She Tries, She Flies

Xanadu Weyr - Meadow
A large, slightly rolling meadow is set high enough above the riverbank on both sides to avoid suffering from flooding, healthy ground cover and grass spreading out from either side of the dividing river. Scattered amongst the meadow are a variety of weyrs, each with a narrow path leading up to it from a main, winding road. Some are set under a few trees, while others sit by themselves. The meadow continues with gentle rolls and dips, grass tall and short waving in the slightest of breezes, and eventually those hills grow higher and steeper, ending in a large ridge that provides a fine view of that meadow and the rest of the Weyr, gazing out over the multicolored roofs of the houses and the cliff that holds the caverns.
Runner stables with the paddock beyond are to the south beyond the meadow weyrs, and a smithy and a woodcraft shop are settled closer in towards the path to the clearing. Trees border the northern side of the meadow, and more of those low, rolling hills can be seen to the northwest. A road passes through the meadow, coming from the east and used by traders and crafters alike. Wagons laden with felled trees from the forests or ore from the mountains are hauled by burden beast up the road through the meadow, over the bridge spanning the river to be processed in the appropriate workshops.

Risali doesn't belong here — not today (not really ever if we are being honest, but certainly not today). But she is here, with her hair tied up and out of the way in a messy bun, with her leathers on in a move that's maybe not exactly a surprise except that it's summer and the full outfit is probably a touch overkill but HERE SHE IS ANYWAY. Leirith is not far behind, booming into each and every consciousness with one distracting thought of greeting, one that she quiets in a move so VERY OUT OF LEIRITH'S CHARACTER that there can be no doubt now: Leirith and Risali are up to something. At least the day is a mild one for impending shenanigans, and while it might just be Risali admiring the view as she is sometimes prone to doing, today she seems like she's on a mission - more loitering than appreciating, those grey eyes watchful in a way that says maybe she's waiting for an opportunity or waiting for the right person or anticipating some kind of action. She's not exactly in the way, hanging towards the back, going on her tippy toes as if it might allow her to see over people, but she is being a slight distraction. AND DISTRACTIONS, RISALI, ARE NEVER GOOD. Maybe she remembers that, because she goes as still and as quiet as Leirith's mindvoice; watching, waiting. SOON.

RISALI FITS, OK??? SO SHE SITS!!! …okay, so she's not exactly sitting, any more than she actually fits, but… here she is, lying (okay, if you want to be that technical, standing) in wait with a Leirith who may be silent but has a hard time making her entire mustard bulk inconspicuous. Still, she's trying - which is all the more conspicuous, in some ways - and nobody's yet challenged her on it. Sure, she's gotten a few sideways glances from that clump of a brownrider and two greenriders who're checking each others' straps, but do they want to challenge her? NOPE. Ignore it and hope it goes away, because that's not their problem. Give them fires and floods instead! The blue whose rider is staring into his klah like it holds the secrets to the future? …to be honest, he's more concerned with trying to make sure his rider is going to be conscious for what comes next. Or, really, it's more like who; over the hill - with a pause to pose at the top - comes the shiny bronzen hide of a Galaxy wingsecond, rider already on his dragon's back because B'si likes to act like he and Panth were born ready. So shiny. So impressive. So in charge. So, one might not even notice D'lei making a quiet and unimpressive way out from the forest, hands tucked behind him as he observes.

Risali definitely doesn't notice - not at first. If Leirith notices, she's probably taking Risali's command to be quiet a little too literally and she isn't saying anything either. Or reacting. Or doing much of anything, /rreally. No, there's no time for glances in the weyrleader's direction, not when the movements of the wing Risali is trying to INFILTRATE keep her attention; not when B'si appears, KING OF THE HILL, to stare out over his gathering of riders as they prepare for today's sweeps and Risali's anticipation and agitation grows, sees her going back up onto the tips of her toes and looking around, squinting grey eyes as if maybe, just //maybe she somehow missed the one person she's actually looking for when she first looked. BUT SHE DIDN'T, because D'lei isn't here - not yet. He's making a quiet approach from the forest and Risa is letting her shoulders drop in what's probably resignation as she looks back to B'si and… starts in his direction instead. Yes, okay. So she hasn't seen D'lei just yet, but maybe she can convince this here Wingsecond that she's allowed to play for the day. MAYBE. THE WORST HE CAN DO IS TELL HER NO. So she squares her shoulders, and she lifts her chin, and she starts to make those determined strides forward. She's got this. She's totally got this.

D'lei sees those faces he expects, and… also a pair of faces that he doesn't. Okay, so he sees their sides and backs more than faces, buuut … Leirith is here. Fascinating. There's a quirk up at one corner of his mouth, a seek of amber eyes with more intentionality now to search out and find… yes, there is in fact a Risali. Which makes sense, in the context of a Leirith here. And… let's be honest, also makes sense in the context of Galaxy's gathering here, but doesn't belong here despite the sense that it makes. D'lei is here to observe, today, and… observe he does, even if he's now more watching Risali than anything else. B'si also watches, and he notices that out-of-place goldrider on her way. to meet him. Such determination! Very businesslike! Clearly this is something to do with breaking news that is … somehow too important to be conveyed by dragons or the chain of command, and must be told to him personally! He puffs up a bit, chest proud and head high, which admittedly means he has to talk rather loudly to be heard down from his dragon, but he looks so impressive. "Risali!" B'si smiles, because he likes being on a name basis with the Weyrwoman (and never mind that so is everyone at Xanadu). "What brings you here today?"

Does Risali hesitate? Maybe a little. Maybe a lot. Listen, B'si is a person, and he's talking to her, and asking him things means she has to engage him in a conversation, and conversations mean words and words are things that Risali isn't very good at and so maybe that's why she's wringing her hands and smiling the kind of smile that says maybe she's not about to deliver good business (or good news) as she attempts to find words, and attempts to get closer, and grimaces when he has to call down to her because right. He's mounted on a dragon, and she's VERY SMOL, and VERY DOWN HERE, and now ALL OF THE WING IS GOING TO BE PRIVY TO HIS SHUTTING DOWN THE WEYRWOMAN. "Hi," she breathes around that same, awkward grimace-smile, still not seeing D'lei, still unalerted by Leirith if the queen sees the Weyrleader observing from the sidelines. Risali clears her throat, flexes her fingers, and then, louder: "Hi, B'si!" A sway on her feet, a shift back and forth that's almost like a rocking to soothe herself, or give herself courage, or a combination of the two as she goes up on her tippy toes and brings her hands around her mouth. "Can we -" NO, RISA. DON'T GIVE HIM A CHOICE. "We want to join!" A sweep with one hand towards the ranks, and SHUT UP. IF THEY'RE ALL STOPPED AND STARING AT HER NOW, she's staring all the more hard at B'si for it an still not seeing D'lei. Maybe that's why the, "Please," comes a little breathless, though. Soft enough that maybe B'si won't hear it from all the way up there. "Hi," she also tells his dragon around an awkward smile while she waits, fingers curling in a hello that's lacking Risali's usual confidence. SHUT UP.

Can they… what? Give B'si a shiny medal? He'd like that! Ask him to be her BONUS THIRD WEYRMATE? It'd be just what his charming self deserved. Tell him how awesome he is? JOIN THE LINE, LADY (but he'll let you go to the front, just because he likes you). So many possibilities, and yet the one that Risali actually comes up with drags B'si's thoughts to a screeching halt. He stares at her, hard, and he blinks like three times - despite the fact that he should be the impressive and unruffled hero of the Weyr - before he comes right out with the first words that come to mind. "But you're the Weyrwoman." The precious flower of Xanadu! The noble mistress of hearth and home! Not some kind of… rider who might join in on wing activities and do actual work that that doesn't involve a desk of paperwork or kindly ministering to babies and the sick. It just doesn't make sense.

NO, B'SI. REJECTED, DENIED, ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY NOT. You can see it, when those words B'si utters hit Risali's ears, when that tentative grimace-smile daring to hope turns to something a little less friendly in answer to her status being thrown back in her face. That smile falters, those brows draw in, that hope turns to something hostile that etches its way into the set of her mouth, into the sudden, defiant upward tick of her jaw as hands come to her hips and Risali opens her mouth to deliver something that surely would have been scathing except - NO, RISALI. WE ATTRACT MORE FLIES WITH HONEY. So Risali presses her teeth together, forces a smile that looks painful as she draws in a breath, and forces a nod of her head, and grits out, "Astute observation. Like I… would expect. From a Wingsecond. Of Galaxy." Those count as compliments, right? Right. They totally count. And then, with an uncoiling of some of that tension, a softer, "Please." Risali has never been a creature too crowded with pride, but this is one of those circumstances, with ALL EYES ON HER, when she should probably start considering it. Leirith just shifts on her haunches, eyes still blue but quiet. WHO KNOWS WHAT TERRIBLE ADVICE THE QUEEN IS OFFERING UP NOW. Either that, or she's laughing. (She's probably laughing.)

B'si may not be the most clueful of creatures in some ways, but he does have a decent sense of when people are complimenting him. Otherwise, how could he seek it with such enthusiasm? Which means, on the flip side of it, he's also aware of when he is not actually being complimented, and in fact is treading on the edges of censure. Not that it makes sense to him, because really. Risali is on gold! And just like B'si being on bronze means that he is a dashing hero of a noble man, that gold means… well. His eyes stray up to take in the mustard hide of Leirith… and, just beyond her, there's the motion of D'lei as he makes his way across to join the queen. She's greeted with a light scritch along her side as Weyrleader arrives, and B'si's mouth works for a moment - the boss is here! D'lei will know (and never mind that he would probably hear about it anyhow) - and, and… the Wingsecond's gaze focuses back to Risali, who wants… well. It'd never fly with his drinking buddies from High Reaches and Telgar who're impressed with the fact he calls his Weyrwoman by name, that's for sure… but B'si does know that the Weyrwomen of Xanadu are… well, not to put too fine a point on it, strange. They're not very dignified, and they're sort of terrible at following the rules of propriety (or maybe just excellent at flouting them). Risali is not the first, because before her there was Calisi, and Esiae, and Innes, and Soriana, and even Thea who … all, in their ways, failed spectacularly at keeping to house and home and paperwork-laden desk as a proper Weyrwoman should. So… B'si could argue. It's dangerous! (Potentially.) It's boring! (Probably.) He'd feel awkward telling her what to do! (True, but he'd feel even more awkward admitting it.) But… he knows, somewhere deep down inside, that - another glance up, to where D'lei has ended up by Leirith's head and is applying those scritches under her chin - he'd lose. Not now, today, but when push comes to shove and the matter comes to the Weyrleader's desk? B'si will be the one shoved. So… okay. Swallow a bit of pride and propriety now, to save the rest later, and… say it. Say the words. "I…" Swallow again, B'si, because it's rough going down. "…suppose."

Leirith shifts against the touch to her hide, presses into it, lowers her head for further ministrations when D'lei's hands find her chin and, much like a cat, she presses her snout in against his body, lids those eyes half-way, and makes a sound akin to draconic pleasure as he keeps going. But she's still quiet, there's still no boomingly bombastic ourbursts, no sunbright bass and drums to alert the world to D'lei's presence, and - curiously - Risali doesn't turn to look in their direction. Instead her focus remains on B'si, her arms crossing over her chest at some point, fingers biting into her bicep as she waits and waits and waits for him to go through those mental scenarios and exercises that bring him to that conclusion, the one she was expecting, the one she… yes? Risali blinks once, twice, and then lights up. "Thank you," comes giddy, lacking dignity, schooled into something more professional as she clears her throat and bites down on her bottom lip to stifle some of that joy and after a beat (two, three), tries again with a more neutral, "Thank you." But her movements aren't contained, and when she turns back to the crowd, to Leirith, her hands come up near her face in a gesture that's like a silent, 'ah!!!!' of excitement only - BETRAYAL. The weyrwoman flushes, that smile falters as her eyes land on D'lei and then come back up to Leirith with a glare. And suddenly Leirith's forepaws are moving up and down on the ground like she's trying really hard to be quiet, but can't contain all of that laughter at her rider's expense. AT LEAST IT SERVES SOME PURPOSE. Risali, instead of waiting for directions from B'si, stalks her way with a purpose to her weyrmate and her lifemate and smacks both of them. "You -" she hisses to D'lei, INDIGNANT THAT HE LEFT HER TO THE WOLVES (totally his fault), "and you," comes with MUCH ACCUSSATION FOR LEIRITH. "Whose side are you even on?" But the gold gives no answer - or maybe she does, bunting D'lei as if she might demand more scritches from him without invading his mind to request it.

B'si nods, acknowleding of that gratitude even if it makes him squirm inside, and then Risali goes off back to her dragon instead of getting instructions, and… he's torn. Is he indignant at being stalked away from? Because he's got his authority, and he should be respected… or is he relieved that he's done with that conversation, and doesn't have to be awkwardly in authority to a gold dragon's lifemate who is apparently also a rider? He just doesn't know, and so he misses the three critical moments when he could have said anything without it being even more awkward for the delay… which means the only viable choice is for him to puff up a little and pretend this is all continuing to be entirely under his control. (Also, to ignore Leirith and Risali and D'lei, as best he can. LALALA HE SEES NOTHING.) D'lei grins to Risali as she comes in to approach (and smack), his hand moving to continue those scritches to the Leirith that so richly deserves them (OR SOMETHING) for her actions. And as for his? He answers honestly, even if he's also amused. "The side that thinks you got this."

Bless you, B'si. You and your inflated ego have totally got this, sir. Risali, however, does not. She does not got this, and when D'lei lets her in on that secret that maybe he and Leirith think she does, there's a moment where the Weyrwoman looks emotional about it. And then she just looks angry again, even as she RUDELY puts herself between Leirith and D'lei and brings her arms around the Weyrleader's middle so that she can press her face against his chest and relearn how to breathe. "I still hate you," comes muffled from between lips and fabric, a tighter squeeze of her arms that seems to signal she's about to retreat even if she doesn't pull away completely. There's a moment when her eyes go over the wing, when they shift back to B'si and his IMPORTANT PRESENCE before she returns her attention to D'lei and whispers, "Though I think I'd prefer if it was just you showing me." Not because she's lacking in confidence, not because she's embarrassed about not doing well, but because she knows that these riders actually have important jobs, that what they do or fail to do means life or death for those unfortunate few that meet with the full sound and fury of Mother Nature. So she doesn't want to distract them. She doesn't want to waylay them and keep even one of them from focusing on important distraction that might, some day, save their (or somebody else's) life. Leirith's head tilts, and then her attention swings back towards the awaiting wing, another rustling of wing and muscle as she… observes. "Is it too late for that?" One on one, she means. PROBABLY. SHE ALREADY DARED HERSELF IN FRONT OF GALAXY. But listen. A girl can hope.

D'lei CAUSED FEELINGS. This is proof, clear and present, that he is a terrible jerk. His arms come up around Risali as she presses to him, curling to hold her, and… "I know." Which is why he smiles, and why his arms give her a squeeze against him before they loosen enough that she can step back as much as she desires it. His smile gets crooked as she… semi-backpedals, or at least sideways-pedals. Bicycles don't even go sideways, and yet she does. "Take trailing edge," D'lei suggests. "I'll come with. We can fall behind however much we need." Or stay with the wing, if… well, for however long enthusiasm and innate strength manage to overcome a lack of training!

Let's be realistic here: WHEN DOES D'LEI NOT CAUSE FEELINGS? He's striking in all respects - even the ones that don't count — and Risali is drawn to him like a moth to flame, like a lonely star encountering an event horizon, like Risali to D'lei. So Risali soaks up courage, and strength, and everything she needs the moment his arms come around her, remembers her confidence, and her conviction, and that she's DARING AND BOLD, and she's nodding when she pulls away, that smile… eager and excited and her entire body just a touch jittery because of that excitement - because Risali is finally going to get to do what she would have done (or tried to do) if Leirith had turned out to be a green, or a blue, or a brown. "Okay." And now she's cutting a look to Leirith, reaching out to BAP dat snoot so that Leirith pulls back but somehow manages to communicate amusement through posture. FIERCE MINION. SO FIERCE. THAT IS WHY SHE CHOSE HER. LOOK AT HER RISALI, GAROUTH. HER RISALI IS… SMOL, AND PROBABLY GOING TO FAIL, BUT STILL AMAZING. "You make sure you listen, and don't distract." There's a shift of wings on her back, those eyes still whirling blue as she tilts her head towards D'lei as if to tell the Weyrleader, « WHO DOES SHE THINK THAT SHE IS TALKING TO? » Okay, or she just really tells him, and Risali rolls her eyes. "Yep. I hate both of you." But then she's hooking her arm through D'lei's and turning to look at B'si, shifting in anticipation. "I have no idea what I'm doing," she whispers to D'lei. Because she doesn't. But there's a hint of laughter in her voice, the kind that says he should probably prepare himself to facepalm a couple of times.

If only Leirith had been LESS BIG and LESS BRASH and LESS GOLD, Risali's life could have taken a very different route, and she could be here as an everyday job… but no. It's taken this far, this tangled road, and… D'lei nods, then grins as he tilts his head to look up at Leirith. "You, probably." The very gold who also gets a scritch under her chin, yes she does. But, enough of feels! (Never enough.) D'lei nods, because he is ready for things to turn terrible. That's what Galaxy's for, right? The wing to call when everything turns terrible and catches on fire and/or drowns! So… here they are. And here Galaxy is, indeed, for a few more stragglers have caught up and the assembly for today's exercises is complete. B'si casts his gaze across the wingriders, a small and satisfied nod that… hangs a bit as his eyes encounter LeiRisa. And… D'lei. There's a moment that's silent in human terms but has an almost-plea conveyed through Panth asking whether D'lei is taking responsibility for this… them… thats brings a slight nod from the Weyrleader along with messages conveyed by Garouth. It's okay, B'si. Your ideas of wing structure need not crumble entirely. Not today, anyhow. The wingsecond sits up a bit straighter, and Panth opens his mind with a gleam of brassy metal amidst scents of leather and musk. « We're doing a sweep over Hannista to check for dry wood. » Just because the fires that have troubled Monaco haven't made it this far yet, that doesn't mean they won't! So… time to be prepared. « Mount and check straps. » B'si is, of course, already mounted, but even he checks his straps. He may be arrogant, but he's not stupid.
Risali has reconnected.

And Risali's straps, well… they (admittedly) probably see a bit less use than some of the other riders around here - even if Risali makes a habit out of riding as often as she can. Still, her occupation generally requires her to be on the ground, not parading around on her dragon, and so there's a pull of her lips as Leirith bunts D'lei again and then shifts, forepaw extended, to help Risali up. "Well," Risali tells D'lei without looking at him, because she's staring up the length of Leirith as if she's never really seen the gold before. "If I die, know I always hated you the most." And there it is: that mischief that comes in at the corners of her eyes, that slight scrunch of nose, that pull of lips. Her gaze goes sideways to him, fingers reach out to touch along his cheek, and up she goes, to really check on those straps because she doesn't have to check them nearly so often (though she always does). « My minion says that I may talk to you, but am forbidden from all other talking, » Leirith informs Garouth, amusement carried with that same, ever-present, sunbright enthusiasm. Give Risali another minute or two, her inspection lingering on a spot that she… ultimately decides is fine because she settles and then turns her attention onto D'lei and Garouth with TOO WIDE A SMILE, and then back out onto those present. D'merial is definitely making his way closer to the weyrleading duo, but Risali is ignoring him spectacularly. Because she's rude. Or he's rude. Combo rudes. PAY ATTENTION TO B'SI, DEMI.

"I'd remember it every time I saw the paperwork," D'lei assures Risali, and he puts his hand on her shoulder, gives it a squeeze before… strap inspection! All those bits of harness that help keep a rider on their dragon and needed equipment ready… which is another difference between Leirith's harness and those of many of the other riders, because the more usual Galaxy riders have rather more in the way of search-related gizmos (or at least, the hooks for them) fastened to their straps. « Panth's does not like distractions. » They take attention away from how shiny B'si is, you see! Garouth's mind is a quiet place, as the bronze's approach itself has been quiet, a shift up out of shadows to existence that dapples sunlight beneath tree-branches as-yet unstirred, still and waiting. He's not actually properly wearing his straps yet, so D'lei needs to not just check them but fasten them. At least it's a familiar task, for while Weyrleading involves its share of desk-work, it also involves flying with wings and making official visits… often with not nearly enough time in the schedule for them, making a rapid on-and-off of straps an important skill. So, on they go, and on D'lei goes, giving them a final checkover as he settles - and glances to Risali, checking on her because he knows that he knows what he's doing. ALL GOOD? …whether she is or not, Panth speaks again. « V-split, high to low. » What does that even mean? He seems to just assume it makes sense, and the mind-link almost closes before he thinks to add, « Observers trail. » Makes it so clear, doesn't it? And with that, Panth spreads his wings - check out his profile, this is his good side - before he leaps to the sky.

"Good," Risali tells D'lei, putting on her best solemn face. "And I hope every time you closed your eyes, you saw me there, doing something obscene." He can pick the kind of obscene - at least, that's what that wicked smile says before they ASCEND, to check (or, in D'lei's case, attach and check) straps prior to lift off. Yeah, Risali doesn't know what that means, but she kind of has an idea. It's not like it's the first time she's watched the Galaxy wing at work, but she doesn't //get it either. She doesn't know her place in that formation, what's expected of her, what more there is to do aside from - trail. Right. She can do that. Thought she does look D'lei's way to give him both thumbs because LOOK AT HER. SHE'S FINE. AND EXCITED. But maybe a little lost. BUT FINE. « Badasses usually don't, when they are being badass. » Does Leirith set those lives a-shiver where minds meet? SHE DO. SHE DO. They dance, and twist, and make shapes that come and go and change and never repeat on the forest below. She understands that there's something much more important at work here, even if that giddy exuberance doesn't know when to simmer down. Risali pats Leirith's neck, and as Panth SPREADS HIS WINGS AND HIS GLORY, Leirith actually manages to not regale him in compliments of how cool he looks. And then the pair wait, Leirith shifting in anticipation, Risali's eyes tearing away from D'lei to watch the upward ascent of the wing and, when she's sure they won't be in the way (and with one last smile to D'lei, just before she pulls on her goggles because it will make it easier to see if the wind is not blowing her eyeballs into oblivion), Leirith takes off! … And drags behind, graceful in the air in a way she will never, ever be on the ground. « Is it always like this? » Leirith asks Garouth, excited and giddy and perhaps echoing Risali's mood while she admires the capabilities of the riders ahead.

This assery: the baddest! Like. LITERALLY THE WORST OF ASSES. They aren't even donkeys at all, they're DRAGONS, and it just goes upsky from there. Risali (and by extension Leirith, or maybe the other way around) may be lost, but Garouth is there to fill in the details. V-split, like geese whose flight above the trees is illuminated against moonlit skies. High to low, from bronze at the tip of the V to greens at its ends - which would involve Leirith, as the largest, leading the formation… but doesn't, because she's an observer and thus - for purposes of this exercise - supposed to trail behind. « The air currents set the distances. » Between the dragons, that is; a sense of aerodynamics and how the leading dragons forge through the sky and leave a sort of wake that helps the smaller ones. It's not words, or even pictures, so much as that sense of how it works, as the dragons of the wing fly and the guest-wingriders follow. Garouth spreads wings after Leirith does, taking to the air and shifting position to a good distance for his flight. There's a pleasure to it, of feeling wind and the light contact of dragons, the knowledge that there is a task to be done together… even if he is, today, more a supervisor of one dragon than a leader of many. « In a way. Sometimes it rains. Sometimes there is panic. » Usually not on the part of the dragons, but… sometimes. « Sometimes one is tired, or upset, or wishes to be elsewhere. » It is, in short, a job. « But to do it right, you set those things aside, and seek to fly well together. »

Leirith enjoys it, that filtering and feeding of information, just as much as Risali (and Leirith) enjoy being up high, feeling the wind pressing back, as much a resistance as a means of supporting so much bulk through sails that go on forever. « To conserve energy? » It's a blip of a thought, a curiousity as Leirith's attention remains forward - mostly to ensure that she's not about to FLY INTO ANYBODY. « Where were you? » Though it's hard to tell if Leirith means once he and D'lei settled here in Xanadu, or before, when they were Wingleaders of Deluge. Still, Leirith knows that Garouth (and D'lei) would have been towards the front. But… well… there's a lot of variables, and Leirith is, in fact, curious. So she listens as Garouth explains what it is that varies amongst the riders and the dragons, and there's a beat of laughter, a shiver of amusement and cheer that is as much acknowledgement as it is… well… Leirith being Leirith. « Did you always do it well? » There's not a hint of doubt in Leirith, but there's something teasing (even if that curiosity seems honest).

Confirmation, from Garouth, « - and a way to stay in synch. » He expands on that thought, showing how that feeling of the air as modulated by wingmates gives a kinesthetic sense that helps the wing all fly together even when they're distracted, or half-blind from a storm, or whatever else. « I always tried. » Which is like always doing his best, but… « Sometimes I tire. » GASP. Garouth has weaknesses! « Many survived, so I did well enough. » The bronze flies now with easy motions of his wings, catching the turbulent air behind the wing and using it to row forward with his sails. « Often in the point, » he answers when it comes to formations. « On longer sweeps, the leader can change. » Two or three - or more - of the larger dragons, bronzes and browns alike, taking turns having their place to lead the group or falling back to a second position - or even all the way to this back-trail where the air swirls up under wings and makes the flying easier, a chance to take a break without actually leaving the air. Not that Panth seems to be giving up his place in front - not yet, anyhow. He is, however, addressing the wing - and its flyalongs. « We're nearing the forest. Eyes out. » For… signs of fire hazard! Whatever those may be.

If Leirith finds the innate failings of any species (getting tired) a weakness in Garouth, she doesn't say; she simply beats back at him with good humor, with insufferable cheer and the kind of amusement that says without words (not that there's ever really words) that she thinks Garouth is a badass. « And now, » Leirith adds, because many survived, and Garouth did well, « you lead them all. » Bawoomwubwubwub. There's affection in that hyperfocused contact between draconic minds, a kind of… well… something that diminishes as Leirith's attention turns back to sweeps, back to the fact that they are approaching their destination and there are ROGUE BITS OF WOOD to be checked for. So Leirith takes that command and… relays her question back to Panth, not Garouth this time — though she leaves that channel open so that he can hear as well. THIS IS LEIRITH. « And when we find something, my Panth, what is it that we should do? » Do they land, do they flag it, do they warn the whole of the team up in the air? But they do look, Risali and Leirith both, even if Risali can't really see much from her perch on Leirith's back. BUT LISTEN. SHE WILL NOT FAIL. MAYBE. SHE MIGHT FAIL A LITTLE BUT SHE WILL TRY HARD FIRST.

« Even when I am behind. » Garouth's amused by that, flying as he at the trailing edge and following all these dragons… and yet somehow, through the marvel that is management hierarchies, still leading. Which has more than a little to do with Leirith, and also her idea that he's a badass (as well as his actually being a badass), and with the affection that radiates, sun-warm - and rustles, shadow-cool. That shadow lurks as Leirith sends her question forward, to Panth the leader who follows Garouth who follows him. Shiny Panth is the creak of leather, the brisk sparkle of polished metal. « Report to me. If it needs closer inspection, I'll call for it. » That's why he's the Boss Panth! The director of flight paths and also cross-correlator of data for what's relevant or not. Garouth does not intrude on that conversation, but he does add to it, in tones only for Leirith. « Each rider writes a report, after. Sometimes they disagree… but even when they do not, it is a good practice. » And down there, below dragon-wings and air? There are… trees. A lot of trees, and a winding break in them that's probably a road, and a few clearings where skybroom-skeletons or underbrush peek through.

« I understand, » Leirith follows with, that avenue closed almost as quickly as it was opened, the queen's attention back on Garouth, back on the ground beneath them and so many trees and brush with skeletal branches for fingers, reaching beseechingly heavenwards. The envy of wings in flight? A silent plea for more rain, for more nourishment beneath their roots? « And a good lesson? » Leirith inquires, amusement punctuating each mental wubwubwub. « Do you cross reference? Perhaps teach the one who filed false truths how to look harder? » HUMILITY SCHUMILITY. It's a beat of wings, a moment longer than even that as Leirith watches, as she seems to debate what it is she sees with what it is she wishes to ask and then, « My Panth! » Is she being a distraction? Because here comes that sunbright cheer, that effervescent warmth, that UNDAUNTED SHAMELESSNESS, « They all look like good kindling to me! Should we not remove it all? » Maybe it's genuine curiousity or… perhaps it is a test. DOUBTFUL. Either way, Leirith keeps Garouth open in on that conversation. RIP Panth. WE SALUTE YOU.

So, Panth is relatively patient as dragons go. He's certainly more so than his rider! Buuuuut…. well. There's a creak of leather, and a sense of a snort. « I do not have time to explain. » It's not mean in tone, but it is Very Done. « We have sweeps to fly. » If Garouth wasn't already in the conversation (which he was), he definitely is now, because Panth is making double extra sure that the real boss here is cc'd on every message. « If we are not to be delayed, you must ask another. » Yeah, GAROUTH. Panth all but makes a giant arrow pointing to the weyrleading bronze, challenging him to either take over or make it an actual order to stop and delay everyone to answer Leirith's questions. Because he will - if Garouth orders it, because chain of command (or if Leirith actually demands it, with her golden powers), but otherwise? He is gonna WASH HIS CLAWS OF THIS. Garouth… is more patient, but he's also not on-duty or going to keep everyone else late if he slows down, and so… he picks up the burder. « Let us fly lower. » He can show the difference between normal growth and underbrush, and the sort that's a bit too dead or dense or too dry… or at least, he can start to do so. There's a lot to be learned, and plenty of reasons why reports might differ! « Comparing two reports shows not only what is seen, but what lies in the gaps between. » Which is to say, of course they cross-reference. « False-sayers, we teach to look better. Differing truths, we teach to see more. » An incomplete picture is just an invitation to be filled, after all, and today Garouth will take some time to fill Leirith in on more pieces of how Galaxy works, what really happens in sweeps, and just what kindling will and won't burn in a maelstrom of flame. Though, uh… he won't be demonstrating that one with actual fire. Accuracy is only good up to a point.

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