====November 5, 2013
====E'don, G'deon
====Two bronze pairs, young and old, briefly explore deeper currents.

Who E'don, G'deon
What Two bronze pairs, young and old, briefly explore deeper currents.
When Autumn, 9 months and 18 days until the 12th Pass
Where Beach, Southern Weyr

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Beach

An eerie mirror, the glass-quiet Sea of Azov: the clear waters stretch along the dark-pebbled shores, and along this narrow beach. Here the faintest lap of waves belies the calm beyond; here the rocks have been ground down into finest, softest sand - those observant would mark upon the similarity between it and the sands of the hatching grounds. The soft sand soaks up summer sunlight as a sponge; painfully hot during the warmer months, it is only truly pleasant at wintertime. Rocks rise to east and west, lichen-limned and green against the abyssal darkness of stone.
It is the twelfth day of Autumn and 83 degrees. The night is clear and bright, stars twinkling merrily in the darkness.


Far enough away from the hustle of other weyrlings, E'don has capitalized on the mild weather and earlier sunset to maneuver himself and his growing dragonet. Weyrling and dragon have brought themselves out to the shore of the beach. It's not that E'don has found himself out here often; Qianvaelth has seemed to become a dragon with a wary disposition near the sea, but with such a rapidly growing girth, it's only natural that the pair find a place that will give them a quiet repose. The young dragonet is sprawled out, belly and legs nestled into the sand as his rider dances around Qian's flank, running leather straps, shoddily done, across his neck. He seems ever so intent in his work, but he can be heard cursing under his breath as he tugs hard on one end of the leathers, only to have a piece snap and tear. "Ah shardin' poor leather. Ah, son of a'—" Someone might be replacing his straps soon.

Nylanth's preference ever since his own dragonet days has been after Rukbat has faded from the sky, and fifty-four Turns later, it's still the same, so it's no wonder that this far older bronze pair is also out and about on a nice autumn evening. During the day, Nylanth's footfalls come slowly, mindful of every movement. During the evening, he's just one dark mass, occasionally glittery, still moving slowly to match pace with his rider, but his footsteps are more fluid, almost impatient. G'deon is the far smaller creature walking just to Nylanth's left, and once his own lifemate alerts him to the presence of one of the weyrling pairs, he changes course accordingly. "Attention to detail sometimes comes with more difficulty when it's hard to see," the rider calls over to E'don, though the amusement is plain enough in his voice. Nylanth settles for a quiet, wordless greeting for the smaller bronze.

Qianvaelth, while still in his position, with wings raised just slightly to give his rider some room to move underneath them, is the first to notice Nylanth and G'deon's approach, letting out a low, vibrating groan in both greeting and gentle reminder to his rider. Someone is watching. The Weyrlingmaster's voice causing the bronze weyrling to start, his gangly frame jerking quickly up with attention; a forehead hits against one of Qian's spars with a muffled curse. "I wasn't — ppphhf — I wasn't making straps." Eyes squint through the darkness until the young man can make out the familiar shape of the older rider, and he's giving a salute, one that is all awkward and unwieldy in the dark. Hopefully Gids can see it. "I was fitting them. Easier to move about Qian out here— his couch is starting to feel claustrophobic with all this growing." One hand traces against the dragonet's flank, an affectionate, albeit reflective motion. "You out for a starlit walk, sir?" There's a flash of white, a toothy, teasing grin E'don throws the older man in the darkness.

"I said nothing about straps," G'deon replies, still rather amused. It just might be Nylanth's own mood influencing the rider's. All the better for E'don. "Only detail." He stops to glance upward and the countless stars, then reaches out a gnarled hand to press against Nylanth's lowered head. "A tradition of ours. Such a nice time to think, without the day's worries and duties clanging about in our heads." G'deon studies Qianvaelth a moment, then lets his hand fall from his own dragon's hide. "They do grow so quickly right about now. Finding any difficulties with it? Discomforts?"

"Oh, I assumed we were on that topic." E'don gives an experimental tug of one of the straps still intact across his dragon's neck, testing its resistance. "I don't really know how to make straps. Not big into leather-working, you know? More versed in looming drifting nets." It takes E'don a momentary pause to fully answer G'deon's question, and he hesitates, frowning slightly as he gives another tug of the leathers. "Aren't those two things one in the same? But sure; shards, definitely tons of difficulties and discomforts." The weyrling trails off momentarily to scratch at his shoulder blade, "It itches. For both of us. No matter how much oil I put on him, it can keep both of us up at night." He follows the old bronze rider's gaze upwards, nodding with a soft, timid hum in concurrence. "Quiet out here. That's why we like it. Helps having some piece of mind with all the chaos in the Barracks."

"Hmm," G'deon hums after that last, sounding as if he's in agreement. "It is a bit of a din at times, isn't it." Nylanth has taken a few steps closer to the water, his gaze intent on the gentle waves, where the stars are mirrored fitfully. G'deon watches his lifemate for a moment, then turns back to E'don, smiling. "I wish I had better news for you, but this might be one of those things you just need to wait out. Have you tried mixing numbweed with the oil? Might help ease the sleepless nights, at least. And ward off infection, should the growing hide split while you're not watching."

"Tell me about it— half the time either the dragons are squabbling or you have your bunkmates jabbering your ear off. Constantly." E'don's voice is edged with a lifting. Qianvaelth moves his head askance, leveling an eye over at the larger bronze, but he doesn't move to join him. There's a gentle rustle of wing spars readjusting themselves, but the young dragonet is for the moment, silent and still as a tree. "Numbweed eh? I've never thought about that— I suppose you learn some things when you've been riding a long time. I'll have to try that; in need of a good night's sleep. Haven't had a real restful night since impression." If G'deon can see well enough in the dark, he might see a sheepish look filter across the young rider's face, "I can't turn around without him growing another hand length. So much to do—" E'don trails off with a wistful lilt, before he's waving off the deep feeling by tugging at the straps again, "Arg, I cut these too short."

G'deon steps closer to the weyrling pair, leaving Nylanth to step into the waves, gradually reaching deep enough waters that he can begin to swim. "May I take a look?" the rider asks, indicating the nearest set of assembled straps. "If you're overly worried about actually trying these out, there are riders and weyrfolk who construct riding straps. It's good to know the mechanics, though. Any idea why?"

"Sure, be my guest." E'don acquiesces with an enthusiastic motion towards his dragon, sidestepping to give the bronze rider space. "Yeah, they'll show us, but will they make them for the weyrlings that suck at it?" He shoots G'deon a quick, cheeky smile before squinting through the dark at his instruction. "Well, I guess it's good to know so you don't kill yourself with poorly constructed straps." He jerks his hand down towards the ground for dramatic fashion, "It'd suck to have that short of a weyrlinghood." He shoots the rider a questionable look as he answers though. Clearly, this is a chance meeting turned lesson.

"Only for the truly hopeless," G'deon answers, regarding the straps. It may be dark, but the tease is plain in his voice. "Safety is a little more important in the end." He runs his fingers along the nearest strap, better to feel than see in the lack of light. "And yes, precisely." He tugs a little, then ducks under Qianvaelth's neck to check the other side. "Even if you don't construct them yourself, you will need to know how to check them. Diligence will save your hide. And ultimately his." Check complete, he rejoins E'don on the other side. "Make no mistake, it's the dragon that is most valuable to the Weyr. The fact your life is tied to his speaks in your favor."

"You'd be surprised at my ability to be completely hopeless," E'don seemingly mutters back with a sheepish rub of his neck, but he lapses into silence as he watches G'deon's outline work. Qianvaelth is silent and stock still as the older bronze rider works, that is, until his last statement, which causes a slight tremor; an agitated twitch of the hide. "Well, it's reassuring to know that my worth is only tied up to you, eh Qian?" He follows this up with a pat against the dragonet's hide. "Do they look okay?" He makes a motion in the dark to the straps in hand. "Not death traps?"

<Local> Qianvaelth creaks and groans with the sudden agitation of young oak in the wind. The whipping crack of bare branches cause a cacophony of rattling. « My rider is as valuable as me. » Comes the sharp echo of a tenor on the verge of an octave drop. « Without him, there is no me. We are of equal value. » There's a fierce crack of this weyrling's mindscape; his glen rattling of the brisk autumn wind of discontent.

"Don't be silly, that's not what I said at all," G'deon corrects, humor fading briefly as he lets his hand remain on Qianvaelth's neck for just a moment longer. "I said the dragon is most valuable. That implies relativity, and if you were not a good match for this young dragon, he would not have chosen you. I may need to create a lesson plan for attention to detail at this point." He waves it away, after removing that hand from the young dragon. From out on the water, a rumble can be heard, though Nylanth's dark hide has long since disappeared into the dark water. "I was merely trying to drill a little reality into all the other things we need to teach you before Thread appears in our skies once more." There is still an undercurrent of irritation in G'deon's voice, a tenseness in his dimly seen posture, but both relax gradually before he continues. "And no, those are not okay as they are now. Perhaps we should pair you with a tanner for a day so you can construct something that won't drop you the first moment Qianvaelth takes to the skies."

<Local> Those creaks and groans are met by a glacier's eternal chill, the scent of ancient ice mixing with fresh pine blown down on mountain's breeze. Starlight glitters off the babbling brook that is Nylanth's mindvoice this time of night, delighting in the smallest details, like the tiny fish that playfully nibble at his wings as he swims. « We are all as valuable as we make ourselves, » the older bronze's deep voice intones, dropping lower with the final syllable. « Without you, there is no he. We must each strive to equal each other. To do otherwise… » A breath of air aids the pause as moonlight joins the glittering stars, and a dolphin's distant chattering song dances along its own path. « To do otherwise is to lessen the value of the other. » (Nylanth)

"Yeah, I understand, sir." G'deon's reprimand earns a quick about-face from E'don, a sullen responder that is both bruised and terse. "It's sometimes overwhelming to the amount of responsibility I've walked into." Arms cross defensively against his chest, eyes roaming to look anywhere else but at the man's outline. "Never been around leather working, really. Mainly with the weavers and the net looming. This isn't my strong suit." Qian's intermittent twitching stalls suddenly. Sudden patience, indeed.

<Local> Qianvaelth's reaching boughs shrink back into the sapling groves it came from, too tender for the glacial winds. There's a soft lull in the din of forest chatter, but only momentarily before it starts back up again. « We all have our importance. » His hollow echo adds to Nylanth's intonation, and there's a favorability to the depth in his voice, a turn of late autumnal warmth.

G'deon stands stock-still for a few seconds, and while it's dark, it's still clear he's staring at E'don. Afte those few seconds, he laughs softly and reaches out to grip the weyrling's shoulder. "I apologize. I have seen Thread. Never thought I would see it again, and now that it's almost here, it—." His voice falters, and a moment later, the sounds of Nylanth's return can be heard across the water. "It consumes me," the older rider picks up a second later. Not quite what he was going to say originally. "And the thought of all you young people flying up to meet it, well." His hand falls, then a dripping Nylanth walks out of the waves, darkly bronze hide glistening like oil in what little light there is. "I wish to prepare you. Prepare you all. And it is bitter to know that somewhere, at some moment, that preparation will fail. The only question is, who will fall first?" His voice quavers toward the very end as he starts to turn toward Nylanth, who, after a low rumble toward the younger bronze, has already turned back toward the Weyr. "I will contact a tanner to work with you," Gid calls over his shoulder as he reaches for his own lifemate's neck this time, sea water and all.

<Local> Nylanth soaks in that autumnal warmth and winds it around the moonlit path of his mind, giving it a fog-like haze. « We do, » he agrees, voice fading as he and his own lifemate join in their own conversation, though he returns briefly with a puff of silverlined cedar. « And our time is waxing. Work hard, young Qianvaelth. Much will be asked of all of us soon, and many truths will become clear. » The stars fade from his mind, then the moonlight, then the path, leaving only the bubbling glacial stream that chills until it, too, fades from Qianvaelth's mind.

"I understand — it's daunting. All of it." E'don sounds with resigned sympathy, a nod that's both reverent and awkward. There's a depth to G'deon's speech that deals with thing the weyrling doesn't know what to do with, and the teen lapses into silence. He's bemused, makes a few false starts before nodding with understanding. "I'd — appreciate that, sir." To what, he doesn't specify, turning to slap his dragon's shoulder with a hearty pat. "Have a good night, sir." And then E'don is motioning his own dragon off the sands and to the Barracks.

<Local> Qianvaelth is eager to meet Nylanth's fading stream path with a littering of upstart trees, a visual twining of like-minds in a shared retreating landscape. « We will work towards that. » The soft timbre of warm heartwood echoing as the young bronze moves his mindscape off towards other distractions, autumnal sunlight dappling in tilted shadow.

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