Close Encounters of the Child Kind

Xanadu Weyr – Meadow

A large, slightly rolling meadow is set high enough above the riverbank on both sides to avoid suffering from flooding, healthy ground cover and grass spreading out from either side of the dividing river. Scattered amongst the meadow are a variety of buildings, each with a narrow path leading up to it from a main, winding road. Some are set under a few trees, while others sit by themselves.

Stables and a smithy are settled on their own plots, while trees border the western edge of the meadow, and a faint outline of a fence can be seen to the north.

Though the meadow relatively uninhabited on this blustery fall day, a large stretch of ground near the river has been occupied by an unfamiliar copper-toned bronze figure. Back curled towards the west, a logistical mind will discover that Ittisieth has positioned himself between the worst of the wind and a length of blanket that has been spread over a patch of grass. Sitting on said blanket, S'gam currently has his head tilted back to watch the midday clouds scoot by, briefly mesmerized while his bronze keeps a close eye on a bundled-up lump of cloth resting between the Dragonhealer's outstretched legs… Except it really isn't a lump, in the end, because every now and again it twitches, fuzzy head lifting and dropping in the patently jerky way babies have, stubby arms and legs scooting a pudgy body along the blanket. A delighted squeal finally distracts Sig from his thoughts, brows lifting to regard Emalia with a low laugh, head tilting to one side, "Uh oh, now what, kiddo?" But the little girl has no real insights; she just babbles again and bangs her fists, oblivious to the rest of the world if it isn't right under her nose.

Bluster and a bit of cooler wind isn't anything to stop the duo that rambles across the meadow, poking inquisitive fingers into this and prying little hands into that. Both dark-headed toddlers are minus caps, their hair blowing free but they do have jackets on and though cheeks are pinkened, certainly appear warm enough. As well they ought because they haven't stopped once for breath upon reaching the meadow. Attempting to catch up with the pair, or at least corral, them is Thea, both discarded caps in her hand as she approaches the girl who has squatted by a plant of some sort. The boy, a few paces away and picking up speed has an eye on that bronze hulk. His squealed, "'Beth!!!" is what alerts Thea of his intent. She scoops the girl up, tucking her under one arm and jogs after. Still breathless, "Nono, Muir, that's not Siebith!" Does Muir stop? Nope. He speeds up.

Muireadhach's squeal draws S'gam's attention, but it's Ittisieth that moves first. For a beast that considers most spontaneous movement to be emblematic of ill-breeding, the bronze is quick to crawl a few steps closer to the toddler and stretch out his long neck, putting a large wall of lichen-encrusted nose in what the dragon hopes is the little boy's path. Halt! "Careful, Sie!" To his credit, the Dragonhealer isn't too far behind Ittisieth considering he had a half-turn-old to gather up into his arms on the way, but the moment the bronze stills into an imitation of the statue he so resembles, the man pulls up short. "Shards, don't scare me like that. Last time you decided to move that fast, someone was on fir— Thea?" Having finally passed the gist of his dragon's bulk, Sig's eyes dart towards the running Muir and his chasing mother and sister, momentarily nonplussed. "Mrrrrah!," Emalia screeches, more than making up for dear daddy's silence in the face of all this /excitement/.

Dragon nose in his path, be it the wrong color or not, delights the boy, who runs full-tilt into it. The bronze has only made things easier for him, since he was the target all along. Both hands pat whatever he can reach as he repeats, "Beth-Beth" with a wide smile up at the eye nearest him. Thea winces when the bronze is accosted by her son, but there's no fear in her expression for the boy. Her progress is slowed by the giggling Marella - the child is getting hefty. "Muir, come h-" Baby screech interrupts her and the source being unexpected, draws her eyes even as she takes the final step and her snag of Muir by the upper arm is absent as she notes who is carrying the baby. A smile of welcome lights her face. "Hey Sig! I thought I recognized Ittisieth. But who's this?" Pale green eyes are alight with curiosity as they rest on the little girl in his arms.

Ittisieth's usually stoic face registers some alarm when his nose, instead of deterring the child's progress, suddenly becomes the focus of interest. The bronze can practically /feel/ S'gam watching him, can sense the smug amusement radiating across their mental link, but by the First Egg, he won't crack! Instead, he manages to look confused at being called 'Beth-Beth,' whatever that was, faceted eyes blinking down into the child's smiling face before — Whuff! The dragon exhales a tad harder than usual, tentatively seeking some sort of response. Smirking, Sig shakes his head and looks back towards Thea, mirth turning into a full-blown in response to her welcoming attitude. "Hey to you too, Thea!," he returns, shifting his own squirming child into a more comfortable position against his chest. "Yeah, we came to visit a few friends and couldn't resist the sunshine. This here's Emalia. I'm on daddy-duty for a couple days." There's a little bit of nervousness there, S'gam's complication with children still lurking somewhere in the recesses of his psyche, but for once there's just as much fondness when he tries to tame Emma's wild tuft of hair, fighting valiantly against her whirling fists. "Could ask the same of you, though. Shards, has it really been that long since we've seen each other? Last time you were about this big," he gestures with his hand in an imitation of a bulge around the stomach, "and they were just a hope in the future." He seems a bit guilty for being absent, at least!

"The sunshine." Faint disbelief colors Thea's voice before she shouts a laugh. Riiiight. Warm air stirring Muir's hair draws his attention to the bronze's nostril, at least the one nearest him and quick fingers reach for it even at his mother is hauling him away. Whether the lightning quick foray into Ittisieth's nasal space succeeds, well… the boy is nothing if not intent to explore that cavity if he can with curious fingers. Tickling, at least his baby hands are soft and gentle if not too clean. "It has!" Thea assures S'gam pretending to be aggrieved, a laugh defeats that, however, with his pantomime of her baby belly. "Aww, Emalia. She's a cutie." She's cooing this with eyes a-twinkle, maybe ready to tease a bit when Muir's lunge is felt rather than seen. Reeling him in, twisting to face herself and the children just a bit away from the bronze, she warns the boy, "That's how Beth sneezed on you last time." She's cringing just a bit - blue sneezes hold nothing over bronze.

"What? It's true!," S'gam says in his most earnest tone, eyes wide and innocent before his left lid rises in a tic. "Though I gotta admit, Lory and R'iahn were also being cutesy with Riah's daughter, Briahla, so we felt like outsiders, didn't we, Em?" The bronzerider scrunches his nose down at the babe in an overdramatic fashion, unintentionally mimicing Ittisieth for all the wrong reasons. Muir, it seems, succeeded in giving Ittisieth's nostrils a good tickle, the bronze's head retreating in his second lightning-fast motion of the day. Draconic nose scrunching, the dragon shakes his head and whuffs once, twice, before the strange sensation dies out… thankfully without a bronze-sized sneezefest! Squint. It seems that Ittisieth has a lot of re-evaluating to do about these small grub-shaped things called children. "Time just flies, I guess. I mean, Faranth knows it seems like just yesterday that Emalia was born, but…" He shakes his head, slight smile flickering over his features. "Guess that's life. She is adorable, though - got her mommy's eyes." And indeed, once the little girl ceases her flailing, dove grey eyes peer about, constantly alert. Sig watches her for a moment before smirking over at Thea and her twins, brows raised curiously. "That sounds like it was fun." Make way for the Sarcasm Express!

Thea eyes the sky doubtfully, "But it's Fall here. And Ista's warmer?" Her lips twitch at the dragon-and-rider nose wrinkling, drawing Muir a bit closer, likely for the protection of the bronze rather than the child. "Sorry about that," she murmurs apologetically to both man and dragon with a bit of a grimace down at the top of the child's head, "He's into everything these days." Back up to S'gam, "You should see what he does to his daddy's face when it's within range." but then again, maybe he shouldn't. It's not a pretty picture. Emalia gets another look while Muir is standing still enough and another aww follows when those lovely eyes of grey open. "It does fly. And things have been really busy. This is Muir," a nod to the dark-haired boy, her grip on his arm remains vigilant "And this is Marella." She rests her cheek atop the toddle's head while smirking at S'gam, "It was a mess. Muir loved it!"

"Warmer, yes, but it's early spring over there. Rains more often than it shines," S'gam explains with a slight grimace, apparently not as much of a puddle-jumper as he used to be. "Rain is only fun when there's a storm involved, anymore." Sig's dark eyes flash up to Ittisieth when Thea apologizes, head already shaking in despite of the long-winded response his dragon is likely making. "Don't even worry about it, Thee. He works in the infirmary with me on a daily basis - if he can't handle a little bit of nose-picking, he's not half the dragon I thought he was." The tilt of S'gam's brow makes it clear the words are just a tease, but Ittisieth's eyes take on a haughty glaze anyways, wings lifting in a gesture that can only be described as 'arrogant.' "I can believe that, though. Emma likes to go after earrings, especially when they're the huge hoops like the Traders wear. She's infamous among them, ain't she?," he asks rhetorically, surveying the child as if she'd actually answer him. The goldrider's 'aww' draws his attention away from Emalia, something akin to pride flashing in the Dragonhealer's eyes. "Muir and Marella," he repeats, likely memorizing their names before his expression turns decidedly impish. "Ah, so Muir's going to be a crossbow-weilding troublemaker like his mom then, hm?"

Thea ahs at the comparison of Ista's weather with Xanadu's, ice-green sparkles merrily at the mention of rain. "I still like it plenty, storm or no." Poor Ittisieth, says her expression, but she makes no comment. "Fwy!" Squeals Muir when the bronze lifts his wings. Marella remains sweetly acquiescent in her mama's arms, pale green eyes glittering with interest at Emalia. "Might be a talent you can hone," she teases of the earring-snagging before a laugh bubbles up, "He's already on his way to being a restless daredevil like his daddy." She'll just leave women out of the equation for now. Muir decides he's had enough restraint and begins a walkaround mama, likely already having learned her arm only wraps so far. Still, her grip is maintained while her arm moves with the boy. "Speaking of crossbows… " silent laughter dances in her eyes, "guess you don't have to worry about that in Ista. But then Cenlia makes up for it, if she's still the same girl I knew."

S'gam makes a face and 'meh's, shoulders tossing carelessly. "It's nice to listen to, sure, but getting soaking wet for no good reason? Not so much in the fun department." A pause. "Does that mean I'm getting old?" There's a slightly hysterical note to Sig's voice, left eye doing that twitchy thing again. Ittisieth, meanwhile, regards little Muir, perhaps interpreting 'fwy!' in the correct way, or perhaps just testing the reactions he can get out of the child with curiosity overriding propriety. Spiderwebbed wings spread out slowly, putting S'gam into a shadow that makes him squint up at the bronze before giving a barking laugh for Thea's idea. "Yeah, teach her how to earring-pull the Traders into a cheaper deal," he says in a smart-alec tone, eyes dancing. "'Gimme a twenty percent discount and I'll make the kid let go! Take it or leave it.' I like that idea, thanks!" Grinning cheekily, he switches Emalia to the other arm, watching Muir tug his mother around even as she speaks. "Restless daredevil, hm? That sounds more like my type of kid. Bet I get a girly-girl instead, full of klah parties and scones and gaudy fashions from Fort." He's looking at Em when he says it, but his tone of voice doesn't seem pointed in the girl's future. "Ha! Yes. Well. Not exactly - she's a bit busy falling into ships, getting attacked by felines, and setting herself on fire, but she still weilds her shovel like no other!"

Thea turns slowly with Muir; he's not arm-wrapping her yet anyway. "You are," she glimmers at him merrily, "But Emalia, will make a young man out of you yet. If only when she starts painting your nails and making you eat dainty tea cakes with her." Muir pauses mid-stride to peer up at those wings with a crow of delight. "I was thinking pick-pocket, actually," she clarifies with a smirk before she winces and eye-rolls at Cenlia's mishaps. "Well, as long as she isn't bottle-throwing?" Count your blessings man! Marella singsongs sweetly at Emaila, "Hi Bay-bee, hi bay-bee," accompanied by fingers curling and uncurling in a wave. Muir decides he's been still quite long enough and wrests his arm free. Instead of dashing off, he plunks down in the grass, looking for something.

"No, say it ain't so!" Sig exclaims, free hand clenching over his heart. "I can feel the weight of my age settling upon me!" Well, at least some things will never change about the Dragonhealer! "You're right, though. I'm going to be the girliest bronzerider to hit Ista since V'gay," he mopes, high melodrama quickly morphing into a lament. "Not so sure about the pick-pocketing with Em, though. Save that for Fy's kid." Oops. Sig's facial expression remains passive, but if she's looking hard enough, Thea might pick up on the brief flicker of alarm in the Dragonhealer's eyes. He's said too much. "You're right, though, she hasn't been on her 'throw things at poor Sig' soapbox in a while. My face is very thankful," he assures her with a sincere nod, sharp smirk turning into a sincere smile when Marella finally speaks up. "Say hi to Marella, Em. Hiiii," Sig coos back, voice pitched an octave higher than usual when he raises one sticky, curled hand to wobble it back and forth towards the toddler. Awww. Ittisieth, for his part, seems amused by this little thing, finally forgetting or pushing aside the nose incident. When the boy finally plops down, the bronze shifts his eyes from one rider to the other, /daring/ them to ever repeat what he's about to do in public… and lays down too, forepaws stretched out and waggling ever so slighty in what could be mistaken for an invitation to play. Shhh.

"Him!" Thea shudders. "Don't remind me." Of that surreal dance and bronzer hitting on the dragonhealer. Oh, but she cannot miss the opportunity to tilt her head and quirk a brow, "Fyr's going to have a kid?" Her longtime friend gets a long, probing look. "Are you going to be a daddy times two then, Sig?" Her lips are just quivering, ready to burst into a wide grin, but she'll wait for him to confirm it. Marella squeals, "Haaaaaaiiii!" at Emalia while Muir looks up from the grass with something pinch-picked between two fingers, lifts it high and announces to the world in general, "Bug!" Thea reacts with momma-speed, but alas, it's nothing like kid-speed and thus the boy's fingers make it to their intended target before she can stop him, the necessity of prying the toddler's mouth open and removing the morsel forestalls her from saying anything more. Sadly Seryth isn't here to blackmail Ittisieth, but Muir wrests away from his mother, having caught the movement of the bronze.

"I wish I could forget," S'gam says in the same tone of voice, but alas, he likely bumps into the rider every now and again. Wince. "Did I say that? What I meant to say, is that /when/ Fy has a kid, it will be a pickpocket, and a sure shot with a sling. /When/," he emphasizes again, finger pointing right at Thea in warning, but a small smile is playing around the corners of his mouth. That's as much of an affirmative as an actual spoken 'yes' would be. Emalia's puppeteer may be distracted, but the babe's wandering attention finally /has/ focused on Marella, eyes scrunching up with a wild little giggle that she could only have learned from her parents, entire body wiggling with the enthusiasm of the greeting. S'gam has absolutely no time to enjoy the cuteness of the moment, watching with mild alarm as Muir stuffs the bug into his mouth and Thea's swift recovery, entire body stiff when the whole scene plays itself out in a matter of seconds. "Alright there, momma feline. Shards, dunno if I've ever seen somebody move that fast." Well, no, Rhasmir dove across fandoms and became The Flash when a liquor bottle was waved his way, but Thea was a close second! Waggling his foreclaws again, Ittisieth then flattens them against the ground, getting them as lows as possible as if creating a bronze-sized jungle-gym for the boy to play on if he so desired.

"You said when not if," teases Thea, straightening up and releasing Muir, who heads in a in a v'tol line not for those dragon talons, but towards the coastal road at a wobbling run. It seems that Muir is teaching Thea to react and move swiftly, or at best he's going to keep her in shape. She starts after him, Marella giggling at the bumping run her mother is subjecting her to. Over her shoulder and ignoring that finger-shaking of a warning, she gives freedom to the grin that's been waiting to spread across her face, "Congrats to you both. Later Sig!" Just, you know… kilts aside, running into the bronzer might not be so horrible if Sig manages to fend him off. Or drug him if he has to. He has access, after all. And no, she's not going to suggest it. No, she's got to round up her wayward son and inflict him on his father so she can recover.

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