==== January 30th, 2014
==== N'cal, Iolarth
==== The same night as What's A Friend. N'cal - with some encouragement from Iolarth - weighs his motivations for friendship in light of his past.

Who N'cal, Iolarth
What The same night as What's A Friend. N'cal - with some encouragement from Iolarth - weighs his motivations for friendship in light of his past.
When Evening. There is 1 month and 9 days until the 12th Pass.
Where Iolarth's Ledge, Igen Weyr


Iolarth's Ledge
This ledge is rather asymmetrical; the north end is wide enough for a brown to land and rest on, gouged hundreds of times over from landings. The back of this provides a dragon with shelter and a raised stone couch beneath the overhang. South from this, the ledge narrows against the wall of the Weyr, becoming no wider than three long strides before opening into a separate, smaller cave. Pots of oil and riding straps are stored on shelves and hooks here, and the weyr entrance sits in the middle of the back wall, covered over with a simple hanging of deep wine red.

"What makes you wanna be so nice?"

Wine in hand, N’cal sits outside, long legs dangling over the edge of the narrowest part of his ledge between Iolarth’s couch and the weyr. Dim light and muted bustle filter up from the Bazaar through the dark of night to where rider and dragon lurk - Iolarth, with his eyes glowing softly yellow-green in the shadows as he looks down over his domain, and N’cal, pondering conundrums with the help of a drink before getting some sleep. Does he do this often? Perhaps. Usually his ponderings are work-related. Or centered on the one woman who seems able to divert his mind from all things work-related.

However, fresh from his encounter in the dragonhealer yard with a different woman altogether, it’s the riddle of personalities that he tries to wrap his mind around at this particular moment. Erissa has her issues, to be sure. He deduced this upon first meeting her. To have someone on one’s mind out of true interest and emotion is one thing, but to fixate so - as she does on Cha’el - is…unsettling, to say the least. Yet N’cal made up his mind to approach her in a sincere offer of friendship, despite his wariness. Why?

He knows a thing or two about an injured soul - something he perceives her to be.

"The fact that I have done my share of hurting others."

How many had he talked into a subtle trap, undercut, outwitted while he was with the Vandor? It may have been in good business, many times…but how many needed what he had gained more than the traders he’d traveled with did? There were the guards, the Harpers, even the riders he had insulted and accused when Brigea vanished. Clutchmates he had stepped on in order to get to a position he wasn’t to have in the end - when he had been more hotheaded and greedy. The blackmail - how it had affected W’rin, but even more so, Trek. He’d let her take on the Weyrleader’s wrath alone, even though she’d insisted she could handle it and wanted to do so by herself.

Why should he start caring now? Not that he’d been apathetic; he truly likes Trek, even cares about her. She is a friend. Now he’s trying to befriend Erissa…

"I wish to be kind because life is not."

“Hypocrite.” The word is nearly spat under his breath, and he hastily takes a deep drink of wine, grimacing as he swallows enough at once to make his throat burn.

« No. »

» I didn’t ask you. « Let him wallow in his self-deprecation, thank you.

In a gust of warm, enveloping wind, Iolarth mentally snatches his lifemate up into and through the clouds - the flight of urgency giving N’cal no choice but to listen. « This is no time to tear yourself down, N’cal, » the blue’s rich baritone states, his voice as close around them as the clouds themselves. The gold of sunlight teases through thinner veils of vapor, hinting at progress toward a destination unseen - one that N’cal is quite familiar with. « I did not choose a heartless man to bond with. You wish to make up for past wrongs. That is an absolutely honorable thing. »

Unsettled, N’cal shifts, but doesn’t move to rise - not yet, at any rate. Iolarth doesn’t take him for a mental flight often, but when he does, it’s rather disorienting if he tries to move. » I’d grown accustomed to using kindness as a disguise, « the bluerider murmurs into those mental mists that part before Iolarth’s mind-flight. » I am… afraid that those I exercise it on will regard it as such. Perhaps I also fear that I may not know if I’m being genuine about it, either. «

Motion stops, though the comforting spring breeze of Iolarth’s mind does not. The clouds dwindle away, and it’s the solitary, ruin-strewn floating island in the midst of his mountain lake that N’cal finds himself standing upon now. The Hunter of misty light is there beside him, seeming nearly corporeal in the details of his more intimate mind-self. « You are uneasy because this is ground you have not tread in a long time, » the blue observes, his voice close, soothing and quiet. « If you doubt your motives with Danorath’s, simply weigh them against what you’ve already established. Why did you become friends with Kanyith’s? »

Now N’cal gets up, lightly brushing sand from the seat of his pants before slowly sauntering over to his lifemate and leaning against a warm, muscular shoulder. » Because we’re of the same mind on so many things. She is capable, determined, brave - all admirable traits. She’s a good partner in making certain we aren’t undervalued… and she has a good heart. I wanted to be sure she had the support she needed. Particularly when I feel a good portion of her hardship has been my own doing. «

« Some of those hardships are beyond anyone’s control. But do you see? Those are not superficial attributes, and you value them. You don’t see her as someone to be used for your own gain. Now, what about Vashae? »

The smile that easily widens thin lips is automatic, and N’cal laughs softly. » That is a bit different. It’s… « He pauses suddenly, blinking up at his dragon in surprise. » You used her name. You never call anyone by name. «

Iolarth brings his head around to nudge N’cal with his nose, rumbling softly. « She is important to you - someone who makes your heart glad, and there is a light inside you that only she brings out. It gladdens me to see it. Therefore, if I would deign to make such a choice, what does that tell you about the sincerity of your motivations? »

» I see your point. «

« Then why do you want to be friends with Danorath’s? »

N’cal gives a deep, slow sigh, rubbing creases out of his forehead before taking another sip of wine. » Because no one should go through life believing there is no one they can trust, or that dishonorable behavior is common across all men - people in general, really. Erissa… has her mind in questionable places outside of her duties much of the time, it seems. But I wonder if some of that might be remedied by helping her to see that her preconceived notions about others aren’t entirely correct. « He gives a shrug, glancing up at the stars. » I would like to help, in that regard. If I can. «

« And not because you see her as a path to somewhere you need to reach. That is not who you are anymore. » The man of illumined mist embraces N’cal, wrapping a cloak of warm clouds and invigorating, cedar-laden air about his mind as the floating isle fades away. « Move where your instincts tell you to go, N’cal, and do not question yourself so. You may be a conundrum, and Danorath’s may be a conundrum - but all will be sorted as it is meant to be sorted, in time. We have something greater to focus on. Do not worry yourself overmuch. » The big blue nose bumps the tall bluerider again, though this time, it’s more against N’cal’s side, pressing the man into his shoulder in a sort of draconic hug.

The Arroyo wingsecond lays a long arm over his lifemate’s muzzle, touching his forehead to the smooth hide with another sigh. » I will do my best, Ill. « With a parting rub to the closest eyeridges he can reach, N’cal moves back across the ledge to his weyr, letting the remainder of his wine wash the last clinging bits of the matter from his mind before sleep well and truly pulls him in for the night.

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