D'ren, Aikuonath Finn


Finn and D'ren run into eachother in the bowl. Events of the past few sevens are catching up with the young trader.


It is evening of the twenty-eighth day of the eleventh month of the first turn of the 12th pass.


Igen Weyr

OOC Date


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Central Bowl

Cradled, childlike, in an easterly mountainous embrace, the steppes of the central bowl nestle cozily between lake and weyr. The latticework of dusty adobe paths spider out from the southerly Weyr Road, the wagon-ruts of which curve lazily to the northeastern bazaar, the adobe sprawl of the New Weyr reflected in the lake that dominates a large portion of outdoor Igen. A small footpath, just as abused, ambles away from the shores, travelling over rock and hill to the northern dragonet complex and branching itself due west to end at the entrance of the blessedly cool inner caverns. One cracked path, faint with disuse, leads southeast to the crumbling ruins of Igen-that-was. All around, the dizzying heights of the caldera's sharp-sloped sides are pocked here and there with ledges, the weyrs' draconic occupants needing no path to guide their way.

It is the fifty-eighth day of Autumn and 72 degrees. Mercilessly bright, Rukbat's light heats the desert as a small dark cloud appears on the horizon.

That small dark cloud on the horizon is ignored for now. It's miles and miles away after all. Returning from another Fall over Ista's territories, D'ren at least bathed himself and Aikuonath before jumping between to Igen. The pair look tired, but alert as the large bronze fans his wings to touch down a short distance away from the entrance to the bazaar. He learned his lesson last time and doesn't want to startle anyone again. Settling, his hide gleaming with oil and health despite the droop to his tired body, he rumbles softly as he allows D'ren to dismount. The bronzerider moves slowly, tired and sore, but doesn't appear to have taken injury from the Fall except a small bandage over his right cheek.

Into this gathering twilight, Finn is trudging, head down, along the gravel path towards the lake and -presumably- the Reika campgrounds beyond. He hauls behind him a creaking wooden handcart piled high with crates, sacks. He lifts his head as a shadow passes over him, a broad grin splitting his dusty face as the dragon backwings. Finn isn't likely to startle at a dragon landing. Plodding pace slows as he watches the sun play across the gleaming hide and the (unbeknownst to him) economy of motion in the powerful backwinging strokes peculiar to the very tired. As he draws closer the rider seems familar. Closer. Is it… "D'ren!" Finn calls, turning on the path, wagon balking at the path edge like a grumpy runner. He grunts and tries to get it up over the small berm. He tries again, "Hnngh." The stack of crates and goods teeeeeeter precariously.

Aikuonath's head lifts, muzzle dipping slightly as he watches Finn, rumbling a soft warning. D'ren's head turns and his response is a bit sluggish as he pushes himself to walk towards the trader. "Finn. Here." Breathe. "Let me help you with that," he offers, stepping closer and reaching up to steady the crates. "Where's your runner?"

Finn dips his head in thanks, eyes fixed on the dragon. "On second thought, probably best to leave it here." The young smith turns loose of the handles and wipes his brow with a crooked arm. "Runner? Oh." He laughs, raising an eyebrow at Aikuonath, "Otherwise occupied today. And a good thing, eh?" He turns that grinning face back to D'ren, "What brings y…" Oh. He doesn't need to ask that question. Linny. The grin falters. He looks away, brow furrowed, twisting back to look at the handcart. Oh! He starts at a thought and pats his pockets and shirt, looking for something, Ah. A folded sheet is drawn from a pocket and handed simply over to D'ren. "The wagon expenses." Best to get business out of the way.

D'ren lifts a brow at the trader's question, and smiles a bit when he stops. Obviously Linny. And Linden. "Can't imagine trying to use a runner in a weyr," he admits quietly, reaching out to take the sheet. Opening it, he scans it and nods. "Should I just give the marks to you? Or do I owe someone else?" he asks, tucking the page into his tunic breast pocket. Behind him, Aikuonath rumbles as he settles to his belly on the dusty floor, exhaling a long breath that sends up poofs of dust as he shifts. Wings spread, stretching their full length before settling back against his sides again, and the gleaming, sun-kissed bronze yawns mightily. "How is she?"

Finn isn't always the sharpest tool in the shed. "I'll see the marks get where they need to go." The rumble draws Finn's attention again, eyes widening as the great wings spread, catching the light. An unspoken, Whoa on his lips. Lookit those teeth. And onto uncomfortable topics. Thanks D'ren. The trader kicks at the dirt, mouth flat, "Hurt." He clears his throat, "Scared she's gonna lose her hand. It's an awful mess." The trader puts his hand over his belly, swallowing.

D'ren nods, turning towards his dragon and gesturing for Finn to follow him, reaching up for one of Aikuonath's straps so he can get his marks pouch while standing on the bronze's foreleg. "The Healers seem optimistic that she won't," he says quietly, pulling the marks free and turning, sliding down the foreleg to hold out the required marks. "It is a mess," he says with a grimace, flexing his left hand.

Finn nods and follows D'ren dragonward and looks up and up at the lounging behemoth. He wrinkles his nose at the lingering scent of firestone. "Damn he's big. Uh," he looks at the dragon's face, "Uh, I mean. You. You're big." The queens were enormous, of course, Kaelidyth a good three or four paces longer, but they were different, lithe - if something the size of a SHIP could be said to be lithe. Where Aikuonath is … well, he's lean but… heavy. Finn is gawping. "Sorry, what? Oh. I haven't," he looks down and away again, "I haven't talked to the Healers." He nods, "Good."

Aikuonath tilts his head to regard Finn with a slowly swirling eye, shades of blue and green showing his relaxed state. D'ren laughs, grinning as he fondly thumps his dragon on the shoulder. "Yeah, he's pretty big," he says with a glance up and a distant look in his eyes. They focus on Finn again, and he nods. "Did you go see her? She was…worried when you didn't show."

Finn pales, recalling the trip to the infirmary. The cries, the pain. Linny's hand. Shards, that ruined hand. "I did," hoarse, eyes shadowed. "She was pretty loopy. I didn't know what to do." He swallows, looking down at his boots again. There, that bit of rock needs pressed into the dirt better. He clears his throat and looks back at the dragon, more pleasant, that. "Are you going to her now?"

D'ren nods, running a hand over his short black hair. "I'm glad you went to see her," he says quietly, but genuinely. "Good. I'm glad she's taking her fellis." Loopy = not in (as much) pain, which is what the bronzerider wants. "Not much we can do except be there for her. Try to keep her spirits up. Makes sure she takes her fellis. And yeah, I was planning on it, unless you were," he adds, glancing at the trader and then in the direction of the infirmary.

Finn laughs, thinking on their last parting, he scratches at his jaw, eyes coming from Aikuonath's whirling ease to the older's man tired green, "I don't think a fist fight would go down well in the infirmary." However staged. Scruff framed lips twitching into a grin. "You go, I have to get this back to camp."

D'ren laughs, smiling a bit as he rubs the back of his neck and then fiddles with the bandage on his cheek. "Alright then, I'll go," he agrees, nodding and reaching out to pat Aikuonath's leg. The bronze rumbles softly, yawning again with a tired exhale. He'll just sleep, is that okay with everyone?

"Thanks. Tell her I'll be by as soon as I can." He kicks at the dirt, brow knitting. "You get in a fist fight for true?" Finn asks, noting the bandages. And the fiddling. His hand flicks up, a finger crooked at the covered wound. Light eyes track the movements, note the weariness in posture, movements. Aikuonath's great yawn. "You oka- WOW he has a lot of teeth." Finn's eyes goggle right out of his head. "Does he have more teeth than normal?!" There's a twitch, like he'd have climbed right on into that gaping maw if given half a chance.

D'ren nods. "I will," he promises. Then he chuckles, fingers touching the bandage. "Just some ash burn. Not Threadscore, but the wind…blew ash back at us and my mask was askew." That'll teach him. A grin curves his lips and he chuckles. "He's got a normal amount of teeth. In fact…" He prods the bronze's muzzle and the dragon opens his maw with a soft rumble of protest. Can't he sleep? D'ren leans into that great open maw and draws his belt knife.

Light eyes dart to the bandage again, he'd not been a part of fighting Thread on the ground much - except that one terrible, terrible time. High time he did something about THAT, much as it made his knees watery thinking about it. It seems a small injury, given what he's seen in the days after Katz Fields. "Wow… that's… WHEW." Some breath, Finn waves his hand back and forth in front of his face. YIKES. His brow furrows, crowding up close, "What are you gonna do with that?" He looks inside the soaring cathedral of flesh and tooth, whistling low.

"You ever done ground crew?" D'ren asks curiously, his voice oddly echoed in his dragon's mouth. "He's got a…" There's a grunt, a rumble from Aikuonath, and D'ren leans back out again, holding up a shard of firestone. "That was stuck between his back teeth. Would have caused him lots of irritation, maybe gotten infected…he's supposed to tell me." He eyes his dragon, who just snorts and closes his eyes.

If D'ren's paying any mind, he'll notice a sudden stillness. Still as the grave. "Once," is all Finn says. He saw things. Bad things. He shudders and coughs, scrubbing a hand over his face. "I… should get on with a crew here." Quiet. Finn's eyebrows go up, reaching for the shard of stone. He looks surprised and addresses the dragon, "Why wouldn't you tell him?" As if the dragon would answer. He looks the shard of stone over, bringing it close, turning it over, a nose-wrinkling sniff. Eeeesh. And then it's handed back. Solemn, "So you flew Thread today. At Ista."

D'ren tilts his head, peeking over his shoulder at Finn. "Once?" he presses gently. His shoulder lifts. "You could, yeah. Always need folks…" He hands over the bit of firestone and watches Finn talk directly to Aik, his brows lifting a bit in surprise. Rare that folks are bold enough to speak directly to a rider's dragon. Still, the bronze just rumbles softly, not seeming to mind. D'ren shrugs. "He won't tell me," he mutters. "Yes, we did. Right over the Weyr. Windy, but not too bad."

"Yes." Finn clears his throat again, but doesn't elaborate. Directly addressing a dragon isn't a patch on the hairbrained things Finn has done with and or to a rider's dragon. He turns his attention to D'ren, stance shifting as he lifts his face to winds blowing in from the lake shore bringing scents of green and decay. "Why wouldn't he tell you?" If it's gonna hurt? Finn looks concerned, puzzled, light eyes flickering back to the dragon whose many-lidded eyes are closing.

D'ren shrugs. "I'm not sure. Maybe he was too tired to deal with it right then, until I made him deal with it." He shifts his weight to lean against the bronze's gleaming shoulder. "Linny ever take you flying?"

Huh. Finn cocks his head at the dragon, setting thumbs, slung into his belt. The mystery of the draconic mind deepens. Whole hands that aren't marred by Thread, though plenty scarred from forgework, sling loose on his belt. "Boy, did she!" Finn's face splits with a grin, "I got to…" those tucked thumbs come free and Finn makes rein-y, flappy hands, "…drive!" He opens his mouth to say something wondrous about flying (by the rapt expression on his face), but just… shakes his head and blinks, eyes lost to the middle distance and memory.

D'ren smiles, nodding his head as he listens…until Finn trails off. The bronzerider tilts his head. "What is it?" he prompts quietly.

Finn blinks rapidly, reeling his mind back to Now. "Uh, it was…" he opens his mouth again, lost for words. Shakes his head again. No words. He gestures at D'ren, both hands thrusting at the rider, "You know! You fly!" He shouldn't have to describe how it feels to a man who LIVES there. Right?

D'ren blinks back at Finn, and then he grins. "Right. Speechless. It's really something. Aik and I used to go to the Red Butte and just…fall off of it." The dragon, though dozing, shifts his wings a bit.

Finn goggles… "I didn't even THINK of that." Another goggling look at Aikuonath. Dragon base jumping. Finn is SO in. He shakes his head again, eyes closing briefly as he remembers the wind across his face, over his arms in a steep dive, Khaelidyth brushing his mind with falling petals. Screams. Linny's screams and petals burned to ash. The last brush of Kaelidyth's mind springs at Finn in unguarded moments (which are most of them). He scrubs a hand down his face, gone pale, "What was it like, being a dragonrider without Thread?" It seems like it'd be paradise.

D'ren frowns at the pale-ness of the other's skin. "Are you okay? You want to sit?" he asks, gesturing to Aik's foreleg. Then he hoists himself up with a soft grunt, extending a hand to the trader. "Easy," he says with a wan smile and a low chuckle. "Spent my days flying, hanging out…wing duties and sweeps sure, but without death to worry about they were more relaxed. We'd make deliveries for folks…really wasn't much to it to be honest."

Automatic reaction, "No, I'm fine." Nothing to worry about here. And then Finn sees WHERE the sitting is happening. YES. He's been wanting to but NOT asking to touch Aikuonath. It's pretty much always there, that itch to feel the hide under his palms. To poke at teeth. Tap talons. Waggle dewlaps. His eyebrows hike and he takes the extended hand, hopping up to sit beside D'ren. "Thanks," to Aikuonath over his shoulder, with a thud of his palm on the bronze's ruddy great forearm. He smiles sadly at the recounting of happier days in the past. Barring that yanno COMET. "It's not been back that long and it already feels like forever." Finn is idly rubbing his hands across Aikuonath's hide, up and back.

"Thread? Yeah," D'ren agrees quietly, his fingers playing gently against Aikuonath's gleaming, slightly oily hide. He smiles at Finn's touches. "Let me know if you find any dry spots."

Finn laughs, realizing in that moment that he's rubbing on Aikuonath. He scratches at his jaw, "Sorry, Aikuonath." He looks down, at the hide between his fingers. Gleaming. "It's pretty." Best that Finn wasn't a Harper, eh? He puts hands behind him, leaning back and propping up, weight slung from his shoulders, hands slooooooowly slipping on that oiled hide, "Sure thing." He sits, not really thinking about anything for a moment, until, "Uh. Is Linny expecting you?"

D'ren chuckles. "He doesn't mind," he reassures the trader, before his smile grows and pride brightens his eyes. For a moment he looks far younger. "He's beautiful," he whispers, thumping that hide. "Lots of bronzes are more muted, but Aik…he's almost gold, sometimes." He looks towards the infirmary and shakes his head. "Not necessarily, no. I'm here to see her but if she needed me Kaelidyth would have called us. So Linny is probably sleeping."

Kaelidyth would call him. Finn looks at the dirt framed between his boots, "She called me." Kaelidyth did, "When Linny was hurt." Finn looks off towards the Weyr, picturing the undoubtedly looming, restive gold. He shudders, an involuntary wrack, as impressions of pain and fire and ash and screaming… shards… the screaming come beating back at him. He sits forward abruptly, dashing the images and sounds from his mind with the butt of his palm screwed into an eyesocket.

D'ren nods. "She called Aik too," he murmurs. "Never been so scared in all my life…" When Finn jerks forward, D'ren's hand reaches out automatically to grip the back of his tunic. "Hey.."

Finn had puked, but he's not told anyone that lovely tidbit. The jarring grip of Kaelidyth's fear, of Linny's anguish. Inseparable, really. Struck straight into his mind, imprinted, like a flash of lightning on his eyes, hanging in his vision, in his ears… everywhere he looked, fluttering ash, every sound a crescendo of pain. Flipping steel, end over end. The other hand comes up to join in scrubbing the images away. Work. Work was the thing he needed. Finn swallows, "I'm fine. I, uh, I need to get that stuff back." To camp. He shakes his head, blinking to clear watery eyes.

Once he's sure he's steady, D'ren lets his tunic go. "Right." He looks to the infirmary and nods. "And I'm going to go see how Linny is doing." Sliding down his dragon's foreleg the bronzerider lands with a gentle thump, offering Finn a hand down if he needs it.

Finn slides down easily enough, eyes troubled, face haggard, boots thudding into the dirt, dust swirling away in little gusts. Blinked at. He stares a moment at the ground and leans back to rest a hand on Aikuonath's warm hide. A gesture of thanks. He offers a hand to D'ren, "Thank you," he says, blue eyes brighter for the shadows lurking. For what in particular? Or general? The trader doesn't say. He smiles a watery smile, "Say hello to Linny for me," before ambling back to the barrow and taking up the handles again. He leans forward, tensing hard to overcome the weight and then shuffling quickly as he does. A sober nod to D'ren in farewell and the smith is on his way back to camp, the falling sun striking golden light off of the lake and dragon.

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