Whenever You Need Us

Xanadu Weyr - Main Clearing
A wide clearing stretches from east to west, the ground packed hard although grass grows across most of it. Trees are strictly forbidden in this space, their danger to the constant draconic traffic reason enough to banish them to the forest that creates a border to the north. Where the ground is less trampled, tiny flowers poke their delicate heads out from their shaded hiding places with upturned petals to wave to whoever may be looking.

The cliff looms imposingly on two sides. Toward the southwest, a spire stretches up to high above where the everpresent watchdragon sits on a lonely peak with Xanadu's Starstones. A massive rocky spur extends to the north, curved slightly to hold the clearing and pocked with doors and windows.

The hatching arena and Dragonhealers' Annex sit to the southeast, built together into a single complex that takes up a large portion of the perimeter beneath its domed roof. To the southwest, wide steps lead up to the caverns, and almost directly south is the entrance to the Infirmary. Nestled between the infirmary and the main caverns there's a human-sized archway with frequent traffic - it leads to the Wanderin' Wherry Tavern.

Tucked near the arch, just off to one side is a tiny wood-frame shop bearing the name 'Wildflower Boutique'. Windows have been cut along the cliff in various places along the cliff. Those of the administrative offices are placed to have the best view of Xanadu's airspace - to the southwest, over the entrance to the caverns and the infirmary. Others mark the dormitories and those of lucky residents, while toward the northern edge of that spur cluster the windows and entrances to the crafters' complex.

The rest of the Weyr lies to the north and east - a broad road that leads through the meadow and the trees of the forest beyond. At the far northern edge of the clearing, just inside the perimeter kept clear of trees, a clocktower sits and proudly displays the hour.

She's waiting for them in the clearing when they land. The redhead in her bright copper tunic with the contrasting black pantaloons, tight at the hip, but loose around the leg before they tighten at her knee where they vanish into boots, would be hard to miss with the teal scarf bound around her middle to draw the eye. She's been back in the Weyr from the spring gather circuit for some weeks, though often riding out into the sweep for her duties. That night in the Wherry, she made a point to snag V'ro for a catchup chat with greenrider and dragon and she's been sure to check in from time to time with the dragon, at least, even if she's proved slightly more elusive to Koth's rider. Maybe it's just that Koth is visually a bigger target to spot from afar, or maybe it's just that they've got their friendship and Riddle and Red have their own friendship, and rarely the twain shall meet? Something. In any case, she's waiting for them today when their duties finish and she shows no hesitation in sprinting with an absurdly graceful gait toward Koth as soon as their companions have moved along and she's 'off-duty.' "Hello, my darling!" Koth, who is offered only the most affectionate and now well-practiced caresses and scratches to head and knobs and under the jaw while she flashes a smile toward the greenrider. "Riddle." But something is up. Tej, usually so composed, has an undercurrent of agitation today.

Koth notices the redhead before V'ro does, predatory instincts drawn to the human sprinting toward her. Fortunately she likes this human and her response is to warble a greeting, lowering her head for Tejra to have easy access to all the best spots. V'ro might roll his eyes at their greeting to each other, but the green's delight bleeds over whether he likes it or not, and he smiles back. "Red. What's up? Your cycle?" He'll take a guess at what's bothering her, sure.

Well, obviously, that means Tejra needs to briefly leave the much more pleasant task of snuggling her green bestie and punch Koth's rider in the shoulder. Of course, the hot-cold harper follows this up with looping her arms around V'ro's middle and pressing her head to his shoulder in a brief embrace. When she leans back, not releasing her arms from around his middle she takes a deep breath and looks between the greenrider and his lifemate. "I've been asked to Stand for the clutch at Igen." For once, there's no prevaricating, no clever dance of words, just a very straightforward delivery of her her news.

"Ow, what the fuck," complains V'ro, starting to draw back as Tejra puts her arms around him. He puts an arm around her in turn, reflexive, and looks at her with a furrowed brow when she looks at him. "And you said yes?" He seems surprised. Then he's pointing it out like it ought to mean something, "But you just got back." Okay, weeks aren't just, but close enough.

The redhead retucks her head against V'ro's shoulder, snuggling him for all that they're standing in the clearing and he's in his riding gear and all. "You smell like the wind," Tej murmurs to him, as if it were the most normal thing in the world to tell him. She doesn't move, not for long moments. Then she draws back, back enough to pull her arms free of his waist and rock a step away from him and closer to Koth again. "I said I needed to get my things in order and to get permission but if I could do all of that, that I would like to." She looks to Koth, expression briefly less guarded, briefly wistful.

At least it's hard to take offense to smelling like the wind. V'ro probably even understands what she means. He still looks… not pained, exactly, but not as thrilled by the idea of Tejra finding her lifemate as maybe he ought to be, given that he's found his own. "So… you're going to Igen, then. I guess that's not too far." Since he can fly and all. "Suppose that means no sex, then, huh." That must be a joke, probably?

"There's still time before I go," Tej's lips pull into that predatory smile as she glances back to V'ro, through her lashes. She's calling his bluff though. Right? Her hands go out to Koth again to rub across the dragon's headknobs if she's allowed. "I won't be far. You'll visit me while I can't visit you, won't you?" This is as much to Koth as to V'ro; there are, after all, two friendships here in the mix. "And that's all assuming my master will give me permission. I'm not sure—" she starts, eyes drifting to some indistinct point before snapping back to Koth. "Anyway. It's not certain, yet. And Igen, all that sand… but." But the possibility of a lifemate… She turns where she stands to look back at V'ro. "We're friends, right?" There's something a touch vulnerable in the question, pale eyes studying his face, expression somehow still guarded but a touch more vulnerable all at the same time. She's nothing if not a creature of contrasts, even within the same moment, movement, word or expression.

V'ro can't help the snortlaugh, affectionate, when she calls his bluff. At least what he thinks is a bluff. It's not like things don't get weird around her sometimes. "We'll figure something out." About the visiting, not the sex, presumably. He's about to say something else, probably reassurance about getting permission, but the last question gives him pause. He studies the redhead for just a moment, then, "Of course we're friends. Are you okay, babe?" Koth makes a sound that can only be translated as an echo of her lifemate's question.

There's much in V'ro and Koth's response that is reassuring to Tej, but it doesn't change that she briefly might be likened to a kite, straining at the end of its string to take off into the wild beyond, unbound, and— joyful? Terrified? Something? " I don't know?" She answers them more honestly than virtually everyone else in the world might be able to get. For once, she looks her age, still less than twenty. Hardly a grown up at all for all that she's got the Journeyman's shoulderknot and the associated responsibilities. She snatches V'ro's hand, but it's Koth that she drapes herself bodily across - just against her neck, where her free hand can still rub the dragon's headknobs. "I'm—" The words stop by habit. Tej doesn't do this. She doesn't share her innermost thoughts. But just now, to her friends, she's going to: "I'm afraid to hope." And there's a sound that's a caught sob. It's not allowed to find the air, but it's held inside the prison of tense muscles, her hand tugging V'ro closer so they can all cuddle together for a moment.

No doubt V'ro isn't taking the harper's sharing for granted, but there's a hesitancy in the way he responds, like he's worried about discouraging her openness. "Hope can be scary," he admits, all too familiar with the concept. "But no matter what happens, we'll be right here for you. Whenever you need us." It takes Koth longer, but her presence is there with Tejra, strong and protective. « If you had been on the sands instead of V'ro, I would have chosen you. » V'ro will try not to take it personally.

"Oh, hush," Tejra might be telling both of them, but they both get kisses anyway, Koth first and then V'ro, splitting the distance between his cheek and his lips. She ends up with her arms around V'ro's neck and her head tucked up against his shoulder. "Thank you. Both." It's quiet, but it's painfully real. "I need to collect some things before I can go to the Hall to speak to my master, but is tonight alright? I don't want to leave it go. She may be… indecisive, initially." May, but won't, as it turns out. When they get to the Hall, it will be not a long meeting, in fact, before Tejra's back and ready to make the trek to Igen, with the help and support of some of her best friends.

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