==== Jan 29, 2014
==== K'vvan, Erissa
==== K'vvan gets dunked and Erissa finds herself at the mercy of someone who hates her. (Backdated: Chronologically this occurred before the wildcat hunt that injured Erissa.)

Who K'vvan, Erissa
What K'vvan gets dunked and Erissa finds herself at the mercy of someone who hates her. (Backdated: Chronologically this occurred before the wildcat hunt that injured Erissa.)
When It is the 60th day of Autumn.
Where Tidal Swamp, outside Igen Weyr

Kvvan2.jpg ice1.jpg erissa18.jpg




It is Sunset
It is 10:43 PM where you are.
There are 0 turns, 2 months and 0 days until the 12th pass.
It is the sixtieth day of Autumn and 85 degrees. The night is clear, the wind stirring.

Even this location has inherent beauty when the sun brushes its final rays along the green and wet. High above the insect filmed waters flies blinks into view a single dragon rider. The dragon wheels in the air, allowing herself to float rather lazily through the sky to allow her rider the full view of the scenery. He seems to have little appreciation for the muck below. "Who in their right mind would live here?" he mutters.

Seconds later, another dragon pops into the heavier air on a blast of icy cold. Deep blue depths coat it's stocky frame, cresting waves limning wing edges in silver as he takes a wide curve to inspect their location. The green and her rider are immediately spotted and a salty ocean breeze brushes the other dragon's mind in greeting. Erissa senses her dragon's pleasure but blue-gray eyes widen. "What's /he/ doing here??"

"What the hell is she doing here?" K'vvan unknowingly echos Erissa's words. He shifts in his riding straps to get a better look at the diminutive blue dragon which has decided to show up randomly in this hell infested hole of Pern. "Get closer." K'vvan directs his green, ire growing at her interruption. Nadeeth curvets in the air spinning closer to the blue; though she remains a respectful distance away more careful about her air dramatics when lifemates are around. Her green silk ribbons twine out and around those cool breezes, fluttering wildly as they are pushed with the flowing air. Freely they may hold themselves in the wind but they do not untwine completely and thus the black embroidery upon their edges is harder to spot. There is a question in what she does unwind. « What brings you here to the swamp?»

Erissa notes the other pair flying closer and quickly scans the area. Finding the green and her rider to be the only other dragons present she breathes out sharply and directs Danorath into an easy straight path. It was bad enough she'd gotten assigned evening sweeps, being the low rung on the seniority ladder sort-of-speak, but now this?? The moment K'vvan is close enough she yells, "What the blazes are you doing here??" That would be her way of saying hello.

"We're on sweeps wingrider!" K'vvan calls out sharply. The frown all over his face shows how just tickled pink (ha!) he is sto see Erissa and her blue lifemate. "This has been our route for the last week! We volunteered!" Because working more = less time to think about what his actual problems are.

Pale brows furrow deeply as Erissa scowls in the greenrider's direction. "What are you talking about??" she blurts, one hand rising sharply in gesture. "/I'm/ on sweeps. I was specifically told to cover this area! You must've gotten your orders screwed up!" Because of course she couldn't have done so, not with how annoyed she was to get switched to the later sweep in the first place. Danorath, unlike his rider, doesn't mind a bit. If fact, he's rather glad of the company. Those salty ocean breezes whirl in crisp mental salute. On official duty here. High alert. Can't let trouble slip past on his watch!

K'vvan's fist closes on the tick hide straps that Nadeeth is wearing for this trip- for once her sensible brown ones and not the um. More decorative ones. A brief thought occurs that he really should be more grateful- Erissa would never let him live it down if Nadeeth had been wearing those pink straps. "Screw you Erissa. Go back to the weyr, this is my sweep."

"Whatever!" Erissa throws back. "It's my sweep, K'vvan. And I'm not going back till it's done! Why would they send two of us out to the same area?" «Double the eyes. Double the sweeps.» Danorath's ever-practical comment brushes her mind and she darts a frown at the back of his head. "That's ridiculous!" she says aloud without meaning to. "I don't need help!"

Once again dragons have practicality where the riders are emoting. «This way.» Nadeeth's ribbons tug as she curves away from the blue, a gentle request that he follow. "Nadeeth." K'vvan grumbles, "I'm not on punishment duty anymore. I don't have to fly with people I hate." There's a long story somewhere in there that K'vvan isn't about to go into at the moment. As Nadeeth ignores his comments to instead trade swamp-tips with the blue he finally lets out an aggravated "argh! FINE. You keep look left, I'll keep right. Get this done with so we can go home."

Erissa isn't any happier than K'vvan when Danorath smoothly aligns with Nadeeth's flight, apparently making his own decision as to their dual assignment. "You are /not/ serious!" she growls at the blue. Duly ignored, Erissa throws one arm in the air. "Blasted mammal!" At the greenrider's directions she gives her shoulder a quick jerk in the opposite direction. "You just watch your side real close! I'll not be responsible for anything you miss."

Nadeeth is not above talking quietly while working; even if the blue himself is more straight laced. The sun inches its way lower and lower as the sweep (hey, so that's why it's called sweeps…) across the marshy landscape- so different from the sandy expanses of Igen proper. K'vvan is working thank you very much and ignores the woman flying upon the blue beside him. But then, down below, there is movement right in the middle of the marsh. »Nadeeth, wasn't there a caravan suppose to be coming this way?« The green ponders a moment then, «Yes. Danorath, we go to investigate.» She sends along the blury image before she spills air from her wings to twirl downwards towards the movement below. "You stay up here!" K'vvan yells out to Erissa.

As the two pairs settle into the rhythm of flying sweeps Erissa slowly relaxes a bit. Not talking helps. If she keeps her head turned to the left then she can pretend that her and Dano are alone, flying a normal sweep in the countryside far from any other dragon or rider. But then her blue is relaying Nadeeth's comment and the flash of green hide as the other dragon changes course catches the bluerider's attention. At K'vvan's shout Erissa snorts, giving Danorath a mental shove. "Like that's gonna happen!" she shouts back even though he's already too far away to probably hear her. Tilting to one side Danorath follows Nadeeth downward.

As Nadeeth dives closer the view becomes more clear in the ever deepening night. A quartet of wagons sit still in the middle of a bumpy road which leads straight through the swamp. Somehow one of the wagons has gone off course and sits mired in the deep mud off to the shoulder. The traders are working to unstick the wagon, but it is clear that their efforts are making little headway. As the green draws nearer the beasts of the caravan begin to shift finally prompting one of the traders to look up. Seeing the pair of dragons he waves his hands, a call for them to come down. Without speaking Nadeeth settles far enough away to keep the beasts from spooking too badly at her presence. K'vvan unbuckles the straps and only then realizes that Erissa has followed. Nadeeth's ribbons stretch upwards again to the blue. « Mine says yours should not dismount. Traders do not always do well with female riders.>

The situation scoped, Danorath follows Nadeeth's lead in landing a short distance away. Great eyes glisten with the fading light reflecting on countless facets, making the dragon's eyes almost seem to glow. The sturdy blue relays the message given but, as usual, Erissa does what she wants anyway. "The traders can kiss my dragonriding ass," she grumbles. «Remember the trouble that got you in last time» Dano reminds her, though chafing under gender bias has been something she'd been adept at even before impressing. «Yah, well, if they want my help then they'll have to deal with it» Erissa snaps back. Even having said so, she follows behind K'vvan as they approach the wagon and lets him do the talking - for now, anyway.

K’vvan cannot help but liken this to another trip almost two turns before. This time though, K’vvan has less expectations of a happy ending- Sienna had been less antagonistic than this blond b*tch. But arguing in front of the traders just wasn’t done so K’vvan takes the lead to the man who is trotting towards them. Erissa just gets a slight glare for not staying in the sky.

“Dragonmen!” Apparently, in the growing gloom the trader has yet to notice Erissa’s rather hard to miss attributes, or maybe he actually doesn’t care. “Thank Faranth that you’ve shown up. As you can see, we’re in somewhat of a sticky situation. I must get my cargo to the hold before the light disappears altogether and I simply cannot leave my wagon alone. May I impose on you to watch it till I can return, unless, of course, your dragons might be able to help?” He cranes his head over to look at the dainty green and blue standing a respectful distance away.

Standing slightly to the side and behind K’vvan, Erissa peers over his shoulder at the trader and his wagon. The man’s call is ignored for now, the generalization too common to earn her ire just now. His predicament is serious, sending her gaze in a subtle sidelong scan of the other wagons. A low moan slips from her throat as she sees where this is going. Babysitting with K’vvan. Perfect. Even so, she is a dragonrider first and foremost, which means helping those under their protection. “Wagon’s too awkward to carry,” she notes in a lowered tone aimed at K’vvan’s ear but well within the trader’s range. “Between sucking it out of the muck and trying to fly with it the thing would break apart.” Not to mention the cargo itself.

“Nadeeth isn’t a dray.” K’vvan mutters backwards at Erissa, irritated at her need to say what is completely obvious. To the trader however, his tone is perfectly even even as a small smirk etches itself upon his lips- a ploy to get out of having to spend more time with the irritating bluerider. “That is not possible. However, my companion would be more than willing to remain with your wagon while you fetch what you need. Isn’t that right wingrider?” That’s right, K’vvan totally outranks you right now, even if it is by a little bit. For the first time in days real humor etches it across his face.

“Hardly, greenrider,” Erissa replies, tone grinding through a smile that is forced for the trader’s benefit. He may outrank her technically but her dragon is bigger than his. So nyah! No way was she going to let him go fly the rest of their sweep while she wasted away guarding a stupid wagon Leaning forward she puts a gloved hand on his shoulder and honeys her voice with a thick layer of supportive cooperation the falsehood of which was meant to be obvious only to K’vvan. “Where you go, I go partner. You stay, I’ll stay. You fly, I fly.” Aw, ain’t that sweet??

As Erissa's voice is this time loud enough to be heard the trader peers through the gloom to make out her differences in shape. A frown appears upon his face and his arms cross across his chest. "She one of those unnatural female riders ain't she." Whatever sugar had coated his voice at the prospect of dragonrider help has soured as the mistimed prejudice makes an appearance.

Curses, foiled again. That hint of humor dies more swiftly then it was birthed as Erissa escrews any bit of his supposed authority. A tight channel.to Nadeeth.has him cursing the female, her dragon, and the day she impressed.

Nadeeth doesn't reply.

The moment the trader speaks however K'vvan's inner monologue grinds to an abrupt halt. Those dark green eyes, haunted as they are by his personal demons latch onto the trader's. Icyness towards female riders was only okay for those with whom dragons play mate. Outsiders can go stuff themselves. "Is that an issue trader?"

Erissa immediately bristles, dark blues shadowing with a dangerous stormy glare. Gloved hand slides from K'vvan's shoulder, curling into a fist as it falls back to her side. Instantly, strong seaborn winds whip through her mind and tack down emotions, tightening her control like the billowing sails of a ship brought to bear and made to support rather than tear apart.

Good. Now she'll only rip his tongue out and stuff it down his throat rather than kill him.

«Don't go there» comes the stern command in a voice that echoes her own. Everyone has their secrets. Their dark places. Erissa is no exception. She just hides it better than most. Most notably with Danorath's help.

Straightening her spine and shoulders the bluerider brings herself to full height and opens her mouth to deliver a scathing retort when K'vvan beats her to it and speaks first.

What the….?!?!

It almost sounds like the greenrider is defending her! Shock renders her speachless, pale brows stitching together in a frown. Chin lifting slightly she slides a smug look to the trader, expression clearly echoing the question already put to him.

«Duty…» The silk whispers though to those ocean breezes, whipped and tossed as they are by the tumult of storm. Nadeeth shifts to brush a gentle wing tip.along Danorth's side as if that single word explained the inexplicable.

The trader must see something in those green orb's of K'vvan because he is instantly backing down. A single step backwards puts space between himself and the pair of riders as his hands come up in an effort.to ward.pdf malevolent feelings. "I, just haven't met one yet, a pleasure, lady rider." He retreats behind the flattery that is a trader's mainstay in an effort to.maintain some kind of positive footing from this odd pair of riders. "I would hardly.ask a lady such as yourself to wait here after the light has faded… Perhaps just the greenrider?" It isn't quite obvious who the trader speaks to, as his eyes flick between Erissa and K'vvan.

K'vvan simply scowls at the trader. "Bluerider Erissa and I will stay" K'vvan.turns so he can give Erissa a 'deal with it woman' look, "for an hour past sunset. After we must complete our sweep and report to the weyr." His tone takes on no extra warmth, apparently.the trader has failed to impress him with a change of heart.

Tendrils of wind siphon off the main storm, softer zephyrs that coax and curl about those ribbons with grateful acknowledgement of her message. But no more. The blue's concentration is too focused on his rider for the moment.

Erissa can't bring herself to even pretend to be mollified by the trader's sudden flattery. A sharp huff of breath makes her opinion of his suggestion obvious and, although still reeling from the change in K'vvan, arms tightly cross her chest in silent show of rider support. But then K'vvan is delivering his verdict and a twist of lip tugs rueful across Erissa's expression. At least he put a time limit on it. She doesn't modify the set of pretty features one bit when K'vvan glances her way, though a good portion of her scowling visage is meant for the trader, not the greenrider. Saying nothing, she agrees with her silence, again providing a solid wall of intention between riders and merchant. As if to add insult to injury something buzzes annoyingly close to her ear and she jerks one arm sharply in the air at the side of her head.

"Damn vtols!" she grumbles, then, "Better be one quick hour."

"Shut up Erissa." K'vvan takes her scowl in the worst way possible, of course, and hisses this to her under his breath. "Deal with the sharding bugs." He turns back to the trader who is still standing there looking a bit perplexed by the pair of unhappy faces looking at him. "One hour trader." A reminder, to be gone, and now.

The trader does manage to pick up on the less-than-subtle hint and turns to start calling up the other wagons to be on their way. In short order the trio of wagons have begun to move on their way down the darkening road towards the hold proper.

Erissa continues to glower as the wagons leave, but as soon as they're out of earshot she rounds on K'vvan.

"If I end up with some rare disease from a nasty vtol I'm coming after you, greenrider!" On cue, one of the tiny black insects lands on the tip of Erissa's nose and with a sputtering shout she jerks her head back, swinging a hand across her face. "Crackin' damn bugs!!"

«Too bad you have flimsy skin instead of nice thick hide.» The casual observation arrives on a whisper of breeze, whipperwills of teal and aqua laced with humor.

"Stow it, smartass!" Erissa snaps aloud, the quick mental interchange making it seem she's talking to K'vvan, not Danorath.

“Shut the…” K’vvan forces himself to stop before he swears at the woman. “Just shut up Erissa. Now we’re both stuck here.” K’vvan has no desire to sit and actually babysit a wagon but he said he would and so he will. Stubbornness being one of his most endearing and annoying character traits.

Nadeeth steps forward a few paces on the slightly muddy earth, picking her feet up daintly. Waves of disgust at having to stand in the just-wet earth are transmitted clearly to K’vvan. “Yeah, if you want to wait somewhere dry…,”

«With you?» Nadeeth queries, not at all wanting to leave her lifemate behind in company of someone he detests while the sun slowly sets. Even the innocent green knows that is a recipe for utter disaster.

“I’m not going to do anything, we’re in the middle of a sharding swamp. GO.” K’vvan scowls back at his green’s overwhelming concern before beginning to pick his way over to where the wagon is sitting stuck in the mud. Carefully he pulls himself up into the drivers seat and slouches down with his arms crossed across his chest.

Danorath hovers nearby, wings tucked close to his sides and head held high. Free-spirited ocean winds don’t like the muck and clinging earth. Plaintive swathes of darkest blue drift through mental scape, a soft wisp of numerical values that count down with an edge of impatience. One hour. How bad can it be?

Erissa puffs out her cheeks with a long exhale, dark blue eyes roaming over their unpleasant surroundings before rounding back to the wagon and following K’vvan’s climb to the front seat. Of course he’d take the only high ground available.

The gentle countdown in the back of her mind restores a smidgeon of wry patience, enough to have her plodding through the muck toward the front of the wagon. Slapping at the nip of a vtol at the back of her neck she pauses to take out a bit of her frustration on the front wagon wheel, lifted slightly off the ground by the severe tilt of the mired wagon, by giving it a good kick with her boot.

“Stupid traders should learn how to drive,” she grumps. As more vtols begin to show interest she glances up at the buckboard and curiosity asserts itself as she spies the split of a seam in the wagon’s cover behind K’vvan.

Immediately the thought of getting out of the open insect-infected air and under cover appeals to her. Without warning the greenrider hoists herself up to the front seat and pulls off her helmet, giving her wild mop of white-blond locks a good shake before setting the helmet down on the seat. Next the gloves, pulled off and stuck inside the helmet. And lastly, her black jacket, which she wriggles out of and folds neatly before setting it on the bench as well.

Ugh, Erissa if very suddenly way too close and K'vvan stiffens out of his slouch to scoot away. Aglare is shot in her general direction, though K'vvan doesn't actually articulate the annoyance that her nearness causes.

Nadeeth paces on the road, her unease growing steadily as the darkness falls. Vtols buzz by her head causing her to snap at the small insects occasionally. Whatever good humor may typically have laced itself though soft ribbons is absent. But, K'vvan had said they would stay. So they stay.

Erissa sees K’vvan’s cringe away from her but ignores him, purposely brushing closer just to annoy him as she moves toward her goal of inspecting that opening in the wagon cover. Bracing one knee on the bench seat she leans over the back of it and pulls the flap open, peering inside.

“Whoa,” she mutters softly. Several vtols attempt to derail her attention by buzzing her head, earning an irritated swat of one hand and hiss of breath. She leans further in, disappearing up to her shoulders while the rest of her remains perched rather inelegantly over the bench seat. “He’s got a lot of stuff in here.”

A stiff breeze brushes the edges of Nadeeth’s mind, firm and confidant as it conveys the idea of easing her nervous pacing. «Be strong. We will be back in the air soon.»

“Stop looking at it. It’s not our business.” K’vvan snaps at Erissa and scoots further away. He’s still sitting on the bench, but one butt cheek hangs rather precariously over the side. His arms cross his chest as he directs his gaze outwards at the swamp muttering quietly to himself. "Fucking stupid … and … … … … … … … … they don't belong." to himself. Even Nadeeth gets some of his ire at her, though silently. »Stop pacing. If you want to fly, go fly.«

Strong. Nadeeth is strong. See her ribbons? How they twine themselves about the whirls of wind? K’vvan’s sharp words have the green pausing, though clearly she wishes to continue to move. Normally she would be talkative and flirty to the blue standing nearby; but whatever is happening between herself, rider, mud and deepening gloom seems to have caught her quite out of sorts.

Erissa couldn’t care less how uncomfortable she’s making K’vvan. As far as she’s concerned he shouldn’t have been on her sweep in the first place. So she ignores his comment and climbs deftly over the seat and into the wagonbed disappearing when the flaps fall back in place. Silence follows for several moments as she pokes around inside, then suddenly the flaps part again and she sticks her head out, a small pouch in her hand.

“Look! I haven’t seen these in ages. Hardened rods of bread sprinkled with salt. They make great travel rations.” Waving one in her other hand she snaps a bite off one end, smiling, cheered enough by her discovery to even tip the pouch in his direction. “Want one?”

There is relief as Erissa leaves the bench to disappear inside. Whatever reason she has for going inside K’vvan doesn’t care. She’s out of sight out-of-mind as far as the greenrider is concerned. But then….“ERISSA.” Okay, K’vvan is suddenly totally and utterly scandalized. He scowls even more angrily at Erissa as he almost yells, “Put that back!” He reaches out to attempt to snag the pouch from Erissa’s hand to throw it back into the back of the trader’s wagon where it belonged in the first place. The grab is fairly weak seeing as he’s already sitting rather precariously on that hard bench. “The weyr has a bad enough reputation without traders accusing us of stealing their sharding things!”

Leaning at an angle and holding out the pouch, Erissa is too slow to respond when K’vvan reaches for it. As the greenrider snatches it away she tries to follow, tipping forward and darting out an arm. Thumping his shoulder with her palm she scowls.

“Hey! Gimme those! They’re just travel rations. It’s the least they can do for sticking us out here in this vtol-infested cesspool.”

Danorath’s touch bolsters twining ribbons, lifting and turning them on a strong wind that supports rather than flirt. The stocky blue takes being on duty very seriously and the needs of his current partner, the dainty green.

«duty duty duty….» Nadeeth rolls the bitter thought across her ribbons embroidering them firmly in a muddy brown across the already darkly edged silk. This does not calm her in the lightest as she continues to pace uneasily, occasionally snapping at the almost too tiny to be seen Vtols as the brush against her head.

The problem with sitting in twitch precarious positions with half a butt cheek off the chair if that it messed with ones center of gravity. Add in a sudden lunge and grab that is rather surprisingly successful (as shown by the sudden widening of K'vvan's eyes and dumfounded stare at the bag in his possession) and you have a recipe for disaster. As Erissa's thump is just enough to see the greenrider over balancing right off the side of the wagon. Only a single foot, which managed to not follow him down remains in sight as The rest of K'vvan's body lands in soft squishy mud that the wagon is currently mired in.

The proper response to K’vvan’s mishap would be concern, followed by sincere efforts to assist. However, this is Erissa, who barely knows the meaning of the word ‘proper’, and K’vvan, who’s a stick in the mud on a good day anyway. So, catching herself by bracing both arms on the seat she’s currently leaning over, Erissa watches with widened eyes as K’vvan goes ass-over-end and disappears. Jaw dropped, she scrambles over the back of the bench seat and peers over the side.

“K’vvan?? Are you alright? You didn’t drop the rations, did you?”

«It is what we do,» Danorath coaxes. The affirmation strokes salt-tinged winds along those muddied ribbons, attempting to brush them clean. «We must do it well. »

"Fuge you," K'vvan's swearing is muffled as he lays, wind knocked quite out of him by his abrupt descent into the welcoming arms of swamp mud. K'vvan yanks that hold out foot from off the wagon where it lands in squelchy mud .. Erissa, looking, will see a very sad sight. K'vvan, usually so meticulous with his appearance that even sandstorms barely leave an impression, is covered in muck. Brown hair is slicked down in the back and both of his hands are covered wrist up in the ooze. Slowly K'vvan picks himself up from the ground, leaving a greenrider sized impression in his wake. The pouch of rations are left where they landed in the mud. K'vvan begins the process of scraping himself.. Well, he is attempting to get some of the mud off. Too bad it is sticky…

Nadeeth is not completely immune to one who is clearly trying to make her feel better. A soft thanks for his kindness bushes gently across his mind as she turns her attention to K'vvan. «Mud. Why mud? »

"I didn't mean to fall!" K'vvan protests, shooting a look to Nadeeth. "She pushed!"

Erissa really shouldn’t laugh. Really. But she can’t help it. “Oh. My. Word!” she blurts, one hand rising to hover over her mouth. She really shouldn’t rub it in either, but that’s a foregone conclusion. “You…you…you look cuter than a newborn hatchling!” she stammers amidst bubbling laughter. That isn’t saying much considering the mucus-covered gangliness of most hatchlings. But that’s her point. Trying unsuccessfully to contain her mirth she swipes a hand across her eyes to wipe away burgeoning tears. Not that K’vvan would appreciate it considering the source of her humor, but laughter actually brightens pretty features like the noonday sun coming out from behind a cloud, making her appear several turns younger. Assuming he’d never take her up on it, she extends a hand, her offer framed in a wide grin. “Need help getting up?”

Wait, what??

The hand is jerked back and both arms cross over her chest, chin rising slightly. “I did NOT push you! But if you’re going to lie about it I’ll be happy to do so!”

K’vvan turns away from his lifemate to glare at Erissa, even as he continues to attempt to slick the mud from off of his his arms. “You totally did push me! When you were trying to get back the stupid rations you stole!” K’vvan stares at the outstretched hand for a moment, then travels upwards to her beaming face. “You really are a b*tch.” When she yanks back her hand he begins to pick himself out of the muck muttering under his breath.

“Ha!” Erissa snaps, looking down her nose at him. “If you call that little tap pushing you then you are a pathetically weak excuse for a rider.” His insult elicits a tightening along her jaw as she clenches her teeth. “And you’re a complete idiot for wasting good rations. With a huff she gets up and turns, pulling aside the wagon flap again. “Stuck out here with the ……head up his….. this side of the Red Star!” she mutters fiercely under breath as she climbs back over the seat back and disappears into the wagon again. For a few moments her voice still drifts out, parts of curses both old and inventive, and then it grows quiet again.

Nearby, Danorath tosses his head once, irritated and worried but keeping a stoic demeanor as he keeps a close eye on riders and green.

K’vvan throws his arms upwards in to the air, flecks of mud splattering against the side of the wagon as he does so. “Insufferable… annoying… self-centered…” Is his turn to mutter. He steps back onto the firmer ground of the roadway. Riding jacket, it’s Arroyo insigna marred with mud, is pulled off and hung on the edge of the wagon. There is little K’vvan can do about the mud coating his pants however.

«You are dirty.» The dainty green makes the oh-so-unnecessary observation, backing away from her rider as he paces towards her.

“Really? Nadeeth I,” he stops himself abruptly as his words grow sharp. Slowly he takes a deep breath to calm himself down. It isn’t his lifemate which is irritating him so right now, it was that blond haired demon stealing from the trader again. “You can drop me in the lake when I get home; and I promise to clean you off of whatever ends up on you.” Stupid woman, now he was going to spend all night getting Nadeeth’s gear back to pristine condition. The green doesn’t step back again, though she clearly would rather K’vvan not come any closer to her with him being dirty and smelly all of the sudden. K’vvan moves closer,p and carefully avoiding touching the green’s hide, rummages in the sack attached to her straps. From within is pulled a water skin and rag. At least he can get some of the muck off his head and neck.

Unaware of what K’vvan is doing, Erissa pokes around inside the wagon giving her curiosity free rein to peek inside anything that’s open. She’s always careful to put everything back exactly as she found it. Until, that is, she finds a basket filled with what looks like old ragged cloths. Grasping a couple in one hand she pokes her head out of the wagon and waves them in the air, aiming a shout toward the greenrider.

“Hey you need something to clean up with, Twitchy? Found some rags you could use.” Dropping them on the bench seat she quirks a grin and disappears again.

“I’m going to grind mud into that blond hair of hers…” K’vvan mutters quietly to Nadeeth as he continues to attempt to wipe mud from his hair. Alas, the water is too soon gone, leaving K’vvan still covered in mud. At least he got it off his hands? And his tunic is mostly clean because his jacket had covered it.

Inside the wagon, Erissa has about done all the snooping she can. Having found no more of those travel rations she turns to leave but moves too quickly and her elbow bumps a jar that had shifted when the wagon got stuck and was now sitting too close to the edge of it’s shelf. She sees it as it falls and makes a grab for it but it hits the side of a crate hard and breaks in half. A thick gel like substance immediately coats her hands, spreading as she snatches the pieces. “Oh no! No, no, no….” she chants, instantly knowing what it is. Sure enough, the numbing effect of the substance takes effect before she can remember the rags and reach for one. Wiggling her fingers she grumbles as they react slowly, her skin tingling up to her wrist. “Shit!!”. Wrapping the jar pieces in a cloth she sets them aside and stops, looking toward the flaps of the wagon. She can’t let K’vvan know. But how to hide it?

«Dano, what’re they doing?»

«He is dirty» the blue replies. «Trying to get clean.»

As amusing as that information is, Erissa can’t bring herself to revel in the humor as now she has her own issue to deal with. Maybe she can get out before he returns.

Because he’d totally yell at her for breaking more stuff. He hears the thumps from inside the wagon and even more suspicious SILENCE that has suddenly latched onto the insides of the wagon. “Erissa?” Because silence is even more concerning with the blond haired fiend then sound is. Silence means that something has happened. Still rubbing that dirty rag through his hair to dry and dislodge dirt he walks to the wagon and pulls himself up and onto it. “Erissa? What is going on?” Into the hole he pokes his head into the wagon to see what is what.

Erissa flaps her arms as if she’s trying to fly, attempting to shake some sort of feeling back into her hands. Hearing K’vvan call her name she hisses, turning about with growing frustration for something to help. There is nothing though, so when the greenrider pokes his head into the wagon she whips around to face him with a little yelp and bends her arms up behind her back.

“Nothing’s wrong!” she snaps at him, dark blue eyes avoiding his. “You cleaned up?” she asks, attempting to divert his attention.

K’vvan stares at Erissa in utter confusion, perhaps beginning to wonder if the woman is as mad as he feared she was, “What did you do?” His eyes travel off Erissa’s face and into the wagon proper, as if to peg whatever it might be that she has done. “If you stole something again Erissa I swear I’m going to report you so help me…” He growls as his eyes don’t quite see anything too out of place, but no one looks that guilty without there being a reason for it.

Fortunately Erissa was just nosy and not completely irresponsible so K’vvan won’t see anything out of place - except perhaps for an oddly shaped bundle wrapped in rags off to one side on the floor. Purposely stepping forward she moves into the greenrider’s personal space intending to force him to move back out of the wagon. Arms still behind her back, however, she can only count on his aversion to close proximity. Frustration mingles with the excruciating tingle of nerves at the edges of the numbweed overdose, making her breathing shallow. It it weren’t these particular two people in this particular setting her curve-accentuating posture and intimate positioning would be highly flirtatious, but as it is her actions are motivated by different emotions entirely.

“I didn’t steal anything, you loud-mouthed asshole! So get outta my way.” Gray-shadowed blues flash with the anger she tries to draw on to hide any signs of embarrassment. Dragonpoker was never her strong suit, however. A hint of rose blossoms beneath a light complexion that reflects her High Reachian roots more than her time at Ista or Igen. The deep shadows of the interior of the wagon help but with the flaps propped open and how physically close they are it’ll all depend on if she can get K’vvan angry and/or flustered enough to not notice details.

“Even I know eating food not meant for me is stealing!” K’vvan throws his hands up in the air with no shortage of exasperation. “You did something, and if I find out what….” He lets the threat hang there for a moment, but there is only so long he’s going to stand for her being that close to him. He steps backwards. It is only then, as more of the pale light moves into the wagon that he notices the red on her cheeks. “You’re blushing! WHAT DID YOU DO?” Flakes of mud chip off his arms as he stands his ground about two feet away from his fellow rider to cross his arms, the universal I’m-not-moving-till-you-spill posture.

Erissa bites her lower lip in frustration, a deep frown pulling at pale brows. For a moment she just looks at K’vvan, gauging her options. Could she just push him out of the way? Would a threat work? It’s a sign of how strained her emotions are that she even considers the possibility of giving him a good kick to the groin and stepping over him.

«Stop it.» The quick command surprises her, a dark blue tug to her mind like a strong undertow. «You can not let this get physical. You are both riders.»

I don’t care! Erissa pulls away from his touch but he only follows stronger, enveloping her in a blanket of supportive warmth. It helps, as it always does, cooling her temper faster than anything or anyone else can.

Ducking her head now that he’s pointed out her blushing, which only gets worse for drawing attention to it, she moves forward suddenly. If he wants to stand directly between her and the exit then so be it. Aiming her shoulder at his chest she intends to simply bump him out of the way, sure from previous experience that he’ll easily back off. Keeping her hands tucked out of view is harder than it sounds as the automatic inclination is to use her elbow or arm to bully her way past him. The incredibly odd sensation of not feeling her hands at all is a major distraction, making her anxious to get away from prying eyes.

“Nothing that concerns you! So just MOVE, dammit!!”

«What is wrong?» Nadeeth’s ribbons reach out to those cool breezes, tugging gently to get their attention from where it is focused. « Mine is upset with yours for more than the mud. »

Erissa’s assessment of what K’vvan will do when confronted with physical contact is spot on. Rather than allow the blond demon to even come close to touching him K’vvan moves out of the way so that she can exit the wagon without being obstructed even just a little bit. But he continues to look very very close to see if something in her manner gives her away. Maybe when she jumps down from the wagon he’ll be able to figure out what it is that she is attempting to hide. It would be nice to have something to nail her with…. as revenge for the mud.

«They need to communicate like we do.» the ever-practical Danorath shares with Nadeeth. Then, on a tight roll of wind and surf he adds, «She is hurt.»

There’s no way to hide what’s wrong even if Erissa tried. Climbing over the bench seat and down the side of the wagon is impossible to do without hands so when Erissa is forced to try she simply can’t get a grip and slips several times, catching herself painfully on elbow or knee before nearly falling face-first in the mud once her boots land on the ground. Wincing and breathing harder she doesn’t dare look back up to see if K’vvan caught any of that - somehow she doubts he missed it and that infuriates her all the more.

« Where is she hurt? » Nadeeth moves forward a tad to try to get a closer look herself of the other human who engages their space.

«She is hurt.» Nadeeth sends to K’vvan, « Help her.»

“UGH.” One last exasperated look is shot at Nadeeth before K’vvan jumps down from the wagon and trots to catch up with Erissa. “Nadeeth says you are hurt. Your arms, right? How bad is it?”

Erissa is so busy grumbling to herself, cradling her hands tightly to her chest, that when K’vvan catches up she nearly jumps out of her skin. Automatically shielding her hands she tries to keep her torso turned from him, her chin turning sharply to look over her shoulder.

“WHAT?!?” she blurts as his words sink in, “How would Nadeeth….” She stops, pale brows pitching low over storm-filled blues.

How dare you, you meddling blue slug!! she mentally shoots to Danorath.

«You can not endanger yourself. » returns the blue’s calm tone, heavy with the weight of fathomless ocean depths. «Let him help.»


«Do not be stupidly stubborn. You can not even pull yourself up onto my neck.»

At that Erissa hesitates, realizing that her efficient blue is right, as usual. Still, she doesn’t have to be happy about it.

“No,” she snaps at K’vvan. “It’s not my arms and it’s not bad at all, just…… inconvenient.”

“Look, the hour is almost up.” Or if it isn’t K’vvan doesn’t really care. He crosses his arms across his chest and actually taps a toe against the ground in annoyance. “If you’re hurt badly enough that your blue is telling Nadeeth then you should go. Off the sweep. Nadeeth and I can finish it.”

There is a flash of dislike for this idea from Nadeeth, as she gently reminds him of the fact that he is still covered in drying mud, and that until he’s totally dry they really shouldn’t fly… All of this is delivered as a perfect weaving of images that flash quickly by under her skillful shuttle. Can’t they at least go back and get clean first? Please?

The exchange only takes a second before K’vvan is looking back at Erissa. “Can you get Danorath home safely?” Look at him flutter at her elbow, both helpful and also upset that he has to be helpful right at this moment. F*king duty….

Though she doesn’t know it, Erissa is fully on board with Nadeeth on this one. The second the words are out of K’vvan’s mouth the bluerider snaps to full height, giving her chin a toss that sets white-blond locks askew over one eye.

“No way! I am not going back without finishing the sweep!” she insists. In the rise of instant anger she forgets hiding and turns fully to face him, though her hands remain tucked close. “Danorath is just being an over-protective ass and shouldn’t have said anything.”

The attentive over-protective blue in question notes when Nadeeth steps back and stiff winds blow with cautious strength against her mind seeking the ribbons that define her. Erissa’s jab is ignored in favor of concern for the green, Danorath having learned long ago to simply ignore his rider when she gets in certain moods.

Nadeeth has completely retreated retreated however, and Danorath's breezes will pass along a dark gray silk covering which hides her innermost self from the world.

"Then get on Danorath and we will go." K'vvan throws down the challenge as he stands with arms crossed firmly across his chest. He stands like a teacher who knows you are lying about having done your homework and now wants you to prove tie lie by instantly producing the work. The single arched eyebrow is almost snug,it is nice to have the upper hand in this most annoying of females.

«Something is wrong with Nadeeth!» Dark stormy winds shake the mental shutters Erissa has slammed shut, their message pushing through anyway.

Then help her! I’ve got my own problems to deal with, thanks to you.

Danorath retreats and reaches for the green again, hovering at the edge of dark silk when he senses how closed off she is. His experience with Erissa has taught him to either blast his way through or leave her completely alone depending on the situation, but somehow with the reclusive green he suspects that the former would do more harm than good and the latter simply won’t do. So he lingers, a potent tempest on the horizon, not knowing what to do.

Erissa just stares at K’vvan for several long seconds, shadowed blue locking onto deep green. Mind reeling, she tries to play out every scenario she can think of to accomplish the task he’s set, her pride demanding satisfaction. But even as she does, a simple attempt to wriggle her fingers is unsuccessful and spikes frustrated anger into boiling over. Hissing sharply she throws her head to one side, breaking eye contact. At the corner of her vision she sees the wagon and inspiration strikes.

“We can’t,” she informs him, turning back with an expression that says she was thinking this all along. “You told the trader we’d stay an hour and it hasn’t been an hour yet.”

“Screw it. We’ve been here long enough; you’re hurt,” he eyes those hands of hers trying to figure out exactly how they are hurt. There is no blood, no bruising, and they don’t seem to be twisted into any particularly strange shapes. It never occurs to the green rider that she is faking- Nadeeth got it from Danorath so it must be true. Even if his talkative lifemate has gone dead silent in the back of his mind. Something about her silence tugs on him; but he ignores it though an effort of will. Wasn’t control what they were trying to learn? A small shakes of his head clears the tug, and he finishes his statement, “and I’m covered in mud. Do you need help on to Danorath’s back?” Not that he wants to touch her, but he’s not leaving till she does.

Not a single complaint is issued from the mind of the little green. Instead she simply rests; dead still on the pathway watching. She could almost be a statue for how perfectly still she is. Control? Is this control? Perhaps. The silk covering of her mind that keeps Danorath out is ripples just slightly as if there is movement below it before it stills again.

Oh sure. When HE wants to flout duty it’s ok. That he’s doing it because he thinks she’s hurt is mute. She’s sure he’s only doing it to find something to yell at her about some more. Tucking her hands against her sides in a self hug, slender shoulders curve inward in a defensive pose. She can’t deny the desire to leave this sweltering, drab, insect-infested place but the thought of needing his help makes her skin crawl, let alone the fact that she’ll need extra securing to keep from falling off in flight. The humiliation would be too great.

«Suck it up unless you want to stay here until that numbweed wears off, which, considering you dumped a whole jar on yourself will be sometime tomorrow.» Danorath’s mindvoice is as banal as ever.

Erissa squeezes her eyes shut, teeth clenched against the fury of not being able to control the situation she finds herself in. She once swore she’d never let herself get cornered into being helpless again and since impressing Danorath that oath had been easier to keep. With emotions already strung pretty tight just from being around the hatred pouring off K’vvan she doesn’t have much rope left with which to deal with being forced to give in.

«How bad could it be? Just let him help you up and make sure you’re safe so we can go home.»

“I don’t need any help!” Erissa hisses under her breath, the words meant for her blue. Just then a pair of vtols decide to dive-bomb her head buzzing with single-minded voracity near her ear. Automatically lifting an arm to swat at them she misjudges the timing of her totally numb hand and ends up slapping herself hard enough to turn her head and send pale lashes fluttering beneath a deeply shadowed frown. “Flame those damn bugs to the Red Star!!” she curses fiercely in a raised voice, favoring her limp hand. Lifting her arm she brushes the side of her face against her upper arm, turning away from K’vvan.

Dammit, Dano! I can’t do this!

«Yes you can.»

She is crying. Or at least doing the next best thing. "Damn it Erissa. Stop being so f*king stubborn and let’s go." Pot, meet kettle here. K'vvan looks up at Danorath and waves for him to come closer please. Then he steps closer to Erissa, and through a force of will.reaches out to lay a hand very carefully oh her shoulder. If it doesn't get him slapped, and her dragon gets into position he will do more.

To the silence in his mind he adds, «Tell him she doesn't need to cry. The trader will be back any second.» Nadeeth acknowledges with a single wave of a dark stained ribbon before reaching out to the blue again.

«Mine says yours should not be sad… He will help… He is good….» There is love in the ribbon cast out to the blue from the much subdued green, the black laced ribbon the barest of touches. «tell her we will leave…»

Danorath steps forward immediately, his burnished gold talons sinking into the mud with each step. Blue-black wings are furled tightly to his sides, minimizing exposure to mud and muck. Stoic demeanor ignores the myriad of vtols that are drawn to him, though a slight pull of lips bares a sliver of razor sharp teeth as too many buzz directly in front of his eyes.

As he draws near Erissa shoots the blue a scowl through lowered lashes. Traitor!

Rather than answer, Danorath reaches out with a smothering blanket of cool, soothing blue like slowly sinking into deep, clear waters. Slow-motion silence ensues, muffling all other emotions and worries. His voice is barely verbal, words more a feeling that tugs on the senses than spoken syllables. «Come to me. Let him help.»

With a resigned sigh slender shoulders sag and Erissa drops her chin. When she lifts it again deep blue hues are clear but intensely troubled. If she had the slightest inkling that K’vvan thought she was crying it would be way worse. Crying. Posh! Not Erissa!

“Fine!” she snaps, sliding a look past the greenrider that goes no higher than his neck. “Let’s get this over with.” Elbows tucked to her side she drops her forearms and turns palms up - the way she has to use her whole arm to do so making it clear she has no control from the wrist down. “I… I can’t feel my hands.”

“How the sharding….” K’vvan closes his eyes and forces himself to take a deep breath to cool his temper, biting back the swear words that had been about to tumble from his mouth as she describes what is wrong with her. After swallowing whatever had been about to issue forth he forces hands that had balled to smooth back out. Even his tone is smooth; though a practiced ear might hear how he has to actually work to not bite off what he says next. “Erissa. I don’t want to know. I really don’t want to know. If you are accidently hurt somehow, get your a** to the healers. If you did something stupid like drop a pot of numbweed on your hands… I just don’t want to know.” With that declaration made K’vvan moves to where he can help Erissa get onto Danorath’s back, even going so far as to touch her if it is necessary to assist her; though the characteristic twitch is there.

«Someone comes.» Nadeeth’s ribbon reaches out to brush Danorath and K’vvan’s minds as she picks herself up from her crouch close to the road to look down where the swamp covers up the view.

Erissa nearly grinds her teeth to nubs with how tight her jaw is clenched during K’vvan’s speach. That he nails exactly what happened only makes her madder for being all the more embarrassing.

“Good, because I wasn’t gonna tell you anyway,” she grumbles.

Danorath lowers himself to the ground even though doing so puts his chest against the mud, crooking his foreleg as a step. Erissa moves up beside him and hikes one boot onto the blue’s leg but then she hesitates, biting her lip. Sighing again she turns her chin over her shoulder.

“I… I can’t lift myself up,” she husks, the words ground out. He’s going to have to hoist her up but she can’t bring herself to say it.

Danorath doesn’t pass the news of incoming visitors, not wanting to distract Erissa, but his head swivels slightly to bring the horizon into view.

"Sharing…." K'vvan mutters as Erissa makes her admission. Stepping around her the green rider lifts himself up onto Danorath's back. Once settles securely, he reaches down to grasp Erissa's arms and lift her onto her dragon's back. Once there he will begin to tie her straps tightly, with all the efficiency and annoyance of emotion of a older and slightly older responsible sibling who has been forced to care for a younger less responsible sibling and wants it to be done as soon as possible. As he works his eyes flick occasionally down the road however, watching from the direction that the precious wagons had disappeared down to see if the traders had made better time than expected and were there to relieve them of duty.

Nadeeth shakes bits of mud from emerald hued hide and moves towards the wagon to retrieve K’vvan’s muddied jacket from where it had hung drying. It hangs delicatly between her teeth as if it was an egg which could crack at any moment.

Erissa tolerates being handled only because she has to, stiff but cooperating throughout. The flush beneath light skin is more pronounced in the fading light of sunset than it was in the darkened wagon, though now it’s as much from anger as it from embarrassment. Her hands are frustratingly useless, eliciting a sharp grunt of annoyance every time she tries to use them. Having K’vvan touch her doesn’t bother her as it does him; it’s the humiliation of him having to do it at all that has her cringing inside and out. Jaw clenched tight she doesn’t say a word during the process.

Danorath, however, isn’t going to take any chances and relays through Nadeeth, a ripple of darkening blues dappled with rivulets of worry like sunshine on the water.. «Is he making sure her straps are really tight? Double them up since she can’t hold on.»

Cool silk wraps around Danorath’s breezes comfortingly. The knots which form at the end of each ribbon are tight enough that a sailor would be proud to show them off. «He would never hurt another rider…» After a brief pause she adds, to be totally honest. « purposefully. Even her.»

A hint of this particular thought must have made it’s way to K’vvan. “I’m double tying the straps. Danorath will be able to do rolls in the air and you will not fall.” Just in case the blue’s worry is actually Erissa’s worry also. His hands work quickly on her straps; though he attempts to keep his body as far away from hers as possible. The straps might dig slightly into her skin with how tightly he is placing them. With that done he slides back off of her back a frown flickering back into place as his boots hit the muddy ground again. Just as they do the trader along with a trio of others comes into view atop runners. K’vvan steps away from Danorath to retrieve his jacket from the ever patient Nadeeth and walks towards the approaching group.

For their part, the traders slow and come to a stop near their beleaguered wagon. Eyes take in the sight of Erissa on Danorath’s back, and K’vvan’s mud streaked clothing. The questions dance in their eyes but they do not quite ask them just yet; allowing their long glances at everything but K’vvan’s face ask for them.

Erissa simply waits, steaming like a roast in the oven and just as helpless. K’vvan might be trying not to touch her but with him seated behind her on Danorath’s slightly slanted neckridge and reaching around her repeatedly to tie the straps there’s no way of avoiding contact, however brief. Finally he declares her secure, his remark about the blue rolling actually surprising her for its humor, and dismounting. Straightening her spine and setting her shoulders back she lifts her chin slightly and attempts to gather as much dignity about herself as she can considering her situation. Then the traders come into view and the need to leave spikes to highly urgent. Dark blue hues slide to K’vvan for a moment, her lips thinning with the urge to ask if he will say anything to the owner of the wagon. Pride, however, clamps down hard and she merely waits, hands folded modestly in front of her as if intentional.

K’vvan attempts to look dignified when the lead trader dismounts. “Be more careful in the future. This swamp is dangerous.” The greenrider steals the march on the trader who had just opened his mouth. Spinning on his heel K’vvan takes quick steps back towards Nadeeth and is up on her back quicker then the Trader can say something about the rather… less than clean appearance. “Let’s go Nadeeth.” The pair spring for the skies, mud dripping from her feet. To Erissa he yells out, “Get back to the weyr. Nadeeth and I will finish the sweep soon.”

Quiet green ribbons stretch out to Danorath, the feeling coming with them quiet enough to make it apparent that this is a private message, and not shared with K’vvan. « Does yours require help when we get back to the weyr? »

Erissa doesn’t move as K’vvan interacts with the traders, every muscle still as stone. Only her eyes shift, tracking the men, until K’vvan returns to Nadeeth. Emotions churn in confusing jumble behind a mask of concentrated boredom. Confusion, suspicion, anger, embarrassment, and… gratitude? Veering sharply away from trying to make any sense of it all she keeps her thoughts shallow, reaching out to Danorath instead. The blue responds with a strong, warm wind that fills her mind and muffles the distraction of emotions with salty shades of ocean hues.

At K’vvan’s order she bristles, automatically wanting to argue. Full lips part on the urge to tell him what he can do with his suggestion but then slowly close again as she takes a deep breath and lets it out. After what they just went through she can’t bring herself to snap at him. Instead she keeps it in, refusing to sort it out right now. Still, it’s there in the glare she shoots the greenrider. Leaning as far as she can with how well he secured her knots she aims a lowered tone meant only for him.

“I can’t go back to the weyr like this!”

At the same time Danorath responds to those quiet ribbons with the soft strength of a sunset zephyr, maintaining their privacy even as he relays some of Erissa’s anxiety to the green. «She has no one to get her down.»

« He will help. Come.» Ribbons comfort, twining around with the softness of a favorite blanket. Knitting together they urge the blue to join them in the sky, and return to the weyr.

A grateful warmth swells that blanketing softness, lingering just a moment before the blue’s attention shifts back to his rider. «Brace yourself. We fly.» Not giving her time to protest Danorath steps forward and unfurls wings of shadowy cobalt, launching himself into the sky with one powerful downsweep and thrust of stocky muscle to join Nadeeth. If his takeoff path draws a little close to the wagon, rattling it’s contents and billowing the cloth cover, then it’s purely coincidental…. surely.

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