Who

T'ral, Nevik, Esanth

What

T'ral takes a crew of Candidates up to the Ice Hold to clear debris. Nevik gets bowled over. Again.

When

It is afternoon of the thirteenth day of the first month of the second turn of the 12th pass.

Where

Southern Mountains

OOC Date

 

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Courtyard

Here lies an area stamped out in a neat square, laid painstakingly with cobblestones often slick with frost. Eastward lies the great expanse of the ice fields, and westwards the familiar lowing of the Hold's handful of beasts: but north does rise the dark-grey monolith of the cavernous entry to the Ice Fields proper, open-facing and airy, welcoming in contrast the the barbarous jagged outline of the barrier range lying beyond, ominous and eternal: it seems only fitting that to step past the ornate doors leading into the hold proper, one must step down rather than up. The way into this hold is the way into the earth itself.

It is the seventy-third day of Summer and 25 degrees. It's really damn cold out.


It's warmed up a bit. Just hovering around freezing, starkly lower when the winds blow (and they do) and just JUST the perfect conditions for snow. Clouds a thick, obscuring blanket above mask the sun which is simply a blaze of glaring pale golden brightness amidst all the vast gray and white and black. Shading his eyes T'ral looks out over the courtyard. Work has progressed enough that this enclosed staging ground has served its purpose and only a few remnants of its tenure as Base Camp remain. Crews of workers stack and carry, organize and sweep. T'ral has ferried a handful of Candidates up here to fill out work crews. Most of T'ral's crew today are younger Candidates and the foreman (and T'ral) were happy to have the youngsters broken off to work inside. That left the bluerider with a handful of teenagers and Esanth to tackle the … wow. That's a HUGE pile of timbers that, heretofore had been supporting temporary constructions inside the Hold. Esanth is 'helping' break them down. CRACK! A timber is shattered into smaller more manageable pieces. And nevermind the airborne shrapnel as shards as long as an arm fly off, tumbling. "Esanth!" T'ral's voice is muffled under his cold-weather gear. Anything else he says to the blue is silent. But the dragon sits back on his haunches and huffs. He was HELPING.

Sure enough, with all of the wooden splinters and such flying in every which a ways, Nevik the fearless healer-turned-candidate-helping-as-healer has been called to help pluck a finger-sized shard from one of the workers. Its none too serious but they need to make sure that all of the wooden bits are out so the wound doesn't fester. Unfortunatly for Nevik (but possibly fortunate for the wounded crafter) he's just there holding things for the real healer who is tending the wound. Glancing over to the rider and the blue whom he helped on the beach all those days back, he becomes lost in thought a bit and isn't exactly focusing on the task at hand.

"Pay attention boy!" the healer barks and nearly startles the rusty-haired youth out of his dragon-focused reverie. Nevik quickly drops his eyes and holds the put of red wort balanced in his gloved hand and shifts a bit on his feet to get the feeling down into his toes restored.

Esanth shifts, tail wrapping around his tucked feet, head tilted to give T'ral a healthy stink-eye before turning his great wedgeshaped head to look at, oh, hey, his Candidate. T'ral gives Esanth the stinkeye right back, thumping his trunky leg before walking a short distance to collect his work detail and direct them to restage the timbers further away. He's counting them off to their work and finds one missing. Nevik. Straightening and peering across the work yard, T'ral spots the healer-turned-candidate. The stocky blue dragon paces over to Nevik, faceted eyes whirling with happy blue-green, he croaks out an unlovely grunt that pitches up at the end as he snorfles in the boy's hair. 'What doing?' Blinkety-blink-blink. Blinkety-blink-blink. Esanth slews his head around to look at the healer and the wounded worker, rumbling. "Esanth!" It's like having an enormous toddler. The enormousest. T'ral's feet crunch, crunch, crunch on the icy, snowy cobbles as he hustles over to the little knot of humans and his experiencing-a-second-weyrlinghood dragon.

Nevik nearly flinches when the large blue 'toddler' comes over to investigate him holding the jar of redwort. As nostrils breath in his shaggy, rust-colored hair, he remembers being half-buried in one of them up to his elbows to fish out the forgotten net. "Please don't sneeze on me," he whispers as his eyes already, reflexivly begin to close in preparation for the explosion of dragon-gick. There's no getting that stuff out without a hot bat and he's not exactly close to hot water up here
.
The close proximity of the dragon, obviously, distracts the healer-boy a bit but the healer and patient have already moved on. Nevik simply stands there, frozen, eyes closed and waiting…waiting for the gick.

Why? The hot springs are just inside. It'd be no big deal at all. Aaaaah… Aaaaah…. AAAAAHH-just kidding. No sneeze. Esanth utters a strange series of clattering, creaking sounds at Nevik a brush of starry cold across the young man's mind. His head raises when T'ral, skidding, arrives. The dragon manages to look innocent and turns off to go peer at something else, big feet thudding and scraping on the cobblestones, tail trailing along behind slithering past and, whoops, maybe sweeping T'ral's feet out from under him and whap straight into Nevik. T'ral's arc through the air is perfect - feet straight out, arms making one complete pinwheel before THUD. Ow. The air goes right out of his chest. Esanth spins, registering T'ral's alarm, tail sweeping wide as he does a chorus of angry shouts following him. The senior healer has, wisely, moved away to a shelter not far off, muttering, the injured worker giving the bluerider and his dragon dubious looks. A wheezing T'ral, his arms and legs outflung, manages to croak, "Well, this is a first."

The healer is only able to emit something close to a 'he' sound before the blue's tail comes thwapping into his chest. As though he were hit by a sledge hammer, he is knocked back into the air for a second, being lighter and less well-grown that T'ral, until he comes crashing down upon the ground…and a pile of splinters. Oh, this could be bad. This could be very bad. For a moment, the young candidate doesn't move. Impailed on a wooden sliver? Oh definitely a possibility. Then, after a breath or two, he starts to twitch. "Ow…" he mutters and slowly starts to rise. Its a miracle. Not a bone broken nor a limb impaled. "That…was…weird…" he exclaims in between deep breaths.

He rolls onto his side, arm clamping down hard on bruised ribs, "Ffffuuuu…" a grunt of pain skinning lips back from his teeth. Breathless already, the sharp stab in his said takes his breath and he pauses, panting, blinking stars from his vision. Esanth's big snouth is low, his eyes an anxious yellow. T'ral, hunkered on his side, waves at Esanth, a wild flailing attempt at contact that doesn't even come close to landing on the blue's muzzle. "S'okay." Grunt. T'ral slowly contracts and lifts himself up, knees and carefully upright. He sees Nevik and the array of splintered wooden stakes scattered around him. "Nevik! Are you," wince, "Are you okay?" By the bunching of his jaw and the focused set of his eyes, T'ral is hurting something fierce as he ambles over, worry for Nevik cutting through his own concerns. Esanth tracks along with T'ral, a creaking, distressed croon.

Nevik can't breathe. He's had the wind knocked out of him and the best he can do is sort of inhale deeply and look around confusedly. Apparently this has never happened before. Eyes wide with panic, he tries to communicate in short bursts but all that comes out is something close to "Can't" … "Can't"… and then his training kicks in. Slow…through the nose. He opens up his arms as though he were about ready to hug T'ral and tilts his head back to breathe. Yes. Breathing good. "Breathe…" he finally gets out and looks over to the blue like 'what the hell was he thinking' but not in a condeming manner - more 'what was going through his mind that happened to be focused at the young, former healer.

T'ral's raises a hand to soothe the healer and walk him through easing back into breathing, but Nevik manages on his own. "Easy does it," he encourages. "You all right?" He turns to the dragon, vocalizing so that Nevik can hear, "Esanth, please be careful. It's dangerous up here." The dragon croons a long metallic whine, "Yes, I-" A snort and a creaking groan. "Well, no, of cou-" SNORT. "Yes he is." A final snort directed at T'ral and then Esanth's head sinks really low, as low as it can get and scootches towards Nevik, making that terrible metallic croon, but veeeery quietly.. Scootch, scootch, scootch. Faceted eyes wide and shot through with yellow fix on Nevik.

Nevik is able to recapture his breath eventually. Having the large blue's head stuck near his face is plenty of incentive to be panicked, for some, but the boy finds it oddly soothing. The fact that such a huge creature can be concerned about him is somehow touching. "I'll…"he gasps, "…be… ok." His hand reaches out to offer a reassuring and thankful pat to the Blue's snout. "No harm…" he lies with a smile.

Esanth rumbles at that touch, he's not a beggar for petting like some dragons are, but he is rather fond of some, and this particular human, well, it's His Candidate. The blue makes a curious snappy, metallic, snarly sounds, teeth juddering together in a stuttering clatter. T'ral's eyes unfocus and he smiles, "I think he knows, pal." Esanth rumbles again and lifts his head up, rising to his feet and fairly minces out of the work area very mindful of his tail and wings and big galumphy feet. WHOMP. He lays down, head on his forepaws, and watches the goings on from a remove, browridges moving back and forth as he shifts looking first one way, then the other. T'ral looks at Nevik, his own breathing is a bit shallow, "You sure you're okay," he winces, hitching, an arm clamped to his side. "Then come on, let's get to work."

Nevik would tell the truth but it might hurt the Blue's feelings. It's just how things are. Big things tend to leave a large path of destr…adventure in their wake. After a second or two of dusting himself off and checking once more to make sure that everything is where it should be and that nothing is where it shouldn't, he nods to T'ral and offers a quick, "Sure, let's go." Esanth is given a quick glance, just a side-look but something a bit more meaningful. His eyes drift along the dragon's head ridges and down its neck to the wings and then down to the ground with a faint sigh before looking back up to his rider. "Where would you like to start?"

Tramping across the cobbles, T'ral looks at Nevik just in time to see that look and the sigh. "What?" He looks at Esanth. Esanth, for his part, lifts his head from his forepaws and grates, 'What?' T'ral gestures them forward, towards the pile of unused lumber waiting breakdown and nail removal before being transported to the fuel supplies.

Nevik lets out a deeper sigh, one of those soul-sucking ones that suggests he's got a few stones on his shoulders holding him down. "You heard that the candidates were taken to the sands to see the eggs?" he asks and then doesn't wait for a meaningful answer other than a nod or something from the rider, "Well…I had…sort of an…'accident'." He admits and seems rather ashamed of it. "When I touched one of the eggs…it startled me." He lies. Rumor has already been around the Weyr and the Hold of how he touched the 'Ancient Egg' and scrambled away screaming, hobbled like he had a twisted ankle. "I've been banned from the sands…" he admits and takes another deep sigh and glances over to Esanth with a corner of his lip curled up in a 'well, it would have been nice' sort of expression. "I'm too dangerous to have out there."

"I heard." The bluerider looks at Nevik, "And, given what happened, you are." A danger. "We can't take any chances, I'm sure you understand." He stops, putting a hand on Nevik's shoulder. "Hey. Those eggs are … " The bluerider shudders and shakes his head, his own egg touchings feeling closer by turns than they should. He gives Nevik's shoulder a squeeze, "What did you see?"

The boy's usually docile eyes flick up to match T'ral's gaze and he answers in one word that hits with such resonance, such maturity that one would swear that it didn't come from the clutz of a healer, "Pain." Shuffling his feet a bit and dropping his gaze to the snow-buffed ground he explains a bit further but seems a bit uncomfortable in doing so. "It was like I was someone else. Someone out there on the snow fields, but I was hurt." Even retelling the tale a few days later he still reaches back to his left shoulderblade with his opposite hand to feel for a wound that isn't there. "I had been shot with an arrow…twisted my ankle somehow and was trying to get away." He looks up to the rider, tears starting to glisten at the bottoms of his eyes but not yet falling to his cheek, "I was being hunted by…something. I could feel it coming after me." With a sniff and a quick shake of his head he rids himself of the proto-tears and tries to pull his mind back from 'that place' while recounting the memories of it. "Then I had fallen down a crack or a cave or something…and was frozen and alone."

"They really do get in there," T'ral taps his noggin with a mittened hand. He shakes his head, "They stayed with me too. I don't know what to tell you," because, frankly, I don't remember how long I saw the blood and the teeth and the weight of the world's destruction mine to bear alone. "A mixed blessing, not being allowed out there, eh?" Not the most reassuring pep-talk, but he isn't offering platitudes or telling Nevik not to worry that it 'wasn't real.' Because he remembers how very real it felt. The proto-tears have him worried. The kid's pretty shaken. "C'mere." He walks off a bit, between some tents set up to shelter workers against the worst of the winds. Against his better judgment and any of his experience (that he knows of), T'ral awkwardly pats Nevik on the shoulder, "Uh… let it out?"

Nevik snaps a hand up to grab T'ral's hand upon his shoulder. It's like the whole world was trying to throw the boy off and he's actually started to develop the courage to hold on. Unfortuantely that means he wobbles from time to time but the offered hand is a welcomed anchor. "NO," he blurts out a bit too harshly and then backs it down a few notches with a softer repeat, "Um… no thank you." He sniffs his nose clean and wipes the corner of his eyes with a gloved hand and tries to convince himself that he's ok. "If I'm going to do this - then I have to learn to deal with their feelings as well as mine, right? I'm not sure what happened but whatever the young dragon in that egg was projecting was… potent." Yeah, that's a good word for it. "If I'm going to fall apart when a dragon is dreaming in its shell - how in the name of the Queen would I handle them when they're awake?" His tone is a bit more even now - practical and methodical as though he's been thinking through this of late. "I'm just going to be one of those guys that is hit by a lot; whether one of them choses me or if I'm left alone on the sands." He lets out another sigh and sniffs once more, "I guess that's a quality of a good healer, right? Empathy?"

T'ral may or may not successfully hide his relief. The SIGH might be a giveaway, but he returns Nevik's clasp readily and holds it as long as the young man needs. "Esanth hatched out of a pretty terrifying egg." He looks up and off towards the watchful blue. He shrugs, hopeful. "No one really understands what the egg dreams are or how they relate to the dragon that eventually hatches." A brow furrows, lips pursing, "Maybe it means you have a strong connection with that one?" Who can say? Not T'ral. T'ral nods at Nevik's admission of empathy and self-awareness. "If there's a dragon on the Sands for you, it'll stand you in good stead." And make other things MUCH harder. "Let's get to it, huh?" They can't stand around between the tents too long. People will TALK. The afternoon passes in freezing productivity and, before long, the cast off timber is sorted, treated and stacked as fuel. A job well done and a return to dinner and kinder climes well-earned.

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