Of Fog and Fauna

Xanadu Weyr - Beach
The unerring range of subdued white rises and falls in a multitude of sandy dunes, creating an endless amount of tiny valleys constantly demolished and rebuilt by the frequent arrival or departure of a dragon. Smoothing out as it slopes gently to the edge of the deep blue water, the sand darkens and a shell here and there stands out for children to collect. The beach itself is set along a low cliff - the height lessoning as one heads eastwards, blocking a portion of the beach from direct access.

The wide wide stretch of water opens up to the east, the far distant shore way beyond the horizon and the beach curves ever so slowly round to east and west, distant arms of land embracing the wind-ruffled Caspian Lake. East leads up to the mouth of the Rubicon River, where the protecting cliff is merely an arms length higher then the sand, and beyond that, a winding road leading out of Xanadu's territory. Westwards, the beach narrows as the cliff swings out, leaving a path wide enough for dragons in single file before cutting in to the sheltered cove designated the Weyrling Beach. However, cut in the cliff face to the north are a variety of rough, wide staircases, providing access to the clearing and to the meadow.

The sun has slipped past its zenith, marking the first hours of the afternoon, even if it can't be seen. And it can't, because even at the pinnacle of noonday summery heat, the sun wasn't able to burn off the fug that has cloaked the weyr in mist. Above the cloak of grey is cloudcover, meaning that the day is pale rather than dark, but that's as far as the light goes. It makes for an odd day to visit the beach, but there's a certain beauty to the wind-whipped waves rolling in, and the muffled sound of those waves crashing against the cliff face makes for a pleasant white noise. It's cool without being truly cold even with the humidity, and Matrin wears a light sweater in deference to the weather. Though the color has been leeched from the day he is set up not far from the shore with an easel and a palette of subdued paints.

Coming along the waterline is a large dark shape that slowly starts to take on a green tint and then it's noticable that it's a dragon. Walking alongside is a small woman sans anyone but her lifemate. She is bundled up a little and then the green pauses a moment. "What do you see Alo?" Kezi asks, her voice carrying through the fog like it has a tendency to. "Well, lets go take a look then." she murmurs and the two head towards the man painting.

Jeniosa comes in from the direction of the meadow, wearing her typical lilac and lavendar ensemble of pants, tunic and light jacket which is zipped tightly about her body. She's murmuring softly towards the tiny figure cuddled in the crook of her arm as her omnipreent big blue firelizard scarf tries to help direct her footsteps. That's when she hears the sounds of the waves and frowns. "Shards..this fog has me all lost. I thought we were headed towards the clearing." Which direction is she headed? She's not sure, but she does hear Keziah's familiar voice and tries to head that way.

Further down along the shore, Soriana's figure is at first more or less completely hidden amidst the grey mist. She looks like just a part of the cliff-face she's standing near… if even that. Rather inconspicuous. At the sound of voices, she stares (more-or-less uselessly) in that direction before giving a short whistle. There's a soft little answering croon to it, and that makes the girl laugh before she starts heading toward the others at an easy walk, testing each step as she takes it. Inkfoot is missing from view for a moment, and then comes rapidly scampering up around her feet, and she's got a little bump nestled into a curve of her light jacket where she has it half-open at the throat. Now then… peer, peer, peer through the fog!

Matrin is, for the moment, so absorbed in his work that he fails to notice he is slowly being surrounded by women with creatures of various types. He peers into the fog, then leans forward with the tip of his tongue tucked up over an eyetooth as he dabs a bit of blue-grey over a paler patch of mist. His frustration is evident in the way he scrubs a hand through his hair and hefts a sigh, nibbling on the (unpainted) end of his brush. It's this moment of distraction that brings the looming specter of Alosynth into view, and from there he gets a glimpse of Jeniosa and Soriana. Though he came here seeking solitude, he lifts a paint smudged hand in an easy wave, vaguely directed toward each of them.

Jeniosa follows the shadow of Alosynth until she can find Keziah and, ultimately, matrin as well. "Oh, hello Miss Keziah Ma'am. How're you and yours?" Matrin's wave gets a return wave from jen as she greets him. "Hey Matrin, whatcha painting?" Well, he may have wanted to be alone, but now he's got people surrounding him watching him paint. A finger idly scritches over the tiny bronze hatchling in the crook of her arm. "Look at our new family member, Keziah, isn't he cute? His name's Copper."

Soriana returns the wave from Matrin, though some of her attention is taken by the unfinished canvas, looking at it curiously and then glancing out over the scene it's supposed to convey. Hmmm, goes the girl, and then she's looking over and waving to Keziah (and Alosynth! The dragon gets her own wave, apparently), and over to Jeniosa with a smile. Inkfoot, having caught up with her, winds around Soriana's legs a few times before twitching his nose and scampering off down the beach to explore something-or-other. The girl ignores his departure, but a tiny wet-spattered brown head peeks out from her jacket to watch the ferret go. Soriana, meanwhile, looks over through the fog to Jeniosa and her own little hatchling.

"She's fine," Matrin murmurs as Alosynth's delicate head comes winding toward his painting. He makes one last attempt at getting something down on the canvas, but when one watcher becomes three he summons up a smile and sets palette and paintbrush on the little collapsible table near his canvas. The wind has died down to a breeze but even that sends bits of sand to speckle his drying painting, and he gives it a sidelong glance. "The fog, the water," is his shrug-accompanied response to Jeniosa, and his quick look at her turns into a doubletake when she introduces Copper. "Shells, you guys and your adopting of tiny needy creatures. How in the world do you have the time." There goes a ferret, and yet another hatchling and at that point he just has to chuckle and shake his head. Then Soriana gets a closer look. "Ah, at least you aren't a Candidate. I'm Matrin, nice to meet you."

"Hello Jeniosa, Soriana" Kezi murmurs to the two and then she's peering at Jeni's hatchling and now Sori's even as Alosynth warbles softly at Soriana "My, well, you two will certainly be busy." she notes and then she smiles at Matrin "You just let me know if she becomes a nuscience." she notes and the green just huffs a bit. Kezi rolls her eyes and then snorts. "Fine, she wants to know why you are painting the fog and the water." She turns again to JEni "Oh, I've been doing good, and the brood is doing well as well."

Jeniosa grins, peeking over at Soriana's hatchling. "Yours hatched too? Guess we found them in the nick of time huh? I wonder if Alzanbri's hatched too. Have been too busy with stuff, haven't seen him around." She shoots Matrin a grin. "Well, I'm a Beastcrafter, I've never turned a critter down if I could help it." Animal-lover, that's her. "But he is adorable, don't you think?" And the sleepy little bronze gives a soft sleepy chirrup. "I like being busy, makes me forget about how much I miss my friends back home. And chores can only distract so far, you know?"

Soriana hehs, and shakes her head. "No, 'm not," she says to Matrin, offering a smile. Now that she's actually visible instead of a foggy figure, that's pretty clear - in fact, she's still too young to even be searched. Not by much, admittedly; if she were a boy… but she's not. "I'm Soriana. Nice t'meet you, too." The brown firelizard turns to look at the other humans, and chirps softly; Soriana reaches up to stroke along his muzzle, and adds, "Uhm… and this is Toral." She nods to Jeniosa, and smiles. "No predicting them, eggs…" she says with a little shake of her head and then hehs to Kezi. "Busy. Yeah." She doesn't seem to mind that particular prospect!

A disgruntled Alosynth (as long as it's directed toward her rider and not at him) makes Matrin grin and he shakes his head. "This lovely lady could hardly be a nuisance. Though the painting isn't going well so I'm not sure how interesting this will be." He pauses, leaning to grab the brush and add a swoop of color, then just shaking his head. "Sometimes it helps me think," is directed up toward the dragon, but his gaze drops to Jeniosa quickly enough to sort of include her in it. "He is cute at the moment but young things usually are when they are drowsy," he notes with a grin devoid of malice before tipping his head toward the unfinished painting to add, "I do know what you mean though, about distractions." Finally he takes a single step that gets his outstretched hand close enough to offer it to Soriana. "Well met, both of you." Settling back he darts a glance at Keziah. "How are the older ones doing with all the little ones? And Lorelai must be getting close too, right?"

Keziah snorts at Matrin "Sure she can. You should try having her in your head all the time, asking questions, wondering why." She remarks. Alosynth just lays her head on her forepaws. "I do agree, little things are often cute while drowsy, or even sleepy." she smiles softly and then she gives herself a shake "Well, Mirai's been busy doing her own thing and Micaela is convinced her brothers are her babies." she notes with a fond smile and then coughs a little "Well, there are other ways to distract yourself. Excercise is a good way, I can run you all through a course." she offers "Give you a legs up on trainin' iffen ya Impress."

Jeniosa smiles happily at the compliments to her newest little firelizard. She settles down in the sand, then, sitting cross-legged, might as well pass the time before getting lost in the fog again. "Oh, Sori, did you give Inkfoot extra treats for his bravery in the ruins?" She giggles. "Who knew something that small could take down a feline, huh?" The beastcrafter still can't believe it even if she saw it with her own two eyes.

Soriana takes Matrin's hand for a light shake, and smiles. "Yeah…" she says. Who's surprised that the harper's the one with the easy words here? She stands there awkward for a moment, not sure what else to say. At the mention of exercise, Soriana glances over the Jeniosa with a grin. Oh yeah, they exercised. The grin gets wider as Jeniosa speaks. "/And/ his bath. With treats to go with!" she says, and laughs. "I think he was just the last straw… it wasn't doing so great even before." Yeah, there she goes downplaying it… oh, and here comes Inkfoot, back again with a smug and self-satisfied look. Which (probably) has more to do with the spiderclaw he's dragging after him, and less with the conversation, but the tunnelcat does have good timing.

Matrin grabs a halfway clean towel and starts the process of cleaning off his brushes, swirling them in water between. One can assume the real cleaning will happen back at his place, but he's got to get the majority of the paint out before it dries. It keeps his hands busy as he nods at Keziah's words. "Well that sounds more tranquil than I would have expected actually. And I might take you up on the exercise at some point, but I think today I would just get lost in the fog." There's self-deprecating amusement in his tone, though it turns to more curiosity as Inkfoot comes scampering up. "That took down a feline? Like a house feline or a wild something or other?" He pauses a beat, turning to face the group better. "And where were you guys anyway?" Clearly he missed something somewhere. The harper is out of the loop!

Jeniosa nods, and the look on her face is dead serious. "He did, saved us all down in those ruins. It was a big ugly feline, not you're everyday housefeline. It was big and mangy and..frightening." Yes, frightening even for the FelineGirl from Eastern Weyr. "Inkfoot there kept biting it until the thing fell dead." She runs a finger over smooth coppery hide of the hatchling. "It was when we were looking for those firelizard eggs for that guy, the drudge stole them or something and hid them down there. I'd never been below ground like that, all my exploring at home was amongst the treetops."

Inkfoot flops himself down near Soriana, bracing the spiderclaw with his paws and trying his best to tear it into tiny pieces. The girl hehs, and ducks her head briefly. "Well… yeah. A wild feline." She glances to Jeniosa, looking for help - the beastcrafter is the one who knows all about felines, not her! Now, if it was a giant rampaging tunnelcat… okay, thing one, those don't exist, but thing two, Soriana might know something about it. She listens through the explanation, nodding from time to time. "He's really not scared of anything," she says with a smile, looking down at the little beastie fondly as he rends. Little Toral also seems intrigued, wriggling himself partway out of Soriana's jacket and spreading his dappled wings.

Matrin looks suitably impressed and perhaps only the tiniest bit incredulous as he looks down at the lithe little critter struggling with the spiderclaw. "Hmm, well I guess it is good you had him with you then. Though honestly I'm just glad that was the worst you encountered. Bits of the ruins can be really dangerous, though the main parts are all shored up as far as I know." A tiny frown creases his brow, but he banishes his line of thought with a shake of his head and rolls his brushes up in a bit of canvas. "Where'd you get him, Soriana?"

Jeniosa does watch Inkfoot with his spiderclaw, grinning a bit. "Well, the feline did look kinda diseased or something, but still, it could've killed all four of us I'm sure. We all had a shot at it, but I dunno if anyone's weapon made contact. Alzanbri got scratched by it, I do hope he went to a healer to have it checked, make sure he doesn't catch anything from it." She stretches her legs out in the sand a bit, now that Coppr has gona back to sleep, she idly sifts sand through her fingers.

Toral hop-flutters up to Soriana's shoulder, peering down at the ferret with orange specks swirling through his eyes. Hatchling hungry? Silly question. Hatchling _always_ hungry. Soriana looks over to him with a smile, and then… winces visibly at the mention of shoring up. Yes, well, so maybe not all of the parts she ended up in were shored up, exactly, but… at least she clearly survived the experience. Moving on! She looks back to Matrin at the question. "Inkfoot? I found him when he was a baby. Lost, maybe… or something happened to the mother." The brown firelizard chirps, and then spreads his wings and flies wobbily down toward Inkfoot… and all those tasty spiderclaw scraps!

Matrin covers a flinch at Soriana's wince, but covers it by busying himself with scraping paint off his palette and into jars, screwing them closed, generally working toward getting his stuff cleaned up. "Well I am very glad to hear you all made it, diseased feline or not. I'm sort of surprised the powers that be allowed candidates on this little foray, but it looks like you benefited from it." Even if the benefit is rather dubious, judging by the way he eyes the hungry hatchling on Soriana's shoulder. "And I may need to keep my distance, since half the Weyr seems prone to finding needy, abandoned, orphaned creatures in need of care. Every time I turn around it's something else." But he's got a bit of a grin and his tone is far from actually grumpy in spite of his words.

Keziah has been lost in thought at talking about her family, though with mention of wild felines she does listen back in on the conversation but does not contribute to it, her eyes a little distant in thought. Course as talk moves towards little Inkfoot she's smiling, that is until Alosynth shifts when the little brown flies down towards the little mustelid and sends Kezi stumbling backwards since her 'wall' moved on her. "Hey! Watch it there you great lump!" She then looks back at the girls "Shardin lucky ya all didn't land up in the infirmary. They leave painful and nasty little scars that never look quite right." She then glances at Matrin "What? No puppies for you? Or felines or firelizards? I know of a young wherry I can foster off on ya? Albeit it's likely to end up for dinner though. Or perhaps I can interest you a kid or a lamb?" she smiles oh so sweetly.

Toral lands on the sand with a little squeak, and Soriana looks down that way with a frown. She doesn't seem too worried about firelizard and tunnelcat, but she is keeping rather an eye on things! "Well, Inkfoot's grown now, and he's plenty useful," she answers Matrin, and from her tone, it's a familiar argument albeit one she's still a bit defensive on. "He hunts tunnelsnakes and such." Including spiderclaws, apparently. The ferret continues attacking his prey as Toral hops closer, and then Inkfoot rolls onto his side and stretches out a paw to push at the little lizard. Toral wobbles, but keeps his feet… then chirps before starting to eat scraps of spiderclaw meat, the two critters seeming to ignore each other now. Soriana lets out a sigh of relief.

Matrin is quick to shake his head and hold both hands out like he might be able to keep Keziah from any big ideas by pushing them right out of her head. "Oh no, don't you even get started. Maybe… maybe if I don't end up with a creeling, starving baby that's as big as I am in a few months I could consider it. I probably wouldn't even then, but it would be a possibility. Right now I have Harper stuff, candidate stuff, personal stuff…" he trails off with a firm shake of his head. "No. Next you'll be offering me one of Lan's brood of babies." The thought does bring his smirk sneaking back, and it lingers as he looks down at Inkfoot. "Hey, so long as you have time, it's all good. I just have too much on my plate as it is. He's cute though."

Keziah laughs brightly at Matrin "Oh, if you end up with a hatchling, I'll make sure to foster off on you the plumpest little lamb I can find." Though at the mention of personal stuff she trails off a little. She opens her mouth as if to ask something and then shakes her head a little and purses her lips. She then puts a smile on her face "Well, you did say you would play the part of the uncle for me, or has that changed now?" she asks after a moment and her eyes drift over towards INkfoot as well. "He is a cute thing. Micaela was asking me about him, though I think she's a little young for one. I'll stick with the pup I'll be getting for her. "

Jeniosa had been quiet, she does that a lot, drifting off on her own little thoughts. Of course, the mention of the pup has the young woman's attention then. "Oh, if you want that female, Iffy's still trying to find homes for them. I can have him seek you out if you want." See, puppies are grown and ready for homes, she needed another pet to coddle, and that's where Copper comes in, really.

Still keeping half an eye on Inkfoot and Toral, Soriana looks up to the conversation again. She nods to Matrin, and then to Kezi she hmms and says, "That's… probably best. Inkfoot is, uhm… once of the calmer and friendlier tunnelcats." Yes, that's right, the beastie mauling a spiderclaw to shreds is calm. "Though… I _am_ thinking about trying to get him a mate. We'll see." …about a number of important things, including figuring out just where to keep a second tunnelcat - nay, an entire tunnelcat family!

Matrin chuckles and shakes his head. "So it can be dinner? That's just wrong, Keziah." But he seems more amused than anything really, and if his eyes narrow a bit at that little purse of lips, he keeps his grin plastered on and moves easily past it. "Uncle to your little ones is entirely different than adopting or having one of my own, you know. It is on the someday list, just not the today list." He quiets as the women discuss pups and baby tunnelcats and adding yet more to their plates, shaking his head as he bundles his supplies into a large canvas bag.

Keziah smiles "Well, he or she will need to eat after all." she notes "And whats so wrong about it? You eat meat, do you not?" There's a pause and a frown "You do right? Shards, sorry if I've forgotten, but still. And well I wouldn't give you one of the Trio to keep. Oh no. Their mine." possessive much? She then looks thoughful again "Someday huh? Oh never mind." and she goes no further down that tangent and latches onto the one about the pups "Oh yes, he did say he would let me have one of the girls, I do hope he's not forgotten, or maybe I should go looking for him."

Jeniosa considers a moment. "Well, he's got sweeping for a chore today. Maybe he's in the living cavern. If not then he's either off with the pups or in the barracks. I'll tell hin you're looking for him when I see him." She eyes her little bronze who is stirring. "He's gonna wanna eat soon. Hopefully I can find my way to the caverns instead of getting lost in the fog again." She chuckles softly.

Matrin's brows dart up and then he laughs a quick, amused note. "Yes I eat meat, Keziah. I just meant that phrasing it as fostering a cute little lamb to me is just… not the way I would put it." He winks at her around his canvas as he lifts it from the easel and puts it in a lightweight box that should protect the drying paint… mostly. It's not ideal, but it should do. "Sounds like we're all heading off then. I brought a few extra glowbaskets if anyone wants to see if that'll help with the fog." He lifts his chin toward a cluster of them that hint at at least two trips down from the meadow earlier today. "I would offer to escort you but I'm just as easily lost."

Keziah smiles and shakes her head "Alosynth is better than any glowbasket." she notes "And unless someone's set some traps or something, I could likely find my way blindfolded." she adds with a grin "And worse comes to worse." She sniffs the air a little and smiles even more. "I'll just follow my nose. I smell sweetrolls and roast and oh, I wonder if I can get any of that roast before they cook it dead." she exclaims. "And maybe just find Ifo there as well. Thanks Jeni for the information and I'll see you around Matrin." And with that, the pair head up away from the beach and towards the caverns.

Jeniosa pushes to her feet. "If someone will just point me in the right direction, I think I can make it. Guess I could always wake Azurite and have him be my eyes." Hmm, that's a thought. She nudges her big blue firelizard scarf, and he gives a quiet sound. "Azur, wake up ya lump." She says this with a softness to her voice as the blue croons to her.

Matrin shrugs easily and snags one of the baskets for himself, leaving the others in case someone should happen by and need them later. "Score one for needy creatures," he quips, gathering up his stuff a little awkwardly and heading up toward the meadow and home.

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