and Taline has managed to escape her nannying for the day; the 'brats she was responsible for have been shuffled off to bed and she's escaped into the kitchens for a breath of … not fresh air, but perhaps fresh food. There's always someone cooking regardless of the time, and since it's nearing the dinner hour, almost everyone is. It's hard for a candidate not to be seized into chores, but Taline clearly was not marked down for kitchen duties! And she's been doing chores all day! With children, which is very much no longer her sort of thing; it brought back memories she'd rather not have remembered, and had been hoping the injury might have taken from her. Alas, not so. But she is free now. Free to … mooch chopped vegetables and smile sweetly at the cooks. Who don't seem to mind her, so long as she isn't disruptive; she was good, the other day, with the dishes.

Still a little damp around the edges, smelling of salt and sea, though perhaps not unpleasantly so, Tanit's long legs carry her in purposeful strides to the kitchen, the day's catch netted over her shoulder and still moving. The deep green sarong knotted into a halter dress and bare feet making a soft slapping sound against the stone floor. "Would anyone mind if I cooked these here?" Tanit gets asked even as the lanky teen searches for a pot.
You say, “It's a very good sign when you have that many people interested in playing in an area. Choosing between them might be murder though.”

The kitchen staff are all shrugs and 'nah's, and Taline isn't one of the kitchen staff. But she is curiously watching Tanit, and then finally voices a, "What've you got?" She, too, is a sea-child; fish and fishing are a fascination of hers. A hobby, and a fascination; something that will draw her attention regardless of setting. Or fatigue from nannying.

Tanit grins finding a large copper pot and a spot by the fire, at the question, she holds up a net containing some very unhappy crabs. The net, and crabs are dropped into the pot and a lid added on, while the young woman glances around the kitchen before reaching for the pouch at her belt and pulling out a few tools. "Crabs. Are you another of the candidates?" Tanit tips her chin at the white knot.

"Yeah." And that's all Taline has to say about that; candidacy is not important at all compared to crabs. "Could I persuade you, somehow, into sharing one? Telling me where you caught them, maybe, or just be willing to share sometimes …" She's smiling, still. "I'm not bad at the cooking aspect so long as I don't have to do the gutting, but it isn't as if one guts crabs." If they DID, that's what Sevran is for! Taline will do more linen folding for more fish.

"I am willing to share here, the nice thing about staying here is that they feed you pretty consistently, so I'm not competing with my cousins for the tastiest fishing spots." Her lips twitch upward at the corners, a spark of mischief in her eyes. "I am pretty good with the guts and icky bits," Tanit notes, opening the lid and snagging one of her captives, to flip it on it's back and plunge one of her knives through the nerve centers quick and painless. "Are you another Half Moon native then?"

Taline purses her lips for a second, trying to puzzle out the best way to answer that question. It turns into another, simple, "No," before she squarely places her attention on food. Crabs! Delightful! A taste of home, sort of. "I'm a dolphineer. Shellfish were one of our staples, and quickly became my favorite — smell, flavor, et cetera." While she pulls a face and her nose wrinkles slightly at the BRUTAL MURDER, it's not that big a deal to her clearly because she's also happy to eat the outcome.
The diver's lips quirk at the conciseness of the answer, the lift of her brows suggesting that perhaps more of a reply is expected. "Oh, you can probably get to places that I can't then, since you can rely on the dolphin for extra speed and the like." Making quick work of the other crabs, she then takes them to rinse and begins to clean them.

"Depends on what equipment you've got and how dextrous you are about where you're trying to get," Taline answers, grinning a little. "But yes, I have done some very deep dives before. Just not for very long, as you say." Depth is one thing, and running out of air another! It is all in the speed. "They like working with fishers."

"We don't use much in the way of equipment, at least not at Black Moon Bay, but then again they start training the pearl divers very young." So maybe that makes up for the difference? "I bet, I've seen them scatter a shoal of fish in the blink of an eye watching them out in the bay here." She laughs, "So you came from the dolphineer's then?

"Pearl divers." Taline is hooked, now. Her eyes are a bit brighter and wider, like that is something even better than the crab that she is getting to smell and maybe even eat. It's surpassed the vegetables she was swiping, for sure. "That sounds fascinating, and I know a lot of dolphins who would think it was the best game ever. Never tell them they're working, but they love finding things if they think they're competing with one another." Which, in a way, they are. "I was, um. There was a shipwreck, I was working, and I got hurt. So I stayed in the infirmary here until I was on my feet, and then I got Searched."

"To be honest, I've never tried it with a dolphin mind, they are kind of looked at as pests back home, but then that might be because the guys who founded our village were ahm… kicked out of the sea and dolphin crafts." A flush to her cheeks punctuates her words as she rinses out the cleaned crabs and adds wherry stock to the pot, eyeing all around like a true scavenger. "But I love the water, so even though this is the furthest from home I've ever been it isn't quite so bad." She frowns at the mention of the injury, "I'm sorry you were hurt, it sounds like an exciting job though. What made you want to stand?"

"They kind of are." Taline hesitates to chew on one of those vegetables for a moment before concluding, "Er, pests, I mean. They can definitely be pests. But not like rats, just like — they can be annoying, sometimes, and they have no problem letting you know that." It's a fond eye roll, though. "Nothing. I mean. There was nothing to make me want to but nothing to make me say no, either, so I figured I'd say yes."

"I suppose that's one way of looking at it." With the crab cleaned and seasoned, the vegetables added it's time to stick the pot over the fire, at which point Tanit washes her hands and finds a spot to perch. "But you like working with them anyway I take it?" Otherwise, why would she choose such a craft?

"Of course. But that's — they are in some ways like children, so they can be very pest-like." Taline has absolutely no qualms about saying these kinds of things; if she had human children, she'd definitely say they were annoying. She was with human children all day. They were certainly annoying. "Need any help?"

"I think all that is left is to let it cook." Tanit replies with a wide grin, laughing at the descriptions of the dolphins. She stretches, "I'm Tanit by the way." not the least bit sheepish when she realizes she hasn't done the polite thing and made introductions.

Oh. Right. Taline hadn't done that either, though she's often less inclined to. Introductions are something Candidacy is training in to her, though, along with a … series of new names: "Taline," she says, "or Thing Two, or Garden Gnome. Depending on which members of the Weyrlingmaster's staff you ask."

"Thing two?" Tanit glances over with an incline of her head as though trying to figure out why that particular moniker might have stuck. "Do you like the wearing staff well enough?"

"R'hyn," Taline certainly hopes she is naming the right perpetrator here, but it may not be the case after all, "Could not remember — or never knew — my name. That was what he called me first." Irkevalath's nickname was probably the one that stuck, and even though she's far more of a swimmer than a gardener, not being a bad gardener at all, Taline will now forever be Garden Gnome. "They are … all of the dragonriders are all right. I don't know

Tanit adds the name to her mental collection. "Wow, and I though my manners were terrible." Tanit grins wryly, shifting to the pot to lift the lid. "I think they are about done." Pulling the pot from the fire, to allow it to cool. "The people here seem friendly enough, though I mostly seem to be running into the candidates and wearing staff."

"Manners? I am not sure riders are too concerned with manners when it comes to candidates." Taline exaggerates, maybe; they've treated her fine, for the top of the pecking order to be treating the bottom, especially in a no-Thread world where the respect garnered automatically by having a dragon has somewhat lessened. In an upbringing like Taline's, dragonriders were so entirely irrelevant that the respect in question just isn't there. But she tries, the way she respects others in her craft, especially those who outrank her. If a dolphin's partner choice says something, so might a dragon's. "We are the ones most in the kitchens, I think? And you seem fine."

"I don't know much about craft or rider culture." Tanit supplies, starting to fish out the crabs onto plates with steaming veggies alongside. "So I don't have anything for comparison's sake." She laughs, "I tend to ask lots of impertinent questions."

Clearly, impertinent questions are something Taline approves of. "Well, someone has to." She wrinkles her nose up, but it's in a smile; she's relaxing around the familiar food and the safe kitchen-smells the way she often doesn't in the candidate barracks, except at those hours when she and Sevran are the only ones awake. "I didn't know about craft culture at first; you get used to it, so I assume you must get used to Weyrs as well." Read: she hasn't, yet.

Tanit studies Taline the way she might consider an oyster before checking it for pearls. "Is it that difficult so far? Being a candidate, I mean. Sev mentioned there were a lot of sacrifices involved." Not that some of what he considered sacrifices were very high on her list. "Seems like uprooting a bunch of people from different backgrounds to introduce them to a whole different way of life might be a challenge?"

"Yes." That is easy enough to agree with, though being in the Half Moon Bay area was always a challenge for Taline, who at first found tasks like 'eye opening' and 'walking' to be challenges. "Making people live together, that too. Many of us have made hard choices — though I'm not sure that I am one," she continues to walk carefully around her accent, sometimes using contractions, sometimes not. A mystery voice, mystery cadence, no origin. "Not difficult, though, exactly. Except in some of the feats of strength."

Tanit nods rubbing her arms as though recalling an afternoon's worth of heavy dragon scrubbing. "I'd have thought to be a strong swimmer; you'd have a slight edge where the physical parts are concerned." The food divided up she passes over a plate to Taline with a bright grin. "At least you know you will never want for a taste of the sea here?"

"In some areas, yes," Taline agrees; she's definitely got stronger arms than some women, and stronger legs than a lot of people, but her prowess is lacking both from injury and from the fact that some of the other candidates are burly guys. And she's another one of those who isn't too great at building fences, or anything that requires significant height. "And I've certainly been enjoying that, though who knows if I will stay once the eggs are hatched." The plate gets a delighted smile, followed by neater, daintier digging in … as much as you can do that with sucking meat out of crab legs.

"Well you've time at least to decide," Tanit notes before digging in with relish, her table manners that of a starving teenage boy. Though with slightly more decorum, and not much room for conversation at that point.

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