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Dalibor is a semi-canon Dragonriders of Pern site. No knowledge of the series or site is required to join; players of all experience levels are welcome here. Founded in 2008 on Proboards and moved to Jcink in 2013, Dalibor has been running for nine years.

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Winter, 18th Turn, 11th Pass

Upcoming Flights/Runs:

Upcoming Hatchings:

While not unnatural in its violence, the dual hatching of Copper Queens Laanasuth, and Zelsk, has brought many changes Pernwide to the Dragon Candidate program. Raising the Age of Candidacy, and laying more rigorous emotional requirements on those admitted into the program and permitted to stay after. Dalibor has settled into an easy peace with the hatching fading into memory and young dragonets and wherets visible as they come into their own.

Included in their ranks are two colours new to Pern. Indigo dragons, and Pink whers, as well as Dalibor's first instance of a dual-bonded Wherhandler. As always, the West seems eager to produce weirdness for the rest of Pern.

Curiously, a steady flow of messengers seem to be traveling between Grove and Dalibor Weyr during the early sevendays of the new season; which is already proving to be milder than some in Dalibor's recent history.
Leadership
Weyrwoman
Rayna of Gold Couineth - Boo

Weyrleader
Z'dyn of Iron Baihujinth - Rhia

Jr. Weyrwoman
Jali of Copper Laanasuth - Rii

Jr. Weyrleader
Os'nin of Blue Alwanath - Aerona

Alphahandler
Norla of Bronze Norsk - Ives

Betahandler
Oreanda of Bronze Osk & Blue Oresk - Ruin
Der of Grey Desk - Rii

Weyrlingmaster
K'ton of Blue Ironth- Jenn
S'vor of Green Absinth - Ruriko
Nia of Pink Koeneth - Catsitta

Wherlingmaster
Ijo of Brown Isk - Rhia
Pavir of Blue Pavisk - Captain
Swithin of Blue Swisk - Ives

Candidatemaster
Ulian of White Rivath - Ruin
Zanii of Black Zansk - Leo

Staff
Admins
Ives
Rii
Ruin

Historians

Rhia
Tobes

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Captain
Tigersilk
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Dalibor was created by Bre, continued by Cathaline, and is now owned and operated by Ruin. Most of the information, rules, and graphics were made, compiled, or written by staff with credit given to those whose resources they used. Stock thanks to credited parties. All characters and posts are copyrighted to the members of the game. No material from this site should be copied in any way, shape, or form without utter express permission from the members and staff. All references to worlds and characters based on Anne McCaffrey's 'Dragonrider of Pern' series are copyright Anne McCaffrey 1967-2017, all rights reserved. The Dragonriders of Pern is registered U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, by Anne McCaffrey, used here with general permission for non-commercial purposes without monetary gain.

 
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 So, what do you think?, WI:17 {Caliska / Malika}
summerrain
 Posted: Nov 6 2017, 09:50 PM
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The house arrest had finally been lifted, and Candidates were once more allowed outside. With no clutch on the sands, and none of the sub-queens looking like they were going to run / fly anytime soon, their schedules were a bit looser now. But, of course, she still wasn't allowed to hunt beyond the walls. It was rather frustrating, even two turns later, for her to be so restricted to one area after roaming so freely as a child.

Currently, she was spending time in the Bowl with her hound, Kenai. She had left him in the kennels the night before everyone got stuck on house arrest, and they were both happy to see each other again. Caliska knew Kenai could be a handful sometimes. He was a big canine, and he needed a lot of exercise. So, tonight, she was giving the kennel staff a break and running his energy out herself. At the moment, with a decent sized stick.

She threw the stick yet again, watching as he chased after it. The young huntress didn't admit it, but she actually missed being part of the caravan. Everyone had a role in the caravan, and what free time she'd had was often spent hunting, either for food or for tradeables; pelts, claws, fangs, and other things crafters used. At least she had chores to do here, so there was a semblance of being useful. But when lessons were done and no more chores to do, that was when she got frustrated. What she did wasn't a recognized craft, and Candidates weren't allowed beyond the walls alone.

Kenai came running back up to Caliska, the stick in his mouth. She took said stick and tossed it again, wandering aimlessly around the bowl. There weren't as many people out at such a late hour, when the stars were bright in the sky. It was almost soothing. Almost.

When Kenai didn't return with the stick, Caliska looked around and saw him sniffing at another girl, one of the other Candidates. She put the first two fingers of her right hand to her lips and whistled, causing Kenai to turn and trot back to her as she walked closer to the other girl. A name came to mind as she approached. Malika, one of the other wher candidates.

"Malika. Sorry about him," she said once she was close enough she didn't have to shout. "The kennel workers said Kenai was going a bit stir crazy after the restrictions during the plague." She shrugged, as if it wasn't a big deal. And to her, it wasn't. He was hers, but he was too big to keep in her shared room in the barracks.

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Ruriko
 Posted: Nov 7 2017, 03:34 AM
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Unlike many who were candidates, Malika did not fret when she did not find her bond upon the sands. It was always slightly disappointing, yet it wasn't the heart wrenching disappointment that was often evident just by looking at the faces of those candidates left behind. She reasonably understood that it might have been because she had a dual goal in life. Her sense of fulfillment did not rest on bonding alone. She had been a Blacksmith apprentice before she had decided to join the wher program. She had felt that she had not one, but two callings. Her grandparents had been proud of her coming to this Weyr. Proud that she, granddaughter of Malik and Mablevi, had been accepted and would Stand for the whers of Dalibor. They had always encouraged her in her pursuits. She, in turn, had striven to make them proud and to work hard at these pursuits. She took great pride in her work as a 'smith apprentice. Great pride in doing her best to be an upstanding candidate, and useful even in the humble chores she did for the Weyr that provided her food, lodging, and a roof over her head. Too, they offered her protection from Thread. They provided clothing, and allowed her a place to work at her craft while she waited for her wher to find her.

She would have been Journeyman already, had she not left. As it stood, she was not able to walk the tables for at least another couple of turns. She could not put in the work with lessons and chores that was needed to do so. While there were both Journeymen and even Masters at Dalibor in all crafts, she simply lacked the time. At first, she had tried to make time for both. Yet it was immediately clear to the sensible young woman that this was not feasible. Should she make the bond, it would put her behind yet a couple more turns. She did not know what the future held for her, yet she hoped that by the time she was twenty two she would have walked the tables in the event that she had not bonded a wher by then. Anyone who knew Malika, who had arrived at the Weyr that summer, knew two things by now: she was hard working and industrious, and she was a no-nonsense young woman who stood up for herself and had pride in herself. She did not let others walk on her. She was respectful and while she had a temper, she did her best to keep it under wraps. Laziness and cruelness she did not abide by. She would readily speak out for others who could not speak for themselves, though she expected people ought to try their best to do so.

As it was, she was taking a break from her work in the forge. It was hard work, and she knew the importance of giving her body a rest from it. Breaks were important, even if she preferred to keep at something until completion. She was learning to take these breaks. It often meant a breath of fresh air. Tonight, the stars were clear in the sky above the Weyr. They were truly a wonder, and marvelous to behold. She felt exhilarated. Grateful to be alive, and with a life full of opportunity before her. Just then, she sensed movement, and quickly looked in the direction of a dark, approaching shape. She was quick thinking and thus she looked immediately for a person accompanying what she recognized as a large canine. The shape and color of it reminded her of a dog her grandfather had once owned. A hunting dog, a fine animal who, though of no specific breeding, had much talent for scent work and aiding in flushing out prey. She saw a tall individual behind the animal, and relaxed her stance. If need be she would have fled. If she could not, she would have fought like a wild feline, and not been taken down so easily! When the other young woman spoke, Malika immediately recognized the voice from lessons. Caliska was tall for a woman, taller than her own five foot eight feet. She estimated her at six feet or over--she had a good eye for measurements, in her line of work.

"No need to make an apology, Caliska. He is a fine looking animal. My grandfather had a hunting canine much like him. Does he aid you in the hunt?" She knew, too, from seeing the young woman working with the bow and arrow that she likely hunted. Malika, too, had been a huntress when she traveled with the people of her caravan. Everyone was taught how, though some were far more proficient and took the weight of the task on willingly. Malika had not enjoyed the deaths of the animals whose lives she took to survive. Yet there was pride in providing meat, fur and bone, as well as fangs and claws for jewelry, to her people. She respected all living things, and always thanked the animal for giving its life so that she might eat and be strong. So that she might live another day. It was tradition in her caravan to do so. Her grandparents also respected all life, great and small. "We are all pleased for the freedom to come and go as we please, I am sure." The dark skinned candidate agreed. She had nearly gone stir crazy herself. She was not used to confinement of any kind. Even being in the Weyr, not allowed to leave unless it was with a wherhandler to accompany her, was stifling. Still, she respected the rules. They were in place for her protection, she knew. Whether or not she liked the rules of this place or not, she still stuck to them dutifully. They were allowing her the honor of Standing for their whers. It was the least she could do.
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summerrain
 Posted: Nov 7 2017, 03:59 PM
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It was clear from her voice that the other Candidate wasn't really bothered by Kenai's attentions. The fact that Malika had guessed that Caliska was a hunter wasn't surprising either. Anyone who had decent observation skills would have been able to guess as much from the amount of time Caliska spent with her bow. Currently, said bow was not on her, instead taking its place in her room in the barracks.

"He did," she confirmed. "I haven't been allowed to hunt since applying for Candidacy, though," she admitted. All Wher Candidates knew the rules. They weren't allowed beyond the walls after dark, not alone. And even then, hunting in the dark was beyond difficult. Let alone if one added in a few extra pairs of feet and a couple heads who didn't know the first thing about hunting. Assuming that there were any Handlers who were even willing to join her on a hunt. "Saved him during the Storm of All Passes, actually."

Only a little stir crazy, huh? Even after two turns, Caliska was still not used to the sheer number of restrictions placed on the Candidates. And she felt bored during times like this, when there were no lessons to attend or chores to be done. A glance at her feet told her where Kenai had dropped the stick she'd been using, and she bent down to pick it up before throwing it again. She watched him run after it. "He's still not used to being so restricted," she admitted after a moment. "He was allowed to run around all the time when we were with the caravan. Though he's better now than he was when we first got here."


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Ruriko
 Posted: Nov 7 2017, 05:01 PM
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Malika nodded, her expression momentarily sympathetic. She gave the large canine a pat on the head--it was common sense that if he were not friendly and apt to bite, Caliska would have called him back and made him cease his actions. "It is hard to be unable to do that which is one's calling," she replied, dark eyes looking up a little to meet Caliska's own. "There are many restrictions upon a candidate. Many more upon those who make the bond. Yet we will be stronger for these someday. It is a worthy and necessary test." She was proud to be a wher candidate. She would not understand a person who complained simply because there were some things they might have to forgo. It was difficult for some, she understood. Yet the end result--to have a wher of one's own--was well worth it to her. There was honor in this undertaking.

"Might you seek a handler who can accompany you?" She recalled that there were minor stipulations to these rules. Such as: a full handler could accompany a candidate to certain, safer areas outside the Weyr. "If you miss that which is the song of your heart, perhaps a way can be found, yes?" She was a practical individual--a realist in most things, even if she was prone to superstitions and given to quoting words of wisdom her grandparents had taught her. Her people, of her caravan, were a little different from others. They were, for one, very much about honor and teaching wisdom--they valued wisdom over all else. Learning, too, was of value. Yet being a good person with honor was more important than anything else. In regards to what Caliska said about saving her canine in this 'Storm of all Passes', Mali looked interested. Something else her people loved was stories. She had not heard of this storm, and so she made an inquiry. "Is there a story to be told that you would honor me by sharing? I have not heard of this storm. Indeed it sounds a tale worth the telling. How did you come to save him? What was this storm?" She of course knew of Doomfall. It had been a terrifying time for all Traders. Unsettling, to have to stay put in the cave that was one of their 'safety points' during it. They had had to run, too. She remembered the event as if it were yesterday. It still haunted her dreams. If it could happen the once, could it not someday happen again? That was what many people, she knew, must have felt.

Malika looked at the canine, and then at Caliska. "Why do you not keep him by your side? There was a girl, a Wastewanderer. She made the bond last hatch. She kept one of the great beasts--the icehowler--with her. The rooms are not so small. Is your room mate not amicable to his presence? Perhaps a compromise could be found. Where one can be found, it is always best to make it so." She offered a slight, encouraging smile. The canine seemed well enough behaved. Hunting canines usually were very well trained. She did not like to assume this, but she felt that certainly Caliska's must have also been. Yet it was the word 'caravan' that caught Malika's attention. She had not known that Caliska was also a Trader. True, her grandfather was a rarity among the Traders. He had taken time away from his caravan to apprentice as a Blacksmith. Once he'd reached Journeyman, he had come back to them, and attained his Mastery. Her fortune was the better for it. She was able to apprentice under him, until she had come here. "You were a Trader? I, also, was one before I came to be here!" There was some measure of delight in the young woman's voice at this revelation, though she was a composed individual most of the time who tried to not be given to excess displays of emotional outbursts. "I was an apprentice there, under my grandfather. A Blacksmith. He is a Master," she said, chest swelling with pride in the man she loved most. He was what she strove to be. Proud. Honorable. Wise. Hard-working. Skilled. Capable. Controlled. Everything about the man, Malika admired. She was even named for him! Yet she realized that her voice had perhaps contained too much pride, and she felt sorry for it. She knew that it was an unseemly thing, to brag. Even if it was not herself, it was her grandfather. "I apologize. I did not mean to sound a braggart. I have much pride in my grandfather. I aspire to be as he is--and he would not brag." She bowed her head formally, but then stood tall once more. "I came when I was Searched. I came for the dragon, and yet found my second heart's calling. Now I Stand for the wher." She smiled, teeth starkly white in her dark face. Yes, it had been an interesting journey thus far, that much was certain.
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summerrain
 Posted: Nov 7 2017, 06:04 PM
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Kenai barked once when Malika pet him between the ears. But the girl began to ask about adult handlers, and Caliska scoffed softly. "They may be good at what they do, but what they do isn't what I do," she said. "They're good at making noise and scaring things off. Specially the ones who were born here. And most of them won't listen to me when I tell 'em they're being too loud." It was obviously a bit of a sore spot. "It's easier if it's just me and Kenai." Hopefully her future wher would be smart enough to learn the nuances of hunting. If not... Well, things would get very frustrating indeed.

She didn't know about the storm? "That huge snowstorm a few turns back, it's being called the Storm of All Passes," she said, surprised to find someone who didn't know. "We got stuck in Western Hold for a while, and lost some of our animals. I found Kenai as a puppy, abandoned and half frozen in the snow. So I saved him." She shrugged it off, like it was no big deal. And to her, it wasn't.

Her eyes hardened at the other girl's question. Of course she had a reason to keep Kenai in the kennels. He was a big hound, sometimes things got knocked over by accident. "Because," she said simply, her voice suddenly going cold. It was one thing to ask about someone's past. It was another to imply that she hadn't thought of other options. She was doing this because he wouldn't be able to stay constantly by her side once she Impressed. Especially if she Impressed to one of the colors that was more prone to violence. But she didn't need to explain herself. It was her decision to make, and hers alone.

"Doesn't matter what he did," Caliska said after a moment, her voice still as cold as before. "What matters is what you do. That's how you make a name for yourself. Otherwise, you're just living in his shadow." That was what her mentor had told her. The only way to make her own way in the world was to make a name for herself, separate from her mother or father, or her sisters or her brother.

When Malika began to explain how she'd ended up at Dalibor, Caliska figured it was socially accepted for her to do the same. "My caravan sent me here, about two turns ago, to see if trade with Dalibor was reasonable," she explained after a moment, the harsh edge to her voice a bit less sharp. But she left it at that. There was no reason to go into detail for this girl that she only knew because of their shared status.

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Ruriko
 Posted: Nov 7 2017, 07:47 PM
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Malika was a little surprised at the bark. The animal had come to sniff at her, and while she knew animals well enough to know that some did not like to be touched, it was a rare thing indeed for one who was not necessarily friendly with others to be allowed to approach. A bark was usually a warning, coming from a canine that appeared to be an adult. Puppies barked at people sometimes. Or jumped up. This one was not a pup, and yet it had given warning that it did not appreciate being touched. Her estimation of the animal's training and Caliska's control over it--or perhaps she did not care, so long as it did not bite?--altered a little. She knew the wisest course of action for an animal that did not wish to be touched was simply to ignore it and let it go about its business, and so that was precisely what she did.

As the tall young woman spoke, she began to realize it was not only the canine that had bite to it. Her words were unfriendly. They were presumptuous and presuming. It was all she could do to bite her tongue and not correct the other candidate's attitude about matters. It was neither her business, nor her place. So, she chose to remain calm and reasonable, keeping her own tone amicable and friendly. "We have some among the handlers who are fine hunters," she told the girl with a polite, unreadable expression. "Alphahandler Norla is a good example of these. It is a wher's nature to hunt. Perhaps some are loud. It is experience that they lack, I must think. For surely they are not all noise makers. Nor do they all come from here. To paint all of them with the same brush is folly. Should you make the bond, are you not a handler, too?" The point was clear, but as polite as she could have it sound. Caliska was lumping all handlers together as loud, noisy and not good at hunting. Malika was a fair hand at it, though it was the spear where her strength lie. She was merely capable with a bow and arrow. Good enough to have a fair measure of success, no where near as accurate as someone as practiced as her fellow candidate was. She spent her extra candlemarks at her craft, after all. She'd not had the same time, nor the same inclination.

She had not known what that storm was referring to. Yet the moment Caliska spoke of it, Mali recalled. "Ah! That is what we called the Great Snowstorm. I did not realize the Storm of all Passes was this thing of which you spoke. I recall it well. My people, too, were forced to stay at Fort Hold until it had passed." She then added, "It was a kind thing you did, to save the canine. I am sure he is grateful to you and has repaid your kindness well." What went around, came around. Though they'd no name for it, Malika's caravan of people believed in something akin to karma. That if you did good things, good came of it. If you did bad things, in the end no good could come of it.

Dark eyes narrowed ever so slightly at the other candidate's cold, short reply. They had a word for the kind of attitude Caliska was displaying. Rude was fitting enough, however. She took insult where none was given. As if she sought to find some where there was no reason to do so. Still, Malika knew that there were people who were hard, and cold. They learned, eventually, that such behavior earned them nothing. She tried for a moment to think if she had ever seen Caliska with any specific people. If she had any friends. She could not recall anyone in particular. Still, simply because she was being unfriendly to her, did not mean that she did not have people she spoke politely or kindly to. Malika did not enjoy the disrespectful attitude and tone the taller candidate had taken with her. Nor did she think much of the prior words she'd spoken. It gave the impression that she thought herself better than others. Did she think she would be the only handler who was a capable huntress? Life would prove her wrong for her assumptions and teach her the value of respect. Malika again reminded herself that it was not her place. Her place was to keep good control of herself, and be the kind of person she would admire if she met. She almost forgot that with Caliska's next words.

Insult and disrespect to herself she was poor enough at taking. Yet when Caliska seemed to be bringing her grandfather into it, she felt her ears go hot. She understood what she did mattered, and that was why she was doing all she did. Yet there was nothing wrong with aspiring to be similar to someone insofar as their desirable traits and qualities. Had this woman no filter for what her mouth said? Did she not realize she was a rude and assuming person, who sounded extremely opinionated and as though she thought herself superior? Such people were disgraceful and had no honor. Mali wanted to say those words. That this girl knew not of what she spoke, and had no honor. Yet instead she breathed in deeply through her nose, and out through her mouth. Clearly, this was a flaw with Caliska. She should not rise to the bait. She allowed herself to try and clear her mind, and think of her grandfather's advice: what her fellow candidate did was upon her, and would only affect Malika if she allowed it to. What she, Malika did, was what would be upon herself. So, she merely offered a tight smile, and replied calmly,

"There is nothing wrong in my desire be like my grandfather. He is a good man, with honor. He works hard, and he is very wise and just to all people. He has carved his path, and I am carving my own. I live in no one's shadow. I am here. I work hard. I do my best to live with honor and rely on the wisdom my grandparents have bestowed upon me to guide my footsteps should I feel I may err, or have done." She paused, and then added, perhaps with a little more sternness than intended, "It is a sad thing to only look up at oneself, and down upon others. I am sorry you have no one to inspire such things in you." She did not feel this was saying too much. The other candidate should have some inkling of how the way she spoke and acted looked to others. Otherwise, the going would be hard for her. Once the bond was made, she would be working with others, constantly. If this was the way she spoke to them, and spoke of others...the going would be hard for her indeed. Even though she felt it was not her place to reveal such things, she had at least hinted at it in a way that was neither rude, nor dishonorable.

Because she wanted to try and maintain at least a civil relationship with the other girl--who knew how long it might be before the next hatching, and they would see each other often--she gave a small nod at her words. "To bond a wher is something that must be asked of. What made you decide to choose this path?" It was not like dragons, where a person was Searched. Somewhere, Caliska must have gotten the desire to be a wher candidate, and then asked for permission to join the program. She was not sure it was even like herself, who had been Searched for dragons and so considered very favorably when asked to Stand instead for whers. Perhaps it was. She did not assume. Still, she awaited the reply with some interest.
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summerrain
 Posted: Nov 7 2017, 08:49 PM
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Caliska rolled her eyes at the hound's bark. "Kenai, quiet," she said, her voice suddenly stern and gentle at the same time. "You don't have to be afraid of him. When he's not working, Kenai's a big softie." The smallest of smiles came to her lips when he wandered back over to her with his tongue lolling out of his mouth. She ran one hand through his wiry top coat, almost seeming to relax at the contact. "Trained him turns ago not to bite. He might lick you though, specially if you've just eaten." It was meant to be an attempt at a joke, but she wasn't entirely sure if it had worked or not.

When the alphahandler was mentioned, Caliska's gaze darkened slightly as she looked down at her hound. "The Alphahandler has more important things to deal with than a Candidate with cabin fever," she said after a moment. "Besides, I get to practice my tracking when I shadow someone anyway. When you go hunting with someone you don't know, you have no idea how they'll react if something goes wrong." She hesitated, glancing away from her fellow Candidate. This was probably the closest she ever got to admitting her true feelings. She didn't ask to go hunting anymore because it was hard to get used to a new hunting partner, especially when that hunting partner was different from one night to the next.

The hint of a smile returned when Kenai was once again mentioned. "Yeah, he's been good to me," she agreed, a bit mysteriously. And then the girl started getting snippy, and Caliska realized she'd said something the wrong way. The fingers of one hand ran through her hair and she sighed again.

"Look, I didn't mean it like that," she admitted. "I'm just not so good with words." She hesitated, and tossed the stick for Kenai again to stall for time. Unlike some of the other Candidates, she had no quarrel with Malika. In fact, they'd been on relatively amicable terms during lessons before. She knew it was a good idea to maintain at least that much, even if she kept just enough distance to avoid truly befriending the other. "It's good you have someone like that. You're lucky. The oldest person in my caravan was old man Neran, who taught me to hunt. He ain't even that old, really. But after the Doomfall, he also taught me that it's important to make your own life." Kenai brought the stick back, but Caliska didn't throw it this time. "That things are only worth what you put into 'em. He told me once that the reason he was so good at what he did was because he wasn't tryin' to prove himself to anyone." She didn't bother adding in that she'd lost her parents in the Doomfall. She wasn't the only one, for sure. "I've tried to live by that. I didn't come here to prove anything to anyone." That philosophy had kept her sane during her turns scouting ahead for her caravan. The holders who had thought her an exile before the appearance of her caravan the next day.

Then the girl asked about her reasoning for applying to be a wher candidate. In two turns, she'd never told any other candidate why she had wanted to do this. She hesitated to respond. It was a personal decision. "I'd seen dragons lots of times before I got here," she finally said. "Flyin' on Search, fighting Thread, and such. But the only whers we'd ever run into were long dead. I got curious, is all." She didn't look back at Malika as she spoke. It wasn't a total lie. Her curiosity had drawn her to that hatching.

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Ruriko
 Posted: Nov 7 2017, 10:50 PM
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For all that she tried hard to be wise, there was so much she did not know and she often had to draw conclusions that might not have been accurate. Her grandfather had told her time and again it wasn't a good idea to do so, and yet it was a struggle to fight against human nature, which caused most people to make assumptions or judgment calls, no matter that they might base them off of what they could see for themselves. So, she again had to readjust her prior thoughts. She wasn't certain of why the canine had barked at her, yet apparently she was being told that the creature did not bite--had been trained not to. It was good to trust what you could see with your own eyes. Malika did not know the beast, and so she could only politely nod and smile slightly at what she thought might have been an attempt at a joke.

The words the taller candidate spoke next were true enough. Malika would not have troubled Norla herself. Yet she had only been using the woman as an example to make her point. It was true that one could not know how someone else they did not know might react in a situation. Should something go amiss, or dangers present themselves, there was a chance tha they might react poorly. Still, the wherhandlers went through such a rigorous training program--the same as dragonriders, but for whers--that she did not think Caliska had much to fear. Still, again, her grandfather's words were ever in her mind. It did not matter a person's station in life. Each person was an individual with their own thoughts, behaviors, and personalities. What drove each person was different. How they would react was different. To say that because a person was a wherhandler, it made them brave...that was not true. They had to know things to graduate. Had to be able to perform the tasks and do the things asked of them. Yet they did not have to be brave of heart and mind to do so. So, she nodded again, in understanding, and replied with honesty.

"I did not mean to suggest you employ Alphahandler Norla. Simply to make the point that she is a wherhandler, and she is a fine hunter. She is not the only one. If you desire to go, then the only way in which to do so is make acquaintance with a handler and see if you may trust her--or him--enough to accompany you. Otherwise you are in the mud, stuck and wanting." Malika was a problem solver. If there was a problem, the young woman would find a solution. It may not always be an easy solution. It might not even be the best one--she still was learning, like anyone else. She tried to offer realistic ones though. Ones that were moral, or just, if it came down to such a thing. Or ones that were likely to stand the best chance of success. Perhaps it was, like now, the only sensible solution there was. She did not like to leave a problem to sit and lie. She liked to solve it, and to have it resolved. Even if it was for others.

Mali noticed Caliska seemed to soften in regards to the canine. Perhaps she was defensive regarding it, too? She seemed very attached. Malika had known the love and loyalty of an animal companion. She did not want one, since it would take away from her work, she felt. She had not had one since she was younger. After she had been an apprentice, she had forgone pets, content to enjoy her grandparent's hunting canines, and the animals of others. She did not need or require one of her own. She might, however, be surprised that she would enjoy having one if she should get one. Unknown to her, her tone had not been so calm as she had tried for, and it seemed that the tall, dark-eyed girl had picked up on this. Surprisingly, she was apologizing. Mali was usually a good read of people. Or so she tended to believe. Yet she had grown up in such a tight knit family unit. Her people were still individuals, but they were so like-minded that since coming to Dalibor, she had struggled some to understand others as well as she had understood them. Even now, after drawing a conclusion that the girl before her was prideful and opinionated--and perhaps she might have been that last, but Malika was also guilty of it to a degree--she was apologizing. Malika did not wish to cause issue, and so she simply nodded to show she understood, and accepted. She did offer a slight smile to show the sincerity of the acceptance. Still, she felt words would not be needed, and might make Caliska feel defensive, perhaps, about having apologized to begin with. She did not know her well enough to say, and so erred on the side of caution. She did appreciate it, though.

It was important to listen to hear, and not only to respond. So Malika listened, and listened well. She was able to gather that the person before her was, as she said, perhaps not good with her words. Perhaps she did not know she was being disrespectful. Truly her apology had seemed to be sincere. She had, then, not meant to offer offense or to insult. No matter that it had seemed to be that way, there was much about this person she did not know nor understand. It had been, perhaps, a little unfair to decide so quickly where this person stood or how they might think.

"Old Man Neran spoke wise words," she replied, when Caliska was done speaking. "I do agree with these words. It is important to make your own life, as we are doing in being here, away from our people. Things are indeed only worth what one puts into them. Hard work and effort will yield the best fruit." Then, after regarding the taller candidate thoughtfully a moment, Malika offered, "I am not here to prove anything to anyone. Yet there is someone I wish to prove things to. It is myself." Here she thumped herself on the chest, not too hard, but a firm, solid movement nonetheless. "I want to be able to have pride in myself. In the work of my hands that is my craft. In finding a bond that will benefit both myself, my wher, and the place that we will call home. I wish to give respect, and be respected. Yet I do not seek to impress, or to gain praise for myself. It is only myself I work for. I wish to make my grandparents proud--this is true. Yet it is because I firmly believe in my heart that they are worthy people to wish to make proud of me. If they are proud of me, it only serves to enforce my feeling that I have done well. It is a good feeling such a thing brings. To have people you know in your heart of hearts are people you admire and love be proud of you." She hoped that her fellow candidate might understand what she was saying. Understanding, or at least striving to, was progress. She had always gotten on just fine with everyone, even if she did not always agree with the attitudes, opinions, and behaviors of some. She could think of a few off the top of her head that felt like trouble to her. Still, she was civil, and bore her weight--even helping more than need be if someone struggled. She asked for nothing but to be treated the way she treated them. She did her best not to judge, and to only offer her help and hard work.

The hesitation was notable, and the reason given not something that ought to have given such a pause. The fact that Caliska looked away solidified Malika's suspicion. Likely the reason given was not the full reason. Still, at least in this regard, she did not mind. She did not think that it was entirely untrue. It was only a part of the picture, and she had no right to ask for more than what a person was willing to give voice to. "Curiosity can be a strong thing," she simply replied. She tried very hard to keep the slight note that would have given away that she didn't necessarily buy into the reason--she did it well enough that Caliska should not have been able to tell at all, unless she knew the dark skinned young woman well.
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summerrain
 Posted: Nov 7 2017, 11:57 PM
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She tossed the stick yet again, and once more Kenai ran after it. "Trust... That's one thing that's never come easy to me," she admitted softly. Seeing the looks they'd gotten after that handler had been killed, it really told Caliska how holders felt about traders. Even after two turns here, it was hard for her to be that trusting of anyone. She was so used to pushing strangers away, it'd become a habit. And everyone knew habits were hard to break.

As Malika spoke, Calian's words echoed in Caliska's mind. "You won't make any new friends by being so mean." Maybe she should've taken her younger sister's words to heart sooner. She listened to the other candidate's words, and a soft laugh escaped her lips.

"Guess it would be nice to be able to show my siblings that I'm doin' my best here," she conceded sheepishly. "My sisters're always getting on my case about my bad attitude." She hadn't been close enough to her brother, who was ten years younger than herself, for him to give her much grief about being so aloof. She had to admit, this girl had a point. She really wasn't just doing this for herself... She had to admit it. There was part of her that was trying to do this to at least show her baby brother that the caravan wasn't the only life he could have. Maybe they'd come up to Dalibor someday.

It'd be nice, she figured, for her siblings to have someone outside the caravan to call a roll model. Even better if she did Impress. And what if it was something high ranking? No, that would never happen to a trader like her. Besides, ranking whers had to stay close. She wouldn't be able to rejoin the caravan if she got a ranker like a Gold. Maybe not even with a sub-queen color. Assuming she even wanted to rejoin her caravan once all this was over.

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Ruriko
 Posted: Nov 8 2017, 04:46 PM
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Some vegetation that was beautiful to behold or sweet to taste had sharp thorns to protect it. The apprentice Blacksmith felt, in short order, that this might apply to Caliska. She was prickly on the outside, yet she seemed to be easing up as they spoke. It was true that Malika spent too much of her time alone in the forge. She was a hard worker and did not tolerate gossip about others--unless it was merely stating the truth of a poor character who did wrong to another--and did not tolerate laziness. So perhaps her fellow candidates found her very formal and professional in attitude. She could not have known, or said. Yet she certainly did not spend her free time with them. That was given to her forge. Perhaps, in this new journey she was on, she might learn to spare a few moments here or there for her fellow weyrfolk? Especially her fellow candidates. She was without real friends, though she was acquainted with many since her arrival.

"Trust is one of the most precious and fragile things we may give. So easily is it broken. Not so easily repaired. One may not apologize to a clay pot he has smashed, and expect that it will fix this pot. The pot must be remade, rebuilt." She herself knew that she was not an easily trusting person. She liked to think she was skillful at reading a person. That she could tell which people were worthy of her trust, and which were to be suspected of not being worthy. Still, she was learning it was not so easy as all that. Sometimes, like today, people surprised you if given a chance. They could prove your thoughts of them inaccurate.

"I begin with a seed. Each person I give a seed. To them I leave it to water this seed, or to let it perish. To gift a seed is not always easy. These seeds are precious and we do not wish to see them die. Yet this is the first step, and perhaps if you begin with only one or two seeds, it is enough. One does not have to give away all of them." She offered a smile of her own, and then a nod of agreement. She only had her grandparents remaining to her of her blood kin--at least that she knew. Yet the people of her caravan were like family to her. While she wondered what it was like to have flesh and blood siblings, she was fortunate to have people of her own age that felt like siblings. She sorely missed them.

"Perhaps they wish to help you, and that is why they are 'on your case'? You are most fortunate to have siblings. I do not. My mother gave her life so that I may have my own. She did not survive my birthing." There was a hint of sadness to her tone, yet then she rolled her shoulders back shifting her stance, a determined expression on her face. "I live to honor what she has done. I wish to do what would make her proud." She had always wondered, growing up, if her mother would have been proud of her. What she was like. Mablevi and Malik, her grandmother and the grandfather she was named for, assured her that she would have been. Still, it was hard to grow up knowing your mother had died giving birth to you. There had been periods of self-blame for this. Many days she had wished she could have known the woman who bore her. To not have a mother, especially as a young woman, was not always easy. Still, her grandparents were more than good 'parents' to her. She was eternally grateful to them for raising her.

Confidently, Malika assured the other candidate, "you will find your bond. They will see you have done well. Doing one's best is all that can ever be asked. Your best is always good enough. It should be to you, and should be to those you call siblings." Her encouragement sounded so affirmative, as though she truly believed her words. In speaking, Malika spoke with conviction. As if she believed what she said was true, and so possibly made it easier for others to do the same. Then, in lieu of her earlier words to the taller candidate, she said, "tell me about these siblings, please. I would be pleased to hear." It was a suggestion, really. Sometimes it was easier to speak of others than it was to speak of oneself. From what little she could gather, Caliska was fond of her siblings. It was likely a 'safe' topic. A building block. A seed.

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summerrain
 Posted: Nov 8 2017, 05:48 PM
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She started talking about trust, using some fancy words to try to explain herself. Caliska held one hand out flat in front of Kenai, who sat at the hand signal. She listened quietly as the girl spoke, and then gave her a slightly confused look when Malika asked about her siblings. She relaxed again when the other girl explained herself, and secretly wondered if this girl was the luckier. She had never known her lost mother, and though she was probably pained by that lack of knowledge, the loss itself had probably not been very emotionally taxing. Caliska still carried around the weight of that loss, though she rarely showed it.

"Well, there's four of us total," she began with a shrug. "I'm the oldest. Caliet's seventeen, and Karino just turned fifteen. My brother Calar's only eight." There was a chance that he wouldn't even remember their mother and father, given that their parents had died turns ago. "Caliet's always giving me a hard time for not bein' friendly enough. Ma used to say the same." It was the first time she'd really ever mentioned either of her parents. Maybe Malika would notice her choice of words, maybe not. "Least you had other family to take you in." True, many caravans were mostly family, siblings and cousins and so on, but Caliska's parents had been the oddity in theirs. Neran had taken her in after the Doomfall that had killed her parents, but he wasn't able to take care of all four of them. Especially not little Calar.

"Calar was talkin' bout dragons before I left," she continued after a moment. "He's not old enough yet, but maybe he'll get Searched at one of the Holds once he is." It'd be nice for him to find something outside the caravan that he wanted. Something for him to strive toward. "Caliet would've done better in a Crafthall somewhere, I think. Karino... She's kinda like me. Little rough around the edges." But Karino knew what she wanted. Caliska felt like she was just floating around sometimes. Right now, she was only trying so hard in lessons and chores because she'd decided that if she was going to do something, she'd do it right.

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Ruriko
 Posted: Nov 9 2017, 05:16 PM
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Caliska was quiet while she spoke, but that was not a bad thing, in Malika's eyes. It seemed as though she was listening. This was good--perhaps something she was saying would get through to her, and aid her in being better able to start trying to build trust with others. There was a momentary expression of confusion which soon cleared shortly thereafter. As Caliska began to speak, Mali listened with interest.

Because she was a good listener, and paid full attention when others spoke, the candidate did not miss the use of the term 'used to say'. It told her a few things. One was that the woman Caliska called mother was no longer alive, or she had gone somewhere and Caliska had not seen her in some time. The other was that it had happened when the taller girl was old enough to have remembered the things she said. It was interesting to hear even the minor descriptions of each of the three siblings. She again wondered what it would be like to have some of her own. Two sisters and one brother...what must have that been like? To have those people related to you, by blood, that you had grown up with? Shared the deepest parts of yourself with? She thought it must be like having a sister-friend. That was what they called those closest to them. It was not uncommon for her people to have more than one husband or wife, either. Sister-wives and brother-husbands were a reality of life for her people, one that Mali would not understand might be looked down upon elsewhere. Having more people to work together, to love one another, to raise babies together...it was a wonderful thing, to her people.

"They sound to my ears like wonderful individuals. Which one is closest to your heart? Or do they all measure equal?" Not having siblings of her own, yet having best friends or sister-friends, she would not be certain if one loved siblings all the same. Even parents tended to have favorite children. Even if the good ones did much to not let it show, and treated all equally, it was still known to be true. More gently, she inquired, "your mother...she is no longer with you?" This could mean in the sense of death, or that she had gone. In a place where everyone shared freely, asking such questions was not considered personal or taboo--not among her people. She had been here for a couple of seasons now, and was learning that people did not always take well to questions that she might find perfectly acceptable to ask. Rude questions were not polite, or crude ones. Yet there were almost no 'wrong questions' among her caravan. Honesty was valued. Trust might have been harder for Mali to give than many others, but she did not shy from answering questions, if asked. That did not mean she trusted a person just because she would.

"Do you think they may join you here? A craft is an honorable thing, as is becoming a dragonrider," the dark skinned girl commented adamantly. She was proud that she could both Stand for whers, and also pursue her craft. It made her heart and life feel full. At the moment, she was only lacking in friendships here. She had been so occupied that she simply had not bothered to make time. She only felt the sting of it a little, as of late. The more time that passed, having grown up in a close knit community, the more she would begin to feel it, unless she were to make friends. She had no desire for relationships beyond that. She did not feel she had the time, nor was it the right time besides. Candidates and wherlings were forbidden them. Unlike many, she didn't struggle with this rule.
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summerrain
 Posted: Nov 10 2017, 12:59 PM
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The other girl listened silently as Caliska spoke about her family. The question caught her off guard, though. "They're my siblings, I love them all," she said after a moment. "But... I'm closer to my sisters than I am to my brother. He was only six when I left my caravan..." And a lot could happen in two turns. It hadn't happened to her, but it could easily happen to the others. "I'm hopin' none of them caught that sickness." It hadn't been caught right away, and some of Dalibor's own had up and disappeared. It was entirely possible that the few caravans of the west had gotten sick too.

When Malika asked about her mother, Caliska hesitated, then nodded. "Ma and pa both died in the Doomfall," she said softly. Kenai whined and nuzzled her hand, and she ran her fingers through his fur again. "Caliet took it 'specially hard. I don't know if Calar even remembers 'em." Why was she telling a near-stranger about her family anyway? She barely knew Malika, and they rarely spoke outside of lessons. But... Maybe there was a part of her who wanted a friend. She glanced down at her hound, and decided to blame him for this. He was the one who'd approached Malika in the first place, after all.

"Oh, I have no idea," she admitted. "Maybe. I don't think they'd be allowed to leave alone like I was though. Not with all that's goin' on."The sickness, and Faranth-knew-what-else that had been discovered in the South... Hopefully things on the caravan's trade route hadn't gotten too bad. "Maybe I'll write 'em a letter soon," she mused. It had been a while, and until recently she hadn't been confidant enough in her writing to send them anything. Wait. Was there even anyone in the caravan who could read? "Karino's still young enough that she could become an apprentice in somethin' if she wanted, but I don't think Caliet is. And Calar's too young to sign up for anythin'."


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Ruriko
 Posted: Nov 11 2017, 09:14 PM
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Malika gave a nod. She understood that sometimes it was siblings of the same gender that were closest anyways. So it was hardly surprising to hear that Caliska got along well with them. Yet then when the age was factored in, it made even more sense. Add that to the fact that Malika knew Caliska had been here a few turns...she probably did not even know the boy that well. After all, children changed much as they aged during that period. He would be constantly changing until he was in his late teens, and then there were of course changes as people grew as individuals even as adults. When the sickness was mentioned, Mali nodded, lips drawn tighter momentarily.

"I, too, wished that I might have a firelizard during that time. If I might send a letter to make an inquiry after their well being, I would be much more at ease. I have to believe that they did not become ill. This illness was spread from those who ventured out in the expedition in the South. I do not think our people would have come into contact with anyone carrying. They would have been warned to stay away, and not drawn near if plague might be spread. Truly I believe your people would do likewise, yes?" The thought that her grandparents might grow ill and perish made her stomach turn, like a stew stirred over a fire too rapidly. She knew that there was no way of knowing. What she did not know was that she would be receiving a letter in the next couple of days to ask after her own health and state that none of her people had been affected, but had heard and steered clear of Weyrs and Holds until it had passed. They had a system of caves they mapped--large ones to stay at if need be while they could stay at neither Weyr or Hold.

When Caliska spoke next, Malika's expression grew immediately sympathetic. She spoke, and her voice reflected the truth of the words. "My heart bleeds for you, truly. Their loss must have been a great one. I cannot claim to understand what your own heart suffered, or still does, at that loss. Yet I can well imagine." She hesitated a moment, her expression thoughtful. Not everyone believed as her people did, after all. Still, there were things that would help a person to remind them of, in times of loss and grief. Doomfall had been a quite a few turns ago, now. Yet they still would apply. If Caliska would find something helpful in those words...well, she would chance it, then.

"My people believe that a person does not ever truly die. They will live on so long as the heart and memories hold them. When one dies, their body feeds this planet. They nourish Pern, and become a part of it. They are everywhere, and inside of you. They live, in you, and all around you. In those that remember them, and whose hearts hold them dear. They are never truly gone, in this way." These things were very private things, these beliefs. They were not often shared with an 'outsider'--a person who was not of her caravan, or of their people. Most would simply not understand, or they would close their minds to ideas that were different from what they knew. Still, she did not think that her grandfather or grandmother would have minded her trying to bring comfort. They would understand, even if Caliska's response was not a positive one, that her intentions had been right.

Mali nodded in understanding. Most people never left. She had been an exception, and of course there might be others. Yet most never wanted to be anything other than what they were. It was a beautiful life, and she missed it many days. Yet she was independent and strong. She had not been afraid to carve her own path, to leave and discover what life might have in store for her here, at Dalibor. She knew that she would be a Smith, and that she would work towards becoming a Master. No matter what happened, this she was certain of. Nothing would stand in the way of that. Yet to perhaps have an even more exciting and meaningful life...well, this was worth the missing of her grandparents and way of life. This was her adventure, and her life. She wanted it to be full as it could be.

"A letter is a wonderful idea, if you have someone who might know the faces of your siblings and send it on its way. Unless you intend to ask a dragonrider to do so? Ah, yet again, I wish I might have a firelizard of my own to send messages. A companion of that nature I think I might enjoy--though it may take time away from my work." She spent so much time alone in the forge and it had, in truth, started to become a little lonesome. She would not have minded a companion who could ease this, though she did not want to enter into it irresponsibly. It might be some time before another wher hatching. There had just been one, and neither the copper belonging to Zel nor the gold belonging to Nevitheran was due to run, so far as she knew. So it might be many months, many sevendays, before a wher hatching. There were no guarantees that by then, she'd even bond.

"Do you think they would consider joining you here? To Stand for the wher? Perhaps they might be Searched, even. Anything may happen in this life." She believed nothing could be known when it came to what would happen in life. It might happen, or it might not. Unless Caliska's brother and sisters aged out, who was to say they might not be Searched?
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summerrain
 Posted: Nov 24 2017, 09:54 PM
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She had a point. But days had passed between when the illness first showed up and when the sick were quarantined. There was still a chance that someone had unintentionally taken the sickness to Western or Crescent before Dalibor began to enforce the quarantine. "But we didn't even know it was a plague 'till days later," she said after a moment. "How could anyone else have knows before us?" Well, except the new Weyr in the south, since the plague had originated there. She left it at that, though, not really wanting to ponder the fates of her siblings if they had fallen victim. Sure, some of Dalibor's sick people had recovered, but plenty more had died. Riders, Handlers, Crafters, and at least one Weyrling.

When the other girl began to speak of her caravan's beliefs, Caliska was caught by surprise. Often, trading caravans kept their beliefs to themselves simply because few people in the Holds cared enough to learn about beliefs that were different. Then she gave a small smile. "That's kinda like what Ma used ta tell me," she admitted. "She talked about the flow of energy. That it's all just bein' borrowed, and that we gotta give it back eventually." She tilted her head up to look at the stars that shimmered far above their heads. Kenai, instead of waiting for her to throw the stick again, laid down at her feet. "Livin' on in memories, though... I like that one." It was kind of like how everyone knew the name Moreta, from the ballad Moreta's Ride. Even though Moreta had died a long time ago, people still knew her because of that song.

"Work yerself too hard and you won't have anythin' worth rememberin'," she said after a moment, glancing back over at the other girl. "Stuff's all well and good, but you can't always bring things with you. Workin' yerself every day is no fun anyway. And the Handlers said bein' a Wherling takes all our time, so we won't get much chance to do our own thing if we Impress." Babies were time-consuming, after all, regardless of species. At least hatchling whers were somewhat capable of defending themselves. That was more than most mammals could say. "That's actually why I been leavin' Kenai in the kennels. I might not have the time to take care of him and a hatchling wher, so it's good for him to get used to the kennels now, rather than changin' things up on him all of a sudden. Don't want him to feel like he's bein' replaced, after all. It's easier if we both get used to not bein' together all the time before I get all busy." There, the truth she hadn't wanted to give earlier. The truth was that she'd spent almost all her time with Kenai since saving him, and now that she was a Candidate, she wasn't able to spend all her time with him anymore. If she Impressed, she'd have even less time to spend with him, at least until Graduation. And it was easier on both of them to get used to the separation without a third mind getting in the middle of it.

Would her siblings come to Dalibor? She honestly had no idea. They hadn't wanted to send her to Dalibor without another person along, but she'd adamantly refused. And they had eventually let her simply because of her skill as a hunter. Caliet was no hunter, and Karino and Calar were both too young to leave on their own. "Well, you got one thing right," she said after a moment. "There's no tellin' what could happen, even just tomorrow. Nobody can really tell the future." She grinned. "Which is why you should make the most of each day, and do more than just workin' all the time." The change in her tone implied that she was simply joking, as she knew how hard it could be to put one's work aside. "You'll just burn out of ya work too much." She put her hands behind her head and looked at the stars again. Despite her frustration at not being allowed to hunt alone, it was nice to have the same place to sleep every day, to know where she was going to find her next meal. The stability, at least, she appreciated.


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Ruriko
 Posted: Jan 13 2018, 03:22 AM
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Mali knew there was simply no way to honestly give a guarantee that the plague had not reached their family or friends elsewhere on Pern. It was not impossible, or even improbable. If she were to try and rationalize it or excuse the possibility, she'd only be foolishly trying to gloss it over for them both. She was not that sort of person, and from what she could gather of Caliska, nor was the other young woman. So, she merely offered an empathetic expression, showing she fully shared in the other's concerns and commiserated.

"We cannot know, and to worry is to waste energy on an uncertainty. Instead I will choose to hope. Hope is a great and powerful thing. I will hold fast to it, and not burden my being with worries that may never come to fruition. I will only hope steadfastly that they do not." Her grandparents had told her that worry was a wasted emotion that drained one's energy and burdened one's self, often needlessly. If she could do nothing to change a thing, worrying would not benefit anyone--least of all herself.

"Yes, that is precisely the way of it. That is what my people also say, too." Still, she had not thought there were others who thought of death in such a manner. Often, trying to explain their beliefs and traditions resulted in being looked at askance, as though they were oddities for it. She wondered where Caliska's mother had come by such a way of thinking. Perhaps someone had once shared this belief with the girl's mother, as she was now sharing it with her? That was speculation for another time, perhaps. A soft smile graced her lips, as she agreed, "I, too, like it." She was pleased that she might have given the girl something to hold to, and brighten her days some.

The dark-skinned candidate was incredibly dedicated to her work. Yet there was a ring of truth in what her fellow candidate said. In fact, she had not been the first to even speak it. Malika not only showed dedication, but perhaps was overly dedicated. She could have taken some time to herself, if she really wanted. Instead she put in so many extra candlemarks at the forge. She never socialized outside of lessons. She knew that once she bonded, everything would change. Her primary focus would be her wher, until they graduated and she might have more time for her craft again. So she was trying to walk the tables as soon as she might. At eighteen, she should, in her mind, have already done so. It was because candidate chores and lessons took up time, too, that she had not been able to as of yet. Still, she sincerely felt that if she did not bond, she could do so by nineteen or twenty turns. Yet...perhaps she was placing too much expectation on herself. She was not simply a 'smith apprentice any longer. She was also a candidate. One who would bond when some of her fellows did, and need to form relationships. True that up until now, it had not seemed so important. Yet when was the last time she truly did something else that did not involve chores, lessons or her craft? Meals were eaten, baths were taken, self care was a necessary must. Yet anything beyond these things...no, Caliska was not wrong. She was merely giving voice to a truth Mali had been avoiding.

"You are not wrong," the tall young woman admitted, though there was a hint of stubborn begrudging there. Then, standing a little taller still, a tilt to her head that did not hide it stung her pride a bit to admit it, "I do not know the way of making...friends. Among my own people, all are friend--one people, one family. Here is not the same. So many people. All different. They do not follow a way of life in unison with all. They do not share my beliefs and I think I must often appear strange to them when I speak my truths." It did not make her comfortable to to speak of this. Yet if she was to be honest with herself, part of the reason she had not sought in any way to really socialize beyond what was necessary was because she did not feel she necessarily fit in. She knew she had much to contribute and that there was much she wanted to do for this place that was now her home. So long as she was here, she wanted to help. To do right by all, and to show herself capable and worthy of the wher she might bond. Yet if she had no one to call friend or ally, and was known only very little...it might hinder her. It might make others not wish to trust her, and that would simply not do.

She was able to respond with favor to the other's explanation. "It is good you are focused and realistic about the future. To think ahead is to ensure better success. I am sure he and you will be better for it in the long run." She knew that many, many candidates had pets. Some a number of them. Yet no two persons were the same. If Caliska wanted to devote her sole, or most of, her attention to her wher, then that was the right thing for her to do when the time came. Mali was not going to impose her own opinions or suggestions on that particular subject. It was simply not her place to do so.

Again, her fellow candidate suggested she do 'more than simply work' at her craft. While it nettled her a little, and perhaps once had been enough, often things were restated for the purpose of letting them 'sink in'. She knew some--if not most--people were apt to do it. Even herself, she was certain. It was easy to let her pride surge forth, and argue that she found her craft to be important and thus would continue to make it her primary focus outside of her duties as a candidate. She was quiet but a moment, however, before she allowed herself to speak, her voice calm, with less pride in it than she felt inside, and level.

"What is done for 'fun' at this place?" No matter that she'd been here months now...she simply had not bothered to ask, nor to join in and be social, to know what others did that was not work. Perhaps Caliska could tell her--or better yet, show her? Not the sort to impose, she did not know the other candidate well enough to even suggest it. If offered, though...well, she would not allow her pride to turn the other down.
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summerrain
 Posted: Jan 19 2018, 11:57 PM
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Cali felt like they'd basically talked out their conversation about the plague. All that was left to do was to hope they heard from one of the sea-bound groups of traders, if their caravans happened to meet up in either Crescent or Western Hold. There wasn't much else to be done, other than sending a letter, and those tended to be unreliable for traders. When it was revealed that their caravans had similar beliefs, Caliska raised an eyebrow in surprise. Most trader caravans had their own system of beliefs, and it was rare for them to overlap at all.

When Malika mentioned her difficulty making friends, Cali gave a wry grin and ran a hand through Kenai's fur again. "Took me a while to get used to it too," she admitted. "I don' really get along with many people here, either." For entirely different reasons. She kept most of her own beliefs to herself, so it was often her sharp tongue that got her into trouble. Especially her first few months of Candidacy. "After a few months, I stopped worrying 'bout how everyone saw me, an' remembered somethin' else Ma said when I was little. Those who mind don' matter, an' those who matter don' mind. The right people'll come along eventually, an' not everyone's meant to be your friend." It wasn't so much a belief of her caravan, more of a personal conviction her mother had held. But it was one that she'd come to appreciate more as she aged. To appreciate, and to understand.

"Our caravan had a hound breeder," she began suddenly, taking a seat on the grass next to her hound, who had laid down and shifted to one side and looked very relaxed. "He helped me when I first found Kenai, and he told me that yer not s'posed to let hounds meet for the first time in a place where they feel territorial. I thought it might be like that for whers. Safer for him, and for whoever picks me. Probably for me too, actually." She wasn't just doing it for kicks. Hounds weren't like flits, they didn't have a mental connection to the handler. It was up to the handler to train the hound because they didn't naturally understand the way dragonkin did.

When no response was given to her once again saying that work wasn't everything, Cali ran her hand through her hair again. "I'm bein' too nosy, sorry," she muttered, glancing away in slight embarrassment. "My sisters would always tell me to mind my own business too." Course, them being sisters meant they didn't feel the need to be polite about it, as strangers were more apt to do. Instead of elaborating, she left it at that.

"Fun? Depends on the person, really," she said with a shrug. "I like spendin' time with Kenai when we're not in chores or lessons. I see people swimmin' in the lake in summer, and in the warm ends of spring and autumn. I sometimes get in some target practice, to keep my aim sharp. I guess I could try to teach you to shoot a bow, if you want to learn," she added as an afterthought. She'd never taught anyone how to shoot before, but she could always try. "Yer a smith, so you probably got strong arms, yeah? Might be pretty good at a bow, too."


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Ruriko
 Posted: Feb 10 2018, 08:55 PM
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Cali wasn't the only one who felt that the discussion on the plague could go no further. There was no resolve for it but to wait. That was the sensible thing to do, and that was what she would do. Wait, and hope. When the other young woman spoke again, Malika felt a sense of kinship. So she, too, was having the same difficulty? It was not hard to bond with a person over similarities. Especially if they were about a situation a person found themselves in. There was no way the other candidate could have known that Malika had her own sharp tongue, and that she had also had to bite it many a time, for it had gotten her into trouble in the past. She was learning, though, and trying to do her grandparents and people proud here at Dalibor.

"Wise words," she agreed, mulling them over a moment. "One should accept all facets of your being to be a true friend. They will not shy from you because the see something they do not necessarily like. They are not worthy of your best if they cannot endure your worst." She wondered if Caliska and she might not become friends. After all, they came from similar backgrounds and even seemed to share similar thoughts and ways of thinking. Not necessarily identical, or even so similar that someone might mistake them as being from the same caravan--especially since all of her people were dark skinned and eyed, and Cali was certainly not. Still, it was enough that Mali thought there was a fair wind blowing for the chances of building such a bond with the other girl. When she sat down, Malika gathered her long parka underneath her, and joined her, sitting cross legged so that she sat across from the other young woman, listening keenly as she spoke.

"I know some of what it is to raise such a creature. I enjoy them and they are fine aid in hunting. Yet I do not know near enough. I would not think of such a thing. The folk who keep the icehowlers do not separate them from their whers or dragons. I know not the mental capacities of each creature. Perhaps your way is safest," she agreed, acknowledging she knew not in the least which way was for the best. Each person would likely do as they would, and hopefully have success in their choice. That Caliska was doing as she felt was safest and best was showing care and foresight. She could not fault that, in any way. She had no pets of her own to worry about. She would not likely seek one until after she had a wher--though because it might take a long time, there was no guarantee that she would not have one before then. Simply that, at this point, she had not sought to.

A look of surprise crossed the dark eyed young woman's face when Caliska apologized for 'being nosy'. She did not immediately connect why she would say such a thing. Malika had given no indication that she felt the other candidate was being nosy in any way. Then, realizing that perhaps she was referring to her contemplative silence, she reassured, "I am merely allowing the words to ferment. I did not mean it to seem I did not wish to give an answer. Your words were heard, and are valid. I should like to reflect upon them further. Do not fear you were being 'nosy'. I am of a mind to tell you if you are." She flashed a smile, teeth white as the fallen snow in her dark face.

Listening again as her fellow candidate spoke, she pondered. She was a decent enough swimmer. Strong, perhaps, even. It was something she might consider, though it seemed almost 'too social' a step for her to go at alone. She gave Caliska a grateful expression, for offering to teach one a skill was a thing of great respect and honor among her people. She inclined her head, a sort of 'bow' of acknowledgment, and replied honestly, "I already do know the way of the bow. I am a fair shot, though have room for growth. It would be an honor to be shown your skill with it. I may yet learn further." She was honest about being a 'fair shot'. Yet she had not practiced like Caliska had, and would soon find that she indeed did have much to learn before she was able to be as proficient at it as someone who trained with it far more. To have someone to shoot with--that was the real gift. "To have someone to practice with would bring fire to my hearth." Meaning, though perhaps Caliska might not grasp it fully, that it would warm her heart. The metaphor, hopefully, would be understood. She smiled to accompany her words, and then, "Do you have a place of practice?" She had not actually practiced in quite some time. She'd been singularly focused on her lessons and chores, and in her free time, Smithing. It was true her arms were strong. She could easily draw any bow--and had snapped a few strings before she learned what it could handle. Still, that did not mean she could aim as well as her fellow candidate. She hit the bullseye only half of the time.
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summerrain
 Posted: Feb 21 2018, 03:48 PM
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Caliska turned to the other girl as she spoke, and she waited until she joined her on the ground before responding. "No matter how bad you mess up, a real friend's always got your back," she agreed. "And they're the ones ta call you out for bein' a deadglow." When she started talking about her decision to keep Kenai in the kennels, she nodded.

"If I'd raised him here, it might be different," she admitted. "But most of his life we spent travelin'. I dunno how he's gonna react to a hatchling movin' into his space. I can eventually get 'em to the point where they'll be around each other without me worryin' 'bout 'em." She looked over at the other girl. "I wanna be sure I can trust 'em both to behave before I keep Kenai in my room for good, is all," she explained simply. "Make sure they got their own spaces already set up an' such." Maybe she wasn't doing a very good job at explaining, but in her mind it was the best option. Since she'd found Kenai in the snow, he'd been at her side constantly. He'd been the only one beside her. Adding a wher, especially a hatchling, might get dangerous if Kenai started getting protective or possessive. She had no idea what her wher would be like, so it was better to wait and see.

When the other woman assured her she wasn't being nosy, she relaxed a bit. She was used to making people mad, but not so used to wanting to get along. With her siblings, they got along without trying. With strangers, that wasn't as easy. "I appreciate that," she admitted. "Can't stand people who use pretty words to hide the truth. Gettin' caught in a lie's a good way to lose someone else's trust forever."

Caliska actually laughed when Mali mentioned that she had room to learn more. "Always more ta learn," she said. "But a lot of it just comes from gettin' out there and havin' ta hunt for yer food." She pointed off toward the lake. "There's this big ol' tree at the edge of the lake that I was usin' when I first got here, but I had one too many close calls with someone else's flit so I stopped. There's a target range off that way--" she pointed off somewhere to the left of where they were, "that I like to use instead. It ain't very well-lit at night unless someone's already there, though." She was quite used to having to hunt for things in the dark. Back when she'd traveled with her caravan, she would leave their camp after dark to hunt for the next day's meat. Her level of success had increased as her experience did, of course. Her hand lowered back to her lap. "I like usin' it after lessons and chores. Right 'round dawn. Sometimes someone else'll be there, but it's often pretty quiet." She leaned back on her hands. One thing she'd never learned how to do is to make her own bows. It wasn't just about carving the wood, but about treating it in ways that traders couldn't. At least she wouldn't have to worry about teaching Malika the basics of shooting. "Let me know when you wanna get some practice in."


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