Cenlia Meets A'dar

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 protective stone outcropping, is an enormous twenty foot wide fish pond. Within one can glean the metallic glint of playful goldfish, the unhurried cruise of fat koi, and even a frog or three among pale yellow and white flowering water lilies and their thick green pads.

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

Graduation is coming up, and A'dar knows it. It's about all he can think about recently—upgrading from the little couch that he and Zeituth have been sleeping on in the weyrling barracks…getting his own weyr, a place that he can go back to his clockmaking. Currently, Zei and A'dar's wandering has taken them to the gardens at Xanadu; mostly they were following Zei's nose, actually, and he smelled flowers. Besides that, the ordered look of the place is attractive to the blue.

"…Are you sure we should be in here…?" A'dar inquires, peeking around the place cautiously. "I mean…I know it's pretty and all…but I don't know if we're allowed in here yet." Pause. "Well, that's true, I suppose…." He seems to relax a little then, and enters the garden proper. Zei strolls about idly—but carefully, so as not to crush the flowers - stopping once in a while to sniff a group of flowers.

Cenlia is halfway under a shrubbery, which isn't really all that unusual for her. She's crouched right under the lowest leaves, examining them with a critical eye, and harrumphing a bit, as if the slightly browned foliage of this particular plant were somehow insulting. She looks up when she hears A'dar's voice, eyes going a bit wide when she spots his dragon. "Hello!" she calls, backing out from the plant, stray twigs and bits of dead leaves coming along with her.

Both A'dar and Zei look up from their respective examinations - A'dar had begun to look into the fish pond and nudge some of the lilies about - and blink, almost in tandem. "Oh, hello," A'dar offers, giving a smile. "I didn't see you there at first." Both he and Zei approach a bit closer. "I think…weren't you watching the manned flight lesson?" he inquires. A pause, and he looks to Zei. "Yes, that's the one. I hope she doesn't take him literally." Pause. "No." It's a flat-out refusal.

Brushing dead leaves and bits of twigs off her clothing with her unbandaged hand, Cenlia straightens up and grins a bit, "Oh, I uh, yea. You all looked like you were having fun. Well most of you." and then she tilts her head, "Doesn't take who literally?" Her curiosity getting the better of her.

"The Weyrlingmaster said he wanted Thea's hair 'gone'," A'dar notes, raising his hands to emphasize the word 'gone'. "I'm sure he didn't mean it literally, as in shaved completely off. I'm just concerned she's going to think he *did* mean it literally." He chuckles a little. "Zei also wanted to know if I would shave my head if the Weyrlingmaster meant it literally, and I said no. They can just toss me out, hold me back from graduation…whatever they do. But I'm not chopping off my hair." He wrinkles his nose.

"So that's what that was about. I was wondering. He did look awfully angry." and then Cenlia giggles, "I don't think I can imagine her with a shaved head." She eyes A'dar's hair thoughtfully… in much the same way she was just eyeing the shrubbery, then says, "Well, I don't suppose they'd be able to toss you out of the weyr. Not many places one can keep a dragon," and then she frowns a bit and says quickly, "Oh! I'm Cenlia, by the way," breaking into a grin.

"That's quite true," A'dar notes. "I doubt they'd be cruel enough to separate us." Pause, and a glance back to Zeituth as the blue rumbles quietly. "…Well, we can hope." Addressing them both now, "I mean, it's not like either of us could be put with another, so…separating us wouldn't really help, would it?" At the introduction, he seems to drop the rather unpleasant topic and gives a smile. "A'dar," he offers, extending a hand for her to shake. "And this is Zeituth. We're both pleased to meet you." Zei bows his head, as if bowing respectfully to her.

Cenlia shakes the offered hand and nods politely to the dragon, murmuring almost without thinking, "Pretty." Obviously meaning the dragon, not his rider. She seems a bit taken aback by the head bow, but continues to grin "Well met, A'dar and Zeituth."

A'dar chuckles as Zeituth stretches his wings slightly and draws his neck up in a graceful arch. He's obviously posing for Cenlia. "Showoff," A'dar jokes, sending a teasing grin. Zei snorts and flutters his wings very lightly, not hard enough to make enough wind to kick up anything.

Cenlia's eyes widen a bit at the display. She giggles at A'dar's comment and says, "Impressive though. How big do blue dragons get?" Even having been at the weyr for several sevedays, the girl is still not quite used to seeing the creatures up close. But at least she's no longer gawking every time one flies overhead.

"I don't think Zei's going to get much bigger," A'dar notes. "Though I think at least one of the other weyrlings has a blue that's larger. From my observation, Zeituth is about medium-sized as far as blues go." A chuckle, as Zei churrs softly, and flutters his wings again. "Yes, I know that." He shakes his head good-naturedly and notes to Cenlia, "He's very concerned with his appearance. Though he keeps wondering why I don't use the clock oil to oil his hide, because he likes the way clean clock oil smells."

There's that thoughtful look again, though no shrubbery is being analyzed, "Still pretty big. Well, if I was that good lookin', I'd certainly be concerned too about how I looked too," she laughs. "Oh? Clock oil?" she blinks, sounding a bit confused. "What do you use clock oil for?" She glances at the dragon again, as if trying to figure out what aspect of dragonriding, barring oiling the actual dragon, could possibly involve clock oil.

"For Zei? Nothing," A'dar notes. "But a dragon's hide has to be oiled, or it gets dry and cracked. And that can cause all kinds of problems. But it's not clock oil that's used for that; it's a kind of skin oil made for their skin. He keeps wanting me to use clock oil instead, but I don't know what it would do to him. Besides, one of us smelling like clock oil is enough." He chuckles.

Cenlia aahs and nods, "Probably safer not to risk that." She sniffs a bit, eyes twinkling with good humor, and adds lightly, "And I imagine a dragon covered in the stuff might outsmell the flowers. That'd be a shame."

A'dar nods, giving a chuckle. "I do use it in my craft…well, when I can practice it," he notes. "I'm a clockmaker. But yes…that would definitely give him an…interesting appeal, scent-wise." He grins. "Not that it stinks…but it's a…unique scent. One that takes getting used to."

"A clockmaker, huh? That sounds like an interesting craft," again her curiosity is evident, though she continues without pause, "At least he likes the smell of clock oil. Might be a bother if he didn't," she says, giving the pair an amused look. Taking another sniff of the air, she looks approvingly at the nearest flowers, and states firmly, "Can't be worse than a hen coop in the middle of summer. Nothing is worse than that." The face she makes might indicate she's got more against chickens than just the smell.

A'dar wrinkles his nose. "Eugh. I bet that's nasty," he notes. "I don't know myself, I didn't spend a lot of time around hen coops when I was growing up." Though he does not volunteer any information about his past. "Sounds awful, though. Did you work around them a lot?" he inquires.

Cenlia nods, saying, "My da was a beastcrafter - only has a few hens now. Right little terrors, all of them. Little ones are kind of cute though," she admits, "Fluffy. But he'd tried to get me and my brothers interested in raising them. Lucky for me, my ma had me helping in the kitchens half the time. Then I got sent off to work the orchards." She grins, "I'll take brandy peaches over chickens any day. Definitely smell better too."

"That they do!" A'dar agrees, giving a chuckle. "I've never been good with animals myself. Always had more of a talent for fixing things. Clocks are complicated; each little tooth on every gear has to mesh perfectly with another gear." He raises his hands and interlocks the fingers to illustrate. Zei has wandered off by this point, to nudge the lilies in the pond into a more orderly fashion, arranging them by color and size.

Glancing over at the pond, Cenlia raises an amused eyebrow at the dragon who seems to be… re-arranging the lillies? But at the explanation of clocks, she turns to watch A'dar's hands, curious, but at the same time looking a little baffled, "Gears have… teeth?" Having never seen the interior workings of a clock, the girl can only imagine.

A'dar chuckles. "Not literally teeth," he explains. "They're little pieces of metal that stick out from the circular gear itself. They engage other little pieces of metal and in doing so, affect other gears. Like this." A'dar again meshes his fingers together, but then rotates a wrist, demonstrating how, when the fingers of one hand move down, they pull the other hand down as well. He looks to Zei then, and smirks. "He's taken to not eating caprines, either…because he's fascinated by their life cycle."

Cenlia furrows her brow, watching the hands again. "Oh, I see" she says, nodding slowly at the further explanation of the inner workings of clocks. "Certainly sounds complicated," she says after a moment, "If they've all got to fit perfectly together, it must take a lot of patience to put one together." She glances again at the dragon, and then tilts her head, "Hmm, life cycle? Are they really that interesting?"

A'dar nods; it's clear by his demeanor that he enjoys talking about clocks and their inner workings. "Patience, precision, and a steady hand," he says. "Luckily, I have all three." A chuckle then, and he shakes his head. "Not really; there are several different types, and he's just taken a liking to trying to find the difference between them. Why one breed makes meat, the other is favored for its milk, another for its pelt…." He waves a hand. "Entirely too meticulous." Zei looks up from the lilies and snorts. "Well, you are," A'dar notes, looking to the blue. "They're for eating; I'm sure you could find all the information you wanted if you looked." Pause. "See for yourself. Oh. Well, I suppose that makes sense…."

Cenlia chuckles at the clockmaker's obvious enthusiasm. At the mention of different breeds of caprines for milks and meat and whatnot, the girl makes a face, saying, "Better watch out, he might end up a beastcrafter, and be asking to keep a herd next," though her tone is more amused than anything else. "One for meat and one for milk, hunh. I suppose one type might taste better than another," she offers, but there's definitely not much enthusiasm there. Quite possibly, the chickens are to blame. She looks back to the pond, the amused expression returning. Grinning at the exchange between dragon and rider, Cenlia chuckles, "Meticulous, hm?"

A'dar laughs. "That would be something of a disaster, for him to end up doing beastcrafters' work. Hopefully he'll grow out of it when he matures a bit more. He's not quite grown yet." Then he smirks. "Yes. Meticulous and finicky. Very neat and organized. Do you know, he wants his couch facing EXACTLY the same direction every night? And he'll check, too."

Eyebrows raised, Cenlia can't help but laugh, "Exactly the same every night, huh? Sounds like that takes a lot of patience, precision, and maybe a steady hand." She winks, stifling a snicker.

A'dar chuckles. "Quite right," he notes. By the grin on his face, he knows exactly what she's referencing. And even Zei offers a mirthful dragon chuckle. "On the bright side of all that…he doesn't get annoyed at the constant tickling sounds. Because I hope to fill our weyrwhen we get one, that iswith clocks. And even if I don't…I'll still be making them, so there will probably be a lot of them around…."

"A weyr full of clocks," Cenlia muses, "Now that'd be a sight to see. How soon do you think you'll be getting a weyr? Thea told me you all were fairly close to graduating from being weyrlings. And I'd been planning to spread around some peach brandy as soon as I had an excuse to - well, unless Weyrsecond R'miel trades me that tray of pastries he promised." Her eyes full of mischief, she adds, "There's going to be several bottles tucked away."

A'dar smirks. "I actually don't drink all that often," he notes. "I don't really see the lure in becoming so…well, drunk, that you can't even think straight. I…kind of see it as a loss of control, and I don't like that." He looks a little sheepish. "I think we're close to graduating, yes. Maybe even as close as within the next two sevendays or so. I'll be looking forward to that."

Cenlia grins and says with authority, "It's the taste of the stuff that matters. Though, I suppose there's probably a fair few folks who like getting drunk." Is that a snicker? It might be. "But getting drunk," she shakes her head, "is not so bad as the headache the next morning." With a grimace she says, "Lack of control's pretty bad too. Once had one too many mugs, and woke up the next morning in a tree three orchards over. Wearing nothing but one sock and someone else's hat. Had a terrific time explaining that one to my uncle."

A'dar can't help but laugh as Cenlia relays the story of her being treed while drunk. "I can imagine," he notes as she mentions having to explain it. "And I'm sure the explanation is just as interesting as the results of whatever you were drinking." He smirks.

"I thought he was going to flay me," the girl says. Then, attempting to compose her features into utter seriousness, she mutters, "All I'm going to say about the explanation is /thank goodness for that hat/." But Cenlia is grinning as she continues, "I was more worried about what my ma was gonna do to me when she learned that my uncle'd decided to send me off to Xanadu the next sevenday."

A'dar can't help but laugh as she mentions how thankful she was for the hat. However, as she mentions being sent here…. "Ah, so you were shipped off after that?" A'dar inquires. He seems sympathetic now. Perhaps he too has had a similar experience with his parents?

"A little bit after," Cenlia nods, "Was half afraid they'd ship me north to Fort where my sister is. But my uncle told me there's a greenhouse here," she waves her hand towards the greenhouse, "and that pretty much decided it." She gives A'dar a lopsided grin, "Am sure he wanted to make sure I was off doing something useful - useful that didn't include peach brandy as the end result."

"Ah, I see," A'dar muses softly. "Do you miss them?" he inquires. He's oddly serious as he asks the question. And for some reason, Zei steps a little closer and nudges him slightly. He looks to Zei and smiles, looping an arm around the blue's neck as one would a longtime friend.

Cenlia tilts her head at the odd seriousness, and frowns slightly, "Well, yea… I've only been here a couple of months, though." As if the time spent away from home should make her miss them any less, though she does look a bit homesick as she shrugs, "I guess I miss the orchards. My brothers and cousins and I used to get up to all sorts of trouble, drive my ma to distraction, 'specially with Evrid's love of making tuber ale." She smiles a bit, "Probably gave my uncle nightmares, thinking what we'd be up to come harvest time."

A'dar chuckles. "I can imagine," he notes. Though he doesn't supply any information about himself. Perhaps he just doesn't like talking about himself, doesn't think it's important?

The dragonrider may be unwilling to talk about his family, but the girl certainly doesn't seem to mind, "We never did anything too bad, though. Least not anything we could get caught for. My ma would always threaten me that she'd send me back to the kitchens if I got in enough trouble, but my da always convinced her that I was better off in the orchard. There's good marks in brandy-making," Cenlia grins. "I think there were about fifteen of us left at Sunny Orchard after last turn's harvest. We lit a big fire out in a field and got chased off by the boys down from one of the other farms. Most of the cousins and all had gone off to set up farms or got fostered somewhere, so we'd always be shuffled about to whoever needed an extra hand come harvest time. My sister got fostered by a weaver and my brother Eledri went south. Who knows where he ended up," she shakes her head and sighs, "This place is kinda like South Boll, though. Same type of weather, nice and warm."

A'dar nods, listening intently to her story. He doesn't seem as though he's distracted, but keeps his gaze firmly fixed upon Cenlia's. "There is," he notes to her comment of brandy-making being lucrative. "From what I hear, so long as there are riders of male dragons who fail to catch a rising female, there will always be need of spirits." He smirks. "I still have a way to go before Zei does all that, thank Faranth." A grin to the blue.

Cenlia laughs at his mention of male dragons' riders and booze, "If even half the stories my cousins told me about weyrs is true, I should probably have brought more bottles of brandy with me." Then she shakes her head, "But there's a tavern, so I guess even if I do get around to making some interesting things out of fruit, like I was telling Thea, well, there's always cheaper ale. Haven't had a chance to do more than look inside the tavern, yet. Am not so fond of ale as I am of brandy. Would think I'd be sick of the stuff by now," she giggles, then gives the two a grin, "Well, there are certainly good reasons in getting drunk - forgetting something that just happened being the most important."

"Quite true," A'dar replies. "Then again…it's still there when you sober up…so in the end you still have to remember it. And then you have to deal with it and a headache that feels like a herd of runnerbeasts are dancing on your head." A grin. Zei gives a snort, and A'dar looks to him. "Oh. Yes, thank you for reminding me." To Cenlia, "And if you're a rider, your dragon has to put up with the feelings. Zei gets headaches when I do. And the reverse, too…when he's sick, I am too."

"Yeah, the headaches," and she makes a face at that, "Not the best thing to wake up to. Still, there've been some times I couldn't remember when I got drunk - sort of wish I did. Must've been one interesting night." But then Cenlia looks curious at the mention of dragons sharing hangovers and asks, "Really? Must be pretty awful, if one of you gets sick and the other feels it too." And then something seems to occur to her, and she asks, "Hunh, what about… drunk? Can dragons feel drunk from their riders?" She seems dubious about that, but also a bit worried - one certainly wouldn't want to be around a bunch of drunk dragons, especially after what he said about riders boozing after losing a mating flight!

A'dar shakes his head. "I don't think so. Not drunk anyway," he notes. "After Impressing, we were cautioned against getting drunk while our dragons were still learning the intricacies of our personalities, and of people in general. I suppose they were afraid that, if a weyrling was to lose consciousness while drunk, his dragons might misinterpret it as him being dead, and then…well, you probably know what happens when a dragon thinks its rider is dead…." He trails off, frowning at the unpleasant thought. Zei actually seems to lower his head. If a dragon could pout, the blue certainly is doing that.

Cenlia looks a bit relieved that dragons, at least, aren't likely to get drunk from their riders boozing. Then she frowns also, "Yeah… probably better to keep off the ale." And then the pretty blue dragon is pouting, or looks like he is, so she quickly changes the subject, "What's it like, to impress a dragon?"

A'dar seems grateful for the change in subject. Brings back memories of those awful Betweening lessons. Ugh. And such a topic, too. "Hm…it's hard to describe," he notes. "I'm betting it's different for every person, and every dragon's mindvoice is different. For me…I was standing there on the sands looking shocked because Vivian shooed poor Zei here. She wanted Seryth, you see. And I was just staring at her. I couldn't believe she did that. And then I noticed a presence in front of me. I looked up…and…." Here he pauses. "Do you have firelizards?" he inquires. "I realize that's a silly thing to ask…but bear with me, it's going somewhere." He chuckles.

"Who's Vivian?" she asks, not recognizing the name, and then blinks in surprise, "She /shooed/ a dragon?" Cenlia furrows her brows, "Well, obviously she didn't get Seryth," and she almost smirks. Then she shakes her head, "No firelizards. Only things that hang around me are trundlebugs."

"She was a candidate for these last two clutches, Kilaueth's and Ellamariseth," A'dar replies. "I don't know much about her. Except that she's unpleasant. And rather arrogant." He nods to Cenlia's surprised question. "Indeed she did. She went like this…." He raises his hands and flutters them slightly, as if daintily shooing something unpleasant away. As he does so, he screws up his face in the best approximation of Vivian's displeased expression (though exaggerated somewhat). Adopting a high-pitched tone of voice, in a dismal attempt to copy her voice. "'Go away, you silly dragon. I'm not the one you want'." He drops the act and shakes his head. Then he looks back to Zei, who offers a snort. "Here, here," he notes to whatever the dragon has said. A pause as Cenlia notes that she has no firelizards. "Hmm…well…have you ever heard of love at first sight? Again, silly I know…but when the hatchling's eyes meet their chosen lifemate's, that's what it's like. In that moment, nothing exists but the two of you. It's a split second, gone as quickly as it came. But you don't ever forget. Then you hear their voice in your head. They know your name. They KNOW you. Almost better than you know yourself. Every dragon's mindvoice is different, I'm told. Zei's voice is like a cooling breeze in summer."

Looking at A'dar in disbelief at his description of Vivian shooing Zei, she can only shake her head. "Hunh," is her response to his mimicry of Vivian. As A'dar describes impression, Cenlia seems thoughtful and grins, "Sounds pretty amazing." And then she chuckles, "I suppose asking a dragonrider to describe impression is like asking someone to describe the taste of sweetening without describing any food. Can't do it, really."

A'dar nods. "Exactly." He chuckles. "It's like trying to tell someone what 'blue' is without pointing at something blue and saying 'this is blue'. But then…I think I did pretty good trying. There was a time when I couldn't have even described it that well. There'd have been no way I could have made myself understood."

Cenlia nods and grins, "From that description, no wonder," and she giggles. "It must have been pretty interesting having a voice in your head and taking care of a little dragon. Is it like taking care of children? How big are they when they hatch?" And then she rubs the back of her neck, looking embarassed, "Ah, I'm sounding like a back-country apple-picker all over again. I already pestered Thea, and now you," and she laughs.

A'dar chuckles. "You think I wasn't just as curious?" he notes. "I was indeed. Still am, actually. And I still have a voice in my head; that's how a dragon communicates with its rider. And how the dragons communicate with each other." A smirk. "They're not too big when they hatch…Zei was almost three meters, but there are bigger dragons. Generally, they're just big enough to knock you on your rear if you're not careful. And the dragons will run over you at a hatching. Not on purpose of course…you just have to stay out of their way." A grin. "For a while, yes…it's like taking care of a child. They don't want you to leave them for long, even to go bathe, you have to clean up after them, and things like that. Of course, now that they can Between, they can…leave their 'offerings' there. So no more cleaning up after them."

Chuckling a bit at the description of little - although 3 meters is certainly not that little! - dragons knocking candidates down, Cenlia says, "Must help to have fast feet." She laughs again at the mention of 'offerings' and grins, shaking her head, "A child that you have to clean up after and can talk in your head?" She snickers, and then glances up towards the sky, looking suddenly dismayed, "Ah, I need to get the lavendar potted!" Scooting off towards the greenhouse, she says, "It was good to meet you both - hopefully I'll run into you again."

A'dar nods, and offers a wave. "We should probably get back to the barracks before we're missed," he notes. "A pleasure to have actually met you, rather than just seeing you from a distance. Maybe, once we've all graduated, Zei and I can take you flying. That's lots of fun." He offers a wave. "Hope to see you soon!" That said, he and Zei head back towards the weyrlings area. But not before Zei straightens a lily in the pond that his moving his snout around in there knocked out of the order he put it in….

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