Wanderlust, Secret Desires, and... Chickens?

Slate grey stone forms an even surface, with no stray pebbles to bruise runners' hooves. Scattered around the courtyard's edges, the occasional tree or bush brightens the deadening effect of the rock's expanse. Twin planters, with convenient handles, frame the main Hall's doors, filled with saffron and argent flowers as the season and weather permits. Placed just above the entrance, a ledge offers a perch to firelizards in need of one, large enough to hold a fair without seeming too crowded. Sturdy rings of iron are placed here and there upon the walls of the building, allowing the secure tying of runners and other creatures who might require it. Towards the northeast a path leads off to a stout building that is placed well away from the main hall and stables. There one can find the local smith who provides for the Craft.
It is a winter evening. Twilight reveals the first of a myriad of stars to Pern's sky. A cold wind blows down from the north. Any clouds in the sky have been driven away as the evening's rich blue sky darkens to almost-black velvet.
Standing quietly are Proximate Cause, Clouded Flames, Stark, and Clouded Flames's Foal.
You see Flamer Shed and Graldo here.
You notice Alochkarina, Bryann, and Hyotan asleep here.
Issri is here.
Obvious exits:
Pastures Road to High Reaches Main Hall

It's dark— it's late. Rhaenyra is hanging out on the 'front porch', so to speak; she's settled down on the ground, back against the stone walls of the Craft proper, gazing up at the stars. She's silent, a heavy fur wrapped about her— twice!— and her breath mists on the night air. Though she's quite obviously stargazing, she almost has the air of waiting for someone, her eyes flickering from the distant road to the Weyr and back up at the stars again.

Issri trudges from the direction of the pastures, cradling something in her hands. She's moving with quick steps, her eyes darting forever around the road before she reaches the courtyard. Here the girl pauses, and also looks skyward, a wistful expression crossing her face. Then she snorts and continues on, towards the Main Hall.

Rhaenyra glances up, and amusement carries in her tone, if not visible on her face in the depth of the darkness. "Issri, lass, what have you?" Rhaen calls out softly, stirring from within the warm depths of her fur.

Issri jumps, her hands lifting as a pair - clearly she's holding something. "What? Rhaenyra? That you?" She moves closer, slowly and hesitantly, trying to squint through the darkness to view her 'target'.

Rhaenyra doesn't move, too warm to bother with such a gesture. "Over here," the amused Fort journeyman calls out, softly; "Just west of the doors on the wall." Rhaen, her eyes more clearly adjusted— wonder how long she's been out here?— squint through the darkness at Issri. "What's that that you have there?"

Issri steps forward quickly, moving to the Journeyman's side. "Baby chick. Got under the coup somehow and was down there shivering. I was going to give him some warm gruel and try to nurse him back.

Rhaenyra clucks, under her breath, just a bit. "They certainly are idiots at that age," she states, and then thoughtfully follows up, "Though I'm not sure if they ever change, come to think. There's plenty of hides if you want to join me- it's no warmer inside, let me tell you. Rendell has been stingy with the firewood so far, this autumn." She nods, vaguely, towards the pile of cured, soft, hair-on hides next to her.

Issri blanches in the direction of the main hall, and then hastens to get warm beside her friend. She cuddles the little chick in her lap, where it's warmest, making sure he's got enough air to breathe. "How are you?"

Rhaenyra companionably offers Issri a (warm) corner of her blanket. It's cold out! "I'm fine, I suppose," the journeyman replies, considering the stars once more. "Sometimes I wonder…" If not strangled in it's birth, the outloud thought may have been an interesting one. She shakes her head. "And sometimes I shouldn't."

Issri blinks. "What?" is her best answer to that. She hesitates, and then scoots closer to the Journeyman.

Rhaenyra makes a noise that's suprisingly close to 'hrrrmph'. If only Pern had a scotland, so it could be properly documented… "I wonder if this is where I'm supposed to be," she finally states. "It reminds me of home, I guess, and makes me homesick." She gestures, finally, one hand emerging to encompass the new Hall. "When it starts getting colder."

Issri looks startled. "But, you belong here," the girl protests with passion. "Where else would you go?"

Rhaenyra shrugs her shoulders once more. "Mmm, I wouldn't; it's more of a debate with myself, I suppose. I know my place is here." A mirthless snort, then; "What do you think Jadall would do without someone to run after him with things to sign, anyhow?" A bit more self-depreciation than actual humor in that statement, but Rhaen seems to be in a peculiar mood tonight.

Issri giggles quietly, and uncertainly. "I…I don't know," she replies honestly. "W-where would you go? Why would you want to l-leave? are you not happy here?"

Rhaenyra flashes Issri a smile, briefly, probably lost in the darkness. "Oh, nowhere," she replies. "I just heard a Miner talking, the other day, about going up north to some new site that apparently is loaded with shiny things, and there was a girl listening, and she just… dropped everything she was doing and went with him. And at first, I laughed at it, because the girl was so naive— he probably was only looking for one thing from her, and the direction he was going was more south than north if you know what I mean— but it just made me think about it." That's a ramble, from the typically reserved Rhaenyra, for sure.

Issri doesn't get it, but she nods anyway into the darkness. "Why…why don't you travel for a bit? And then c-come home? Take a posting somewhere, maybe?"

Rhaenyra shifts against the wall; the stone has finally taken her warmth and is cozy. "Mm, I don't need that. I doubt they'd let me go, anyhow. I mean, Keroon's gone, the Ista hall has never recovered from being burnt down, they took me away from the Fort hall, and the one down in Southern is for the old masters. Every place else is a posting, and I'm too young to be a posted Herder, but too old to be attached to a posted Herder. I should be doing my journey project, now, and start thinking of my master's project, but instead…" She trails off. "I'm sorry, Issri. I don't mean to unload all this on you. It isn't very polite of me." Or politic, to think of it.

Issri shakes her head, "I w-won't tell anyone," the girl says firmly. Loyalty has become incredibly important to her, as of late. "I would be s-sad to see you go, b-but if that's what you need to d-do, I'll understand." She shifts her weight, cradling the sleeping chick. "I have a dream, too," she whispers.

Rhaenyra leans back, now seemingly less pensive after her brief catharsis. A glance over to Issri, then she continues to gaze at the stars. "Tell me?" she prompts.

Issri shakes her head, "You'll laugh," she protests, wishing she hadn't said anything.

Rhaenyra glances over to Issri, her curiosity piqued. "I promise I won't," the young woman replies, with the quiet clarity of honesty.

Issri shakes her head again. "I want…" she begins, "I want to impress a dragon." She blushes furiously, and even goes so far as to bury her face under the hides, mortified.

Rhaenyra doesn't laugh, but it takes sheer willpower to restrain her face to no expression. Luckily for Rhaen, it's dark, so if she doesn't quite manage it this time, it's okay. "That's not that difficult to believe," she replies. "I remember dreaming about impressing brown, when I was younger. I have an uncle who rode brown, up this ways, some time ago. He's down in Southern now…"

Issri shakes her head, her voice muffled. "I just, I'd never thought about it until the hatching, and then, I thought, wouldn't it be nice to have someone who would n-never leave y-you?"

Rhaenyra does chuckle, at that point, very faintly. "It would be nice," she states, and her tone is a tad wistful herself, though perhaps not for the reason that it would be expected to.

Issri shakes her head, "But I know it's…it's so rare, to even be Searched, and I know that I like it here, it's just…it's a foolish dream, but I can't stop thinking about it." She sighs. "What do I do?"

Tavaris strides confidently in from the Main Hall.

Rhaenyra huddles under a thick hide, so large that it's wrapped twice about her frame; Issri shares a similar position, both of them leant up against the western wall of the main hall, gazing at the stars above. "You allow yourself to get lost in the idea, in the fantasy," Rhaenyra replies, her voice low, almost melodic, "Give yourself those few moments of entertaining the notion… and then you have to let it go." Her voice is soft, but firm. "I know I had to. It wasn't easy at first, but then… it becomes easier."

Issri sighs, "Maybe if I could get a f-firelizard, that would help?" she asks, cradling the small chicken chick in her hands under the hides. She's speaking quietly, but so engrosed in the conversation that she's not paying attention to anyone else or anything else around her.

Rhaenyra muses. "That may just help, actually," Rhaenyra drawls, tone not as clipped as it typically is. "I never had any need for a flying stomach following me around- Faranth knows Stark eats enough as it is- but perhaps that is something we should look into." Hmmmmm.

Tavaris has wandered out for a stroll. He's really not paying much attention to anyone else, or at least he seems to not be as he's looking around at other things and then writing in his book. He can't help himself. It's a habit after all. Course at the mention of flying stomachs he chuckles "Can be handy. Gotta train them right. Worse than apprentices sometimes they are, but they can be trained." A pause "Sometimes easier than apprentices."

Issri peeks out of the hides at Tavaris, and stammers, "I-we-we're not that bad," she says, feeling the sudden need to defend her rank. "If you hear of a-any, could you tell me?" she whispers to Rhaenyra.

Rhaenyra reaches blindly under the hide and pats Issri's leg. "I will," she promises. Hazel eyes sharpen in the darkness, and she strains to seek out Tavaris' form in the night air. "Ah, Tavaris," she states, relaxing, recognizing the ex-Istan Steward. "We need all the apprentices we can get, hereabouts… But if you say that firelizards can substitute, maybe we're missing our calling," she drawls to the man.

Tavaris shakes his head a little "Most apprentices ain't bad, just a little hard to train at times. You see, they've got ideas on their head. Firelizards now, they ain't got much in the way o' brains, so not much else to get in the way. Easier to train. Apprentices, now some may act like fluff, sometimes thems the ones to watch. Usually a mind in there, not always but you polish them up some. You'll find it. Most grow outta things. You take that Palia for instance, speaks her mind pretty good now, but used to be a time when she'd not answer unless you pressed her for one."

Issri blinks, and then laughs despite herself. It sounds odd, not having come out of the girl's mouth for months. "Palia? Quiet? You're having me on!" she says, a glimpse of her former sparkle in her tone.

Rhaenyra doesn't muffle her snort. It sound surprisingly similar to the sound her runner makes when an apprentice tries to give him half-rations: dubious at best, and not too amused. "Ah, Palia," she states, as if that sums everything up in a nutshell.
Considering Palia's a nut, it works out.

Tavaris chuckles and nods "Yes, she was quite the quiet one. But, well she ain't one now. Some say it's her dragon, but that's not really true, she was coming outta her shell on that trip south as well. She became quite the hellion. Miss her round her. Sure she comes and all, aint' quite the same though."

Issri nods, "She…she's very b-blunt," the apprentice stammers slightly. "Don't know what to think of her h-half the time. I think she means well, just…says h-hurtful things. Without meaning to, I think." She lifts the chick to study him, and smiles at his quiet peep. "I think he's going to be okay," she tells Rhaenyra.

Rhaenyra nods along, shifting back into quiet mode. She's still listening, just a bit absorbed into stargazing at the moment. "Oh, I'm sure he'll be fine," the lass absentmindedly states to Issri.

Tavaris chuckles "Tactless, she's not too good on that." A look on the chick "Cute little thing. Pet?" he asks after a moment.

Issri blinks, and shakes her head at the chick. "No, he fell out of the nest and was cold under the roost, so I brought him here to warm him. I'll put him back in a bit." But she looks at the chicken with affection and a certain longing that's lost to the night.

Rhaenyra yaaawns a bit. "Mmm, don't let him out of your sight just yet, Issri. You don't know if he'll make it through the night yet. Might as well keep him 'till the morning, and go from there," Rhaen placidly states.

Issri smiles, "You think?" she asks brightly. "I'll do that. I can set up a nice warm box for him beside my cot, and he can nestle in there. I'll get him some warm gruel too, to eat, from the kitchens, and watch over him until morning. Poor thing, falling like that, and lost. Must have been t-terrifying."

Rhaenyra smiles to herself, the expression lost in the dark. "Oh, yes. Must have been terrifying," Rhaenyra replies. "It'll all work out. Be very… theraputic for the poor dear," she muses aloud. Perhaps she's not talking about the chick, but a person can never know.

Issri smiles, gently rubbing his little fluffy body, earning a soft 'chirp' in reply. "So, er, how are your animals?" She can't admit that she's forgotten Rhaenyra's specialty at the moment. Blame it on the late hour.

Rhaenyra smiles again. "Oh, Jadall's doing just fine," she states, tone very, very dry. "But my Stark is fine as well, though he seems more self-sufficient." Stark, the beautiful but somewhat ill-equipped for the cold Southern Marshbred. That would be a runner. ;P

Tavaris listens to the conversation and is actually writing things down in his notebook again. Glancing a little here and there at Issri and looking thoughful then he suddenly puts it down as he lets out a laugh "That Jadall. Who woulda thought he'd take on the position. Thought he was smarter than that." he notes with a grin.

Issri frowns, "I like Jadall," she says with an apprentice's blind loyalty to her Craft Master. "What's wrong with him? Why wouldn't he want to be Craft Master?" She turns to Rhaenyra, "Don't you think he's doing a good job?"

Rhaenyra coughs, delicately. Really, that's a belly laugh, smothered by force of will into something… less. "He is… Jadall. I do not know what more to say of him other than that," she states, truthfully. As his assistant, she can't say much else, hmm? "Now, Dalaynia, on the other hand…" She shakes her head. "What is -with- that basket that she's been lugging around recently?"

Tavaris shakes his head at Issri "Ain't sayin there's anythign wrong with him…yet." he notes and then he looks around and leans closer, dropping his voice "But look our previous ones." he then makes a little motion with his finger by his head. Loopy. He nods to Rhaen "Case in point. She's lost it." a pause "Course, she's always been a little odd."

Issri blushes, though it's not seen. Rhaenyra might feel the sudden heat. "When she went riding naked at the bonfire…I just…I ran. I don't want to get Master if it means I have to ride around nude."

Rhaenyra chortles. Yes, that is a chortle. No other word for it. "I only heard the rumors, but— Dala and Kirai, wasn't it, stripped down naked and went -riding-?" Her head shakes. "Can you imagine the -chafing-?" She reflects.

Tavaris chuckles "Ain't the first time Dala's done it. She's done it as a Journeyman as well." he shakes his head "Course, I think being Craftmaster pushed her completely over the edge, look at Kirai. Course, she wasn't in the spot as long. And now, look at Jadall, thinking he's a Smith."

Issri shakes her head and asks in a whisper, "Do all Craft Masters go…crazy?" The last is barely a breath on the wind - she doesn't want to get in trouble!

Rhaenyra twitches. "Tavaris, darling, please see to it that I never make Master," she drolly states. "I'd rather not go any crazier than I absolutely have to."

Tavaris hmms and ponders that question "Maybe, maybe not. Myra wasn't too bad, but then she thought of her canines as her children." he notes and then chuckles at Rhaen. "Well, never know. Might make one. You're a good assistent and all."

Issri smiles at Raenyra, "I think you'd make a good master. You already do the work of one." She cradles the chick against her body for warmth, and now that her eyes are finally adjusted she studies Tavaris closer.

Rhaenyra quotes, "Those who cannot do, assist," before Tavaris has finished that thought. She shoots Issri a dark look. "Shh, don't say that so loud." She glances about. "Nobody heard that, right?" Yeah, she's leery of that, at the moment. "You basically just said that I might as well start getting ready for my descent into insanity."

Tavaris laughs "Well, you are a Herder, seems par for the course." A thoughful look "Could be the gases from the manure." he states thoughfully. "Me, I won't go that route, so I'm safe."

Issri shakes her head quickly, "No, I don't think you would go insane. That's why you'd make a good master. You'd…not ride around naked." She shakes her head, "I like my avians. Not terribly fond of runners, but I can appreciate them for what they do. Just…lots of people think that's all we do, and it's not. It's irritating."

Rhaenyra chuckles, quietly, and leans back. "True, true," she states, ambivalently, about the conversation thus far.

Tavaris glances over at Rhean "That's a shame." he notes and then chuckles "Avians are nice, but I'm afraid I tend to like them more on my plate. My Damista, she bred runners. Very possesive over them as well. Not too happy if there was an accidently breeding and the like."

Issri holds the chick close to her, as if Tavaris would snatch the poor bird away and bbq him right there in the courtyard. "You mean, like a stallion getting loose with the mares when he wasn't supposed to?"

Rhaenyra leans back a moment, eyes closed, just listening.

Tavaris chuckles "I don't eat little ones. I'm not into things like that, or even unhatched eggs that have been cooked up as well. I prefer them older her notes. But yeah, sometimes they jump the fences. Other times someone leaves a gate open. Usually a new apprentice does that, but some of the older ones have been known to do it." A pause "Dalaynia's own daughter has left it open many a time. Though I'm inclined to think it was on purpose than accidental.'

Issri hmms. "Why would she do it on purpose? Didn't she agree with Dalaynia's breeding program?"

Tavaris shakes his head "More like she didn't agree with her mother." he notes and glances up towards the hall a bit "She's a willful one, course I'm not sure she liked the teasing she got of having been born in a pasture. Was resentful of the time Dalaynia spent with her runners, her babies." he shakes his head.

Issri ohs, nodding a little bit. "I can…I can see that," she murmurs. "I don't…I mean, it's good to be passionate, but I think…I think family should be most important. More important than animals, even."

Tavaris nods a little "Some of them get a little off. Even Damista saw her foster daughter Flarra as a runner, but then there's Damria, she's practically a runner herself." a pause "Though it's not limited to runner people. One Herder, Lesana by name was pretty protective over her felines and considered her daughter Andesine like a little kitten." a grins at Issri "Perhaps you'll start looking at your family as little chicks. Course not everyone does."

Issri shakes her head, "No, no. If…if I have a family, I'm going to put Herding aside so I can be with them. I can't see any other way to do it right."

Tavaris gives a nod, "Good to hear, we need some parents that won't pass on the crazyness. Not that I'm advocating a breeding program or anything." he notes "That and well, it ain't fittin' for apprentices to get pregnant. It's happened but well, it's frowned upon and there can be dire consequences."

Issri blushes. "I…you…don't have to worry about me, sir. I'm not…not like that…haven't even ever…" she blushes again and can't speak for a moment. "No, sir," she finally settles on.

Tavaris gives a nod and doesn't press the point." A look at the chick "So, have ya learned how to sex them?" he asks after a moment. "Truly a messy job. Certainly not for me."

Issri giggles, "Yes, sir, I know how. This one's a boy."

Tavaris gives a nod "I tried to once, made quite the mess on my pants." he wrinkles his nose a little at that. "Happens though." he shrugs a little. "So, what's to become of him when he's older?"

Issri shrugs, "I don't know, it depends on how strong he is, I suppose. He could take over his own roost, or…end up your dinner." She pushes him deeper under the furs, as though to protect him from that undesirable outcome.

Tavaris chuckles "You can train chickens you know." he notes "Course, him being a male and all. I'd reccomend turning him into a capon. And not just for eatin' You hand raise him and all. He'll learn to be friendly and can even follow you around. I've seen it. But roosters can get aggressive."

Issri looks over, surprised. "I didn't know you could train them. I thought you could, but I didn't know you could." "Er…what's a capon, sir? I haven't heard that in my lessons."

Tavaris blinks "Well a capons a castrated rooster. Course, gotta have a beasthealer do it, or someones who's been trained. Since they don't have external well, you know." he states changing his wording after remembering her earlier reaction. "So, they've gotta remove it surgically."

Issri ohs, looking at the chick thoughtfully. "You really think I could train him?" she asks, hopeful. "What do I need to do?"

Tavaris hmms a little "Well, with more any animal, positive reinforcment and food rewards are generally the way to go. You can even train an adult to eat out of your hand, allow itself to be petted and even come to you if they think you have a treat. But with a chick, you can hand raise them and they'll bond to you. Even better if you get them upon hatching. Chicks, they'll imprint on the first thing they see generally. Course any baby animal will do that. Many of the runner specialists that breed will use imprint training on a foal to get them used from the get go of people."

Issri ohs again, "I didn't know that. I think he hatched a few days ago, do you still think I could train him?" she asks hopefully. "I think that would be very fun. And challenging. And a learning experience. Sir." Can't have him thinking that all she wants is fun.

Tavaris chuckles "Ain't nothin wrong with fun. Ain't nothin at all." he notes and nods "I think you can do. It's not an easy thing. You gotta be his mama and all."

Issri nods, "I can do that," she murmurs. "I can do that easy. But…won't his…his real mama miss him?"
Tavaris chuckles "She might, for a bit, but then she'll forget about him. It's the way of nature. Else they'd be pining after what they've lost. Course chickens aren't the brightest of the bunch, you can trick them into thinking they've their own eggs, when in fact you've taken 'em all. Good for keeping some broody as well."

Issri nods, "Right, okay. I'll try that, sir. Thank you for the idea. I've…gotten fond of him." She smiles, lifting the chick to look at him before he goes back where it's warm.

Tavaris chuckles "I ain't met a herder yet that doesn't become fond of something. Ain't always critters though. Look at our Jadall, him and his runner shoes." he shakes his head a bit at that.

Issri shrugs, "I guess everyone needs something to…l-love."

Tavaris thinks about that a moment and then nods "Guess they do." he remarks thoughtfully "And there ain't nothin' wrong with lovin' a chicken."

Issri giggles softly and nods, "Yes, sir, thank you sir. I'd better go get him bedded down for the night." With some of that old energy she detangles herself from the hides. "Thank you, sir!"

Tavaris gives a nod "You're welcome dear, you outta bed yourself down as well, be gettin late and I know how you kids need your sleep." Him, only a few hours anymore and he's good.

Issri nods, "Yes, sir!" and she moves off with quick, sure steps into the Main Hall.

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