====December 9, 2013
====G'deon, Hannah
====Dragon baths on the beach lead to both reminiscing and venting.

Who G'deon, Hannah
What Dragon baths on the beach lead to both reminiscing and venting.
When Winter, 6 months and 6 days until the 12th Pass
Where Beach, Southern Weyr

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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 twenty-fourth day of Winter and 70 degrees. It is partly cloudy, but still warm and bright. Clouds have started to drift across the sky again. The jungles are almost dry.

With initial morning duties out of the way, G'deon and Nylanth have made their way to the beach, the former with bucket, bag, and wide-headed brush, the latter with nothing but his darkly bronzen hide. Nylanth has already stepped into the water's shallows, just far enough where he can lie down. He lets out a low hum of contentment when the surface finally reaches his chest. G'deon is taking far longer. It's not as warm as it was, and he is not as young as he was. Thankfully he isn't stripping all the way. Board shorts and a dark, short-sleeved tunic remain before he begins wading out to join his lifemate.

Not long after G'deon's and Nylanth's arrival, the bright, sunny day has made its siren's call to Hannah: and so appears the pale queen and her rider. A little too chilly for something so skimpy as a bikini, the junior's attire consists of old blue shorts, rough at the hem, and an old white tunic which is worn over a pink bikini. Bucket in hand, she lugs the thing up the beach while Dhiammarath's glide is graceful, warbling a happy trill to Nylanth. "Seems we had the same idea," Hannah squints at G'deon's progress into the water, quirking an easy smile. "It's a good day for it, eh?" After which, she'll brave the chillier sea with a hiss, watching the little fishes swim beneath the calm, clear water.

Sunlight filters into the quiet solitude of a graceful rock garden; jade and sweetgrass blend as Dhiammarath touches lightly to the older, familiar bronze. A touch of wordless welcome, easy in the closeness of camaraderie.

After the first few steps, it is easier for G'deon to continue. By the time both bronze end bronzerider spot Hannah and Dhiammarath's presence, the rider has let go of the bucket, letting it bob away until it reaches the end of the rope tied to the rider's waist. He didn't feel like going all the way to the beach and back for when it's actually needed, apparently. He shades his eyes to spot Hannah on the beach, then waves to her, smiling. "Thought we'd take advantage while it's still quiet out here," he answers, letting the brush get good and soaked for the moment. Nylanth dips his head toward the young queen and emits another low hum, though he is otherwise careful not to move too much.

Nylanth welcomes the quiet sunlight and brushes it with delicate frost that scatters along the link, only to melt into dew. The rock garden is jointed by snow capped evergreens, their chilled scent fresh and crisp.

Not quite as inventive as G'deon is, Hannah holds her bucket up while wading into the calm waters. "That is ingenious," she comments to G'deon, "Next time, next time. For now, I'm grateful that the sea's so calm." Dhiammarath's slow recline into good washing position is done so that the wake of her waves aren't so large to disrupt bronze and rider. "It is the perfect time for it. The weyrlings are so young still. Do you remember that first bath? I do. Like it was yesterday. Although, it was a bit warmer than these waters. Ista always was the perfect little getaway island." A wistful note carries in her husky voice as she puts the sudsy brush to the pale, golden paw held out for her. An easy silence settles, for the goldrider doesn't feel the need to rush and fill the silence with inane chatter. The wind stirs gently, the sounds of lapping water, the splash that comes with the vigorous rub of brush to talons, and the distant sounds of people on the boardwalk complete a picture-perfect day.

Filtering in the scent of evergreens to the hints of green tea and sweet grass, Dhiammarath also allows the warmth of contentment to spread through the light link between the dragons. « So peaceful they are. » The calm of the jeweled tones that refract ruby, sapphire and jade belies an underscored tension felt in the hint of onyx.

"And High Reaches' barracks had that pool inside the barracks. Never quite warm, but warmer than this," G'deon reminisces. "Though I must admit, after spending so many Turns on our own Ista Isle, then those first few months in this time's, I feel soft." Nylanth ducks his head around to view both riders, and there might be a private joke to his own, as G'deon slaps the bronze's side with the flat of the brush. Not hard, but it makes a satisfying sound. "I do not hobble," confirms it before G'deon turns back to Hannah. "It is good to know, however, that this time still does have its getaways. We will all need our retreats, I think." He then sets to work on his own dragon, starting with the left flank.

Nylanth leaves the link exactly as it is, letting everything settle, as he himself sinks slowly through the silt of the shallows. « And a welcome peace at that, » the bronze replies, his voice ever a low, bass rumble.

"I remember the waterfall pools…" Hannah's voice trails off as she loses herself into the moment of reminiscing. When G'deon slaps Nylanth's hide, the goldrider shares a smile. "Hobble? For shame! You walk with dignity," comes her light tease to both rider and dragon. Dhiammarath huffs a sound of ladylike humor, though content to hold her wash-me pose. "It is good to have the getaways, especially now. When one needs to disappear and think." She chews her bottom lip, dipping the bruch into her bobbing bucket. Unlike G'deon, she keeps having to tug hers back. "G'deon…" Even though the silence after his name trails off without a real clear ending, an unspoken question lies within. A hestitation as if Hannah herself were hampered from asking.

« They deserve it. Soon enough it will be shattered. » The gentle words flow in shimmering tones of brilliance, yet still carry a heaviness that's hidden beneath the bright, airy sounds. Green tea strengthens in the scent as the flicker of candlelight against a twilight sky seeks momentary refuge from a hidden breeze.

G'deon is content to use only the sea water to scrub Nylanth's hide. It has not been so long since the last — they have to keep up good appearances for the weyrlings, you see. Even so, as G'deon moves from the flank to Nylanth's middle, the dull glitter of the dragon's true color shines brighter, show that he is indeed bronze, and not just a dark brown. At the silence after Hannah speaks his name, G'deon lets the brush dip back into the water and leaves it there so he can study her in that silence. "It's okay to speak your mind with me, Hannah. You know that, don't you?" He rests a hand on his lifemate's side. "You know Nyls and I better than anyone here, now. Save possibly Jesha and Iliad… when he's in his better mind."

And in that breeze and flickering candlelight, there are shadows, but Nylanth wills them away. It is not time. Not yet. Still, the pressure strains lightly against the borders of his own mind. « But we will kill it. » The declaration is dark but solid, holding a confident edge that wards off those shadows. « With fire and wit and our strength. »

Dhiammarath's sheer size and bulk make bathing her a difficult task, one that Hannah doesn't lapse on per se, but isn't always perfectly caught up on either. Thus, the sweetsand-filled bucket. "I know." The words are quietly spoken as silence falls again, though not in hesitation but in gathering her thoughts. The tantalizing whiff of something BBQing on the beach teases their senses for a moment before the sea breezes carry it away. "It's… difficult." This admission comes slowly, "To talk about it. I remember when I first came forward after speaking with Lanti, I had such — ideas. I feel like a silly girl. No one listens to me here, not like I thought they would. I got carried away, I think, in talking too much." Her hand slows as she speaks. "Thread is coming and I feel like I'm not sure why we are here. I feel lost sometimes. Like the only thing I felt I brought of worth here was experience and… I don't have even that. I suppose we're good at pumping out dragon babies." No bitterness, no rancor; just a sense of disjointed worth.

« Yes. » Such confidence Dhiammarath has in the bronze of their time; for they are joined in ways that's only shared with Sevareth and his rider. « We will. I do not lack confidence. » The onyx and obsidian of shadows are dispelled by Nylanth as once again her voice carries the clarity of brilliant jewels.

While the pale gold has a good nine feet of extra length on him, Nylanth's own bath is going quickly enough once G'deon resumes. He seems to only be focusing on some of the problem areas, which helps. The undersides of the dragon's legs and belly are included, though, as soon the dark one rises, letting water cascade down to drip back into the sea. G'deon's scrubbing slows to a stop again once Hannah begins sharing her thoughts. A gentle reminder from Nyls makes him resume a moment later, but it is half-hearted at best. "I… can sympathize," the rider replies in a quiet rumble not all that unlike Nylanth's own. For a short while, the only sound is that of nature, and of brushes scrubbing dragon hide. Then, "I feel like a tool, once well-used, well cared-for, now dusty and forgotten as it hangs on a wall." Eyes more grey than blue squint out toward the rest of the Azov for a moment as brow furrows. "To be honest, I do not understand it. I want to think the best, and Q'fex has been more receptive than any others I've encountered, but still…" He gives Hannah a side glance, his turn to struggle with thoughts. Or perhaps how much to say. "It feels like arrogance. I must keep checking to make sure it is not my own."

Nylanth's own points of light are those of sunlight on a mountain stream, or refracted against the melt of a glacier's side. Deep, a hint of blue surrounded by dazzling white that strays across the vision after it is gone. And as always, that scent of evergreen, though it is now joined by a faint whiff of whiskey and cinnamon, a dash of spent charcoal left to warm a brazier through the night. « The foe will be met, as it has always been met. My rider has doubts, but we are still strong. Not as youth is strong, perhaps, but in our minds we remain as solid as ever. »

Dhiammarath's bath is going much slower, but from the way Hannah moves and treats the pale queen this is the way of things. Attention to detail is given as every inch of her hide is getting a good, thorough cleaning. Or rather, pampering for that is exactly what this is. Nylanth is warbled gently at, amusement sparking in whirling blue eyes when he reminds G'deon to continue. "I did have arrogance when I first arrived," Hannah admits, "because I had just flown 'Fall. Dhiammarath had just been cleared as healthy. I could remember it like it was yesterday, and I was — I did everything all wrong." She turns to G'deon and bites her lip, but some measure of relief has settled on her features. "So it's not me? You feel the same way? But you, you've experienced Thread even more than I have. Longer, and more deeply. How could they doubt you?" Disbelief chokes these words as Dhiammarath's pampering is put on hold for just a moment as the junior wades closer to her friend. "I hope they listen to you. I stopped talking about it, because it did nothing good when I mentioned it. Except Lendai." A fondness for the senior softens her look and smoothes some of the worry. "She's always had faith in me."

Twining her own colors and scents with the bronze's, Dhiammarath weaves their link together in a way that facilitates further sharing of experiences, feelings, thoughts. The tranquility of the twilight garden with its carefully raked sand and flickering candlelight is the cornerstone of calm stability. « Youth comes with folly. » A wisdom greater than her turns speaks here. « You and yours do not need the strength of youth when you've got the strength of experience. »

G'deon scrubs for a while longer at Nylanth's belly, but the brush slows before he glances at Hannah again, his expression somber. "They do not know us, Hannah. They asked us here, but expecting more of what they already have rather than what they truly needed. And as our own riders proved that expectation false…" He trails off, a troubled expression appearing briefly while he inspects the brush. Nylanth does not prompt for more just then, though he watches the riders and Dhiammarath with large eyes that whirl in a collection of green highlighted with specks of blue and yellow both. "As for me, I am an old man, known by few of our own riders at this point, after all my time away. I am met with skepticism, grudging respect—." He might have said more, but instead he shakes his head and lets the brush lie in the water again. "But the weyrlings know me better now. And it is a start. Perhaps it is my own ego or cynicism, but they might be the best trained lot in the Weyr right now when it comes to Thread. At least, that is my goal. If we could just get our hands on more firestone, I could make certain of it," he finishes, frustration eking it's way in.

Subtly at first, shadows threaten to invade again, though they only tease the edges of Nylanth's mind, making their presence known amid the rock gardens and evergreens, but never strong enough to lessen those jewels and reflected sunlight. « With that experience comes memory, however. Our riders are hampered by those, while we are not. I do not know how to help him. Fear is a greater foe than Thread can ever be. »

Hannah finally returns to Dhiammarath, tucking her now-shortened hair behind her ears with wet, sudsy fingers. A deep breath is taken, but a shared burden is so much easier to carry than one alone. "Our babies have done really well in your capable hands," the junior comments with a quiet smile. "No, they don't know us. Not what we've seen, not what we can do. It's not like we can extract our memories to put on display," her tone is rueful as she resumes scrubbing. "I figure when the time comes… but I hope that your experience will be drawn upon. Some of them may have ridden longer than I've been alive, but there's dragonriding in an interval and there's dragonriding in a Pass. I've only ever been in a Pass except for this sojourn now. But if riding in an interval is anything like this?" She glances up from where she's paused with the brush over the elbow joint, "Then it's easy." Political shenanigans aside. "The firestone… G'deon, it troubles me greatly. We ask for shipments from the north, what can be spared, and what we get are crumbs. They say they're sending it, but are they? If so, where is this firestone going? We're half a turn out and there's not enough. Not enough." The reiteration at the end is born of the frustration of feeling powerless.

A balance found is a balance kept; Dhiammarath lets only the purity of thought filter through their connection, aiding to keep the shadows at bay that would destroy the light. Sand is sifted, the grains of crushed precious gemstones glittering in the gentle light. Confidence is warmth and sage, tickled with hints of citrus. « Fear is greater than Thread can ever be. » Easily does she agree with Nylanth. « We need to remind them that no matter what they desire, what will be… will be. »

G'deon clearly shares that frustration as he turns to finish scrubbing at Nylanth's legs. There is a dark frown on the older rider's face that further creases wrinkles already present. "If I still had my contacts… so few of the Smiths and Miners I knew came forward, but even so… there has only been one Pass between then and now. We cannot possibly be running out. The alternatives, however," he continues, voice turning gloomy as he glances at Hannah, distracted only by Nylanth lifting one of his paws from the water. This one, please. "We left a thriving community behind to join this? This Pern is a cesspool of distrust and outright hate. They are killing themselves, and they don't even realize it. Weyrs and Holds alike." He sets to scrubbing Nyls' paw, scrubbing almost harshly at the talons, though the bronze doesn't seem to mind it. "There were once mines on this continent, though. Are there no maps of those? Are they collapsed? Depleted?"

Nylanth shares that thought, his agreement a hum of light that shimmers over the whole, ruffling the branches of the evergreen forest and carrying the clean scent of mountain air and swirls through the citrus, enhancing rather than dispersing it. « When the time comes, they will lean on us, and we will not disappoint them. I have faith in the others. Our foe does not change. We do not change, though they are smaller now. » Carried on a sudden spray of fine snowflakes that glisten momentarily on the garden, then melt away. « It is their riders who cause worry. But I feel perhaps it has always been so. »

"Sometimes I wonder why we did. Why I did. But even before I made that decision I had already come forward and I trust your daughter, so there's a reason. There has to be," Hannah's tone is quiet, but fervent as she works hard on the side of her lifemate closest to G'deon. She's gentle, though, if a touch vigorous. "Not time is perfect, but I've never seen a time like this. Not all of them are filled with hate, but…" The dubious nature of the trail-off gives implication that enough are. "They'll see when Thread falls, won't they? All that hate will shift and churn and we'll see a new era. Hopefully one that favors females a little better." As to the question of firestone, she pauses just before climbing out of the water to crawl onto her lifemate's shoulder. Dhiammarath is too big and she's too short to do it all in the water. "I really don't know what is happening up north. Down here, there were, but. Where maps indicated a mine 'before', now the land is so vastly different that we've not found much of anything. A little bit here and there, but nothing to sustain a weyr."

As evergreen and citrus braid together, candlelight flickers off the flurries of snowflakes; beauty in strength and depth. « You are correct, of course. » A troublesome thought shades the clear sound of her voice. « I worry for the others' doubt. Dissent. Our foe doesn't change, but we are a people divided. » This thought ripples the sands of the tranquil garden, but nothing more than a ripple. Here, serenity reigns. The seed of maternal acceptance of all that is hers — this weyr — can be felt here; she does not give up on even the most stubborn of young (now timer) bonded pairs.

G'deon nods in agreement that things will change, though he also replies, "Provided our losses during those first 'Falls aren't too great." Such a doomsayer lately. A quiet splash indicates Nylanth's paw reentering the water, then the bronze lies down again so G'deon can haul himself up, needing to use one of his dragon's forelegs, as there are no straps to help him now. He then unties the bucket line from his waist and tosses it in front of his dragon, who then retrieves and returns it, holding it on one dark talon. Yes, they've done this a time or two before. "I have no idea how they find those mines in the first place. My own specialty was woodcrafting. Not a thing to do with Miners. Perhaps the firelizards know." Is he joking? There's no smile on his creased face right now. G'deon takes the bucket from Nylanth and carefully maneuvers so he can scrub the bronze's back, dipping his brush into the hauled water.

Nylanth is distracted by his lifemate long enough to allow some of those shadows to press in, though a puff of chilled air sends them scurrying again, forest thinning as the garden's sands shift. « This division makes us weaker. They must see it. Our kind must make them see it. »

Youth is in Hannah's favor in this task, allowing the younger woman to scramble around Dhiammarath's bulk like a small cleaner fish, armed with a brush. This, too, much like G'deon's and Nylanth's movements, is one that gives off the air of having been done many times before. Gold and her rider have settled into an easy rhythm of cleaning that allows for conversation. "I don't either. I just know what they tell me. Unless they're purposefully hiding it…" She bites her lip at that black thought. "I guess they could." Though Hannah remains dubious of firelizards able to do much in the way of finding mines. A small grin is flashed towards the bronzerider as she pauses, wiping her brow with the back of her hand. "This continent is so different from our old Southern, G'deon, that I wonder what we're going to find next. This place seems cursed."

A soothing ripple cool jade covers the shadows, quenching them as much as she can with the depth of her own confident presence. « We will, Nylanth. » Dhiammarath's voice holds surety and faith - faith in him, faith in their kind. « When the time comes, everything will change. » Hannah's worry is not hers, it would seem.

"I have fond memories of my old faire making their own little flames during a 'Fall while I was on ground crews," G'deon says in a low voice, just loud enough to carry. "They found it from somewhere. But for all I know, it could have been from weyrlings." He continues to carefully scrub the high places he can't reach from the water, but once that is done, the bucket is dropped beside Nylanth again, and G'deon makes his way down, splashing a great deal more than the bucket did.

Nylanth fights it at first, but not for long, acquiescence coming naturally as the gold's mind takes precedence. The shadows retreat altogether, leaving behind only the forest, the stream, the mountain breeze, and the light that Dhiammarath has provided.

It is not dominance but love that seeks to buffer them from the shadows of doubt and fear; Dhiammarath's presence gentle, never demanding. Never pushing. Candlelight is woven well against the forest, the steams and the mountains, highlighting the mental flurries as she rides the waves of light on cool jades, emeralds and sapphires. The afternoon is drenched in contentment for are they not alive? And getting pampered by the ones they love the most? That is what matters now, the rest is cast away. Worries for another day. A day that will come soon enough.

"I miss them," Hannah comments of her own faire which didn't make the two jumps through time. "Their little flames are rather cute, for how viciously they attacked." The day wears on as the washing gets done. Easy camaraderie is held between the pair of them as they exchange stories and news of the old times. Remembering the follies of past gathers and hatchings, and carefully navigating around the topics that would prick the festering wound of what's to come when Thread falls. It's an easy afternoon after such weighty topics that, while never quite leaving, subside enough to allow old friends to enjoy the rest of their time there.

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