==== January 27, 2014
==== N'cal, Erissa
==== Erissa finds herself on uncertain ground when N'cal makes an offer she doesn't know how to deal with.

Who N'cal, Erissa
What Erissa finds herself on uncertain ground when N'cal makes an offer she doesn't know how to deal with.
When It is the 54th day of Autumn.
Where Dragonhealer Yard, Igen Weyr

Ncal15.jpg erissa2.jpg




It is late night
It is 10:56 PM where you are.
There are 0 turns, 1 month and 12 days until the 12th pass.
It is the seventy-eighth day of Autumn and 52 degrees. It is a clear night.

Evening has set in, the cool side of mild a pleasant change from the warmth that has been defining autumn thus far at Igen. The waning light is countered by the pale green and blue illumination of glows in the dragonhealer yard, however; light must be maintained here, for such occasions as the one bringing Iolarth in for a visit may happen at any time. A long, clean slash - not terribly deep, but oozing ichor - mars his left flank. A little flight rage at work, there? Most likely. While a dragonhealer and his brown lifemate deal with the sky-washed blue in a pool of glowlight at the western end of the yard, N'cal sits at more a shadowed point, perched on a stone bench near the infimary. A discarded rag stained with ichor mark that he's cleaned his hands of his own ministrations to his lifemate recently, and his relatively easy manner reflects two things: one, that this is old hat for him, and two, that Iolarth has likely alreafy been relieved with numbweed. The tall bluerider simply sits and waits, idly skimming a sharpening stone over his belt knife.

"So this is where you hang out when you're not pretending to do push-ups and racing around lakes?" The question comes from over N'cal's left shoulder, framed in the light tones of an amused female voice. Erissa, looking a little worse for wear herself, stands with a cocked posture enforced by one knee being wrapped in bandages. Arms crossed, chin tilted, and gray-shadowed blues casting a steady look through the fall of wayward blond locks. Surprisingly she's dressed in a short-sleeve blouse and shorts - her usual black jacket missing.

"Only when he decides to lose his focus during a flight," N'cal replies with a long-suffering sigh, glancing over his shoulder at Erissa only once he's finished his current pass of stone over blade. Something is different about her…and he slides off his perch when the sight of a bandaged knee registers, his knife returning to its sheath and the sharpening stone pocketed. "Shells, Erissa, what happened there?" he questions, genuine concern coloring his tone as a small frown turns down the corners of the mouth that grins so easily.

Erissa turns a quick look toward Iolarth, pale brows pulling together for a few moments. "Is he alright?" she asks, the mere sight of an injured blue holding special significance. Immediately a brush of strong, ocean-fed winds touches her mind - Danorath's way of reassuring her. As N'cal turns and takes a better look at her she shifts, knowing that even in the faded light the cuts and bruises that decorate her face and arms are evident. Dark stitches weave a short diagonal line over her right eye, though she tilts her face so over-long bangs tend to veil it. As the other bluerider asks about her leg she chuckles softly and lifts it, bending the knee and letting it sway a bit by way of demonstration. "What, this? Bah…nothing major. Just had a run-in with a couple boars while out hunting." Her voice lowers then, words speeding up into a jumble. "Andmaybeafalldownahillor something like that."

N'cal's eyes flick over to his lifemate as he steps into a brighter patch of the yard a bit nearer the other bluerider. "He is," the wingsecond replies, nodding and looking back to Erissa. "This has happened many a time before, and he bounces back very quickly. Though he says thank you for the concern." Dark, subtly arched brows draw together as he puts two and two together about hunting. "Ahhh, this would have been the Whirlwind outing that was being whispered about, I suppose. Was it Nerat, or did you lot actually end up in Southern?" A blue-green gaze assesses the other bluerider for another second, squinting slightly as N'cal tries to discern whether or not he's truly seeing those stitches over her eye. "Picking fights with boars, throwing yourself down hills," he comments drolly, tsking thereafter. "Would you care to race now and see if beating me comes so easily?" Which it really hadn't at the Crater Lake; it was an extremely close thing. Sobering again, he tilts his head in question. "How long does this keep you out of the air for? Anything worse than scrapes and cuts?"

Erissa nods in acknowledgement of the relayed reply form Iolarth, deep blue gaze regarding N'cal a bit more closely in search of signs that he was injured as well. Noting none, she draws a wry grin for his correct guesswork. "Southern. And let me just say that I no longer think it's so unbearably hot here!" His tease draws her grin out even further, even eliciting a lightly snorted laugh and waggle of one finger. "I could still beat you even if I was using a crutch," she informs him with curt amusement, her smug memory apparently serving up a different conclusion than what N'cal remembers. But then his questioning takes a serious turn and she signs, dropping her gaze briefly to the offending bandages on her leg. "Healers say just a sevenday should do it. Nothing's broken but it was a pretty deep gash. I'm supposed to be careful and not put too much pressure on the stitching." Bah. Healers. Can't live with'em, can't live without'em.

N'cal notes her regard and glances down at himself, absently brushing at the front of his tunic and pulling it taught before standing up a bit straighter. No, no injuries here; the lean bluerider makes a point of staying as far away from the other chasing riders as possible, generally. "You just can't resist, can you?" N'cal drawls in answer to her assertion, shaking his head and leaning against the nearby wall with folded arms. "I do hope you'll listen to them, my tenacious fellow blue. But what will prevent you going stir-crazy in the meantime, I wonder? Since you won't be able to challenge me to any further tests of strength for the time being, sadly," he says with a smirk, teasingly smug in its own right.

That modest straightening of clothes and posture is noted with another touch of amusement, though Erissa can't help but approve. His question, however, is a good one. Having moved around several times she doesn't have any particular hobbies and is still exploring life as an Igenite. Of course he has to go and end it with a challenge, which is always a sure-fire way to spike her stubborn determination. Pale brows rise as lips tug a little to one side. "There are still plenty of ways I can kick your ass without the use of my leg," she informs him, the low lighting limning white-blond locks in silver as she tips her head.

A laugh rolls from N'cal's chest, his head tilting back to touch the wall lightly. "Faranth, Erissa," his amused baritone utters, head swiveling just enough to look down and sidelong at her. "Surely we can interact without constantly attempting to one-up each other. Though it is rather enjoyable from time to time." He pushes off the wall, running a hand through the short, dark blonde waves atop his head before folding his arms again. "In all seriousness, though. Do rest. And should I have the time, I would be glad to help you find ways to keep from going mad while you wait to heal." He does sound a bit doubtful that time will be forthcoming, particularly as he's already eagerly devoting much of what he has to spare to someone else…but he is willing to see what he can do.

Slender shoulders rise and fall in a quick shrug as Erissa gathers her arms across her chest, confidence oozing from her demeanor. At N'cal's offer, however, a brief flicker of a frown washes humor from her expression, pretty features cast with confusion instead. In the next moment a blank look replaces them all and, as usual, internal filters fail to keep her from blurting the first thing that comes to mind. "Why?" she asks, posture tightening in a more guarded stance. "Why would you do that?"

N'cal blinks, perplexity subtly infusing narrow features as his arms drop and hands clasp behind him. "Because…it is something a friend might offer to do." There's another slight tilt of his head as that sea-hued gaze picks up the tension in her frame. "Though it's clear I may have miscalculated again. I rather thought that 'friend' might accurately describe how we regard one another since first we met. Perhaps I'm getting ahead of myself? Please correct me, if that's the case." An eyebrow lifts slightly, his expression no less puzzled, but perhaps a bit concerned now.

Friend. The word isn't really part of Erissa's vocabulary, let alone ever used to apply to her directly. Deep blue gaze slides to the side for a few seconds of silence after he finishes, words not offering themselves to adequately define how she's feeling. One hand breaks from its pose and rises, bringing curled fingers to her mouth where she absently nibbles on a short thumb nail. Finally she flicks those fingers in a quick gesture, saying, "No. Right. Friend." But then, "I guess." Nibbling resumes for another moment and she turns slightly, then turns her chin back over her shoulder. "It's just that… well, you're a - a guy." Imagine that! With the wall cracked she tosses out as well, "Guys never want to be friends with me." Most girls don't either for that matter, but that's beside the point.

Trying his best to decipher the body language and expressions he's observing from the Whirlwind bluerider, N'cal takes a careful step closer, brow furrowing as he peers down at Erissa. At her observation, he glances at his own chest once more, giving a slight chuckle. "Indeed I am. It's always good to have that verified every now and again," he replies wryly, though her last drains much of the levity from him. "If you've truly never had a man approach you out of friendship," he tells her, his voice quietly serious, "then I am deeply sorry you've only experienced otherwise. But I assure you, Erissa, that there are some of us who would gladly be simply that - a friend. There seem to be a fair amount here, in fact." Blinking, he questions cautiously, "After all the times we've spoken thus far…what was it you thought I was about?"

Erissa nearly takes a step back as N'cal comes closer but smothers the inclination before it takes effect, pride demanding otherwise. His attempt at humor helps, though she only quirks pale brows in response. Reassurances aside, the sudden dive into sensitive emotions has her flinching behind guards set up for just this purpose - avoiding vulnerability. His comment brings to mind a certain cranky greenrider and she snorts softly, a disparaging remark leaping to her tongue. But then he’s asking a question she doesn’t have a ready answer to and parted lips snap shut. “I don’t know. I guess I was just waiting for you to…. to…..” Fingers flicker again at her loss for words. Finally she blurts, “…to be an ass.”

Gaze slipping down and away for a moment, N'cal gives a "hmph" at her answer - not of indignation, as his posture remains quite at ease to indicate otherwise, but of bemusement. "We all have our moments of mimickry concerning that particular animal, don't we?" he muses, his tone waxing droll once again. "Though I hope to keep you waiting, then. Some just have being an ass as part of their nature, it seems. Others of us do our best not to come off as such. Not unless it's warranted - and it seldom is. I would hope not to behave so poorly, toward you or anyone else." His hands turn palms-upward and lift up and away, almost an offering gesture - offering the words to Erissa to be weighed, perhaps.

A frown seems to take up permanent residence on Erissa’s brow, pretty features scrunched into a look of wary uncertainty. “Some more than others,” she remarks to his generalization. He seems pretty assured of his view but her experience has been such that she can’t buy it. “What makes you wanna be so nice?” she asks grumpily, demonstrating why she has a problem in this area.

"The fact that I have done my share of hurting others," comes the rather quick reply, a bitter, self-deprecating undertone to N'cal's words as he fixes Erissa with an intent look. "It is far easier to go one's way in life, using the same unkindness employed by the rest of the world to knock another down in order to gain ground of your own. But to show kindness when it is difficult, when it isn't understood…is a challenge." A slight smirk quirks the corner of his mouth. "Surely you can appreciate the lure of a good challenge. But beyond that…" He sighs, gaze rising to the star-flecked sky. "I wish to be kind because life is not. Iolarth speaks of 'light' in the world very often - how we are meant to be light to the darkness. Not just me and him, but all riders." His gaze drops to Erissa once more, his smile small. "He's right. To see the result of kindness is…quite a unique thing. Worthwhile. It sounds like some ideal from a Harper's teaching ballad, I know. But that doesn't negate the truth of it."

Wow. Harper’s teaching ballad, indeed. Erissa simply eyes the other bluerider for several more seconds. Lips quirk just slightly for his ploy of using a challenge to peek her interest. Unfortunately the topic being challenged on is one she isn’t keen on addressing. “That’s a disgustingly positive outlook there, bluerider,” she teases, a wry tone marking her voice. “It sounds nice and all but from what I’ve seen so far there’s too much darkness to be worth it.” Her injured foot tilts to scuff the ground.

"What, then, would you say is the best path to walk?" N'cal counters, a crease forming between his brows as a hint of frustration rises. "Give in to that darkness and live a selfish prat, looking out for myself and no one else? Do my duty to wing and Weyr, then act however I damn well please while not flaming Thread and be, as you say, an ass to whomever gets in my way?" He shakes his head slowly, frowning a bit again. "My outlook isn't positive or negative - it's simply an outlook. I see what I see. I am as I am because, given the choice between appealing to someone's better nature or thier darker side, the former is far more attractive." Even if he's had to appeal to people's darker aspects, at times. Throwing up his hands a bit, he gives the other bluerider a steady look, unrepentant in his views. "Regard me as you will, Erissa. If friendship isn't something you're willing to accept from me…well. It wouldn't be friendship if it were forced, now would it?" Iolarth quietly begins stalking in their direction across the yard, and N'cal shifts away from the wall, examining his fingers and idly scraping at a nail. "I'll leave you be, if that's what you'd prefer," comes quietly, perplexed resignation grating at the edges of his voice.

“I’m not telling you how to live,” Erissa snaps, annoyed not at him but the jumble of emotions his philosophizing evokes. “I just said you were nice and I didn’t get why, not that it was a bad thing. Sorry!” Because of course if he actually liked her enough to think of her as a friend then something must be wrong and/or must be sabotaged, right? Try as she might to do so, however, his final proposal strikes a sense of potential loss that she doesn’t want to face, and so, a final reply is given in muted tone aimed off to one side. “That’s not… what I would prefer.”

Eyebrows tick upward a fraction, and N'cal studies the injured woman in front of him for a long moment. "I suspect you're as puzzled by me as I am by you, at the moment," he tells her, his tone gentle but edging in wryness. "If you would not, in fact, prefer to be left alone," and he bends at the waist to put his eyes on a level with hers, "then consider me here. A willing ear, and a helping hand - should you decide you need either. On your terms, Erissa. I'll not pry or force you to accept anything from me. I'll simply be around." Iolarth gives a slow blink down at Erissa, yellow-green eyes whirling in a slow, pale glow in the deepening shadows. He tilts his head, almost mirroring the puzzlement from his rider, and gives a soft snort - a warm puff of air sent over both riders that flutters N'cal's hair a bit. "Iolarth and I should get back," the tall bluerider says shifting lightly from foot to foot as his eyes rest on her injured knee again. "Unless, of course, you'd like help getting anywhere or some such thing."

Erissa stubbornly keeps her face turned away as N’cal tries to catch her eye, but as his words sink in gray-shadowed blues drift to his beneath the hooded fall of pale lashes. No reply presents itself, tension tying her tongue, but she manages a tiny dip of chin by way of acknowledgement. Then, thankfully, Iolarth wanders over and she blinks as the soft brush of dragon breath stirs the fall of overly long white-blond bangs, her gaze sweeping the length of the big blue and casually comparing hue and girth to her own lifemate. “No, thanks,” she replies automatically, then hesitates as if to say more but draws back instead to a simple, “I’ll be fine.”

"Alright, then." N'cal gives a nod, turning slightly to pat the blue nose that suddenly lowers to level beside him before giving Erissa a small smile. "Clear skies, Erissa. Until next time." With an easy jump up onto Iolarth's foreleg and a practiced vault to the sky-washed blue's neckridges thereafter, N'cal ascends out of the glowlight, and the blue pair jumps up into the night, quietly soaring off toward their home above Bazaar. The wingsecond may just need an extra glass of wine to help him process things a bit. Interesting, seeing this bit of complexity to Erissa beyond her fixation on Cha'el. Will attempting to befriend the woman actually work? He isn't certain, and he's still wary. However, as with every challenge he's ever been faced with…he's willing to try.

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