Who

Ennis, V'dean | Cynferth, Ekerth

What

A pause in the midst of sweeps gives Ennis the chance to ask V'dean about Weyrgames. It's all very civil.

When

It is the sixteenth day of Spring and 68 degrees. It is still pleasantly sunny, though storm clouds gather on the horizon.

Where

Red Butte, near Keroon, Igen Weyr

OOC Date 28 Feb 2015 05:00

 

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"So very demure of you."


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Red Butte

Far removed from Hold and Hall, out in the utter midst of the plains of Keroon, sits the unique, solitary stone dome that every weyrling most likely knows better than any other landmark on the face of Pern - the Red Butte. Rings of eroded bedrock and sandstone ring this small mountain like long-frozen ripples worn by weather, upheaval, and time. Valleys and scarps surround and fade into the varied strata of the plateau itself. From both the ground and the air, the strikingly-hued Red Butte remains one of the most impressive and recognizable features of the entire Northern Continent.


It's mere days after the catastrophic Fall that pummeled the Weyr, but still sweeps go out like clockwork. The big-sky plains of Keroon seem a world removed from bowl and bazaar where the stench of firestone and char still seem to linger and the antiseptic tang of Redwort coats liberally. Spring rains have set tenacious greenery to sprout from chip-rock land. There have been sparse signs of the surprise Threadfall that fell lightly over the Hold before the heavier one consumed Igen herself. A dug-out pit here with still-blackened land scorched about it. A herd there being collected from scatter, whoops and whistles of the runnerbound holders rising up into the pleasantly blue afternoon. No great disasters, but they are the sort of thing worth jotting into a sweep report. The kind of activity that may even be worth a second fly-over now, though that may be better debated in word instead of dragonthought. The caps of thunderheads are just visible in the distance as Whirlwhind sweepriders gain altitude at the end of their assigned territory, aimed for the iconic heights of the Red Butte that marks the endpoint of flight. It would be hard to ask for better weather, but still wind tugs through cloth to chap at cheeks, the sun glares despite goggles and cap, and the hours of sustained flight leaves throats parched. V'dean has already tugged out his canteen by the time Ekerth is backwinging to cleat claws into ruddy sandstone, the strap flung over his shoulder while he gets an early start to unlacing his harness to allow a hop down for walking full feeling back into his legs.

Hard work, this, for those who prefer wild rides to dedicated flight and the unflagging attention needed for scanning ground and sky. The green that touches down some meters from Ekerth is drained enough that her landing skids great clouds of red dust and leaves her turned about, facing the way she's come with paws lifting one, two, three, four in sequence before securing steadier grip of earth. A thick snort sends curls into those clouds and the headshake that follows on curved neck does nothing to clear them away either. Cynferth must suffer the cling of dust to sueded hide, just as Ennis must see herself to the ground as the dragon makes no effort to crouch. The hours' rigor shows in stiffness as the woman swings legs over ridges, the rattle of clips unfastened and straps falling empty preceding the slither and thump that marks her own coming to ground. Not for her a canteen, not yet. Her immediate desire is to tug free her secured helmet, drawing it off with one hand while the other tugs goggles down to make Pern's ugliest necklace. Ash stippling still shows low on one cheek from the Fall that took the Weyr but it's lost the gleam of fresh injury and shows the pink of healing. More damaged are the braids pinned to her head, with flyaway hairs mussed loose and set to waving in the wind that strokes the Butte. She looks about like a woman with far more energy than she truly possesses, the reason for that coming a beat later, with a smile that shows teeth. "I haven't been here since senior weyrlinghood. We played it like infiltration, coming in without Igen spotting us. It looked bigger then."

Dust is the only fresh sign marring V'dean's features, his small-worn scars older things and the dirt-accentuated crinkle about his eyes the steadily deepening etch of time's long making. After drinking, water sloshed into one palm will do a good bit to clear those away, seeping dark into his close-trimmed bristle and dripping into the soft folds of Igenite wrap shoved more loosely down his neck. Energetic he is not, a loose unravel to his motions as a twist towards Ennis grits his boots against the Butte's flattish top. His few wandered steps towards her are largely excuse to limber his knees through full range of motion. "Sneaky." His smile turns towards her with seconds delay from his path, the squint-into-shadow of his eyes slow to tug from the view of the plains laid out before them. "Did it work?" he wonders. Ekerth, meanwhile, seems the very opposite of curiosity. His greater surface area did not survive the last Fall entirely unscathed, though by now the mottle of ash and acid burn seems characteristic rather than calamity. It keeps him from folding too low into the dirt, however, his wings making loose mantle about his thick-rolled shoulders. Cynferth is observed in sidecast, the curl of benign blue across facets more sluggish than the eddies she chases through dustcloud.

"We felt like potential conquerors, every one. It wasn't until later I realized the weyrlingmasters all coordinate with each other to ensure no crossover. Fewer accidents that way, mm?" Such a trick to play on eager youngsters. It's worth the light laugh Ennis gives the memory, it's worth a slight shake of head. After that are more practical matters: gloves peeled off to fill the helmet, helmet wedged against rock in a stoop that leaves her to give a huff of discomfort in the slow straightening that follows. Hands shove to small of back before passing to the canteen fixed on her belt. It's old and courtly habit that has her tilting it towards the bluerider after it's uncapped and before the swallow that chases the unspoken toast. To his health. To hers. She drinks, and catches the drops that spill over on the back of the wrist she presses to her lips. "Was it weyrlinghood, where you learned how to skip the way you two do? Or did that come after? As segues go, this is the equivalent of a hammer to beaten metal but curiosity still shows in the hike of her eyebrows when she looks back to V'dean. It's more attention than Ekerth is being paid by Cynferth. She is there, the subaural hum of her mind cool and distant and enclosed, but she has raised her head above the rusty shimmer in the air to focus skywards. That this pose shifts with ear-hole cocked towards Ennis might be coincidence only.

V'dean chuckles along, the sound as dusty as the Keroonian day. "How hollow, victories." This is the way of the world, and the bluerider is as relaxed into it as the seasons-old leather across his shoulders. As is Ekerth, a dark slouch within night-quiet alleys of thought. The man has erased his quirk of smile with the suck of drink that comes after flask-lofted acknowledgement. It renews in broader form as he coughs loose the lingering drops trapped in his throat by the ex-Telgarii's question, hidden only briefly behind the swipe of his own wrist. Wide his grin may be, but the skew of his eyebrows is skeptical where hers are inquisitive. "In weyrlinghood?" Humor is still sparked true enough in pale green eyes. "Between is a smartass's way to fight Thread." He's doing a voice — subtle proof that his own Fortian accent has gotten corrupted over the Turns. His dimple furrows more deeply, and in his slow blink his blue tilts more overt attention towards the riders' conversation. "In weyrlinghood we were given extra high-low drills, for being cute," is a wryer offer of answer. And for how well the lesson stuck? Well, surely it’s a testament to… something.

"They do have a way of losing their shine sooner than we'd like." Ennis' own acceptance of that fact is tempered with a note of enjoyment that goes unexplained- there's nothing here worth savoring in such a fashion and yet there it is, rich on her tongue. It's short-lived, that note, the rattle of his cough returning curiosity to the fore. Not concern, no, but she takes a moment for less breezy study of the other rider. Dark eyes tick from wrist to eyes to the tuck of that dimple in the fur of his cheek. And when she's finished with that survey, she allows the cast of his grin or maybe the pluck of that crisper accent to pull matching amusement back into her expression. "They are what they're meant to be, I suppose. Weyrlingmasters. No vision but what's above and ahead. But a pair that blink about the way you do…" There it is. The gentlest of thrusts and the first thing that's been said that brings Cynferth's attention back to the little group. She's long since smoothed her wings to her sides but they whisper as she shifts shoulders, adjusts the set of her neck to look square upon Ekerth. Interest is highlighted in emerald, a less placid spin that carries an eddy of frost and leafrot towards the blue. "I've been hoping to find a moment to ask you about the Weyrgames, V'dean. I don't suppose you and Ekerth have ever thought about competing?"

The shaping of the bluerider's grin goes somewhat neglected as the cool of his gaze studies over Ennis. This time there's a longer-draw flatness to his laughter's scuff over Weyrlingmasters. The way you do — V'dean is better primed to be berated rather than praised. It shows in his lack of trust of her trailing, gaze stuck sidelong on the woman while an idle roll of his wrist sloshes water within metal. It means that his curiosity is more slowly piqued, and even then it is applied with uncertain reserve. "The Weyrgames." His brows twitch up slightly before dropping along with his gaze, small furrow picked above the whisper-scarred bridge of his nose as he gives an absent shake through his leg. A cramp, maybe, or too much dirt on his boot. The squint he looks back up with gives barely any sign of fading glaze. "No," is perhaps awfully simple after pause. "We haven't." It may not be the most inviting of answers, but there's keener contemplation in the look that takes closer scan of the wind-tugged greenrider. Ekerth, though — leave him to be more hammer than dagger's point. His snub snout does square real well once jerked into aligned glance with Cynferth.

Ekerth doesn't react so much as resolve, brick-blunt and impassively inert beneath the breath of cold and mold. There's a clamminess to his dark that has nothing in common with the glaring open of their physical space, a pervasive lurking that slides around her eddies and sinks back into place. « What. »

There's ample time in there, between study and reserve, twitches and scuffs, for Ennis to content herself with something other than conversation. Canteen is tilted, hand wet and fingers slipped beneath the rumpled gauze of her scarf to treat her nape to a touch of coolness. It's a sensation shared between the two, woman and dragon, with one taking in a soft breath and the other releasing the same in a sigh that finally allows Cynferth to sink belly towards sandstone. By the time the greenrider is flicking errant droplets off her fingers, to disappear into the thirsty rock at her feet, V'dean has provided his answer and she's free to nod- as if it doesn't surprise her at all to hear it. "Trust Fort to miss an opportunity," she opines in easy disparagement, the confidence of her brand of truth bred in the bone. Brisker is the capping of the canteen that follows and its replacement on her belt, while she gathers herself up to regard him as squarely as Ekerth does the green. "Our Weyrleader, in his infinite wisdom and good judgment, has allowed me the honor of putting together a list of Games prospects. I'd like to add your names."

Cynferth waits for lurking and eddies both to settle. Hers is rooted patience- with the thud of contact made, with the terseness of that demand and for the need to await a pause in Ennis' speech before offering up response. In that time the slow drift of her thoughts do little enough to illuminate. She doesn't mind the dark. « That, » is her explanation. There, what's said aloud. But in here there is more found within and beneath the words. Images, sensation, the snap of wind in sails and a distant roar of adulation as body folds and blinks out and in and //success. »//

Trust Fort. A smile pulls pretty across the bluerider's lips, though the glimmer of green eyes is a touch edged within his squint. The side-tilt of his head allows him to tip in another mouthful from his canteen while keeping attention locked upon Ennis. Despite this, his is a casually kept fixation. Drift of lashes briefly breaks his gaze as V'dean sees to the quietly-spun closure of his cap. His chin doesn't lift all the way back up, making the arcing travel of his watch more obvious as it touches from the woman's solid stance to her mussed braids. By then, his dimple is back full force. Laughter hitches in his chest, though it doesn't make it to sound. "Stodgy, Fort. You'd not expect them to allow a Lord's daughter on a fighting dragon and put her," his tongue pauses in brief tap against a tooth, "under. A man like F'dan." Does that make it seem like he disparages Igen's Weyrleader? "No matter his infinite wisdom and good judgement." It's debatable whether that makes it better. But onward, it is perhaps true despite being dipped in something vaguely caustic: "I think opportunity is the last thing R'nli would be interested in giving me." Slight pause for the steadying of sharp contemplation upon the greenrider. "Though I'm not sure this is an opportunity that suits us. J'mer was right enough; each skip between is another chance to never come back. And we've no interest in adulation."

Ekerth hangs, not quite patient, and though lurking may settle it doesn't disperse the ominous loom of fog masking distant lamplight. She may roar and stretch and exalt, but he merely slumps as impassive observer. « Games. » A creak of stretching leather. Over knuckles, or a jacket wrapped to fuller close. He leaves these senses to her, making no reach for either success or airborn amusements.

"Ah." That creeping note of enjoyment has returned, infusing this given syllable with the same light that suffuses Ennis' smile. It's near sweet enough to distract from the adjustment of head that places Cynferth's unblinking regard solidly upon man over dragon. Nostrils flare once as if to take his measure by scent alone. When Ennis looks over to where her lifemate lounges, it's a glance that becomes some private communion- head tilts to match the rise of one shoulder, brows lift and smile shades subtler. "Stodgy," is what the woman says when focus eventually meanders back to V'dean. "I suppose that is what one imagines, isn't it?" Cynferth might agree. She might not. Her steady regard shifts only when Ennis adds, "We lady riders, poor accidents that we are, know when we're fortunate enough to ride under good men," and with that the green is on four paws, neck twisted about to let her reach an itch behind her shoulder joint, erasing it with sharp pushes of muzzle. "It's no bad thing to know what one is capable of," her rider says over the burr of hide stroking hide. "If it isn't for you and yours," Ekerth is included in the flick of dark eyes, "so I thank you, at least, for giving me the moment to ask."

Cynferth finds nothing objectionable in fog either. Where the edges blend, fog may tickle curls of mist that have more substance than damp air warrants, giving way to the deeper drift of her cobwebs, where private reflection is shaded. Those flickers and flashes that lend their own light never quite resolve into fully realized offerings. They're separate. For him, instead there is a more organic creak, rooted material that settles without the clean preservation of leather. « Greater moments, » is her counter. A pause is followed by cool observation, « Some are better suited to watching than achieving. »

It's like V'dean makes swift glut on sweetness, his smile turned lazy and muted. This is no real satiety, though — not with the failure of the expression to really reach his eyes. That could have something to do with the whipcord green's adjusted watch. The man slides his gaze over her sharp angles and spun-swirl facets, though there's no freezing in place. A slight sway casts through his spine as his hand makes sightless, sliding gather of his canteen's strap and then thumb-hooks it up to his shoulder. His answer to the greenrider's supposition is an absent-seeming hum. He doesn't look back immediately upon Cynferth's disengagement. When his focus returns to Ennis, the dimple-pinned curve of his mouth has gone a little lopsided. "So very demure of you." He might not be buying it. It's in his canny considerarion of her that quick-coat of glaze sets subtle-twitched rearrangement of his expression. "Certainly," his acceptance of her thanks is nevertheless smooth. "You are most welcome, Ennis." There might be little to find fault with in the sound of it, though the directness of his regard is probably just the start of where it fails to be truly courtly.

Ekerth stays tucked within his own cloak of fog and shadow, no venture made towards her will 'o wisp flickers. Their reflection barely slides at his surface — a gleam on clean leather, a glisten over the stagnant grease of damp streets. As for coolness, it has little effect on dense, boiled-wool implacability. « Sure, sweetheart. » He drifts, unhurried in cloud's choke.

Ekerth senses that it is just as well that he keeps to his own borders. Of his brief reply, that second word creates a vacuum that whisks eddies of mist and cobweb back towards their core source. Cynferth's withdrawal is not entire. There remains link enough that she can breathe, « No, I'm not, » over the blocky lines and lamp-limned bulk of his presence. Then he is left alone to define whatever slump he cares to in his fog, alone in shadow.

Perhaps it's to less wispy communication between green and rider that leads Ennis into less than demure chuckling, though as a lady ought she looks to hide the burble of voice behind the press of her hand's back to curled lips. Or maybe it is V'dean putting her on notice of his awareness. Whatever the cause, they both lead to the same effect: her eyes shine with deeper highlights when the lashes that had shuttered them finally lift to allow meeting his regard. Less delicate than that look is the scrape of hobnails over sandstone as she adjusts her stance, a shoulder to Cynferth, a shoulder towards bluerider and all the plains of Keroon stretched out before her. The hand that had pressed her smile to better behaved dimensions now slips behind her head so curled fingertips can seek an itch along her scalp through the thickness of her braids. "I find it easy to remember the steps when in the presence of such civility. Shall we? Now that we can feel our legs again, I don't suppose Keroon's hidden herds will be counting themselves." There's a cloud out there, just a dingy cotton puff on the far horizon, but with Ennis sighting it soon enough Cynferth is looking as well. Spars rattle together as she shrugs her wings to higher hold and lifts muzzle into the wind coming to them.

There may be smallest of prickle of tension along the bluerider's shoulders for her hidden laughter, but on the whole he bears it with unwavered attention rather than gathered annoyance. Aware. Her of him, him of her. It withstands the oversaturating glare of unclouded afternoon and the lung-coating smother of dust in the air. His smile is supple, putting sharp definition back to his dimple as V'dean tucks a finger at a lock of blonde loosening from his cap. His tongue clicks a coy tsk out against the roof of his mouth. "What happened to greater moments, Ennis?" There's a sly sparkle of grin held slanted upon her as his shoulders start to twist. "I would think you'd prefer novel choreography." In contrast to remembered steps. Though with re-felt legs, his path will turn back to lead him to mount. There are herds to report on, after all, and so they shall. Ekerth makes an unmoving target — his placid gaze remains angled towards green and rider, his paws planted staunch. There's only the smallest loosening of cableknit wings as his rider returns. A slight slump, if you will, spars untucked and ready to flare and press to downsweeping purpose.

"Oh, were we on the cusp of a moment? I hadn't realized." This might read more accurately as regret or apology, to match the tone she wields, were Ennis not already aiming herself for Cynferth's side. Helmet and gloves are scooped up along the way, with one mashed down over her head and the other tucked into left pocket just as she reaches her ride. This time the green lady deigns to lend assistance in mounting up, a wrist offered for the step and hop that secures strapping in hands for the pull that swings her up and over. So many buckles to fasten, beneath her chin and about her waist and over her shoulders. That she can do so while Cynferth makes high-stepping and neck-curved walk to align herself with Ekerth is testament to turns of spent adapting to the jolt and sway of a dragon's ground locomotion. Goggles are repositioned, gloves finally tugged before twinned looks slide sidelong to the males- one set of eyes flashing lenses, the other spun sea-shaded jewels that are finally taking on some speed- to await, as demure females do, for the masculine to take the lead. Of the two, Ennis is more placid in her waiting. Cynferth's tail has grown restless behind her and wings flex as if already anticipating the loft the currents running up along the Butte's side will offer.

A pulse of brows, then the free bright of a turning-away laugh — these are the things that answer Ennis' false apology. If the green will move, certainly the blue will find no need to. V'dean has the slim advantage of stable platform for stowing canteen and tugging leather into place. Wideview facets let Ekerth's shift of angle be minimal as his wingmate draws alongside, but still he surely has full appriciation for the potential of Cynferth's waiting and the impatient slink of her tail. A hook of gloved finger assures that the toothy beam of the man's smile is viewable across spars' distance. "Not insisting on ladies first?" He may not have spent much time at Harper, but the bluerider has enough skill to project smoothly over the soft ruffle of spring breeze. It's not really a question. It's not really an offer. He's already swinging out the broad gesture used by dragonriders, not Blooded — all rise. It's then Ekerth moves, a deliberate side pace to gain room for the broad snap of his wings and the power-bound shove that send them back up into Keroon's skies.

"I'm thirteen turns too late for that," chases the pair, if they can even hear over the gust of Ekerth's rising. Ennis hasn't the advantage of Harper training and her broadcasting is nipped short anyway. It isn't in Cynferth's nature to pursue. She makes it known in the way she launches up and over the invisible gale created by the blue's passage upwards, snipping her partner's retort short enough that one might fear for the tip of Ennis' tongue. Likewise, Ekerth had best maintain a satisfactory pace- the green rides his tail-tip until the currents smooth and a tilt sends her cutting below and to his right. Ahead the dust cloud and those pesky herds- and the distant smudge of a storm promised beyond, positioned to race them for the Weyr and home and a rest from this day's labors.

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