The Bathing Herdbeasts

Xanadu Weyr Region - Marshy Coastline(#7512RV)
The Azov Sea gently laps at the western shore, waves washing up along a silt-beach, carrying with it an odd piece of weathered driftwood, the ground constantly shifting and resettling with each pass of the water. Beyond the water's reach, grass and reeds grow aplenty, creating a false sense of stable ground for a good distance from the shoreline itself. However, it does eventually stabilize - patches of trees grow here and there amongst the marsh, islands sticking up from the bog. A line of trees is staggered here and there, as the reeds turn to normal grass, they conceal even the most basic of things and the footing is finally solid. In the shadows of some trees there looks to be something wrong - is that a broken pot?

Despite the peacefulness, it seems that this area may have once been inhabited, as a fencepost still sits mostly upright, though the fence attached to it has long sinced seemed to disappear. Even odder is that the fencepost is partially submerged, even at low tide.

Today is like many of the beautiful summer days at Xanadu, Rukbat perched high in cerulean skies, a few puffy white clouds floating by with lazy altitude. The temperature is on the warm side, with gentle gusts of wind swirling across the area. One young Starcrafter has taken quite the liking to exploring the amazingness known as Xanadu, realizing that every time she sets out she stumbles upon some new great discovery. From the Clocktower to the Rustic Treetop Cafe, her comfort zone has expanded with each passing day. The Marshy coastline is the furthest away from the Weyr Zahleizjah has been since relocating, and well when she lived at Western, let's just say she didn't get out very much. A footprint trail is left in the silt, a pattern that follows the coastline of the Azov Sea through the marsh and out towards the patches of trees and islands. The young girl has removed her shoes, though it seems her futile efforts came too late as they're covered in mud, just like her feet. She's found her way to stable ground, somewhere near the submerged fencepost, dipping her shoes in the water in an attempt to remove the outermost muddy layers.

On this nice summer day, most people would e trying to goof off or get out of duties early, but for one Beastcrft Apprentice, it's not that easy to do. Garait rides in slowly and carefully on a runner, but eventually slips ogg. He's wearing mostly brown colors and has leather boots on and carries a mall pack where occasionally he pulls out some hide, papers an somthing to write with, making notations as he goes. His focus seems to be on some of the water in the marshy land, where if you look closly enough some large herdbeasts have just their heads above water and are keeping still.

Sometimes, it's good to get away. Sometimes, it's necessary for one's sanity to get away! And when one is an apprentice, those "get away" days are few and far inbetween. Thus, when Kale's off day finally falls in line with Soriana's, it was a random yet easy descision to make a day of it away from the weyr proper. Why not go adventuring to places less traveled? And thus it was with adventurous hearts that the two took off, able to snag a runner (or two) from the stables to go where their heart desires. And apparently, their hearts desire …. mud. Alright, so the less than stable grounds are likely not ideal for a picnic lunch or runner hooves in general, and thus this is why the runner is being paused and Kale dismounts, shielding his eyes as he peers across the marsh. Are those…? "Is it…natural for herdbeast to … bathe?" Heck if he knows! And aren't those people over yon? Yes. A muddy girl! And a boy.

So maybe they should have paid a bit closer attention to the maps before heading out, but… following the coastline! It seemed so promising. Up until the mud, anyhow. "Maybe it'll clear up?" Soriana suggests, though as she looks out across the marsh, her expression gets more dubious and she slides off runnerback. There's a moment of concentration on her face as she consults with the brown firelizard testing out the breezes overhead, and then she gets more dubious still. Maybe- "Huh?" Bathtime for herdbeasts? She looks out the way Kale seems to be looking, and spots them. "Well, why not?" She hasn't quite noticed the people yet, though.

Zahleizjah probably wouldn't have noticed the submerged herdbeasts off in the distance if she hadn't seen Garait first. He's a short ways down the shoreline, but his entrance on runner and precocious observation skills have the Starcrafter's interest piqued. It's been turns since she's been around runners, having to find a new home for her own back at Western, and missing the mare named Star a lot more than she imagined she would. So, since her friend is here, with such a magnificent beast, Zahl pads his direction, calling out softly as she gets close so as to not disturb the soaking beasts "Hey Garait! Good to see you today.. out here on duty?" Honeyed eyes look out towards the creatures in the water and she asks "What are they doing?" She hasn't seen Kale and Soriana quite yet, but once she does a wave and smile is sent their direction, half surprised this marshy area is so well traveled.

Garait grins as he waves at Zah, making a few more notations before answers though, "Those are River Bovine. Slightly odd to find them herem but they lie on the bottom with their head above water to cool off and stuff. Some of the working herdbeasts and meat herdbeasts we have at the Weyr are descended from that type." He scribbles something else down, "And yes, I'm on duty and since these herdbeasts are naturally calm, I was given permission to explore and see how they live here. So we can eventually wound them up if need be." No one is quite noticed yet, and he's been leading his runner slowly across the firmer ground towards the Starcrafter.

Hm. Good point, Sori. People bathe. Why wouldn't herdbeast do the same? "They do sort've smell," Kale muses, rubbing a hand against his chin. "So…I suppose these are the prim an' proper lot who're keen on takin' midday baths," he concludes with a … well … a conclusive nod! Fingers snap and he points in the direction of them. "I like this sort. We should herd one back and introduce it to the ones kept at home." The new member would most assuredly teach the others of its cleanly ways! Not that it'd benefit in the inevitable bloody end. But maybe the dragons would be appreciative of a clean meal? Using his chin, he nods in gesture to the direction of other folk, and he shares Zahleizjah's surprise at noting familiar faces. "Oh, hey!" he calls. But oh, maybe they can't hear him. So naturally, he cups his mouth with his hands and yells louder. "HEY!!" Heh, so much for calm and tranquil!

Soriana laughs, and nods. "Sure. And we can strap a bag of soapsand over their backs, then herd 'em all down to the water." Where by 'we' she means 'the beastcrafters'. She'll watch. "It'll be bath day for all the herdbeast." Then… hey? Hey what! Oh, that's what. She glances to Kale. "I don't think th-" Okay, they probably heard that time. She gives her head a little shake and a bit of a grin, then waves across the marsh.

Zahleizjah's brows furrow as she looks from Garait to the water-loving creatures "River Bovine? Why I never knew there was such a thing.. how very interesting indeed." She blinks a few times as she stares out at them, who seem to be staring back at her and as the though crosses her mind an immediate question is raised "They're not um.. aggressive or anything right? I mean y'mentioned them being calm, but that one is definitely peering our direction.." It seems as though random bursts of wind do indeed steal Kale's first greeting, but the second one via hand-megaphone reaches her ears and has the Starcrafter turning the pairs direction with a "Hey there!" back.

Garait nods slowly at the Starcrafter, "Well, in the wild we differentiate due to where they live or other factors. The herdbeasts in the Weyr are domesticated and have been crossbred with other herdbeasts." He chuckles then, "Well, this type is nonaggressive, so don't worry. They'll just watch and stay in the water unless provoked of course." Then a voice is heard and Zah is waving, which makes him look and wave as well.

"We'll send word to the beastcrafters when we get back. If we ever do get back," Kale remarks to Soriana, eyeing her with a smirk. "I thought you said you knew where you were going?" Which is perhaps is more along the lines of what he said but … still! His smirk stretches to a grin as he reaches for her hand and starts in the direction of Zah and Garait, stepping carefully "C'mon. Let's see what they're up to. Hopefully it's not to steal our grand herdbeast washin' idea as their own. Shhhh…you'll let'm know nothing of it, right? All the fame and glory of o— Shards!" Who dared and made the ground so soft so suddenly?! What looked like a solid patch of earth to step on happens to be anything but, and Kale's boot sinks down into the rich mud, sucking him down to the lower calf. "It's got me!" Run! Run for your lives!

"No, I said we couldn't get too lost if we kept near the water," retorts Soriana. "Besides, you're the one who said this was the direction Black Rock was in." Days and days away, admittedly, and they'd have to leave the coast and go inland, but… such are the lies maps tell. Soriana nods to Kale's plan to go over, giving his hand a squeeze and holding the runner reins loosely. She laughs at the grand washday plan, then… stop. Wait. Hold on. Backstep, not that she's letting go of his hand. The runner gives a snort as Sori back up against her.

Zahleizjah has that 'insights shared and pondering face', with corners of lips drawn downwards and index/thumb rubbing chin as she considers this "Oh.. well that makes sense.. you know so much about Beastcraft already Garait.. very cool.." The Starcrafter is slightly less awkward than their last encounter, mostly because she's trying to smooth over her abrupt departure with paired excuses as she left Garait at the cafe without even touching the bubbly they'd agreed to share. Zahl nods and takes note with an "Ok.." and a "Good! Running in this muck would be quite the task.." A glance is shot back towards Kale and Soriana, watching as they try to tip toe their way aro- right in to the puddle of unavoidable gunk. "Watch out for the mu.." she was going to call out, but alas it is too late and half of the approaching pair is yelping like some zombie's got their foot or something.

Smiling as Zah listens, Garait just chuckles, "Well, my father taught me some before i entered the Craft." He glances at the Starcrafter from tie ti time, a faint blush touching his cheeks now. He looks over at the two who are approaching, and then they stop and look concerned as Kale gets stuck. He glances to see if there's firm ground ro get over there and frowns a little. At least the herbeasts aren't aggressive, but what about those felines?

"This would be the bit…when someone chivalrous would say…'go on without me. Save yourself'…but…" Kale is working on pulling his sunken leg out from the muck, indeed keeping a hold of her hand, which comes in handy for leverage, "I'm not about to let you run off an' tell some false tale of how I stumbled on my face an' drowned while kickin' and screaming in a sea of sleepy bovine." A mock glare is sent her way before *yoink!* out goes his leg, now coated in a lovely shade of slimy, sticky brown. His leg is given a rather unhelpful shake before gingerly he places his foot on the ground. A crooked grin is sent Zahleizjah's way, and a sloppy salute is given to her. "Right. The mud right there? Thanks Zah!" Apparently not too concerned of the condition of his pant leg, he laughs and continues around that sneaky mud and to the two with Sori and the runner with him. "Hey Garait," he greets the beastcrafter amiably. "What're the odds of us all meeting way out here, huh? It must be destined." Surely.

Soriana braces, because while she's going to help drag Kale out, she'd really rather not get pulled in after him. "Yeah, but then I'd be stuck with no company for the ride back but one of those bovines, and…" she trails off, taking a deliberately long pause. "Maybe they're good conversationalists. I should give them a chance." She's smirking, now, and helps with the final heave to get him out. "…aren't those your new boots?" she asks. Just wondering! And then they're going around to meet the beastcrafter and starcrafter. She grins. "So what's your excuse? We figured we'd come out here for the peace and quiet!" And, yes, she says it with no trace of a blush, just a grin.

Zahleizjah tries real hard not to giggle at Kale's muddy demise, a half smirk and a nod retorting with an "Ayyup.. yer welcome Kale!" What can she say? He shoulda watched where he was stepping.. they are, afterall, in a marsh! A few glances are sent Garait's way, a rosy pink dappling her cheeks as she catches him stealing glances at her and blushing as well. All she can say is "Well.. seems he did good then." Adding more as she goes on with some half-nervous ramblings "Do ya think I could ride back with you on your runner when it's time? I sure miss Star.. had t'leave her at Western when I transferred.." there's a bit of a frown as she reflects on this but Kale and Soriana make for a perfect distraction as they tromp through the mud. "Destined you say? I'unno exactly whatcha mean by that, but yes.. what are the odds.." A smirk is given to Soriana and she replies "Well so much for peace and quiet, eh?" with a shrug as it seems that won't be happening out here at this time. "Field research for me.. trying t'find the best viewing spots outside of the Observatory to set up my nightwatch beacons."

Watching in concern, Garait was looking for a way to help the other boy out, but he got out himself so there's nood need. He nods at Sori and Kale, "Well, i was doing a bit of work for the beastcraft with detailing where small groups of herdbeasts are." He grins at Kale then, "Destined? You think so?" He glances back at Zah then, blushing slightly more, "Most Definitely you can ride back with me. There's no problem with that." He smiles and nods to her, thinking of the ride home then.

Kale gives a sad little nod to Soriana at the question regarding his boots. Woe! "Yes, but it'll be a good test for them. See how sturdy they really are an' whether or not I made a good trade with that drifter." He gives his toes a wiggle. "So far so good." His pants on the other hand are an entirely different story. He can already feel the moisture on his calf and shin, though thankfully that's the worst of it. "An' peace and quiet is over-rated. I prefer noise and calamity myself," remarks the smith with a faint grin that stays in place throughout Zah's rosiness. It's only when Garait appears the same that the look falters. Slightly. Research, huh? Icy eyes shift to Soriana and a half smirk touches his mouth with a near imperceptible lift of a brow to follow. How many words could be said with such a slight look? Reeeesearch. Right. "Uh huh," he says, the phrase reserved for Garait now who has his gaze. "I … we should probably get on our way, huh Sori?" Insert sidelong look here. "We're hopelessly lost thanks to her lack've navigational skills, so it'll be up to me to find our way to where we're meant to be."

"Before he leaves and you can't get your marks back anymore, you mean?" Soriana replies to Kale, then laughs. "Good plan." Then they're over with Zahl and Garait, and she nods about Star."Yeah, runners don't do so well on dragonback," she says sympathetically. "And they're only okay on boats, I can't imagine a trip that long would be much good for one." She catches some of those glances and blushes between Zahleizjah and Garait, and raises one eyebrow with an inquisitive look. Oh really? She glances to Kale, like, Are you seeing this? …even though he's a boy, and thus probably won't notice these things unless and until they smack him upside the head. Oh, look! He actually noticed. There's a moment of surprise that he's giving her a look back, and then she grins. "Yeah, we really should. And it's his fault, you know. Boy thinks that just because he knows how to make a compass he knows how to read one. Fortunately, we have the entire day to convince him, because I thought ahead and packed extra lunch." She grins, and gives the two a salute-wave before turning back to Kale with a look that speaks volumes, most of those volumes being, 'Did you see that?'

Zahleizjah figured Kale.. or at least Soriana had a good handle on things over there, so her onlooking expression is less concerned than Garait's. A nod is given to the beastcrafter she stands next to, paired with a genuine smile and a "Thanks.. 'ppreciate it.." for his agreement to let her ride back with him. That overwhelming feeling of anxiousness has her fidgeting here and there, all this talk of destiny and blushing has her feeling a little squeamish. Regardless of Kale's contemplations and conclusions, it was purely by chance the two of them ended up here, and Zah was here first she'd defend.. not to flirt or woo or try and impress anyone though- yuck! Destiny?! Yuck again! Noise and calamity and distractions are more her speed, catching those glances between Kale and Sori she says "You guys don't gotta leave on account of us.. but uh.. I think Black Rock is that way.." she points in the direction that she wandered to before running in to Garait here. A warm smile and nod agrees with Soriana "Aye.. was told I could send her that way but um.. it woulda taken too long and who knows what'd happen out there on the ocean.." there's obviously more to the story and the Starcrafter has some obvious hesitations about seafaring. Between the other two, they're catching on to more than Zah has herself, the sweet aloof awkwardness that she is likely won't realize that Garait may be blushing because of her. "Oh.." she says as Soriana agrees that they should depart "Guess we'll see you two back at the Weyr.. safe travels.." she waves in the direction of their departure and notes "S'good t'see those two hanging out again.." yep.. hanging out.. yep, this is how Zah sees those kind of things.

Glancing over at the Starcrafter as Kale mentions heading back, Garait considers before speaking, "Hey Zah, we should consider heading back in a little bit as well, once we're done here. Definitely want to get back before dark and preferably before all the food from dinner is gone." He chuckles at Kale anf holds up the hide, "Well, I have a map actually if you want to head back together?" He glances at the Starcrafter to see if she'd be more comfortable with that since he doesn't want to push or rush anything. Lesson was learned.

There's an exaggerated roll of his eyes from Kale at Soriana's version of their story. And he silently 'blah blah blahs' throughout what she says, all the while fighting to keep the corners of his mouth from curving. But oh yes. They're leaving! Don't mind them as you … research, friends! "Yeah yeah, compass. I'll be sure to craft you a beginner's version for your next turnday. It'll be the one that points to 'I don't know where I'm going' no matter where you are." But oh hey…did someone say extra lunch? He can only hope that wasn't a tease as he too waves to the two crafters, taking backwards steps with a grin he needn't try to hide. Oh yes. Yes he saw that! But this grin is just a regular grin. Not a 'heh heh oh yeah we know' sort of grin. Really! Though Garait speaks of all going together, he shakes his head. "That's alright. We'll figure it out. We're not heading home just yet anyway, huh?" Wave! "See you!" His hand untwines from Sori only so that that same arm can snake around her waist before he turns with her and the runner to head back through the bog and to drier grounds. So much to do and discuss!

Yep, Soriana and Kale are hanging out again. That, and looking for peace and quiet… probably so they can fill that quiet with the sounds of smoochyface. "Told you!" says Soriana to Kale as Zah suggests a direction to the Hold - not that they meant to actually get there today, but it was a direction. Directions are useful in providing a shape to the noise and calamity that is a day out and about. Sori grins back to Zahleizjah. "Thanks! Good luck finding those beacon sites!" Garait's offer of a map is waved off by her as well. "We'll be fine!" Probably. What's the worst that happens, they get attacked by wild felines and driven into hiding for weeks? Pff, what are the odds of that happening twice? Besides, they've got three firelizards between them, so one of them is bound to be able to get a message back, and furthermore, they're sixteen and therefore immortal. Most importantly at all, going back with company means No Smoochyface today, and that would just be tragic. "See you back at the Weyr!" she calls. Her arm goes around Kale's middle in turn, and off they go.

Whatever it is everyone knows, or thinks they know, Zahl is unforthcoming and doesn't quite seem to get 'it' yet like Kale and Soriana have. So as the two depart, she smiles and watches them leave sending a "Thanks Sori! Catch you two back at Xanadu!" Their direction before turning towards Garait and mentioning "Boy, they sure were acting strange.. besides reuniting again, I wonder what was up with those two.." She shrugs it off, figuring she'd be acting kinda odd in their situation (and, well almost any situation for that matter), making no assumptions about their plans for solitude and facesucking time. "So… umm, looks like you're stuck with me now Garait.. I agree we should head back if you're all done. I've got all my stuff with me.. and umm hope you don't mind my muddy shoes coming along for the ride.. I'll even help you wash your runner when we get back if you like.." Easy as that right? Not awkward that it's just the two of them now right? Right!

Well, looks like they're going to be headed off after Kale and Sori have left. He waves at the two, sending his farewells before turning back to Zah, "Well, um, yeah looks like they are back together. And I wouldn't say I'm stuck with you Zah since your company is most welcome. I'm pretty much done now, and i don't mind muddy shoes." He gives Zah a smile then, "Well, I'd be grateful for the help since he'll be muddy and he does like to look pretty." With that, he starts helping Zah with her stuff and they'll shorly be headed back to the Weyr as well.

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