I Can Run Faster!

Xanadu Weyr - The Firelizard Theatre


There are many different things to look at here. In the northern part of this field lies a massive fort made out of wood. About 10 feet to the right of the fort, there are wooden sit-toys carved in the likeness of dragons and even painted as such. In the middle of the field are two sets of swings suspended from a wooden beam, held up by two wooden beams on either side. To the left of the swings is a 5 by 6 rectangular box filled not quite to the top with sand from Xanadu Weyr's Beach. To the right of the swings are monkey bars, completely crafted out of wood. In front of you are two seesaws, both made out of wood. Finally, to your near left are two benches underneath a large Lemosian Ironwood tree. You find yourself standing in the Courtyard of The Firelizard.

This spring evening, Rukbat has chased away the chill, and even though the sun is setting, the warm is still warm, and some areas of the Weyr are still aglow. On this evening, Niva is lingering in the playground, the Weyrwoman settled on one swing, drifting a little back and forth as a little brown-haired boy is playing in one of the sandboxes, building a little bit of a castle, pushing the sand here and there, talking almost to himself as he builds, glancing now and then towards his mother.

A familiar leather ball bounces in, followed by Natishen. He seems in better spirits than the last time the Weyrwoman saw him, giving the ball little taps with his foot to keep it rolling sedately along the path. He might be a bit old for his surroundings, which probably accounts for the way he freezes when he spots Niva and her son. But rather than quailing, he sets his shoulders in a slump and continues to nonchalantly bat the ball about. "G'evening," he says politely.

Cavin, at six, is the first to pipe up, his attention drawn by the older boy's leather ball, climbing out of the sandbox to close the distance with an interested look, looking over his shoulder at Niva, the Weyrwoman giving a little smile and nodding at him, even as she remains sedately swinging on the swing. "G'evening.." She offers with a little bit of a smile, as she's prevented from adding anything else by her son's smart question. "Are you good?" At playing ball?

Natishen is staring at Niva, not with any distress, but more with puzzled curiosity. But as Cavin approaches, then speaks, he immediately turns his attention on the boy. At the question, a slow smile crosses his dark face, and, instead of replying in words, he edges the ball up on the arch of his foot, then pops it upwards, catching it on his knee. From there, it bounces to his other knee, then back to his foot. His tongue slides between his teeth as he concentrates on keeping the ball in the air. When he finally snatches it in his hands, he sends the boy a broad grin. "I like to think so. You play?"

Niva catches that look of puzzlement on Natishen's face, the Weyrwoman chuckling softly, shaking her head. "Yes?" She asks softly, relaxed as she is on this evening, out of the way, spending it with the youngest of her children. However, at the older boy's antics, she does let out a little gasp of surprise, and even clapping a little bit, while Cavin is equally in awe, jaw agape as he just stares at the older boy. "Not like that. Mom says I'm not big enough to play with the older boys." No matter that said mom is sitting not fifteen feet away. "She says no balls in the weyr, too." Not fair?

Natishen's cheeks flush slightly as Niva addresses him, and he shakes his head hurriedly in answer, eyes meeting hers, then sliding away. "Nothing, ma'am," the boy mumbles before focusing again on the younger lad. "Well, some of the older boys aren't very nice to younger kids," he replies sagely, with all the experience of his thirteen turns. "And my… mother… didn't let me play ball in her weyr either. But it doesn't hurt to learn a little, if your mom doesn't mind?" Again, that quick glance to and away from the goldrider.

Cavin turns his eyes to look at Niva with a begging expression on his face, the six turn old looking about ready to start jumping and down as he waits for an answer. "I don't see what the matter is, there's plenty of space, and you can go around the tables and chairs, and its like other legs.." The boy says all in a rush, blushing a little as Niva giggles at his antics, sliding off the swing and moving over to settle on one of the benches that's sort of out of the way. "That's because ball is an -outside- game. But remember your manners, Cavin.. Be good.." And that seems to be permission for the boys to play.

"Well, sometimes you can't always control the ball, then something gets broken," Nash replies with a little sniff. "So it's best to play it where there's nothing as can be smashed, y'see? But here," and the boy places the ball gently on the ground. "First thing to know, when you kick a ball, don't kick with the tip of your toes." He sticks out his foot and wiggles his toes, exposed by the nature of his sandals. "Y'wanna get your foot under it and kinda lift it with the top. Helps t' control it better, see? You direct where it goes, and how fast and high and stuff."

"Things -do- get broken." Niva says with a little bit of a smirk - at least she's pretty good natured about the casualties that took place in her weyr. She remains settled upon the bench, settling one leg over the other, and resting her arm along the back of the bench. "He's good at getting the ball flying, aren't you, Cavin?" She says, the little boy just beaming, taking advantage of the ball being on the ground to demonstrate, getting his toes underneath it and giving it a good kick upwards, sending it over the monkeybars. And, as it sails away, he almost sheepishly runs after it, in a rush to retrieve it.

Natishen watches the boy run off after the ball, a half smile on his face. "Ah well," he sighs philosophically, "if anything happens to it, I have extras. One thing my mother was good for, anyway," he adds, a slight edge to his tone. "Playing kickball kept me entertained and out of her hair, so she always made sure I had lots of balls." Abruptly, he colors and stammers out an apology. "I'm sorry, ma'am, that was really rude of me." Clamping his mouth shut, he drops his gaze away from Niva's, staring fixedly at the ground as he waits for Cavin to return with the ball.

"If he manages to lose it, I'll make sure you get another.." Niva comments, stealing a glance back at Nash as the boy speaks honestly, arching an eyebrow a ltitle at his explanation. And then, as he's coloring, she offers a reassuring smile, shaking her head. "Its okay.." And she lets it linger, turning to check on the progress of her son. Cavin's return is a slow one, as the boy is kicking the ball awkwardly ahead of him, running to catch up with it each time before kicking it again, pausing to pick it up as he nears Natishen, holding it out to the older boy with a sheepish smile. "Sorry… But, I can kick it good.." He grins a little more widely, revealing a missing front tooth. "But.. I hope I can be good like you."

"No, ma'am. Miss Moyra, she'd smack me to hear what I said. She said," and here Nash screws up his face, clearly thinking hard, "If someone does bad to you, you don't gotta like it, but if you talk bad about them, it makes you just as wrong. Or something like that," he adds, with an apologetic smile. "Miss Moyra, she's death on gossip, y'know." Indeed, the old woman, a staple of the lower caverns, is well known for her opinion on rumormongering. As Cavin returns, Nash crouches down, taking the ball. "Yeah, you're gonna be real good, I bet. You know how to kick, now you just gotta get some control."

"Miss Moyra, she has some good ideas sometimes. Faranth help whoever created that… newsletter should she find out." Niva comments with a bit of a snort about the matter, shaking her head as she quiets, watching Cavin return almost sheepishly. "I bet you can learn some things, Cavin. And maybe when you're a little older, you can play with some of the bigger boys too." Cavin blushes, looking up at his mother with a look of, 'you're embarassing me' before his attention is solely on the older boy, nodding enthusiastically. "I always have to run and get it, and its a lot of running."

Natishen nods enthusiastically, a mask of distaste on his face. "I heard about that. I'm not s'pposed to go near the tavern… Miss Moyra, y'know, but some of the other boys were talking about it." Shaking his head, he turns his attention back to the boy, chuckling at his expression. "Well, even I don't play much with the older boys, just a few around my age. They play… rough." There's a slight hesitation, as though the gawky lad had edited his own words. "Running'll strengthen your legs," he points out, "and that makes it easier to control how hard y'kick it, so you don't have to run as much."

"You're too young to be in the tavern. Or even near it, its a good example for anyone. Especially not with the way those Vintners have been carrying on lately.." Niva says a bit too much, the Weyrwoman blushing as she stops what is surely a topic that's boring for a boy of Nash's age. "They do, Cavin.. see, that's why I don't want you playing with them.." Her son starts to pout a little, shuffling as he stands there, staring at the ball, before he looks at the older boy, straightening up a little bit, sticking his chest out and lifting his chin. "I run real fast, I'll race you.." And as he's at that age of endless energy, he's hardly waiting for the boy to accept before he's off and running.

Natishen, having slipped from tween to teen, is probably closer to being interested than is good for him, and signs of impending maturity have already begun to show. But he still has his clear, childish treble, and shows no interest in the doings of the Vintners. "I don't like wine anyway," he replies staunchly, sticking out his chin. "It doesn't taste good." With a nod to emphasize his point, he smiles at Niva, then ducks his head shyly, quickly returning his attention to Cavin - just in time to see him run off. With a giggle, he follows suit. Though twice the boy's age, and likely twice his height, he lags just behind him, setting a deliberate pace.

This Spring evening finds Niva standing near the swingsets of the playground, suddenly alone as the Weyrwoman's six turn old son and the teenage Nash suddenly go running off, the younger boy determined to show the older how fast he can run. Niva's reply to Nash is bit off, the comment that was going to be about how there are other things to drink than wine stowed away, her hands going to her hips. The path that Cavin sets is anything but straight, going this way and that - left of the swingsets, around the seesaw, jumping over one sandbox before cutting straight through another. He's rather speedy, given his height and his age, and his real speed is in the sudden direction changes.

Moria meanders into the theater, freshly scrubbed after a long day of working in the glass shops. She's wearing a simple black skirt and gray blouse as she watches the various youngling enjoying themselves in the playground. The crafter smiles as Cavin and Natishen go tearing across her path, and pauses to watch them for a few moments. "Well, they look happy," she comments, glancing toward Niva and wrinkling her nose with amusement. "He's growing up so fast," she observes. "I didn't realize how much growth can happen at that age over a mere two Turns."

Natishen isn't really trying to beat the younger boy, as is evident as there's no indication he's even slightly winded as he keeps his pace slightly behind Cavin, though he does have some issue with the sudden directional changes, nearly tripping at one point. Maturity has its downside, in the form of uncoordinated limbs. "Sorry!" he calls as he nearly bowls into Moria, but before any reply can come, he's past her, still hot on the younger lad's tail.

Its with a crash that one of Cavin's quick moves causes disaster, as the boy attempts to jump over another sand box, snagging one toe on the edge and ending up falling basically face first into the sandbox, though unfortunately his teeth connect - with the other edge. Any response that Niva would have made to Moria is silenced by her worried look as the cry erupts from her son and she's giving an apologetic look to the glasscrafter as she's moving to scoop the boy up - six turns old or not - soothing him. After a few soft words, the boy is quieting, and with a sigh, Niva glances at Nash. "I think you'll have to help him learn to play later.." Cavin's looking quite pathetic as he leans his head on his mother's shoulder, muttering something about a wiggling tooth, before Niva is excusing herself. "Be good, don't give Miss Moyra anything to fuss at you about.." And with a nod to Moria as well, she's carting her son off to get cleaned up and to bed.

Moria waves a hand dismissively at Natishen's apology, calling, "No worries, you're fine." She continues into the playground, skirting around other playing children without complaint. Cavin's crash has her pulling up short, and she watches silently as Niva rushes to her son's aid. She murmurs to the Weyrwoman as she passes, "Hope he's alright," and makes sure she's clearly out of the other woman's exit path. Shaking her head ruefully, she turns to blink at Natishen. "Did she say he was teaching you how to play?"

As Cavin takes his spill, Nash skids to a halt, windmilling his arms to avoid collapsing on the boy. "I'm sorry!" he cries, kneeling at the boy's side and looking anxiously at Niva. "I didn't mean - " It's not like he pushed him or anything. As the Weyrwoman picks up her son, he remains crouched in the sand, looking up at her. "I- I won't. I hope he's okay, ma'am," he says miserably, and watches the pair leave before picking himself up out of the sandbox and slumping towards Moria. "N- no, miss," he replies, eyeing the glasscrafter warily. "I was teaching him how to play ball." Said ball is resting forlornly on the ground nearby, but he makes no move to pick it up. "I didn't mean for him to get hurt."

Moria ahs, nodding her understanding as she resumes making her way across the playground, meeting the lad halfway. "Well, that makes a lot more sense. I was wondering how anyone could get to your age without knowing how to play," she says with a smile. "How did playing ball turn into tag, if you don't mind me asking? You certainly looked like you were having a good time up until Cavin tripped over there."

Natishen still looks quite miserable as he stands before Moira, gawky limbs all akimbo as he looks up at her. "Nah, I'm real good at playing ball. I was trying to teach Cavin some stuff, he's good but he's got a lot to learn. Then he wanted to race, and I was gonna just tag along and let him win and stuff, but…" His face falls, and so does his gaze, dropping to the ground at his feet.

Moria reaches out to pat Natishen's shoulder if he lets her, nodding sympathetically. "You didn't do anything wrong. Kids fall. They get hurt. They bruise. They heal. They do it all over again. I'm sure Niva doesn't blame you, and neither does Cavin. He'll be back to being chased around the playground in short order," she reassures him. "Do you teach the younger children how to play ball often?"

"I don't spend much time with other children," Natishen replies, somewhat sourly. He doesn't quite evade her hand, though the pat only lands briefly before he's somehow managed to slip to the side. His bright green eyes meet hers, and he shrugs slightly, straightening up and squaring his shoulders. "I'm sure he'll be okay," he states, though it seems as though he's trying to convince himself more than her. "I just don' like seeing kids hurt."

Moria nods again. "I can understand that, too," she says. "I don't like seeing people hurt, either. Especially kids." She tilts her head, looking at the ball on the ground. "Do you mind if I ask why you don't spend much time with the other weyr children? You don't have to answer if you don't want to, I'm just curious."

"They're not all so nice," Nash replies, before adding hastily, "though I'm sure they all have their good points. I just don't get along with some of them. I do spend time with others though, but, well, not all of them are very good at playing ball."

Moria ahs again. "Well, I can't argue with that, I suppose. I wasn't very nice to my siblings when I was younger," she admits ruefully. "Do you only like to play ball, or are there other games that you enjoy, too?" She begins moving slowly toward a bench near the sandbox, checking to see if Nash is moving with her.

Natishen wanders along in Moria's wake as he sees her glance back at him, tucking his hands behind his back as he gazes down at his feet, carefully watching where each one goes. "I can play other games, but I prefer kickball. I'm good at it. Not so good at other things."

Moria asks, "So not being good at the games makes them less fun, huh?" She raises a brow, settling onto the bench with plenty of room for Natishen should be choose to sit. "So beyond games, what else do you do around here? I grew up in a hold, so I have no idea what children do at a Weyr growing up," she explains.

Natishen shrugs his shoulders, hunching slightly at what he perceives as an insult. "I try," he mutters, "but what's the point of beating your head on a wall. I got good feet, not so good hands. Can't throw for anything." At her question, he stares at her. Clearly, it's never occured to him that children might do different things in different places. "Chores. Uh. We help in the kitchens and the laundry, and with the older riders and residents and stuff."

Moria nods, reaching a hand down to play with the sand in the sandbox. "I always thought the fun was in the trying, but if you aren't having fun then you're right, there is no point." She tilts her head slightly. "What all does helping the older riders entail?" she asks, voice full of curiosity.

"It's no fun when people are laughing at you," Nash replies sulkily, before shaking his head, trying to clear away his mood. "I'll play sometimes, but some of the kids here aren't so nice, y'know?" He settles down on the bench, legs spread. "Oh, we help them get their dinner, serve 'em and stuff. With lifting and supplies and all sorts of stuff."

Moria ahs, understanding dawning, but lets the subject drop when she realizes how uncomfortable Natishen seems to be with the topic. "Do you ever help them with the dragons? I was thinking that if they need help lifting, they might need help washing the dragons and the like," she explains.

Natishen nods, a little more enthusiastically. "Oh, we help all the riders with their dragons. Ever seen the sizes on some of 'em? They'll call us out to help sometimes, when they're in a hurry or just don't feel like doin' it all themselves."

Moria grins at Natishen's enthusiasm, nodding at his answer. "I've noticed a lot are quite large. How many of you does it take to wash a dragon on most days? It's a lot of hide to clean up!" She pauses and adds, "I've never washed a dragon. Was it scary the first time to be next to something that big in the water?"

Natishen frowns at her. "Scary? Dragons aren't scary. They're beautiful. And really nice. And they tell funny stories sometimes, if they're the talkative sort. My mother's green used to say all sorts of outrageous things to cheer me up when I was a kid." Because, you know, he's all of thirteen now.

Moria grins again, shaking her head. "Not scary to you, maybe, but you grew up with them. I hadn't ever ridden a dragon until I was twenty," she explains. "And I had only been near them a very few times before. They can be very scary to people who haven't been around them much. They are great big meat-eaters after all," she says with a chuckle. "And I've never had one talk to me, so I wouldn't know about them being funny or talkative."

"A dragon would NEVER hurt you!" Nash's voice is more startled than angry, and he reaches out to offer her a pat on the shoulder. "You shouldn't ever be scared of dragons. Their riders can be cruel, but the dragons, even if they're really cranky, would never dream of hurting a human. Well," he amends, "not once Impressed anyway."

Moria accepts the pat with a hand covering her mouth to hide an amused smile at the very grown-up behavior of the young teen. When her expression is under control she moves her hand away. "I'm learning that they won't hurt you, but that last part there is something I have witnessed. I've seen a few injuries on the sands, and the chaos out there is a bit scary to see. It's just hard to reconcile something so large and predatory as safe."

Natishen gazes pityingly at her. "I guess," he replies dubiously. Clearly, he's never thought of dragons as predatory before, despite undoubtedly having seen them feed. "Don't worry, when I Impress a dragon, I'll make sure you get to spend time with him. He'll teach you that dragons aren't scary." Such confidence.

Moria can't help but grin at the lad's self-assurance. "I'll take you up on that. I've been told that spending more time around them helps, but I must admit I usually don't take the time to work on that." She scratches her nose thoughtfully. "Maybe that's what I need to do. Devote some time each day to helping with dragons." She looks at Natishen, raising a brow. "Think you can show me the ropes of helping out riders?"

Natishen shrugs. "It's not hard. It's just like helping out any old person. Just 'cause they're riders doesn't mean they don't slow down when they get all wrinkled and stuff." The cheerful contempt of youth for the aged is full-blown, but mixed in is a heavy amount of amusement. "Next time I got that chore, I'll find you and you can share it with me."

Moria nods firmly, still grinning. "Works for me. I'm sure the riders won't mind. A big strong glasscrafter can probably be helpful in some way," she says, winking at the youth. "And maybe they'll let me help was their dragon, and I'll get more used to our large winged friends."

Natishen eyes the glasscrafter, but nods firmly. "Sure thing. Just make sure you do what you're told, 'cause some of them can be real picky about how things are done. But most of 'em are pretty easy going."

Moria nods again, accepting his advice. "I'll do that. Well, I need to get going. My firelizards are waiting for dinner. Have a good evening…" She pauses, then blushes. "I didn't even ask your name, I'm sorry. I'm Moria." She offers a hand to the teen, tilting her head in invitation for a response.

Natishen presses her hand lightly in his fingers, but doesn't prolong the contact, a bit uncomfortable with it, it appears. "I'm Natishen. Nash. Enjoy your evening." Without waiting for a response, he springs to his feet and begins to head towards his ball.

Moria's handpress is light as well, and she smiles. "Good to meet you Nash. Take care," she calls after him, rising in a more leisurely manner and heading back toward the Weyr proper. She glances over her shoulder at the edge of the playground, then proceeds on back to her room.

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