Dolphins, Dragons and Muffin Munching

Western Weyr - Center of the Bowl
This is the center of the huge oval crater of the Weyr. Standing here you can see how immense it is. The cliff sides rise up all around you, dotted with the caves of the dragon rider's weyrs. To the west you can see the arch open to the sea. North is the hatching grounds, south you see the cave entrance to the living caverns, and to the south east the entrance to the infirmary, raised a little from the weyr wall.

It's approaching evening on a warm, sunny day, and many of the weyrfolk are finishing with their daily tasks. This includes Naeda, who is trudging in from the direction of the lagoon, still clad in her damp Dolphincraft-issued wetsuit. Should be easy enough to guess how she's been spending her day. She looks a little worn out and distracted after all the swimming.

Approaching evening on a warm, sunny day. You'd think that everyone would be taking advantage of the wonderful weather, and as a matter of fact she suspects that most people are. Not her though. She can't afford to have a day to relax and enjoy the weather. Naris, assistant headwoman extraordinaire, seems to be perpetually busy and today is no exception. The biggest difference is that today she doesn't seem /happy/ to be busy. Normally Naris is all too glad to bound around and work. But today? Today anger is clear on her face as she storms into the Weyrbowl, appearing to be looking for someone.

Unfortunately, Naeda's tired and distracted state has her wandering semi-aimlessly until she's almost quite literally wandered into the harried assistant headwoman. She blinks and hops back out of the way, a little alarmed by the expression on Naris' face.

A tisket, a tasket, Enka has a basket. And what pray tell, could be inside that basket, as the woman exists the living caverns. She's not carrying it as if it were filled with something precious and fragile, like firelizard eggs but not is she dangling it carelessly from one hand as if the contents didn't matter at all. And there's that /positively/ delightful smell wafting up from beneath the cloth covering it. The goldrider's alone, moving casually along, certainly not in a hurry or anything. It's a nice late afternoon, after all. Spotting the dolphincrafter, Enka lifts the fingers of her free hand to wiggle them towards Naeda in greeting, and then spots Naris, looking like she's in a pother. "Shells," she remarks, coming to a stop by both younger women. "Somethin' botherin' you?"

Some people just aren't very good with people, and it just so happens that Naris is one of those people. She gets things done, she isn't bad at her job, but boy does she struggle in social situations. An odd mixture of shock and alarm appears on Naris' face as Naeda nearly walks into her, causing her to stumble several steps back. "Shards," she exclaims, "plenty of room in the Weyrbowl, I don't see any need to walk right into me!" Yeah, it was probably an accident, but at the moment she's a bit frazzled to be thinking about that. Then there's an Enka with a basket. Why does Enka have a basket? Naris doesn't know, but hopefully it's not anything bad, and judging by the smell it probably isn't anything bad. At her words she winces before saying, "not something, some/one/. A goldrider someone that has declared herself Senior Weyrwoman even though that is /not/ how things work and happily tossing the fragile balance of the Weyr into complete chaos!" It is clear from her tone that she is trying to keep herself together but starting to fray. This shows in her appearance as well, her normally clean pressed pants and shirts slightly wrinkled along with her hair, normally pulled together and nice, sticking out in an odd direction here and there. It's even /down/ instead of pulled back! The horror!

This is going extremely poorly for Naeda. First she has some unfamiliar woman shouting at her. She does her best to apologize speedily. "I… I'm sorry! I wasn't looking where I was going! I didn't mean…" And then there's a goldrider. Oh no. Naeda's had terrifying encounters with goldriders recently. Maybe not /this/ particular goldrider, but it doesn't hurt to be cautious. She hurriedly salutes and stands straighter. "Ma'am!"

Enka's brows quirk upwards at the rather loud noises coming from the assistant headwoman,particularly those lavished upon Naeda, and then as the diatribe continues upon the one person that rants are likely willingly heaped upon at the moment. "Here," she reaches into the basket, tossing a position of the contents towards Naeda. "Lookin' a bit peaky, like maybe you spent a little too long in the water, one of these ought to help perk you up. Fresh baked." Mmm, muffins. That's what's in the basket, yummy treats! "You needin' one too?" the goldrider asks of Naris. "Might help you calm down a little. I went into the kitchens a while ago to hide out. Was gettin' a headache since I was dealin' with that particular /someone/ you're speakin' of. She aint done somethin' else, has she? Like tried to move into my weyr?"

The assistant headwoman lets out a small sigh at Naeda's apology. She holds up her hand before replying, "no, it's fine. Just… try and watch where you're going, please." Oh wow, Naris actually giving someone an out instead of continuing to chew on and berate them? That's not the most common thing with her, but then again it has been happening a little more often lately. It still doesn't make her less high strung though. She proceeds to give Enka a brief look of surprise at her warmth to a girl that she assumes to be a stranger. But then again she doesn't know Enka's life. Still, that kind of behavior isn't something that she can very easily wrap her head around. At her offer for her to have a muffin as well Naris hesitates before answering, "that would be nice, thank you." After a quick pause she continues, "and no, nothing as big as the massive Weyr-charged radio-order as far as I know. Although, you might be interested to know that I heard from one of the drudges that she was seen sitting in your chair in the dining hall and giving some innocent bystander trouble." Her lips purse tightly in annoyance at this. How a gold could have chosen someone like her she had no idea.

Muffins! Those will rescue Naeda from this horrible situation. Well, maybe not. But they still look delicious. She snatches a muffin while giving the goldrider a grateful smile. "Thank you!" There's another uncertain, worried glance sideways to the headwoman. "I… I'll be more careful." She assures quickly before taking a bite. Yummy muffin!

Yes, muffins to the rescue! The cure for all of life's problems. Well, sort of. Because as everyone knows, the real cure for all sorrows never made it to Pern — that being chocolate — so muffins will have to do. "You can even have another one," she suggests, "there's plenty, and I can't possibly eat them all. How's …" the goldrider frowns, thinking a bit, and then continuing on, "Ninne. That dolphin you were tellin' me about down at the lagoon a few days back." There's a chuckle for Naris, and her outrage at Liora's antics,well deserved as they are. "Well, I blistered her ears back for that one, surprised they didn't hear us yellin' clear back to Sykan Hold, but maybe with all of Miraneith's bellowin' at Orraeloth they might not have. Orders never went out. Or were cancelled in time. And as long as she aint tryin' to kick me out of my weyr, not that she could, mind, it can't get much worse. If she does clutch, Orraeloth will be sands bound soon, and I can keep Liora in line." Not that they've had much luck so far.

Pfft, you silly people and your strange ideas for the answer to life's problems. Everyone knows that the real answer is tropical fruit! What, no? It's only Naris that thinks that is the answer? Well okay then, go on with your pastries being the answer. She won't argue /this/ time, everyone is allowed to have their own opinions when it comes to food. A bit of a smirk crosses Naris' face when Enka mentions that she chewed her out for that. "Well that's wonderful to hear," she replies. "You know, if a healthy clutch is produced this time maybe you'll be able to send her off to another Weyr. I mean, she certainly isn't very fertile, her first clutch only made a tiny green and blue after all, but I imagine /some/ Weyr would be willing to take another gold. How are Igen and High Reaches doing on that front? Telgar? Faranth knows Fort and Xanadu have enough golds, I doubt they'd be willing to take her." She pauses then, biting her lower lip as something occurs to her. "Although," she mutters in a slightly nervous voice, "it's been a while since Western last had a gold and with Miraneith and Shadhavarth being the only reliable clutchers we do need golds, although I don't really think Liora is worth the trouble personally. No, my worry is that somehow Orraeloth might make a gold, I can only imagine how much worse she'll get then. Not to mention harder to transfer, assuming you'd be up for transferring her either way. Questions would rise up as to why Western would want to be rid of her if she makes another queen."

The talk of politics and other goldriders and the possibility of shipping said goldrider off makes Naeda distinctly nervous. Sure, she has an idea who they're talking about. And sure, she might agree with what the other two are saying. But this all sounds like something very possibly controversial and something that makes Naeda very nervous indeed. She'd much rather talk with Enka about the dolphin. The question on that subject makes her smile a little between bites of muffin. "Oh, she's very good. Healthy. Excited. Eating appropriately. So far, there's every sign of a smooth pregnancy. It's wonderful to see."

"She got a real dressin' down. I don't think she ever really learned her lesson from that disastrous Ierne excursion, but I made sure to tell her that gettin' her grubby little paws on the radio and makin' those orders were not good." Enka would cross her arms, but with a basket in hand, it's something she just can't do. So she settles for nibbling absently on a muffin instead. "/If/ she clutches," sure the goldrider doesn't sound very convinced about that. "Flight was better than her first one, but from what I heard,still wasn't as good as even the worst of Mir or Shadhavarth's. So I'm just havin' to sit and watch and wait and see." Which is the /worst/ part. "Asfar as transferrin' her out," Enka heaves a sigh, rolling her eyes skywards. "Faranth help me if I'm even lucky enough to do that once word of this latest mishap goes out. My da would tell me if Telgar was beggin' for queens, but I'm sure nobody else us hurtin' for them." the woman finishes off the muffin, brushing crumbs from the corner of her mouth. "If Orraeloth manages to lay a gold, odds of which I highly doubt, we have our replacement for her right there." There's a brief pause, Enka twisting away from the subject at hand to address Naeda again. "Oh, that's good news then. Better news than we've gotten lately. More dolphins for our local waters."

Naris nods, her brows furrowing as she carefully considers what the Weyrwoman says. "I'll admit," she comments, "I don't know very much about flights, you know, how to judge if they're good or bad, but I do understand that neither of hers have been good." She pauses then before musing, "it might be good if she doesn't clutch. I mean, it'll certainly stop her whole 'I'm Senior now' thing. I mean, we can't have a senior that can't produce eggs, can we? Surely even Liora understands it, what with the rumors about the other golds being infertile that she's been spreading." At this she pauses again and looks Enka in the eye for a moment as she says, "it probably doesn't mean anything but I certainly don't believe her, golds rise at different rates." It wasn't completely blunt and might be hard for other people that might hear to understand but she was attempting to imply that she did believe that Miraneth would rise again. Which meant that Enka is still very much the Senior, although she is pretty sure she has made that apparent enough with her annoyance at Liora's claims of seniority. "Anyway," she continues, "I don't really think she'll lay a gold, but then again I didn't think she'd rise, so you never know. By the way, do you know how those two from her first clutch are fairing? I was a little worried about their health when they hatched, somehow I doubt that she is very good at taking care of clutches." She then glances at Naeda, curiosity shining on her face as she asks, "you're in dolphincraft? I've never worked with them myself, but they're pretty far from the lower caverns."

Naeda just keeps her head down and eats her muffin. She knows better than to offer anything remotely resembling an actual opinion on the subject of weyr politics and the affairs of goldriders. Sadly, this is a strategy with an obvious limitation, in that it no longer works once the muffin has been completely consumed. Once that happens, all she can do is wring her hands nervously and try to smile and talk about her beloved dolphins. "Well, just one dolphin, most likely. Multiple births in dolphins are about as common as they are in humans. But still, it's definitely a good thing! And I think Ninne is going to make a wonderful mother. She's so happy to be having a calf…" She offers Naris an uneasy little smile. "Y… yeah, I am." She gestures at the dolphincraft-issue wetsuit she's wearing. "If you ever wanted to meet the pod, they're always happy to see a new face. Most of them are very social."

"It's the height," Enka explains, "and the length. Long high flights allow dragons plenty of time to build up their virility,and the higher the flight, the more time they have to…" the goldrider pauses, grins cheekily, and reaches into her basket for another muffin. Sweet tooth, here, for sure. "Anyway, Orraeloth gorged first, despite me tellin' Liora not to let her. Meat slows a gold down, blood doesn't." Enka shrugs lightly, "Mir didn't pay any attention to the rumors. Golds always rise at different times, and given that both Mir and Shadhavarth have risen about twice as often as Orraeloth has in the last few turns, well…" she'll just let that slide really. "They transferred out a while back," she answers the question concerning the first of Orraeloth's brood. "Still looked small, but healthy. Dragonhealers couldn't find anythin' wrong with them." But then talking about dolphins is a much nicer subject, after all, and the goldrider will willing take up that turn of conversation. "Well, that's what I was meanin',"she teases Naeda for a moment. "One dolphin, but there's always a chance for more from the rest of the pod, no?"

Naris nods, interest showing on her face as Enka explains how flights works and what makes for a good one. No, Naeda might not want to talk or hear about dragon whoopie, but Naris isn't exactly thinking about that at the moment. As a matter of fact she doesn't think about what makes others uncomfortable very much at all. Tact really isn't her thing. But it seems that the topic of Liora and her antics in beginning to die off, luckily for Naeda. The last thing she says on the matter for the time being is, "that's good then." A small smile crosses her lips, as awful as the mother of those two might be it's good that her children didn't suffer because of it. She then turns to Naeda, wincing slightly a the mention meeting the pod. "Social? I… ah… I'm not that good at social to be honest, I'm a much better with formality. And, well, dolphins don't exactly sound like creatures that would be very formal." Naris pauses for a moment, an air of awkwardness bubbling up from her. Pulling herself out of this she adds, "I might have to do that one day though. Also, how large are pods generally? If they can only have one, what was the word, calf? Anyway, if they can only have one at a time I can't imagine that pods are very big."

The discussion of mating flights brings a little pink color to Naeda's cheeks. More hand-wringing ensues. "… I've never actually been in the weyr during a gold flight. I mean, not since I was little. I've heard they can be…" Nervous gulp. "… Crazy." She shakes that off, then nods to Enka. "Yeah. Hopefully a few of the others will be inspired by how happy Ninne is… not that they really need all that inspiration." She looks back to Naris and smiles sheepishly. "Ah, no. I mean, by social I just meant interacting with others… but no. They're not really, uhm, formal." She tries to imagine what dolphin formality would even look like. She fails. "No, the pods are fairly small groups… though most females give birth several times over the course of their lives. Just one at a time. Same as us."

"Mmmhmm," Enka nods fervently at Naeda's words. "Crazy's the word for it. Aint like green flights that sometimes make people hot and bothered, but gold flights … it's somethin' else. Luckily, they're rare and far between, unless there's a lot of golds in a Weyr on different cycles. Can't imagine how anyone could get anythin' done in those situations." the woman chuckles, and shrugs, shifting the basket from one hand to the next, and peers curiously at Naeda. "Well, you're the epxert on dolphins, not me, so if you say that other femaledoplhins could get a good idea and see how happy your friend is about havin' a baby, maybe they'd do the same. Are they a little like green dragons, do you think? Friendly with everythin'," If you know what she means, harhar. "Do dolphins stay together their whole lives? Mothers and babies and such?"

Gold flights are indeed… something. Naris shrugs when Naeda says they can be crazy before commenting, "I've lived in the Weyr my whole life and never dealt with too much craziness because of them. But then again I'm not a rider and I tend to head to my room when they roll about, duck and cover and all that." She goes quiet for a moment then, a small frown crossing her face. No, dolphins don't sound formal at all. There's a reason that she didn't get into the dolphincraft. As the dolphincrafter talks about their birthing habits she remains quiet for the most part, although she does eventually comment, "I don't think that the mothers and children would stay together their whole lives. I mean, most creatures don't, not even a good deal of humans."

Naeda looks at Naris, trying to take in her strategy for dealing with gold flights. "Well, I mean, that makes sense, but… what if I get caught out in the water when it happens? I mean, I can't exactly…" She takes a deep breath and shakes her head. "No, no, best just not to worry about it." If she pretends it won't happen, then it won't. Right? Back to talking about dolphins. "Well, uhm, they often stay in the same communities. I mean, their living situations are quite different than ours. Its not like dolphins have houses… but there is some drifting between communities. Otherwise, there'd be inbreeding."

Enka's gaze flicks between Naris and Naeda, listening in on what the two younger girls had to say. "It's not really /that/ hard to avoid them," she admits. "Plenty of dragons don't chase, just grab a ride with a blue or greenrider heading out and you're good to go. Or just keep swimming," she grins teasingly at Naeda for a brief moment. But then the topic's turned back to dolphins and it's easy enough to keep talking about them. "That's really interestin',"she comments, "I wouldn't have known that about them. What are we talkin' about when you mention community?"

Naris can't help but raise an eyebrow when Naeda says that it's best not to worry about it. Why would she do /that/? If you ask Naris it's best to worry about whatever you need to worry about as much as soon as possible, that way you stand a better chance at having a plan when it happens. Instead of saying anything more on the matter of flight avoidance she just nods when Enka talks about catching a blue or green rider. She does, however, have more to ask about the dolphins. "Communities… are they like firelizard fairs at all? Also, have you seen any results of inbreeding between dolphins? I've seen some with herdbeasts a few times, it was… nasty." Naris gives a small shiver at this. She /really/ needs to stay away from the barns.

Naeda turns a little pink at Enka's words again. "I just… well. I'm still a senior apprentice. For at least another turn, probably more. I'm not supposed to… uh… do the things they do during gold flights." There's that pink color in her cheeks again. "I just don't want to get in trouble!" Keep the topic on dolphins. Nice, unscary dolphins. "Well, by community I mean the pod and any other pods nearby that our pod interacts with on a regular basis." She looks worriedly at Naris. "Oh, no. We keep good records, try to make sure nothing like… that happens. We have fairly extensive geneaologies of the dolphins in our pod and nearby pods."

"Well that aint fair," Enka remarks to Naeda, "that they tell you you can't do things that are … fun." did she really need to pause there, really? "But then they don't and tell you ways to avoid doing those things they don't tell you. That sort of puts you out in the cold a bit there." And it's kind of like a catch 22 about being damned if you do and damned if you don't. "So the local pod and neighbor pods make a community then? That makes a fair amount of sense." The goldrider sets the basket of muffins down, now a bit cooled, they still have a nice yummy smell to them. "I'd imagine that dolphin inbreeding wouldn't be pretty then? My only experience has been with dragons, and despite the fact we /do/ keep good records," the woman shrugs. "It's just one of those things, they really don't think about it."

She was quiet for a moment, narrowing her eyes as she gazed at Naeda. It seemed like she was in distress… should she help? Naris had the feeling that she was uncomfortable because of all the flight talk. A far-off look entered her eyes as she began to consider what about the subject was making it uncomfortable. Of course she had some trouble with the subject but that mostly came into effect when it came to /her/ dealing with flightlust, and more than just the quick remark she made. Besides, this woman isn't her, so the reason she felt awkward might very well have nothing to do with her reasons. Finally something occurs to her. She attempts to place her hand on her shoulder in a comforting gesture as she says in a voice that is meant to be comforting but comes off more as emotionless as she tries to hide her own awkwardness, "if it is diseases transmitted by coitus that you fear don't worry. The chances of you getting one are /very/ slim as long as you take some precautions and don't sleep with the unwashed." Now, there is every chance of this just making things worse. But is she aware of this? No, not really. Letting Naris try and comfort people really isn't something that you should do. Every. It's like the awkward-formal-healer voice switch has been hit as she adds, "and incest doesn't really seem to effect dragons. Mammal though, those things suffer."

"I think inbreeding is probably a bad thing for almost any animal." Naeda ponders that for a moment. "… Any I'm aware of, at least. I suppose you'd have to ask a healer or a beastcrafter or something for a definitive answer. But it's something we definitely want to avoid with dolphins. They want to avoid it, too. Incest is taboo to them, just like it is in human society. And with good reason. Even if they… well. Don't share most of our taboos." The discussions about the consequences of flightlust and such have her blushing furiously again. "Uh… uhm… I mean, I don't want to get kicked out of my craft or something! I'm close to walking the tables now. Y'know."

"Dragons are dragons." Enka comments with another shrug, "Indeedin' usually doesn't affect them that much, if it does at all. And I guess there's always the whole definition of what bad is really." After all, dragons originated from a very small population indeed. "If it's really really bad, the egg probably wouldn't even hatch." Enka nods a little at what Naeda has to say. "I wouldn't blame you for not wantin' to get kicked out. Gotta make a livin' after all. Although I was a rider before I was a baker." Yep, that's right, even the esteemably busy weyrwoman has a crafter's knot. Somewhere.

Naris frowns when Naeda turns red at her words, realizing that that /might/ not have been what she was worrying about. What she says that she just didn't want to lose her rank Naris nods before saying, "ah… right." By this point she is beginning to turn red herself. However, she is soon distracted when a blue firelizard pops out of /between/ and drops a note into her hand, which she opens at the sight of it. Although she doesn't say anything the way her face begins to change colors says more than enough. She goes from awkward and through all sorts of shades until it finally hits pure rage. "/Someone/," she growls, "has started a grease fire in the kitchen." As she says this Naris actually begins to shake with rage. "I'll see you around," she adds in a voice this is getting even lower and more dangerous as she speaks, "I have to make sure someone is cleaning latrines for the rest of their miserable, pain-filled life." With that she gives Enka a dip of her head before turning around and stalking away in a cloud of pure anger.

Naeda goes wide-eyed, a little alarmed by the news of a fire in the kitchen and the punishment that awaits the guilty party. "Oh… uhm… well… good luck!" That's the best she can come up with. More hand wringing before she looks back to Enka. "Well, dragons are special, and all of that. Dolphins are more like us than most people think." She fidgets nervously. "Uhm, I should probably get to the springs, if it's alright. Not good to go too long without bathing after that much time in the sea."

Enka didn't do it! She's been standing here the entire time talking to Naeda and Naris, and she certainly wouldn't have /left/ grease in the kitchen that could catch on fire. And besides which, baking muffins doesn't require a lot of grease, if any at all, and Pern probably hasn't invented the stuff that doesn't stick to the pan or anything else besides. "Shells," she exclaims when Naris reports the existence of said fire. "Someone is goin' to be in a world of hurtin' for sure." It might even be something she'd need to get involved with, but really, it's best to let an assistant headwoman do her job, and wait and see if a higher authority needs to step in with a smackdown hammer of some kind. "Naris." Enka nods in return, and then glances towards Naeda. "Mmmhmm, dragons are special," she'll agree. "And no doubt your dolphins are too. But if you need to get bathin', off you go then. I need to go hand the rest of these muffins out or I'll eat them all." Oh no! Round Enka, not good! Scooping up the basket, Enka touches her free hand to her forehead in a bit of a salute, and then turns to go.

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