Tastes Like Humans

Xanadu Weyr - Observation Level

Dark blue seats form a semi-circle around the sands below, the lowest row separating from the sands themselves by merely a railing. The seats climb upwards, each row a bit higher then the previous, and they are broken up into sections by 3 sets of staircases. Lights are evenly spaced along the outer wall, lighting the seats and the sands easily, though they tend to be dimmed unless a major event is taking place. A large balcony looms overhead, darkening some of the seats, providing a place for observers of the draconic kind to watch without obstructing the view for others.
When one looks over the railing, the oddly hued sand below can be seen easily, the circle-shaped area of the sands spread out to the far walls, the sand itself a unique mixture of red and white grains.

The freezing winds and snow have finally broken and spring has begun to tiptoe its way across the Weyr. It's too early to tell if the day will edge toward warm, but as the breakfast hour nears and the sun takes the edge off of night's chill, it is certainly pleasant at least in comparison. The arch of blue sky must have contributed to Matrin being up and about this early, though he's cradling a mug of klah as his long legs make short work of the stairs that lead to the observation level. He's quiet and contemplative as he takes a seat near the forward edge, lifting his mug to Seryth if he should catch her eye.

miah has been sitting up in the shadowy heights of the level quietly contemplating this new thing - something she's never ever seen in her life. Perhaps hoping to remain undisturbed, perhaps not wishing to bother the clutch parents down there upon the sands. Whatever her reason, she's not hesitant to move down the stairs on light feet at the arrival of Matrin, greeting him with a soft, "Good morning!" as she draws near. When he turns there's a warm smile that banishes a lurking somberness to her eyes.

Xe'ter follows up after Matrin only a few moments afterward, similarly cradling a mug of klah…his eyes scanning not just the seating, but the entire area as if he were entering it for the first time (not true, of course…but how often do you just come into a big, hot, darkish cavern just to GAWK at the walls, eh?). And like Matrin, his long legs send him up the few steps, though he calls ahead of himself, "Mornin' Harper…coming to warm up, or to daydr—" He cuts himself short when the young woman makes herself known, and pauses in his catching up to the harper, pausing to see if perhaps this was meant to be a pair's breakfast!

There's a serious set to Matrin's eyes and mouth as well, the former fixed on the eggs nestled in the multi-colored sands. Mishkia's arrival draws him up out of his reverie and he lifts a gaze that swiftly goes from thoughtful to pleased, shifting his mug to one hand so he can offer her the other. "Good morning," he echoes, a smile finding an easy path to his lips. "What do you think? Pretty spectacular aren't they?" Xe'ter's greeting brings his head around and he flashes the Weyreleader an easy smile. "Trying to decide if I'm up to the challenge of painting them," he confesses with a sheepish quirk to his lips. "Join us?" The offer is just as easily offered as the grin, hopefully banishing that pause.

Mishkia has seen the arrival and approach of the Weyrleader, of course, but not really anticipating just where the man is headed, she steps into the row Matrin is seated in, hand reaching for his to twine fingers between. He's there then, speaking not to her but the harper, so she remains silent while the men exchange greetings. Her grey eyes take the man's measure, frankly summing him up and leaving a questionmark in its wake, unsure yet what to think if the expression on her face is any indication. Nevertheless her smile is as welcoming as Matrin's even if her manner is a touch more reserved than his. "They are," she answers him at last, gaze flickering down to the sands. "I heard the most amazing humming. It was everywhere - all around, in my head, here…" Her free hand presses against her stomach and her grin is bemused and her nose wrinkles comically. "I didn't know she was clutching them!"

Though Xe'ter may have Matrin's gaze, his attention is divided and he easily threads his fingers through Mishkia's, flicking her a quick grin as she sits. Once everyone is settled he looks back out to the eggs, nodding with a thoughtful sound. "I haven't ever been in a Weyr during a clutching either. The humming really was amazing." The words are punctuated by a little squeeze of his hand, then he tips his head, giving Xe'ter a thoughtful look. "Do you think anyone would mind if I brought a canvas in? I was planning to sketch here and paint in my studio but they're a lot more detailed than I thought. And I haven't seen the one in the office. I'll have to go check it out sometime when I won't be in the way."

Except that Mishkia has never seen a clutching (still, despite having been in the Weyr DRUING it) but this is her very first peek at dragon eggs, so it IS that special to her. There's a look of wonder on her face, the glow of absorption as she absently lowers herself to have a seat between Weyrleader and Harper. Remembering her manners, she finally greets the man audibly, "Good morning Weyrleader." Calmly said, without the ground-scaping meekness so many holdbred might affect, but respectful nonetheless. "I'd love to watch you paint them, Matrin" she murmurs, fascinated by the idea. Yep, she's still swimming in the wonder of change apparently and her next question is aimed at the both of them, "Did you two get to watch her lay them?" Lay. Listen to her! But then, they have chickens and ducks back home in the swamp.

Xe'ter offers Mishkia a bit of a smile, though it's reserved…it's not cold or faked! "Good morning to you too, lass." Yeah, nevermind…he's not much more than a 'lad' himself. "And ye can bring a canvas in here, as long as Seryth dunna object…don't look t'me about /that/…she's in charge in here." The bronze out on the Sands gives a thrum of sound, and Xe'ter chuckles. "Aye, well…she is, and you can jest lump it, Romth…" He turns his attention back to Mishkia, "Well met and all…Ye can also call me Xe'ter, or sir…whatever makes ye comfortable…and lay's a perfectly good way o' putting it. We had a few chickens at the seahold where I grew up too…I think I said the same thing th'first time I watched a queen clutch. Thought the goldrider were going to bore holes into me w'her eyes…but a hen layin's a hen layin'." Alright…he's probably kidding. Probably. Maybe?

From the sands, Seryth stirs at the thrum, opening her eyelids a slit to peer across the sands, then at the bronze. She whuffs in amusement, stirring twin whorls of sand and shuts her eyes again to resume her nap. Egg-carrying then clutching has worn her out. He can worry over things. She's going to sleep!

When Xe'ter mentions his name to Mishkia, Matrin blinks and looks between them. "For a Harper I have horrible manners. I didn't realize you two hadn't met. Weyrleader, this is Mishkia of Mire Hold." He doesn't give her any other title but he does pull their joined hands over to rest on his knee - just the slightest bit possessive, though there's still an easy smile on his lips. Then it's back to the eggs. "I caught one or two at the end but that was all. Pretty amazing," he says, words touched with awe. "And I'll ask Thea next time I see her. I think the space is big enough that she shouldn't smell the paint or anything."

From the sands, Romth is still awake, his big chin cradled on his paws as he lays nearer to the stands than Seryth, keeping his big bronze bulk and wedgy head between the precious clutch and interlopers…or maybe to keep interlopers from being devoured by a broody queen. Maybe it's one and the same. He does, however, finally lift his head back up, eyes whirling, as Matrin makes a commentary on smells. His tongue, still slightly off-color from his LAST adventures, flickers out a moment, as if he could test for tastes as well as smells.

Mishkia tries not to laugh at the 'lass' she fails, the bright sound bubbling forth. "Well then, Xe'ter, if you'd like, you may call me Mishkia or whatever makes you comfortable," she tells the younger man archly. Her headshake contradicts Matrin's self-commentary on his manners, excusing him with, "It's a big Weyr; we just haven't crossed paths yet and I've never thought to mention it." Her laughter wasn't so loud that it echoed, but when both dragons give voice down there on the sands below, she blinks and shrinks back against her seatrest, leaning into Matrin's shoulder just a bit as well. Looking more dismayed than frightened, "I… are they that easily disturbed?" Not getting the interplay between rider and dragon, not mates either, she's going by the timing of those vocalizations. Her wide grey eyes are still on the recumbent pair down there so when the bronze lifts his head, she actually gapes, barking a short laugh of disbelief, "Did he just… stick his tongue out at Matrin?" Obviously that question is meant for the rider.

Xe'ter chuckles a bit, "Nay…he's curious about the taste of paint". It's a plausible explination, perhaps, but then Romth's head is no longer over the sands…it's rather intruding into the STANDS. It's so easy to underestimate how big a dragon's head is, until it's looming towards you with its jaw partially open. Xe'ter, though, just waves his hand, like Romth was little more than a pet feline, "Knock it off, ye big shardin' oaf…And they're watchful…dragons dunna hear very well, but they hear what their riders hear…after a fashion. He's curious about smelly paint…as there's not much Romth won't at least lick if he's given th'chance." Romth, though, is not entirely detered, snaking that forked tongue right out at his rider, and then at Matrin…who might well get a good SLURP for his trouble…and Mishkia too! Apparently, the bronze doesn't discriminate between humans very well. Or doesn't care to.

Matrin unlaces his fingers from Mishkia's to loop an arm lightly around her shoulders. "There wouldn't be observation stands here if it wasn't ok for us to observe, generally speaking, right?" His tone is encouraging, his grin widening at that flicker of dragon tongue. "You might tell him it does not taste good at all. Though I suppose I could make some of the edible corn syrup kind for him to taste if he really wants to." Though he's far more comfortable around dragons than the holdbred Mishkia, even he leans back into his seat a bit as Romth looms. "He really is enormous isn't he?" Encouraging the girl at his side - right! His smile might waver just a bit but he gives her one anyway, squeezing with the arm around her until he's distracted by the bronze showing just how much he likes to taste things. And, apparently people. He just blinks and pulls a handkerchief out of his pocket, dabbing at his cheek almost delicately. "Well hello to you too."

There's nowhere for Mishkia to go when that head looms closer. She side-darts a look of consternation at Xe'ter, the man's utter unconcern reassuring her somewhat but that head… keeps advancing. Her eyes widen yet more and she's pressing further back into her seat quipping with a nervous laugh, "My what big tee- augh!" She ducks at the tongue flickers forth, burying her head in Matrin's shoulder as it swipes across the three of them. He gets the back of her head, mussing the bright tumble of hair. She sits back up right after, sweeping her hair from her eyes, peering warily forth just in case the dragon attempts seconds. Her laugh is less amused and more flustered but hey - she's trying here! Of the bronze, she offers a roughish grin and a pert, "H-how did we taste Sir bronze?"

« Like humans, » comes a distinctly Xe'ter-ish reply…and yet it's tinged with a heaviness, a depth, a weightiness that no human voice has…much less the pressure-wave sensation of SOMETHING washing across the mind and soul. Xe'ter snorts at his lifemate, and then waves him off a bit, putting a hand on the big muzzle to guide it away. "Leave off, ye big pest…" But there's a quiet after, before the bronze sits back, up on his haunches like some oversized feline, his head still lingering over the trio. "Aye, you think," comes a tonally-flat response from Xe'ter. "Ye sure about that? Ye realize yer a bronze, right? An it's pure bad luck, aye? Fine…be that way." Romth is in no way dissuaded, and then more carefully than his widely-spread lick, noses at Matrin, and then his rider. "Fine, fine…I an't got knots on me, ye know." He shrugs, and then looks to the harper, addressing him somewhat more formally as he rises up. "Romth here…is in formin' me that ye might have what it takes t'stand on the Sands. An it'd give you a chance t'get a closer look at his eggs…which he wants immortalized, the vain sot."

Matrin is just fastidious enough to make a second pass with that hanky, but Mishkia's determination to stay laughing softens his not entirely pleased surprise into better humor. He runs his fingers through damp and mussed locks, straightening them with a wide grin. "Another first for you. Now maybe riding on one won't seem so bad, hmm?" The inquiring note at the end breaks off abruptly as Romth becomes even more intrusive, brushing up against them with his mind which is somehow even more invasive than his tongue. Blinking, he clears his throat and manages, "And there's a first for me too," with only a slightly rough note in his voice. Of course then it goes from surprising and unfamiliar to totally shocking and for a moment all he can do is gape at Xe'ter. "Me?" It's nearly a squeak, dark brows up and bright eyes darting from rider to dragon. "Seriously? Am I even… young enough?" At the mention of knots he puts a protective hand over his own, then looks at Mishkia like she might be of some help. "Can I… shells, seriously?" He has to ask again, shaking his head. "Is it terribly inappropriate to ask for a little time to… consider?" He's just totally taken off guard and utterly without a framework to deal with the invitation.

"They still go up there." The holder girl points helplessly to the sky while trying not to look nervous about that idea. But then… Yeahno. Mishkia wasn't expecting that draconic reply inside her head and her breath - all of it - escapes in a slight squeak and whoosh of air as she freezes in a sort of stunned way, eyes glazing over a touch for the brief moment Romth speaks. When she can find her voice, she mutters to the both of them, "That's… unsettling," adding in an aside while her gaze is still fixed upon Romth, "I don't know how you endure it Xe'ter." That head is still looming and while she's by no means frightened, she's wary, leaning just a touch toward's Xe'ter as the bronze noses Matrin, then swaying back into the harper's side as the dragon noses his rider. Not at all used to this sort of thing and unsure what it's all about, she almost misses the request asked of Matrin. Her eyes meet his first and she's speechless, once again at a loss, turning her attention to the weyrleader, blurting the first thing that comes to mind, "But but but… He's my mentor. And he… has a job." Not a protest, really. She just doesn't know how all this is supposed to work.

Xe'ter is still considering Matrin with his somber, jeweltoned eyes, but nods a bit, "Well…the second question's a good one…how old are ye?" He hasn't a clue! "Ye be under 25, yer fine…and lass, a harper can be a Candidate, an still do his fill of his job. Thea, she's got these ideas this time…insteada havin' ye clean the latrines wit tiny brushes, yer still all goin' ta do the work ye've been doin', more or less. We've drudges aplenty for the hard parts…so." He pauses, and looks back to Matrin, "If ye need time, I understand; s'not like I've swooped down from th'sky and asked ye out of the blue, and will be gone afore you have a chance to think 'bout it. Like I said, I dunna have any knots on me…so…ye can come find me in my office if ye have time enough to think about it an say yes."

Matrin takes a slow, deep breath and wedges his klah into his lap so he has a free hand to run through his dark hair. There's still some part of his brain focused on the girl between them and he gives her another comforting squeeze with the arm that's still around her shoulders. Though he didn't put his concerns into words, he nods when she does it for him, and his gaze is as serious as that of the somber Weyrleader as he awaits the answer. There's another ruffling stroke of his fingers through his hair as if the gesture might kickstart his brain into action, and he lets out a held breath through pursed lips. "Less than 25. For another seven months anyway." A shake of his head, but Xe'ter's answers about his craft are at least a somewhat reassuring. "But during Weyrlinghood?" For Mishkia, he offers a soft smile, even if its curve is a little weak. "Regardless I will make sure you're taken care of. And it's not like I'm getting Searched to Ista or something, if I say yes." He hears his own words and shakes his head, muttering, "Searched, shells," under his breath.

Xe'ter finally batts Romth's head back out away from the trio, and the bronze finally WHUMPS back down (carefully) into the hot sands (lest he…you know…disturb an egg…or Seryth). "Aye, well..the eggs'll hatch afore seven months, no worries there. An if ye have questions, there's always one of us about. It's not like we're gonna throw ye to wild whers or somethin'." He chuckles to himself, and looks out a self-pleased Romth. "Nothin' ventured nothin' gained? Tell ye what…come find me in my office…ye know where it is. I'd like t'see the progress ye've made on those reports an' procedures."

Mishkia nods at the Weyrleader, flickering an uncertain glance between both men and dragon alternatively while the two of them talk, echoing under her breath, "scrub latrines with tiny brushes?!" Like really they DO that? Did rather. There's a barely-there headshake for that and a breath out in relief for artists everywhere on that one. Under the gentle pressure of Matrin's arm her shoulders relax and she responds to his unspoken reassurance with a faint smile, coppery brows knitting together slightly at the mention of Weyrlinghood. She hasn't even thought that far yet!

A bit of unnamed tension seeps out of Matrin when Romth gives them all a little space. He's still looking awfully thoughtful with a faint frown creasing his brow, but he's nodding instead of shaking his head now. "I will absolutely bring you what I have on those procedures sir, and I'd like to see that painting." Not to mention probably asking about a million questions once he gets them straight in his head. Straightening abruptly he adds a hasty, "And thank you, both of you, for the offer. It's an honor." Even if it's one he doesn't take. His attention flickers to Mishkia and he just brings back that bit of a smile. "One step at a time, right?"

Xe'ter looks into his klahmug for a moment, then half-complains, "Cold already…ye know, we should see about having a small klah-hearth put in or something…closer to these sands." He looks to Romth, who has curled up like a gigantically self-pleased feline, and then back at the pair sitting there. "I'm gonnae go get m'self more klah, and some proper breakfast, I think…behave…or Romth'll let me know otherwise." He finishes his cold klah, anyway. "Alright…" And with that he's up on his long shanks, and headed down the stairs towards the exit, musing aloud, "Wonder if Thea'd like a biscuit or two…"

Mishkia's brows knit once more at that 'behave' from the Weyrleader, puzzled as to just why the younger man needs to admonish their behavior in here of all places. "Alright?" She agrees a touch uncertainly with a little headtilt as the man rises. "Uhh, enjoy your breakfast," she calls after him as he takes his leave. Turning her head back to Matrin after a bemused moment or two of watching the man take the stairs, she offers him, "Congratulations?" Then laughs softly, "Life sure is a whirlwind of change around here, isn't it? I guess I'd better get used to it!"

Continues in Time to Think

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