==== November 21st, 2013
==== Zannen, Zalara, Kyara
==== Zalara and Zannen are weather-watching at the Standing Stones. Kyara comes along to give them an even better view.

Who Zannen, Zalara, Kyara
What Zalara and Zannen are weather-watching at the Standing Stones. Kyara comes along to give them an even better view.
When Sunset. There are 8 months until the 12th Pass.
Where Standing Stones, Igen Weyr

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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.

It is the sixtieth day of Spring and 67 degrees. Despite being clear, dry and sunny over the Weyr proper, a thunderstorm drenches the outer reaches of Igen's desert.


Sunset upon Igen Weyr has lit the eastern half of the great caldera in brilliant pink, orange, and gold, coloring the tall pillars and ancient, piled boulders and arches of the Standing Stones with the same. By the surreal light, a teenage boy and his tiny green guide are getting into mischief…or just trying to find a good spot from which to observe the towering spectacle of a thunderhead growing over the desert in the east. Either way, Zannen is climbing a squat, wide stack of sandstone, Mazu flittering over his head and cheeping softly in encouragement. A sling pouch bounces against his back as he goes, bulging with a few indiscernible items as he progresses with quiet grunts of effort.

Zalara is also climbing towards the Standing Stones. She has a smile on her face as she looks around enjoying the view. Her two firelizards are clinging to her shoulders and chirruping to each other. "Just hold on; we’re almost there." She spots Zannen and smiles. "Hi, Zannen!"

Well, this is familiar; even though he thought he heard something behind him, Zannen starts at Zalara's voice, a foot slipping as he gives a short, muffled holler. At least his rock column is short; he glances over his shoulder to spot the girl before letting himself drop back to the ground. "Hi," he grunts as he brushes grit-covered hands against his pants, then wipes the back of his wrist across a slightly sweaty forehead. "I seem t' remember tellin' ye not t' sneak up on a guy like that, when first we met," he says, only half chiding her as he grins in turn. "Whatcha doin' all the way over here?" the Seacrafter asks, glancing up at the top of the rock where Mazu sits, tilting her head inquiringly at him as if to ask what he's doing all the way down there all of a sudden.

Zalara hurries up as Zannen drops to the ground and she looks at him. "Are you all right? I'm sorry; I didn't mean to surprise you. I wasn't sneaking up on you; that's why I called out to you." She hmms. "I came up here to watch the sunset. What are you doing here?"

"I know. Doesn' stop some'un from gettin' a start even so, sometimes," Zannen tells Zalara with a smirk, shifting his satchel around front so that he can lean back against the stone. "Guess I was comin' to watch the storm," he answers, using his chin to gesture past her at the sunlit anvil cloud beyond the high eastern rim of the Bowl. "An' t' get outta the Terraces for a while. 's shardin' crowded in there lately, what with all th' refugees the Weyr's been takin' on and all; ye noticed?" He gives a snort, rubbing his neck and glancing upward again as he tries to discern a better path to the top.

Zalara hmms. "How long do you think it will be before it hits the Weyr?" she asks as she looks out at the clouds. "So I have heard. We've been told to be watchful. Don't want any refugees stealing from the smithy."

Zannen spots a good handhold and jumps up to grab it, swinging his tall frame over to let his foot find purchase. "Dunno," he replies, grunting as he hauls himself up further. "May not even be headed for us." Another swing, and his hand finds the edge of the flat top of the pillar. The other follows, and with a quick scramble, he's atop it, much to Mazu's softly trilled delight. With a gusty sigh, Zannen perches on the edge, dusting his hands off before grinning down at Zalara triumphantly. Then he sprawls out on his stomach, extending one lean-muscled arm down the side of the column to her. "C'mon up," he offers. "View's a lot nicer up here!"

Zalara watches where Zannen puts his hands and feet. She starts to climb up as well and her firelizards take off to get to the top first. They chirrup encouragement to her as she climbs to where she can reach Zannen's arm. She reaches for it and moves up; since Zannen is a nice boy, she'll accept his help.

Of course Zannen's a nice boy; he'd never make someone follow after him on a climb like that without at least offering to help! Zalara being not much more than half his size helps; she's light, so he practically lifts her up the rest of the way on his strength alone. "There ye go," he grunts, hauling her the last bit of the way to the top before scooting across the flat surface and brushing his hands off yet again. Then he pulls his satchel around and opens it, pulling out a redfruit and deftly tearing it in half. He sinks his teeth into the juicy flesh, then glances over at Zalara and offers her the other half, almost as an afterthought. Noisily sucking juice into his mouth, he gazes out at the storm. "Ever tried t' count between th' lightin' an' hearin' the thunder, t' see how far off it is?"

Zalara smiles as she settles herself and sits cross-legged on her part of the top. She puts her firelizards back on her shoulder and accepts the redfruit half. "Thanks." She takes a bite out of it and shakes her head. "Not really. I hope that people are ready for it. A big storm could mean trouble if you aren't ready for it."

Zannen hmmms a bit around his own mouthful of fruit. "Storms out here're almost 's unpredictable as on the ocean," he observes, heels bouncing lightly against the rock where his legs dangle over the edge. "I've been in a few. Makes men outta boys, do storms on the sea." Such wisdom in his voice; clearly, he counts himself among the men. "Bet it does the same for anyone caught unaware in the desert." Taking another bite, he continues watching the storm until another flash of lightning catches his eye. "One-a-thousand, two-a-thousand, three-a-thousand," he counts softly, reaching nearly forty before the far-off rumble reaches them. "Eight miles ‘r so," he announces to Zalara with a nod. "Fairly far off. We do it again in a bit, we can see 'f it's actually comin' our way 'r not." Leaning back on his hands, he kicks his feet out a little bit, letting them bounce against the side again.

Zalara continues to eat her half of the redfruit and she hmms. "Maybe more boys should go out to sea." She looks over. "Why are you counting like that?" she asks, then says, "I don't know; it looks a bit closer then that." Her firelizards warble and hop into Zalara's lap.

"Just a trick m' dad taught me for tellin' the distance," Zannen explains with a shrug. At her comment following his about boys and the sea, he laughs. "Or maybe out to the desert?" he amends, though he follows that with a quizzical tilt of his head at Zalara. "Still givin' ye trouble, are they?" With a sigh, he shakes his head a little. "Just give 'em time. They can't stay deadglows f'rever. I mean, look a' me." A goofy grin ensues, though his shoulders tick upward again. "Least I assume ye don' think me a jerk, if ye keep comin' round." Another lightning flash, and he stares out toward the cloud, counting to himself this time. "Hmmm. That one took a little less time," he says. "Maybe it is headin' our way. Best not to stay out here too long, then."

Zalara ahs, "I'll have to remember that." She hmms. "Does it make a difference?" she asks and shrugs. 'I don't know about that. I think most of them were born deadglows. You aren't a deadglow or a dimglow. You’re a bright glow." She smiles at Zannen and hmms. "Maybe we should. We wouldn't want to get caught out in the storm."

Zannen nods, eyebrows rising a bit. "Yeah, it makes a diff'rence. Least it ought to." Then he gives a mirthful laugh for what Zalara calls him. "A bright glow! I like that. 'm a bright glow!" He flops down on his back, legs still dangling over the edge as he clasps his fingers together and rests his head on them, grinning over at Zalara. "Ye ain't too dim 'f one yerself, Zalara." Then he ducks his chin to peer at the storm cloud again. "We've got a bit 'f time yet. 'Sides," and he delves into his satchel again, pulling out a hunk of sweet bread, "gotta finish off the storm-watchin' food." He tears off a piece for Zalara, hands it to her, and pops some into his mouth as his eyes turn to the sunset-painted clouds above them.

Zalara smiles. "I'm glad you do. Of course I'm not a dim glow." She nods a little bit and she hmms. "How much did you steal from the kitchens?" She asks as she takes a little bit and pops it in her mouth to enjoy it.

Circling overhead from an easy flight following a hunt at the pens, Kyara and Liareth spot the two figures atop the column among the Standing Stones. Lia is the one to identify them, though Kyara had her suspicions, and the green pair glides down to the weather-worn formations, landing easily on a sturdy arch. The pretty green clambers down to a perch right beside the column, putting Kyara on a level with her brother and the Smith girl. "Hi, you two," she calls across, leaning over onto the neck ridge in front of her with folded arms and grinning. Perhaps it's a little teasing when it's directed to Zannen. "Taking a break?" She gazes up at the anvil cloud that's beginning to loom a little closer. "Don't stay too long; that's coming our way. Though I suppose you're watching for it." She knows her brother; storm-watching is something he likes to do.

Frowning a little, Zannen comes halfway back up to sitting. "Hey, I didn' steal any 'f it," he counters, though a lopsided grin surfaces again rather quickly. "I asked. I jus' gotta grin at the bakers; they always give me what I ask for." Then the heavy approach from behind has him sitting up all the way, and his sister and her dragon come into view beside their rock formation. "Hey, Kya! Hi, Liareth," he calls back, though his eyes narrow a little when he catches her tease because he doesn't have a clue what it's for. "Course 'm watchin'. We'll be off soon; don't worry."

Zalara looks up as she sees the dragon and she smiles. "Hello, Kyara and Liareth! What brings you two up here?" She nods. "I came up here to watch the sunset and I found Zannen up here, too." She looks over at Zannen. "Of course you didn't. I'm sure they do. I'll have to remember to come ask you to get me any sweets."

Liareth gives a rumble of greeting to the two on the rock, crouching a little further as she relaxes on her perch. Kyara pulls off her riding helmet and goggles, hooking them on the riding straps before stretching her arms above her head. "Just saw you two down here and thought I'd say hello on my way back. Our weyr isn't far from here." Then, amber eyes dancing, she glances sidelong at the pair. "Of course, that storm is a lot more impressive from higher up. Lia and I can show you, if you like."

No one needs to tell Zannen twice! He hops up and takes the few steps to the edge of the column before taking a long stride off and onto Liareth's neck, settling behind his sister. He grins over at Zalara, holding out his hand. "C'mon, you," he urges the Smith girl. "Ye've gotta see what it's like in the air, an' Liareth's as smooth a flier as you'll ever meet. They'll keep ye safe!"

"I don't have any flying gear on," Zalara says. She hmms softly. "All right. I guess it will be okay." She moves to get on the dragon slowly, reaching to hold onto Zannen's hand as he offers it to her.

Kyara chuckles a bit as Liareth gives a smug bit of a croon for Zannen's words. "It's alright; I'll only take you as far as the Star Stones," she assures Zalara. "You don't need flying gear for that. Just sit between me and Zan. You'll be fine. Put this around you for good measure, though," she suggests, un-slinging her jacket from her shoulders to reveal the long-sleeved shirt she's been wearing underneath. It's enough for a short hop to the rim. Liareth obligingly holds as still as possible while Zalara makes her way onto the green neck, with Kyara twisted around to offer whatever assistance the girl may need.

Zannen keeps a firm grip on Zalara's hand as he leads her over to sit in front of him, behind his sister. She'll be quite safely wedged between them, and once she gets Kyara's jacket on, he'll have even more safety to give the slight Smith girl as he circles his arms around her to take a grip on Kyara's riding belt. "Don' worry," he reassures her with a grin. "This is fun!"

Zalara nods as she gets settled in on the dragon. "All right. I think I'm ready." She nods as she starts to look around after putting on Kyara’s jacket. "Thanks for the jacket." She looks over at Zannen. "I'm not worried." She holds onto Kyara's waist.

Kyara gives a nod of her own as she feels her brother's hands clamp onto her belt, then Zalara's grip around her waist. "Alright," she calls over her shoulder to her passengers as Liareth's muscles bunch beneath them. Then, for Zalara's benefit more than anything, she gives her dragon's neck a pat, saying, "Easy as you will, love. Just up to the Star Stones." And Liareth obliges, giving a small leap forward and letting jade wingsails catch the breeze with a soft snap, rising gently and then banking slightly to bring them around and up toward the Star Stones. The green lights easily on the Rim and turns about, giving the three on her neck an impressive, expansive view of the gradually approaching storm. Sheets of rain slant down upon the distant desert, flashes of violet-white lightning drawing luminous tears across the downpour beneath the looming grey and white cloud that sits heavily above the land. "See?" she says, turning to glance at Zalara and her brother. "A whole different perspective. A whole new sort of beauty. This is one of my favorite things about being a rider."

At Liareth's first hop forward, Zannen's legs automatically tighten on the green's neck, and his arms close to keep Zalara steady in front of him as he laughs with a giddy excitement he's still prone to on dragonback. He's used to riding with his sister enough that he knows to lean when Liareth banks, and as soon as they're on the Rim, he relinquishes his grip on Kyara's belt, giving Zalara a pat on the shoulder. "It's a lot bigger than I thought," he says of the storm. But he's quiet after that, save for an exhilarated laugh. "Watcha think?" he asks the girl sitting in front of him, grinning as he awaits her answer.

Zalara holds on tightly as she feels the dragon start to take off and she looks around. She sees the storm and the lightning flashing. "Yah; it is a whole different view of things. It looks like it's going to be a bad storm." She looks back at Zannen and smiles. "It's great."

The Whirlie greenrider chuckles as she regards Zalara with a warm smile - as much as she can being twisted about, anyway. "This was just a taste. I'll get you out on an actual flight at some point," she tells the girl before looking past her to her brother. "You're due back at Igen River Hold tomorrow, right?" Kyara questions. "Lia and I can take you. It'd be safer than a runner, considering the storms lately." And the refugees along the way, much as she'd rather give them the benefit of the doubt. But she doesn't say that. "Alright," she sighs after another long moment of observing the storm, "I'd better get you two back to the ground. It won't be long before that's overhead, and I've got to find some dinner before a wing meeting. Hang on!" Once grips are taken up again, Liareth drops from the Rim and makes a wide spiral back to the ground, landing in the Central Bowl near the point where it joins the Bazaar.

Zannen gives a bit of a snort in response to Kyara; clearly, he'd rather spend his time up here. "Yeah," he grumbles, though he smiles for the offer. "Thanks. Though I'll be sendin' Mazu after ye once I want to come back." Then he grins down at Zalara as he obediently reaches around her to grab Kyara’s belt. "Toldja it would be," he says before they're airborne once again. And back to the ground they go.

Zalara continues to look around, taking it all in as much as she can. "It's amazing up here. An actual flight? You mean there’s more?" She looks over at Zannen. "You have to go back to Igen River Hold?" she asks and she nods a little as she holds on ‘til they get to the ground. She continues to watch all around her as they fly down to the Central Bowl.

Kyara unclips the riding straps from her belt, nodding to Zannen's words. "I'm sure you will," she comments. Zalara's question earns the Smith girl a bright laugh. "Oh yes. There's a lot more, lass. Come on; we'll help you down," she says, shifting around a bit and holding out her hand for Zalara to grab. "Just get your other leg over, and we'll lower you." Liareth, for her part, crouches as low to the ground as she can.

The Seacraft lad nods at Zalara. "Yeah. That's where I am when I'm not here," Zannen explains. "Helpin' the Journeymen there build boats an' fish an' whatnot." His smile goes lopsided as he holds his own hand out for her to use so that he and his sister get help her down. "Not a whole lot for a Seacrafter t' do at a Weyr, after all. I'll be back after a few days, though. 's usually what I do." After Zalara is safely to the ground, he'll grab his sister's hand as well and swing down himself.

Zalara gets help getting down and she smiles. "Thank you for the ride." She moves out in front of the dragon. "Thank you for the ride as well, Liareth. I know you were doing all the work." She smiles and she nods to Zannen. "I see. Well, I hope that you come back soon."

Liareth gently pushes her nose at Zalara with a light whuffle - a "you're welcome" as Zannen and then Kyara slips from her neck. Then the green pads away to go socialize with a blue and a brown across the way, to which Kyara chuckles and gives a small shake of her head. "You're welcome," she tells the Smith girl before looking between the two apprentices. "I'm headed to the Living Cavern. You two are more than welcome to join me, if you like."

"Oh ye do, eh?" Zannen questions the Smith girl as his boots hit the ground. "Guess I'd better not let m'self get too smelly, then." He grins and gives her a wink, ruffling his hair before straightening his shirt. Then he shrugs at his sister. "I can always eat," he says, as if this should be quite obvious. "I'll come along." Then he glances over at Zalara and beckons her along. Dinner with friends is always a good thing, right? And so, the three amble on to the Living Caverns, a bit more time shared before going their separate ways for the day.

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