Ellen, Oz'keyn, Hirikoth


Jungle exchanges; news and gifts. Hirikoth is an adorable murdermonster.


It is afternoon of the first day of the sixth month of the seventh turn of the 12th pass.


Caspian Lake

OOC Date 20 Mar 2016 07:00


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"Will you wear it, beast?"


Caspian Lake

The lake is the hidden jewel of Southern with its tranquil waters and deep emerald color, emerging from a bend in the Lower Black Rock River. The lake itself is large; large enough that it is almost impossible to see one side from the other. Bordered on all sides by cliffs, the lake itself is not easy to get to, accessible only by boat with only one small beach upon which to set anchor. The seclusion of location is a prize all to itself, however, the true value rests in the teeming schools of fish that live deep within its waters. Constantly fed nutrients by the rushing river that forms the upper boundary of the lake, this bubble of aquatic oasis is a thriving microcosm unto itself.

It is the first day of Winter and 97 degrees. It is partly cloudy, but still warm and bright. Clouds have started to drift across the sky again. The jungles are almost dry.

It is the first day of winter, for the pair so lately from Reach, it means nothing here: vibrant jungle, sizzling heat, and the green world thrumming with energy. All manner of birdsong echoes in the forest canopies, from tiny tinny chatty sounds to full melodies. One sounds like sandpaper rubbed on a cabinet. Another tinkles like little bells. A man sings too, a deep voice in an alehouse tune, a cheerful tune about a lovely lady from the dockside with a dubious set of.. charms.

The green dragon Hirikoth is wearing the lake about her shoulders, completely submerged, her great serpent neck lifted out of the water. Her eyes whorl slow blue with joy, being sung to, her jaws parted in a smile full of knives.

In the mid-distance, a small fisherman's boat drifts lazily to shore, where its passenger (standing for much of this journey perched over the foremost prow, to feel broken waves spatter her brow) vaults off the edge and into the shallows. Too distant to hear, she apparently tossed back some salty comment, earning a swipe from the boatman's paddle after her backside, requiring a HASTY SLOG for the shore, skirts hiked up about thighs and heavy-set muscles powering through the water drag. "Oi oi oi! It's my favorite huntin' buddy!" She's calling this out to — Hirikoth. Whoever sings, she makes no effort to seek. Even if its tune develops a clog-dance style of foot-placement in her gait, fists on hips, bare heels kicking up roostertails of sand. Her expression: FIRM! Fierce-BUSINESS, this tanzen.

Oz'keyn trails off mid-verse, as both rider and dragon turn to watch Ellen. Hirikoth bobs her head, raising up slightly with an enormous heave in the water. A wingtip crests the surface. She lets out a high-pitched shriek that seems to resonate from some nasal passage. Her man sits on a ledge of wet rock outcropped from the western-edge cliffs. He's barefoot in knee-length trous with a loose tunic somewhere between the colors of gray and red. He grins at the young ranger's approach.

Where the song ends, the deep sonorous voice of Oz'keyn leaving off, Ellen picks it up. It's a poor exchange, perhaps; her own voice is scratchy and pitted, like a fox's yapping, and broken by panting - but the dance has an ounce of old skill… if little grace. It STOMPS! It kicks! It raises knees high, the myriad layers of scarf skirting (wet along the hems!) bouncing and tatty. The lyrics themselves are different as well… in the way four hundred turns are wont to change any song passed by the ages. It lasts as long as it takes her to reach Oz'keyn, at which point, "Oz!" She swings the shoulder satchel worn across her chest off in the same movement that she SLINGS it to the ground near the greenrider. FLOURISH. "Found ya." She is already drawing back her hand like she wants to clasp wrists with him so vigorously it'll make a CLAP sound.

He's drawn to his full height, laughing a deep rich sound at her antics. Hirikoth shrieks again in pure delight. The birds in the forest fall silent. Oz'keyn puts out one of his leathery hands. "Ellen of the wood," he says. "How goes it, then?"

Whomp! Oz'keyn's wrist is seized, pumped but once, but SOUNDLY, then turned loose again, "Been keepin' on keepin' on, greenrider. You've a voice." Haven't we all, Ellen. She says it bruskly, just as quickly turning away from Oz'keyn to squat beside her bag, bared knees poking out to either side, and begins rooting about its contents, "Met with thy senior queen. Hannah of Dhiammarath? Thy dragons, man, and their names. — I stood on her Sands once, y'kennit, turns back."

"Hirikoth is pleased to see you," Oz'keyn tells her, folding his arms across his chest. He is accustomed to fits and starts of conversation, the father of several young children. He smiles kindly, that sort of grimace smile of his. Means well. "And how went your audience, of the difficult name?"

"The woman's got sad eyes." It's said with a gentle callous, simply frank and with little thought beyond, "Guess there's no loss for broken hearts among the dragonmen. Told her I aim t'start a caravan." She looks over her shoulder abruptly and states, "'m startin' a caravan, by the way. Shit, right?" Hah! She more… says 'hah' than actually laughs, returning to the contents of her bag, "I give ya something? I need Hirikoth." She needs your DRAGON, Oz'keyn. Without eye contact or helpful body language, it all sounds a trifle flippant.

The green lets out a light screech, as if to say, of course she needs me! Her head dips below the water, and she churns her way closer. Oz'keyn raises his eyebrows to hear such news. "A van of your own, then," he says. "A great undertaking. I think you've got the grit that it takes. What goods have you in mind, then? Any and all?" His head cants to the side as he watches her dig in that satchel.

"Welp. I been gettin' by on my own wares so far. Hides, herbs, mapping. Escorted a few Crafters makin' their way from the Weyr to the Hold, wanting to travel on the thrift. Lil' a'right." Ellen's eyes lock on the proceeding ripples trailing in Hirikoth's wake, so that she speaks in grim profile, "I'd not complain, for more'f the same. But I'd lie if I said I'd be satisfied on just't. Reckon I'ma play it by ear." Rattle? Plink? As she begins to extract a long length of sturdy leather, dyed a deep cobalt blue, there are sounds to it; the hollow-haunting clatter of bone striking bone.

Oz'keyn hears her out with a slow nod, immersed in thought. He offers, fair off, "It's hard work in the van. t'all rides on reputation as well as any wagon wheel. On that I think you'll do fine, but for a new one breaking in, can be a rough first few seasons. But less worthy than you have done it." A mass of bubbles surge from beneath their ledge, Hirikoth's glowing eyes showing beneath the outcrop-shadowed water. Her long neck snakes upward, dripping. Her nostrils blow out a steam of hot air, her massive head hanging by the humans. She looks intent, quivering with restraint.

"I do not aim t' fail," Ellen answers grimly; it melts with an odd easy into a sudden full-body movement, feet bracing against the ground, thrusting to her feet and hauling the rest of the leather length from the bag in a double-handed whipping, like a matador swishing out a red cape before before a bull. Her eyes, for all of it, locked livid fever-bright on Hirikoth. — Thp-thp-p-patter… clatter-plink-plink! They're riding straps, cobalt blue and sturdy-thick. Utilitarian, they lack sparkle in simple brushed-metal buckles but there, to the front-most portion that would affix over a dragon's savage heart, hang a series of well-secured bones; looping ribs scalloping up either side in progressively smaller scale, notched to elicit different notes when struck together. And there - fixed to the centermost front, a feline's skull, beneath which hang long limb bones like bangles from a choker. "Aya!" cries Ellen in this aggressive-lunging motion, as though to see if she can startle a dragon, "What say thee, Hiri! Will you wear it, beast?"

The dragon watches intently with short precise pivots of her head. The great eyes wash over green and orange, peaking yellow, as she takes in the craftsmanship of the new straps and their totemic design. Her tongue licks off her teeth, and she shrieks, matching the lunge with one of her own, like a huge predator's jolt to play. Her wings splay out with a spray of water, and she turns her wedge-shaped head in toward the ledge, running her cheek along the playform on which they stand. Her delight radiates from her with a rumbling vocalization, a deep wuh-wuh-wuh sound that can be felt as well as heard. Oz'keyn has come in for a closer look, astounded. "Ellen," he says, "that's the finest set of straps I've seen. Skull and all."

It's not a thought; Ellen reacts far before the bright lights and complicated colors of human enlightement play a part, as the head darts forward in returned challenge, she's casting herself open-armed at the great green's head to inflict a rough bear-hug atop the green's muzzle with a soft animal grunt of strain - "Ruh!" Somewhat a hug, she digs her feet into the ground as though full intent to TRY grappling the dragon one-on-one. This is… probably in no way successful! Secondarily comes a laugh, "Y'like it?!" Snarl-grunted, its hard to tell if she's asking rider or dragon.

Hirikoth butts her head up against the young ranger, powerful, but mindful of a human's stature. She is huge and wiggly in her show of affection. The giant eyes whirl blue now, the membranes sliding over to give a cloudy look. She makes a deeply thrilled happy sound, a chirruping type , like a weyrling that asks to be fed. Oz'keyn laughs with open pleasure. "She thanks you, Ellen, and me also. Damn, but that's a fine set of straps. What do we owe you, then, O caravan master?"

For just a moment, you might hear the girl beneath the hard-face, in the form of a muffled squeal. Whisper-soft, against Hirikoth's hide as though it were a secret they might share. "Owe?" She asks, releasing her grip (it likely involves dropping a foot or so to the ground; she'd half-climbed atop the green's powerful skull), waving hand sharply, "Be off. You did me an honor, in hunt - I'd do by thee back." Though her pleasure glows, faded-green eyes bright and clear and raising up fiercely to Oz'keyn's bearded face as though she might just grapple him next, "I'd be content t'see 'em used." Pause. "Well, I mean," she leans to the side? PEERS past Oz'keyn, "You got snacks?"

Oz'keyn runs his hands over the straps, looking them over with near disbelief. He flicks at the bones with forefinger and thumb, smiling as they rattle. "They'll see good use," he promises. "She went and chawed on her other pair— didn't you, Hirikoth? I felt my seat slide more than once when we flew the fall." To this the dragon snorts. "Oh, kept it lively, did it, all right." His brows meet bunched in the middle, then ease. "Ellen, if you'd join us, I've a sharp cheese from Tillek, the kind with fruit pieces in it, and a bit of cured meat for slicing. Can put on some klah if you're so inspired, want to dig out a firepit."

Ellen snaps her fingers sharply, pointing at Oz'keyn like he's suddenly On The SPOT, "Let's see the cheese." Oh, well, also - she waves another dismissive hand, "N' klah, s'good." Be real; Ellen radiates the omnivorous open-mindedness of a garbage disposal. The whole business seems to have become dull o her, focusing more sharply instead at the mention of Threadfall, "Eugh. Heard about th' fall. Many injured?" Many dead?

Oz'keyn makes to haul the straps over his shoulder, but Hirikoth makes a pop of a sound, and pushes her face in. It seems she wants to carry the straps herself, her teeth taking them in a sharp, but delicate nip. She holds them high out of the water as she wades back through the lake. The rider takes Ellen's satchel for her, motioning to take her back out to the sands where his own effects are gathered. "Quite a few injured," he replies, "but it could have been worse with the wind off the water. Always a danger, that. What do you do with your van during fall? Place enough to pull the wagons in shelter?"

"Well," Ellen rubs her nose, eyes sliiiding off to one side. Totally just watching Hirikoth MAKE OFF WITH HER STRAPS, "Wagon." JUST THE ONE STILL. Cough. "An' it's a hassle, no joke. Hobbles you. S'why I leave the wagon back, a lot, when I go deep ranging. Lotta rocky canyons with shelter enough. Try to stick by water, in a pinch. Haven't had to cast myself in, yet. Not eager t'see if it'd do the trick, or if I'd get to drown while gettin' melted like a sharding candle." So she's at least thought about… that. "What'd Hiri shred thy straps for, anyway."

"She wasn't happy coming south," Oz'keyn replies. "Not at first. She missed her sisters, her old ledge, and so on. Sometimes, you only think of the bad parts a things, your heart dwells on it.. you think of all you've given up and it gets you. But we weren't happy there, toward the end of it, and this is all just so very much better. We've chewed our straps up, mourned some memories, but we're ready now." He lays Ellen's satchel across a log, one of three pushed together in a vee on the narrow beach. His own gear includes a kit, the promised victuals, and camping miscellany. He rummages about and gets to work dealing out nibbles on a plate for her. "Bet Hirikoth could help dig you out a scrape, if you found a rocky cropping or two."

"Take ya up on that," Ellen gruffs readily as she hops up onto whatever log is narrowest — no 'oh no I wouldn't want you to bother' type, here. But there isn't an immediate urgency do it; just a mental note for coming future. With thumbs hooked off the front of her belt, she gains balance on the log, and begins to pace along it's uneven length. The open back of her halter exposes a series of long-healed welts criss-crossing her back. Casual evidence of a lashing, some long-away time. With her back turned, also, her features aren't seen when she agrees, "S'hard." Just that. And while not dismissive, it's bloodless and simple. It's just hard. "Y'have to tell me of it, sometime. I knew 'Reaches, once. In Oldtimes. S'a different place now, I've heard. No tears or blood you can shed'll keep the world from changing." Hitting the end of the log, she turns, "But, now. Cheese and meat? These, we had even then. Let's see them." She extends a GRABBY HAND, firm-faced. Be ready, Oz'keyn. Ellen will probably spend a great deal of the evening giving you her Strong Opinions about the cheese you are preparing.

Hirikoth steps out of the lake with a full-body shake, one that travels from her muzzle and neck down to shoulder and flank, finally the wavering tailtip. The melodious jangle of the straps seem to please her, utterly, for she creates a sound deep in her throat and rattles the straps again and again. She finds a place close to the humans to curl up around them, to settle in, and to lay the straps along her paws to look at them all she likes. Oz'keyn studies Ellen with a look of silent curiosity, pausing with knife in hand as he prepares their meal. There is a moment a question is almost asked, but he will save it for another time. "Well, then, here you are, caravan master," he says. "A pittance for these lovely straps. She'll fight in them with great pride."

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