Runaway Riding Lesson

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.

It is early evening at Xanadu, the brisk winds that have blown all day have calmed, leaving the air peaceful but fresh. Azure skies high above, already a-twinkle with a few faint stars, fade to pale peach, brightening to a blaze of vermilion at the horizon over the lake. The waves, limpid now, reflect the sky in a blurred shimmer of colors and lap gently at the shoreline. Walking the beach, by the water's edge, is Thea. But she is not alone. Beside her walks a runner, led by the reins held dubiously in one of her hands. She appears preoccupied and, yes talking to the runner instead of riding it.

"Oh, off with you, ya —" "You owe me, Rhas!" Something rude along the lines of stuffing something somewhere it doesn't belong follows, before a tall, thin young man disentangles himself from the pouncing fists of a man as tall but bulkier than he. The bulkier lad makes a rude gesture and lopes off, leaving Rhas smirking and turning, stuffing his hands into his pockets as he ambles down to the beach. He has neither runner nor guitar with him, and has traded a usually-white shirt for one of pale green, apparently some sort of 'off-duty' outfit, if his lack of sales-pitching those he passes says anything. Long legs swing and unbooted feet kick up sand as he saunters along the lake shore, peering first out at the water and then down the beah to both sides. Riders, riders everywhere and not a one to…runner? That's odd. "Heyla, Is called cheerily down the beach. "They're more fun when you ride them, you know."

The beautiful colors flickering across the water would be enough to draw most anyone down to the beach. Above, a small flock of firelizards glide about on the breeze. One in particular among these, a somewhat fire-toned bronze flickers out after seeing the woman and her runner. It's not long after that Rogawani appears, walking from the meadow onto the sandy reaches of the beach with his own runner in tow. An old, grayed beast, it seems perfectly calm, perhaps a bit bored with being dragged out well after normal 'working hours'. "Thea!" He calls out, raising his free hand to wave, catching sight of her and someone a bit less familiar. Quickening his pace, Ro' tries to catch up with the Weyrwoman and her runner.

Thea draws nearer to the young man, one dark brow rises, as Thea takes in the scuffed appearance of Rhasmir with an up-down eye dart, her lips quirk into wry smile, "Bit of scuffle down the beach." Ice green eyes apparently not totally focused on the runner, then. Her voice is long-suffering in tone for the most part, but an undercurrent of amusement is there as well. "Who did you send to the Infirmary, then? I'll be getting more paperwork, no doubt." And then she'll also know his name. To add to her list, no doubt. A pause and her smile brightens just a little on the artificial side without being brittle, as her free hand pats the runner's neck, "We're… getting used to each other." cough "First." Her name called, Thea turns and spies Rogawani, lifts a casual hand wave, "Evening Ro." Pleasantly, cheerful. "Just get back from a run?"

And another runner! Clearly content among such company, Rhasmir's smirk softens to a wide grin for the young man approaching, then the — oh, well. Goldrider. Oops. "Hullo." He greets the lad with a slight lift of his hand, slow in case the runners are spooky. Attention flicks back to Thea then, with a slow, sheepish grin surfacing. "Oh, uh. Just my cousin. Sent him to go make sure my runner's fed, actually. Not that, uh, I don't trust the fine stablefolks here…" A hand rubs the back of his head as he casts a shifty glance around. The pat for the young woman's runner is notice, and Rhas can't seem to help but smirk a wee touch, then. "I see." He chuckles wisely. "Smart." And that's all he's gonna say. Because he does have /some/ tact left to him. But if he had ears, Rhas's would be perked, at the next — "Run?"

As he draws closer to the pair on the beach, Rogawani slows a bit, his runner trotting along easily enough behind him. With a small wave towards Rhasmir, he inclines his head in greeting. "'ello there. G'evening." Then, he turns towards Thea with a sheepish expression on his face. "Well, actually my Da sent me down here. He thought it might be good if you had someone to give you a lesson or two?" Actually, it was more to the effect of, 'Go make sure the Weyrwoman doesn't get herself killed'. Lifting the reigns a little, the boy keeps a pleasant enough smile, just hoping that the Weyrwoman doesn't turn into the evil-staring monster of doom he's seen on some recent days. When Rhasmir mentions 'run', Ro' simply looks over with a nod. "I'm Rogawani, weyr messenger. I run messages and packages to and from the Weyr and holds, all but Hannista."

"Your… cousin." A simple statement of fact, Flatly said, although her eyes crinkle at the corners a bit of merriment dances therein. "Rogawani, remind me to see if I can keep the pair of these-" Again that browlift, questioning, "Didn't catch your name- away from Cenlia and her brother will you?" As to the runner, Thea coughs slightly, "I thought so, too, yes." Then Rogawani is speaking and… her cover is blown. "Uh, he did?" A tiny frown fleetingly covers the weyrwoman's brow, but just as clearly leaves and she offers Rogawani a happy little smile. See? She's fine. "We're doing pretty good, wouldn't you say so?" The animal isn't fleeing in terror, after all.

Rhasmir is brave in the face of potential danger, grinning mischievously at the Goldrider. "Rhasmir," He supplies with aplomb. "And Ikemir. Ike's the troublemaker." Oh, smooth. Totally. "Cenlia?" But then he's grinning widely at Rogawani, then Thea. "Lesson?" Almost-smirk. But, wisely, he's new and doesn't /usually/ get himself in trouble on the first day of lingering in a place as pretty as Xanadu, so Rhas just grins. "Rhasmir, trader. Staying 'til I sell some instruments and see the market for good draft runners around here." And the attention flicks to the goldrider's runner; it is indeed not fleeing in terror! Which is always a good sign, of course. He, however, keeps his mouth shut and grins over at Rogawani.

"Hmm." Rogawani gives a thoughtful sort of sound, and then chuckles. "Probably no use in trying. Those sorts tend to find each other after a while." Shooting a look towards Rhasmir, Ro' nods his head at the introduction. "Cenlia is one of our local gardeners. She can drink more than most male riders I know. Her brother is Eledri, a computercrafter. He's a snot." Leaving it at that, the boy tugs at his runner's reigns as the beast starts to paw lightly at the ground. "Not so many draft runners here these days. Lots of racers, though." Then, turning back towards the Weyrwoman, he gives a small nod. "Well, that's a pretty docile runner. Have you tried getting up on her yet?"

Thea reaches out one hand, offering it to Rhasmir, with another easy smile, "Welcome to Xanadu, then Rhasmir. Thea, Seryth's rider." However warm the welcome in her vocal tone her eyes have that cool assessing quality to them as they brush over his face, adding, "You're quick. Just remember I'm good with names too." A tiny quirk of a smile may either soften or give warning to the words, perhaps in proportion to the conscience of the listener. Rogawani filling in this lad just isn't what Thea had in mind, "Nice work, Ro." Tad sarcastic there. "Um, no, no I haven't as a matter of fact."

Rhasmir's eyebrows rise just a touch, and he grins broadly once more. "Can she now? Talented." He laughs, then nods faintly at the second, eyebrows creasing a touch. A hand is extended, shaking Thea's firmly with a faint smile for her. "Well met, Thea." The young man chuckles, offering what could possible pass for a look of innocence. "Of course." Smile! Then his eyes are narrowing thoughtfully, and a nod is offered for Rogawani. "Ah, yeah. Everybody's raising the racers these days. Ah well." He chuckles, then glances between Goldrider and messenger-turned-lesson-giver with a little grin. Nope, still not commenting, but he does step back a bit — just in case she decides to do something and get him run over? Never!

"Not a problem." Rogawani quips right back at the goldrider, catching the sarcasm but letting it flow off like so much fuzzy seedfluff. Tilting his head a little towards Rhasmir, the boy suggests, "Why don't you go grab your runner? Seems a nice enough evening for a ride. I can help Thea get mounted." Releasing the reigns on his runner, who simply stands there without much need for extra attention. Passing the few steps towards Thea, Ro' reaches up to pat at the runner's saddle. "You want to put your hands here at the pommel, and then back here at the cantle. Then put a foot into the stirrup. You want to use the same foot as the side you're mounting. Mounting left, left foot, mounting right, right foot." Putting his hands in the right spots, and hooking one foot in, the boy uses himself as an example, then steps back to let the rider have a try.

Thea releases Rhasmir's hand, then frowns briefly at the misuse of the word talented. But she has more important things to do than debate. She doubtfully eyes the saddle Rogawani is patting, eyes flickering to the stirrup. She gives a tiny shrug and a flip of the hand, dismissing it, "I can mount Seryth, how hard can it be?" She flickers a nervous glance at the messenger. And then she does what she always does when climbing aboard Seryth. She springs from the ground and swings her leg at the same time. A sudden lunge isn't what the runner was expecting, it sidesteps and Thea? Well Thea misses. And face-plants in the sand. The runner? It yanks the reins from her hand, plunges a few paces down the beach and stops, looking back at her, ears flicking back and forth as if to say, 'You -didn't- just do that?'

Rhasmir's eyes narrow once more towards Thea, wary as she's instructed on how to mount…but that suggestion about /leaving/, for a moment is looking mighty fine as she decides just what she can and can't do. Still, he doesn't look too surprised as he moves to take a cautionary hold of the Goldrider's runner's reins, peering down at her curiously. "I…you alright, there?" He'd offer a hand but — well, not like he's scared she'll pull him down and poke his eyes out or anything, that's certainly not it. But the runner looks pretty steady and he's apparently seen enough falls that a little faceplant isn't too dangerous, as Rhas carefully releases the runner a moment later and steps cautiously away. "I think I'll take you up on that." After all, it's safer from the back of a runner. After assuring that the poor crazy Goldrider hasn't managed to break her neck, the young man turns and is off towards the stables, shaking his head towards himself.

It takes all of Rogawani's self-control not to bust out laughing at the Weyrwoman's attempt to mount her runner. Quickly, he bites down onto the side of his hand, closing his eyes tight to force himself not to let out even a chuckle. With a wiggle of his nose, and a deep breath, "Um, it's not exactly like mounting a dragon." Nodding greatfully to Rhasmir for making sure the runner stopped, Ro' reaches forward to take the reigns and lead the beast back to Thea. With a small wince visible on his face, Rogawani steps forward and does offer out a hand to her. "Come on, try it again the way I showed you. You want to pull yourself up with your hands, and lean forward, then swing your far leg over. I'll make sure to hold her steady."

X'hil is taking a break apparently, heading down to the beach in just a pair of swim shorts, with a towel thrown over one shoulder, and … a picnic basket? The man does love a good picnic. He seems to be in a good mood today, actually whistling an off-key tune, though it abruptly /stops/ at the sight of the runner, like a record scratching, and he hesitates. But it doesn't /look/ to be rampaging about with a gardener by the strap - in fact the gardener is nowhere to be seen - so he tries to relax, and moves over towards the group, muttering something about facing his fears. There's a brief nod to the departing Rhasmir, and the man hesitates again, perhaps retreat /isn't/ such a bad idea? But he pushes on, regardless. "Uh, you okay?" he does call, grimacing a little as he catches Rogawani helping Thea up. He didn't see the fall, so he's glancing warily to the runner, like it kicked her off or something.

"Don't trouble yourself on -my- account, I'm broken and crippled now, but I can get up all by myself just fiiiine." Thea calls from her spot on the ground as Rhasmir just walks away from her without helping. She is blushing as she pushes herself to her hands and knees, "So I see," Thea mutters with a brief glare at Rogawani. Hand biting noted and correctly interpreted, unless the boy needs to head to Fort and be seen by Master Alric. Her look softens as he offers her a hand up, which she gladly accepts, "Thanks, Ro. you're a real gentleman." Once on her feet again, she brushes the sand off her front, nodding to X'hil with a mumbled reason for the insanity. "Seryth's idea. Don't ask." She follows Rogawani's direction, and eases herself into the saddle. No response from the runner but a rolled eye showing a bit of white round the edges.

Returning looking maybe slightly sheepish a few minutes after he left, it seems possible for Rhasmir to have made the journey so quickly as he arrives…bareback. The pretty black draft mare he's riding looks perfectly content to be led along by a simple hackamore-type contraption for steering, and while Rhas might wince when she trots a stride or two, he looks overall secure in his position. "She won't accept a saddle." Is his first explanation, before a concerned expression is turned on Thea — just long enough to assure again that she's not broken in two or three bits. "You're not really riding until you fall off a few times." He remarks philosophically for her with a pleasant smile — never mind that she might not have…technically…fallen OFF of the runner. Oh well. Then, a blink, and smile for the nearby rider who seems to be speaking to the pair. "Hullo!" Is called for him, a smile and wave offered next.

After helping Thea to her feet, Rogawani just gives a small smile and a lift of one shoulder in a half-shrug. "I try." Holding the runner steady for her to mount, he looks around the mare's body to spot X'hil. "G'day bronzerider." He offers, not addressing the rider by name due to the glare he got from Thea the last time the bronzer was mentioned. Stroking the runner's nose, he makes a soft, calming sound and then throws the reigns lightly over her neck, handing them towards Thea. "Alright. Just sit still for a bit while I get mounted up." Walking the short distance back to his own runner, Ro' mounts him easily, and only then spots Rhasmir riding his own runner bareback. "Oww." He comments under his breath, and shakes his head a bit before lightly ribbing his runner forward. "Okay, now a runner isn't like a dragon, it can't sense where you want it to go. So everything is about how you move. A flick of the reigns, or a light nudge with your heel should get her going. Pull back on the reigns to slow. Try to get her to walk." The boy demonstrates with his own runner, who grudgingly begins to walk in the sand.

X'hil raises an eyebrow at Thea briefly, then shrugs. "Dragons come up with the oddest things sometimes." he says, glancing in the general direction of the hatching caverns. Honestly, the bronze is harder to shift than a stubborn old runner. Now that the fear response seems to have subsided, he's watching the runner idly. "Oh, hello!" he says, blinking at Rhasmir. He didn't expect him to be back, clearly. "Is that your runner?" he asks, curiously. There's an eye for the black draft mare now as well, and a sympathetic wince at the bareback riding. "Mmm, some never do take to the saddle. She's tame though, right?" he asks, looking up from the runner's eyes to Rhasmir's. The bronzerider seems slightly familiar with runners. X'hil blinks a little at Rogawani, but responds in kind, with a friendly - if confused - greeting. "Good day, messenger." Then there's a pause, and he turns back to watch Thea and the runner, to see how they go with Rogawani's instruction.

"So glad the Weyrlingmasters didn't hold the same view," Thea mutters under her breath in response to Rhasmir, "Showoff!" Won't accept a saddle indeed! Her chin tilts just a bit at the young man, and her legs tighten instinctively against the runner's ribs as she calls sweetly, "I accept your apology!" Obvious sarcasm there. In her irritation, which isn't helped by the Weyrsecond's presence, transmits to the runner, and as her legs squeeze the animal takes that as a 'go'. What -really- doesn't help the already-nervous runner is a big, black, heavy draft animal galumping towards it across the sand. Rogawani's lesson, X'hil's comment, they all fly out the window of Thea's brain as the runner she has the unfortunate luck to be sitting upon simply takes off down the beach as fast as its legs can take it.

"Oww." Rhas agrees faintly. "She likes to trot. Her favorite." Muttered with no small amount of despair. "Trying to get her to appreciate a canter, but no…" He turns to X'hil and offers a little grin, slightly pained. "She decided to take a bit of a run right out of the stables, probably thought I've been abusing her not sitting on her all day. You'd think they could take a break every now and then…" Grumble grumble. "Raised her from a foal, and she never did take a saddle…well, she would, but as soon as I got in it I was on the ground…still, she's a doll, so I figured I'd try it this way." Another wince; clearly it's not his most brilliant idea. "I —" Turned to Thea, but then she's…not there any more? A blink, and he's having to caaarefully take his own runner to keep her from gallumphing after the other. A half-turn to Rogawani. "…did she mean to do that? I wasn't watching." Confusion, as he watches her streak off with what might be exasperated amusement.

"Uh." Rogawani's mouth drops open a bit as the Weyrwoman and the runner take off far faster than he was expecting. Turning a shocked look towards Rhasmir, the boy can only shrug. "I don't know." Clicking his heels against his runner's side, the boy turns him sharply. "Sorry about being formal X'hil, Thea doesn't like me saying your name for some odd reason." Coming about to face the same way as the runner's footprints, the boy gives an apologetic nod. "Sorry to run, but if she gets herself killed it's going to be my head up on a post for it." Snapping the reigns and giving a kick of his heels, the boy spurs his runner forward to follow the trail left behind. "Kyah." And then, in a flurry of thrown sand, he disappears after the rogue runner and her equally rogueish Weyrwoman.

X'hil rolls his eyes at Thea. Showoff? /Showoff/? "The man is in /pain/, /weyrwoman/!" he calls after her rapidly leaving goldrider, more than a little sympathetic pain in his own tone. He mutters, and turns away from the woman and her runner. "Sorry about that." he mutters to Rhasmir, eyeing the bareback runner, "You're a braver man than I, let me tell you." Sure, but who /isn't/? Then the man is suddenly blinking at Rogawani. "She, what? /Why/?" and then /he's/ gone too, and the bronzerider throws his hands up in the air and stalks off, muttering about /women/. He really doesn't get them.

"Ro-gaaaaa-waaaaniiiiiiiii!!!" Thea's cry is left hanging there in the air and trails behind the weyrwoman upon the churning runner. She's managed to stay on the animal, but has dropped the reins, grasping the pommel of the saddle with both hands in a death grip. Her dark streams behind her and she is bobbing and weaving with each stride. A look of total incomprehension is in her wide green eyes as Rogawani finally catches up to her and draws up beside her, a gasp between each word, "How- do- you- stop- these- things- ?"

Rhasmir is still blinking after Thea, shaking his head in exasperated amusement, before waving to Rogawani. "Good luck!" He calls after the lad with a sympathetic wince. "Might need it." Then there's a wide grin for X'hil. "I think I might have offended her." He says calmly, not in the least bit surprised. "Brave, stupid…" A vague wince, and chuckle as the man moves off, leaving Rhas to get /off/ the runner and lead her from a slightly happier vantage point, looking somewhat relieved. Maybe a gallop wasn't such a good idea.

It isn't all that hard to follow between the weaving hoofprints and the loud calls from Thea echoing back to him. Lowering himself against his runner like a jockey, the boy spurs him faster to catch up, only slowing once the pair come into sight. "Don't worry, I've gotcha." He calls out, reaching his hand out to grab at the reigns. His first attempt misses, but the second scores him a handful. "Hold on tight!" Pulling on the reigns of his own runner with one hand, he keeps hold of the other with a white-knucked grip. As the gray gelding slows, the pull is enough to slow down the mare that Thea rides as well. "Easy, easy, come on now." It takes a moment of struggling, but eventually both runners are slowed to a walk, and then to a stop. Dismounting his own beast, Ro' keeps a hold on the Weyrwoman's runner, who still seems a bit wide-eyed. "Maybe we'll leave the lessons for another day. Come on, let's get you down." He offers, reaching up to offer aid to the rider.

X'hil blinks a little at Rhasmir, and shakes his head. "Ah, what man /hasn't/?" he says, with a shake of his head. "I don't even know what I'm supposed to have /done/! Everything /seemed/ fine." he mutters, and seats himself in the sand, opening up the picnic box. "Hungry? Thirsty?" he asks, with a tilted nod to the bareback runner, "Think you've earned a drink." he says, with a sigh. /He/ needs a drink, and he didn't even get injured at all today.

Thea sits atop the finally-still runner, her hands clenched on the saddle. For a long moment she remains frozen there, her hair a wild mess hanging over her face. Slowly her head turns towards Rogawani, stunned. "Why the shells do you ride these things?" If it takes the boy some force to pry her fingers loose from the pommel, it is done and Thea shakily eased off. For a long moment the weyrwoman clings to the boy's arm, steadying herself. One hand pushes her hair back from her head, clearing her face and there's a bit of shock lingering which accounts for the senseless words, "Rogawani…" Her shaky voice is a tad high-pitched although not overloud, "Do you think the runner learned anything?" It was a runner lesson, wasn't it?

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