Linden, T'ral, Esanth


Wherein T'ral really REALLY needs to work on his poker face. (But I hardly know her face! HEYO!) Poor Linden.


It is the sixty-fourth day of Summer.


Southern Weyr

OOC Date


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An eerie mirror, the glass-quiet Sea of Azov: the clear waters stretch along the dark-pebbled shores, and along this narrow beach. Here the faintest lap of waves belies the calm beyond; here the rocks have been ground down into finest, softest sand - those observant would mark upon the similarity between it and the sands of the hatching grounds. The soft sand soaks up summer sunlight as a sponge; painfully hot during the warmer months, it is only truly pleasant at wintertime. Rocks rise to east and west, lichen-limned and green against the abyssal darkness of stone.

It is the sixty-fourth day of Summer and 105 degrees. It is sunny and bright. White fluffy clouds drift lazily across the china blue sky.

Linden is resting in the water, eyes closed, his body laying in the sand and just barely submerged with his head pillowed on crossed arms. Dozing, by the looks of it.

What? A Candidate with time to SLEEP? T'ral will get to the bottom of THIS. The rider and his blue, or, more properly the blue and his rider land on the beach, the dragon backwinging over the water's edge and sending up spinning drifts of foam and spray as he settles. Whomp. T'ral clambers down, movements this side of ginger. He unbuckles a pack from the blue's straps and, with some effort manages to get the dragon shed of his straps. Esanth shakes from nose to fork, wings shuddering and rustling, rumbling with pleasure at having the straps off. He pitches onto the sand and ROLLS, wriggling this way and that to grind sand and shells and gravelly bits into itchy places, trunky legs waving in the air. Entirely undignified and entirely joyful. The bluerider slogs his pack and the shed straps up the beach, a bemused grin on his face at Esanth's antics. He has not yet noticed the Candidate. There may yet be a reprieve.

Linden looks up in surprise and then grins, lifting a hand to salute. "Sir," he calls, laughing as he watches the blue. Yeah, he's begging to be noticed.

"Candidate?" T'ral's voice is curious. Then, as the salute comes in, his eyes widen. A salute? From prone?! Where do they LEARN this stuff? Not from me! The voice switches from curious to firm, quiet, but brooking no nonsense, "On your feet. Who taught you how to salute like that?"

Linden grunts. Shardit all. He scrambles to his feet and stands as proper, snapping off a good salute. "No one, Sir. Water just felt good s'all." There's a small grin.

"Good," the bluerider barks with relief, wincing when he does before shifting the gear in his hands. He has not returned the salute. "As you were." He crouches to roll the straps up, sand will be dealt with later. "In the future, don't offer half-hearted courtesies." Or courtesies with 'flair.' Esanth is snorting now. His head extended out into the waves, limbs aloft, talons on one leg twitch-twitching. Of a sudden, as a little wave comes in it swamps his muzzle, seawater flooding his nostrils. T'ral's brows go up and he covers his face with a hand raised casually as ACCHHOOOOOO! Dragon-sneeze. All over T'ral and Linden. Esanth flops to the ground, spent.

Linden flops back down to his place in the surf at the 'at ease', grinning drowsily up at T'ral. "Yes, sir. I'm Linden, from Ista." Hence his water-born nature. The sneeze is anticipated, the boy lifting his arms to shield his face, and then he just wiggles a bit more deeply into the water to clean himself. "Bless you."

Esanth's reply to Linden is a jaw-cracking yawn and an eerie creaking rumble with lots of pitches, as if the dragon is attempting speech. T'ral's brow furrows. "Linden, from Ista. Old timer. Son of Aikuonath's D'ren and Kaelidyth's Linny." T'ral knows his Candidates. At least their parentage. "How are you finding Southern? And how is it you find yourself with … free time?" Candidates are watched. Someone has been derelict in their duty or someone has slipped his leash. Either way… not good.

Linden grins at the but and then looks back to T'ral, surprised. "Uh. Yes? How did you know that? Sir?" Then he grins. "I really like Southern. It's like Ista but with more…unknowns. And I finished my chores early, Sir, and the beach isn't off limits…"

T'ral stands, Esanth's gray straps a tidy bundle now. He winces, bracing his arm against his side momentarily as he stoops to pull over his pack, fishing out a bucket and… one brush… oh, lookie, TWO brushes. "You're a Candidate." All the explanation needed. "It's my business to know about you." He squints at Linden, "You don't look much like your mother." Esanth flops onto his side stretching a wing out to scoop water and splash it back at himself. 'You stay. I totally got this guys.' Splash. Spla-whoops. A wingful of water splashes over T'ral and Linden. T'ral raises that casual guarding hand again, keeping the salt spray from his eyes. He stops and looks at Esanth, "I swear. I think he's regressing."

Linden looks startled. "You know my mother?" He ducks from the water, and laughs. "Do they do that? Have playful moments even when they're grown?" Sensing a dragon cleaning, Linden gets to his feet and holds out his hand in offering to take that second brush.

T'ral should have seen THAT question coming and is so deep in his contemplation of Esanth's strange behavior that it catches him unawares. He flushes furiously. "I do. I met her when I was last in Igen. I, uh, interviewed her for my treatise. On etiquette." So what WAS the etiquette for storming into someone's weyr unawares on the heels of Esanth having lost a flight? There weren't any articles on that in the Archives. T'ral would just have to write a new section. He is NOT looking at Linden. "Seems like." In all seriousness, "They're all different. Some never lose that playfulness. Others are grumps from first crack." *coughCAELTHcough.* At Linden reaching out for a brush, T'ral smiles, approving and tosses his chin at the one unclaimed by his pack. "Thanks." For the help. "I could use the help." T'ral raises his arm speculatively, wincing when the ribs catch. He'll be scrubbing southpaw today. "All right, pal, stay put." Might as well take advantage of that position. Esanth freezes, except to peeeeeer at Linden and T'ral, the talons of one foot still twitch-twitching.

Linden blinks when he flushes, and then he eyes him. He knows his mother is beautiful and he knows she likes, uh…stuff. "Did you sleep with my mom?" 'cuz that whole interview for treatise for etiquette stuff sounds like BS to him. He grabs the brush though and eyes the bluerider. "Happy to help."

Crap. The kid asked flat out. Given recent exchanges with a certain other Candidate, T'ral doesn't invoke the disparity in rank, but he does take refuge in propriety (as if his flaming ears aren't answer enough), "She was very gracious. And gave me some excellent material for the section on inter-weyr diplomacy." The straightahead answer is at odds with the crimson ears. T'ral starts at Esanth's nethers and nods Linden off to his fores. He leans into the scrubbing, biting back a curse at barking ribs. The healers would not be best pleased with T'ral's version of 'easing off.' The pain is a welcome distraction from Linden's uncomfortable line of questioning.

Linden blinks and then frowns at the bluerider. "Sleeping with my mom isn't inter-weyr diplomacy. That's…inter…" His mom. NO BAD MENTAL PICTURE. This irritates Linden something fierce but he doesn't know why. "Did you at least buy her dinner?" he grumps, looking up at the blue dragon and then beginning to scrub.

"Linden. I'm writing a treatise on Etiquette. With a particular focus on goldriders contrasted to fighting riders." T'ral's being awfully serious about this, "She gave me some very good material." He looks at the kid, dark blue eyes serious, "Really." And that other business. None of Linden's to be sure.

Linden eyes him. "You slept with my mom." He's CONVINCED now. Perhaps he knows his mother's reputation, and the idea that any good looking guy could spend time with her without sleeping with her… He shakes his head firmly.

T'ral wilts under Linden's certainty, but he's not going to tapdance around it any more. He pauses in his scrubbing, "Frankly, Linden, it's not any of your business." There hadn't been dinner, but maybe the kid won't ask any more questions. Right? Right.

Linden doesn't need a confirmation. He KNOWS. And it BUGS him. He goes back to scrubbing.

If T'ral didn't need the help because of his banged up ribs, he'd dismiss Linden. The easy-going lad has clammed up and T'ral's not gonna force conversation on him. And so they work in awkward silence. Linden grudging, T'ral happy to be quiet and focus on keeping his ribs stable. It wasn't Linden's business. But T'ral has to learn to guard his mouth better. Or lie better. It was one thing pulling a prank, but straight up dishonesty… it might be worth cultivating. Right. He'll keep telling himself that. Esanth is a pretty easy keeper as dragons go and before long the dragon is washed, Linden is dismissed and -shock of shocks- declines a ride back to the Weyr. T'ral's got a lot to think about.

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