Malachai is Searched (2010 Summer Candidacy)

MOO Time: 2010-06-21 07:35:14
And on Pern …
The time is 05:35.
It is sunrise of the forty-eighth day of winter.
It is the seventeenth Turn of the Tenth Interval.
It is a winter before dawn.

Living Cavern
The smooth, rounded walls cavern sweep upward from an oval base, two dragonlengths long and one wide, large enough to seat every member of the Weyr at mealtimes. The soft blackness of the lava which forms these caverns swallows glowlight, so shelves for glowbaskets abound, dotting the walls every three or four paces and casting gentle greenish light toward the sparkles of gold volcanic glass embedded in the ceiling. Ancient, lustrous tables run along the axis of the cavern, and at the far end rests the raised dais and high table, where Weyrleaders and honored guests eat during formal occasions. Behind the high table, the Weyr's symbol is embedded into stone: a smoking mountain in black on an orange shield, trimmed in gold.

Malachai
Small, scrawny, absurdly diminutive: at a bare five feet three, there is a childlike disregard for self-preservation, what with thin limbs that splay, unconcernedly, where they will, long out of proportion to the little-child torso or the sharp, almost-adult face whose rime-gray gaze is quick and sharply assessing beneath thick eyebrows. A gaunt face, this; sunken cheeks are dusted with rose in an otherwise colorless complexion, while cherub's rosebud mouth turns, ever-so-slightly upward, as though withholding some deadly, sweet secret under a pert little nose. Of a blond so pale it shows creamy white in streaks, thick hair falls to slim hips in a tangled, unmanaged mass.
Green and cream stripes alternate the length of this knitted dress, smoothed down over frail frame like an ill-fitting second skin; lacy hem flutters about knobbly knees turned slightly towards each other beneath the slight curve of wiry muscle; long sleeves drape cuffs over thin hands, flapping lazily against the knuckles as if reproving their owner's trenchant unconcern. Knee high, black boots have seen better days; roughened, worn, their surface is a bit scratchy over toe and heel. Laced to the top, the strings dangle, untied and ignored, hanging limply to either side. The soles are thick and a bit dirty. Malachai wears Malachai's Listening Tube around her neck. A green firelizard is perched on her shoulder.
She is a teenager of about 13. She is awake, but seems rather distracted.

D'baji
Molten reds are still readily present in his mane of hair, especially around his temples, but now more than half the bronzerider's head has turned silvery-grey. His hair has grown shaggy again, frequently swept back to avoid leafy-green eyes, while covering his ears and curling about the base of a thick neck. There, behind his right ear, a strip of leather deocrated with charms has been braided in, the tip of it just brushing his shoulder. Bushy red eyebrows sit a few centimetres below his hairline. A thin, light scar runs through his left brow and down to his cheekbone. Closer inspection reveals a misshapen left pupil as well. Freckles make their unwanted way over the bridge of his angular nose. A quirked mouth, the lines at its sides hinting at the man's age, gives way to a strong, clefted chin. He is burly and broad-shouldered, with the defined musculature common to dragonriders adding to the strength of his 6'2 frame. Tufts of silvery-grey chest hair often show above the collars of his shirts.
A pair of worn sandals, a pair of faded swim trunks… Deb's been an Istan for a long time. But even the casual attire can't hide that brand spankin' new patch of hairlessness in a vertical line just by his left shoulderblade. How embarrassing.
A double-corded, triple-looped affair of black and orange and silver, with two fancy tassles and a badge showing a dragonf lying over a mountain show him to be the Istan Weyrleader, flying with Maverick Wing. Most importantly, a golden-bronze thread signifies Nverath.
He is an older adult of about 59. He is awake and looks alert.
D'baji has no apparent threadscoring.

Lanti
As the Turns have passed, time has chiseled away most of the softness from Lanti's body, leaving behind angles lean and stark, though not altogether harsh. She is a shade taller than average, but her skinny frame serves to make her look just a bit taller than she really is. Lanti sports the same red-gold hair of her mother, its waves just brushing her shoulders. From her father she has inherited eyes of a clear sky blue with darker flecks of navy, and her pale lips form a generous mouth. The rigors and demands of her profession have given Lanti a muted but harder edge, only strengthened by her intensity.
The scanty, skin-tight garment can only be good for one thing: a serious, tropical swim. Or perhaps driving others crazy. Lanti does little to improve her appearance, but in an outfit like this, it's fairly obvious she doesn't really need to primp. The two-piece swimsuit is in the traditional colors of Ista Weyr, with black fabric and vibrant orange trim. It is sturdy enough to offer support where needed but still allows ample contact with sun or water.
She is an adult of about 36. She is awake and looks alert.

Running the Weyr takes lots of energy, and what's the best source? Klah and porridge. The weyrleader has a rather large bowl of the stuff (porridge, that is), and a rather large mug of klah, and is walking - very, very carefully - to his table, hoping not to spill either, and so walking with a smoother roll of his hips than normal. It's almost pretty, really. If a big, burly mass of wrinkly, silver-haired D'baji can be called pretty.

Lanti is also getting ready for the day, but going by her attire, the first stop will be the beach. A light blue sarong doesn't do much to cover the swim outfit beneath. Her choice of toast is far less precarious that D'baji's porridge, and she spends some time sipping from her mug of klah before heading over to join the weyrleader. "Good morning," she offers simply as she slides down to a seat.

Malachai wouldn't know; she's not watching. She's busy feeding her lizard tidbits from what looks like a wasteland of meaty bits: a bit of wherry here, a gibblet of bovine there. Idle chatter spills, unregulated, from her lips. "… and then the eggs came tumbling out. Big ones. And all kinds of wierd colors. Can you believe it, Hem?" Said lizard merely snatches at the meat, hastily filling her belly. At the sound of voices, she looks up and wriggles a little. Weyrleader types. Oh, hai. Please to not notice the blond mumbling to a lizard who doesn't understand over in the corner. "Hi." Unless she does that.

A belated nod goes to Malachai, a look which causes a slight sloshing of klah onto a callused hand. Then the quiet curse. But he makes it to the table, sits himself down, stares over at the young girl for a bit, and then is finally distracted by Lanti. "Take it you're not goin' t'meet a holder first thing."

"Well, first official thing, sure," Lanti answers, breaking off a corner of toast before glancing up at D'baji. "Sun's not even up yet, though. More than enough time for breakfast and surfing." She gives him a flash of a grin and turns to Malachai, eyeing the young girl with her firelizard. "Hi," she answers simply, then pops the small bit of toast in her mouth. "How old is she?" Lanti asks the Healer with a nod toward the green.

Malachai glances down at her little green, and smiles. "She's twenty one days old." Another lump of meat is snatched. "Chew it, child, or no more." Sqwak! "Chew!" The small creature curls her lip and attempts to look threatening; she only manages to look ridiculous, with a bit of bovine hanging out of her mouth like a brown tongue. But she does chew it, growling all the while, her tail flicking in irritation. "Really, now. Are all babies this difficult?"

D'baji arches an eyebrow over toward the firelizard-feeding region of the caverns. "Not that you're countin' th'days or anythin', huh?" is half-teased over to the girl with a slow smile. A moment or two of watching the green, and then a broader grin. "Looks like m'youngest when she was a baby. Or like she still is, for that matter." This gets a quick raise of his eyebrows to the goldrider. Who knows his daughter.

"I don't know, D'baji," Lanti replies, grin more than just a little crooked now. "Some of your older children act like that sometimes, too." She breaks off another piece of toast and winks at Malachai. "One of many reasons I stuck with canines. More than enough squalling babies in the world already."

Malachai says, "Oh, no. I'm not counting at all." Malachai's head tilts slightly to one side. "Your daughter looks like a firelizard? What a perfectly horrid thing to say." Her grin widens, mischief sparkling. She knows perfectly well that isn't what he meant, but opts to tease, just a little. Hair is twirled around her finger, ignorance of the bit of meat that clings to it until Hemlock takes a swipe. "Stop that." She gives Lanti her sunniest smile. "I agree. Human babies are… obnoxious.""

D'baji just laughs at the swipe. "Acts like one, anyway. Or really, yours acts like mine. S'for th'better." Maybe he missed the tease? Maybe he's just getting too old. And he goes to take a bit of his porridge and a sip of his now-cool-enough klah. At least he doesn't have a cane. "Human babies are adorable. Y'all just pro'ly ain't ever had one of yer own t'hold. That's what sways ya, no matter who y'are."

"I suppose someone has to have them," Lanti tells Malachai, "I just don't need to be one of those someones." She finishes off the first slice of toast and washes it down with klah. She glances at D'baji again and snorts lightly. "Easy for you to say. You don't have to carry it in your belly for nine or ten months."

Malachai gives Lanti a sidewise smirk. Really? Did D'baji just go there? "Or push it out." She agrees in amusement. "You do know, Weyrwoman, that if men were forced to have babies, there wouldn't be any?" She grins wickedly."Oh, I'm not allowed to hold babies. They make me itch." They don't, but who has to know. Another sqwak is issued. "No, you little glutton. Digest what you have, first." Hemlock hisses and turns her back, folding her wings primly as she Scorns and Ignores Malachai, who rolls her eyes skyward. Faranth help her. "I can see she's going to be fun as she gets older."

"Says you. Y'ever thought maybe guys're jealous of you bein' able t'do all that? Not to say it wouldn't hurt like a 'score, but there's some real…" a pause, a glance toward the bowl, "disparity, there. That the right word?" This last question is pointed more toward Lanti. And D'baji helps himself to another big spoonful of porridge, some of which squishes out the side of his mouth. He catches it with a finger.

Lanti just raises her brows once in answer to D'baji, accompanied by a slight widening of the eyes. She's apparently no longer talking about the baby subject. Instead, she eats a bit more toast. Drinks more klah. Glances at Malachai. "How long have you been at the Weyr?"

Malachai giggles, "Really? How silly." That's her final opinion on that one, really it is. "I've been here… " She pauses, tallies, and grimaces. "Awhile? I don't know for sure. Long enough to get the bottomless pit who shall remain nameless. Thankless git." She is still being Ignored, however, and grins again before taking a sip of her own klah, which she'd entirely forgotten. "Blech. Cold."

"Here with the healers," D'baji muses. "Might've even seen you 'round the infirmary when we go t'get Saji all taped up when she gets all scraped up? Coulda been some other little girl, though. Got a few little ones runnin' around, infirmary hands or apprentices or whatever." And he squints and stares for a moment. "Ain't you too young t'be klah-sippin' anyway?" A nod to Lanti. "How old d'ya think she is?" Apparently, young enough to be spoken of as if she's not there, still.

Lanti gives D'baji a mildly confounded look and shrugs. She turns to Malachai and says, "I /have/ heard it can stunt your growth, and all sorts of stuff like that. Pregnant women aren't even supposed to drink it, or something. Though I don't see how that matters, the child comes out a screaming mess no matter what."

Malachai affects a firmly dignified pose — is D'baji sufficiently cowed? — and says in her plumiest tones, "I happen to be thirteen, sir. Quite old enough to drink klah and be apprenticed to a trade." She is proud, so proud of herself; didn't she sound Very Adult. "I can't help that I'm short, you know. I take after my mother that way. Besides children prefer someone who does not tower over them." she points out sniffily, tossing her thick mane of hair over her shoulder. "It's supposed to, but since I'm already short, it's perfectly harmless, isn't it? My mentors don't think I'm going to grow much more, anyway, though I'm healthy."

D'baji can't quite keep an amused sort of 'I'm a dad and you're such a kid' smile off his face as he watches Malachai. Perhaps not quite the reaction she was going for. "So what, you tryin' to specialise in kids, that the idea? Think you're th'kinda person they're like t'trust, think you're steady enough already t'deal with some unpredictable seven-turn-old?" A more careful glance to the firelizard. "Or obstinant babies?" Lanti just gets an aside of, "You loved Baj as a baby an' you know it."

"Only because he's Sin's, too," Lanti answers D'baji, though her smile gives it a away that yeah, she kind of adored the little red blob of baby in his day. "I mean, he'd get so /angry/. It was hilarious." She finishes off her toast, then klah, then starts to get to her feet. "I'm going to hit the waves now before I run out of time. Grab my board on the way. Do you surf?" she adds to Malachai as she pushes in her chair. "It's a great workout. As long as you know how to swim."

"Oh, I already do. And half those seven turn olds are taller than me." Mala retors with a laugh. "You try convincing those hot shot riders to take their medicine, and they turn into two turn olds! We practically have to sit on J'seen every time. Thinks he's invincible." And then, she rolls her eyes at D'baji, pointing out with wry amusement. "Of course not. But we Healers have to learn it all. I plan to specialize in being a shipboard healer, if I can. Or an herbalist. Or both. I want nothing to do with children." She squints at Lanti. "I don't know how." SHe sounds a bit mournful about it.

"So you think you're studious, then?" D'baji narrows his eyes at the girl for a moment, waiting her response. While a hand waves idly and reaches toward Lanti - missing her, what with her standing, but whatever. "Hang on a sec," gets asked of the goldrider too. Hah. So much for surfing.

"Faranth knows those sailors need all the Healers they can get," Lanti tells Malachai before getting distracted by D'baji's last toward her. She reties the sarong around her waist and nods quickly, indicating he should get on with it.

A glance back to the girl, we'll say she's become distracted by her firelizard again, and the weyrleader turns more full attention to Lanti. "How's Nylanth doing? You seen your dad recently?"

Lanti nods a few times as she rests her forearms on the back of her chair and folds her hands. "Nylanth's still grounded, but Dad's doing better. A little stir crazy, of course. Still on edge. I still can't believe Il'ad is running High Reaches right now." She can't help but grin there. It's just funny. "I'm trying to get my dad out on the waves. but he doesn't like the winter surf here, and he won't go to Southern with me if Nyls can't come, too." She shrugs. "What can you do, right? How's Ji'n? I should really check in on him."

D'baji gives a slow nod. "I'll go see 'im. Been meaning to anyway, just… y'know how it gets, tryin' to keep a Weyr runnin'. I'll talk to him." The affirmed plan of action gives way to a helpless shrug of those broad shoulders. "Ji'n is… seventeen. Heartbroke an' broodin' round our weyr a bit more, like they do. It'll pass. Gettin' better at his hidework." There's a smile that's not lacking at least a bit of pride.

After a suitable interval of convincing, Hemlock finally falls asleep. "Silly lizard." Malachai grumbles affectionately, then turns back to D'baji and Lanti. "Heartbroke? Whyfor?" She asks, full of curiosity and whatnot. Because, you know, girls like heartbroke boys. Most of the time, anyway.

Lanti nods a few times to D'baji. "I've been hoping to sit Lida down for a chat, too. Work keeps getting in the way, though." She drums her fingers against the chair, then straightens again. "Just need to schedule this stuff in sometimes, cold as it sounds. Good luck with my dad." Malachai gets a glance for her question, but Lanti just gives her a slightly crooked grin and looks to D'baji. "Was that all? Want a few good runs before I have to go meet that Holder."

With a laugh, D'baji can only offer, shaking his head, "'Cause he's a teenager. Sure you'll probably get heartbroken at least once, no matter how things go for you. It's part of growin' up, kid." Lanti gets a nod. "Thanks. Do go see 'im, eh? He won't say anythin' t'me, he's always liked you. Pair of ya could at least surf or something. I'll handle stuff here, though, go do your runs." And with the worried dad stuff out of the way, the weyrleader turns his full attention (beware!) on Malachai. "C'mere, kid."

This could be… bad. Very, very bad. Malachai is suddenly suspicious. "Uhm… why? Boys aren't worth my time." So says the worldly-wise teenager, who Knows Everything. Do tease her relentlessly when it happens, why don't you. At D'baji's summons, she peers, curious. "Uh… sure… I guess?" Curling the lizard up in her arms, she stands, and sidles D'baji-wards, giving Lanti a curious look. "Will you teach me to surf sometime? It sounds like so much fun!" She's an enthusiastic little bugger, is Malachai.

Lanti rubs her arms a little and nods to D'baji. "You know where to find me," she tells the weyrleader before giving Malachai a nod. "Every morning I'm in the Weyr and it's not storming. Come get me and I'll set you up with a board and lessons." And that's it, she's outta there for a few waves.

D'baji offers a nod without even really looking to Lanti. And the weyrleader is good and done with beating around the bush. "Think you'll be able t'deal with a tiny little dragon in a handful'o months?"

Malachai's eyebrows shoot up. "Me? Really?" Did glass just break somewhere? Possibly. "Well… I don't know. But I could try, I think, to see if I can." She bounces on her toes, not quite sure what to do with herself. "It's so much to think about." Aww, she's flustered — turns out she isn't as mature as she would like to believe. "Yes. I'll do it."

D'baji has seen this before, and has taken on that patient nodding that comes with waiting for young minds to try and find a decision. "A'right, look," started in once she's done, "y'go tell your healer superiors what's up, y'get your things, an' we'll getcha set in th'barracks. Gonna hafta refer ya to another rider t'deal with, I gotta get goin'." On his half-eaten bowl of porridge and mostly-still-full-and-now-cold mug of klah. "Y'get back here for lunch, they'll get ya'll set up, understand? Y'miss th'appointment, s'your tough luck." And a serious look is pinned on the girl.

Malachai nods, thoughtfully. "Oh, I live here a'ready. Should be easier than y'think. I'm not missing out." She's firm on that, and smiles. "My parents! Oh, I'll send them a message. They'll like it." She's dithering a bit, still, but hey. She's a girl. Girls, they do that. She smoothes the knot happily. "A chance at a dragon isn't something you pass up. Ever."

[Fade to black]

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