Snow Day!

Xanadu Weyr - Meadow
A large, slightly rolling meadow is set high enough above the riverbank on both sides to avoid suffering from flooding, healthy ground cover and grass spreading out from either side of the dividing river. Scattered amongst the meadow are a variety of weyrs, each with a narrow path leading up to it from a main, winding road. Some are set under a few trees, while others sit by themselves. The meadow continues with gentle rolls and dips, grass tall and short waving in the slightest of breezes, and eventually those hills grow higher and steeper, ending in a large ridge that provides a fine view of that meadow and the rest of the Weyr, gazing out over the multicolored roofs of the houses and the cliff that holds the caverns.
Runner stables with the paddock beyond are to the south beyond the meadow weyrs, and a smithy and a woodcraft shop are settled closer in towards the path to the clearing. Trees border the northern side of the meadow, and more of those low, rolling hills can be seen to the northwest. A road passes through the meadow, coming from the east and used by traders and crafters alike. Wagons laden with felled trees from the forests or ore from the mountains are hauled by burden beast up the road through the meadow, over the bridge spanning the river to be processed in the appropriate workshops.

GUESS WHAT. IT SNOWED. It might even still be snowing, but it's one of those delicate, soft snowfalls - the kind that come after a storm, when it hasn't quite settled down but it's nowhere near what it was. That means there's snow still standing on the ground, and the meadow? Well, it has turned into a giant pit of sparkly white stuff - with hills for sledding. That's exactly why Risali is here, and she isn't alone. She left a note on her desk with just how to get in contact with her should the most direst of needs arise, and she went out on a mission. That's why there's a gaggle of weyrbrats nearby with nannies, having snow fights, or building snow men, or playing on sleds. A small table has been set up to dispense with the hot chocolate, and Risali has hold of her own gaggle of children - Selene, and Kyriel, and Darien. Even little Zyriden, who is stable enough on his legs to make his way through the snow, even if he still falls. A lot. But there Risali is, fixing hats, tightening the gloves of their VERY YOUNG BROOD, and giving that push to watch as the older ones race sleds (and keeping an eye on the younger one, who seems more content to romp around in the snow and, well… eat it).

Step one to get in touch with Risali: Contact Leirith. Step two: Convince Leirith it's worth interrupting snow-time fun. Step three: Give up, try to contact D'lei instead. Step four: Fail to find him, contact Garouth. Step five: Convince Garouth not to eat you. It's an excellent logistical system, it is! Full marks. Which is why, given the well-tuned machine that is Xanadu Weyr, nobody has yet found themselves coming to interrupt Risali… well, until now. But that's not to last, because right now D'lei is - uh oh - on his way! Maybe he saw the note. Maybe Garouth didn't eat him. Maybe he's… okay, he's definitely pausing to scoop up a handful of snow, then another one to add to it, and he's making it into a big puffy snowball as he approaches. Important business.

It is an excellent logistical system, and it's working SO WELL that Risali has been lulled into a false sense of security. See, her eyes are on her own brood and those few weyrbrats who stray her way, crouching down to see what they've made out of the snow, or to tell them that their hot chocolate looks particularly delicious. Between roping Zyriden back into a comfortable area, and cheering on the three older children as they race yet again down another hill, Risali just DOESN'T HAVE ENOUGH EYES to be on the lookout for Weyrleaders or their HIGHLY SUSPICIOUS PUFFY SNOWBALLS. You'd think she'd get a hint when some of the children start screeching in excitement and running way, but her own children are not yelling Daddy and running, so the only explanation is that another one of the children is doing something funny. Maybe. Risali would make an absolutely horrible body guard. OR WOULD SHE? (She would). She's moving forward to help grab sleds as Selene, and Kyriel, and Darien come up to the top again, to help reposition them for maximum downhill velocity, and completely missing out on her weyrmate. RIP. THIS IS IT. THIS IS HOW IT ENDS.

Can Zyriden be blamed if the snow directly downhill from the sledders looks extra fun? Surely they can navigate around a toddler just fine, right? …right? …wrong. As wrong as anyone who says that their logistical system has flaws! Besides, there are any number of reasons why a child might scream and run in the snow, and let's be clear, those are very much enthusiastic screams, so clearly there is nothing at all out of the ordinary. D'lei doesn't quite escape notice entirely - there's a glance from Kyriel that spots him, but D'lei - jerk that he is - puts a finger to his lips in front of a grin. Shhhhh! Don't give the game away! …and Kyriel, conspirator that he is, doesn't. Besides, there's a hill to be sledded, and while daddies are certainly a joy, they are available year-round. Snow is not. So! He giggles in a way that does not particularly reveal the added cause, and D'lei prepares his snowball, ready for just that moment when kids are sent off and Risali makes the mistake of turning toward him before— POW!

Yep. SNOWBALL'D. Risali parts with a strangled shriek of sound, blinking grey eyes up, up, up to - "DASHIEL." And despite the FURIOUS INDIGNATION of that one, single, un-elided name, Risali's biting down on her bottom lip to stifle that incoming, answering smile, and she's already leaning down to start with making her own snowball. "You messed with the wrong weyrmate today, mister." OH YEAH YOU DID. "Zyri, get Daddy," she tells the little one, and there's a babbling of words, like, 'SNU!' and 'Dada!' as he grabs a handful and… well that's it. He just grabs a handful, and with the determination only a turn-and-a-half year old can manage, he trucks his way through the snow with a toddler's cackle until he's at D'lei and TOSS. It probably doesn't have much of an effect, but Zyriden is laughing with the intense kind of glee that has Risa laughing too. And okay, maybe if she's lucky, he was enough of a distraction for that snowball that Risa launches to hit. IT'S HER GOAL. Either way, she's making large steps through the snow towards him, intent to either hug him or tackle him. Or both. Probably both. Definitely both.

D'lei says, "Risali!" D'lei beams, his expression one of gleeful and undiluted pleasure that admits no guilt and beams brightly enough that it could go on Leirith. And when Zyriden comes and flings his handful of confetti-snow toward him, D'lei grins to him and picks him up to swing around in a circle - which means he takes a snowball from Risa to the back of his head, PAFF! - to give him a frosty spot there before he turns back all the way around and - yep, that's a hug-tackle-squish all right, with Zyri tucked in the middle between them as D'lei - laughing all the way - goes down on his back into the snow."

It can't just end there though, can it? Because while they're down on the snow, tackle-hug-squishing (with Zyriden between them), Risali takes liberties and uses ALL THAT HAIR (that is down, possibly JUST FOR THIS REASON) as a curtain to steal a kiss and perhaps to steal all of that laughter away for herself. And that would be fine, Zyriden content to be squished between them, except that he's not the only youngster out there. NO. It starts with THE OTHER THREE, as one of them notices, calls attention to it, and takes off in a dash towards fallen parents. AND THEN THERE IS A DOGPILE. A dogpile that does not just stop with their (not so) little family, but with a few weyrbrats who shriek their delight and come running through the snow to - "Oof!" add a little bit of extra weight to those bodies in the snow. So okay, Risa's teeth might hit D'lei's in an unpleasant BUMP before she pulls up enough to laugh and breathe, but then she's grabbing snow to try and pile onto children who just DON'T SEEM TO STOP COMING. A HOARD OF LITTLE ONES. Now it's a matter of not letting Zyri get squished while trying to fend them off in a fun way. "Oi! No hot chocolate for you! Or you!" Which would all be very threatening if she wasn't, you know… laughing. DO SOMETHING DASH. We all know Leirith is content to be getting buried in snow somewhere by other children, all broodingly maternal. And… okay, so just Leirith.

SUCH LICENSE. Does Risali even have a permit for that affection she's showing? PROBABLY NOT. She's probably a REGULATION-BREAKER as well, just going out and kissing her weyrmate out in public. WHERE CHILDREN MIGHT SEE - and do see, and come in to invade and assault with joyous leaps and enthusiastic laughs and friends, because why not join in on the fun? THIS IS HOW XANADU ROLLS, at least among these children - maybe too young to know about propriety, maybe too enthusiastic to care, maybe just having - through an osmosis of culture - adapted to the same norms that Risali and D'lei espouse. CONGRATS, YOU'RE ROLE MODELS. And right now? Those role models are getting buried, squished by children and buried in snow and - oop, now Zyriden is trying to wiggle out, which D'lei helps with, because he wants to run back around and leap in at them again, just like the other children are doing! "It's too late for us!" D'lei declares, bombastic and grinning. "We are doomed… doooomed! We will - oof - sink beneath the snow - never to - ha - be seen again!"

PFFFBBBBT. SHE ISSUES OUT THE PERMITS OF AFFECTION, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. But it's okay, because even if she was a regulation-breaker, D'lei is clearly the kind of thief that commits propriety heists. SO WHO IS REALLY TO BLAME HERE? The moth, or the flame that draws the moth in? EXACTLY (shut up). YOU FAULT, D'LEI. The important part is that they are no longer separated by only Zyriden, but by an entire gang of children, and as Zyriden escapes to make with joining in on that dogpile, Risali laughs as she tucks in against D'lei, as D'lei issues his DOOMED FAREWELLS, and Risali joins in, issuing a dramatic sigh meant to be her last breath before she goes limp. It's only good for so long, because there's another, "Oof!" as a knee or an elbow or SOMETHING EQUALLY UNPLEASANT finds her side and sends her laughing again, and then she's swallowing down air. "OH NO! I have died, and NOW I AM REBORN! A RISALI MONSTER. RAWWWR!" Welp, there go some of the children. They scramble away amid shrieks just as Risali captures one in her arms and jerks them down against her chest, pretending to eat them despite MUCH THRASHING and MUCH squeals of laughter and protest. "Get them, D'lei! Eat them! We must dine on young children!" OM NOM NOM NOM.

COULD YOU EVEN BLAME THIS SMILE, THO? D'lei grins, and laughs, and is maybe a little squished but it's okay, he's strong, more weight of children and Risali and children, and… "So does time make monsters of us all," he intones, like a quote from some sort of serious tome of ancient lore that is entirely unsuited to the current circumstances. But that's okay, because he follows it up with a roar. "I'll season your bones with powder!" …by which he means snow, because he's running after children to pour handfuls of snow down on them. To get them properly spiced to eat, of course! Zyriden, the child of monsters and the originator of the handful-fling technique, claps his hands in glee and then joins in, because he knows this strategy and… maybe does not have a fully developed sense of "sides" yet, even if he's quite insistent that he is fully old enough to play with his older siblings. KIDS, THO. What'cha gonna do EXCEPT EAT THEM?

RISA COULD BLAME THAT SMILE. She could… blame D'lei for a lot of things though, let's be honest. Her inability to concentrate during meetings? Dash. Her propensity for being pregnant 99.99% of her life? Dash. That thing that was clearly because of her or Leirith or a combination of the two and had absolutely nothing at all to do with D'lei? Dash. But for now, she can at least blame the fact that she is a Risa-monster, chasing down small children to eat with a D'lei-monster, is decidedly the fault of over-zealous children. She swoops one up in another chest-hug-crush as she feigns eating them, as the child thrashes in their death-throes and howls protests between giggles and Risali gets properly seasoned by one Zyriden who has zero sense of sides and 100% sense of FUN. THEN THE TIDES TURN, because Risa is slowly amassing an army of children that she is using as an uprising - AGAINST D'LEI. MOOAHAHAHA! "REVENGE!" Risali calls, because that's clearly what this is, for that SNOWBALL THAT HE GOT HER WITH, WHEN SHE WAS BEING NON-SUSPECT. Now there are a million (that's an exaggeration, but it could be one million) smol hands that have been turned monster-snow-yet-zombies that are now THROWING SNOW AT D'LEI. ALONG WITH RISA. And then there's Zyri. Who is just screaming his delight and probably yelling, "DADA! BAD! BAD!"

Gasp! Risali is not just a monster but a zombie, apparently - or maybe a vampire - because she's turning her nom-ified victims to her side! …this does explain some things, though. Like why she's always cold, especially her feet late at night. UNDEAD RISALI, THE BANE OF… uh… whatever it is she's baning. BANNER DAYS. BAN…dt cake? Is that what we're calling A MOUTHFUL OF SNOW now? Because D'lei is certainly getting one of those - wait, no, two of tho- okay, he's not going to bother counting, he's just going to flee! Fleeeeeee! …which he could probably do more effectively if he weren't wide-foot stomping through the snow, but everyone knows dinosaur-monsters aren't very effective, that's why they went extinct in the first place. Just because D'lei has (apparently) revived one (he's undead too!), that doesn't mean he improved its handling characteristics. So yes, he's getting dusted, and sprinkled, and - by the older children who have more idea of actually balling the snow - paffed by actual snowballs, and - "Rrrrrraaaaurgh!" He turns, the mighty beast at bay. "You… haven't heard the last of -" BOMF. SNOWBALL. TO THE FACE. RIGHT IN THE KISSER. WITH A SNOWBALL. D'lei stops, blinks… then falls back into the snow without another word. CRONCH. DEFEATED.

There's a cheer that rises up through the ranks of children and Risali, highfives going around as nannies hurry over to hurry chilled children back towards the table with hot chocolate, and Risa gathers up Zyriden on her way to D'lei. "We defeated Daddy, didn't we?" To which Zyri offers a loud, "Bad Dada! Bad!" Selene, Kyriel, and Darien all seem to have remembered that they were in a competition to WIN THE HILL, and so race back to their sleds. And Risa? Risa flops down in the snow beside D'lei, setting Zyriden down between them as she reaches out to dust snow off of him and Zyriden mimics her. Except, you know, his is more slapping, but. He's trying. "Oh, how the mighty have fallen," Risali intones in the most somber way that she can manage around that smile. "Here lies our beautiful autumn flower, D'lei. Somewhat less beautiful now that he's all corpsified and gross." FLUMP. That's Risa going down in the snow too, pressing her shoulder and her head in against D'lei's as she takes a moment to just… catch her breath. And maybe trash talk a little. "That's what happens when you mess with the best, D'lei." Not that she would know who the best was. I mean, probably D'lei, but certainly not her. "Think we should get the kids warmed back up and return to our duties?" That office so RUDELY VACATED in favor of making fun for weyrbrats and joining in?

"And snowed," D'lei notes, opening one eye to add in his own corpsified perspective on this. "Can't forget that." The eye closes again, the better to be deadish, and then he opens it again with a slight tilt of his head to… Zyriden, yep. The toddler is clearly more deserving of conversation than the weyrmate! "We're gonna make a big puddle when we come in, aren't we?" The mysteries of state transformations! Which Zyriden clearly understands fully, even if he can't entirely articulate them, and there are not misundertandings whatsoever behind his declaration of, "Pu! Pu-puuu!" NONE. D'lei grins, and reaches up to ruffle the boy's… yarn hat, but it's like his hair… before - okay, FINE - looking to Risali. "I dunno," he says. "I mean, as long as we're out here, we can be almost certain that D'merial will be wearing clothing."

Risali certainly isn't offended by Zyriden's company being preferred. He is cute, and he does give the best advice, even if he parrots pretty much everything (and it only gets worse as they get older). So Risali watches the interactions with that quiet kind of hushed smile that every Mom seems to adopt when people are being kind to their children, and then she presses a kiss in against D'lei's brow. "Well, lucky for us, I declared it fort day. Which means we're bringing the kids to work with us, and our entire office - namely our desks - are going to be made into forts." In other words, Risali clearly has zero intention of being a working Weyrwoman today. There for the people who need her? Absolutely. The rest of that paperwork that's not so dire? It can wait. "I even asked one of the drudges to get a picnic basket together." Because APPARENTLY that's what they're doing today. AWWWYIS. PICNIC FORT STAKEOUT IN THE WEYRLEADER'S OFFICE. Risa rolls onto her side, then onto all fours and plants another kiss on D'lei's lips before she gets to her feet and gathers up Zyriden. "Who ever said I wasn't responsible?" It's totally a joke. BUT HA. Either way, she's starting off towards the other three with one last look over her shoulder for Dash, the kind that says KEEP UP, WEYRLEADER. Or, well… get left behind in the snow, where surely a gaggle of weyrbrats will find you with more snowballs while she is nice and warm and having a picnic in a blanket-pillow fort in their office. WORST WEYRWOMAN EVER.

"Fort is known for its snow," D'lei muses. Zyriden most definitely does not get the joke, but he recognizes that tone of voice, which is why he giggles and - "Shu' u'!" Dash grins, and pushes himself up to a seated position, then… all the way to his feet! Time to go warm up… but first, time to collect the other children who are his responsibility in a direct way rather than just a nebulous all-part-of-the-Weyr one, and drag them off on their sleds - hooked in a chain, of course - so that they can have all the more energy left by the time they reach the caverns and bounce up and down on those pillows that will at least keep them from cracking their skulls when someone, inevitably, falls off a desk. ONWARD, to be the ones RESPONSIBLE for this travesty of order and propriety!

Add a New Comment
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License