Braving the Baths

Baths (#5705J)
Polished tiles glow underneath, through the humid steam that is the inevitable accompaniment to the baths; in a colorful mosaic they spread their graceful pictures, the disarray and languor of bodies nude: dragon, human, 'lizard. The pool seduces long and broad in the center of the antechamber, about which the walkway crowns its way, an outer ring of relative dryness circled yet again by a series of stout wooden benches and hooks for cast-off clothing. Stacks of soft white towels pile loosely in large baskets, inviting indulgence and envelopment in fluffy clouds of warmth.
The mosaics stream along tiles that dive into the central pool, coalescing into patterns along an underwater bench which circumscribes the bath before fading into blue-green waves and swirls that show faintly through the deepest waters. Time is nonexistant here, the cares of the world outside slip away in weightless luxury. Pots of herbs placed at strategic intervals invite you to 'add' exotic scents; sweetsand is available, for foaming 'bubbles'. All rumors of the hedonistic pleasure enjoyed by weyrfolk seem to be confirmed here - indulge yourself!
Rhikiad is here.
Obvious exits:

Valiant sailing ship navigates the swirls and whirls of the unpredictable waters, breaking through waves before dipping into troughs. Powered by some unknown force, it curves about, moving away from a dangerous 'cliff' and on into more intrepid waters. Oh yes, human-powered ship is propelled just a little deeper, given a bit of a push before the wave from a larger bathing inhabitant causes it to dip alarmingly and then list to the side before taking on water and sinking. "Damn," curses Rhikiad, another of the pool's inhabitants, watching as some kid's toy boat proceeds to sink to the bottom of the pool.

Auburn-dark hair ripples in a negligent tumble to nearly mid-back on this teen, just as a forelock seems to fall decadently to either side of his brow, often spilling over his gaze with rakish daring. Light flashes along those reddish locks of his, causing it to shine to burnished copper at just the least provocation. Hints of a carefree nature are exposed in the irises of his almond-shaped jaded green eyes, where stolen flecks of a sundered gilt fleck their impish depths as well. His masculine features are finely angled; the lines drawn with the same subtle touch that grants his skin its slightly tanned cast. With his nearly aesthetic features and despite an almost gaunt appearance, a lithe grace characterizes his slightly less than average height just as the welcome swell of toned muscles leave his wiry form svelte.
A simple silver hoop earring adorns his left ear, rather small and easily unnoticed.
With a string-laced front to draw together the V-neckline, the hardy fabric of his shirt trims close to his torso in a shade just the lighter side of olive. Long sleeves fit the form of his arms, ending with cuffs often rolled to his elbows. The shirt is tucked into a pair of form-fitting and natural-hued wherhide pants that lightly follow the line of his legs, leaving plenty enough room for movement's ease. The cuffs of his pants drop to the top of his boots, those shoes dyed just a shade darker and looking all the more scruffy. His hair is drawn back into a loose braid, ending with a thong tie. Juppi regards you, perched atop Rhikiad's shoulder.
Rhikiad is 16 Turns, 3 months, and 18 days old.

Mika has had a long day and is surprised to find the baths more crowded than usual, though the misty haze of the bathing rooms makes it more difficult to make out exactly who happens to be in here. None of them look like R'ki so she can relax a little! "Evening…" She murmurs to whoever's in hearing range, though the profanity does catch her attention. And here she'd been hoping for a quiet night!

Rhikiad leans over, blindly swishing his hand around under the water to try to locate that sunken toy boat. He scowls a bit, straightening to try to peer through the waters, to locate the little toy. Finally, fingers close around the prow and he pulls it back to the surface, upending the thing so it is floatable once more. "Is it night already? Shells, I've been in here awhile."

Mika nods. "If not yet, it will be soon." MIka confirms as she finishes undressing and slides into the pool. The normally shy girl is still weyr bred enough not to be nervous around communal bathing, at least outside of very specific company.

Rhikiad sets the little toy boat back upon the surface of the water, giving it a little push to send it bobbling about once more. His eyes slip back up to watch Mika's progress into the water, and then flashing her a quick grin in greeting. "The hopefully the evening rush is past. Its nice in here when there are no kids about." He can just play like one with the little toy boat. Whoooooosh.

Mika nods. "I usually wait until later to come myself, but they've got me on early duty tomorrow." She shakes her head as she starts to scrub. Toys and play time were never something that she associated with baths herself, so the appeal of the boat is only minimal.

"Early duty for what?" is the question that begs to be asked when Mika phrases that just so. You know, sort of a small-talk thing while people are naked in the water together. Rhikiad swishes after the boat, ducking down 'til he is covered to the neck in the warm waters. Approaching one of the inflowing currents, it takes ahold of the little toy, propelling it quickly down to the other end of the bath before the teen can grab it. He just ends up splashing though, provoking a chuckle.

"Takeing around a couple of the newer candidates…" Mika's a little mystified as to why they'd pick /her/ for that. "But theyr'e starting them very early." Fortunately there weren't alot of new candidates yet so it should be too confusing.

The soft tamping of feet from outside heralds the arrival of Corana, dressed in her wintry best without hardly a scrap of skin showing save her face. She's got towels with her, her own supply of sweetsand on a basket, and upon entering, looks genuinely surprised to see anyone here at this late hour. Not pleasantly surprised, either. "Oh… sorry, didn't know there were…" she stops, licks her lips nervously, and blushes and turns away when she recognizes Rhikiad. All that long red hair, she didn't realize it was a boy there at first. "Mika, Rhikiad," she mutters by way of greeting, sheepishly.

Rhikiad is after that left-behind boat once again, before it can be claimed by the unforgiving depths of the bathing pool. Tan fingers barely brush it though before another current catches the child's toy, sending it spinning towards Mika. "Candidates? What… Oh! Like those people that get picked to be riders? How do you 'take them around'?" Another question rises to his lips at the sound of his name. The teen blinks and turns a bit in the waters, dark eyebrows lifting in question 'til he recognizes the rider. "Oh. Hi, Corana."

Mika nods, “Yes, a candidate. I just show them where everything is and introduce them to the people they're working for." She looks up as she hears Corana, "Weyrwoman," Her tone is formal. "It's just us here, ma'am." She tries to reassure, though she's not sure why Corana would actually need the reassurance.

Corana remains completely uncomfortable, looking down at the tiled floor instead of at the figures in the pool nearby. "Oh, I know," Corana replies to Mika's comment, still flushed, "But you deserve your privacy, and I can… come back later." She makes to turn, haltingly, but stays for a moment longer while she fidgets with the towel and basket under her arm. "How are you both?" she asks, as awkwardly as anything she's said tonight, though the only reason she's staying is because she's pondering if she went back up to her weyr if she'd be too tired later to come all the way back down later on tonight.

Rhikiad splashes forward to reclaim the low-floating toy boat, plucking it from the water once more to dump out any water that might have gotten inside it. "Sounds really boring. I'd much rather just sort of bumble around 'til I got it right. Much more fun that way. Sure, you might get yelled at for going and doing things you aren't supposed to, like I did when I first came -although I do still yet yelled at now and again." His grin quirks a little lopsidedly. The boat is set back down and giving a bit of a push to propel it over some motion-born waves towards the edge of the bath. He glances away from the toy for a moment to peer oddly at Corana, "Privacy? In a communal bath?" He won't hide his confusion, for he looks just as perplexed as his voice sounds. Blink. And then he goes WAY in another direction, "Only ones that want privacy, I think are the people that usually have sex try to take that bath further back. Or that's my experience. I don't think Mika and I are going to do that." And the teen will just keep right on going. "Pretty good though." Grin.

Mika gives Rhikiad a look that is somewhere between trying to decide if he's a tunnel snake in disguise, a lunatic, or a Q'luin clone. She shakes her head and grimaces at him, turning her attention completely to Corana. "It's a public baths, ma'am. There /are/ more private ones for those who want the privacy… I think some of them are empty if you'd be more comfortable there?" She /thought/ she remembered that Corana was hold bred, but surely 3 turns as a rider did something about the normal hold-bred vs. weyr bred differences? At least when it came to the baths.

Ah, but most people aren't the bull-headed Corana, who changes in many ways and stays as unchanging as a fossil in others. "If I wanted a private bath, I'd go back to the Weyrwoman's weyr and have it there. But I don't. I came here," and she won't explain aloud why that is, but simply leaves the statement obvious that she doesn't wish to go there. She turns rather crimson at the ideas Rhikiad is explaining, but seems to avoid commenting on them except to say, "If there's any personal experience involved in that, I don't want to know it." Firm enough to know she means business, meek enough to tell she's still embarrassed.

Rhikiad gets that kind of look quite often, and so the teen'll just blink right on back at Mika. The toy boat is pushed right on up to the edge of the bath, with the teen right there as well. He stands up some, reaching to scoop up some scented soapsand (moongazer like always) and dump it into the little boat 'til it rides rather low in the water. His attention flickers back to Corana, flashing her a toothy grin. "Oh, I wouldn't. Just saying. So, are you going to get in, or keep turning that pretty shade of red? I'll scrub your back if you want me to? Or help you wash your hair?"

Mika edges away from Rhikiad. "Um, that might not be the best way to make her comfortable…" She tells him softly, though her tone indicates she doesn't really expect it to do any good.

Chewing her lip, Corana replies sharply to Rhikiad's offer with, "Uh, no. Thanks." Likely she took it out of context, but she's been in close encounters with one too many sleazy men to think of any of their gender as innocent anymore. Even Rhikiad, with his tub toys, which she barely glimpses out of the corner of her eye. To Mika, Corana will just nod and respond with, "Yeah, you're right. I think I… will retire after all." The embarrassment might be worth skipping a bath for one night. She turns, towel and sand tucked under an arm, and makes for the door.

Rhikiad flickers a glance over towards Mika, and then looks towards Corana rather expectantly. He blinks though at her, and then nods his head. "Oh. Okay. Well, if you ever want met to, I can. Sometimes it is hard to reach back there, and one can use some help." He flashes her another toothy grin before going back to his toy boat. He gives it a good push, sending it to the deeper reaches of the pool.

Rhikiad follows after the toy boat, watching it careful as some of the waves picked up from Mika's hair washing cause it to bobble alarmingly. "Did you need help washing your hair? Although it looks like you are doing a pretty good job of it." Seeing as she is here, and is something of a captive audience, the teen will continue to babble at her. "So what exactly do candidates do? I've never seen one before. Well, besides you, and all I remember you doing is selling eggs. But I don't think they sell firelizard eggs."

Mika rinses out her hair and moves a little further away. "No thank you… I can manage." Weyr bred she may be, but these kinds of offers are not something she is willing to trust, not given his all to recent commentary. "No, we do whatever really needs done. the candidates with crafts tend to help out with those crafts. We learn about dragons, especially the hold bred, so they know what to expect on the sands. Do lots of chores, not much different than being a drudge except for the hatchings and egg touchings and classes…"

Rhikiad nods his head vaguely to Mika's response to the hair washing, but he is all eyes for that toy boat. He deliberately bobbles once in the water, causing the toy to ride the waves but not tip yet. "Egg touchings? What is that? You mean you touch some eggs?" He blinks and glances back over to her, question in his eyes.

Mika gives Rhikiad a long disbelieving look. "Candidates stand for /dragon/ eggs. To get familiar with them when they're hard the clutch mother usually lets the candidates come in and touch them and get used to being around them so especially the hold bred don't panic when they start rocking and hatching…" It's hard to tell if she's trying to be sarcastic or if Rhikiad has just surprised her that much, "You do realize that dragons hatch out of eggs… you /did/ actually get your harper lessons right?"'

Rhikiad blinks for a moment at Mika's tone, stopping in his bobbling movements. The toy boat that he has been following around wallows about with the stilling of the water, momentarily forgotten. "I know that. I mean, I know about the candidates and dragons hatching out of egg, I didn't know they get to touch the eggs and stuff." He looks vaguely embarrassed, dropping down in the bath waters again 'til he is hidden to the neck. "I tried -the lessons. But they got boring, and I'd do other things, and then the harper would throw things at me and yell at me and tell me to leave. So I did." Fickle attentions bring him back to the forgotten toy boat.

It's too sharding cold to take bathes in the lake anymore, and he no longer has carte blanch use of a private one, so now Q'luin has to deal with the masses in the public bathes again. Sometimes that isn't such a bad thing. The steam roils and rolls about as he pushes through the curtain into the cloud that turns his black to grey. Slow purposeful strides take the tall man to a bench where he starts dumping off items into two distinct piles: clean and dirty.

There isn't much in the way of 'masses' at the moment in the baths. For the most part it's boiled down to Rhikiad and Mika, most of the others having drifted out to other things. Mika is favoring Rhikiad with a long, appraising look that one is usually reserved for those who discover new and random species of fuzzy things. Not quite repelled, just very, very confused. "The harper threw things at you?" She couldn't really imagine that…

Rhikiad draws in a breath, cheeks puffing out before releasing it toward the soapsand laden toy boat. Alas, it doesn't move forward any, just keeps bobbling about in the water. "Yeah. Whatever he could get in his hands. I think maybe he figured if he bounced things off my head, I'd pay more attention. You know, because you do tend to pay attention when things like that happen. I tried though." Hands cup, sending a wave at his found boat, causing it to bobble a bit more heavily in the water. Blink. "Hey, Q'luin."

Q'luin is naked in no time and slips languidly into the sultry warmth of the bathes. His named being uttered catches him off guard, so he's paused at knee depth to squint in the dim light. It isn't that he couldn't recognize Rhikiad's voice, but he heard another one and is trying to figure out who it is. "Red." Ah, there they are, "And the drudge called Mika. Evening." It's the boy's voice that calls to him though, so that is the direction the soaking commences.

It's evening heading into night, and the baths are mostly empty, except for the pool with Rhikiad, Mika, and Q'luin. The latter seems to be the most recent arival, just judging by the state of pruning involved in each. "Candidate still…" Mika says in response to Q'luin's title, though there's no force behind the statement at all. Then she turns to Rhikiad and shakes her head. "It might keep your attention but um… getting hit in the head that often really can't be good for you…"

Rhikiad rises up out of the water for a moment, and then sort of pushes forward, causing a more substantial wave to drift from him. Alas, it still doesn't sink that soapsand-filled toy boat he is playing around with in the deeper area of the bath. He glances over towards Q'luin, flashing him a quick welcoming grin, but his green-irised gaze flickers back to the boat. "I've been hit harder." Another bobble of his body and finally the boat rides the crest but doesn't keep its balance while dropping into the trough. It tips to the side, spilling moongazer scented soapsand before sinking under, much to Rhik's grinning delight.

"Ah, candidate. I just sent another your way," Q'luin informs as he sinks down into the pool until he disappears from sight. It isn't long, however, before he appears again, shaking water from the intensely black hair. "You sinking more ships, Red? That one taken by pirates too?" The tresses are slicked back as he rides Rhikiad's wave to the side to collect some soapsand.

Emilia will have made the quick dash from the resident's barracks to the baths in her robe which gets shucked to a bench. It was a bad aim and the robe slips to the floor but she is already stepping into the water and then sinking. Hands are busy trying to loosen her hair she tilts her head towards the other voices while sinking into the water. "Hello there?" is called in a cheerful warning to the assemblage as she aims towards that end.

Mika frowns, "I'm not sure that's a good thing." She says to Rhikiad, definitely chalking his oddities up to being hit one to many times in the head. "I've got a pair they want me to show around tomorrow morning…" So what's one more. Then she sees Emilia and shrinks down in the water up to her jawline. Great. Just what she needs…

Rhikiad's hands reach under the water to try to save that poor toy boat from sinking to the bottom yet again. "Only if I am the pirate," he murmurs, fingers finally locating the toy again to bring it to the surface. He upends it for the millionth time, before setting it to right and giving it a push away. Enough play with the child's toy for now. "Hi, Emilia," he drawls, glancing over the the bath-entering young woman.

"You don't stink bad enough," Q'luin blithely comments as he forces soapsand granules into his hair. A lather is worked up as he speaks to Mika, "This one is a weyrwoman's daughter." The rolling of his dark eyes might get missed in the fog drifting off the pool. Just about the time he's got a fine white crown of foam, Emilia walks in. "You following me?" The grin is drowned as he sinks under to rinse away the soap.

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