Veresch, A'dan


A'dan is planning new misery for weyrlings. Veresch pitches in!


It is noon of the twenty-second day of the second month of the first turn of the 12th pass.


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 fifty-second day of Winter and 44 degrees. It is a bright, sunny day.

The youngest of the messengers has been a scarce face around the Weyr for the past few days, as Kyara started her training regimen and the girl realised exactly what she had asked for. Oh, she had been at her morning runs, and had done a circuit in the evenings as well, but it has never been about sweating fat off her, more instilling some kind of lasting power. Now, having managed to crawl up the side of the rocky path that the caprines take to so well, she looks tired, both in mind and body, from the way her head droops to her half-closed eyes. The thing is. The thing is: there's the kind of smile on her face that hasn't been there in forever, a simple up-tilt of mouthcorners that recognises her weary body as progress of sorts. She's singing very softly to herself, more a hum than a tune with words.

A'dan is clambering along the rocks. Hopping up, dropping down, glowering at caprine pellets. He stops periodically, stooping to… scribble? on the rocks. He's intent on his efforts and so, when he clambers up one rock, hauling himself up with a growl and muttering, "… never … … far. Ste-" The muttering cuts off as the weyrlingmaster spies a Veresch perched on the remote rocks where he hadn't expected to see anyone. He completes the clamber, levering up onto the rock and rolling to his feet. Gloved hands swipe at at flight leathers, knocking free dust and bits of debris. "You keep turning up," he observes, looking down.

"I think," she corrects with a measure of respect, "that it is you yourself that keeps turning up, A'dan. If memory serves, I'm normally already there." With that slight bit of tired sass, she scoots sideways on the rock, eyeing his dust-stained, grubby self. He might have made it up in a fraction of her time, but there's no doubt who's the dirty one. "What are you looking for, if I might ask?" Her legs relax, stretch slowly, and she leans back on her hand. Off in the distance, there's a faded bronze scavenging, already halfway through eating an unidentifiable piece of meat.

"Hnngh," he grunts, squinting at runner. Laying in wait. At her question he looks back along the way he'd come. "Laying out an obstacle course for the weyrlings." He fishes a bit of chalk from a pocket and, with a hand flattened like a blade makes a coming-through-here gesture that draws an invisible line between where he is and some point beyond Veresch. His eyebrows twitch up as he levels a steady, expectant look at the girl.

Veresch tilts her head, listens, and looks from the bowl below to the stones heaped higher than her position. "Oh. You must not like them very much, if you're going to send them through here." She moves obligingly if stiffly, persuading her legs to work enough to clear the way. "There, better?" Now that she's up, however, her curious staring is renewed, arms crossing around her waist as she waits to see the next step. "Do you need help? I could play a weyrling… although I think most will be taller than I am, all except the kids."

He tosses her a nod, acknowledgement she's moved enough as he sidles by, "Like," he hops left, right, left up a series of tumbled stones, "Has nothing to do with it." He leans down to make a mark, squatting and peering along the path he's outline. He begins to shake his head and then stops, peering down. "Why not? Follow the path back. And then run it back to here as fast as you safely can."

This sounds more and more dodgy at the minute. The man can see she's had a long day, right? with a wrinkle of her nose, she turns and slowly starts picking the path out back, hoping against hope that it's not long. Rather to her surprise, the end isn't that far away, though it goes over some of the meanest, nastiest, tricky hopping bits. She shrugs her jacket off, tucks her tunic into her pants and stirs tired legs into action. Even worked-out, her turn of speed is more than acceptable, and she hop-hop-hops over the uneven patches with the kind of grace she might have inherited from a caprine. That's not to say her chest isn't bellowing for breath as she reaches him; her face is turning red too, and she has to swallow. "You got… you got… difficult with boots…. better with feet." More grip, see? And more air now, please.

She looks tired, but … feh. She's a teenager. A font of energy. And… weyrlings live in that state, so a rather good test, really. A'dan raises a hand and drops it, signalling Veresch to beging. He watches her nimbly hippety hop up the track. Heavy brows raise, surprise resgistering. And approval. "Impressive."

Veresch huffs and puffs for a few seconds, eyes sliding half-closed as, just for a moment, she fantasizes about punching A'dan in the knee. She keeps her promise to Kyara. When she straightens, shoving her hair every which way out of her face, she does give him a bit of a flat stare though. "Just the bits here," she admits. "There's not so much difference between the heights here. If I tried that lower down, I'd break my neck." And he wouldn't want that, WOULD HE. "Even the caprines have difficulty down there." Pause. "Are you going to make them run this sometimes?" Her smile grows, matures into a grin as she pokes at a nearby arm. "Cruel! I like it. I can sit here and laugh at them."

A'dan nods, listening to her report on the course. As if in agreement with her, there's a scrabbling of hooves on the rocks below and a bleat of dismay from a caprine. Two grown males by their horns and beards pronk and harrass one another playing Lord of the Heights as they climb and push higher and higher. "Probably. Depends on what we're focusing on. Now that we're in a Pass, we have different priorites."

Veresch wanders to the end of the line he drew, then back over to the start, as if to judge the length by her strides. "Flying, yeah?" she asks, clearly in thought. "And chewing the stinky stuff. But, you know, if running over this part isn't going to make them fit, I guess nothing is." When she turns, there's a smile for him, a small sweet one. "Or perhaps you ought to take them on your morning runs; I'd've run with, if I thought I could keep up, and Kyara would let me. D'you also feel alive when you stop? There's tiredness for a while, yes, but then this rush of energy." Teenagers. Gotta hate them sometimes.

A'dan nods, "It'll be more important now to bring the weyrling dragons wings along slowly and strong. The weyrlings themselves, we're looking at a lot of different things." He squints at Veresch, "I think it'd be good for them, actually, if you sat here and laughed at them. Keeping your temper in check is one of the harder lessons."

That comment earns him a look and a devious smile. If dimples could have appeared, she would have flashed them as well. "I'd be a character-building exercise for your weyrlings?" Her hands dip into her pockets, posture turning insouciant. "I'll shoulder this grave, heavy task with dignity and grace, sir," she teases. "They'll have the best self-control ever." It's as she regards him that her expression turns serious. "You know… at the lake, it looked like you might have been offended by what you overheard me whispering to Freesia. She's my friend, so I'm not going to lie to her and say you look like a caprine." It might be odd, getting an appreciative up-and-down from Veresch, but it's honestly given: he is very attractive. "I apologise if it crossed a line, however."

That alive feeling has, in fact, set in. Muscles warmed up, loose and easy, even in the cold. Save for the stray breeze that slips down the back of his neck to strike bitter cold bolts down his spine, A'dan feels dandy. He snorts, "I bet you will. Just… stay over there." He gestures at some rocks removed from the obstacle course path. At her last he looks puzzled a moment, squinting. Though, in fairness, squinting stands in for so so many of A'dan's expressions. Ah. Right. He remembers. 'Pretty hot for an old guy.' Or something like that. He quirks a brow, "Too tall for a caprine." That appraising look is purest trouble from a girl - a young woman less than half his age. Shards he was getting old. NARLOTH was older than this girl. "Whispering to your girlfriends isn't over the line." He fixes her with a steady look, "Bringing it up again," so you can talk about it, "is right up to the line." His eyes flick down to an invisible spot on the ground between them. "Just… stay over there." He's seen young women working themselves up to step over that line. If that's what he's seeing here, best to nip it in the bud. He looks up, checking the sun, hand shading his eyes and starts back down the rocks, "What's Kyara teaching you?" The caprines bleat and skitter away.

There's another devil-may-care, puckish grin for that, and an honest-to-goodness pout, but Veresch won't push the line today, not right now. There'll be time for that later on, and when it happens it'll arrive like a typhoon. "Of course, sir," she says easily, leaning back on her hands as she perches on one of the erratic boulders. "Not a word, promise." Thankfully, perhaps for him, the expression clears from her face as her mind is led astray, directly to the training she spoke of earlier. "Kyara is the best trainer ever," she informs happily. "She makes me work hard, and I'm pretty tired whenever she and I finish a session, but it's never boring, you know? She's not one of those types that you can hear clear across the bowl when they shout, but it's like I'm happy all the time. It's surprisingly hard to want to laugh and fight at the same time, you know?"

A'dan nods. The matter of Veresch keeping to her side of things settled. Until it's not. Clambering down until he's at the base of the great stones, A'dan turns to look up at the path he'd marked out, tracing the way up with an intent look. "That's not what I asked."

"I know I didn't answer," Veresch says calmly. "But what she's teaching me isn't about the physical exercises, is it? Endurance training, mostly, and how to be aware of my body. What she's teaching me, though? She's teaching me to be happy about my body, A'dan, and about myself, and that's not something I think you can put in your weyrling class, can you?" She stands idly, an unconscious rill of grace underpinning the movement. "She's teaching me that I don't have to be beautiful like Freesia, or loved like Muir, or … a thousand other women, I suppose. Just that it's fun being me. That's what."

A'dan stops and looks closely at Veresch, it's a forbidding look, the gears in his head clank-ety clanking. Her eager eyes, that ebullience, the displays of affection, the bravado. The glowbasket flips open. Shards. She's just a girl! It was getting harder to tell how young the young'uns were. His expression softens. "Those are," he coughs. Girls. What did he know about being a young woman? He starts again, "Those are important things."

The girl doesn't have any idea what that look means, but it's intense enough to make her squirm where she sits, and perhaps adds a little credence to the fact that no, she's not quite ready to start pushing lines yet. A smile lurks into being, and she stands in one easy swoop, tiredness quite gone. "You know… if you really want to torture them, I know a place." Halting neatly beside him, she takes his arm to turn him gently, pointing with the other towards the Northern Bowl. "You see over there, right where the darker striations dip down and it looks a bit like a wherry? About half of the bowl away from the pens?" Her fingers pinch in gently as excitement grabs her. "Yeah, there. I've had to run messages through that place a few times, and the sand drifts up enough that it kills your calves and… whatever. Shin. That one. It's almost as bad as trying to walk in an actual desert."

A'dan's eyes narrow as he looks along the direction she's pointing. That looks nothing like a wherr— oh. Hmm. He nods, "Know that spot. It's rough." He arches a brow down at Veresch, "You're uncommonly devious." He's about to call her 'kid,' but some sort of unconscious awareness of her liminality trickles through and sits on that affectionate diminutive.

She glances up at him with glittering eyes. "You kind of have to be, to get away from my mother! I'm not running messages just because I want to get stronger." There's a little squirm closer, quite innocent: she's using him as a windbreak against the breeze that always blows up here. "What other spots do you know? You've been here a while, right? You must know some just as devious. Worse even. Any stories about running around a weyr with a dragonet on your back, or firestone sacks, or anything like that?"

A'dan is peering off at the sands, plotting a course. A glance flicks down at her mention of why she'd become a runner. An improper profession for a young girl to be sure, but women could go places men couldn't. And, he scowls a bit, seemed more and more to go places they shouldn't. His face grows curiously flat and devoid of expression, "I'm pretty sure you just called me old." As far as dishing his store of devious obstacle course locations. No way. "It's a tale of woe and vomit."

"You're not old!" That's hastily stated, though with a roguish grin behind it. "Just perhaps a few years over the hill. I bet if we ran that route I'd run sand into your eyes." A boast, a veritable boast, delivered cheekily with that roguish grin. "C'mon, tell me, and we can think of more difficult spots, and make their lives really, really bad." The weyrlings are going to end up hating every inch of her being, if she has anything to say about it.

The barb is acknowledge with a single arching of a brow and a snort. He shakes his head, "Nope. You've proved useful today. But some day you may be one of my weyrlings." He peers out over the vista, "And then there'd be no surprises." Oh. There'd be plenty. "What fun would that be?"

Veresch grumbles about that, though there's a little pleased smile at the thought that one day she might be a weyrling. Action Heroes of the Sky, don't you know, and it'd mean way more flying. "I don't know," she answers, blandly honest. "You don't look like a man short on surprises. I mean… you hardly ever smile, but sometimes your eyes gleam as you're thinking something, and you were a weyrling, so there must be a lot of memories lurking." As the wind dusts and switches direction, she leans a little away, hands stuck under her arms. "Perhaps one day…" Yes. Definitely an idea.

A'dan tips his head away peering at Veresch, brow furrowed, considering. He bats down the clever (to him) rejoinders he'd have for a woman of age, simply rumbling, "Ask Kyara." Her stories were bound to be more relevant. And now, time to be off. "Race you to the lake."

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