Xanadu Weyr - Weyrling Grounds
Cradled in a cup shaped bite out of the mountain, this wide, grassy flat has become home for Xanadu's weyrling dragons. It's set surprisingly high above the level of the beach, visible from the eastern side of the grounds where a long path snakes its way down the hill to the sand dunes below. All other sides to the grounds are bordered by the hard granite cliffs, two entrances clearly visible. One is merely human sized and leads deep into the mountain, to the Caverns. The other is broad and high, the entrance to the Weyrling Barracks.
The morning dawned bright and clear, but as the day has worn on, the clouds rolled in. Now mid-day, the clouds are thick and heavy, promising snow though none falls just yet. Out in this weather are Mur'dah and his darkly hued brown, the dragon hopping along as he usually does, favoring his right leg though it doesn't seem to bother him. Hopping this way and that, the brown digs at the snow before hopping a bit further, digging there, and so on.
Despite the cold, an unfamiliar figure can be seen winding up the snaking path from the beach, impressively bundled in fur-lined gloves, a thick scarf, and what has to be two sweaters under his coat. The nearer he draws, the easier it is to see the man's tanned face beneath a drawn hood, as well as the Dragonhealer badge that stands out against his dark jacket. His knot is woven with Istan colors, however, explaining the entirety of his appearance in one. Dark eyes survey the pair of young weyrlings, taking in Kalsuoth's gait and curious digging before focusing on Mur'dah with a slight smile and a wave as he approaches. "Good afternoon," he says, the greeting a bit awkward, though perhaps that's because he's trying valiantly to keep his teeth from chattering. It's not going well. Pathetic islander, sheesh.
There's more than one figure coming up from the beach, actually - another weyrling and her dragon, trailing some distance behind that unfamiliar figure. The brightness of the morning practically begged for a swim, after all. Frigid? Sure, but that just means it's refreshing! Besides, Luraoth's got nothing to compare those cold waters to except her rider's memories, and she likes splashing around in the water. So, she and her rider were down at the beach to do just that - only to find the sun that drew them there hiding itself behind clouds. "Keep 'em moving," Soriana murmurs to her gold as they walk up from the shore. « Would they freeze? » Luraoth asks as she fans her wings. The motion of each wing is graceful, though when taken together there's something a little odd about them. Something… lopsided, as they slowly flutter and send drops of cold water to run down along them and drip on the packed snow. "I dunno, and I don't want to find out."
Mur'dah and Kalsuoth look up, moving as one as they still and peer at the arrival of another. "Hi," Mur'dah says, touching fingers to his brow in a salute. "You cold?" is his next question, his grin a little crooked. Kalsuoth hops forward a few steps to sit beside his rider, moving from wobbling motion to stillness without a second thought. He's hardly breathing, he's settled so still and calm. Head tilting to one side, he parts his jaws and rumbles a low caw sound of greeting.
S'gam marks that subtle togetherness of the weyrling and his dragon, if his smirk is anything to judge by. It's an expression of wry familiarity and appreciation, one which quickly disappears under a scrunched nose between Mur'dah's salute and observation. "A l-little," he admits in a good-natured tone of voice. "'S'been a while since I've experienced an actual winter. Didn't miss it." The explanation is given with a crooked grin. "However, I was told by one of the weyrlingmasters there were some weyrlings with dragonhealer-type questions and that I s-should stop by if I had time, so here I am. Don't suppose you could direct me to them," he says in a fashion that indicates he suspects Mur'dah may have been one of them, but has learned over many turns to assume nothing. The dark brown's approach is noted with a respectful nod and half-bow in response to that caw-like greeting. Motion out of the corner of his vision tears the bronzerider's gaze away from Kalsuoth, peering back as Soriana and Luraoth come up behind him. Having likely seen them near the water on his approach, the man nods, offering a wave of greeting. "Bet that was a brisk swim," he says in an amused fashion.
Luraoth and Soriana's conversation drifts into the silent version thereof, and they continue up until they round the curve and come into view of the others. « Hello! » Luraoth sends to Kalsuoth with a jingle of mental bells as though they're strung over her body as she wriggles it to shake off water. Soriana's steps slow behind those of her dragon for a moment as she takes in the new arrival, and she lifts a hand to the general salute position on account of how she's not exactly sure who he is and if he'll care. The grin arrives a moment later, along with the resuming of her steps. "Ohh, yeah," she agrees. "Definitely not the time of year for long soaks."
Mur'dah studies the Dragonhealer for a long moment and then swallows, clearing his throat. "Ahh, uh. Yes. I'm one of them. Wanted to get…another opinion, I guess? Not that I mistrust our Dragonhealers! I just wanted to see what other folks thought…" Trailing off awkwardly, he shoves his hands into his pockets and stares at the ground for a moment. Then his chin is lifting again, standing proud and unapologetic of his request. Head turning, he and Kalsuoth both greet Soriana and her young gold with a friendly gesture - Mur'dah nods, and Kalsuoth caws and fans his wings at her. « Hello! » the brown says happily to his clutchsister. « Was it fun? I have been exploring. The snow buries so many interesting things. » Mur'dah laughs. "No, it wasn't, but did she enjoy herself?"
S'gam is quick to wave away Soriana's salute, though it is perhaps her slowed steps that finally reminds him to introduce himself. "Sorry, I should have mentioned who I was. S'gam of Bronze Ittisieth, from Ista," he says in an apologetic tone. Dark eyes roll for his forgetfulness, then focus on Mur'dah when the boy speaks up again. "Thought that might be the case," he says with a nod, snickering when Mur'dah hastens to correct himself. "Don't worry, I won't tell." Sig waits out the ground-staring, lips twisting into a wry smile as soon as the weyrling's chin lifts again. "And you're always entitled to a second opinion. What seems to be the problem?" A laughing look is then sent Soriana's way. "Indeed not." Mur'dah's question is one he likely would have asked as well, so he doesn't repeat it, but he seems interested in the answer.
« It was. » Luraoth replies to Kalsuoth with a swirl of sand kicked up beneath the water. « I found smooth stones, and mine built a tower. » Her head tilts to the side as her wings give another sway. « What have you found? Has Tahryth's Stick appeared again? » The stick of legend and lore! Or, at least, of sevendays ago, which is close enough to legendary as makes no difference. "Oh, she did," Soriana answers Mur'dah with a fond glance to her dragon, then smirks. "Tried to get me to swim with her." « It would be fun. » And Soriana would freeze solid, so no. Not yet, anyway. Her gaze settles on S'gam's dragonhealer badge, and her mouth opens in an 'aha!' as the rest of the bits of conversation start making sense. She glances quickly to Kalsuoth, and then… to Luraoth.
Mur'dah nods his head and extends a hand. "Well met, S'gam. I'm Mur'dah, brown Kalouseth's." And there's a flushed pride to his cheeks and a breathlessness to his voice at his own introduction. A sort of /wow/ that lingers with the newly impressed boy. "Ahh, well. It's the way he walks." And he nods at the brown, and Kalsuoth is only too happy to oblige. Hopping away, the brown wobbles and seems to be favoring his right leg, though Mur'dah is quick to say, "It doesn't pain him at all." As he hops around, Kalsuoth brushes minds with his sister. « No, not The Stick. But other things. Shapes and colors and beautiful things. » Mur'dah then looks over at gold and rider, and motions a hand towards them. "This is Soriana, and her gold, Luraoth." And he gives Soriana a look that says, 'did you want to ask him anything?'
S'gam shakes the offered hand, rumbling out an amused, "Well met." A nostalgic look crosses his features for that wow-ness, perhaps recalling a time when he felt that way about his own Grumpy McDragonson, who is thankfully not present. This means that only one set of eyes focuses hard on the demonstrating brown, picking up on the particulars of that gait with a slight frown. "I noticed he moved strangely at the hatching, but I wasn't positive - sometimes dragons behave strangely on the sands. Any idea as to why he's favoring the right leg - a hatching injury, any complaints?" Things the dragonhealer wouldn't know, meaning. He 'hmm's for the no-pain comment, tilting his head curiously. "Would either of you mind if I touched him?" It's addressed towards Mur'dah, but the man includes Kalsuoth in his glance. He follows Mur'dah's gesture when he introduces Soriana and Luraoth, a similar expression of recognition alighting on his features. "Ah, so you'd be the young dragonhealer that impressed. It's nice to meet you." The significant glances are marked with a raised brow, but tactfully doesn't say anything as of yet.
Oh yeah! Soriana forgot her own introduction, and after S'gam's reminder in the form of his own, too. She flushes briefly, nodding as Mur'dah provides it and coming closer. Not only that, her reputation (sorta) has preceded her. "Uh, yeah," she says to the senior dragonhealer. "Grade one. Nice to meet you." For a moment, as S'gam begins looking over Kalsuoth, she shifts toward that natural position of the trainee dragonhealer, eager attention and readiness to assist. Luraoth's attention is also on the brown, but it's for his discoveries, not his limp. She leans her head down, regarding that snow. Oh, snow. What secrets do you hold? « Mine says snow is water. I have seen snow become water, but not water become snow. » The gold follows her rider closer to the others, her own movements graceful like an idealized model of how dragons are supposed to walk… at least, until her lopsided wings are seen. Soriana hesitates, her posture becoming awkward as she falls into a less-accustomed role around a dragonhealer. "Luraoth's wing is…" difficult to think about, so she asks a more general question. "What do outcomes look like? For early impediments?"
Mur'dah shakes his head. "Never complained about it, and I would've felt it, right? Even if he didn't tell me?" Glancing at his brown, Kalsuoth comes to a stop and with a low wuffled exhale, stands still. He's getting used to this, and seems to approach all the touching by strangers patiently and philosophically. "Go ahead," Mur'dah says. While he's still, the dark brown looks around to his sister. « That happens in the clouds, mine told me. Maybe when we fly we can go see? » And he shares an image with her of something he discovered earlier. A little hole dug out of a snow drift, the crystals clinging together tightly to make the little ledge over the hole, so fragile and yet holding strong for the moment. Gleaming, glimmering, and crystal clear. « Why does snow look blue when it gets deeper? » he asks.
If S'gam notices Soriana's shift into the trainee mindset, he doesn't show it - it has become just as natural for someone to assume that role that he just goes with the flow. "I assume you would, yes. Young dragons are similar to young children in that their thoughts and feelings - or at least, most of them - are rather well-broadcasted." The dragonhealer seems pleased by Kalsuoth's compliance, but still moves carefully around the dragon, shedding gloves so he can press more sensitive fingertips along the growing dragon's lower spine and hips, eventually moving down towards his leg. The man peeks up for Soriana's words, brows twitching for her hesitation and change of words. "Mmm. It depends. Oftentimes, the growing process is the cause for impediments. Some bits grow faster than others, and for a while, the dragon is awkward. This growth can also be beneficial, as sometimes, a dragon will develop musculature or bone structure that helps even things out." He pauses, fingers pressing gently against Kalsuoth's thigh muscles. "Other times, a weyrling pair has to work extra hard to keep an early impediment from becoming a late impediment. Once set, behaviors can be difficult to change, injuries exacerbated by turns of coping, maybe causing other problems by trying to overcompensate with other body parts. What once might have been fixed through simple exercises then requires massive physical training, perhaps surgery depending on the injury." He trails that off, giving her a questioning look that asks for more information before his gaze returns to what he's doing, lips pursing ever so slightly. "Will you ask Kalsuoth to stretch his right leg as far back as it will go?"
« Clouds look a little like snow, » Luraoth muses, lifting her head to look at them and send a mental gust of wind upward. It fails to disturb the actual clouds, of course, but her attention drifts back down like falling snow nonetheless, swirling in to take a look at Kalsuoth's find. « Pretty! » Her thoughts echo those sparkles, clear and bright at the same time. « Water does too. So does the sky. Perhaps they are all the same, sea and snow and sky. We will see, when we fly. » The gold, at least, has no doubt that time will come. Soriana listens soberly to S'gam's explanation, nodding now and again. It mirrors what she's read in books… but it's different hearing it, and last time she read it, she didn't have as much reason to care quite so deeply. "Luraoth's got her left wing smaller than the other," she says, her gaze lingering on Kalsuoth as S'gam works - though the gold spreads her wings in response to a thought from her rider. "I've got some stretches for her, but…" she worries. Oh, she worries.
Mur'dah goes a bit pale as the Healer rambles on about all the issues their young dragons can face, reaching up a gloved hand to rub and absently tug on Kalsuoth's muzzle. The brown wuffles softly and warmly over his rider, a rumble rising in his throat before he obliges S'gam, straightening that leg as far back as it will go. Which is to say not all that far. Turning his head, Mur'dah gives Soriana a sympathetic look. They're in the same boat it seems, though Mur'dah is fiercely grateful that it's not Kalsuoth's wings that are affected.
S'gam looks up again, first to eye Luraoth's spread wings with an analytical squint, then to take in the weyrlings' expressions. He gives them both a reassuring half-smile, changing from the clinical and matter-of-fact informant. "Stretches are good. I'd say, considering they are still so young, that that'd be the best first step to take regardless. For Luraoth, you can see that she can't extend her wing far enough out, so definitely work those flexor muscles and see if she makes progress. There's time before she has to fly to stretch out that muscle." His gaze switches to Mur'dah. "Same goes for Kalsuoth. Keep an eye on him, and be sure he knows to tell you if he begins to feel pain. But for now, I'll have someone draw up and deliver drawings for several exercises that may help. The easiest will be like this." He gestures at the slight backwards extension of the brown's leg. "Have him stretch it back as far as he's able, then pull it up towards his stomach, and repeat. There are other things you can try, though." He pauses, considering something before shrugging one shoulder. "I'd say, just from looking, that he has a shortened thigh muscle, but there may also be tendon troubles along the way, because of it or in addition to it. I'm not sure without poking and prodding at him, and I don't want to worry you more over something that may not be an issue. I'll inform the dragonhealers and weyrlingmasters so they can help you along the way, but for now that's the best that I can tell you. Start out with the simplest fix and we'll go from there."
Soriana looks back to Luraoth, and the golden dragon lowers her head to nuzzle at her rider's shoulder, chirping comfortingly. Soriana smiles slightly, and brushes her fingers along Luraoth's muzzle before turning her gaze back to senior dragonhealer and fellow weyrling. "Yeah… simple is good." Non-invasive procedures! Sori's fingers linger on her dragon, petting her gently as she listens to the rest of what S'gam has to say with more of that trainee's attention. It's easier to focus on that than on her worry about her own dragon. What is it they say about healers and being patients? Luraoth croons softly, staying near her rider as her thoughts reach to Kalsuoth. « Will you watch my wings, when I stretch them? Your eyes are keen. »
Mur'dah nods, and apparently this is what the other dragonhealers told him as well, because it seems familiar to both him and Kalsuoth. "Okay. That's what they said, too. So…" Guess that's it? He tugs Kalsuoth's muzzle again and the brown croons, rustling his wings and nudging his rider back a step, amused. Mur'dah grins crookedly and takes a deep breath. "Hard to know that…there's something wrong with him though, you know?" he asks, running fingers through his hair. Kalsuoth swings his head around to study his sister, and he rumbles. « Of course. What am I looking for? »
S'gam nods towards Soriana's statement. "Indeed. I will be happy if I never have to stitch a dragon again, so I try not to go looking for trouble, but… well, you know." He rolls his eyes and tries to keep from chatting about these things. He does seem pleased that what he said makes sense with what the Xanadu dragonhealers told them. "Good. You're in safe hands, though it never hurts to get a second opinion - if you need anything else, don't hesitate to send a note." He nods at Mur'dah for that secondary thought. "Too true. He seems to get around just fine, and if he isn't complaining…" The dragonhealer gives a big shrug. "Mostly this will help him in the long run, though. We all age, and it isn't pretty." Speaking from experience? Apparently so, judging by his facial expression… one that quickly twists into a grumpy /squint/ aimed weyr-wards. He sighs. "If you have any other questions, as I said, feel free to send a note. I'll make sure those stretch sketches are sent your way. In the meantime, I have an oversized baby to attend to." With a nod to both weyrlings, the dragonhealer heads back the way he came, moving at a brisk pace and muttering under his breath as he goes.
« They are supposed to match, » Luraoth says with a double swirl of pink and orange, two streamers running against each other in opposite directions, « but they do not. So when I stretch them » and she does, extending them upwards until the one is fully spread and the other… is not, though it quivers slightly with the attempt, « I want to know how much they do not. » The gold turns her head slightly, as if trying to look, then returns her gaze to Kalsuoth. « Mine says it will take a long time and many stretches, but I think it is good to know. » Better to know what's wrong than guess? Soriana seems to agree, for she nods to S'gam, then waves to him as he departs. "Thank you!" she says, before turning back to the weyrling dragons and… physical therapy and stretches! Fun times.
Mur'dah nods to S'gam, looking relieved. "Thank you, sir. I appreciate it." Released from his stretches, Kalsuoth settles back onto his haunches and turns to face his sister. Head tilts this way and then that, and then he rumbles. « You look like this, » he says, tentatively sharing a mental image of how she looks to him. And it's fairly good, too. A touch too dark, perhaps, but her proportions are correct at least. And then Mur'dah tugs on a neckridge. "Let's go down to the beach and stretch," he says tossing a wave to the others before he and his lifemate hop away.