Who

R'zel, Va'os

What

R'zel has just finished drills with Ocelot and Va'os stops him to touch base for a few minutes…

When

It is midmorning of the sixteenth day of the eighth month of the fourteenth turn of the 12th pass.

Where

Upper Bowl, Southern Weyr

OOC Date 01 Aug 2018 04:00

 

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Upper Bowl

The graceful sweep of spacious bowl lies scoured clean by an easterly breeze. Detritus is whisked neat to the eastern steppe of the bowl that lies several feet lower than the western plateau. White walls contrast the rough granite of the rivercliffs: the giant maw of the Hatching Cavern lies in the thickest part of the western wall, sheltering the training grounds and weyrling barracks lying nor'west. Directly north lies the leadership courtyard, heavily humid and subtly scented by intrigue.


The Southern rain has given way to a persistent drizzle, fine enough to ignore. In the Upper Bowl, Ocelot has been debriefing after drill, standing round R'zel as comments are made and lessons extracted. Now, though, they're scattering. Those who remain are one rider and his very large blue dragon, engaged in conversation with their wingleader and his bronze. R'zel might be getting just a little bit frustrated, as his voice is becoming audible from a distance. "Yes, J'puk, I did say that last time. I also said it the time before. And it's still just as true, and I will follow it up as I said. Be patient. Now, please can we get out of the rain." The bluerider, mutters something, salutes, and returns to his dragon. R'zel doesn't move until the pair have taken off, and then he shakes his head and rests a hand on Verokanth's leg.

Easy enough to blend in when you’re alone and that’s what Va’os has been doing of late. He’ll apologize later for sneaking in to ‘spy’ on R’zel and Ocelot’s drills, but he didn’t want his presence to be a distraction. Now that everyone is scattering to the winds, he’ll make his move. Tsiroth has kept his distance too, though Verokanth may get a gentle melody dispersing his mental thoughts as a warning that his rider’s escape is about to be thwarted. “R’zel! You got a second?” So much for getting out of the rain?

R'zel turns to locate the speaker, then throws up a snappy salute. "Weyrleader! Yes, of course." He heads towards Va'os, seeming more relaxed than when he was talking to the bluerider. "We've been working on height changes and swapping riders in and out this morning - just finished." Which is probably fairly obvious. Verokanth's thoughts are peppery as he tells Tsiroth, « Frosheth is angry, so he annoys his rider, so his rider comes to annoy my rider. » He sounds distinctly grumpy himself.

Va’os returns the salute, even as his gaze darts to where J’puk had been last seen stalking off. As his attention drifts back to R’zel, he gives him a faint smile but the usual easy-going nature of his is strained. He’s tired, that much is apparent. “Yeah, I saw.” he admits, just a touch ruefully. Sorry to spy! “Seems to be working?” Is he hopeful? Maybe. « What’s biting Frosheth’s ass? » Tsiroth’s answer is blunt, if not rude but the bronze has little patience of late, too.

"We've tightened up the swaps so that we can do them faster, and pretty much whatever we're doing at the time, so that's an improvement." R'zel may as well start with the positive! "Overall, it's not a big change for Ocelot, though. We're a heavy wing, on balance, and top flight is hard on the smaller dragons: our greens and four of our five blues were swapping out regularly anyway." Was there just a hint of rueful emphasis on the number, there? Verokanth's response to Tsiroth is also fairly direct. « He doesn't want to change out in Fall. » Guess who number five was!

« Has your rider tried the ‘then your ass is grass’ approach for him? » Tsiroth offers, only to mutter in a private afterthought to the bronze. « … what’s that even supposed to mean? » Clearly he plucked that right from Va’os’ memory banks and didn’t really think it through. Va’os listens attentively to R’zel’s ‘report’, nodding his head while ignoring the ongoing rain. “Figured as much. Still, change is change… and I’m gonna hazard a guess here.” Now his smirk is grim, but faintly humoured. “You’ve got someone who’s not so pleased with it?”

R'zel gives a rueful grin. "Got it in one, sir. I've got someone who's just presented me with a list of all the browns in the wing who are smaller and have less stamina than his blue, and don't have to swap out. The trouble is, he's absolutely right: Frosheth's big even for an oldtimer blue. He's got five feet on a couple of my browns, and he's built like a rock." He looks up to where the blue pair are landing on a fairly low ledge, and goes on rather more sourly, "Unfortunately, he doesn't have the temperament to match and he's getting his rider riled - which takes some doing, because J'puk's pretty easy-going most of the time. I came within an inch of grounding them until they can stop winding each other up today, and it may yet happen if he doesn't calm down."

Va’os smirks when his ‘guess’ lands right on the money. “Kind of saw you two talking and I just pieced it together from body language alone. It’s… definitely in his right to point that out about Frosheth. We’ve been getting similar feedback like that since we put out the new change.” He lifts his shoulders up in a helpless shrug, looking all the more weary and grim for it before he frowns at the severity of which the bluerider has reacted. “That bad? You think even grounding will get them to cool off?” Shaking his head, he sighs. “Didn’t intend to put strain on you like that. I know you had your opinions at the start, when we first rolled this out. They still the same?”

« That's not really my rider's style, but it came close! » Verokanth says with a whiff of eucalyptus and the mental equivalent of an eyeroll. « I'm still working on him, though. And it's more Frosheth than his rider anyway. » R'zel takes a moment to consider whether his opinion's changed or not. "Yes, I think so. For a lot of blues, it's more a case of 'when' than 'whether', and it's not a bad thing to know exactly when they're going to go rather than having to work out how they're doing. But I wanted wingleaders to be able to make exceptions - and J'puk's who I had in mind, because Frosheth really doesn't need to swap out." He purses his lips as he forms answer to the other question. "J'puk isn't normally unreasonable. I told J'puk I'd put his case when I got the chance and I was sure you'd want to review how things were working, and I'd hope he can get Frosheth to calm down in a while. With most dragons I'd expect doing it the new way for a few Falls would be long enough to forget they every did things differently. Frosheth's just grumbling on about it so much that it stays fresh in his mind, though, and that's not a good way to be in Fall."

« It’d probably work on Frosheth! » Tsiroth suggests but the bronze doesn’t push the matter. The ever-present music that plays endlessly in the back of his mind begins to take the lead again. It’s some gentle, sleepy tune. R’zel’s opinion and suggestion are met with a quirked brow from Va’os but no open argument. In fact, he seems agreeable in the way he tilts his head thoughtfully. “Hmm. That’s something to consider…” he mutters under his breath. “I’ll run it by D’wane. Maybe J’puk will have it his way in the end, but not if it’s going to cause more upset than its worth.” As for the rest, he can only shake his head and reach out to clasp R’zel on the shoulder briefly if he’ll allow it. “Good luck with him. Guess you can count this as bringing his complaints to my attention.” Letting the other man go, he juts his thumb over his shoulder. “For now though, I’m getting out of this rain and heading back to the council room. If you’re not busy, I can keep talking this over?” Regardless of what is to come, Va’os will make a mental tab to keep updated on J’puk and Frosheth both. While he has faith in R’zel as a Wingleader, he doesn’t want the blueriding pair on the injured list or worse… dead.

"I've got time for that," R'zel says. "And, thanks. Actually, I reckon I've got it easy in Ocelot with regard to this, because Frosheth's the only dragon where it's not clear-cut that they should swap. Some wingleaders might find it handy to be able to refer individual cases upwards…" He heads back towards the Council Room with Va'os, and they chew the problem over a bit more before going their separate ways.

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