==== Started a while ago, finished January 3rd, 2014
==== N'cal, Vashae
====Two blueriders meet for the first time.

Who N'cal, Vashae
What Two blueriders meet for the first time.
When There are 0 turns, 4 months and 10 days until the 12th pass.
Where Standing Stones, Igen Weyr

Ncal9.jpg vashaetria_icon1.jpg


Standing Stones
It is perhaps a pity that the Standing Stones lie in quiet isolation, half-forgotten in the Weyr's easternmost corner. Or perhaps it is inevitable: the grandiose beauty of these red rocks is ill-suited to Igen's coarse grit, and maybe only their loneliness allows them to survive unmarred. Whatever the reason, it cannot be denied that the Standing Stones, a lonely jumble of ancient boulders, have a glory about them. The tumbled field of pillars and arches has been shaped by eons of wind and water into strange shapes, twisted and rutted. The going is treacherous: only the Weyr's half-feral herd of caprines navigates the terrain with any ease. To the northwest, the lakeshore glimmers; to the east, rough-carved steps lead towards another ancient pile of rocks - though the Star Stones are less haphazardly placed than their Standing cousins.

The night is clear, bright, and pleasantly warm - perfect for stargazing, were it not for two very full moons ruining the potential for ideal darkness. No matter to N'cal, who finds the silvery-blue glow quite nice to navigate his isolated area of choice by tonight. If it were darker, he might do a bit of idle charting, just to divert his mind from the events of the day. But for now, he is content to simply wander among the bizarre shadows of the Standing Stones, with Iolarth perched as a silent, eagle-like sentinel on a ledge not far above, watching his progress. Eventually, he finds a suitably flat stone to sit on and, casting his jacket down upon his intended seat, does so, placing a half shielded glowbasket and a skin of wine to the side. He goes still for a long moment, simply absorbing the quiet, before pulling the skin over and taking a drink as his eyes scan the moon-bright heavens, his mind automatically naming the patterns among the stars he became familiar with long ago. A welcome diversion.

Nighttime is the perfect time for exploration, and although the pair that approach do so mostly silently - although obviously a watchful dragon will easily spot them - there is the occasional sound to break the silence that accompanies mind-to-mind speaking. Feminine laughter, a draconic snort, the crunch of boots and talons on the ground. And then finally, with apparent fond annoyance, "Go shove off then, you lout. If these hold no interest to you - and I KNOW they do - I'll just take a closer look myself and not tell you anything." At the moment she thinks they're alone, so the normal mask Vashae wears around those she doesn't trust is down. Despite her tone of voice, her eyes crinkle in the smile she's directing at her lifemate, who looks unperturbed by her comment. "Hm? Oh, well. Hello there." This is directed toward the stones, toward the person whose silhouette she can see if only because of the moon's light.

Oh, Iolarth sees the other blue and his lifemate approaching, all right. He just gives no indication, curious observer that he is - except to his own lifemate. N'cal doesn't move, instead listening until the owner of the laughter comes into view. And it's as the woman is speaking that he deigns to shift, drawing one knee up to his chest and lacing fingers around it as he rests his chin atop it, blinking to see better. That she's speaking to her lifemate is quite obvious, drawing a lopsided smile of amusement from the tall bluerider until she finally spots him, and he chuckles. "Hello," he returns, reaching over to un-shield the glowbasket and shed a bit more light on himself. That way she can at least have a face to the stranger in the dark. "Out exploring? It's a wonderful night for it." Then the smile becomes a grin, and N'cal lets his knee drop, sitting cross-legged now. "Though I'm certain you weren't expecting to find another bluerider on your ventures." It is, at least, fairly easy to tell the color of the dragon with her in this light. "I'm N'cal. The quiet one surveying his realm up there is Iolarth."

His is not a face she recognizes immediately - other than the fact that she's seen him around before, so Vashae just remains somewhat relaxed - although guarded all the same - even as she approaches. Jovianth is left to examine the standing stones on his own, and explore them he does: although gently, as if he considers them artifacts to be treated with care. For all that they are anyway. "He spotted these during drills again today, and immediately decided we had to explore. Again." The sigh could almost be considered annoyed, but Vashae at least doesn't really seem to be. His introduction has a little smile crossing her face, accompanied by a nod. "I'm Vashae, and that LAZY LOUT behind me is Jovianth." Who merely snorts at being called a lazy lout again. He's busy exploring okay, stop bugging him. Sheesh, woman! Although Iolarth does get a greeting from him - a brief one. "You'd be right," she admits with a little laugh, "we weren't expecting to stumble across anyone else. Been here long?"

Iolarth finally decides to move at Jovianth's short greeting, giving a curious whistling trill of his own as he unfurls sky-pale wings to glow briefly in the moonlight and hops to glide down, landing near the younger blue with a companionable rumble. Are we hunting for something? Hunting, exploring - it's all the same to Iolarth sometimes. N'cal shifts again, forward and left, long legs hanging off the edge of his rock to leave booted toes just brushing the ground. "Well met, Vashae," he says, inclining his head in a bit of a sitting bow and using it as an excuse to lean forward a little as he tries to see her better. Though from his angle, he has a bit more than just a shadowed silhouette to go by, unlike her initial view of him. He knows he's seen her in passing as well - a few times. "I've not been out here long at all, actually. I'd only been sitting a few minutes when you came along. Though I must say, I don't mind being come across." Indeed, he finds the sudden company welcome. Perhaps he didn't really wish to sit in solitude after all. "You…fly with Parhelion, yes? One of the newest, if I remember rightly." He gestures to the other end of the rock - a seat offered, if she wishes.

Vashae takes the unvoiced invitation, and sits on the rock as well. "Well met, N'cal. We fly with Parhelion, yes…" Sitting near him puts her in the light of the glows, so he'd be better able to see her now as well. "You haven't, hm? I suppose that's a good thing. You've less of a biased opinion on things." The flash of teeth in the dark marks her both amused and teasing, but it fades just as quickly as it appeared. Leaning back on her hands casually, she smiles again when he says he doesn't mind, and looks up at the sky. "I'm glad, then, because this is too nice a night to be intruders." Another grin flashes across her face. "We were in the first weyrling class of the last decade, yes." He is considered again, out of sheer curiosity. "Where did you hail from before?" Jovianth rumbles pleasantly to the other. He's certain there are shenanigans afoot with these stones, and he intends to find out what!

The tease is taken with appreciation, the warmth of another grin spreading across N'cal's features as he takes a moment to study the face he can, indeed, see better now. He catches himself giving her perhaps a bit too much scrutiny and looks skyward as well just after she does, not wishing to make her uncomfortable and taking another pull at his wineskin. "Ah, yes," he comments, recollecting a few facts about her particular group of weyrlings. "Quite a storied class, yours. I got here after all that, though I'd heard a few things. Including rumor of a female bluerider as wingsecond to a female greenrider wingleader." He glances over at Vashae - with appreciation, not judgment. "Well done. Quite well done." Then he chuckles, a deep, warm sound, as he sits forward. "Fort," he answers. "Oldest son of a cotholder and meant to take over, when all I wanted to do was study the stars. So I left, became a trader for a while, got Searched by Fort, Impressed Iolarth…" He gestures around him. "I got kicked over here for being opinionated, essentially. Though I'm not sure it was such a bad thing."

If a blush happens to cross Vashae's cheeks, it's too dark to see it for certain even with the light of the glow at hand. Blame her hair! "Ah that," she murmurs, "that was only after they'd chased those crazy 'Reachians away." After the Incident. "I'm sure the stories they tell are of the nightmare variety." A smile crosses her face this time, not a grin, and from tone alone it's hard to tell if she's entirely teasing. "But I thank you. It was quite the…adventure." The man's story gets a tilt of the oldtimer's head, and a little smile. "I was originally from the Oldtime Benden Hold area." Vaguely. "But when the jumps began happening, I was of Oldtime Ista Weyr's healers." A nostalgic sort of look crosses her face, now. "Life there was…different. But they needed us here." Although she has to admit, she never saw what's happened on the horizon! "They kicked you over here for being opinionated? Time was, that wasn't a crime." A little grin crosses her lips now, because she's half joking. But only half. "We're the better for you and yours joining us, I'd dare say."

N'cal would likely go into subtle teasing to try to perpetuate that blush, were he to notice it. Fortunately for Vashae, he does not. A headshake is given with a light snort over mention of the weyrlingstaff from High Reaches. "The Reachians have a reputation even in Fort, and Fort's weyrlingstaff is fairly high-strung, itself. If it's any consolation, I've not heard nightmare stories of the lot of you. Whatever damage the Reachians may have tried to do seems to have been well shored-up. You were left in capable hands thereafter, by all indications." He listens in stillness to her account of her origin, sipping quietly at his wine again and nodding slowly. "How could it not be, across four centuries?" he observes quietly. Then he laughs heartily for her assessment of the reason for his transfer. "Not all of us think women are incapable riders, or that chromatics can't lead. Being loud about just the opposite landed me here, in Arroyo… The move didn't do much to shut me up." Her last earns another grin. "I thank you for that, my dear fellow blue. I only hope I may prove that assessment entirely true, in the long run." He offers the wineskin her way, leaning back casually onto an elbow. "Would you care for any?"

She is fortunate in that aspect indeed, as it would only make her blush harder. The shake of his head and the snort are met with a small grin, and she laughs a little at the knowledge that the Reachians are known for their asshattery elsewhere as well. “I’m glad no nightmare stories abound about us, although I’m sure in some deep dark circles, they tell them.” The teasing tone that accompanies her words throws off the seriousness that otherwise might have been there. She’s sure the Reachians do tell stories, amongst themselves. His acceptance over her observation of the changes is met with a smaller smile, and she looks up at the stars. “It’s sad, really. There’s so much that was lost. Not just in the way women are treated, but knowledge, and in the beauty of some of the landscape of Pern itself.” Her voice waxes wistful, though she snaps out of it soon enough. “It would have changed anyway in my lifetime, had I stayed, of course!” The way her eyes drift to her blue hided lifemate, however, makes it fairly clear that she wouldn’t trade it for anything, now. “If my reckoning of you is anywhere near accurate, N’cal, I’m sure it will.” She smiles again, one without the melancholy of the previous, and accepts his offer without hesitation. “Thank you, bluerider.” Her eyes sparkle at him (with amusement? With something else?) over the wineskin briefly before she takes a small drink, and returns the skin to it’s proper owner. “The vintages have changed slightly, if I’ve heard right.”

N’cal levels a thoughtful gaze on the young woman as she turns her eyes skyward again, simply listening and giving a slight tilt of his head at the wistful note in her voice. “I’ve seen the scars on the land, from above,” he says quietly. “As I’m sure you have, by now. I can only imagine how that must be, knowing how the world looked before. Though as for what else was lost to us…well. Those of you that came forward give much hope for it being reclaimed. That is the way your presence ought to be seen, at least. In my non-traditional, trouble-making opinion, at least,” he adds dryly, his free hand gesturing with mocking eloquence in the air. Then, handing over the wineskin, he grins at the compliment, leaning back onto both elbows now and regarding her curiously. “Ah, she has a reckoning of me now, after just a bit of conversation,” he observes, his tone softly teasing. “Other than, perhaps, ‘forward-thinking’ and - hopefully - ‘a relatively nice fellow to run into on some random starry night,’ I’m curious what that ‘reckoning’ might be.” He reaches across for the wineskin being returned, a bit of a playful spark appearing in his gaze to accent the unrepentant grin.

“It’s something that’ll always jar in my memory,” Vashae admits with a wry little smile, “but in time…” That thought doesn’t need finishing, not truly. “Much will be regained in terms of knowledge, I’m sure, but as for the rest…only time will tell. It may take as many centuries as it’s been for things to get even close to how they were before.” Perhaps Vashae feels the greatest loss in her own, former craft. “Anyone can form one easily enough in the span of a conversation, bluerider.” She demurs, though there’s mischief in her eyes. “Perhaps Harpers and Traders are considered best at getting a measure of a person, but well. Healers tend to be pretty good at it too.” A wink follows this comment, though she doesn’t follow it with anything further. Perhaps she deems the time not right, not yet. And while bluerider examines bluerider, blue lifemate examines the other as well. Curiosity abounds in this pair, for certain; but where others would be all too willing to divulge, they fall silent. They listen; they seek. But perhaps most importantly, they know when mystery is a good thing. “It’s been a pleasure, N’cal. I look forward to meeting you again.” The young woman murmurs, before slipping off the rock easily. A flash of white in the dark of the night reveals her smile, and Jovianth detangles from his seeking. “Clear skies.” Then they’re gone, departing as suddenly as they came, like whispers in the dark.

With a low chuckle, N’cal returns to sitting. “Of that, I have no doubt,” he returns, appreciative of being seemingly matched in the area of veiled mischief. Mystery is indeed a good thing, and another thing the Arroyo wingsecond appreciates as well, as he also goes silent. “A pleasure indeed, Vashae. I look forward to it as well,” he tells her, watching her departure from the stones as Iolarth rumbles a pleasant farewell to the younger blue. That was fun; let’s poke around something again sometime! “Clear skies,” he echoes, likely not loud enough for her to hear before he shifts and stretches out on the rock, fingers laced beneath his head as his gaze falls on the stars above, a thoughtful smirk lingering on his lips. Abruptly, he blinks, head rising briefly and sharply in the direction Vashae left. Did he actually get so distracted as to forget to invite that promising pair to an Arroyo drill? “Oh, well done,” the bluerider murmurs to himself. Giving a dry snort, he sets his head back down. There will be another opportunity.

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