Who

N'cal, Tasna

What

A casual stroll takes on new purpose as N'cal brings in a new 'Royo.

When

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

Where

Standing Stones, Igen Weyr

OOC Date

 

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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 seventy-sixth day of Winter and 26 degrees. It is a clear night.


Winter is a time where many creatures - including some humans and dragons - tend to get a little more lethargic, if allowed. Fortunately, dragonriders are not allowed to do so, though that feeling sets in at any still moment for some, it seems. N'cal is combatting that out at the Standing Stones right now; he's in the midst of a workout, the jacket he'd normally be wearing against this cold tossed aside on a rock in favor of a long-sleeved shirt with a tight square weave. At the moment, he's actually using Iolarth's straps to do pull-ups - a drill he'd learned at Fort to help build upper body strength while also helping his dragon build neck strength. It barely fazes Iolarth now, and it's easy for N'cal - but it still makes him breathe hard and break a sweat. It's a bit uncommon to see, but that's why they're all the way out here.

A scrabbling sound announces an intrusion into this out-of-the-way workout space, though by the look on Tasna's face a moment later, it is unintentional. For several seconds, it looks like she might try to get away with quietly turning around and leaving N'cal and Iolarth to their exercise, but Tseylath announces their arrival a moment later, making the impulse moot. "Sorry, sir," Tasna adds a moment later, "I didn't think to have Tsey check to see if there were people up here already." The brownrider still has her riding jacket on, though it's unbuttoned by now, and going by the particular flush on her face, she hasn't been letting Tseylath do all the work to get here.

N'cal doesn't actually hear that scrabbling over the pounding of his heart as he lifts and drops again, so it's when Iolarth relays that Tseylath is near that the Arroyo wingleader pauses and cranes his neck to see the brown pair. He drops to the ground with a solid thump of boots and quickly snatches up the towel he'd placed nearby, rubbing at his neck and hair before the sweat can freeze. "No need to apologize," the bluerider says over the sound of Iolarth shaking out his neck, the leather and metal of his straps scuffing and clanking. "Anyone is allowed out here, after all." He stops and surveys the brownrider, a small smile forming on his lips. "You are…Tasna, yes? Congratulations on your graduation," he says, gesturing to her rider's knot - still left uncomplemented by a wing patch. Secretly, he's glad for that…but it's not something he lets on just yet. "N'cal, and Iolarth, from Arroyo," he says, extending his hand. "I don't believe we've actually met yet."

"Not yet," Tasna confirms with a bit of a grin as she shakes N'cal's hand, "but I know who you are. Spent quite a lot of time around your wing in the last part of weyrlinghood," she adds, then shivers. Now that her climb is done, the freezing temperatures are making their bite felt again. She starts to button up her jacket and glances between Iolarth and her own lifemate for a moment. "That's a pretty good improvisation," she says, nodding to the blue's straps. "Beats trying to get something installed in our weyr." With her jacket properly closed again, she shoves her hands in her pockets, moving to the side while Tseylath takes up one of the open spaces nearby. "Any other neat tricks like that?"

"Yes," N'cal affirms about Arroyo's status mentoring the weyrlings, "though I do wish I hadn't let myself get so busy as to neglect speaking with each of you." There's likely a bit more to it than just busy-ness, but he won't be elaborating on that any time soon. "I trust Kyara was a good mentor to you? And we, a good example for the lot of you?" There is pride in the question, but it shows more in his eyes than it sounds in his voice. He gives a bit of a chuckle for the comment on his workout. "Team workouts with our lifemates were stressed at Fort," he says, "so yes, there are certainly some others. For instance…" At a silent cue, Iolarth crouches to let N'cal up onto his back and flares his wings out flat as his rider makes his way down between wing joints. There he places his hands shoulder-width apart upon Iolarth's back, setting his feet against a ridge and lowering into pushups while the blue maintains his balance with wings spread. "There aren't too many more," N'cal notes, slipping back to the ground after about a dozen and clapping his lifemate on a muscular shoulder, "but they certainly are more handy than getting equipment installed. And they help the bond, I've found."

Tasna watches the new demonstration with an amused look on her face. When N'cal joins her again, she applauds quietly in the manner of golf claps everywhere. "And who can't use a stronger bond?" she replies smoothly, though she doesn't look back toward Tseylath. They've got this. "But yeah, Arroyo was great," she adds as she shrugs inside her jacket, trying to get more of her neck covered. "Its dynamic is a lot more like the wings I got to know back at Ista. I mean… back then," she amends, waving a hand slightly to complete the implication. "Fewer egos, lots of teamwork, letting skills do the speaking for you. That sort of thing."

N'cal simply grins brightly at the display of quiet clapping, giving his head a little shake as he ducks his chin slightly. Tasna's glance back at her lifemate isn't lost on the observant bluerider, though it does little more than make him curious. They are a competent pair; he's seen it. "That is precisely what we've worked to cultivate on Arroyo," he says with a nod, leaning against Iolarth's haunch with his arms folded. "Granted, there isn't a complete lack of ego on the wing, but I'd like to think they get in the way much less than on other wings here." Noting how she tries to get more of her jacket up around her neck, N'cal chuckles, reaching up into a pouch on Iolarth's nearest strap and producing what looks like a thick, crisply folded square of blue cloth - a bit heavy and of a respectable density, so not inexpensive. "Here," he says, tossing it to her. "That may help." When she unfolds it…she'll find it to be not an ordinary scarf, but something she'll have seen worn only by the members of a certain wing. And he goes back to leaning, watching her with discreet expectancy.

Tasna is slow to unfold the scarf, in part because her hands are chilled, in part because it's quickly rather obvious what it is she's holding. She moves the fabric between her fingers for a moment, studying it, then she looks up at N'cal, eyes searching. "For keeps?" she asks, her tone carefully even. She starts to move her head toward Tseylath, but her eyes remain focused on the bluerider. As for the brown, he looks entirely at ease right now, just waiting out the inevitable.

Now that he's been still for a good long moment, N'cal is starting to get chilled again and leaves Iolarth's side for the rock where his jacket rests, catching it up with a light slap of leather against skin and slipping it back over lean shoulders. "For keeps," he affirms with a nod, his smile a bit lopsided. "Iolarth and I have been watching you, even though we didn't take the time to approach you directly during those last months of training. We believe you and Tseylath would be an invaluable addition to Arroyo. And you have a glowing recommendation from your former mentor, as well." He digs into his pocket, producing a patch to go along with the scarf and holding it out for her to take. "You should do well here, Tasna. Welcome to Arroyo."

Tasna slowly takes the second part of the Arroyo outfit and begins to smile. At first, it's a lopsided expression, but when she looks up at N'cal again, she starts to grin in full. "Tsey and I felt the same way," she replies, then gestures with the patch and scarf in her hand. "Still do. Thank you, sir." While the words are simple and the tone muted, the grin easily reaches her eyes, saying more than enough that she's pretty thrilled right now, and a low hum of satisfaction is echoed by the bulky brown nearby. "When do we start?"

Iolarth flares his wings, rearing up a bit and coming back down with a satisfied snort as he looks up at Tseylath, breezes quick and warm swirling out to gust gently against the brown's mind and carrying the proud cry of a raptor victorious in the hunt. « Great things await, Tseylath! » the sky-washed blue declares, and N'cal grins both for his lifemate's exuberance and Tasna's eagerness. "You're welcome," he says, "and I'll leave that to you. We have late afternoon drills today, if you'd like to join us, though regular afternoon drills tomorrow following lunch will be when you begin in earnest." He gestures at patch, then folds his arms again. "I suppose it just depends how quickly you can stitch that onto your leathers."

"Not to sound like a slacker, but it will have to be tomorrow afternoon, in that case," Tasna replies, her grin growing crooked. "With the question of wings now answered, Tsey and I have some things we need to finish. Better done tonight." She and the brown look at each other for a moment, then Tas quickly wraps the scarf around her neck and tucks the ends into her jacket before pocketing the new patch. "Clear skies, wingleader." This is followed by a weyrlinghood-perfected salute, then she turns to climb to Tseylath's shoulders, clearly going to take an easier route home than the one she took to get here.

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