Log Kitchen Duty

The kitchen area is large but dim, occupying one of the larger caverns off of the main living area. The complex scent instantly impresses you - baking bread, fresh klah, roasting meats, the tang of herbs hanging from the rafters. Through the bustling crowd of cooks and drudges, you can see the small alcoves which notch the southern edge of the cavern, some serving as storage rooms for food, and others for general supplies. One tunnel leads below ground, to a medium sized cold-storage room, lined with ice. The northern edge of the room houses several immense hearths, spits, and baking ovens, at which the Weyr's food is prepared. A warming hearth near the entrance to the living cavern always has a meal set out for a rider who might be on an odd schedule, as well as a fresh pot of klah. The eastern wall contains what candidates and drudges affectionately refer to as 'tuber corner' - a series of sinks, the entrance to the dry goods cavern, and a careful arrangement of worktables for food preparation of all kinds. The cheery room is busy and loud, but you can usually be heard over the general hum of activity.
Obvious exits:
Living Caverns Supplies

It's time for afternoon chores for all Candidates, and apparently Essiach's been posted to kitchen duty. And he doesn't look particularly happy about standing over a giant pile of tubers. For the most part much of the kitchen staff have left for their afternoon break between the noon meal and the evening meal, which leaves Essiach alone in the room with only one or two other people. "After you're done those tubers, get working on the fingerroots, would'ya?" reminds one of the kitchen workers. Essiach heaves a heavy sigh and continues on peeling and washing the Weyr's tubers.

Iona appears slightly furtively out of the storerooms, beams a particularly bright smile at the same kitchen worker who's halfway to directing her over to the tuber corner as well, picks up an apron hanging from a nail like she's lived at Ista all her life and all but bounces over towards the corner, tying the strings as she goes. "Hi!" she begins brightly, knife in one hand and first tuber in the other almost before she's stopped, and then, upon seeing who it is: "Oh for… Sssh!"

Essiach glances over at the bubbly, bright Iona, nonchalantly muttering 'Hey' and turning back to the tubers. Almost instantly he does a double-take and emits a none-too-masculine scream, jumping nearly out of his skin. The knife makes a small leap from his hand into the giant pile of tubers. "Shells, shards, and crackdust! What are you doing here?" Essiach doesn't sound all that happy about Iona's appearance, and he must notice his tone for then he adds more softly: "You scared the life out of me, lovey."

"Shut up!" Iona hisses, casting a glance back towards the kitchen workers who've all turned to stare. "It's ok!" she calls back to them. "He's still got all his fingers!" She drops the tuber she's holding and fishes for his knife. "Peeling tubers, clearly." Her hair's tied back today, which (she thinks) makes her look slightly younger, and her heavy eye make-up is down to a minimum. She sidles a little bit closer to Essiach. "You keep asking me that question, and I'm going to ask it right back!" Again.

Essiach jumps to his own defense, matching Iona's mood with one of his own. "I'm only a Candidate because they Searched my little sister and she can't be here without supervision," he says, dropping his voice so that the other kitchen workers won't be able to hear their conversation without being obvious about eavesdropping. "You can't be a Candidate. You have a dragon already. Or is this your fake identity you're using? Did Harper Apprentice Ona get Searched?" he asks snidely, his tone suggesting he might be a little sore over the situation still.

"Oh, I bet your little sister just loves you hanging around her all the time!" Iona sticks Essiach's knife in a tuber in front of him and starts on one of her own as if she's been peeling tubers all her life. "You know, I don't think he ever /did/ ask me my name. He was all 'you need a Candidate knot, go to the barracks' and I just did what I'm told. I've never been a Candidate before," she adds, with just a little too much enthusiasm. "it's quite fun! Anyway," she carries on apparently determined to provoke, "how do you know I'm not really a Candidate and that one time you just happened to catch me on my sister's gold and drew all the wrong conclusions, huh?"

Essiach hmm's to himself shortly, feigning being wrapped up in brief contemplation. "Well, it's not that Lisy can't be here by herself but it's better for everyone if I'm here to watch over her. There are boys here. Boys she likes to talk to, and boys who like to talk to her, and no one is very happy over it. Except maybe the boy." This all muttered to himself over Iona's conversation. Apparently he's not going to play nice again today. But then he snorts indignantly at the Fortian Weyrwoman. "You might be a crafty young woman, love, but you aren't /that/ crafty. No Weyrwoman would let their younger sibling ride so frequently Between on their dragon - all those times you visited me in Tillek? You'd be addle-brained to think a Weyr would allow their weyrwoman to rent out her queen for the whims of her sister like that! Now stop poking fun at what a special honour this is for some of the Hold-bred Candidates here."

"Oh well," Iona grins impishly. "I tried. Although I did come up to Tillek a couple of times with my cousin actually, 'cause Orlaith was full of eggs. But it wasn't so much fun, that." One tuber, finished, is tossed into the bucket, and she starts on the next one. "I'm not poking fun at /anyone's/ honour," she goes on, only sounding a trifle more serious. "It's not my fault if the Weyr don't check who they're Searching! Anyway, Mr. Nothing-Will-Keep-Me-From-The-Sea," (apparently she might just still be a little snitty about that last conversation as well), "it's all right for you to make out with me and whoever you like but not okay for your sister to? How old is she anyway?"

Essiach picks up his knife and the attached tuber scornfully and begins to peel it and cut it into appropriate pieces to be boiled. "You could have been honest with them and corrected them on their mistake," he reminds, plucking up another tuber. "And I'm just as close to the sea here as I was in the Hold, I might add." He even points in the general direction of the sea. "Lisyana is /thirteen/ Turns old! If she Impresses then there isn't a whole lot anyone can do to save her from her fate but she's only a Candidate, she hasn't Impressed, and should she be left Standing come hatching day, my family wants her maidenhood intact and her innocent mind none the wiser about those sorts of things." He pauses and then turns to brandish his peeling knife at her in a very maternal fashion, going even so far as putting his free hand on his hip. "And don't you go behind my back and tell her anything about love or sex or so help me…"

"Oh, but it's more fun this way!" Iona rejoins spiritedly. "'Sides, it comes in useful, much easier to get places with a Candidate knot on, no-one really takes much notice of you." And then Essiach sets off about his sister, and she falls silent, stares at him throughout his speech, and then right at the end she ducks her head and appears to be very interested in tuber peel all. "I was thirteen when I impressed," she finally confides, sounding very mutinous indeed.

Essiach holds up a tuber for emphasis. "What about this is more fun than being a weyrwoman and getting your way with whatever you wish?" He goes about peeling the tuber, stealing sidelong glances at his assigned partner. "That's what I'm saying. Would you serious be the girl you are today if you hadn't Impressed?" he replies, keeping his voice down. "I mean, I've never met any other girls who go to strange Holds where no one knows them and claims to be something they're not just to have a good time with boys."

"I do /not/ get my way the whole time," Iona grumbles, but quieter now. She keeps going with the tubers, faster than before. "And I like cooking and baking and I hardly ever get a chance to do it except when I go home and I didn't claim to be something I'm not just for a good time with you and I guess I would be different, 'cause I wouldn't have Orlaith and I can't imagine her not being there, not now, and for all I know I'd have slept with even more men than I actually have, since she doesn't actually even like boys all that much but," now she's got a lump in her throat that's she's trying very hard to disguise, "obviously not you seeing you don't even seem to like me all that much any more."

Essiach continues on with his chore, considerably slower than Iona is able to accomplish the same task. "If you like cooking and baking then why don't you just waltz into the kitchens and help out? Who's going to stop you? And it's not like you don't have at least some spare time to do that kind of thing since you have enough time to come here and play Candidate." He tosses his hair out of his eyes with a shake of his head to the side and glances over at her shortly at the mention of 'more men'. And then Iona metaphorically stabs him. "Ona-love, I do like you," he assures her, much of his previous bad mood brushed off for the meantime. "You just drive me crazy sometimes. But that's my favourite part about you."

"Because when I do that there's instantly three people around asking me what I want to do and then trying to bring me all the ingredients I need and then they won't even let me wash up afterwards!" Iona has apparently tried. "It's just sometimes I feel like I'm going to forget what it's like to be normal and that scares me and I haven't got so much spare time," she rushes on from that confession, "I sent back and said I'd caught a cold too bad to between with actually." She throws the next peeled tuber into the bucket with a little too much force, it almost misses the top altogether. "If that's your favourite part about me," she demands, still keeping her head firmly down, "then why do you…" She's interrupted by a yell from one of the kitchen assistants to run over and lend her a hand, and Iona's flung her knife down and bolted to the other side of the kitchen almost before she's finished asking.

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