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It's be nearly 600 turns since the 9th Pass came and went. That pass was suppose to be the last. Records show that somehow our ancestors actually managed to knock the Red Star off course so Thread would no longer plague our planet. Pern has not had it easy though. Tempers flare between the Northern and Southern Continents and a plague killed most of our precious dragons. Now, the Red Star is becoming more prominent in the dawning sky. I can only hope it doesn't mean anything, but only the future knows.

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 Pilfering a Pinch of...Whatever

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Rostam
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PostSubject: Pilfering a Pinch of...Whatever   Wed Jul 13, 2011 12:12 am

So, the plan was to get in and get out without any of the crusty old ladies who knew just what a terrible 'rascal' he was finding out about it. This might take a little bit of delicate maneuvering here. Of course, Rostam always had his fallback plan, which was to say he could be very light on his feet when the situation called for it. Overbearing kitchen drudges wielding giant wooden spoons was just such a situation. Nor was the harper ever caught flatfooted with just one fallback plan. This was the reason, after all, that he was a journeyman and not just playing candidate until he got too old and then wondering why no craft wanted to accept him. No, Plan C consisted of offering to play at the dinner service as penance for his sins...

Not that he intended to have to use Plan C.

It was an interesting game, truly, strolling into the busy kitchens a candlemark before the dinner service with the latest gossip on his lips. He flashed his winning smile as often as possible and engaged with the drudges despite the suspicious glares coming from more than just a few. This sort of thing was almost a ritual; Rostam often came to the kitchens to filch food when he didn't feel like playing his pipes for whatever meal it happened to be. Someone almost always asked when he ate in public. Usually he was fine with it but today he was hungry. Waiting to finish a few sets first simply wasn't an option.

As he flitted around the kitchens and struck up various conversations, Rostam's pockets gradually got heavier. Loose clothing was just wonderful for hiding all these pilferables. Sticky fingers could certainly be useful in a pinch. No pun intended. He almost got away with it, too, if not for one particularly hawk-eyed woman who saw the redfruit disappear beneath his tunic. The harper was fleeing almost before she'd finished her sentence, sending up a cacophany of cries from the other kitchen drudges. Time to make his escape!

Rostam pelted down the tunnel at full speed, dodging around anyone who got in his way, before whipping around the corner and smacking full-on into whoever was coming from that direction and stumbling back with a grunt. Tch. People should be more mindful of candidates darting about...
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Aoife
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PostSubject: Re: Pilfering a Pinch of...Whatever   Wed Jul 13, 2011 5:59 pm

The day had been long, too long. It was surprising how tired a person could get simply by sitting on their bum all day reading records, but that's exactly what Aoife had done. She hadn't even had a chance to take Perlerith out for a flight like she had promised. Perlerith had understood, but it didn't make Aoife feel any better for not keeping her promise. The golds words echoed in her head, "Do not fret. It is important for you to learn all you can now. There will be much time for flying later." A smile broke over the young Weyrwoman's face thinking of her loving gold. Perlerith was right. With the sudden death of Nadine, she was left without a mentor and the position of Senior Weyrwoman had been thrust on her. So she was doing all she could to make sure she knew her position inside and out.

That meant skipping a meal or two, like lunch. Her stomach growled fearsomely as she made her way down the tunnel towards the dining area. She passed a few people who gave her the courteous nod and smile due her, but there was a look in their eyes. Aoife didn't have to be a mind reader to know exactly what they were thinking. It was almost the same as when she was a mere candidate. 'She's too young. Not commanding enough. How is she ever going to lead an entire weyr?' She never heard these things spoken out loud in her presence, but she knew it was said. Part of her was in accord with them. She was nervous as all get out to be the senior weyrwoman, rider of the only living gold at the moment. She wasn't even weyrbred, she was holderbred which just made things even more awkward.

Try as she might to keep her troubled thoughts to herself, Perlerith was uncanny at knowing her rider. "Why so troubled? Are you worrying again? You should not, you know. You are a good weyrwoman. If you wasn't, I would not have chosen you." She said with the right amount of authority and confidence.

"I can't help it, Perlerith. I just feel so...so helpless without Nadine here. She's had turns of running the weyr and I've only been here a few turns. I just wish...I don't know.." Aoife replied, trying to find some comfort in her dragon.

"I know, sweetling. Trust me you'll be fine. Now feed that belly of yours before I get upset." Perlerith said with a tone that said that her word was the final word.

Aoife could tell that her gold was settling in for the night. She was almost to the kitchens now, she could smell the food cooking which made her stomach growl louder. She was thankful no one was close to hear such a ruckus. Aoife was thinking about how wonderful food would taste when from around the corner someone smacked right into her. Being the stick that she was, Aoife fell back onto her bum hard which made her let out a small yelp of pain. "Ow..."
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PostSubject: Re: Pilfering a Pinch of...Whatever   Wed Jul 13, 2011 9:35 pm

Well, now...that sounded a bit like a female, now didn't it? Rostam regarded the girl that he'd knocked over curiously for a moment. Now where had he seen her before? She was no beauty, this one, lacking the curves he generally preferred, but she wasn't ugly or expressly plain either. No, nothing at all about her stood out. The harper was quick to recover (hopefully before she noticed him sizing her up) and crouch to offer her his hand so that he might help her stand. Far be it for Rostam to actually wait for her to accept the offer, though.

"You must accept my apology, miss. I'm not usually so clumsy, but you know, what with the blind spot and a pack of raging invalids on my heels it's a wonder I got this far without giving some poor lady a concussion." He flashed his smile, clear blue eyes warm and welcoming. "Do allay my fears and say you're all right. I should never forgive myself otherwise. Perhaps you'll take some cheese? All women like cheese, at least from my experience. It's the sharp kind. Not too smelly." Hand still extended to help her, he dug in his pocket, then his face fell. "Oh, I think you've bruised my redfruit."

Clearly this latest discovery was ever so lamentable. One might have thought he'd just discovered the death of a close family member, so downfallen was his face. He even sunk to his seat with a heartfelt sigh. The wedge of cheese was placed on his knee nearest her to free up his hand for the redfruit, which he turned over slowly before his face. "The last ripe redfruit of the season. I risked life and limb for this redfruit. You know," he added at a whisper, "It's said that the kitchen drudges will hang a thief upside down by his ankles over a boiling pot of soup if they catch him stealing one of these. Oh well. Surely it can't be completely ruined."

It was while the candidate was chewing on that first crisp bite of a good redfruit that he realized just where it was that he'd seen this woman before. Rostam blinked. Then he flashed another friendly smile at her. "I wonder...has anyone ever told you how closely you resemble the new Weyrwoman?"
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PostSubject: Re: Pilfering a Pinch of...Whatever   Thu Jul 14, 2011 11:35 am

Aoife rubbed the side of her hip that she had fallen on. It smarted a little bit, but she would live she suspected. The boy she had ran into crouched in front of her. Even if she had been paying attention to him as he looked her over, she would have been oblivious to it. "Please, it's quite alright. I should have also been watching where I was going better." She replied to him. The boy looked familiar to her, but it took a moment before she realized where she knew him from. He was a candidate had been one with her in fact, but he hadn't impressed. His name was Rostam, she thought, beyond that she really didn't know too much about him.

She smile reassuringly at him, "Yes, I'm fine. No need to worry so." The boy then offered her cheese, which she thought was rather unnecessary. "Oh well..." She started to say, but then the boy seemed to become rather depressed about the red fruit in his pocket. Aoife gave him a quizzical look, not quite believing that he could be really that upset about a silly fruit.

"It is more act than real, I'm sure." Perlerith stated sleepily from her weyr.

"Well, yes. I figured that, my love. He's quite the...exaggerated one isn't he?" Aoife replied by to Perlerith, trying not to laugh at the boys depressed expression. The gold didn't reply, just went back to dozing. "I'm sure it will be fine. Redfruit are more hardy than you think. Though, I'm sorry if it upset you that much. The cooks are harmless really, though you probably shouldn't steal from them." Aoife stated logically. She was pleasantly surprised that this boy wasn't acting oddly around her. Well, oddly in the way a lot of people treated her these days, being the new weyrwoman and all.

Then he said something that explained his easy attitude towards her. He didn't know she was the weyrwoman. Part of her didn't want to tell him she was, afraid of what he would say or do, but she couldn't hide it either. "Oh, well, I am the Weyrwoman. I'm Aoife. You're Rostam, right?"
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PostSubject: Re: Pilfering a Pinch of...Whatever   Thu Jul 14, 2011 7:34 pm

Exceedingly polite the Weyrwoman was. She didn't seem terribly shy (though he'd gotten that impression through most of their candidacy together considering she didn't talk all that much and wasn't nearly as flirtatious as most of the other girls) but she most definitely was polite. That was all right. He'd take it now while the getting was still good, because there was little doubt in his mind whatsoever that once she'd gotten into the stride of things and a good long taste of power that courtesy would go by the wayside in a hurry. Wasn't that the way of the world when it came to those in authority dealing with underlings? No need to be polite when they couldn't do anything about it if you weren't, was there?

Rostam himself was polite enough to finish his biteful of apple so she didn't have to see the carnage in his mouth when he directed another broad grin her way. "Does the almighty Weyrwoman actually remember my name? I'm impressed. I thought that Impressing a gold was a prerequisite to the instant disposal of all the names of we insignificants. You must be a special kind of goldrider indeed." If she'd thought that Rostam would act any different toward her than anyone else just because a gold dragon had chosen her, well, she was bound to be surprised. (Nor did he care if it offended her. The young man didn't know what exactly went into the Impression of dragons, but he was pretty sure it was no innate superiority to other people. Just look at some of the dragonriders he'd grown up with!)

Then, just in case Aoifie was one of those people who needed everything stated directly in order to understand, he attempted once more to foist off his cheese on her while adding, "Yes, yes. I am Rostam. Soon to be the absolute worst candidate ever when I age out, considering how long I've been standing, but I like to think that even if I'm the worst candidate I'm at least a mediocre harper." Another quick grin was directed at the slightly older woman. Then he wrinkled his nose. "And, just so you know, I don't think there's a person in this Weyr who doesn't know your name, Aoifie." She'd given it to him, so he was going to use it, even if it made all the motherly/grandmotherly drudges wince.

Now what did she have against cheese? Rostam set to waving it in front of her nose. Maybe she just hadn't noticed before. "Isn't it the responsibility of every member of this Weyr to ensure your safety? I think I'm not remiss to try to shove food down your throat as part of that responsibility. Come on. It's good, I promise. You really are too thin. I know that's all the rage now in the holder girls and whatnot but a girl can use with some padding. Take it from me." He waited (not entirely patiently) for her to take the cheese from him.
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PostSubject: Re: Pilfering a Pinch of...Whatever   Sat Jul 16, 2011 9:51 pm

Aoife could only look at him quizzically, wondering what in the name of Faranth was he talking about. ”He’s saying that you are too high above him and that he is insignificant compared to you.” Perlerith explained. Aoife thought that was just silly. Sure she was of higher rank, but that didn’t make him insignificant. “I’m not special. I just have a good memory for names. I remember you from being a candidate with you.” She hadn’t been all that social with her fellow candidates, especially not with the males. Most if not all of the other girls had been way more open and flirtatious with the boys than she had been. So she had been ignored and passed over for the prettier more friendly girls.

“Well, it’s good to meet you officially, Rostam.” Aoife said trying to not sound horribly shy and pathetic. “You’re not a bad candidate. The dragon for you just hasn’t hatched yet. I wouldn’t give up hope. There is Kimeth’s clutch after all. And if a dragon isn’t for you at least you have harpering to fall back on.” She said logically. If she hadn’t impressed Perlerith she would probably be pregnant and married at this point. She was very glad Perlerith had found her a worthy match. Impression was an amazing thing and no one could really say what exactly a dragon found attractive in the boy or girl they chose. Like why she was picked over the more confident and weyrbred girls. She wasn’t going to complain though, she loved her gold more than life itself.

Whether or not Rostam would really impress would be totally up to fate and luck. Rostam seemed like a nice enough boy. He certainly was treating her well and not with that air of thinking her not ready to be the Weyrwoman. His comment about every one knowing her name had made her blush, but she didn’t comment. Almost cautiously she took the offered cheese. “I’m sure it’s good.” She stated taking a nibble of it. The sharpness was most pleasant to her starving taste buds. Aoife looked down at her own body. “Am I really too thin? I mean, I’ve always been on the small side, but…” She said, then she realized she’d pretty much opened herself up to letting a man give her his opinion of her body. That made her turn all shades of red.
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PostSubject: Re: Pilfering a Pinch of...Whatever   Sun Jul 17, 2011 9:35 pm

He could have - though it would have been a touch cruel - pointed out that by 'special' he'd meant to say that she didn't seem to be the general type of goldrider who dismissed a person after she'd Impressed, drunk on her own power, and that by arguing with it she was saying she was such a person. Could have. Instead he kept the thought to himself for his own entertainment. After all, he also could have argued that she was in fact special, which would have been nice, but Rostam played nice. He wasn't actually nice. Keeping things for his own private amusement was preferable.

None of this kept him from laughing outright at her comment. "Don't tell me they've already brainwashed you in so short a time? Spewing weyrbred platitudes already...no one has the faintest clue why dragons choose who they do or whether it's a one man, one dragon arrangement or the dragon could go to multiple people and chooses from them. They've never been able to explain themselves. I'm not a huge believer in destiny. What's more likely? That all the dragons that came before somehow knew this very last clutch I can possibly stand for has a dragon just for me so they passed me over? Or that I'm just not suitable? Oh, I'll stand. I still go to those ridiculous classes and do the chores despite being a journeyman myself. I'm just not holding my breath."

Her next topic was one he welcomed more than the last. It was actually a point of bitterness for Rostam, even if he'd accepted quite awhile back that no amount of interest in the creatures - and no number of ancestors who'd Impressed - could make up for that something that he apparently just didn't have. Not being good enough for something didn't fit any better with Rostam than it did with most people. But a girl asking him such questions as Aoifie just had...now that he'd take in a heartbeat.

"Depends on what you mean by too thin," Rostam replied with a grin, openly amused at her blushing. "Too thin to survive? No. Too thin to be attractive? No. Too thin for your own health? Probably. Too thin for me? Yes. Don't get me wrong. I like slender girls just fine. You look just like I'd imagine some elegant well-bred holder's wife to look. I prefer a girl with a hearty appetite, a lot of energy, some nice curves to watch in secret or blatantly and enough fire that you get in the habit of ducking when you walk through the door to avoid hard objects aimed at your head." This last was finished with a decidedly cheeky grin.
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