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Feast - Avoiding The Center ((Attn: Arciel, Calyse))


 

In light of the strange circumstances under which the Hatching had taken place, the Hatching Feast that followed was equally unorthodox. Instead of the huge congratulatory party that usually accompanied this moment filled with music and food and booze, the event had been scaled back considerably. No one from outside the Weyr would be allowed inside. It was a fairly somber affair. Crowds were small and intimate, mostly just Weyrlings and Candidates milling about and helping themselves to the morning’s first meal. Bacon and sausage had been piled high along with trays full of scrambled wherry eggs, stacks of fresh pancakes, and steaming carafes of klah all set up on the tables.


With Andorath sleeping heavily after the exertions from that night, Calyse was free to attend. She felt obligated to go because of her new title, though the weight those golden threads now running through her new shoulder knots carried made her stomach twist. So many expectations, so many new responsibilities; a whole future planned out lay ahead of her. Making an appearance won’t kill you, she told herself. 


Donning the only truly nice set of clothes she owned, she worked hard to avoid waking the slumbering gold curled in their wallow. It was a simple outfit; a pressed linen blouse that she buttoned to her throat despite the climate’s heat, a long, loose skirt of dark velvety material that fell down to the toes of her freshly-polished black boots. Affixing the new Weyrling knots to her arm, Calyse snuck past the slumbering dragon and out of the Barracks.


When she arrived at the Dining Hall, she stopped before the doors. Open though they were with others streaming through, Calyse hesitated on the threshold. She hated parties, even ones that seemed relatively quiet from the outside. This had always been her parents’ way of life, not her own. The rarity of her Impression meant that all eyes would be on her - and Mendl - as soon as she walked through those doors. So she didn’t. She stood there while the rest of her classmates new and old filed in, fussing with one of the buttons on her cuff as if in the pretense of an excuse for her delay.


Arciel
 

Arciel took to his preparations for the post-hatching breakfast with a dutiful attention to the formality of the affair, no matter how scaled back the celebration was. A careful use of his knife saw to a clean shave, and some light application of alcohol sterilised any cuts from the treatment. His teeth he attended to with salt and water, chewing a scented herb before rinsing his mouth clean to ensure a lack of bad breath. His hair was washed and styled with a bone-comb, timed for it to be at least halfway to dry prior to his arrival but still possessed of enough moisture to sit neatly on his head. His sword was locked in the armoury per the agreement with the Weyrguards, and so he ignored his sword belt while attiring himself for the breakfast.


A white shirt tied up to the neck came on first, followed by a simple dark tunic and a pair of leather vambraces for his forearms. A dark pair of leggings were pulled on afterwards, suspended by a simple belt and matched with a pair of sturdy dark boots. Finally he slipped on his family ring and looked down at himself, nodding in satisfaction as he checked the state of his attire. It was no expensive ball dress, but for the breakfast it would more than suffice as ‘formal’ wear.


He left his residence ten minutes later after ensuring it was clean and orderly, making his way towards the dining hall. Brief nods were exchanged with the guards on duty as he made his way to the building with a gait that was neither hurried nor slovenly, piercing blue eyes roving over the faces of those excitedly making their way towards the hall for the meal. Arciel saw no reason to make any attempt at real haste, and he more than enjoyed the morning air as he moved.


His training session had ended only two hours prior, and the timing of the breakfast couldn’t have been better: He’d already had a meal with the guards prior, but an extra serving of energy was never something to scoff at. His eyes alighted on the guards on station outside the dining hall and he smiled at them politely in greeting from a distance, intending on heading straight inside – until a glimpse of golden thread caught his eye.


Slowing to a halt at the entrance to the dining hall, Arciel focused his attention on a fidgeting figure with Weyrling knots attached to her arm. It would be impolite not to say anything. He decided immediately, changing his approach to intersect with Calyse’s hesitant form. Everything about her body language detailed her nervousness and trepidation, and Arciel quietly suppressed the voice in his head that affected disapproval for her lack of resolve. Responsibility, he knew, was not as easily accepted by everyone as it was by some.


“Goldrider Calyse?” He asked as he drew within polite speaking distance, his baritone voice carefully constructed with a respectful intonation. “My apologies for disturbing you, but I wanted to offer you my congratulations on the rare and prestigious honour of being selected by a Queen.” His sapphire eyes swept her from head to toe for a moment, lingering on the knots of her arm before returning to her gaze.

 

“I know the weight of the duty ahead of you may be heavy, and I would never presume to know your mind on the matter, but I wish to express my sincere faith that you will fulfil your position with grace and capability.” He let his belief – perhaps more so in the wisdom of her Dragon than in her, though that faith extended to her by default – in Calyse’s ability to fulfill her role convey itself in a warm smile. “I know that you must be still adjusting to your new reality, but I have full confidence you will rise to the occasion. You were chosen, after all.”


He glanced at those around them coolly, before looking back to her with another reassuring smile. “I’m sure you know better than anyone that you can trust that as a mark of your capability, as anyone else can and should.” If nothing else, it was imperative that a Goldrider be more confident – even if forced – than what Calyse was showing. If not for her own sake, then for the Weyr as a whole. Arciel knew he might have been pushing the line between kindness and presumption, but he had never been one to hesitate simply because of the potential for negative consequence. He wasn’t about to begin with Calyse.


 

Cool blue eyes shifted toward the unfamiliar man that had stopped to address her, instantly stiffening at the stranger's approach. At first glance, he was well-dressed and the sort of handsome that made hearts stop as he passed in the hallway. That he would even speak to her seemed out of the ordinary, surely some Holder's son-turned-dragonrider-aspirant with better things to be doing. Then he addressed her by rank and name and she straightened as if she'd been struck, remembering as he spoke the decorum she was failing to uphold. 

The shiny new knots on her shoulders meant she needed a put on an air of confidence, of control. She knew this. She braced for the chastising she expected, but it never came. His words were kind. Calyse blinked, disarmed by his serendipitous reassurances. "W-Well, I-- I thank you," she inclined her head in a polite bow, unused to someone else trying to bolster her confidence. "It's still hard to believe I was chosen at all, but I-I'll remember what you said." Smoothing the wrinkles in her skirt atop her thigh, standing next to him, she felt horribly under-dressed for the occasion. Should she have worn something different? Something better? Shells, she didn't own better. "I find myself dreading going inside, there will be so many people." And they will all want to talk to me.

"You have me at a disadvantage, though. You know my name, but I don't know yours." 


On Sat, Sep 5, 2020, 7:52 PM Arciel <arcielpern@...> wrote:

Arciel took to his preparations for the post-hatching breakfast with a dutiful attention to the formality of the affair, no matter how scaled back the celebration was. A careful use of his knife saw to a clean shave, and some light application of alcohol sterilised any cuts from the treatment. His teeth he attended to with salt and water, chewing a scented herb before rinsing his mouth clean to ensure a lack of bad breath. His hair was washed and styled with a bone-comb, timed for it to be at least halfway to dry prior to his arrival but still possessed of enough moisture to sit neatly on his head. His sword was locked in the armoury per the agreement with the Weyrguards, and so he ignored his sword belt while attiring himself for the breakfast.


A white shirt tied up to the neck came on first, followed by a simple dark tunic and a pair of leather vambraces for his forearms. A dark pair of leggings were pulled on afterwards, suspended by a simple belt and matched with a pair of sturdy dark boots. Finally he slipped on his family ring and looked down at himself, nodding in satisfaction as he checked the state of his attire. It was no expensive ball dress, but for the breakfast it would more than suffice as ‘formal’ wear.


He left his residence ten minutes later after ensuring it was clean and orderly, making his way towards the dining hall. Brief nods were exchanged with the guards on duty as he made his way to the building with a gait that was neither hurried nor slovenly, piercing blue eyes roving over the faces of those excitedly making their way towards the hall for the meal. Arciel saw no reason to make any attempt at real haste, and he more than enjoyed the morning air as he moved.


His training session had ended only two hours prior, and the timing of the breakfast couldn’t have been better: He’d already had a meal with the guards prior, but an extra serving of energy was never something to scoff at. His eyes alighted on the guards on station outside the dining hall and he smiled at them politely in greeting from a distance, intending on heading straight inside – until a glimpse of golden thread caught his eye.


Slowing to a halt at the entrance to the dining hall, Arciel focused his attention on a fidgeting figure with Weyrling knots attached to her arm. It would be impolite not to say anything. He decided immediately, changing his approach to intersect with Calyse’s hesitant form. Everything about her body language detailed her nervousness and trepidation, and Arciel quietly suppressed the voice in his head that affected disapproval for her lack of resolve. Responsibility, he knew, was not as easily accepted by everyone as it was by some.


“Goldrider Calyse?” He asked as he drew within polite speaking distance, his baritone voice carefully constructed with a respectful intonation. “My apologies for disturbing you, but I wanted to offer you my congratulations on the rare and prestigious honour of being selected by a Queen.” His sapphire eyes swept her from head to toe for a moment, lingering on the knots of her arm before returning to her gaze.

 

“I know the weight of the duty ahead of you may be heavy, and I would never presume to know your mind on the matter, but I wish to express my sincere faith that you will fulfil your position with grace and capability.” He let his belief – perhaps more so in the wisdom of her Dragon than in her, though that faith extended to her by default – in Calyse’s ability to fulfill her role convey itself in a warm smile. “I know that you must be still adjusting to your new reality, but I have full confidence you will rise to the occasion. You were chosen, after all.”


He glanced at those around them coolly, before looking back to her with another reassuring smile. “I’m sure you know better than anyone that you can trust that as a mark of your capability, as anyone else can and should.” If nothing else, it was imperative that a Goldrider be more confident – even if forced – than what Calyse was showing. If not for her own sake, then for the Weyr as a whole. Arciel knew he might have been pushing the line between kindness and presumption, but he had never been one to hesitate simply because of the potential for negative consequence. He wasn’t about to begin with Calyse.


Arciel
 

"Dread is merely the prelude to courage." Arciel responded with a smile, his eyes maintaining fixed contact with hers as he sought to shut out the distractions of the milling crowds around them. "What is a crowd, if not a chance to better understand the unknown? Each new face is another adventure, another character in the saga of your life." He gestured around them idly. "You look around and see pressure, or opinions. You know what I see?" He nodded to a random passerby. "An interesting story." Then to another. "A torrid love affair." Then to a third. "A lesson in humility. Are these assessments accurate? Perhaps, but I won't know until I start the adventure."

He nodded towards the Hall. "Everyone in there is just as nervous, just as excited, just as scared as you are - but in that uncertainty is a kind of unity, and a paradoxical certainty all its own. You're equal in your trepidation, and thus the need for the trepidation no longer exists." Arciel offered her another smile and rested his hands on his hips. "Fear isn't wrong, especially given your position. A bit of fear is healthy, even. It'll keep you grounded, and let you better understand the solemnity of your new position and the responsibility on your shoulders. Fear will keep you focused, honest, and aware of the consequences of your potential failures." He tapped his chest, then, indicatively. "But don't forget that fear also enables courage. It isn't the absence of that terror, it's the strength to overcome it. You have that strength, Goldrider Calyse - why else would you be chosen, if not for that reason?"

With finality he bowed his head. "And to clear the air, my name is Arciel. It's a pleasure."


 

That was not the response Calyse had been anticipating. Perhaps her expectations were a little irrational given the new change of rank, but it was difficult to drop habits earns as a Candidate required to scramble aside for every big-wig. His spontaneous pep-talk captured her interest and by the end, she couldn't help the small, bewildered smile that pulled at her thin lips. She found herself envious of his oratory skills even in something so insignificant as a single two-way conversation. 

"I've never heard it talked about in that fashion," she admitted. "You don't look much like a Harper, but you certainly speak like one." It was meant to be playfully teasing, but her flat delivery might have made it come across unintentionally hostile. "I could use someone like you to draft speeches for me, all those pretty words." The blooming of her smile made the jesting nature of her words less difficult then to decipher. Really, though, who could resist smiling when a man that good looking stopped to give you his attention?

"Yours is a face I've never seen before." I would have remembered it. "Are you new to this?" She turned to gesture with a sweep of her hand that encompassed the Weyr around them. 


On Tue, Sep 8, 2020 at 12:56 PM Arciel <arcielpern@...> wrote:
"Dread is merely the prelude to courage." Arciel responded with a smile, his eyes maintaining fixed contact with hers as he sought to shut out the distractions of the milling crowds around them. "What is a crowd, if not a chance to better understand the unknown? Each new face is another adventure, another character in the saga of your life." He gestured around them idly. "You look around and see pressure, or opinions. You know what I see?" He nodded to a random passerby. "An interesting story." Then to another. "A torrid love affair." Then to a third. "A lesson in humility. Are these assessments accurate? Perhaps, but I won't know until I start the adventure."

He nodded towards the Hall. "Everyone in there is just as nervous, just as excited, just as scared as you are - but in that uncertainty is a kind of unity, and a paradoxical certainty all its own. You're equal in your trepidation, and thus the need for the trepidation no longer exists." Arciel offered her another smile and rested his hands on his hips. "Fear isn't wrong, especially given your position. A bit of fear is healthy, even. It'll keep you grounded, and let you better understand the solemnity of your new position and the responsibility on your shoulders. Fear will keep you focused, honest, and aware of the consequences of your potential failures." He tapped his chest, then, indicatively. "But don't forget that fear also enables courage. It isn't the absence of that terror, it's the strength to overcome it. You have that strength, Goldrider Calyse - why else would you be chosen, if not for that reason?"

With finality he bowed his head. "And to clear the air, my name is Arciel. It's a pleasure."