==== December 31, 2013
==== Nathanael, S'yn
==== Nathanael dares to climb the cliffs overhanging the Black Rock river and gets his first dragon ride from an old friend.

Who Nathanael, S'yn
What Nathanael dares to climb the cliffs overhanging the Black Rock river and gets his first dragon ride from an old friend.
When There are 0 turns, 4 months and 0 days until the 12th pass.
Where Southern Weyr - River Cliffs

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River Cliffs
Towering cliffs topped with the verdant growth of brilliant greenery hover over the churning, steel-grey river far down below. The winding Black Rock River crashes against the base of the cliffs, churning as speed is slowly picked up over the rapids as it spills quickly towards the Caspian Lake, seen as a glimmering jewel in the distance. When the chilly grip of ghostly fog rolls in, it clings to the jungle that grows right to the very edge, giving the whole length of the river's cliffs an eerie sense of danger. In the distance, a feline's yowl may sometimes be heard. Dotting the towering cliffs are ledges; this is one of the best spots for those who seek a view in Southern.
It is the ninetieth 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.


Up! Up! Without wings the climb upwards onto the towering cliffs is not a venture to be taken lightly, which, of course, is exactly how Nathanael takes the climb. Eschewing the path in places the Seacrafter claws his way up, short blond hair catching in twigs as he moves upwards. Breaking out into the morning sunlight at the top Nathanael moves to stand right at the edge of the abyss not at all bothered by the height.

A flash of copper glints high above as sails filter the noontime light of Rukbat beaming down to bathe the cliffs in bright rays and make all the verdant colors of the jungle pop. Iaxryth banks into a gradually tightening spiral until the small, sparse bronze can land on one of the small ledges, wings fanning out in a bourbon display as balance is obtained before flipping shut and allowing his gangly rider to unclip himself and dismount with an easy motion, sliding down the suede side to land lightly and step a few paces away to peer over the ledge and whistle softly, though the sound is carried away by the rush of water and the breeze that seems to move steadily so far up. "It is an impressive view, Iax," S'yn agrees softly, though his cheeks color after a moment. "Yes, Ali might like it too. Maybe we'll bring her next time I've got some free time, huh?" He reaches over to smack the amber shoulder of his lifemate as the beast settles lazily down to fill much of the clearing with his bulk before noticing Nathanael on another ledge near them, though he has to squint briefly to determine the blond's identity before raising his arm in a broad wave.

The dragon spiraling down does catch the Seacrafter's eye, and he shades his blue blinkers from the glare to try to see if he knows this particular rider. It takes a moment to place the turn-older S'yn but when he does he waves energetically to the other boy, and skips closer once Iaxryth has settled himself. It would be a tragic shame after all, to be knocked off the side of the cliff by those much-bigger dragon wings! "Been a long time S'yn!" Nathanael says as he gets within speaking distance. "Didno' think I'd bee seein' ye 'gain!"

"Too long, old friend," S'yn agrees wryly as his amber eyes dance brightly in appreciation of their reunion. "But I'm afraid that I'm just a tetch harder to be rid of than that." A soft chuckle ripples up from the lean teenager, though his gaze turns toward Iaxryth with a snort. "Whatever happened to liking my stubbornness?" Eyes unfocus briefly and then roll at the response he gets, head shaking. "Anyway." The rider turns back to face the slightly older Seacrafter with a lopsided grin, a hand on his hip as the other gestures expressively for him. "Looks like you put a few inches on in my absence." Gaze roams up and down to take in Nathanael with a grin of approval. "I imagine it makes it a bit easier to haul those nets up over the side."

Nathanael grins as S'yn enters the little world of dragon-rider that Nathanael simply will never be a part of. "'alo Iaxryth!" the dragon is greeted once S'yn's attention has turned back. "Didno' mind, ye riders've been busy. 'n Pa'n I've been runnin' more 'n normal between 'e storms." Laugher glints in light blue eyes as they examine the rider before him. "Looks like ye've been doin' some growin of ye own, tryin' t' not look like a shrip next t' Iaxryth?" Not being able to hold off any longer, Nathanael takes the last step towards his friend and gives him a bro hug, one arm around the back, hard as it is with the height difference between them.

A faint grimace flickers over S'yn's features at the reminder of how busy they've been as riders, a glimmer of pain there and gone in his eyes. The young rider latches onto the next bits voraciously, wishing to not think about some of the more unpleasant aspects of his new profession presently. "Yeah? It's good you're getting so much business though, right? Good marks to be had in transport I understand, not to mention fish, seeing as everyone's gotta eat." He offers a wry grin for that fact, being no stranger to the need for copious amounts of nourishment. Shoulders roll in a self depreciating shrug at the remark of his added inches. "Eh, I think they're right about something being in the water that makes folks grow so tall." A soft chuckle. "Then 'gain, my da wasn't exactly short either, so maybe I get it from him?" When the Seacrafter hugs him the taller teen wraps his arms tightly around the other to hug him in return, arms having gotten a lot stronger in the intervening Turn thanks to the insane rigors of dragonriding. It makes it easy for the bronzerider to lift Nathanael up off the ground for several heartbeats before setting his friend back on the ground safely, a soft chuckle escaping him. "Sorry, I forget how light people are compared to firestone."

A peal of laughter echoes out over the cliffside as Nathanael's feet leave the ground for just a moment. "'s not like ye was a light weight afore! Tho' I was so hopin' t' be gainin' on ye in height by now." The Seacrafter spreads his hands, palms up to the sky, "Suppose 'll have t' be workin' on it still tho'. Mayhap I need t' be drinkin' some've 'e Weyr water more'n that what we draw in 'e complex." Turning around Nathanael strides back to the edge of the cliffs, and looks downward. "Figure this kina sight's jus' 'e norm for ye now, ain't it?"

A wry expression flickers across S'yn's face to accompany the soft chuckle. "Nah, though I certainly wasn't throwing around sacks of firestone either." Another shrug for that change of his daily ritual since Iaxryth found him. "Maybe you ought to." Amber eyes sparkle with brief amusement. "But that's quite a haul for a glass of water." When the shorter teen wanders back over to the edge the rider follows, drinking in the lake below and the crashing waterfall. "You mean seeing stuff so high up?" The young rider considers that for several heartbeats with a faint frown before shaking his head. "I still find the views breathtaking, even if I see them routinely. I doubt it'll ever be, as you say, 'normal' for me. Nature is pretty amazing no matter what angle you view it from."

The slight frown is missed as Nathanael's gaze is fixed on the lay of the land before him. A bright smile cascades over his lips, the beauty not at all lost upon him. "Good. 't wouldno' do if'n ye was too high up 'n 'e clouds to miss 'e beauty all 'round." Turning back to his friend Nathanael cocks his head slightly as he looks up. "S. Tell me. What's 'i like up 'here?" Though T'ral was nice enough to let him sit astride Esanth, Nathanael has yet to actually fly upon dragon-back.

"Wouldn't miss it for all the marks on Pern," S'yn notes with a little chuckle, looking down to meet the azure gaze of the Seacrafter when he turns about. The question takes a heartbeat or two to process before eyebrows raise as expression indicates realization has dawned on the teen. "Ah, flying?" He glances back toward Iaxryth and considers it for a bit. "Well, it's sort of like riding on runnerbeast, but it's usually a lot windier. When things get acrobatic you're pretty glad for the straps, since it's a long way down." He chuckles dryly before giving the Apprentice a double blink as another realization smites him. "You mean you haven't ever flown before?"

"Wouldno' be wantin' t' fall!" Nathanael chuckles lightly, then cocks his head the other way. "'Course I ain't never! 'm Seacrafter, not a bird t' be flyin' away. Ain't got no reason t' be flittin 'round in 'e sky." Spinning abruptly, his arms cast out for emphasis, he points to the cliff with its view of the Sea of Azov spreading out before them. "'s cliff's bout as 'igh as I ever been." Turning again, this time allowing his hands to fall to his sides Nathanael grins cheekily upwards at this friend.

"S'pose that's true," S'yn admits, rubbing at the back of his neck with a slightly embarrassed chuckle. "I guess I just figured living so close to the Weyr with all the riders you know you'd have flown at least once." A faint flicker of chagrin colors his expression before he shrugs lightly, though the whirling about nets a chuckle due to the faintly ridiculous look of it. "Well," the rider drawls as his companion looks cheekily up at him, "I do seem to have this dragon that is just lazing about and not doing anything useful at the moment…" His gaze unfocuses and he turns to look at Iaxryth with a smirk, chuckling. "Yes, you lazy bones. Who else would I be talking about?" An eye roll. "Hey, it's not like your carcass isn't big enough to hold us several times over, so quit your whining." He turns back to Nathanael with a chortle. "Sorry, you'd think bronze's would have drive but apparently someone forgot to give Iax one. Anyway, you wanna ride?"

Nathanael giggles at S'yn's chagrin. It isn't the first time a rider has been surprised by the things that Nathanael never quite got around to doing. It cuts off abruptly as S'yn makes his offer though. The Seacrafter blinks between S'yn, then to the looming Iaxryth, then back to S'yn. "You serious?" Nathanael's jaw is hanging just slightly as he continues to look between the two. "'s that 'llowed?"

Seeing as it's S'yn's turn to surprise the Seacrafter his grin turns wry in response to the incredulous query. "Of course I'm serious, 'thanael. I wouldn't offer if I wasn't." His head tilts at the second question, a glance given to the bronze before he turns a faintly curious expression on the shorter teen. "Why wouldn't it be allowed? Surely as his rider I have a say for who I conduct on my bond and who I don't?" Amusement ripples through the young teen as his amber eyes dance merrily. "So, in summation, yes I am, yes it is, and do you want a ride?"

Silence, sudden and utter surprised silence, follows S'yn's declaration. "Uh, YES." Then pause. And upward look at the long haul it would be onto Iaxryth's back, then back to S'yn. "What do I do?" Esanth is a LOT smaller! Here you go S'yn, you have Nathanael's complete and undivided attention for as long as you want it.

Amber eyes brighten gleefully when the Seacrafter finally answers the initial query, the grin on S'yn's face broadening brightly. "Well, I'm afraid climbing is the first thing, though it seems you don't mind that too much." He moves toward Iaxryth with a beckoning arm gesture, the sparse dragon laid out to put him as low to the ground as his withers get. The straps with their loops are gestured to, the young rider offering a helpful explanation to accompany his gesticulating. "You grab onto those and stick your toes in as you get higher to scramble up. Don't worry about looking pretty while you do it, the first few times you always look ridiculous, especially when you're all limb like me." Stepping back the younger teen waves his companion ahead of him. "Once you get up top just straddle between the neckridges and pretend you're on a runner. I'll strap you in once I'm up, and I'll go behind you to make sure you don't fall, cool?"

Nathanael listens intently to the younger boy give directions, eyeing the distance between the ground and the neckridge where S'yn has told him to sit speculatively. "'s like climbin' 'e rigging on 'e boat." Except this one isn't swaying back and forth upon the waves. Grabbing the straps as S'yn has indicated Nathanael scrambles upwards and onto the bronze back, settling himself firmly. "Tho' ye 're much more solid!" Nathanael echoes his thoughts once he is firmly astride, this time speaking directly to the bronze between his legs.

"That… is actually a pretty apt comparison," S'yn admits after a moment of thought, following the shorter teen up the straps as promised to ensure that no mishaps are had. He balances near the top to strap the Seacrafter in with the extra passenger straps before swinging up in front of Nathanael to straddle the broad beast himself, securing his own person. A soft chuckle ripples from the youth a few moments after the Apprentice's commentary to Iaxryth, turning his head to gaze an amber eye at the blonde speculatively with amusement. "He says it would be much easier if he were less solid, but apparently that would be impractical and detrimental to his place among the living." He gives their straps one last check before the sparse dragon stands, stretching out the aureate wings and giving a couple of test flaps before taking the laziest take off possible. Several lumbering steps are taken toward the edge of the protruding ledge, wings folding shut as the bronze drops off the cliff to plummet for several heartbeats before the wings snap open to allow sails to catch the heady updraft and send them soaring sunward, pressing his passengers into his firm back with a rumble that sounds distinctively like a chuckle. "Show off," S'yn snorts.

Yup, Nathanael screams. A high, loud pitched scream as they drop straight down, but not one with any hint of fear in it. Instead it is the scream one hears when they plunge straight down on Splash Mountain. Or those tower of doom rides. As they even out the scream shuts off to be replaced with peals of laughter that shake Nathanael's small body from blond tips to sandaled feet. It takes long moments of flying for the Seacrafter to still the giggles enough to speak, though they continue to intersperse him beginning to talk. "T'was awesome S'yn! Does," giggle, "he take off like 'hat often?" Another giggle wracks his small body. Clearly, Nathanael is having the time of his life.

Ears ring but eardrums seem intact after that high-pitched shriek issuing from the Seacrafter, though S'yn's head twitches briefly as he makes amusing expressions that are fortunately not visible to his passenger as he works his jaw to pop his ears. "Ngh." Twitch. Ahem. Iaxryth meanwhile carries on as if nothing unusual had occurred, wings beating as necessary to glide between thermals and undulating beneath the pair as he flies them along the ribbon of the river that guides them toward the Sea of Azov. "Yeah?" The rider twists his spine to peer back at Nathanael, grinning broadly at the youth. "And frequently, actually. Much easier than using all his Faranth given hindquarter muscles, apparently." He snorts with a chuckle to follow. "Lazy beast." Despite the derogatory words his tone is affectionate for the dragon carrying them so effortlessly. "So, ten out of ten, would do again?"

"ELEVEN." Nathanael's voice is a bit breathless as he still works to control the giggles of delight pouring from him as the exhilaration of being up so high causes his heart to beat faster then any human's should be. As they fly, the teen cranes his head over the side, not at all bothered by the height. "'s different lookin, 'ey! 's Pa's boat!" Trusting the straps around him completely, and the young rider before him Nathanael leans out slightly to point to a lonely boat out on the water. "'s so small!"

A low chuckle rolls up from S'yn's belly, delighted at how much fun his companion is having on dragon-back. "Well, if you ever want a lift, you know where to find me." The taller teen leans over to look at the boats beneath them on the sea, the bronze banking helpfully for several heartbeats to give them a better view of the tiny craft so far below. "Yeah, distance does that for sure. Not much different from when the object is a long ways away, I'd think, though I've only been sailing once, actually." The dragon's sails billow as he catches a strong thermal that takes them still higher, the winds stronger up this high above the jungle and sea. "Iax, I'm not sure that's such a good—" The admonishment gets cut off suddenly as the lithe dragon tilts upward, rising and then suddenly curling in a wing in such a way that they roll, doing a complete inversion that has the beast's passengers briefly upside down before the pirouette is completed and they're sailing on blithely once again. "—idea."

"Love sailin' but it ain't got nothin' on this…" Nathanael's words are cut off again abruptly as the dragon pulls his air rolling stunt. Letting go Nathanael trusts completely in the straps to keep him abroad Iaxryth's sturdy neck, his blond hair whipping wildly in the wind as his world twirls. "So sharding awesome!!!" is the teen's gleeful response, as he tucks his hands back onto the straps. The grin across Nathanael's face threatens to split his sea-chapped lips right in half.

The Seacrafter's response allows S'yn to relax and enjoy the daring acrobatics his bronze is doing in an attempt to faze or perhaps impress the virgin passenger. Bright laughter joins the gleeful exclamation, the amber eyes sparkling as the wind strips tears from them. "Well, Iax, I guess you might as well do your worst." The svelte dragon rumbles, turning his angular head to glance back at his passengers with that whirling eye colored emerald before the wings catch another updraft and the bronze does a pair of lazy loops, giving them a long look at the water beneath them as they arc upside-down. The rider allows his hands to dangle beneath them while they are inverted, letting out a loud whoop of youthful elation as the inertia presses them against the copper flesh on the bottom of the arcs.

Warned this time, something about the mischief in the whirling eye that turned back on them, Nathanael DOES tuck one hand firmly into the straps, the other reaching for the water. It is a moment of pure zen, Nathanael poised between the sky and water, strapped to one and reaching down to the other. The moment is broken as the dragon spins back right side up with a youthful whoop! "S'yn, If'n I'd be in 'e shoes, I'd never be settin' down till 'e was told to!"

Bright laughter bubbles back in answer to that commentary from his passenger. "Well, his stamina isn't exactly infinite, but I know what you mean." S'yn's grin is broad when he turns around to face Nathanael as Iaxryth glides along for a time, simply undulating beneath them. "Their agility is definitely useful when it comes to meeting Thread I'm told." There is a flicker of some darker emotion for half a second before the young rider gently pats his lifemate's shoulder in affection. "Who knows, clutches are getting bigger and more frequent, so maybe you'll get the opportunity." Ever the optimist it seems! "Then we can see whose dragon is more agile." The gauntlet is playfully thrown by the bronzer before the dragon catches another updraft to carry them high above the water until the boats are nigh invisible due to their distance and the air gets a touch thin. The slim bronze doesn't stay there long, soon turning his nose down and pulling his wings in partway to send them into a spiraling dive, rotating lazily as they fall toward the sea.

Nathanael catches the darker glimmer before his younger friend can hide it. Balling one fist Nathanael lightly punches S'yn's arm in solidarity— Thread, bad. "Nah man, 'm gonna be a cap'n of m' pa's boat. 'n once 'e Masters up north 're cool, I'ma gonna get me a big ship 'n travel 'round 'e planet." Then they are diving and Nathanael's voice catches in just a moment before the laughter bubbles up again— pure enjoyment of the moment.

That gentle sock earns a soft chuckle from S'yn before they are suddenly plummeting in that broad corkscrew toward the gleaming azure below, his insides seeming to hitch up higher than they ought to as they drop. "Wooo!" Despite the bronze's bravado it seems he isn't truly intent on diving beneath the surface of the great lake, pulling out of the dive at seemingly the last moment as the lithe body arches and wings unfurl to catch the air and send them gliding just over the surface of the water, talons teasing the liquid to send up sprays. "Yeah? How long do you think it would take you to circumnavigate? Eighty days, say?" A random number is thrown out by the youth as he spreads his arms wide, embracing the wind and the salty taste as he inhales deeply before the nimble dragon beats his vast wings to carry them sunward once again, trading the azure below for the cerulean above.

Nathanael tucks both hands into the straps as it seems to him the water is about to envelop all of them. No fear still, the water is HIS element, and if he needed to do a water escape well… that would just be the bees knees. But the bronze dragon doesn't and Nathanel is laughing again, and reaching out to grab the droplets of water as they spin past him. "Dunno, mayhap few months. Dunno if anyone's ever done it t' do it. Mayhap I'll be the first!" Delight Nathanael takes in these words.

Climbing higher up to a safe altitude for betweening Iaxryth circles lazily over the sea, amused by the Seacrafter's unflappable confidence. S'yn laughs lightly and thumps his bond affectionately. "If anyone could do it, it'd definitely be you, 'Thanael. I hope you get to do it! It'll be a tale for your grandkids grandkids to be proud of!" The adventure of a lifetime it seems. "I wonder if you'd be able to pack enough supplies for a trip that long though?" Details, details! A glance is given to the position of the sun as the bronze does his loose circles over the water and the rider frowns thoughtfully. "Hmm, I should get you back to the Seacrafter complex before it gets too late." He considers for a moment and decides that his visual for above the Weyr is the safest option. "All right, few seconds of mind numbing cold, then we'll be over the Weyr and I'll fly you over." The envisioning is carefully constructed by the young rider and once all the details are sharp and clear he feeds it to his bond, getting a rumble of approval before reality goes black and frozen with only the feel of the beast beneath them in the endless void. It only lasts the promised few heartbeats before they are bursting out over Southern Weyr into the warm sunlight again with the bright bustle of people and dragons beneath them. "There, nothing too it," he chuckles as the dragon banks toward the beaches.

The cold of between does what the rolls and twists in the sky are unable to do- Still Nathanel's laughter. The cold of between stirs up a memory, one firmly shoved into a corner and locked up tight. It takes a long moment when they appear again into the warmth of the Southern bright sunlight to chase the shadows of that memory around. With it comes Nathanael's laughter. As they settle, on the beach Nathanael balls his fist again to punch S'yn's shoulder. "I'ma ne'er gonna forget that S'yn. Not e'er." Undoing the straps himself this time, Nathanael slides and then jumps from the dragon's back. He stumbles for a moment, his legs unused to the stillness of the ground after being awing so long. He quickly regains his footing and spins to look upwards, way, way, way upwards at his friend. "Don't be no stranger S'yn!"

What takes perhaps a candlemark to walk takes only minutes to fly for the great dragon, the sparse bronze soon is backwinging onto the beach with a minimal amount of fuss and kicked up sand to crouch low and allow his passenger as easy an egress as possible from so high up. The shoulder jab earns a laugh from S'yn who twists to look at his companion with a beaming grin. "I'm glad I could make your first ride so memorable, 'Thanael. You should come chill in my weyr sometime. We can play cards or something." He watches the Seacrafter slip down his bond's lean side and grins, waving at the Apprentice. "I won't be, honest! Take care of yourself in the meantime!" Once the other teen is clear of them Iaxryth springs skyward again, getting his body airborne once more to circle higher until they turn back toward the Weyr, soon a distant memory of bourbon and bravado.

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