Blue Moons

Xanadu Weyr - Glade
Surrounded by majestic trees with their boughs spread outward in the ovalesque clearing so as to create a gentle filtering of the light on the glade floor, this little area of paradise located in the depths of the forest that surrounds Xanadu Weyr makes its debut. Tiny flowers with their upturned pistles of yellow, pink, red and blue scatter here and there, some of them with definitive petals that glisten in what light is supplied, and others appearing like tiny balls of fuzz or fluff, with stamen so fine that to distinguish between themselves and the petals is nearly impossible. Their leaves are of all different shapes and sizes, some coming up to shield the blooms during the day and thus only allowing their beauty to be seen at night.
One thing that makes this area of the weyr so popular with the residents and riders would be the small moon pool that is situated directly center of the glade where even the longest of the tree limbs cannot reach. The water is smooth as glass, as the trees cause such a wind break that nothing ever disturbs it. The reflection of the moonlight at night confuses the flowers around it, so they sleep all day, and then their magnificent blooms open during the night. Concrete benches have been situated about the pool for people to sit and enjoy these rare occurances in relaxation.

It's a lovely, warm autumn night filled with the soft susurrous of leaves stirring on a gentle breeze and the distant humming chirps of forest denizens. Dimglows twinkle and flash along the forest path, rim the edges of the moonlit pond, giving the space an aire of gentle mystery. The clearing itself has been lit only by glowbaskets, carefully shuttered to provide light to move by without ruining night vision. It focuses around tables laden with food and drink, as well as an ENORMOUS basket filled with brightly-colored party favors for people to pull apart for fun. Similar glowbaskets guide the way towards seating in the form of soft blankets and pillows that ring the edges of the central pond. Weyr denizens that have already arrived are clustered in groups throughout the clearing, quiet talking interrupted only by the occasional crack of a party favor, the general hush of the forest this far from the weyr somehow pervading the space.

Siobhan is one of those quiet talkers, conversing with one of the myriad Starcrafters littering the clearing in vaguely-suspicious numbers. None of them are revealing their secrets but then, the bluerider isn't one to press for information. She has a drink in her hand, an a little white cake she's shoving into her mouth with much less dignity than one might expect of a woman her age, and she might be eyeing up those party crackers as though, as soon as a small flock of children moves out of the way, she'll be scooping one up next. Hmm!

And there's Risali. Does she know shame? Not even an ounce of it. But she is staring hard at the little map in her hands, looking thrilled by the contents as she BUMPS SHOULDERS and rubs UNCOMFORTABLY CLOSE to those starcrafters in their secret hoarding primes. The bump into Siobhan might even be an accident, but if it is, the golderider doesn't seem to acknowledge the mistake. "This is great," she whispers, grey eyes flickering up to the older woman's, hesitating only a moment because she doesn't really know her, and then she's catching at Sio's wrist with one hand hand biting into some of that CAKE. "Mmm." Grey eyes follow her line of sight, and Risali's expression brightens SO MUCH MORE (if it's even possible) before she chipmunk cheeks her way over to the favor-laden basket, grabs TWO HANDFULS, and then makes her way back to Sio. SOME FOR YOU, delivered around a cake-y smile. Sigh.

There are D'leis lurking in those trees. Okay, maybe it's only one D'lei, but he is still lurking out among those trees. He's sitting up on a branch, one that puts his head at the level of the half-closed dragon-eyes from Garouth's head resting on the branch next to him. They're watching, they are, and D'lei is scritching over eye-ridges. Who, him? Is he here? Naaaah. He's not- he's totally here, but he's not here. (Yet.)

A scribbled copy of a map is in Ricki's hands, the young woman chewing on her lip as she follows the directions, though it helps that others seem to be headed in the same direction. And so, upon arriving in the clearing, it is a rather surprised expression that appear on her face as she stops short, waiting on the edge. Glancing this way and that, she blinks a few times, taking a hesitant step into the ring of glow baskets, eyes flicking over the attendees to identify well, any of them.

Sephany is just arriving, moving along the glow-lit path with quiet steps on sandaled feet; the wispy fabric that makes up her dress catching at her legs intermittently. Not exactly an outdoor-type ensemble, though once she's made it into the glade, it's much less likely that damage will occur to the delicate material. She does not have a map, and likely did not solve the riddle at all, but simply followed along with someone who had. Shameless, really. Though there was likely copious thanks offered, all genuine and heartfelt. "Oh…" for that first reveal, grey eyes taking in the ethereal-like ambiance and just… melting. Romantic at heart, this one. "It's beautiful!" which is not said to anyone in particular, just sort of sighed-out in a wistful sort of way.

Where is Siobhan's map? In her back pocket, actually, awkwardly folded because priorities. She's enjoying watching others wander in with them, though, eyes twitching away from coveting party favors to peer towards Risali's, and then Ricki's as well. "Right? It was very clever. I keep trying to find out whose idea it was, but it might as well be a weyr secret. I don't suppose you know?" She is one of the women in charge, right? This makes Sio hopeful. "I—" Nope. Whatever that started to be, it's lost when her cake is NOMMED right out of her HAND and Siobhan just… blinks and watches Risali scuttle off for favors. "I hope you're in good health," Siobhan mutters amusedly when crackers are carted back, stuffing the rest of her cake in her mouth because when in Xanadu, taking two favors and offering the spare towards someone else. Ricki? Sephany? D'LEI UP THERE IN THAT TREE? Anyone? The first she offers towards Risa with a grin. "Pull and see what you get and I'll try not to steal it off you if it's any good." Smirk.

Is Risali aware of D'lei, or even Garouth up in those trees? Maybe. If she is, those grey eyes haven't strayed towards where adept fingers apply scitches to the eye ridges of a brindle-hided sire even once. She's too busy EATING OTHER PEOPLE'S CAKE and stealing more party favors than is remotely necessary for a woman of her station (or age). It doesn't stop her, not from swallowing down stolen bites, or juggling her belongings so that she can grab the proffered ends of party favors, and pull, and…! CRACK! Risali answers before she looks at her prize with a slow-drawn, "I am quite sure that I have no idea what you're talking about." It could be a lie, or she could be being honest. It doesn't matter, because those grey eyes are much too delighted when she's gathering up a lei of fake flowers in her hands, and then putting them on. "First one tonight to get lei'd." WHERE ARE YOU WEYRMATE? SHE NEEDS TO MAKE FUN OF YOUR NAME. Regardless, grey eyes are going to Ricki and Sephany, waggling some over her own party favors. "Come on, ladies." And yes, maybe those eyes do flicker towards the trees. Maybe she knows where predators lurk. After all, the trees belong to the cats; the ground belongs to the wolves.

D'LEI? Whozzat, there's no D'lei he- ohhhhhh, you mean that D'lei. HIM. Right! After a certain amount of time, he does reach over for a branch to grip with his hands and swing off his seat, landing down amid the leaves. Garouth remains where he is, which is probably for the best. But D'lei, D'lei comes out from the forest with his feet on the ground where they might be said to belong. HERE HE IS. MOCKERY MAY PROCEED. Even if D'lei doesn't actually approach his weyrmate, instead stepping toward the newest arrivals. Y'know, the ones that didn't see him on the way. But, he's here now, with a grin to Ricki and Sephany. "A mystery, wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in a cocoon of beauty." A broadened grin, and a sweep of his hand toward the festivities. "Welcome."

There is motion, and at least Risali looks familiar - even if it *is* Risali - and Ricki is coaxed into the clearing. Feet pause for a moment as her eyes rest on the tables of treats, and while she starts to take a step that direction, a waving favor and Risali's words pull her away from the lure of the food. Shaking her head as if to clear it, she turns and closes the distance, taking the favor from Siobhan with a murmured Thanks, even as she watches Risali open her own. Breath held, the ends are tugged, and and Ricki is left with a brightly colored party horn in her hands, a soft laugh as she sees it. "Oh, some people are going to -love- me having this.." And then, there is a D'lei and she is jumping at the voice, before following the sweep of his head, nodding slowly. "It is breathtaking.."

Who has time to look for lurking bronzeriders (and bronze dragons?) when there is a glow-lit path leading to something out of a romance novel? NOT SEPHANY, THAT'S WHO! But certainly she sees him now; given that he is approaching. And speaking. And drawing her attention away from the beautiful scenery. "Beauty is right. This must have taken… hours." Or maybe just creative people. "Did you do this?" with a level of suspicion that might be insulting, even if she likely does not mean it to be. She's following in the vague direction or Ricki, eyes dancing between favors and people and food and glows and just… everything. "Oh, cake! Alright, I will be right back?" because food definitely takes precedence over party favors and people. At least when it looks that delicious.

"I'm sure you don't," Siobhan sighs at Risali, pitching her voice as though put out by the continued mystery. She isn't, not really - she's smiling far too wide behind the hand she lifts to cover her mouth for the appearance an honest-to-Faranth lei, an indelicate snort following shortly behind because while she thought the joke, Risali spoke it! "Hopefully the rest of us get half as lucky." BAD JOKE. BAD. She's to old to show repentance, though, grinning wide at Ricki's gift and not making quips about see people are already getting horny, instead focusing her energy on pulling apart a cracker of her own. "Oh Faranth, I haven't had one of these since I was a child." Around her neck goes a necklace made of candy, pulled up to mouth so she can bite a few pieces of straight-up sugar off while marking D'lei's approach. "I hope it was him," noted to Sephany for that dubious tone, "then at least the mystery would be solved. It does rather add to the feel, though, the not-knowing." Because she might not be swept up in the ambiance, but she can appreciate it!

There's mischief in Risali's expression, an answer in and of itself to Siobhan's retort even as her attention is drawn first to Ricki's prize: "If I don't have at least one complaint from the Weyrlingmaster or his assistants for excessive abuse of that horn, I'm going to be disappointed," and then to her weyrmate. D'lei merely gets a quiet smile though, no boisterous hellos, no STOLEN CAKES, just fingers curling in the lei around her neck as she looks back to Sio for the reveal of her prize and - "Oh! I'm jealous. It's been ages since I had one of those." IS THAT ENVY IN HER EYES? Probably, but thankfully she doesn't go trying to nom that off of Siobhan's person. Instead, she's laughing as she moves closer to Sephany and D'lei, holding out party favors for them both with a wiggle before those grey eyes go towards the table. "There is actually a story about why we're here." A beat. "But I'm hungry. And thirsty." Which might explain why, regardless of whether or not her hands are freed of party favors, she goes RIGHT ON OVER to the serving table to start making herself a plate. RUDE.

"Me?" D'lei answers Sephany with a nearly-a-laugh, then looks over to Siobhan with a grin. "Well. Much as I appreciate you both thinking I'd have time for this on top of a toddler, a baby, a clutch on the sands, and wing duties… no, no I did not." His grin widens. "I'm just here to enjoy." Because there's a party! And cake! And party horns! "Think you can get a concert going?" he asks Ricki as follow-up to Risali. "Fill the barracks with glorious sound…" It's a genuine D'lei idea that is totally a great one and not all terrible. Which is to say, "Leirith would surely appreciate it." Is that actually a compliment? Probably not, but D'lei turns to Risali and tugs that popper! Oh hey… "See? We make fireworks together." METAPHOR. But also an actual set of sparkly and explodey things, gone to a Very Responsible Home in D'lei's hands.

The party horn is lifted to her lips, and Ricki turns back towards Risali, giving it blow - though the sound that escapes is really rather pathetic. "Well, I would complain about that. Not sure I will be fit for any concerts, though, any time soon." At least the dim light covers the blush at the horn-failure. The favor is stuffed in a pocket as eyes dart to Risali. "Wait, it -does- sound like you know something.." And as the goldrider is fleeing for food, Ricki is on her heels, though she does grab a plate of her own - who doesn't want cake? "So, how does the story start?" The candidate asks as she works her way along the table of food.

"Perhaps it is less about your time availability, and more about your… ingenious managerial skills?" offers Sephany with a mischievous grin for the bronzerider. A glance for the reveal of the horn, which comes with a bit of a laugh for all the trouble being encouraged with it. "Leirith may love it, but I'm not so sure about the rest of the barracks…" Then a cheerful "Sweet," for Siobhan's candy necklace that might be intentional, followed by an "Oh!" for the reveal of pyrotechnic items that find a home in D'lei's hand. "Very dangerous," and yet, she's reaching for that Risali-wiggled party favor, instead of going for the cake and other assorted goodies as had been intended. "Grab me something?" she calls beseechingly in the goldrider's wake, attention turning to the as-yet unrevealed prize. It's taken between her hands, gingerly weighed and inspected before she's pulling at the ends to reveal… "Oh! How nice!" a rather fancy pen, one that the weaver does not look at all upset about receiving.

"I'd say I'm more than willing to share, for shared nostalgia's sake, but…" Siobhan trails off with a lingering sparkle of blue-green eyes, "I feel you would already have partaken if you wanted some." It's gentle, though, the teasing; the bluerider has not weathered generations of dragonriders without indulging ones this impish before. "Pish tosh," this for D'lei, along with a quiet laugh for Sephany's input. "I don't see why not, besides. How else do you think dads earn their right to be able to say they walked to their Harper lessons uphill both ways in the snow?" Wink, and another chuckle of amusement for the sad noise coming from Ricki's horn. "Too bad. If nothing else you could have been the designated candidate-waker-upper." TOOTED REVEILLES. TOOTED REVEILLES FOR DAYS. Perhaps it's for the best. The candidate trails along after Risali and her storytime offer, and Sio follows suit, if only to snag another cake because they're good and she didn't get to eat all of her last one, and certainly not because she wants to overhear this story. Nope. Innocent as the day she was born. "That pun was bad," drifts back Seph's way though, lest she think it was missed, fingers pointing from her eyeballs to the Weaver's, and then from her eyeballs to D'lei's because fireworks together, honestly. "Both of you. Terrible. I approve."

DAT HORN THO. Risali's smile gets impossibly Cheshire, even as she breathes out, "Well, you know what they say: practice makes perfect." SO MAKE ALL THE NOISE. It's D'lei who actually gets her to laugh, his comment about fireworks earning him faux exasperation as she relies on three familiar words to verbalize it: "Shut up, D'lei." But she's maybe curling her fingers into that lei once more with the kind of look that's perfectly suited to the dim lighting of glowbaskets. TERRIBLE. YOU ARE NOT WRONG, SIO. NOT WRONG AT ALL. So away towards the tables she goes, loading up on fruit, and cake, and a few reasonable things in between, getting a plate for Sephany as well as those grey eyes go to Ricki, to Sio (SHE SEES YOU, VILLAIN), and she moves back towards the weaver before she speaks. "It begins with two brothers." Sephany is handed her plate, and Risali's ON THE MOVE AGAIN. Because of course she is. But this time she moves towards a set of blankets and pillows closer to the pond, settling on it as she waits for the entourage to join her before she continues. And okay. Maybe she got another party favor and is popping that too. WHATEVER IT IS, she holds it closer while she waits.

"It might be," D'lei replies to Sephany, and grins. "And yet." The real story? Well, if you want one of those… follow that Risali! And, as a bonus, she's even leading the way to food. He grins to Siobhan. "Don't forget having to fly 'cross Pern both ways before breakfast," he replies. "Because boy, are our wings tired." Did someone say terrible? Yes, yes Siobhan did, and D'lei grins to her as he BLITHELY IGNORES the instruction from Risali. "You're welcome," he tells Siobhan, but then he does quiet at least briefly, because… it's storytime!

Almost disappointing, Risali not implying anything else after Ricki's rather dismal performance on the toy party horn.. Almost disappointing. Nevertheless, the story has to go on, right? Ricki's plate making is paused as she turns to blink at D'lei, frowning slightly as she sighs. "You are the worst.." She mutters, before the plate is stacked with all the tasty treats and she is hurrying after Risali, tagging along to the spot by the pond, settling onto the blankets with limited grace. "Why wasn't it two sisters?" Ricki is a horrible person, and hopefully will avoid interrupting the story from here on out - though with little siblings, shouldn't the goldrider be used to it?

Sephany is the picture of innocence; all batted-eyes and subtle smiles to Siobhan. Nevermind that gleam there, or the way her lip curls slightly at the corner as if in preparation for laughter. Terrible. Yes. But not nearly as terrible as D'lei, who does earn a choke-snort-laugh from the weaver before Seph is pressing her hand to her mouth to rein in the undignified noise. "Ugh, seriously," for the terrible. For the 'shut up D'lei' that comes from Risali, along with lei-curling fingers and looks that might be suited to the ambiance but perhaps not the current crowd. She will just admire her fancy new pen and ignore looks tossed between weyrmates. Plates of food gathered, there's a quick "Thank you," as she accepts her own from Risa, and then light and delicate steps across the glade as the group follows right along. "A very good question," follows Ricki's comment on 'sisters', flashing the candidate a grin in the glowlight. Crossed ankles; a 'floof' of fabric as Sephany sits down and claims a pillow as her own.

Jaune is a slow one, but he eventually managed to make his way out into the forest and finds..whatever this is. A party? But he follows Risali and them to food and manages to keep himself distracted long enough to fill a plate..and a hand full of glitter? Gah! Damnable party favors! Hes a quiet one today, so far, following along to hear whatever story is going to be spoken of by Risali.

There's a short laugh for the idea of practice making perfect, Siobhan's eyes lit up with mirth. "And if the weyrlingmasters ask, none of us have ever seen you or this horn before and have no idea who gave you any such encouragement to make a performance." Even if that performance might be sad and lacking with this particular horn, ayooo. "Ugh," issued towards D'lei, taking Ricki's words and running with them with a tilt of her head towards the candidate, "let me guess. Next is, 'I'm not the worst, I'm Dad.'" She can't help but laugh, though, head shaking indulgently as she stacks up two or three of those white cakes (because she is shameless and not even going to try to pretend like Risa, bless), winding up walking close enough to Sephany to catch eyes on that pen. "Pretty! I wonder if it's got a special ink?" Her folded map is offered up for the attempt, nodding to Jaune as the male candidate joins them for story time. Lips twist for questions from young ladies, but there's no input from the bluerider, just a patient raising of eyes to their storyteller designate.

LISTEN, Risali KIND OF DID. Practice blowing, Ricki. Practice makes perfect. U KNO WUT SHE MEANS? No. Okay. "You're welcome, Sephany." Another look for D'lei. But irrelevant. "Why wasn't it sisters?" Risali echoes, perhaps momentarily at a loss for an answer if the way she opens her mouth up, and then closes it again is anything to go by. Brows furrow, Risali tries again, and manages, "Why should it be sisters?" And then she's UNLEASHING HER SECRET WEAPON: GLITTER. That's right, that last popper was full of that never gonna come off your skin or your hair or your clothes creation, and Risali is tossing it on YOU, and YOU, and YOU AND YOU AND YOU AND YOU. "Hi, Jaune!" You thought it was just your party favor but HA! RISA'S GOT MORE GLITTER FOR YOU TOO! "Anyway, stop interrupting. I suppose they could be sisters, but for this retelling Belior and Timor were brothers." And there's a quiet smile, Risali abandoning her food to bring her knees up to her chest as grey eyes look up. "Are brothers. Rumors say that they were inseparable from the time that they were born. They went everywhere together, and did everything together; they ran through the forests, and climbed the trees. They hunted game, and laughed, and dreamed, and wept together, but one day Timor looked up — and he fell in love with the sun." A quieter smile, sadder this time. "And Belior didn't understand. Why did Timor leave? What was it that Rukbat could provide that Timor could not find with Belior in their brotherhood? He didn't understand love, you see - not in the way that lovers might. He'd never known it for himself. And Timor couldn't see his brother's pain, so blinded was he by his love for Rukbat. So he gave up everything, just to chase her into the skies."

D'lei laughs to Ricki's claims about him, then shakes his head to Siobhan's prognostications of the future. "Nah. I'm just D'lei." He grins. "Even I have some standards." Or maybe he's just being difficult. Not that he'd ever do that! Anyhow. There's food, and more arrivals - he waves to Jaune before picking up food with that hand - and a story that is in fact apparently about brothers. At least, this time! "The sisters were probably off on a grand adventure they didn't allow the brothers to join." Sisterhood Solidarity, RIGHT? He knows. Someone had better get the pitchforks and figure out how this man learned those secret ways! But then he hushes to listen. And eat.

Ricki, unlike most toddlers, does at least shut up after Risali half answers her question, half deflects it. Though, perhaps the glitter that is filtering downwards and coating everything also has something to do with the candidate's silence, as she squeaks, grabbing her plate of food and trying to save it from the terrible stuff. Unfortunately she is too late, and with a frown, she is picking glitter off her cakes, listening to Risali tell the story, humming softly and nodding. She does shift a little, protecting her food from any more surprises, but does also remain quiet, a good little listener.

Jaune has divested himself of a good portion of glitter, but then more comes and he barely mentions to keep it from infecting his food. "Nice to see you all again." A polite remark even if they were complicit in the glitter bath. He'll settle onto a blanket himself and lift fruit to mouth and chew. His eyebrows furrow though. Wait. Was he in love with the *actual* sun? Or just a weirdo. Metaphorical stories always bothered the young candidate.

Glitter. Of course it's glitter. And now, it is all over Sephany. And her food. And especially that piece bit of strawberry that she was lifting to take a bite from. Glittered. There's a longsuffering sigh as the delicious fruit is returned to her plate, and the weaver starts the arduous task of attempting to pick off the glitter so that she can actually enjoy her meal again. That it is also in her hair, and on her skin, and likely stuck to her clothes forever and ever, amen, well… she's ignoring that for now. "Thanks, Risa," dryly delivered with a flick of her eyes, glitter-laden eyelashes lifting and falling with the quick glance. Pick-pick-pick. But she is, in fact, listening as well, a bit of a smile playing at the edges of her mouth as the story begins. The arrival of Jaune, who is already glittery and quickly becomes more so, is met with a quick, "Good evening, candidate," because she, in fact, has not met him yet.

Welp. Color Siobhan deflected. Or color her holo. Whichever your preference is. The woman takes a facefull of glitter like a champ, a twitching nose and a puff of breath fluffing a halo of particles around her face, fingers of one hand reaching up to sweep it from her eyes with a delicate dignity that belies the situation. "Nice to meet you, 'Just D'lei.' I'm normally Siobhan, but I think now I'm a moon, so perhaps these brothers did have a sister, once," noted in amused sotto voce as she gathers up fallen bits of glitter and flicks them back towards Risa. A taste of your own medicine, weyrwoman! Luckily, the map she'd offered towards Sephany was a ready shielding for her cakes; though it's now blotched with icing, at least her cakes are glitter-free! "You can have some of mine instead of…" Fruitlessly picking glitter off theirs? Regardless, she offers her plate towards Sephany and Ricki for partaking if they wish, even as she offers a pleasant, "Hello," to Jaune. Humor eventually dims low for the continuation of Risali's story, lips twitching off to one side with a similar sort of sadness. "Love does do strange things to a person," agreed with a nod and a curious, "But what happened then?" Worse than the actual children, tsk!

"My pleasure," Risali answers, scrunching her nose. HOLO AGAIN. Grey eyes flicker to Sio, laughing as she is bespeckled by glitter in revenge, and then Sio asks. And Risali continues, looking back up, dropping her eyes from the vast infinity of the heavens to look at everybody in turn, like any storyteller might. "Red Star watched the brothers for a long time, jealous of their brotherhood, jealous of their ability to run, and climb, and hunt, and dream, jealous of his inability to laugh with them. So he saw his chance - Timor's eyes on Rukbat, and Belior's desperation to get Timor back - and he took it. Out of spite, Red Star took all of their joy from them; he made it so that the brothers could never walk the planet together again; that Timor could never see the face of his lover and Belior would never cease chasing Timor through the skies." And then Risali's leaning towards the water, reaching out one finger to dapple the surface, and the faces reflecting back to them. "But mother Pern, overcome with grief, wept here. The flowers bloom at night, weeping as their mother weeps, and sometimes, if you listen, you can hear her singing for them to come home. So Red Star took pity - or perhaps it was his cruelest trick of all. Every once in a great while, when time and the seasons align, their faces reflect together here, side by side again." A beat, and then a smile. "Like tonight. So here's to love," a beat, as she raises her unfortunately glittered-speckled cake towards D'lei, "and to food." CHOMP. Because WHY NOT use it as a reason to celebrate? Also, cool celestial phenomena — WHAT MORE REASON DO YOU NEED?

"Ah, that's too bad," D'lei replies to Siobhan's 'introduction' with a wry smile. "I have some bad associations to moons." A shrug. "I'll try not to hold it against you." As for a why, well… nah. He leaves it as nothing more than a stray tidbit of amusement to… himself, if nothing else. For broader amusement for all, though… there's a story, and D'lei listens, and smiles - warmer, with a bob of his head as Risali points him out - and then with a smile obscured by a cheese tart as he eats the food like he's supposed to do.

A wave of a hand and Ricki dismisses Siobhan's offer with a smile, settling for mostly de-glittered cake, the remainder of which disappears as Risali finishes telling the story. Still quiet, her eyes drift to the pond's surface, and her gaze lingers there on the reflection. But then, Risali is giving a toast, and the candidate's attention returns to her, the last piece of cake in her fingers lifted in response. "To food!" She agrees, for now leaving 'love' or whatever out of it.

Despite her vain attempt at de-glittering her strawberries (which is a losing battle, despite Sephany's very-patient attempt to make her favorite fruit edible once again), she is definitely listening to that story. Grey eyes flick up, down, up again, then over to Siobhan and her offered cakes. The weaver reaches to accept one, pauses at the state of her fingers (Glittery) looks for somewhere to wipe them and comes up empty (because everything including the grass and the pillows and blankets are glittery now) then shrugs and takes the cake. "It shouldn't kill me, right?" is likely meant for the glitter that will inevitably be consumed, and not the cake. "Thank you." The treat is carefully pinched between thumb and finger, held awkwardly because there is nowhere to set it (because her plate… is glittery… so much glitter), and her attention turns back to the story. "Aww," and she pouts just a touch, in sympathy for the fictional brothers-turned-moons. "That's terrible! How sad…" But the cake is raised regardless, a murmured, "To love. And food," and then *CHOMP* a bite taken.

Leave it to Risali to bring HOLOSEXUALITY to Pern, because no, Siobhan is not momentarily distracted by the glitter of it on her skin, smearing it from her face to press it to the back of her hand only to twist the appendage and observe it. This is not the bluerider you're looking for! She's paying attention, though, fret not. "Do you? Ah, well. I appreciate that, though I will understand if the association becomes too much to bear," spoken in light, teasing tones because she doesn't understand but also isn't going to pry, flicking him a glance before focusing on passing that cake to Sephany with equal care and hesitation because… glitter. She has no solution. The 'clean' side of her paper is smudged with frosting and, "No, probably not. It's worth the potential bellyache, if that helps?" Or maybe she just really likes sweets, for she polishes both of her remaining ones off while Risali tells her story, gaze eventually drifting away from pools, distracted at last by other thoughts until the toast reels her back in. "And to excellent stories. Thank you, for that. I suppose it is not often, that you can see both reflected in the pool at once." She's already scootching to see into the water a little better. "Once in a blue moon, one might say." BAD JOKE, SIO. BAD JOKE.

"To love, to food. To the wonders of the night sky." Jaune responds as well with the rest of the group, taking a bit of poetic license with the toast. A few morsels of food get given special attention before he turns to the cakes he had taken ahold of as well. A glance around the blankets notes that he is quite behind where sweets consumption is concerned. "That is a nice story. I'm surprised I haven't heard it before." A glance back towards the table. Did someone bring wine perhaps? Or nay. Not yet. Poor vintner has to be limited in his libations.

"Actually, I only heard it recently. So I had to go ask a starcrafter just when because sad stories like that deserve a celebration - and an audience." A beat, as Risali looks around and then gains her feet to POINT! "In fact, the person who told me is over there." And there's a man and a… chipmunk (she's a woman, shh) sitting on that blanket, the man in all manner of ridiculous party favors while the red head seems oblivious that she's adding to his plight because he is tolerating it with some zen (ahahaha) kind of patience. But whether she is pointing to the man or the woman is unclear, because she's settling back to her cakes, and smiling at D'lei, and shaking her head to Jaune. "I didn't check the drinks, but it's possible there's something a little stronger set out." And then a quiet smile to Sio. "Thank you for listening. I cried when it was told to me - somehow mother Pern only getting to hold her babies every once in a…" WAIT FOR IT… "blue moon," SHE JUST PICKS UP ON THOSE BAD JOKES AND KEEPS THEM GOING, "got me. But can you imagine having somebody love you so much, they'd give up everything? Rukbat's a lucky woman." And maybe there's a sad there, as eyes go to D'lei and then… drop back to her cake. BECAUSE CAKE YOU GUYS. "This is really good." Which might explain why she's shoving more of it into her FACE.

"Perhaps there'll be better ones to come," D'lei replies to Siobhan with a dip of his head and a smile. But there's no inquisitions and no answers for now, just a story, and a glance at the end that has his lips quirk up at one corner. Siobhan steps forward, D'lei shifts behind her, circling round to come up behind Risali and lean down to brush lips softly to the top of her head as he puts one arm around her waist. Not that he says anything about it, he's just… being there, for a moment. Don't mind him, just keep on with these MOONS and CAKES and CELEBRATING.

Ricki has finished the contents of her plate, and while the others are discussing the merits of love, and the sacrifices for love, she shifts rather uncomfortably, latching on to the diversion provided when Risali points out the star crafters. Eyes linger on the pair, though they do dart away briefly at the mention of 'something stronger', despite being a candidate. "It was lovely, really.." She finally speaks up, adding something, at least, to the compliments of the others, before she is carefully getting to her feet, wandering on quiet feet back to the table, to see what else is on offer. And avoid love discussions and demonstrations.

There's a quiet sort of somberness settling among the group, and it's certainly not only Ricki who is looking uncomfortable at all this talk of love, and sacrifices. Though she took a rather hearty bite of that cake, Sephany sets the rest down on her plate and just kinda… sits. Gaze to the water, then her plate, and she absently picks at bits of glitter. "Not really," she offers, for the image of such love. "It was a pretty story, though. Even if it was so sad." And then up; hugs and kisses which get a glance away and a climb to her feet. "I'm going to get some… clean strawberries," because these are ruined. "And maybe a glass of… yeah," wine. Or something much stronger. Because she can partake to her hearts content, considering the knot on her shoulder is not at all white. Let's just pretend she's not leaving a trail of glitter sparkling in her wake, even if it drifts delicately off of her as she moves back toward the glow-lit serving tables.

Blue-green eyes drift after Risali's attention, marking the unlikely pair across the pond with a flickered grin, one that expands when D'lei rises to embrace Risali. There's no agreement nor disagreement for Rukbat's situation, or how it may or may not apply to the goldrider, but there is a warmth to her smile, pleased, perhaps, to see a young couple caring for one another. Unwilling or unable to be chased away by the topic, the bluerider lingers, smile taking a turn for the amused as some of their flock scatters to the tables, watching them go with a teasingly-called, "One glass, white-robes!" and a wink towards Sephany because she can do what she wants before glancing back to Risa and D'lei, issuing a change of subject. "You said you had two children? I remember seeing you both at the gather, and there seemed to be more. Then again, there always seem to be scads more children at gathers than their actually are," comes amused with a shifting of weight. "Though I think that's more a side effect of my getting old."

Something stronger definitely gets Jaune to his feet and back towards the table as well, picking through the table with a keener gaze this time and coming up with a small bottle of something. A white wine and excessively bubbly. He cradles it within his palm for a few moments before gathering up a few glasses as well and bringing it back towards the crowd upon the blankets. "This looks promising, doesn't it?" He turns to display the label towards anyone who might think to peer at it before he pops the top with a loud THWOP.

LOOK AT RISA, RUINING THE GATHERING. She doesn't look at all repentant, though maybe there's a grimace of sympathy in the smiles she directs to both Ricki and Sephany. "Get me something too!" she calls out, though for which one it's hard to say. Risali leans into D'lei, letting her head tilt onto his shoulder where she remains for just a moment before she shifts to move over by Sio. PAT PAT. COME HERE HONEY. THERE'S ROOM FOR YOU TOO. And without preamble (and ceremony), Risali is throwing one leg over Sio's lap like she belongs here and stuffing a piece of fruit into her face. "Two if you tell me that I'm pretty!" Risali calls after, because why not. And then she answers somewhat. She leave the 'our children' part up to D'lei. "Two of the little girls you saw at the gather were actually my sisters." A quieter smile. "That's just what happens when your parents are dragonriders, I think." YOU GET AWFULLY YOUNG SIBS. "Do you have any children?" Don't mind her, she's just SHOVING MORE FOOD INTO HER FACE because maybe she won't have to talk. Jaune's TOP POPPING earns her attention though, a muffled cheer because full cheeks.

Just causing all that trouble, that's Risa! With her stories and sadness and love. D'lei smiles crookedly as the audience flees to drink (or eat) away those sorrows, remaining where he is behind Risali as she leans to him. He hehs for Siobhan's question to them, with a nod for Risali's answer and then his own addition. "Only two kids that actually live at our weyr… at this point." A wry grin, because oh hey dragonriders and spawning, it's a thing. "But there's always sleepovers for more." Children: bet you can't have just one.

Ricki's perusal of the sideboard is paused as there is a distinctive POP, and she is turning to peer back at the gather. One drink, better make it count.. A moment of pondering, and she shrugs, piling a plate with fruit before she is picking her way back to the blanket, taking up her earlier spot, gaze shifting to Jaune. "I hope your expert opinion doesn't leave me regretting my choice.." But she says it with a smile, so hopefully it isn't as awful as it potentially could be.

There's a crook of one scarred brow for being pat-pat summonned to Risali's side, but Siobhan acquiesces, sidling the few steps it takes to sit on said pillow. There's a snort for the idea of candidates getting two drinks, so when Jaune returns with a whole bottle of bubbly to share, she drawls an amused, "That seems only fair. One indulgence for another?" Grin, one that stays fixed for mixed explanation of the children of their lives. "That is true, of riders. One of my cousins has three aunts younger than her. They are a very strange family," said with much humor. "I'm glad you're in touch with them, though, and that they get to play with your littles." As for her? "Only the one." ALAS. She is the foil to the potato-chip-baby concept. "She still lives in Igen, I think." She considers for a moment before admitting more, as though debating if the subject is unseemly or boring and, deciding it's safe enough, "I had always considered having another - this time to keep - but it was always 'wait for a better time' and then…" A shrug. "Better times never came. I'd be worried to try now, so I content myself with doting upon others when the opportunity presents itself." Though it seems, her lap appropriated, she's the one being adopted at the moment. Arms fall limply over said legs, letting them hang has her gaze focuses back on Jaune and his bottle. "Ooh. Bubbly wines have always been my favorite. Expert choice?" She picks up on Ricki's words, glancing between them curiously. Explain?

Risali is holding out one of her hands to take a glass from Jaune, eyes going to Sio as she speaks and laughter chasing the words 'interesting' when it comes to describing a cousin with younger aunts. "My father's weyrmate always shows up to my flights, so aside from him catching, my next biggest fear is that I'm going to have a sister-daughter or a brother-son." Then things will get REALLY interesting. LOOK AT RISALI. PEERING INTO A FUTURE YET UNTOLD. As Ricki rejoins, Risali raises a toast with more cake and then leans a little more heavily into D'lei. "Welcome back," she tells the she-candidate, and then twists her head to look up at D'lei. "You our K'vir get to have the next baby. I'm done." SHE'S TAPPING OUT. CLOSED.

The glasses are slowly filled from the bottle tucked under his arm and he begins to hand them out to those that request them. Risali receives hers with a nod. Ricki's word get a flash of a wink towards her from Jaune as she gets her glass. "As long as you didn't drain yourself too much today. I doubt a single glass will do you in." Siobhan of course gets an extra helping it seems, almost too full. Is he trying to say something? "I am actually an only child, with but two cousins. The idea of large family gatherings is almost scary."

The future is just full of possibilities, and also winces. D'lei's expression for Risali's talk of her flights is followed by a grin, his fingers moving lightly over her shoulder and head as she leans to him. He nods to Siobhan as he listens to her, with a crooked smile as he notes, "Every child can use a wandering auntie or three. The ones who do it by choice instead of because their family makes them, so much the better." Ricki and Jaune get a nod as they re-approach, and then… "Heh," he says to Risali. "I shall do my best." He can get tips from Leirith, maybe. How To Egg!

The glass of bubbly is accepted with a nod and a smile. "Thanks.." The glass is held, waiting until they are distributed, and then Ricki is taking a slow sip, pondering it carefully. "Ok, you win." She offers after a moment, pondering the bubbles in her glass. "I am sort of thankful, that I don't have any little siblings.. or even nieces or nephews. Even if it means, I'm stuck being the baby of the family." Which well, good and bad.

Does Siobhan mind being given the full glass with all that tongue-in-cheek entails? No. No she does not. She takes it with the glee of a woman half her age, eyes lit up, taking the first sip and savoring it on her tongue — and almost spitting it back out again at Risali's words. "He does? Faranth, why?" She seems to recognize that's a question she can't probably answer, plowing on with a laughed, "Fair enough, though. You win the strange-family contest. Or, hopefully, you won't," she amends with an agreeing widening of her eyes for D'lei's wince. She buries amusement for D'lei or this K'vir having the next child into her glass, huffing nasally into it as she drinks before extending her glass out to the candidates. "Only-children toast! Don't say that too loud, though, or someone's bound to invite you to their chaos. Kid-sitting, I mean," not babymaking! "I'm sure that has its own challenges, though." This to Ricki. "Everybody looking to you for results. It's so much easier to point at someone else by means of distraction and then run, even if it is just cousins."

"His dragon, probably," is Risali's answer as she takes the glass, raises it to Jaune in a quasi-salute, and then downs all of it. Probably because she is thinking about STUPID R'HYN at her STUPID FLIGHTS and drowning out the murder that tries to make its way out of her. "I was the oldest of three. Then we found a four and a five, now there's a six, and a seven. There's an eight on the way too." AND A NINE AND A TEN, but she's not aware of those — yet. And for D'lei: "You can borrow all my maternity clothes." Which were just his and K'vir's clothes, let's BE HONEST RIGHT NOW. "I bet you'll make it look good." WICKED SMILES - and then a hesitation as brows draw in and Risali exhales with a soft sound of what might be surprise. "I… don't think that the cake agreed with me." Brows draw in, and she's looking to D'lei before pushing her drink into his VERY CAPABLE HANDS. "Excuse me." She pulls her leg out of Sio's lap, and smiles with a breathy-but-slightly-panicked, "It was nice to meet you," and then she's RUNNING AWAY. LOOK AT HER GO, hand over her mouth, tripping over people in a bid to get FAR AND AWAY.

DRAGONS. Almost as much trouble as the people who ride them. "I mean, if anyone's looking for kids to sit…" D'lei says with a grin that's half hopeful, half teasing. But he is much more serious (not really) for his future child-bearing, with a nod. "I will. Those stylish drapes and billows." He grins, looking up to the others before returning his attention to Risali with a concerned look. "Yeah? Too much glitter?" The words are light, but the concern is real. He does take the glass and stay here with it instead of pursuing her - at least for now - but there is a shift of those dragon eyes in the forest to make sure someone has Risali in view. Just in case something goes wrong as she regurgitates a meal for the forest creatures. D'lei will just hang out with drinks and moons and people, at least for a while before he slips away into the night.

Ah, there it is. Siobhan's gaze lands on D'lei, full of mirth for his joining in on the joke, though she meets his half-hopeful with a half-serious, "If you'd trust an unfamiliar moon…" Shrugs. Brows raise with Risali's sibling count, winding up alarmingly close to her hairline as she mumbles something about breeding like trundlebugs, but then the goldrider goes green around the gills, and mild awe turns into definite sympathy instead. "Probably," agreed with D'lei with a tut, "there's a nice-smelling plant about a dozen yards back and to your left?" You know. To mask the ick. If she can even make it that far. Siobhan hauls herself to her feet regardless, drawling a low, "Though, speaking of glitter, I should go find a way to wash these out. I need them for tomorrow, and I'm not the creature of the night that I used to be. Thank you all for the company, though." Wine tossed back, she'll return the glass before departing, perhaps also checking on poor, poor Risa as she passes before heading back to the weyr.

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