Sands and Soothing Circles

Xanadu Weyr - Shore of Lake Caspian
The cliffs that run along the shore come and go, various weyrs nestled along the tops of them or dug into the walls, but eventually they recede enough to expose a beach. The white sand echoes the rise and fall of the cliffs with a multitude of sandy dunes, endlessly creating tiny valleys that are constantly demolished and rebuilt by the frequent arrival or departure of dragons. The dunes smooth out as the gentle slope approaches the edge of the deep blue water. The sand darkens, and a shell here and there stands out for children to collect.

The beach narrows to the southwest, leaving a path barely wide enough for dragons in single file before cutting in to a smaller, more sheltered cove. The sands are the same white, the waters the same blue, but they're calmer and more tranquil, more protected from the winds that ruffle Lake Caspian and the currents that tug beneath the surface.

Rough, wide stairs lead up to the meadow above and the road that runs along the top of the cliffs, passing through the fields and heading for the river mouth that can be just barely seen from here. The largest of the staircases up the cliff is located near the docks that jut out onto the peaceful blue waters.

Sunny days seem par for the course during summer at Xanadu. Having come from the (currently) frozen north, Shiloh is definitely taking advantage of the fair weather found in his new home. And of course, his day wouldn't be complete without a runner-companion brought along with him. Today, it's a pretty not-that-little red mare, a runner that looks rather uncertain about being so close to water and sand dunes and invisible things that definitely hide in them. Oh, and dragons. But thankfully there are very few of them on this part of the beach and, for the moment, she's much more concerned about the lake than the looming predators. Shiloh has opted for the full tack workup, despite the beachy environment, if just because being tossed to the ground is not his idea of a fun time. But he's sans shirt (because SUMMER and HOT and BEACH and REASONS), bearing arms that have seen more than their fair share of sun already. Hat, pants, boots… definitely. After playing a rather interesting game of 'don't let the water touch my feet!!' little red-mare has finally settled down enough to very, very cautiously drop her head and snort at the wet sand. The water though? Definitely NOT ALLOWED TO TOUCH HER FEET!

Averil has been sitting on the beach for some time. Long enough that there are a stack of drawings of various residents neatly resting upon his satchel. With his knees drawn up and golden hair twisted into a loose knot on top of his head, he is in the midst of scanning for new subjects when a familiar figure rides into view. It is surprising enough after the hasty retreat from the stables that he actually spends a few moments staring. (Course the fact that Shiloh is shirtless certainly isn't helping matters, AT ALL!) The mare prancing away from the water, though, inspires a quiet laugh to spilling past his lips, the sketch pad flipped open as he gathers up his charcoal and immediately takes to sketching the pair. And, while the mare garners a good deal of his immediate attention, it is the act of assuring that the rider's muscles are exactly right that has him chewing at his lip while glancing between subject and paper. "Thank Faranth for hot weather," is murmured under his breath.

The mare (henceforth to be called 'Red') does a fair approximation of a fire-breathing dragon as she snorts at the water, nostrils wide and little ears flicking forward and back as she searches for danger. Shiloh, apparently, is not as concerned that death is waiting for them with the tide, though he's keeping one hand on the horn of his saddle just in case. The other holds the reins and reaches out to scritch-scritch at her shoulder and, while the words he says are likely to be too low to hear, he is definitely murmuring a constant stream of encouragement to his mare. When Red decides the water is not to be feared (while it is not touching her at least), there's a great bit of pawing that begins, kicking up wet sand in a spray around them before Shiloh puts a stop to it. A little encouragement is too much and when the water comes rolling back in (as waves are wont to do), Red gives a great start and LEAPS backwards, tail flagged as she makes to run down the beach. WHEEEE!!!!

Pausing in his sketching, Avi grins as he watches the pair, another quiet laugh spilling past his lips at the sight of Red attempting to breath fire and ward off any monsters that might be lurking in the water. The sand being kicked up, though, has him closing the cover on sketchbook and twisting around to tuck it, and the other drawings, under the protective flap of his satchel. He has enough material for the moment and there is something satisfying about just watching the individual who has become his 'subject'. The mare's leap, though, takes him by surprise, pale grey eyes widening as he scrambles back on the sand (NEVER MIND THAT HE IS NOT THAT CLOSE OK!) and immediately pushing to his feet. The movement though, is more then enough to have his hair coming free of it's loose knot, the sunlit strands spilling down his back in wild disarray.

Well that is just too much! Red is proven to be of sound mind and body when a GIANT RUNNER-EATING MONSTER leaps from the sands! (Averil. She means Averil). Proving herself to be quite quick on her feet, the mare executes a stunning jump sideways, spins on her hocks and bolts down the beach with Shiloh. At least the journeyman proves he knows what he's doing (or, well. At least that he's hard to throw off) because he manages to stick through all of those wild shenanigans and, after a bit of a sprint and a few bucks, as her calmed down and circling back to the monster artist on the beach. Red is definitely winded, nostrils flaring and chest heaving as she recovers from her fright, red-neck damp with sweat but little ears flicking forward and back as she finally starts listening to her rider. As they are going away from the water, she's much more agreeable to moving forward, perking up when she realizes that no, that's not a runner-eating-monster but just another person. And maybe they have cookies! Shiloh won't let her get that close, stopping her about a dragonlength out to squint against the sun toward Averil. "You okay?"

Averil was clearly not expecting the mare to react like /that/, a fact made clear by wide eyes and the breathy sound of surprise that escapes his lips the moment she leaps sidewise and bolts down the beach. To his credit, he does observe the enviable display of horsemanship in the midst of sweeping up his satchel and flinging it over his shoulders. What he was also not expecting was for the pair to come /back/. It is enough to have him backing away, pale eyes flicking a wary glance at the mare before trailing up to Shiloh's face. Unfortunately, the journey to the beastherder's face traipses along sweaty muscle and, by time it finally finds dark eyes? Avi has completely forgotten how to use his words. Still, he manages a nod while clutching his bag against his chest, the tip of his tongue darting out to moisten his lips. "I… I am fine," he admits quietly. "I did not mean to scare her." HER? What about HIM??? "Are you all right?" Cause really, Shiloh is much closer to the point of potential harm then he is.

Sensitive to the fact that not everyone is comfortable with animals (particularly very large, sometimes dangerous animals, like runners), Shiloh is careful to keep Red a fair distance from Averi. Far enough that hearing him is a bit of a challenge with the quiet words returned to him. There's a squint and a tip of his head as he attempts to hear better without bringing Red any closer, and he at least hears the last because he offers a little shake of his head and a scritch of his fingers to the mare's shoulder. "She's fine. S'good to scare her sometimes, so she learns there's nothing to fear." As for him? "S'my job," is all he'll say about that. Another squint and he studies Averil briefly before Red is taking his attention, dancing a bit beneath him so that he's forced to turn her in a tight circle to bring her back to standing.

Averil can't help smiling as he watches the pair, one hand raising to brush wild strands of blond hair out of his face. Watching the mare being guided into a circle, he starts to step forward before drawing immediately back, again. "Good. I.." Shaking his head, he lightly clears his throat, his gaze flicking up the beach before trailing back to Shiloh's torso… erm… face. Eventually, his face. "Your job is to scare runners on the beach?" The tease though, is quiet and immediately followed with a mild shake of his head as he clears his throat.

Unfortunately, young runners are almost as tempestuous and flighty as young children, and the standing still lasts for only a moment before she's pawing at the ground again. Quick as you please, Shiloh has her moving once more, pacing in a larger circle that keeps her occupied while allowing Shiloh to (attempt to) keep talking with Averil. Even if he doesn't have too much to say. For a moment, he just frowns at him, dark eyes darting from mare to artist and back again as his attention is divided between keeping Red occupied and answering Averil. "No. My job is to teach them to listen and trust their handler." It's clipped; almost like perhaps this is not the first time someone has teased him about his job and maybe he's not interested in explaining the details to a stranger. Or. It could be that his feisty little mare is a bit of a handful that requires more of his attention, and indeed, there's a moment of snorting and headtossing and the threat of a rear that is really quite laughable because of how little she actually does before going back to circling and perking her ears at various things on the beach. "What's your job?"

The clipped tone is not missed by Averil and immediately has him drawing back to put a bit more distance between himself and the mounted pair. That the chances of him actually outrunning a runner are slim is not something he is willing to think about. Still, he's watching them pace in their circle, holding his breath at the near rearing before releasing it on a sigh. "My.. Oh. I'm illustrator," he admits as he clutches a bit more tightly at his satchel. "I draw pictures for books…. sometimes commissions, it depends."

Shiloh won't chase him, if he does decide to run. And definitely not on runner-back. And as his current mount is taking up a fair bit of his attention, it's probably a safe assumption that he doesn't even notice Averil's apparent preparations for departure. The answer, when it comes, gets another flick of his gaze though it's clear Shiloh's attention is far more on Red than on Averil. Maybe for the best? "Illustrator?" he repeats. "For books?" Repetition for clarification and, perhaps, a little curiosity. "Children's books?" he wonders, finally managing to get Red to stand still long enough for him to give Averil a proper look.

Averil hadn't expected the interest and for a moment he just stares at Shiloh (Or maybe his torso) in silence. "Sometimes," he admits with a mild nod of his head. "Lately it has been more romance novels. I have done wanted posters a few times," he admits. "But I prefer to avoid those." It's a little disconcerting to draw pictures of criminals. With the mare standing still (FINALLY) he exhales a shallow breath, his chin tilting up to make certain he's looking at Shiloh's hat-shrouded face and not his torso. "Not nearly as exciting as what you are doing," he admits.

With Red deigning to stand still for a moment, Shiloh finally manages to notice that Averil's gaze seems to stray a bit further south than his face. There's a bit of a grimace, a squint of his eyes and a clearing of his throat (and perhaps the wanting of a shirt) but there's little he can say about it. And unfortunately (or fortunately, for Averil?) Red only has so much patience for standing still and very quickly is doing the jig-thing again. Baby runners. So fidgety. But romance novels? "Ah," is all Shiloh can respond with, and even if his attention is turned to his mare, it's perhaps a bit more… invested than it really needs to be. But he's definitely not blushing or anything. No way. That's definitely a SUNBURN from all the SUN. "I should take her back," is not really a fair return for the implication that his job is interesting, and is probably only half true, as Shiloh sets Red to walking circles once again. But it's definitely because he has CHORES and stuff, and not because he's running away like a coward. "Sorry to disturb your sketching. Good day," comes with a lift of his fingers and a tip of his hat in Averil's direction. Because manners and stuff.

Averil is quick to nod at the suggestion that they both have things they should be doing. His attention, however, is taken by the tip of the hat. It is the sort of gesture that is completely foreign to him, barring it's appearance in some of the novels he has drawn covers for. "Oh." The sound is more a breathy expression of surprise before he dips his chin in a quick nod and spins on his heel to start walking away. Course, it is only after a few steps that he glances back over his shoulder, his lips twitching in a pleased smile as he glances back at the beastcrafter. And, while his mouth opens to say /something/ it is just as quick to close before he's facing front and moving quickly back toward the weyr.

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