E'pha, Cha'el


Wingmates vent briefly over the current affairs while freezing their bits off.


It is late night of the seventh day of the second month of the first turn of the 12th pass.


Star Stones, Igen Weyr

OOC Date




Star Stones

The climb up here on foot is steep, narrow stone steps carved high into the sandstone, and from the top the precipice-drop to the jagged-craggy stones far, far below is treacherous. It's a wide sweep of ledge, a dragonlength and a half jutting out from a rough cliff wall. The wind here is ceaseless, dusty-dry during daytimes and biting at night. But for those who brave the climb to this lookout perched high above the Weyr's bowl, the view from these sandy-red rocks is breathtaking. Igen stretches wide-wide-wide around, a vast expanse of deep blue lake and lush green swamp and the myriad rust-rich colours of desert and rock. The real purpose of this spot, though, is highlighted not in its view of what is below but its view of what is above. Three tall rocks stand, one balanced across the tops of the other two, at the focal point of the ledge, perpetually framing one slice of the desert sky beyond.

Wind. Wind and view, both with their particular kind of bite tonight. It seems to howl especially strong through those massive rocks pointing, ever serving as reminder. Something E'pha will remember in a moment. Precisely now, he's tucked, half-sitting, against the ragged cliff edge of the outlook, a knee cocked out and rubbing thin the already strained threads of his pants. Enough, perhaps, to let a stray breeze through, because he writhes his shoulders against the rock every so often despite being, everywhere else, clothed up solidly. A scrabble and scratch of crag was once the presence of a hefty bronze, but now that wingspan fills the night air, circling in a brisk pattern above the Stones with Hzrath's usual meticulousness. Following a second uncomfortable wiggle in less seconds, E'pha shoves off from the rock with a clucking, "Tch, tch!" aimed as if to the open, chill air.

Pulling up from the bowl, expansive wings scooping the air beneath them with the ease that massive chest of Sikorth's suggests they might, the brown pair angle directly toward the highest point of the Weyr. Throwing up a squall of sound when he sets down, the big brown waits only long enough for his rider to dismount before lifting off again. When the dust cloud kicked up, settles, Cha'el is almost right on top of his wingmate. Wearing a thick knitted sweater beneath his flight jacket, leather pants (not of the Thread fighting variety) and with a scarf wound about his neck and lower face, the brownrider catches that disgruntled sound coming from E'pha. "Cold enough for you?" Grin.

First and foremost, E'pha cocks a rugged salute to Cha'el as soon as the man's settled in to the spot. "Nah, it's fitting, it's lovely," he half-mocks, using the same hand that respected the Weyrsecond to clap him heartily on the back of the shoulder. "I'm up here because I want to be, and not because I have— " his voice has been steadily rising in a riled tenor, and at its peak, raises volume, too, "an asshole," shouted directly up in the sky at Hzrath, "for a dragon!" Not even a second's lag in the bronze's perfect flight path. "Alright, alright," he murmurs just as fast, dismissive — his trademark 'move on'. Hands jump up and then brush down across his thighs, declaring it all done.

E'pha's salute is returned and then the Weyrsecond shoves his hands into his pockets and sets the bronzerider with an amused look. "Disagreement between the lifemates?" Spoken as one that frequently finds himself locked in a battle of wills with his own dragon. Said dragon having winged away to some or other location and now gone from sight though not from mind. Hunching his shoulders as a particularly nasty gust of wind howls through, Cha'el fits his wingmate with a sidelong look. "Shit just got real." The brownrider states and then sighs, gaze straining through the dark night to the bowl below. "I'm not sure if benching the goldriders is going to be good for wing morale or make it worse."

Since E'pha's let the previous subject lay, it gets nary a grunt; he fixates quickly on Cha'el's new vein. A jerking of his head seems to almost want to contradict the other man, or ignore him all together. It's not difficult to interpret: a steadfast loyalty to W'rin isn't exactly his secret. But after raising his hand to nibble hard against an oft abused thumbnail, he opens up with a smacking of his lips. "It feels… reactionary." Tending towards the negative, though he wavers to be so. One booted toe scuffs unhappily against the ledge, but when his chin raises it isn't with visible shame. "Defensive. Just 'cause it happened to one Weyr doesn't mean it's gotta happen to ours." He snaps his fingers, trying to summon words, "But, uh." His nerve fails him soon after his vocabulary and he shakes his head to suggest he's done.

Attention still cast out over the night shrouded bowl, Cha'el utters a quiet hum of contemplation for the rather weighty subject at hand. "Aye, I agree but can we really take the chance not to guard the only two golds we have? As it is if it wasn't for the Oldtimers, Igen would be up shit creek without a paddle. No. I think W'rin was right to ground them. Perhaps if this clutch produces another gold…" Words trail off and he passes E'pha a browlifted look, silent encouragement for him to complete the thought he'd cut off. "But what?" Word put to prompt gesture of brow.

Slow, following, nods after each of Cha'el's words lend silent support. "It's not that I don't want to protect the golds," E'pha inserts with a pointed finger at the brownrider; you know me, brother. "It's not that. I'm with W'rin on that." He must be pumping himself up to continue, laying groundwork. A little bounce in his heels cements the notion, or the innocuous one that he's just rather chilly and the movement fires him up that way, instead. "Third or fourth or fifth gold. It's just…" Smack, smack of lip. Scrape of teeth against nail; he is a man of habits. "That it eats at me, y'know? Just that. Instead'a finding something forward to do. If this were a match, y'know, it'd be like," he brings his hands up in a boxing pose near his chest, "Protectin' yer center while the other guy gets to wail on you."

While E'pha is a man of gestures and physical distractions when summoning a thought into play, Cha'el is the exact opposite. Almost like his brown in that regard. Still. Silent. Save for a slight rock back on his heels and the keen shift of blue eyes. "If this were a match, we'd have a chance to study our opponent. Find where he drops his defenses. His strengths. Weaknesses." The Weyrsecond returns, easily falling into the Fight Club analogies that the other rider calls forth. "As it is, we're going into this fight, sight unseen. You saw what happened at Keroon. It was a fucking disaster and we've learned what we could from it." There he pauses, brows folding in thought. "All we can do now, is protect our assets," not that every dragon in a fighting wing isn't an asset, "and wait 'til we've got a better understanding of what the fuck we're facing before bringing out the golds again."

While letting Cha'el be silent, E'pha's raised his restless arms above his head, clasping hands in a twist and resting them both on the top of his covered head. He absorbs everything said, like this, with a sharpness belied by his occasional behavior. "Yah," he admits solemnly after a long second of just the Stones' breeze. "Yah." And he shoves his tongue into the inside of his cheek and pushes then lets it snap back. "Just saying I don't like it." With a shift of weight more heavily to one hip, he appears to have relaxed. Let it out, until he next burst of pent-up nerves necessary to keep him steady when needed. "Shit, Cha'el," but he's laughing softly when it's said, rolling his head back and eyeballing the sky where Hzrath stalks. "Now I just want to fight."

With his gaze having drifted downward, it lifts slowly to the skies above, the baleful Red Star winking in ominous reminder that this night could very well, be their last and drops Cha'el into solemn silence. "Don't think there's a one of us that does like it." The Weyrsecond quietly agrees. Poking at a stone with the tip of his boot, he lifts his foot and with a sharp kick sends the unfortunate thing sailing out over the edge of the rocky outcrop. There's a short snort of amusement for E'pha's last and Cha'el cocks a lifted brow at him. "You fight?' Interest immediately patterning across bearded features for it's a topic almost as close to his heart as sailing an open sea.

Because he's quite open about his feelings, E'pha elegantly flips off the Red Star and everything it represents. It's stupidly calming. Eyebrows darting up, he sends the flailing rock a look of pity and amusement as it's sent soaring. A look that he offers Cha'el for that display, allowing himself to be witnessed balking slightly when questioned about his own stated interest. With a light crack, he jaws works up and down and he casts a look over to the opposite side, to the unfeeling cliff and stone. "Uhhh, yeah," is noncommittal, cast in strange contrast. "No," and he gains confidence, "Yeah. Actually, haven't really here. Not sure why I said that. Must be the state of things, eh?" And, chuckling, he smacks his two hands together, rubbing them firmly then blowing into them in something that's almost a sigh.

While Cha'el makes no effort to hide the scars across his knuckle or explain the slightly crooked line to his nose, he doesn't exactly try to hide his interest in arranged matches either. With his mouth tilted about dry amusement, he fits E'pha with an assessing look. "Organized fighting's good." The Weyrsecond eventually states. "Gives a man a way to let off steam without getting his ass handed to him afterwards." In terms of consequences. There's another of those considering pauses of silence, and then: "So not here. But before?" Prompt supplied for the fishing expedition to continue.

"Mhm," affirms E'pha in quick, friendly agreement, with his mouth still smashed against his pressed hands. Gusts of wind close in on them with more precision, more purpose; Hzrath lowers in the sky. "Good discipline, too," he adds after a moment passed in thought, hands lowering. "Men can really learn to respect one another after a clean fight, supposin' one of 'em's not a sore ass." Looking over, he flashes the Weyrsecond a big, dumb grin of the kind that usually makes others underestimate him. It's just so gosh-darned convincing. A clatter of clinking talons and rock dust billows in the bronze's wake. E'pha twists his head over his shoulder then raises his eyebrows to Cha'el, "Suppose I'm forgiven? What do you think?"

"Aye," Cha'el is quick to agree with a firm nod on the discipline required for fighting clean. "Sure helped me to get my head on straight," he adds and then flicks E'pha a crafty grin with regards to bad losers. His next however goes toward the matter of forgiveness and a dark brow hikes upward. "Depends. What did you do?"

For the briefest second, a darker shade falls over E'pha's features, unnatural to him and, luckily, fleeting. He blinks it off, cocks half a grin at Cha'el with a soft huff in a laugh's note. "Got in the way of business," he snorts, already hefting up to the bronze's foreleg. "Translation, I was a big fucking cockblock. Alright! Hup!" It's a test of faith, scaling the bronze hide, one which Hzrath rewards his rider with by not delivering him with a cruel twist over the edge of the Stones like Cha'el's unfortunate rock. With a toss of his head, the bronze must be dismissing the matter. Tomorrow's a new day — and the Red Star's still there.

Despite his somber mood for the news freshly received about their golds being grounded during a fall, Cha'el barks out a laugh. "Welcome to the club, mate. Sikorth has threatened to do the same next time I…" Ahem. Nevermind. A hand is lifted in friendly farewell rather than the usual smart snap of salute when the bronze pair make their departure. Left alone on the cold and windy outcrop high above the Weyr, the brownrider hunches down further in his jacket, mind a riot of unease.

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