Ball Game

Dels meets Natishen and they talk while kicking around a ball.

The current time for zone 9 is: 2683.10.13 00:28:13

Xanadu Weyr - Garden


An arch woven from the tendrils of a willow tree stretches overhead lightly creeping with ivy as one steps in from the meadow into this sanctuary of green. Cool gray flagstone carefully spaced enables a soft velvety moss to thrive within the cracks, and creates a single wide pathway that fluidly breaks off into two paths of stone once free of the natural arbor. It is a wonder this place, and meticulously tended from the way it seems not a single leaf is out of place. On either side of the main path expansive grassy patches are trimmed short and edged behind with natural tan colored stone selectively chosen to stack just right. Beyond these are a line of fine puffed shrubberies in vibrant green intermingled with flowering bushes of brilliant pinks varying in hue from the very light to the very dark, which causes the occasional snowy white blossoms of other scattered here and there without worry to simply pop out of the scenery.

Directly in the center of the garden is another wall of intricately stacked stone, this of muted grays, creating what from the air would prove to be a perfect circle. It's been set high for safety, but not so much as one would not be able to lean over it to admire what lies beyond, either standing or sitting at the smattering of benches whose backs are set every four feet along it. Flush to the ground inside it's protective stone outcropping, is an enormous twenty foot wide fish pond. Within one can glean the metallic glint of playful goldfish, the unhurried cruise of fat koi, and even a frog or three among pale yellow and white flowering water lilies and their thick green pads.

The trees surrounding the entire garden were planted to give the impression that they had always been here, not only lending to a rustic look, but also eluding to the beauty that can be found among the wilds if only one might just look for it. Species vary from the ordinary Birch and Pine, but the flaming red capsules of the Indian Shot to the robust orange spokes of the Firewheel tree suggest the spice of the exotic. The two paths leading away from the entrance have come full circle, wrapping around to meet each other on the other side, yet still continue on to the far left and right. One path leads off deeper into the surrounding woods, while the other wider; cheerily decorated with brightly colored slabs of painted stones.

With the weather getting nicer and things growing again, D'son can be found in the gardens this afternoon, sitting cross-wise on one of the benches, head cushioned by his folded up jacket with a notebook propped up against his legs. The former weyrleader murmurs things under his breath now and then: sounds like mathematical formulae or some kind of technobabble as his pencil dances across the page.

A mid-sized wherhide ball comes streaking into the garden from the direction of the meadow, followed by a swiftly running Natishen. The boy surges forwards, barely missing the ball by an inch as it bounces merrily along the path, fortunately shying off of the stone border before it can crush a spray of early blossoms. The curses muttered under the lad's breath grow in volume as he makes another anxious grab for the misbehaving orb.

Hazel eyes lift at sound of someone running and D'son tracks Natishen's arrival with a lift of brows and then a slow grin. "Need a hand?" he calls over from his very comfortable looking spot. "I think it bounced that way," the bronzerider points in what he thinks is the right direction with the pencil he was just using to write.

Natishen skids to a halt, arms windmilling to avoid spilling into a rather prickly looking bush as D'son speaks up. His green eyes go wide in shock and he loses interest in chasing down the ball, now merrily rolling to a halt in the very direction indicated, in favor of staring at the rider. "Oh - I, uh… sorry! I didn't mean to interrupt," he blurts out, dark cheeks flushing with embarassment.

The boy's demenor seems to puzzle D'son and his hand lifts to scrub his bangs back out of his eyes, absently tucks his pencil behind his ear. "Just messing around with something," he says about the content of his notebook. "Notes more than anything," he explains further and lifts the notebook up, swings his legs around so he's sitting up, sets the notebook down and pushes to his feet. "C'mon, it's right over here. Playing a game with friends?" he inquires as he ambles in casual fashion after the ball.

Natishen manages to compose himself, physically at least, though those sharp green eyes of his still echo with anxiety. Trotting towards the ball, he scoops it up in one hand, tucking it into his elbow as he shoves his other hand into the pocket of his shorts. "N- no, not with friends. Just kinda… kicking it around. I didn't mean to let it get out of control." Easing back on his heels, he stares up at the rider, clearly floundering for a moment before he mutters "Sorry!" again.

"No problem," D'son says with another shift of his shoulders and pauses since the ball's been retrieved. "Want to toss or kick it around with someone?" he offers next for the pocketed ball.

You could have hit Natishen over the head with a stout stick and not gotten an expression as poleaxed as the one he now displays. "Uh.. wow. Sure. I mean," he adds hastily, pulling his hand from his pocket and taking a firm, two-handed grip on the ball, "if it's no trouble." There's a brief pause, then he suddenly flushes, casting his gaze to the ground, "I mean, uh, if you know someone," he quickly amends, belatedly realizing that D'son may not have meant himself.

This attitude continues to perplex D'son as evidenced by the slight knitting of his brows, but he only grins at the kid, nods. "Yeah, c'mon, kick game or toss game?" he says, like he's suddenly several turns younger. "And uh — well I could ask a friend or two to join in if you want to get a serious game going, but I was thinking more casual, friendly like. I'm D'son by the way. What's your name?"

If it hasn't become clear yet, it will likely become apparent before too long that Natishen hasn't had a lot of positive interaction with adults in his short life span. At least, not with adults not directly involved in his upbringing. However, at D'son's words, a transformation overtakes the boy's expression, changing it from shock to childish glee in one swift shift. "No, no, casual's fine, really. Kick? I'm not so good at throwing. And I'm Natishen… Nash, if it's easier."

"Okay, great, kick it is, bring that ball out," D'son says encouragingly. "Though you know, if you want to get better at throwing, my grandfather always said something about practice making perfect and all that," the bronzerider says thoughtfully, then laughs, gives a practice kick through grass. He might be a grown-up, but he's not so long out of puberty himself really.

Natishen bounces the ball experimentally on his hands, then places it on the ground between them. "Probably," he replies, with a lopsided grin, "but I like to kick it. It's harder to control." A moment after he says those words, he flushes, though it's very slight, just the barest darkening of his cheeks. "You wanna do it in here?" he asks, glancing around the garden before lifting his gaze back to the rider's.

Looking around the grassy area, between decorative beds, D'son nods. "Sure, why not? Just try to keep from going crazy into the bushes," he says with a laugh and nods towards the ball. "Your go or mine, first?"

Natishen bats at the ball with his sandaled foot, testing it contemplatively as he looks about, before tapping it to the rider and backing up a way. "By all means," he offers politely, with a half-bow in D'son's direction.

"Heh, don't have to bow and scrape," the rider says mildly and lifts a booted toe to capture the ball under it then gives it a solid kick towards Natishen. "Are you from the Weyr?" he asks after a moment, "Xanadu I mean."

"It's only polite," replies the boy in the singsong tone of someone who's learned a lesson all too often, before breaking into a grin. "Miss Moyra," he adds, naming one of the older women whose duties lay in the Caverns, "she taught me well, and still has a heavy hand." He takes the ball up on his toes, ignoring the slight sting as the leather smacks against his exposed flesh. Bouncing it slightly, he slides the arch of his foot under it and heaves it neatly back to the rider. "Been here all my life," Nash adds a moment later, confirming the bronzerider's question.

"There's such a thing as overdoing it," D'son notes. "I mean, save the bowing for Weyrleaders and Lords and all," the rider continues and shuffles to the side a little to catch the ball against his instep and shoots it back with a flick of his foot. "Rider parents?" he asks next. "I'm weyrbred too, but from Ista."

"Yeah. But it seemed right to be polite, as you're taking the time to play with me," Natishen notes quietly, catching the ball on one foot and shifting it to the other, sending it bouncing back with a swift, controlled swat. "Mother's a greenrider. She said my father's some rider who's dragon caught hers right before she broke her leg, but I never met him. She'd be right though, she always is." Though carefully disguised, anyone who's paying attention might catch the frustration in his tone.

"Thank you's usually good enough for me," D'son says mildly. "Best part of not having that big knot anymore is not having to deal with fancy manners /quite/ so much," he confesses with a grin, turns a little to receive that next kick of the ball, sends it back with a little more spin on it this time. "Yeah, my father's a greenrider and my mother's a bluerider at Ista. Bet it must be frustrating not knowing him?"

"He didn't want to know me, and I feel the same," Nash replies carelessly, though not enough to disguise the fact that he clearly did wish he at least knew the name of the man who sired him. "Got on well enough here with her and the ladies in the Caverns, y'know. I don't even know if he's from this Weyr or not." The ball cracks against his knee, his leg shifting to channel it down to his foot, with which he bounces it back to the rider.

"Sorry it turned out that way," Dels says sincerely. "Though yeah, it's tough for some riders still, even with no Thread around." He backs up a half step as the ball comes his way to let it kind of ease against his foot this time, then he turns 'dribbles' it up the 'field' a little and shoots it back towards Natishen. "My foster mother raised me mostly but my parents were around."

"Mother kept me around, but it was Moyra and some of the other ladies that did most of the raising of me," Nash confesses as he catches the ball on his foot and eases it to the ground, holding it in place with the sole of his sandal. He peers quietly at D'son for a moment, then drops his foot and makes a quick, sharp kick that sends it skittering along the ground to him. "I guess it worked out okay. I mean, I'm not like that Addison, who's in trouble every other day." Contempt rings in his voice as he names one of the Weyr's most prominant young bullies.

D'son trots to intercept the ball, just misses stopping it with his foot and has to double around to where it rolls to a stop. "Seems like you've got your head on straight," Dels agrees with a grin. "It can get pretty you know, chaotic in the lower caverns, all the kids. At least it felt that way at Ista sometimes."

Natishen shrugs, planting his feet on the ground and lifting his eyes from where the ball came to a stop to meet the bronzerider's gaze. "Yeah, sure," he agrees, "but I don't mind. It's only until I Impress," he adds, with all the certainty of a youth who's never stopped to contemplate that the future he wants may not be the one waiting for him. "I don't mind helping Moyra out. She's nice, for an old lady. She doesn't hit like some of the others. Not that I do anything to get hit for," he adds hastily.

"Yeah. I know what you mean. Impress or craft or something," D'son offers up an alternatie and bobbles the ball between his feet, then grins, turns to kick it back to the boy. "I used to get in trouble for forgetting to put stuff away."

"Or something," Natishen agrees, though the slight smirk on his lips leaves no doubt that he's got his mind set on Impressing. He catches the ball and sends it back in the same, smooth movement, clearly delighting in the conversation as much as the game. "I've gotten a few smacks," he confesses. "Sometimes my feet don't work right, and I dump the laundry, and once I dropped a whole stack of dishes. Miss Moyra's always complaining about clumsy boys." Ah, the joys of incipent puberty.

"Yeah. Good to have options," D'son says and lets out a little whistle of appreciation for that smooth move. "Nice one," he compliments, his own 'catch' not quite so seamless. "Oh ouch. Bet the kitchen staff weren't happy."

Natishen shrugs in that casual way of the young and grins broadly. "Thanks." His smile doesn't dim one iota as he cocks his head, recalling the incident with a slight chuckle. "Oh, no, they were right angry with me. Spent an hour cleaning it up with the cook blistering my ears the whole time." Embarassment tinges the amusement on his face, and he gives another shrug. "Only once, though."

"Surprised you've got any ears left after that," D'son says with a laugh and passes the ball to his other foot before sending it back across. "Stuff happens. Life's well … it's rarely perfect though sometimes there's perfect moments," he says philosophically, thoughtfully.

"I nearly didn't." Natishen reaches up to fondle his earlobe, then catches the ball with his foot, passing it back to his heel where he pops it into the air, then sends it sailing back to the bronzerider.

"Lucky you, you escape with them both intact!" Teasing now from the bronzerider. D'son has to trot again after that send and the ball bounces, lands, bounces again. "Whoa," he says laughingly and tries to corral the ball with a knee. So have you ever been outside the Weyr? Off to visit places with your mom or other riders?"

Natishen wrinkles his nose good-naturedly at D'son. "It was touchy there for a while," he retorts. "But I think she took pity on me in the end. Either that, or the fact that the stew was about to burn saved me." He shifts his weight from foot to foot, and shrugs. "No. Never left Xanadu. Mother never thought to take me anywhere, and…" He trails off with a snort. "Taking weyrbrats anywhere isn't something that seems to cross most riders' minds. It's okay," he adds hastily, trying to stave off any insult. "Why would I wanna leave?"

"And thank goodness for either of those," D'son says good-naturedly. "Really? I mean, I know plenty of riders who /do/," he points out. "Got around a fair bit myself like that, not just my parents. I guess you just have to know who to talk to." He blinks at the question. "Uh why wouldn't you? I mean, there's so much to /see/."

"I dunno," Nash replies slowly. "I mean, Xanadu's home, y'know? And I've never had a pressing urge to leave. Where else is there to go?" His shoulders hunch slightly against the implied critisizm, and he stares at the bronzerider from under his long lashes, head nearly between his shoulderblades. "Maybe I'm just not the kind of person to take anywhere, or go anywhere. It's okay," he adds again, "I'm just me. It's okay." Oddly, he seems to be trying to comfort the older man.

"Everywhere," D'son says with a laugh. "Ista for one," he says with a little wistful look. "Ista was home, still is in some ways because of having family there. But here is now. It's just that there's lots of great places to see. Pretty landscapes and stuff." He eyes the kid for a moment for the hunching, kicks the ball back. "If it's not your thing though, it's not your thing," another shrug, readily accepting that.

Natishen nearly misses the ball, trotting after it and dribbling it back to where he was standing previously. "I suppose. Might be interesting to see the North," he adds, clearly trying to get back into the rider's good graces. "They have different things there, like lots of snow, not like the little bit we get here. Different trees. Maybe they know some different moves for kicking balls." As if his own words recall him to the game, he punts the ball softly back to the rider.

Poor Natishen, so sure he's out of those good graces. "Heh, well at Ista it's tropical, like Southern or Cove," Dels explains with a grin. "But sure, Telgar? Ice. Snow. Long winter. Loooooong winter. I lived there for a while at the Smithcraft with my grandparents." This time there's no problems stopping the ball and D'son returns it in kind.

"You sure lived a lot of places," Natishen replies, eyes going round as he stops the ball automatically, bouncing it on his toes to send it bouncing along the ground back to D'son. "How come you moved around so much? Ista and Telgar and here?" It clearly doesn't occur to him that this might be an impolite question.

"Not really, just three for living, but I've traveled around a lot, especially since I Impressed," D'son says with another easy shrug. "Well, born and raised mostly at Ista and then because I'm good at Smith-type things, I went to learn from my grandfather some because I was going to apprentice. It didn't work out though and I went home to Ista. I Impressed there a couple of turns after I came back from Telgar and I moved here when Inimeth caught Kilaueth two turns back."

"Oh." Nash doesn't seem to have much of a reply to that, and he just studies the rider for a long moment. "You're good at Smith stuff? Maybe you can answer a question for me." He offers a slightly shy smile and blurts out, "What's a good way to make a hole in a shell without breaking it?"

"Yeah, I would've stayed at Ista if he hadn't caught," D'son notes with another little shrug and kicks the ball back again. "Well, it depends on how big and what shape the shell is and how thick. There's a couple of drill-bits that would do the trick, or if it's really fine, a sewing needle for a little hole."

Natishen stops the ball and lets it roll under his foot as he thinks about D'son's answer. "A needle. Huh. I wonder…" He tilts his head up, then blinks with shock as he notices the angle of the sun. "Oh shards, Miss Moyra's gonna have my hide, I'm so late to help her." With an apologetic glance at D'son, he scoops up the ball. "I gotta go - but I had fun…"

"Yeah a needle for the really fine ones," D'son echoes then looks up, nods once and lifts a hand. "Go on then, don't want to get in trouble. GOod playing with you, Nash," the bronzerider says sincerely and starts to backtrack towards his bench. "See you around!"

Natishen waves wildly with one hand as he tucks the ball under his arm and makes a mad dash out of the garden and towards the main part of the Weyr, where, no doubt, Moyra is waiting quite impatiently for her wayward helper.

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