Ariele, Ibrahim


An early-morning walk in the gardens.


It is dawn of the first day of the sixth month of the fourteenth turn of the 12th pass.


Secret Garden, Southern Weyr

OOC Date 06 Jul 2018 23:00


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"Living dangerously has its advantages."


Secret Garden

Ornate brass handles are kept shiny and bright, their age belied by tarnish in deep crevices. Brackets on the wall hold glow baskets to keep the smallish sized cavern lit up. On sunny days light spills through an iron-framed window fitted into a natural break in the weyr wall, invisible to the eye from above.

The sound of running water echoes like a ghost from a small pool set back just beyond the reach of the light. Fed by some subterranean stream that remains unseen, the water is cool and crisp. Small, dark fish dart in the shadows of stones and water plants. All around the little pond a soft carpet of mossy grass and ferns grow, some of it having gone over the carefully laid stone barrier to keep it in check. It would seem this place was at one time an indoor garden, but whether for work or recreation has long since been lost to knowledge. It is now a place of quiet and repose. Retreat. Vegetation abounds in raised stone beds, herbs and flowers alike. Though the growth in beds is wild, there was certainly a lot of thought put into the delicate but functional layout. Chairs, couches, bookshelves and desks fill the space forming clusters of seating areas. In the shadows, there's the outline of another door.

What's a little early morning exercise for those early risers liek Ibrahim? He's already up, having done his usual overnight in the Infirmary, and has decided that a walk would do him good. Considering the weather, he's managed to remain fully clothed, right down to a good, solid leather jacket with the hood pulled up, and leather trousers tucked into tall boots. What. It's wet out here fo' a wildling. But still, he's going to take the time to enjoy the scenery, and perhaps time with the woman who has consented to join him.

With Zymuraith's clutch hatched, Ariele's schedule has returned to a more normal level of franticly busy; and with the arrival of winter and its rains, she's more than happy to move her usual morning walks to a more sheltered locale. "I've always wondered how a place like this ended up being made," she remarks, carefully protected from the elements in a mid-weight wool cloak. "It's beautiful, and so peaceful."

"You and me both." Ibrahim agrees, taking in the scene with utter fascination: such meticulous care given to an indoor garden, so lovingly laid out for the enjoyment of all. "I wonder if they just found it like this and decided to chip out everything else." He tucks his hands into his pockets, pausing to admire a lavender bush, fingers brushing the leaves with tender fingers.

"I can imagine that," agrees the assistant headwoman, taking a meandering path between the beds: today's exercise is not going to be of the brisk variety, it seems. "And then it grew - literally, haha - from there. And here it is today, ready for our enjoyment." She glances over her shoulder, seeking out the wildling across the beds. "How was the infirmary last night? Busy?"

Ibrahim chuckles. "The pun was inescapable, wasn't it." Brisk walking today? Not when he can enjoy watching Ariele relax for a change, free from chasing crazy kids all over the Weyr and giving them something to do besides get into mischief. He meanders with her, touching a plant here, pruning a bit of dead material off another there; it's a habit of long standing with him, to do that with many a plant. He's no gardener, but he does know how to care for them in his own way. "Hmm.. we had a few who needed remedies for the consequences of getting drunk. But in the main, it wasn't too bad. Are you enjoying your freedom from babysitting candidates?"

Ariele's laugh is, truly, genuinely relaxed; her smile is short of a grin, but it's warm nonetheless. "There are always some who can't see their internal drink limit, aren't there? I'm glad it was a quiet one." The question she's posed in return is answered promptly with a nod, but it's only after she's leaned in to sniff at some long-dead-but-not-yet-pruned-away old flowers that she adds, "Two groups so close together was too much. It's so intense for them, it's inevitable that it ends up being difficult for us. The disappointed ones, though— that's always so hard."

"More like determined to extend it far beyond the healthy limit to prove they're tough." Ibrahim shakes his head, unable to see the need to prove such a thing; nobody with any sense would curt alcohol poisoning, to his way of thinking. "At least they provide amusement for us as they stagger and totter, trying to pretend they're still sober." He'll take a moment for the dead-but-not-gone flowers, wondering in wry amusement what the young Kyriatis would think of such inattention to a plant! She'd be horrified, he's certain. He'll simply have to do the pruning for her! Well, when he has the proper tuning and attention to spare, that is. "They want so much to beome bonded to a dragon, and it breaks their hearts when it doesn't happen." He eyes Ariele, curious, now, but hesitant. "Have you… gone through a Candidacy?"

Somewhere, on the other side of the Weyr, Kyriatis is shuddering in horror and has no idea why. Truly, an abomination. "Mmm," says Ariele, ostensibly in agreement with Ibrahim's first remark, though it could equally be in answer to his question instead. She hesitates, a handful of browned flower petals sprinkling down into the soil as she draws her fingers back from the plants. "Eleven," is what she says, then, with a sigh. "Eleven candidacies. Which puts me in both a good position to support the disappointeds, and also a very bad one. No one wants to consider the possibility of standing unsuccessfully that many times. In retrospect, it sounds like a ridiculous thing to have done. But it becomes… routine, in the end."

"Expected, perhaps, if one is Weyrbred, yes?" Ibrahim settles lightly on the edge of the raised bed, sifting long brown fingers through the dirt and grounding himself in that lovely connectedness to the earth and simplicity. "It seems to me," Ibrahim begins, softly. "That children of the Weyr are expected to offer themselves as Candidates as many times as they can. Well, anyone who is of age and here is supposed to rush to offer oneself to the dragons." He shrugs one shoulder, and idly begins to pull the head of one flower free of its stem, crinkling the petals onto the dark soil contemplatively. "Did you feel it was your only choice, or merely the best choice?"

"I'm sure it is," agrees Ariele, who follows suit in taking a seat upon the edge of one of the beds, hers facing Ibrahim's. She presses both hands upon the fabric of her skirt, smoothing it out beneath her fingertips. "For me, it was my ticket out of hold life, and once I'd started… it was motivation. It's easy to get lost in the dream of it, I think. I'm not even sure I would have made a good dragonrider. But in a Pass… even in the holds, we knew how important it was, but there were excuses to say no, too. I'm not sure the same is true in a Weyr, not really."

Ibrahim frowns slightly, pausing in hisabsent-minded pruning (he can't seem to just leave the poor plant alone!) to consider Ariele for a long moment before he begins anew: plucking carefully, but decisively, those that needs must return to dirt in order to fuel the next generation. Acuna matata, dead flowers; acuna matata. "Was Hold life so restrictive, then?" His voice is mild, though there seems to be an undercurrent of… dislike… there. For the idea of restricting a person to some ridiculouus ideal of life. For keeping freedom away. "Mmm. The dream of a soul that matchs yours and all that? I hear that a lot from th more starry-eyed youths and shudder to think at how romanticized it is to be bound, for life, to a beast." He shrugs, then, wry. "Not that dragons are not admirable — but they are not human."

"I don't know what it's like in reality, of course, but… it seemed like a positive thing, at the time. I understand why it is a motivating factor. I don't regret attempting to stand, though I wonder if I might have been better served to give it up sooner. I'm more satisfied in my work now than I ever was, then." Ariele's expression is somewhat wryly thoughtful, her hands stilling upon her lap. "Yes, for me, at least, Hold life was that restrictive. I maybe didn't see it so at the time, at least not clearly, but I took my ride out with both hands."

"A way out?" Of what, though — that's th question Ibrahim is dying to ask, and yet refraining from so hard. He's finally done pruning for the time being, and lets his hands rest, fingers laced, across his crossed knees. As she explains further, he nods slowling, a glimmer of understanding crossing his features. "I've hear dthat often, Hold women are expected to marry early and produce many children. That, it seems, is similar even to we of the Jungles." His smirk of that wry, dry variety: oh, look, something the wildlings have in common with Northerners! "I can't see you accepting too much restriction of any sort."

"I would have, at that age. I did. I didn't really know any different until I came to the Weyr. Continuing to Stand was reason to stay." Thoughtful, Ariele goes silent for a few moments - and then she shakes her head, as if to shake those thoughts away. "The Holds need women to have children. In truth, the Weyrs should be doing all they can to encourage women to have children, too, especially dragonriders or those with dragonriding in their family history. The key is to make sure that childbearing isn't the only thing you expect of your women."

Rubbing at his face, Ibrahim heaves a little shudder. "I… find that very difficult to accept. The need to have children, that is." Perhaps the subject raises the ghosts that have chased him so far from home. He sighs, softly, and allows as how: "Oh, I understand that having children increases the survival of the group, but… so often, it's pushed too far. Most do not understand that women can do more than bear and aise children." He looks over to Ariele, again, thoughtful and considering as he soaks in the new information she's given him. "So, you were prepared to have children and marry - until you were Searched? Funny. Such things often lead to more opportunities than one expects, doesn't it?

Ariele lifts her chin, abruptly amused. "Mmm," she agrees. "Everything that happens to us leads to the things that follow, and that's why nothing is a waste, even if it feels like it at the time. Which doesn't mean we shouldn't have regrets, but… everything in perspective. I wouldn't change any of it, since it led me here."

"I am glad it did." Ibrahim raises his eyebrows, all dignified innocence. If he has regrets, he is taking care not to exhume them for the time being; he'll save those for later. For now, he'll merely confirm the convenience of having gained maturity from those old wounds. "So, Ariele, here we are, having followed the path set out for us. Whatever shall we do with it?" Gleam of mischief, here: he's perishing of curiosityy to see what Ariele will do with that question.

The corners of Ariele's mouth twist upwards by degrees, amusement faint but visible upon the pale planes of her face. "The only real answer to that," she says, "is 'whatever the damn well we want.' I don't know precisely what that is, yet, but I'm open to exploring all possibilities."

Ibrahim laughs, delighted. "That's the preferred answer." As to what, precisely, they want? He, too, is unsure — but oh, so willing to explore the possibilities that lay before them. "Hmm. I think we should start with finding some food. Apparently I need to eat more. Or, so they tell me, anyway." For the wildling is a thin young man, a wiry stick among the larger specimens he so clearly does not measure up to despite the hard sinew developed by a life of labor and movement. "I think the Aunties are trying to fatten me for some kind of sacrifice. Perhaps if they see us eating together, they will leave me be." And he can pepper the woman with, oh, a million extra questions about everything to do with Hold life.

"Look at us," teases Ariele. "Living dangerously, without a plan. Who knows where this road ends." But she's pleased, too, her shoulders drawn back and her chin lifting; her eyes sparkle. "I'll accept your opening move, however," she continues, drawing herself up to her feet and offering her hand to the wildling, ready to draw him up to join her. "I think I can protect you from the aunties. Let me be your hero for the morning."

Ibrahim grins wickedly at her as he takes her hand. "Living dangerously has its advantages." Like allowing Ariele to draw him up beside her. And oh, here's to hoping sh didn't want her hand back; it seems Ibrahim wants to keep it for awhile. "Can you? They're tiny and scary, those aunties." And they all seem to like the wildling's comapny — likely because he'll allow them to coddle him and make much of him; and also, be attentive to their aches and pains — quite a lot these days. "And tomorrow, I shall be yours, rescuing you from some unknown terror awaiting you." Like all those darn candidate robes left in the barracks. He's certain someone will have to collect the ones that got left behind.

Ariele seems to be happy enough to share custody of her hand - indeed, her fingers twine about Ibrahim's, giving them a gentle squeeze as she turns to draw them both back towards the exit, and the convoluted path bath to the caverns. "That's a fair trade," she decides. "The aunties don't much bother me, but I'm sure I can come up with something I'll need your rescue from. Teamwork."

Ibrahim laughs softly, returning the hand squeeze with a little thrill of excitement, one he hopes she doesn't notice. "Teamwork it is!" And so, they wander along until they come at last to the kitchens, where they can swipe some food, and talk some more.

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