==== February 19, 2014
==== Rhydian, Veresch
==== A Southern Starcraft dreamer meets a pepper Igen braider.

Who Rhydian, Veresch
What A Southern Starcraft dreamer meets a pepper Igen braider.
When It is sunrise of the fourth day of the second month of the first turn of the 12th pass.
Where Igen Weyr Standing Stones

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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.


What a glorious morning it's going to be in Igen! The night-time chill is already fading from the air, though the stiff breeze from atop the standing stones does make it a good shade cooler up here than down in the bowl below. It's well worth the climb, though, especially if you're more interested in the puffs of cloud that are visible on the horizon, just to te fore of where Rukbat is starting to rise. Rhydian, Starcrafter, Southern-posted and current Candidate, is one such person who's interested in such things, and despite the climb he's up there, scribbling notes and taking wind measurements to jot down in his notepad.

The caprines roam almost wild up here; indeed, they're the only ones that can get here easily. Very few of the weyrfolk come out here, given the scurry they have to even get up here. Still, from his vantage point it's easy to see a scrawny form clambering around, slowly going from stone to stone in an attempt to chart the best way to the top. It's a girl, that much the delicacy of her features proclaim, but the rest is lost in the whipping of ragged, chin-length hair currently being woven up into a tizzy by the wind. She does not falter, however; she's almost to the top where Rhydian sits before she notices him. "Morning!" she calls up, and gives a last few reaches to clamber all the way up. Dressed as an Oldtimer — no modern woman would wear those dusty, faded pants.

He's so consumed in his work that Rhydian doesn't even /think/ to look elsewhere, and therefore it's a shock and a half when a face pops up over the edge! He starts, wide-eyed and blinking behind his glasses, which he has to push back up his nose as he manages an awkward smile. "Oh! You, um… haha. You startled me." For all his smile may be a touch nervous, it's not by any means unfriendly. "Good morning. I, er, didn't expect to, er… I'm not interrupting you, am I?"

The very last bit of plateau is ascended by a quick, agile hop: running around all the time is helping with her coordination at least. "I think I'm interrupting you." She dusts her hands with a quick paf-paf of motion before running them through her hair to make it a little less rough. "I didn't know anyone else that came here for the pleasure. But… oh!" Her eyes had fallen to the knot, see. "A crafter from Southern Weyr? Smithcraft, right? I can go, if I'm disturbing you." Pretty cute, but that pink ribbon…

"Aha - well, yes, I can see how that would make, ah, sense. Yes." The whole who's interrupting who deal, that is. Rhydian closes his notebook, the page marked with his pencil, and grins at Veresch. "For work, actually, but then work /is/ pleasure, so…" When she guesses his craft, he shakes his head slowly. "Oh no, no-no. /Star/craft." He's proud in his correction! "But Southern's right. And, um… oh. Yeah. There's…" He rummages in a pocket, pulling out a bedraggled white knot. "… this, too. But otherwise? Starcraft. Journeyman. Um - Journeyman Rhydian of Southern." A beat. "By way of High Reaches."

She eyes the limp knot he produces with a great deal of interest, and her eyebrows arch up curiously. "Congratulations, Journeyman. I hope it happens for you. One of our queens had a flight too recently, so I'm guessing before long there'll be some of those here as well." One hand, not too dusty, reaches out to him, palm flat for the normal greetings. "Veresch, Messenger, and by way of Ista Weyr." Pause. "You look at stars? And, um, make charts and things?" she guesses. Another pause. "Have a veil or something? If the breeze gets any stiffer you're going to need one against the dust." Behind her, the horizon bears that out: the sky is slowly turning bloody, a sign of a lot of dust in the atmosphere.

"Stars and /storms/. Mostly storms lately… you know, before thread? Before it fell. Before we announced the Pass. The storms were…" Mind-blowingly good, since he mimes a brainsplosion, complete with sound effects. "/Epic/." They clearly excite him, as he's got a twinkle in his eye and his cheeks may be just a touch flushed as he gushes over the topic. "That's why I'm here… sort of. Charted stars right up to sunrise, but I, um, /had/ been hoping for a little more than those scraggy cumulus." His blue eyes turn almost sadly to those puffy little clouds that are drifting closer to them, caught on the breeze. "It's quite disappointing, really. But… well, better than thread. Right?"

Veresch stares, and then just a bit more before she gives a few steps away. Twisting, she sits down on one of the red boulders, lifting her face solemnly to the sky. "Cumulus…" she finally says, struggling a bit over the unfamiliar word. "The clouds?" Just a guess. "You've been out here all night? And you're not frozen yet? You must have had some special endurance training… oh. High Reaches. Of course." Her lips purse. "It's in the Teaching Ballads, isn't it? Crack-dust, black dust. And yes, anything's better than Thread — although our summers here are close, I'm told."

Rhydian nods - the clouds! She got it, and /that/ makes him positively beam. "Yes! Oh yes, the puffy ones, like that? Cumulus. Little bitty cumulus in this case," he looks up at them, having to push his glasses up the wrinkled bridge of his scrunched-up nose, "but still cumulus. Guess you, um, can't be discounted just because you're /small/." Shrugging, the journeyman-turned-candidate looks back at Veresch, and shrugs her concern off as he fingers the collar of his jacket. "Angora-lined. /So/ warm. Good for between, good for an Igen night." Winking cheerfully at her, he then gets to his feet, stretching his arms up over his head until his spine pops. "I can't /bear/ the heat. Give me, um, rain, er, thunder, lightning, twisters, hurricanes, /snow/… but heat? Eurgh. Southern's /terrible/ for it. Igen's also bad, though. But… wait. You said um… you said /Ista/, didn't you?"

Who's going to watch the sky when there's a much more entertaining spectacle right next to one? "Ista," she admits. "But I've been here long enough to get used to things now, so the other day, when I went to Southern, it felt like swimming in a green pond. Everything felt wet to the touch, and green." There's a delicate little shudder, enough to betoken that she doesn't consider it a good colour either. "Our weather here is strange though: dust storms, sometimes enough rain to feel like a monsoon, and… d'you know what a Healer said to me the other day? It's one of the few places where, in winter, you can get both hypothermia and sunstroke in the same day. It's true. Even now…" Well, she's glad she has a sturdy coat on. "What about Ista?"

"Southern is pretty green, yeah." But that doesn't excite Rhydian, and he dismisses it with a little wave of his hand. "Igen's weather's a mess, but /Ista/…" There's that twinkle in his blue eyes again, and his smile? /So/ toothy and /big/. He runs his fingers through what loose curls have sprung from their ribbon binding, then pushes his glasses back up his nose. "The /storms/. /Hurricanes/. Oh - /Faranth/, it's… it's just the /best/ in hurricane season, with the, um… the /everything/. Don't you just /love/ it? The /wind/ - I mean, it's /immense/! Incredible!"

Listening to a man gush about Ista's weather like that is odd, certainly more odd than most experiences she's had. Perhaps it's true what they say about Southerners being crazy, but this one's totally sweet with it. "I think," she mentions at last, with just a hint of the wit she'll have later in life, "that that's the first time I've heard someone get that excited over a hurricane — you make it sound like a lover." A puckish smile lurks. "If you say that about hurricanes, what do you say about typhoons and monsoons?" She's teasing, of course, but at least a little of it is wistfulness. It sounds exciting when he speaks about it. "I…um." There's a definite blush now. "I get like that when I'm on dragon-back and we're diving, and the world seems to swallow me up. Like my head wants to explode off."

Rhydian scratches at his fuzzy chin, where his goatee's surrounded by a good day's growth. "I think… um… yeah. I think if a hurricane /could/ be a lover, I'd… maybe a twister. Actually… mmm. Twister, maybe. Um… but oh, Faranth, you're… I shouldn't be saying that to /you/!" He seems shocked by himself, settling fingers over his mouth to shush himself and smiling apologetically. "Typhoons are good. Monsoons are alright," he shrugs, "but not /as/ exciting. But I /do/ know what you mean about being on a dragon like that! Now imagine being on a dragon and flying through a /storm/…" Ultimate epic win for Rhyd!

Veresch blinks, then blinks again. "I'm fifteen," she says flatly. "I've got the necessary pieces." She doesn't have all of them yet, technically, but she will! A sulky twist spoils her mouth as she looks away. Sniff. Then, "I don't think you're going to get a rider and dragon willing to take you through a storm. They'll be hit by lightning, right? And you will too." His tone of voice though, that she looks back for, flicking a glance over him from top of the head to the tip of his boots. "Besides, you're not that much older than I am. You know, for all that you're trying to grow a caprine on your face."

Rhydian wiggles fingers sort of awkwardly at Veresch. "Well, um, yes, but… you're still… it's not really appropriate, I'm sure." Not where he's from, anyway! What she says next though leaves him shaking his head. "Absolutely /not/ true! There are /several/ who've volunteered - they /want/ to! I just… well… um… " He scratches at his cheek, blushing… for reasons known only to him. "Maybe they'llbe less inclined, now that there's, y'know. Fall, and… stuff." Rhyd then scrubs at his chin, just below his bottom lip, with his forefinger. "Um… you're… 15? Right? That makes me… eight turns older than you. That's… quite a lot."

"You've had riders that offered to fly through storms?" Veresch asks. "That's kind of strange. I would think the dust would strip hide off, it gets really bad. But… rain, well, perhaps." She twitches to her feet, raking her hand irritably through her hair. "Maybe you'll get your own, and then you two can go and fly into a storm." Her feet take her around the back of his seat, and she frowns at the unruly mess of hair. It's as if she can't help herself: she reaches out to undo the ribbon and wiggles her fingers into the tangled locks. "I'm just saying you don't need to treat me like a child. I can at least try and imagine a… a twister, you said? Shells, you've got curly hair. Keep facing front."

"The thought had occurred to me," Rhydian replies to the comment about his own dragon. "But, um… well, it would probably be my luck to find a dragon who's, ah, afraid of thunder or something." He rolls his eyes, then pushes his glasses back up his nose. "Though I wouldn't risk him. Her? Him. He'd be a he, I'm sure… a green would be… /weird/." Tongue flickers out to run over his lips, the lower of which he bites thoughtfully into. "Anyway. Um… yeah. I think… I think I /want/ to fight thread. I want to help. Um… that's not so weird, is it? To /want/ to be up there?" Having Veresch start playing with his hair makes Rhyd blush crimson; he goes still, right down to his hands, frozen where they were so energetically describing the desire to fight against thread. "Twister. Um… yeah… uh…" What was he saying? What did /she/ say? Fingers in his unruly curls are distracting!

At least it's something that she's good at! Delicate fingertips, see. "At least you'll be sure that it won't be a queen, right?" she teases over his head, looking at the skies and dawn as her fingers twist and plait, twist and plait. "I think that if I ever stood, I'd like to be surprised by it. Over here though… I think it's because the bazaar is so close and the bronzers are really traditional at times, it's difficult for a woman to Impress any of the male dragons, and sometimes even green is a little dodgy." Her nose wrinkles unseen, and the ribbon dangles from one pinky. Something is happening back there, but honestly, it's feeling too good to question. "Hey… what do you call those clouds?" She nods over his head towards the long, straight lines, looking like feathers in the sky.

Rhydian's either too polite or too terrified to tell Veresch to back off… because he just sits there. Painfully still and stiff. "I'd, ah, worry if I Impressed a gold," he says with wry amusement and a dry laugh. "They're very traditional back home. Um… at the Hold /and/ the Weyr. That's sort of why I left, really… I mean, er, the whole storm thing? My masters there didn't… well, they weren't keen on it. But down South…" He shrugs, leaving the rest unsaid. "Those clouds?" Looking up means jerking his head - possibly pulling his hair from Veresch's deft hands! "Those, up there? They're cirrus clouds. Mare's manes, because they kinda, if you squint, they look kinda like runner's manes when they're galloping… if you tilt your head just like this a bit…" He tilts… pulling more away from her.

Veresch lets him pull away, because it's much too late now to save his head. The ribbon is gone, and his hair has been braided to his skull with skillful fingers. "I see," she says idly as she moseys back around to sit on her previous spot. "I guess they do look like that. Cirrus, hm?" Another new word. Cirrus. "I like them more than the other ones just now … cumulus? I think." Pause. "You should go down to the Living Cavern and get some klah or something, especially if you've been sitting out here all night." Besides, she wants to get him back for that comment about her age.

/Klah/. Such a /magic/ word, and it perks Rhydian /right/ up. "Klah. Yes - yes yes yes. Klah would be good. And… look, see? Rukbat's up, so… my ride oughta be here shortly, but, ah… yes. Klah. /So/ good." Almost as good as hurricanes, maybe? He's certainly keen! Curiosity has him touching his fingers to the braided part of his hair, and he winces uncertainly - but doesn't comment. It's probably all there in his face anyway, if Veresch catches it before he tries to cover it with a smile. "Um… what's your name?"

She's already turning to clamber down towards the bowl, but as he asks, she pauses, awkwardly stretched. "Veresch," she says finally. "My name is Veresch. Good to meet you." No, she's definitely not going to Klah, not the way she angles when she restarts her climb down.

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