A Half-hearted Investigation

Xanadu Weyr - Clearing


A wide clearing stretches from east to west, the ground packed hard although grass grows across most of it. Trees are strictly forbidden in this space, their danger to the constant draconic traffic reason enough to banish them to the forest that creates a this and sharp border to the north. Where the ground is less trampled, tiny flowers poke their delicate heads out from their shaded hiding places with upturned petals to wave to whoever may be looking.

The cliff looms imposingly on three sides, stretching upwards all the way up the side of the mountain where, high above, Xanadu's Star Stones and the ever present watchdragon sit on a lonely peak. Directly south is a massive tunnel, fully wide enough for even the largest dragon to fly down. Southeast are wide steps leading up to the Caverns and eastwards is the large entrance to the Infirmary. Somewhat north of the Infirmary is a human sized archway that has a frequent quantity of traffic — it leads to the Tavern. Southwest lies the low ledges currently belonging to Xanadu's queens while north and west a broad path cut by the side of the cliff leads to the Feeding Grounds and due north is the spacious trail that leads to the rest of the Weyr.

Although the seasons have subtlely shifted towards winter, the air is still warm and comfortable, a few clouds drifting above the clearing and offering shade from the midday sun. A blue dragon is just taking off, swirling dust and dirt along with the sweeping of his wings. Once the dust clears, a few weyrfolk begin to move from the caverns to other business elsewhere in the weyr. Rogawani, however, appears in the archway of the hatching arena. His face shows confusion as he moves something between his fingers. Just as he pauses to look around, two candidates push past him, one with dark curly hair and a sneer on his face. "Out of the way." Moving to the side, Ro' quickly tucks whatever he'd been examining into his pocket. "Bugger off, Don. You don't own the place." Turning quickly back towards the messenger, the shorter boy with the candidate knot stares upwards. "Yeah, but I'm a candidate. Guess what you are? Dungscooping lowlife." With a snort, the curly haired boy finally makes off with his friend, both chattering to each other as they walk across the clearing. Taking a deep breath, Rogawani clenches one fist and then releases it as he just barely contains his anger.

Rhasmir's expression is faintly wary as he moves out of the dorms, straightening his vest and shoulders, scanning the area thoroughly. Apparently deciding that he's clear (and not in danger of the apparently ever-present goldriders, evil as they are), he ambles calmly into the clearing, still sweeping the area from time to time. He doesn't appear to have any real destination, but his path takes him in a roundabout way towards the bigger tunnel in the cliff, curiosity apparent. He's looking away when the candidates emerge from the tunnel, but at the sound of snotty young voices nearby his eyes lift towards them, unable to hear the exchange but apparently understanding the point of it. One eyebrow lifts and there's the faintest hardening of his expression as the lads start in his general direction — the briefest moment of hesitation — "Ah, Thea! There you are." Called cheerfully back to something apparently behind them, with a broad wave for effect. "Good day, goldrider. Sulai told me that a candidate was mauled down there this morning?" Talking to invisible goldriders is apparently the best idea he can come up with as he passes the candidates, not looking back to see if they fell for it. Well, it's probably nicer than threatening to feed them to the closest Wher. "What wherries is the Weyr recruiting for Candidates?" Growled to Rogawani as he approaches, arms crossing loosely.

The two candidates freeze momentarily, passing a look between each other. Donakan, the more vocal of the two scrunches his face up at the trader, but doesn't look behind him to check. "Come on Don, let's go." The other boy whispers, tugging on his friend's arm. Walking at a quick pace, the two skedaddle towards the weyr caverns. Rogawani, on the other hand, does give a glance over his shoulder before turning back to eye Rhasmir. "Now that - was priceless." A smile slowly spreads itself on the messenger's face, and a chuckle settles itself into an undertone of his voice. "That's just my twit of a half-brother. Thinks the knot makes him special or something." Leaning a bit closer to Rhasmir, Ro' cups a hand and whispers. "He got 'daddy' to search him, none of the other dragons would."

Rhasmir's snorting softly, now turning to watch the pair move off with something that could be a scowl, for a quick moment. Then he's grinning again, rolling his eyes skyward. "My cousins always fell for it. Some people just aren't that smart." Placidly, with another roll of his eyes, before an eyebrow is lifted. "Aw, shells, really? Ugh." His nose wrinkles delicately as he peers off down the tunnel (just to make sure, after all, you never know), then back out at the clearing. The next bit of information gets a startled laugh, and mischievous grin for the messenger, expression sly. "Did he, now? What a champ. Well, here's hoping he gets mucking duty. I suspect half the wherrybrains could use it, though. Came across lots of dragon-bait in the caravan, it seems to inflate their head." He makes a face and waves his hands around his head, grinning. "What're you up to?"

"Well, you've got my thanks. Anyone who can drive off my brother is a friend of mine." Looking up at the far taller trader, Ro' gives a two-fingered sort of salute before pulling his other hand free from his pocket. Between two of his fingers seems to be a half-wilted flower petal. "Mother spoiled that one rotten. He'd probably try to worm his way out of stable duty if he got it." Dismissing the retreating form of his half-brother, Rogawani turns his full attention to the trader, lifting the petal in his hands. "Was looking at this. There's a bunch more like it in the hatching arena and the observation area." Scratching along the side of his chin, he leans a little on the archway. "Anyone told you about the weird letters, yet?"

Rhasmir snickers faintly, grinning wolfishly. "I didn't like his voice." Explained like that makes any sense, he chuckles, then snorts again. "Ah, spoiled. I got the duty of making sure my siblings never got spoiled. Bet you could find somebody to make him stick to it, though. Spoiled types need runner poo in the face every now and then." It's said with such pleasantness that he could be commenting on the weather, though he's grinning wolfishly again. His attention wanders quickly, though, to the petal in the messenger's hand, curiosity evident. "Maybe somebody tried to bring Seryth flowers and she didn't like it?" Suggested with wry amusement but not much conviction, he tilts his head and peers back down the tunnel. "Letters? Nah. What letters?"

"Well, my parents are the ones who made him that way. I got fostered and raised by two stablehands. I've grown up around more runner dung than most see in a lifetime." Rogawani comments with a bemused expression on his face. "I'd wager good marks, if I had them, on him being left standing." Turning the petal over in his hand, Ro' looks at both sides of it curiously before shaking his head at the trader. "It started a while back. Weyrfolk and riders alike were finding these romantic notes left with flowers." He lifts the petal and his eyebrows at the same time. "Then they started to turn aggressive. I heard from a tech-crafter girl that they threatened to trash one of her projects if she didn't give all her attention to them. Whoever they are."

Rhasmir winces, shakes his head. "Figures." The young man snorts, but grins all the same. "Hey, runner dung's not the worst thing out there, eh? They're nicer than canines, at least." He nods abstractedly, then grins, toothily once more. "I'll go along with that, if I'm still here come the time they pop." He snickers, eyeing the clearing curiously as dragons land and take off on occasion, lounging comfortably here and there. There's a thoughtful silence for a moment, as the lad crosses his arms again, foot tapping to a tune only he can hear. "That's odd." He finally deigns, eyebrows creasing faintly. "Just how many folks are getting that sort of treatment, d'you know?"

"Well, it got me out on a few adventures." Rogawani says, eyes looking out towards one of the transport dragons loading up at the far end of the clearing. "A few of us got taken along when the riders went to search out signs of their missing goldrider, Kate. And I was brought along as unloader and resident poop expert." The boy snorts his own amusement at the self-given title. "I don't mind runners, or canines for that matter, but we don't have so many of those around here." Seeming to pick up on Rhasmir's foot tapping without thinking, Ro' begins to tap the flower petal against his cheek. "I'm not sure how many, actually, but there's a search on right now to try to find who's writing the threats. I've found them inside the hatching arena and was coming out here to see if there's any outside that might have just blown in." Taking a look around, there are some flowers outside, but none seem to match the petal.

Rhasmir's proverbial ears perk at the mention of adventure, and a grin grows slowly. "Sounds like an excellent job to me." He laughs, "They find any sign?" The petal is eyed as he grunts, making an un-adult-ish face. "Not many runners, you're sharding right. Nobody wants one, either!" Harrumph. The dragons loading are watched idly for a moment, and an apparently familiar bluerider waved at — but she doesn't seem to notice him so he lowers his hand, grinning still. "That's a good idea. Reckon they'd lead to anything though?" His curiosity evidently sparked, the trader lad takes a few steps from the mouth of the hatching area tunnel, frowning around thoughtfully. "Did they all look like that one?"

Straitening a little, Ro' puffs his chest out with a bit of boyish pride, nodding his head towards the trader. "Just glad I got invited along." However, when asked about finding any sign of the Weyr's wayward goldrider, he deflates a little and just rubs at the back of his neck. "We found a couple of camp sites and a box full of rank knots that the renegades were probably using to sneak into the holds and weyrs. There… was even a candidate with us who ran off into the wilds. A fake, masquerading to get information on the weyr." Taking a deep breath, the boy leans further against the archway, "But, I don't know if this petal means much of anything. There's more inside if you look around, but as for connections to the letter writer, I'm still clueless."

Enkavir strides out of the tunnel that leads to the caverns, a sheaf of papers in his hands. His eyes are on the paperwork far more than the path in front of him, as the latter only gets the most cursory of glances now and again. Rogawani's words somehow manage to filter through lists of tithed items, and his long-legged steps slow to a halt as his brows draw down. A finger taps against the papers as he listens through rank knots and masquerading candidates, down to something about a letter. Sliding the papers into a folder and holding it down at his side he closes the rest of the distance. "What letter writer?" No preface, just the question followed by a hint of a smile and a nod of greeting to each of the men.

"You found signs of 'em?" Clearly impressed, Rhas grins, shaking his head. "Hey, we've covered a lot of ground over the turns, and backwards-flying dragons if we've found too much to show of /that/ lot of useless wherries." Eyes flash and lips tighten briefly — it's obvious just what the young man thinks about Renegades. "Shells, really? Wow. That sounds like quite the adventure. Didn't go chase the little tunnelsnake down, though?" The next is considered thoughtfully, then Enkavir given a little grin as he arrives. "Apparently you Weyrfolk have a problem with can't-say-no-to types." There's a wrinkle of his nose, as he kicks at a tuft of grass. "Well, do your dragons sitting on eggs /often/ get lots of…flower petals? Seems odd to /me/."

"Mostly the riders found the sites, I was just along to carry the food." Rogawani chuckles with a dismissive raise of his shoulders. "Things have been quiet lately on that front, but Lusiath was caught by X'hil's Kinseth just before catching Thea's Seryth. The last thing we need is renegade dragonriders." A small shiver runs up the boy's spine, still not quite able to get that thought totally out of his mind, especially as Seryth and Solarith's eggs grow harder on the sands. "The riders tried looking for the stow-away, but didn't have any luck. Too many places to hide out there." Luckily, Enkavir's arrival allows a chance at a change of subject, the messenger giving a small smile towards the record keeper. "The one writing those half-loving half-threatening letters to folks around the weyr?" He raises his eyebrows, wondering if Enkavir hadn't heard either. "The letters always come with flowers and I've been finding petals in the hatching arena."

One dark brow inches upward and Enkavir folds his arms across his chest, folder gripped and danging from his fingers. "Huh. That sounds interesting and possibly dangerous. You think they're with the renegades or some other type of group?" It's casual but he's listening, eyes intent on Rogawani. When the attempt at subject-change is made, he slowly shakes his head, frowning over at the hatching sands. "I didn't get any letters, hadn't heard about. Half-loving and half-threatening, eh?" A grin tugs at the corners of his mouth then as he glances at Rhasmir. "I don't think that's normal, no. I'm pretty new to Xanadu but I've spent a decent amount of time in there, and I've never seen any petals."

Rhasmir nods slowly, frowning for another long moment. Eventually, though, the lad shrugs wiry shoulders and an easy grin returns. "Figures." He chuckles, then glancing back across the meadow curiously. "Nobody's sending me any letters." There's a laugh and mischievous grin. "Least not any threatening ones. Hmmm." Thoughtfully, the lad bends to pluck one of the wildflowers growing, eyeing the tiny thing with an amused expression. "This doesn't look too much like that. Wonder where those petals from, then." Eyebrows crease once more, and he glances back into the sands, snorting. "I can't imagine that it would be. Maybe the ladies decided to redecorate?" The impish expression he pulls on suggests that the trader lad doesn't really believe that, though.

"Kate and Lusiath you mean? Well, they aren't part of a weyr or a hold so renegades pretty much fits the term. I'd wager good marks that she ran back to her father, that cult leader fellow." Trying to shake off the ill feeling that talking of the missing goldrider leaves in his stomach, Rogawani settles more on the petal and the situation at hand. "From what I was told by a few folks who've gotten them, they kind of started with 'I love yous' and the last batch got all threatening. They look like the same writing, too, but I've only seen a couple of them." Flicking the petal between his fingers again, Rogawani pushes himself from his lounging position on the archway and steps forward a few paces, looking around. "Well, there are petals up there now. That's where I found this one."

Enkavir leans toward Rhasmir to get a look at the wildflower, then leans the other way to peer at the petals Rogawani holds. "No, not really similar at all. Have you seen he flowers that come with the letters?" He shrugs, broad shoulders lifting and then dropping in an easy gesture. "I mean, are you just assuming these are the same or could it be-" he flips his free hand toward Rhasmir. "Well, not redecorating pre se, but a gift for Tylia or something?" As Rogawani moves forward, Enkavir scans the area as well, wandering along after him, apparently grateful for a change of pace from tithing records.

Rhasmir grunts and snorts, shaking his head in amusement. "Shells, doesn't she sound like a charmer." He drawls, then lifts an eyebrow, grinning. "Is that so. I suppose when they were kind of ignored the writer — writers? — got cranky." Absently, the little wildflower is picked apart, teensy petals drifting on a breeze. "Well, yeah, but they had to come from a patch of flowers…d'you know what kind of flower that is?" Enkavir is nodded towards, then. "Ah, yeah, that's a good point. What'd those flowers look like, do you know?" He admits. "But I dunno, about it being a gift or something, don't people usually…you know…leave the flower…whole?"

Thoughtfully rubbing at the petal, Rogawani shakes his head. "I saw the ones Balana had. That's the tech-crafter girl. She was really spooked when her project got threatened." Looking closer at it, the boy seems to go nearly cross-eyed with concentration. "But I didn't really look closely at them. It looks similar but I can't say if it's the same or not. I don't even have a guess at what kind of flower this might be from though." Scrunching his eyebrows a bit, Ro' looks up between the two taller men and shrugs his shoulders helplessly. "Maybe Cenlia might know, or one of the other gardeners?" Then, an idea strikes him somewhat. "What about the dragons? We might be able to get the goldriders to ask if they saw anyone with flowers hanging around."

Enkavir scowls down at the petal as if it is purposefully concealing its identify from them. "No, I have no idea. I don't do flowery things." Hazel eyes dart to Rhasmir and he shakes his head. "The gift is normally whole, yes it can drop petals, leave them behind. I mean, we aren't assuming that this letter-writer fellow is leaving us a trail of flower petals are we? If it even is related, the idea is that this one fell /off/ of a whole flower." Up goes a brow as he gives Rhasmir a level stare, then it's back to Rogawani, one hand ineffectually shoving a bit of hair out of his line of sight. "We could do that. Or ask the goldriders themselves?"

"Hmmm." Muses Rhas, foot scuffing absently on the grass. "That's a good idea, yeah —" He seems to be about to say something, but is interrupted by something large and flopping landing on him. "Aah!" To his credit, he only flails a little, disentangling from the runner blanket. "Your turn, cousin." Is all a nearby man says, grinning and then pelting off. "I'll catch up with you two later — GET BACK HERE, IKE!" So shouting, dignity not in the least bit remembered, the young man dashes off after the bulkier man.

The discussion on flowers gets momentarily side-tracked as Rogawani catches sight of a quick movement. Casting a gaze towards Rhasmir, a small laugh escapes him before he's able to swallow it down. Still with a grin on his face, the boy crouches to pick up the runner blanket, watching the cousins dashing off across the weyr. Then, realizing that Enkavir is still there, Ro' simply scratches at his head a bit. "Well, you're-" Then, he bites his tongue and takes a moment to rephrase what he wants to say. "I mean, you and Thea are… kinda close right? I mean you fight like you are anyways. Maybe you could ask her if she or Seryth have seen anything?" Of course, his words serve a double purpose, eyes looking up curiously.

Enkavir sidesteps though the tossed blanket isn't really close to him in the first place. Irritation flickers over his features and eventually settles on a scowl. "I would grumble about kids but I'm pretty sure that guy's my age at least." He shakes his head to himself, watching the traders go dashing off with clear disapproval. Rogawani is a welcome distraction, at least until those words really sink in. Up go his brows and the tilt of his mouth turns a bit sheepish as he scratches at the back of his neck. "We fight like we're close, huh? I guess that's pretty accurate." Those curious upcast eyes make him chuckle, and he nods. "Yeah, we haven't really… defined it or anything but I really like her and I'm pretty sure it's mutual." A little sigh as his eyes flicker to the hatching caverns. "Most days anyhow, unless I've gotten her all riled for inexplicable reasons. But yeah, I'll be sure to ask her."

"Yeah, and I'm younger than both of you." Rogawani replies, putting on his best, most childish smile. "So I can't exactly comment on it either." With a small chuckle, he begins to fold the blanket, throwing it lightly over one arm as his eyes scan back to Enkavir. "Thought as much." With his suspicions about about their relationship conformed, Ro' just reaches out and tries to give a companionable nudge to the record keeper's arm. "Hey, every married holder will tell you that girls are nuts sometimes. You just happen to have a dragonriding one. That's bound to add at least a little to the insanity. Shards. I'm fifteen and I already don't understand them."

"Younger and yet mature enough not to be tossing blankets around the bowl. And even to be picking up after certain people who are older than you." One last look after Rhasmir, and Enkavir gives it up. He just smirks down at the younger man then, nodding and nudging him back with that same arm. "You are right at that. Though please don't tell her I said that! I am sure it's at least partially my fault, but half the time I have no clue what I did." He flicks a glance around, shifting his weight back on his heels. "Be careful where you say that sort of thing, however right you are. You might end up wishing you could have your own nutty little dragonrider sometime you know.

"Not so much maturity as it looks." Rogawani replies with a shake of his head, patting the runner blanket with his hand. "Throw water, food, dirt, wherryfluff, but my Da would have my hide if he saw me mistreating runner gear. And I happen to like my hide just as it is." A smile has replaced the worried look from earlier, one side of his mouth curling up into a smirk. "Bah, I'm not going to get you into trouble. I'm just lucky Thea isn't angry with me, too. She spooked a runner and it nearly took her halfway across the weyr before I caught up with her." Rubbing at the side of his head, Rogawani just laughs softly. "As for getting my own nutty dragonrider, maybe someday. Not anytime soon though. Da won't even let me drink at the tavern, there's no way he's going to let me have a girl." Blowing a snort out of his nose, the boy offers out the petal towards Enkavir. "Here, probably should let you have this so you can show it to Thea. I can always go back and hunt around for another and try to catch Cenlia."

Enkavir rolls one shoulder, a lopsided shrug that dismisses Rogawani's insistence that he's not mature. "You're young yet. Part of it is just knowing when it's appropriate and when it's not. You seem to." He shifts the sack slung over his shoulder so he can slide the folder into it, freeing his hands up to take the petal. "I heard a little something about the runner debacle. As I heard it, the spooking was the fault of Rhasmir… gallumping about on a draft horse?" One brow arches quizzically, interested to hear Rogawani's version. Only then does he peer down at the petal, pocket it, and nod. "I'll see what she says. And as for you, you have to get out from under your father's thumb sometime you know."

"You're probably right." Rogawani replies, although a hint of doubt still lingers on his face. "Part of it is being a messenger. You've got to be responsible or people don't trust you to carry messages." Taking a step back, the boy leans haphazardly against the side of the archway once more, picking at one of his fingernails. "Well, Rhasmir and his draft mare were certainly part of it, but I think X'hil showing up probably had more to do with it. I have no clue what the deal is with those two, but it's even worse than when you and Thea are fighting." Looking up, the boy just cants his head slightly to the right, and then shrugs. "Not too worried about it, really. Da can't keep me from doing what I want when I'm out in the holds. Still, he's got the marks on my runner. Told me that it'll be mine free and clear on my sixteenth turnday. Small price to pay, I say."

The mention of X'hil brings a faint scowl across Enkavir's features and he just shakes his head, arms crossing again. "He's not my very favorite either to be perfectly honest. But the way they fight is nothing like the way we fight." Just in case that wasn't perfectly obvious in the first place. "You're right about that being a small price to pay though I suppose. A few turns of servitude for a lifetime of freedom or something like that, right?" The record keeper flicks a glance toward the caverns behind him, the work piling up and calling his name and he sighs. "I should probably get back to it. Good luck finding whatever you're looking for with this letter thing. I'll ask Thea soon as I see her." He pats the bag where the petal rests, flips a wave, and heads back in.

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