The Brownie Incident

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 alluding 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.

In a way, Valerian was like the vampires he read once in a very old book someone lent to him a couple turns back. The second Rukbat was tucked beneath the horizon, pew-pew, he was off like a shot. Not to say his eyes snapped open that exact moment and he used his supernatural powers to flee the apprentice barracks at speeds faster than the humans could see or anything, but nighttime brought something out in him that felt otherworldly. A giddiness, a surge of energy that he felt compelled to apply to running at breakneck speeds, and of course to climb up to someplace high. Tonight, he'd chosen the highest of the walls in the garden, having laid himself down upon and folded his arms beneath his head to pillow it. One leg dangled over the side, swinging slightly back and forth, grey eyes keenly fixed to the countless pinpricks of light on display above. He'd been there a few hours actually and he was high enough up that a few people had wandered by, some lingering for stolen kisses, all without noticing him. He hadn't really noticed them either, only than a cursory glance and then back to his beloved stars.

Since Valerian isn't in much of a people noticing mood, he may not notice Ila'den either. It's not a stretch. The former renegade, once weyrleader has honed balance and step for turns, the ability bordering wraith-like in its silence, lost to a slight limp in stride that still does not diminish his ability to sneak entirely. But, perhaps just enough. Either way, the bronzerider's there, the soft shift of leathers over muscle as much an announcement as unruly hair and an eyepatch are when he pulls himself up to the top and settles to sit beside his son. There's a cant of his head to one side, that grey eye seeking out grey so that he can tilt his chin and look up. It's an attempt to find whatever it is in the sky that Valerian sees, finding too damn many options for it to be clear before he breaks the silence with, "Citayla made brownies. I managed to pilfer some from your very pregnant sister, so eat them before she realizes half the batch is missing." And there's another shift of leathers as Ila'den moves, as he procures a handkerchief tied from somewhere near his chest to place beside the starcrafter. "It might be a little squished," comes that rasping growl, amusement in tone and stormy hues. "But it'll taste the same." A beat, and Ila'den is looking back up towards the night sky, rolling shoulders as his head tilts and - "What are you looking for tonight, Valerian?" TELL HIM YOUR SECRETS.

You are correct sir, the starcrafter does not notice Ila'den's appearance on the scene anymore than he had anyone else's, a dart of his eyes not really seeing who it was in the gloom of the evening amongst softly chirping insects, before they're back to being directed upwards. It might be taken as a dismissive 'I see you, but the sky is far more interesting to me' but then again, he had no idea who exactly he had peeked over at either. It being all dark and the garden not well lit, exactly why Valerian had chosen this spot in particular. Relative solitude and less light to ruin the view. It's the creak of groan of leather as the rider climbs the wall to him that brows lift, gaze darting towards the sound, but otherwise appearing relaxed and calm. No one had any reason to attack him (Risali was too pregnant these days and he was giving her a break), so there was no reason to prepare for fight or flight. A grin spreads over his face once he recognizes his father, he might not have raised him, but he did like him quite a bit. Him and that goofball he was weyrmated to. Stretching himself a bit, he chillaxes back again, eyes darting here and there across the stunning of the night sky. Vale was a talker, but he didn't mind being quiet now and then, content to share his space and look at the stars with the man who sired him. Silence falls over the pair of them, comfortable, companionable, and then there is mention of brownies. Pilfered brownies, brownies pilfered from his sister of all people, and his grin widens to impossible. Just, too many teeth. A chuckle is the first sound to come from the sixteen turn old, pushing himself up to sit and helping himself to the spirited away baked goods. "Hey, thanks!" Semi-flattened? "Eh, it's fine." Stuffing of face ensures, grey eyes to grey eye and then back upwards. "Anyfing, edvryfing…" is helpfully supplied when asked what he was looking for, a muffled chuckle to follow. After swallowing and licking away any crumbs that might linger, broadening shoulders shrug. Leaning back on one hand, he uses the other to point to at several areas of interest. "In a couple of days they're saying there's going to be a meteor shower that'll start at dusk over there, and that way one the Journeyman says you can just make out a bluish pinprick that's 'supposed' (finger quotes inserted here) to be Earth," Eye roll for that, disbelieving, "But I think that he was just trying to mess with me…"

Low rumbling, husky laughter emits from Ila'den, hushed so as to be almost imperceptible except for the way it pulls his lips outwards into a smile, wrinkles the corner of his eye, diminishes when that grey hue strays away from his son (where it settled like a fixed point, attentive, patient, rapt to every word) back to the sky hanging innocuous and still somehow brilliant above them. "So you like mysteries," Ila'den observes, tone gritty, and raspy, and quiet because it's rare for Ila'den to raise his voice above that. There's mirth that lingers, even as he reaches out to steal the squished remains of one ruined brownie, pulling chunks free with fingers as that grey eye follows the tip of fingers to the stars beyond, squinting as if he might make some sense out of whatever it is that Valerian knows exists in the vast infinity of space. "Do your journeymen lie often?" Ila'den inquires, more amusement in his tone, even if his attention is back on his brownie as he rips another piece free.

Valerian's voice was not nearly as rumbling or husky, perhaps age would see to that, but he was young yet and this was hardly a manliness competition. Grinning broadly, he side-glances at the rumbling bronzerider, stuffing another brownie into his mouth and simply nodding while he chews. It wasn't that he didn't know it was rude to talk with his mouthful, but generally he didn't much care about politeness. He butting into other people's lives all the time without stopping to think if that was acceptable or not. "Hmmhmm!" Mysteries of the sky, most of them never to be unraveled in his lifetime, were the most thrilling. Face full of wonder and deliciousness, he may or not notice that there was repilfering of brownie, regardless Ila'den hadn't said specifically that he had stolen them for him. He just said he'd taken them and to eat them before the roundness that was his sister discovered they were missing. See, totally paying attention, well…when he wanted to. Eyes to the stars, he swings his legs a bit more, stopping when he's asked about the ratio of lies to Journeyman. There's soft laughter for that, gaze dropping down from the heavens and sliding back over to the dragonrider seated nearby, "They do when I'm annoying them and they want me to go away." Smirk. Really? Again with the too much teeth? Oh, you betcha. Does Valerian care that people find him annoying? Nope, not even a little bit, in fact it just made him want to press them further to see how far he could push it before they imploded. Why? Why not? Vale had very thick skin and it took quite a bit of effort to get under it, that others did not? Gravy.

And if you think Ila'den doesn't notice that lapse in manners, well… you're mistaken. That grey eye focuses in on Valerian's mouth as he chews and talks, brows rising as that grey eye lifts to find grey eyes with his own, and perhaps had Ila'den raised Vale, there would have been a quiet reproach in that expression. Instead, Ila'den looks away, says nothing, allows Valerian to speak with his mouth full because Ila'den might be the starcrafter's biological parent, but that didn't make him Valerian's father. Socially acceptable manners, or correcting the lack thereof, did not fall into Ila'den's scope of things he felt he was allowed to do. Instead he eats Cita's brownies and looks at the stars, listening to Valerian speak with another slow spread of a smile across his lips, more of that husky, rumbling laughter that never seems to last more than three seconds at a time. "What else do you like, Valerian? Other than annoying your Journeyman and celestial riddles?"

Those grey eyes don't linger on Ila'den for too long by any stretch of the imagination, not because he thought his presence intrusive or distracting, but rather it was the lure of the night sky. Those celestial bodies called to him, even if no one else would believe that, even of they laughed at him or whispered behind his back. Despite that draw and his distractibility, he might just have noticed something that suggested he should not be talking and spewing brownie fragments all over the place, considering it discontinues as being a thing from that point forward. Coincidental perhaps, possibly insignificant in the wider scheme of things, but there it was. Not that it keeps Vale from shoving desserts into his mouth, nope, anything but that. Having eaten half of what was offered, he brushes at his lips and the front of his tunic, leaving what was left for the dragonrider. Grinning, hopelessly wide, as always. "That's a pretty big list," he says with a chuckle, the bounce of his shoulders an almost near constant with him. When he wasn't laughing, he was smiling. Grinning really, and interjecting himself into just about everything. Grey eyes continue to sweep the skies, pausing before he continues to watch a falling star blaze to life and then fade out into nothing. "Life is fleeting, you know, like a falling star. You're born, you live a little, and then you die." This wasn't answering the man's question Vale, come on, snap-snap get with the program. "I'll try anything once and if I don't enjoy it, I generally try to avoid it. The things I do, as much as possible." Still not answering the question, not really anyway. Not trying to be evasive, honest, but the list was ridiculously long. The list of things he didn't like, much shorter.

Who would laugh at him? The sea calls to some, bidding them build boats and sail waters treacherous in their tempestuous nature; the skies call to others, Mother Nature sometimes kind enough to grant wings under the guise of dragons, offering glimpses of a world beyond their own, vast and endless with possibilities, rife with mystery beyond what humankind has ever been capable of comprehending. Still, Ila'den listens to Valerian in the cover of night - a world he's still intimately familiar with even turns after leaving behind life as a renegade to dragonrider, the twilight and winking of stars as familiar as they are, still, sometimes unwelcome. "You are young to be thinking about how fleeting life is, Valerian," Ila'den asserts, his brow rising, his gaze flickering back to his son before abandoning him to fix on the space that harbored celestial bodies falling from grace only moments before. "And a bleak outlook on life for a dreamer." Because that's what Valerian is, isn't he? He's someone who looks at the sky and sees infinity in its stars, who sees possibilities that lie far beyond the current capabilities of Pern's technology and sees patterns that exist in that endless sea of the unknown. Still, there's a rasp of laughter, a smile that tugs at one corner of Ila'den's lips even if it dies before it can blossom into something worth noticing. "So is the list of things you dislike equally long?"

That is the question of the moment, isn't it? Surprisingly, the answer would surprise the one-eyed bronzerider. Then again, he might not have the clearest understanding of the risks that Valerian took under the guise of all that living. He was practiced and experienced, but it was entirely possible that one day his luck would just run out. "Hmm, maybe…" he says, shrugging a shoulder in that way that people of his age-range tended to, especially when they had more that they could say but decide not to. However, as he's informed that his outlook is bleak, grey eyes find the man at his side once again and he offers him a wide but toothless smile. "I don't know, I don't think so. A lot of people go through their whole life not doing the things that they always wanted to do. You never really know what's waiting for you behind the next corner." Head tilted, he watches Ila'den for a moment longer before he slides his gaze back to the stars above, "I'd rather live with no regrets, knowing I did all of those things that I ever thought of, rather than wonder what could of been when I'm too old or damaged to do anything about it." See dragonrider, still a dreamer, but a practical one and quite possibly wise beyond his turns. As for that list of things he doesn't like, "Nope. Not even remotely." If Ila'den wanted to hide and keep his secrets, than who was Valerian to tell him otherwise? He leaves the man be in this regard, preferring to let even the smallest hint of the man he didn't know be revealed to him in all good time if at all. There was no rush, not in this.

(Still unfinished, but referenced, so…enjoy)

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