==== February 16th, 2014
==== N'cal, Shea
==== Arroyo blueriders chat about…well, a certain other bluerider.

Who N'cal, Shea
What Arroyo blueriders chat about…well, a certain other bluerider.
When Sunset. It is evening of the twenty-second day of the first month of the first Turn of the 12th Pass.
Where Star Stones, Igen Weyr

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Star Stones
The climb up here on foot is steep, narrow stone steps carved high into the sandstone, and from the top the precipice-drop to the jagged-craggy stones far, far below is treacherous. It's a wide sweep of ledge, a dragonlength and a half jutting out from a rough cliff wall. The wind here is ceaseless, dusty-dry during daytime and biting at night. But for those who brave the climb to this lookout perched high above the Weyr's bowl, the view from these sandy-red rocks is breathtaking. Igen stretches wide-wide-wide around, a vast expanse of deep blue lake and lush green swamp and the myriad rust-rich colours of desert and rock. The real purpose of this spot, though, is highlighted not in its view of what is below but its view of what is above. Three tall rocks stand, one balanced across the tops of the other two, at the focal point of the ledge, perpetually framing one slice of the desert sky beyond.


A mild evening, for winter - but not at the Star Stones. No - this high up, even the thinnest breeze makes for a wind-chill factor that's a good deal less bearable than what occurs at ground level in the Bowl. There really isn't a breeze up here at the moment, but it's still cold. Even a Fortian like N'cal can appreciate that. Waiting for his watch to wind down, the Arroyo wingsecond sits as much a sentinel as the blue whose paw he's perched on, save for the absent turning of a small object in his gloved fingers as he watches the colors of the day fade to dusk.

And he's far from the only Fortian who wants to appreciate the cold — regardless of how many Fortians there are around in general, another Fort-born bluerider is seeking a cooler space. Her High Reaches-born blue, however, is seeking a higher space, a good vantage point; that is how N'cal and Iolarth are invaded upon by a flapping of oversized wings that results in settling Cervilaevarth. Were they the other blue pair's relief? No. But here they are anyway; as Shea dismounts, she almost looks surprised to see the wingsecond, as if perhaps her dragon hadn't even checked to see who was already there first. "Oh," she says, with a little smile, "hey, didn't mean to crash the solitude —"

Iolarth certainly doesn't mind, immediately moving to uproot his lifemate in favor of stalking over to give his fellow blue a friendly bump on the shoulder and settling down beside him. N'cal makes a face up at Iolarth, straightening his jacket as he moves over to join Shea. "You aren't," he assures the other bluerider. "Our watch is nearly over…though it does seem to be dragging on a bit." Still his fingers fiddle with that object in his hand, as if he's been at that particular fidget for a while and simply forgot he was doing it. "What brings you up here this evening, Shea?"

A jerk of her thumb over her shoulder at Cervilaevarth, who returns the dragon's equivalent of fistbumping before shuffling his wings a bit and relaxing. Now they've both got a good view. "Him," Shea explains. "And Tuli. I mean, Elicheritath. Sadaiya is planning to leave soon," N'cal probably thinks she's completely nuts, calmly referring to both weyrwomen by their first names, but she has those background connections: Tuli's close to her cousins, and Sadaiya at this point relatively close to her. "And so that means there'll be a flight to watch soon enough. Which means that he needs the best possible vantage point. And unlike last time, I am going to stay with him. Which she didn't like." Because Sadie liked where Shea ended up last time a gold rose, and Shea is still mad.

"Ah, of course," N'cal returns with a mirthless chuckle, eying his lifemate. "No wonder he's starting to fidget. Sometimes he insists he was meant to be another color, much as he loves the chase." As for referring to the Weyrwomen by name, the fact that it's done only elicits a smirk. Clasping his hands at his back, the tall bluerider scans the Bowl idly. "I'm debating whether or not to stay or go. I managed to be off on a sweep or some such thing when Jivayath went up, but this time…" He gives a shrug, though the fact that he is truly deciding what's best here is fairly evident upon narrow features.

"We always stay," though Shea obviously isn't pleased about that, expression plain as day, "because he insists on knowing the goings-on, and is rarely interested even in greens, so — jealousy and wanting to be included isn't really an issue. He just needs to have the up and up on who might catch and what's going on where. For those plans of his." It's a fond, almost teasing smile as she references Cervilaevarth's proclivities, but Iolarth speaks to him often enough that N'cal probably knows those plans are not just genuine, but often good.

With a chuckle, N'cal nods. "Iolarth has mentioned those often," he says of Cervilaevarth’s plans. Squinting toward the nearly-vanished sun, he clears his throat a bit. "If Elicheritath happens to take off before this watch is through, I can certainly be elsewhere, if you wish. Though I doubt that will happen. It's Iolarth who does the watching, at any rate." And who would notice the watch rider making his way down the rocky path to the Standing Stones during a gold flight, anyway?

Normally, Shea would say she didn't care, because she doesn't specifically dislike him, but — "It shouldn't," she agrees, considering it isn't as if the Senior has left just yet, and he's been there a while already. "And you're welcome to be wherever you want, normally I'd say I had no objections, but for Vash." There's a definite implication to that nonchalance; the sort of nonchalance that is tossing out that she is pretty sure that either they're involved or her friend has feelings for N'cal that she doesn't mind him knowing about, but that no one has specifically told Shea either way and she isn't a big fan of that.

Well, yes, that would definitely be the greater part of why he's debating staying, and the fact that Shea manages to touch on the matter would actually color N'cal's face a little bit, were it not already so from the cold. His eyebrows creep up a little bit, a corner of his mouth quirking as he slides a bright blue-green gaze to the other bluerider. "It is appreciated," he returns with a bit of a low chuckle. "You and Vashae are friends, I take it? I was wondering who she might have mentioned anything to." His smile widens as he speaks, the fiddling with the thing in his hand slowing.

"She hasn't," Shea specifies, if vaguely, "directly, in so many words, to me, but —" But she has an inkling, she's good at reading people, it was really blatantly obvious, something. Something unspecified. "Kyara and I'yn probably got more detail, I didn't press and I also can't relate — I knew her before she Impressed kinda, but I also mentored her during weyrlinghood. All the headstrong girls on blue power attitude's from me." Which comes with a delighted grin: that kind of attitude is something to aspire to!

N'cal laughs richly at that, absently ruffling short hair with a gloved hand. "Her mentor. Well, that would explain a few things, so thank you for what you passed on. It is certainly well appreciated." With a slight shake of his head, he goes on. "As is so much else. I have…not met another like her, and I do not want to make a mess of things somehow. I worry I am even too careful, which can be a point of frustration for some people, though…" He stops himself, suddenly feeling as though he might be revealing too much - a moment of uncertainty for the usually cool and collected wingsecond.

And yet that's the sort of interaction Shea has often inspired: people either hate her or confide in her. There's not much of a middle ground, at least not for very long. "Well, maybe," she says, bluntly, because it's at least got the potential for accuracy, and she'd hate to steer him wrong. "I mean, maybe you're too careful, in general — though in this time I don't know how to tell anymore — but I don't think it's bothering her." Or she hasn't let on, at any rate. "She's very private, so." Shea idly twirls a bit of her awkwardly-growing hair around her finger; Cervilaevarth's disapproval of the fidget is palpable.

"Yes, she is," N'cal agrees a bit quietly, but not with chagrin; it's simply something he's accepted about Vashae, even knows a thing or two about. The assessment of 'generally too careful', however, has him blinking at Shea, amusement dancing in his eyes. "You are likely right, my fellow blue," he concedes, "though I admit I am far less careful with her than with most. Perhaps I am worrying needlessly." With another chuckle, he adds, "And I thank you for your honesty. As for how such matters work in this time," hands flip palm upwards and shift like a balance as he grins, "I'm not sure I know how to tell, either. Better to ask someone who doesn't constantly try to rail against the norm."

"I don't know anyone like that," is what Shea says, first, and then amends: "I mean. I do. But I don't actually like any of them." The people she spends her time around are pretty much as far from the Nowtime's norm as you can figure. "Not really, anyway; I can't off the top of my head think of anyone I'd actually want to ask for social etiquette advice from." Remember, this is Zeyta's bestie. "Though if you're really — okay, I don't have much serious relationship experience firsthand but I've got plenty of it secondhand, and it's probably better to not be. As careful with her. If you're too withdrawn in a romantic partnership nothing ever gets anywhere. She might be private, but she's not easily scared off."

N'cal listens with interest to Shea's advice, serious in taking it, but still slightly amused in countenance. Well, perhaps more grateful than amused is that smirk, and quite possibly both. "Out of any level of experience, the advice is well-given," he returns. "Something I'd do well to keep in mind, so thank you. I never have gotten the impression she'd be scared off; quite the opposite, actually." He finally pockets whatever it was he was fidgeting with, then gives a slow rub to his neck. "And for the record, you seem to be just fine in terms of social etiquette," he adds, with a smirk.

"I am," Shea opines, "either pleasant to be around or highly offensive … though there I suppose I can score a middle ground. It's not a change in behavior, but in others' attitudes; I've been mostly able to stay in company where they're able to handle my brand of friendly." That is to say, most of the wing, but not K'vvan; on the other hand, Shea and K'vvan are so well suited as adversaries they'd probably each be unhappy without the other. "You're also not too careful with me, as far as I can tell, or I wouldn't count you as a friend. I'm not a big fan of holding back."

"Well, I quite like your brand of friendly," N'cal returns with a smile and an inclination of his head. "And you're quite right - I've never felt the need to be overly cautious around you. I am pleased you count me as a friend. It's certainly a sentiment I return." Presently, one of Arroyo's browns wings into view, lighting on the Rim nearby with a short bugle. "And there's our relief. Of course, Iolarth," he shoots his lifemate a pointed facsimile of a glare, "doesn't seem inclined to break away from the shared view there, does he?" With a dry chuckle, N'cal adjusts his gloves. "Ah well. I could do with a hike. Thank you for the talk, Shea. We'll have to do it again sometime."

Shea laughs, just a little, as she watches their wingmate cruise in for a landing. "Iolarth can stay, if he really wants, but it might start getting a little cramped — unless I get told to leave, I'm stuck for. Well, for a while. Unless someone else needs my help escaping from the Weyr for a while." Or unless Elicheritath doesn't rise, but she's counting on Sadaiya accuracy here. The other queens aren't going to be wrong. "You go find Vash, yeah?" Her expression is kind of 'you better,' but in a friendly way. "Or leave. Or both." Leave together. Maybe the matchmakers she spends time around have started to shed on her a little, even if she is still not going to end up with any of the Weyrwoman's relatives. "We'll keep the Star Stones warm for you, Iolarth, no worries." There's another shoulder bump from Cervilaevarth — if he has to leave, they'll have to do it again soon.

At Shea's suggestion, he smirks again, but there's a nod to go with it, and Iolarth looks over his shoulder with a huff at the two blueriders. He still doesn't seem inclined to move. "I'll figure it out, " he answers, suddenly deciding against the hike as he mentally pulls Iolarth around. "Iolarth!" N'cal nearly ends up bellowing, and finally the sky-washed blue grumps his way off his perch and lets his rider mount. "Sorry, I'var!" he calls over to the waiting brownrider before looking down again, giving a salute to Shea before telling Iolarth to get in the air, heading toward the Bazaar for their ledge.

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