Merakh, A'dan


A'dan and Merakh run into eachother at the Standing Stones. Walking back to the Weyr, they discuss Candidates, the Guard and tension in the Bazaar.


It is late night of the nineteenth day of the third 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 nineteenth day of Spring and 52 degrees. It is a clear night.

Things have been quiet around the bazaar lately, not that everything's going well, but that the air feels like there's a thunderstorm coming and everyone's waiting to see where it's going to hit first. The atmosphere's tense enough that Merakh fled after her duties; wrapping up in a cloak, she made for the furthest place she could think of that provided good exercise, and climbed up the side of the Standing Stones the hard way, with the goats. Now, about an hour later, she's still a huddled shape on the top of some of the boulders, eyes fixed not on her troublesome ward, but on the ice-bright stars.

Wind howls through the arch of stone, tugging at clothes and cloaks. There's a scrabbling on the stones, not of the hard precision of goat hooves, but the scrape and huff of a human, a man by the deep vocalizations. A'dan makes his way slowly up the broken rocks… blindfolded? What? He moves steadily, but with a strange quality to the movements. And, though slowly, definitely more swiftly than he should be able blindfolded.

As much as Merakh would like to admit that she's seen stranger things here at the Weyr, this is one of the stranger things, especially when she spots exactly what's happening. Her eyes trace the uncanny quality to his movements, and her head tilts before her eyes lift to the skies and the not-too-distant bowl rim, searching for a splotch of black that might, in time, turn out to be a bronze dragon. Her throat clears pointedly even as her arms wrap the cloak a little tighter against the wind's caress. "Perhaps not the best time to do that kind of thing," she mentions mildly.

A'dan's head snaps up at the voice and he stands quickly, snatching the blind from his eyes. "Merakh!" He turns his head to glare balefully over his shoulder at -there- the dark patch amongst the tumbled broekn stones. Maybe the dragon was going to tell him about the woman on the stones, maybe not. He looks down along the star and moonlit path he'd come and back to Merakh. Up at the stars. "No?" He asks, "When's better?"

Merakh's lips twitch in a small smile. "When it's not dark enough that you almost can't see your hands in front of your eyes?" she points out. "Or perhaps when you don't have a spotter somewhere close that can see if something goes wrong." Her gaze shifts in the direction the bronze is in, and the smile ticks up a little. "Good evening," she calls. Then, "Not that I have much leeway to speak in; I climbed up myself here earlier. Still, perhaps you ought to wait until you have a spotter? The rocks here are a little treacherous, and you could fall quite quickly." Alright, it's a tiny lecture, but surely understandable.

"Not seeing," he rolls his hand to show the blindfold. "Is the point." Narloth rumbles. A'dan gestures over his shoulder with a thumb stabbed in Narloth's direction, "Don't think he can spot?" A'dan chortles, cocking his head, "He asking me why you'd have a sweetroll and klah for dinner." Really? Donuts, Merakh. Way to challenge the Guard stereotypes. A'dan lifts his chin, "'Do as I say,' eh?"

"Not seeing," Merakh mentions quietly, "is exactly the point. No offense to your bronze's powers of perception or speed, but all it needs is a slight trembling of a rock, or a bit of grit, and then you might break a leg or even fall off. Didn't you chide me the other day for taking a rider out of action? This is somewhat the same, don't you think?" She arches her eyebrows. "You don't walk with your nose — a good thing for me, in the Bazaar." She studiously avoids his gaze on the mention of her dinner. "It was quick and I wanted to get away. And no, do as you wish, but I'm not the one with a dragon and a duty to fly that might be difficult with an injury. I'm only beholden to myself."

"Point taken," simply said, rebuke accepted. Merakh doesn't know how often A'dan has checked this route. In day light and dark. Rain and wind. Forwards, backwards, blindfolded, sighted. At this point he could probably climb the path without Narloth's guidance. But he's not interested in sparring verbally or otherwise. He's wrung out. A gross of Candidates in the Barracks ranging from snot-nosed kids to know-it-all teens and just a bare handful of them with any of the requisite knowledge they'd need to Stand, Impress and get through Weyrlinghood. Though… it was to be expected this early. "Good spot to get away." The wind howls through the arch. Right. Nice and creepy.

Point taken indeed. "Yes," the guard mutters, though there's a shiver for the wind. "However, it doesn't rank high on the comfort scale, does it?" She stares at him for a moment, a mere look from beneath her lashes, and finally scoots up and to the side, enough to get in behind a rock for some shelter from the wind. "Would you join me?" One hand reaches through the cloak, stretches in his direction in invitation. "Sounds like we could both do with an early night."

A'dan offers his hand in return, "I'll spot for you," that curious flat tone returned to his voice. He snorts, "'Walk with your nose,'" to himself as he makes his way carefully down the rocks, holding a hand up and back for Merakh to take on her way down. Meh-eh-eh-eh, grumble the sleepy caprines.

"Thank you." When it's a throw-up whether it's a rider speaking, or his dragon getting in a word, it's best to throw politeness around and see who picks it up. She takes the strong hand and carefully begins to pick her way down to A'dan's side, moving with little speed. "Why are you up here practicing this now?" she asks once she's settled at his side, and her eyes find the stars again. "Worried about your future class?"

"Worried, no. We're prepared," Sienna was right on that count. "This is part of prep. Thread doesn't fall at night, but riders have to be ready for anything." And by extension, so do weyrlings. Once they're down from the stones and onto more or less level ground, A'dan turns towards the Weyr. "How's guard training?"

Merakh considers the question from several angles before she chooses to answer it. "I don't think some of the male guards are going to change anytime soon, and the posters aren't helping, but most of the ladies are shaping up like they should. Captain Ladivos is somewhat hands-off, but Rhiex more than makes up for it. Still, I think it's going to be some time before the integration really takes." She stuffs her hands into pockets for warmth. "The bazaar is… restless," she finally says. "You know that feeling when you know something is wrong, but you don't have any evidence that something is wrong? Gut feeling. I've been around too many shitty places that sometimes had that same feeling."

"Gngghh." Is A'dan's eloquent reply to bumps along the road of the Great Integration of the Guard by Goldrider by Edict Thank You (GIGGETY). At the feeling, so aptly describe, A'dan rubs at the back of his neck, "Yeah. I know what you mean." There's a rumbling behind and a quick crunch-scrape of loping feet on the rocks. Narloth catches up with the humans. "Narloth, this is Merakh. Merakh, Narloth." The bronze dragon rumbles, a deep resonant sound felt in the chest.

Merakh, about to dig into his side with her elbow, pulls up short as the bronze lopes up to them; she stops and blinks, trying to take in the immenseness in the dark, when it seems that every inky shadow is another part of the bronze, and only the slight shimmer of stars spangling over his hide marks some delineation. "Narloth," she finally says, polite, and gives a little dip of her head. "It is a pleasure to finally meet you." She pauses, and her eyes squinch up slightly. "Is he always this eloquent?" That, to the dragon, in reference to A'dan. The man is a man of few words, after all.

"I'm not saying that." A'dan says to Narloth around Merakh's head. The dragon paces along, opposite Merakh from A'dan and he has to lean around her to look at the dragon. Not that he needs to, but. Habits. The dragon rumbles again, Merakh gets the sense it's in response to her. A'dan sighs, "Paraphrase, 'Likewise,' and 'Yes.'" Cue squinty eyes at the dragon and then back forward, along the gravelly trail. Crunch, crunch, crunch.

"I get the sense that what he might have said was more than that," the guard teases gently, bumping gently at A'dan's shoulder with her own before wandering a little closer to the bronze. At least this way, if there's a retaliation, she might still duck in on the other side. "How are your Candidates coming along? Any ones you really don't want as little baby weyrlings?" She pauses for a moment, squinting down the trail that will eventually curl around the northern bowl section and the barracks by extension. "I thought I saw a couple sneak through the bazaar the other night."

"He rambles." A'dan squints at Narloth who snorts. No retaliation, just a stutter in the even tread of his walk as she shoves him off balance a bit. A'dan considers the Candidate class, "Doesn't matter what I think. Dragons decide and we turn what we get into riding pairs." He shakes his head, "Being careful not to prejudice myself one way or the other." He walks in thoughtful silence for a while. "Harder, integrating the Guard than integrating the Wings." He glances sidelong at Merakh, "The Wings can blame unfathomable dragons." Whereas the Guard can blame only… unfathomable… goldriders.

Merakh makes a noise low in her throat, something between despair and amusement. "Strangely enough, I think the guards' task would be easier if they had giant flying creatures with the ability to breathe fire as well, and the whers are just too ugly for that task. Then again, I suppose you could also argue that we don't get new guards by fiat — well, unless you consider the goldriders' decree as just that." It might as well have been, after all. "Some of the residents are not as accepting, however. Crime is on the rise, even though we try our best to lower the rate."

"Meet some Parhelion riders," he looks off towards the Weyr and the Bazaar beyond, "They work with the Guard." He squints, "I'm surprised you haven't met any." He snorts to himself. He laughs, "That's exactly what it is - fiat." And woebetide anyone who opposes the move. He grumbles, "Opportunists," A'dan growls. "Take advantage of any turmoil." Thread. Women joining the Guard. Over-population. "It's a miracle the Bazaar isn't a smoking heap."

"Yes," the guard sighs, and shrugs her shoulders idly as she starts pulling away. "But I guess I should go and keep it from descending to that level at least, that and I might as well take another shift whilst I can't sleep." There's an aborted flicker of her hand, perhaps towards a stroke of his head, but she restrains herself and turns to nod to the both of them. "Go get some sleep," she says quietly, kindly. "Both of you, perhaps. Goodnight, A'dan, Narloth."

Narloth rumbles again, stopping to offer his leg to A'dan to climb up. Faceted eyes regard the little female human closely. Very, very closely. A'dan didn't miss that flicker of Merakh's hand. There's a flicker of wariness, there and gone, it could have been a trick of the light. Shadows? "Clear… alleys?" A'dan offers, brow furrowing, one eyebrow arcing up in an uncertain look. Then, seriously, both eyebrows tick up and then down, "Be careful out there." At her suggestion of sleep, "Aye, aye," a sketched salute and then he's up, clipping in, "Good night, Merakh." Narloth ambles off a few steps before lumbering into a lope and beating skyward.

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