Who

Lillia, Tallel

What

Tallel finds his stepdaughter at the Crater Lake to discuss why she's been skipping out on her lessons.

When

It is early evening of the nineteenth day of the twelfth month of the twelfth turn of the 12th pass.

Where

Crater Lake, Igen Weyr

OOC Date 07 Jan 2018 07:00

 

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"I've convinced your mother not to kill people…"


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Crater Lake

Four centuries ago, a chunk of the very comet that drove some Oldtimers forward crashed to the desert near Igen Weyr, collapsing the original inner caverns and breaking through to a new spring that now feeds into Igen's underground aquifer. The result? Beauty from destruction - a long, crystalline lake of brilliant sapphire blue. Sharp sandstone rings the water in jagged peaks, where sparse desert shrubs cling to steep, sandy slopes and reflect darkly on the pristine, mirror-like surface. Out in the midst of the lake, a small island pierces the glassy plane, umber from azure in a near-perfect cone. A startling break in the stark desert and savannah surrounding the Weyr, the crater lake sits like a jewel in the rough - a picturesque, inviting respite from the rough, dry terrain beyond.


It's a fair day in the Igen Weyr area, the weather a mite milder than Igen's usual soaring temperatures. But that just means its a perfect day for riding. And that's just what Lillia, eldest child of Willimina, is doing. With her runner Nefrit warmed up and saddled, Lillia is practicing her performance routine out in the calmness and quiet provided by crater lake. At the moment, she hangs off the side of her runner, one foot in the stirrup one on the horn of her specially made saddle. She hangs there for a moment before pulling herself gracefully back into the saddle where she then transitions into standing, arms held out wide as Nefrit gallops bellow her. And as the wind and air pass through her flowing hair, and her heart races with the thrill of trick riding, she is quite sure in her decision to skip lessons and do this instead. Never does she feel more complete, than on the back of a runner this way. She aims to make it around the lake before transitioning again, challenging herself as already, her legs begin to shake with the effort it takes to stand on a galloping runner.

When there's only supposed to be one student in certain lessons, it's a rather obvious thing when they're skipped. Really, both Willimina and Tallel know their daughter's character enough to tell she isn't doing it just to be rebellious; there's more to it than that. Willa, however, is more likely to be fuming about it, while Tallel is quietly mulling it over. He knows Lillia would rather be with her runners than with anywhere else, and when she is, it's either on the ground or out at the Crater Lake. And since he assumes she would be trying to avoid her mother right now, it only stands to reason that she'd be out here, in his mind. He's presently proved correct, drawing Salkhin up near a stand of boulders and slipping from the saddle to perch on one, watching his step-daughter make her way around the lake. He's not here to confront her, instead watching her pensively as he waits for her to come back around.

Lillia makes it about three-quarters of the way around before she has to collapse back down into the saddle. She's a little miffed at the lack of that last quarter, and so she walks Nefrit to cool him down and then stops by the water to let him drink a little. Not a lot, she doesn't want a runner with colic, but some. She also cools herself down, splashing water on her face and wondering what she can do to improve her stance in the saddle.

Tallel chuckles to himself as he watches Lillia come down to walk her runner the rest of the way and go for the water. She hasn't noticed him, apparently far too focused on what's going on in her own mind. He hops back up into Salkhin's saddle and clicks his tongue to get the chestnut to walk, coming up to where Nefrit and his step-daughter are. "Have you ever tried doing it barefoot?" he asks casually as he slips out of the saddle again, leaving Salkhin to whicker his greetings to the other runner. "To find your grounding more quickly on his back when you stand? I saw many of my clan out in the Steppes do that when they were learning."

Lillia stills as she finally hears Salkhin's approach and the voice of her stepfather quite near. Closing her eyes she silently swears to herself before turning to Tallel and answering like they are having a normal conversation. The idea he presents helps, as she hadn't quite thought of that before. "No, I hadn't. I'll have to try that next time…" And he'd mentioned people of the Kheeriin doing it. Lillia gets a bit of a dreamy look about her features. She'd love to train with a Kheeriin performer, but that would take even more of her free time…and she doesn't believe it would be time her mother would allow. Certain responsibilities come with being a Zingari heir…and Lillia wants none of them…not that she has a real choice in the matter, or so she thinks.

"Perhaps I can convince your mother to let you go learn with the Kheeriin for a time, if you like." Wait, what? Tallel is not telepathic, honest. "You have a natural talent, Lillia. And we don't have trick riders with enough skill to teach you here. I never learned to do more than just ride well," he notes with a smirk. He gives a tilt of his head toward a flat rock not far away, indicating she should follow and sit with him.

Lillia peers at her stepfather from under her bangs with wide eyes. His announcement comes just seconds after the thought crossed her mind. Creepy. "I'd love that Papa, but I doubt Mama will be easily convinced…" However, Lillia beams with pride when Tallel comments on her talent, her toe scrubbing the sand a bit as she turns to pull Nefrit back from the water and over to join Salkhin. She follows Tallel over to the rock, the feeling that he's here to talk about more than runners running through her mind.

Tallel's broad shoulders hitch in a shrug. "I've convinced your mother not to kill people; I'm sure I can handle convincing her to let you go somewhere that nourishes something you obviously love," he says, folding one leg and propping the other so that he can drape his forearm on his knee. "More than you love your lessons, which I'm thinking is not at all." Well, her suspicions are correct, it would seem! While he might not have come to confront her, he didn't come with no intention of broaching the subject. "Tell me what's going on with you, dagava," he says, gesturing for her to sit. "I can't say I blame you, but…I'm wondering why you would shrug off your responsibilities and risk your mother's wrath. It isn't like you."

Lillia sits on the rock, pulling her knees up to her chin so she can lay her head upon them and look at Tallel, hope blooming in her eyes as Tallel speaks of convincing Willa to let Lillia go to the Kheeriin for awhile. She flinches a bit when he mentions he's convinced her mother not to kill people, it's a darker side of their past they don't like to dwell on, but it doesn't make things any less true. Her mother could be a fearsome force to reckon with. Lessons are brought up and Lillia blanches, sighing heavily before hiding her face between her knees and her chest. Tallel's affectionate moniker for her doesn't help. She hates disappointing her parents, or causing them worry, but in this, Tallel has the right of it all. Lillia hates her lessons in leadership and deportment. "I don't want to make Mama mad." She says, voice muffled because her arms are wrapped around her knees. "But I just can't do it Papa…."

They might not like to dwell on it, but it does no good to dodge it either. Still, Tallel flinches inwardly, knowing he probably shouldn't be so flippant with the fact. Tallel worries, certainly, but he remembers very well what it was like to be younger, and he knows his stepdaughter isn't stupid, though she is impulsive sometimes and prone to her mother's temper. So he watches her carefully as she buries her head in her arms, reaching out to gently tuck a bit of her hair back when she makes her last statement. "Can't do what, Lillia?"

"What everyone wants of me…." Lillia starts off cryptically, though she knows Tallel will know of what she speaks. She sighs again at the feel of Tallel's hand brushing her hair back, though she keeps her face hidden, afraid of what she might see on her father's face when next she speaks. "I dont…." Her words catch in her throat a bit, unwilling to air themselves after being locked inside for so long. "I don't want to lead us all." She's quiet for a moment before she lifts her eyes to Tallel finally, and they are full of emotion. Not impetuousness, not defiance, but fear. They are full to the brim with absolute terror. "Being a leader killed my Da…and , and it nearly killed Mama too." Lillia doesn't know why all of this comes spilling out of a sudden, but it does, and she trusts confiding in Tallel, always has. But she's so afraid her parents will look down on her for not wanting her birthright, for not wanting to continue her mother's legacy. "I don't want any of it Papa."

There is surprise in Tallel's face when Lillia finally looks up at him, but not for the reasons she might think. "Terrible people killed your blood father, and nearly your mother. Not leading, Lillia," he tells her quietly, and he lifts his hands to gently frame her face with his fingers, tawny eyes warmly intent. "But I understand why it scares you. And I understand why you wouldn't want to walk the same road, especially when you've found something else that gives you so much joy. But…it is one of the traditions that we hadn't thought to question." Some things just feel as though they are ingrained, and he and Willimina are not immune from oversights, for all the reforms they have sought to make. He sighs, sitting up straighter with a slight frown of thought creasing the spot between his brows. "You do need to talk to her," he says softly, catching his stepdaughter's eyes again. "It won't be easy no matter how you think about it. But…did it ever occur to you that your mother might have been just as scared of it when she was your age?"

Lillia looks as if she might not believe Tallel fully, her mind reeling around the fact that her blood father might not be dead, and her mother not quite so scarred, if they hadn't been leaders. She flinches at the thought of talking to her mother about the situation, sighing deeply. She does seem a bit relieved that at least Tallel seems to understand why she might not want to walk the footsteps her mother has left behind. Tallel's last has Lillia shaking her head avidly. "Mama loves what she does, I cannot see her being afraid…Mama's never afraid." And in Lillia's eyes, this is an absolute truth, despite the fact that she knows her mother is human and not possessed of super human courage.

"Oh, dagava," Tallel says with a soft laugh and a little shake of his head. "Everyone has something they're afraid of. Your mama wouldn't be the leader she is if she never faced fear. We are nothing but sand to blow away into nothing without fear to help pound us into something solid and steady for those we love to stand on. Yes, she loves what she does…" Here, he gives a small, lopsided grin, knowing. "…But if you think she loves the boring parts that she's teaching you, think again. She doesn't hand all the hides to me when she doesn't want to even look at them." Though he certainly gets his fair share. "Loving what you do, having a heart for the people, doesn't mean liking every little bit of it. You do the hard things because of that love."

Lillia nods, understanding, yet her reticense is still palpable. "I do love our people…I just don't think, I don't think I'm the one to lead us Papa. My heart is with the runners." And being a thirteen turn old Zingari, she's at the age where she would begin training in her field of choice….if she weren't an heir. "And I think… I think Mama would understand, to a point. But she seems so….keen on my taking the helm one day…" And Lillia doesn't want to disappoint her.

Tallel nods, taking a good moment to ponder quietly. "She will understand to a point, yes, but that doesn't mean she won't be disappointed. But in the end…she believes in people following their hearts, as do I. And that has to include our own children." Smiling gently once more, he gives the underside of Lillia's chin a little bump with his thumb and two fingers. "If you are allowed to go to the Kheeriin, the rigors they'll put you through will decide your heart very quickly," he informs her, and gives a quiet sigh. "You'll need to make sure you have your reasons for this ready to list off for her, Lillia. Starting by saying you just can't do it isn't going to go well." Which he's certain his stepdaughter already knows, but it bears saying regardless. "Would you like me to talk to her first?" Though he may regardless of the answer Lillia gives him.

Lillia gives her father a wan smile in the wake of his first, her hopes are not so high. Her mother may be a liberal, but in all honesty, the woman is more old fashioned in ways than she would like to admit. Or, at least, she is in Lillia's mind. Lillia sighs heavily as Tallel chucks her under the chin, and shakes her head. "I know…I have my reasons, I love the runners, I'm good with them, and I'm good at what I do. All the rest, just….pales in comparison." Lillia warms, for the first time during the conversation a spark lighting in her eyes. "I feel like I'm flying when I'm on the back of a runner, like I'm free." Lillia's mocha colored eyes brighten when Tallel offers to talk to Willa first. "Would you Papa? She'd listen to you before she did me."

Tallel's lips remain canted in a smirk that deepens as he watches Lillia's face brighten with the talk of her love for runners. Sighing, he gives a nod to her last. "I can lay the groundwork, but be prepared to talk with her tomorrow morning. I don't know if she'll want me to be there or not, but…at least you know that I would like for you to pursue your talents." He gives another shrug and a tilt of his head. "Perhaps she will let you go to the Kheeriin, or perhaps she will expect a compromise to be made. Just be willing to adjust, Lillia. I may talk, but the end result is never set in stone."

Lillia blows out a frustrated gust of air and groans. Inwardly she wants to argue that her mother always listens to Tallel, but she knows that will sound petulant. "Ok Papa…I'll try. I don't thik she'll listen, but I'll try." Lillia isn't sure how she would feel about a compromise…but she supposes she'll just have to wait until she speaks with her mama in the morning. Lillia buries her face back in her knees, quite frustrated with the whole situation. "Is Mama livid?" She asks in regards to her missing her lesson.

"Mama…is Mama," Tallel replies with a rueful smirk, scooting closer so that he can soothe Lillia's hair back again. "Which means she is close, but knows there must be a reason." He's quiet for a moment longer before saying, "She loves you, dagava. Even when she is upset with you. And I love you, too." He kisses the top of her head and unfolds his legs. "I'd better go talk to her sooner than later. It's a good thing you're with Timo tonight. It may take a while."

Lillia lifts her head after the kiss from her father and sighs. "I love you too, Papa." She watches him unfold his legs and prepare to leave and her eyes dart to Nefrit. "Should I come back and get my sister and brother, or do I have time for another run? Since I'm already out here and all…." She knows she might be pushing it, but she and Nefrit had been on a good run, and maybe, just maybe, she'll make it around the lake on him this time. If she can do it on one….she'll be able to double it, a feat she has not yet been able to master at a gallop.

Tallel gives a grunt, somewhat amused and half-tempted to let Lillia have what she asks, but… "Best not to push it right now, Lillia. The fact remains that you did still skip out." And much as he loves her and wants to see her succeed in what she loves, he can't be much softer when there were still responsibilities his stepdaughter left neglected. "Go get Tai and Tali. You'll be able to have a fresh try at things tomorrow." Hopefully with a bit less of an emotional undercurrent at that. Swinging back up into Salkhin's saddle, he waits for her to do the same with Nefrit.

Lillia blanches when she's reminded her practice came at the cost of her lessons. "Aye Papa." She stands and brushes herself off before gathering her rucksack and swinging into Nefrit's saddle. She gives a longing look towards the path around the lake, yearning clear on her face, before turning towards the road to the weyr, and home.

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