a fish thief!

Xanadu Weyr - Garden
An arch woven from the tendrils of a willow tree stretches overhead lightly creeping with ivy as one steps in from the meadow into this sanctuary of green. Cool gray flagstone carefully spaced enables a soft velvety moss to thrive within the cracks, and creates a single wide pathway that fluidly breaks off into two paths of stone once free of the natural arbor. It is a wonder this place, and meticulously tended from the way it seems not a single leaf is out of place.

On either side of the main path expansive grassy patches are trimmed short and edged behind with natural tan colored stone selectively chosen to stack just right. Beyond these are a line of fine puffed shrubberies in vibrant green intermingled with flowering bushes of brilliant pinks varying in hue from the very light to the very dark, which causes the occasional snowy white blossoms of other scattered here and there without worry to simply pop out of the scenery.

Directly in the center of the garden is another wall of intricately stacked stone, this of muted grays, creating what from the air would prove to be a perfect circle. It's been set high for safety, but not so much as one would not be able to lean over it to admire what lies beyond, either standing or sitting at the smattering of benches whose backs are set every four feet along it. Flush to the ground inside it's protective stone outcropping, is an enormous twenty foot wide fish pond. Within one can glean the metallic glint of playful goldfish, the unhurried cruise of fat koi, and even a frog or three among pale yellow and white flowering water lilies and their thick green pads.

The trees surrounding the entire garden were planted to give the impression that they had always been here, not only lending to a rustic look, but also alluding to the beauty that can be found among the wilds if only one might just look for it. Species vary from the ordinary Birch and Pine, but the flaming red capsules of the Indian Shot to the robust orange spokes of the Firewheel tree suggest the spice of the exotic.

It may be autumn, but the weather is still warm, even as the hours begin to draw on toward evening. It seems the gardens are unwilling to admit that they may be out of season soon, as they're still blooming, leaving the air of the garden fragrant. The evening hours don't lend themselves quite as well to admiring flowers, and so the garden paths are nearly empty. There's a quiet serenity about this place, perfect for reflection and— "WILL YOU HELP ME YOU USELESS ANIMAL" —screeching goldriders. In an attempt to utterly destroy any illusion of calm, Nessalyn is draped over the stone barrier with a net in hand, jabbing it at the fish pond. Nearby, a battle-scarred orange tomcat sits and watches without movement.

A hint of brine dances on the air, salt-tinged as Rukbat sinks into her slumber, and it is to this whirl of frolicking breezes that Khetsiyah rounds the corner of a pathway to find Nessalyn and her net with a passive cat watching idly by. The screech pulls a wince out of the corner of Khetsi's mouth, but the younger girl holds her tongue. If there are few in the weyr that she ensures to know on sight, those in leadership are a good lot to choose. "Do you command the cat or the fish?" The question gets asked low enough to not startle, though the woman's screech did that already, but still Khetsiyah has no death wish. In her hand, she holds a leather cord upon which is strung an object that catches the first hint of Belior's silver'd light in shining illumination.

Cat tilts his head, eyeing this newcoming for a moment as though she might have something to offer. Food, perhaps? The constant twitch of his tail suggests that affection would be unwelcome. Khetsiyah may try not to startle, but Nessalyn still lurches in surprise anyway, just barely catching herself with the tips of her shoes scrabbling in the dirt. She's too small to be attempting this… whatever she's attempting, but the goldrider isn't the least bit deterred. "The cat," she grunts, turning to side-eye the beastwith a vicious stare. He blinks. Ness takes on last swipe at the water with her net and comes up empty. Rolling back up into a proper standing position, she finally pauses to take note of the new arrival. "Who are you?"

As one how knows how it feels to be on the shorter side of life, Khetsiyah winces once again when Nessalyn scrambles as she does. "You are a cat whisperer?" she asks, surprise coloring her voice ensuring that it rises at the end, wavering a touch. Her gaze swing to the cat and of her own volition, her hand outstretches, wanting to slide through the fur. Feel the vibration of its purr. "I didn't realize," her attention shifts from Nessalyn's cat to the water, and then back to Nessalyn, "that you had to fish for your own dinner." She widens her eyes, curling her hand around the object she carries and tilts her head to the side. "Khetsiyah, apprentice glassmaker."

"I wouldn't call it whispering, it's mostly yowling." Whether she means herself or Cat isn't immediately clear. The feline in question eyes that outstretched hand, and for a moment his lack of response might almost seem like permission, before he rumbles with a low, angry growl. "I wouldn't," Nessalyn interjects, gesturing toward Khetsiyah's outstretched hand with a jut of her chin. "Cat doesn't even let me touch him." The feline stretches languidly, before melting into a comfortable puddle of cat on the stone wall. One torn ear twitches occasionally, as though he's monitoring the conversation. "It's not for my dinner, it's for-" Nessalyn's eyes narrow with sudden suspicion, and whatever she was about to say is forgotten. "Things." Yes, things. Without offering an introduction of her own, she demands, "What've you got there?"

"You named your cat, Cat?" Khetsiyah asks, pausing at the growl the animal gives off. She watches him, though, her expression softening as if she can will the animal to love her with the right look. A slow blink of her eyes, gaze never falling away from the animal. "A weyrwoman," Khetsi pulls away from the allure of the animal to focus on Nessalyn, "is fishing in the pond for fish for 'things'?" Her tone is the right blend of 'I don't believe you' and remembered deference due Nessalyn's rank. "Are you," dark green eyes widen, "stealing the fish?" Involuntarily, she backs away from the woman who's taken on an entirely different light. A thief. A scoundrel. A — "A thing." Khetsiyah's fist closes around the object, the soft light winking out, and her chin lifts as her jaw sets stubbornly.

Nessalyn lifts one shoulder in an unaffected shrug. "What else was I supposed to call him? He's a cat. It's the same way I name my 'lizards." It's either complete emotional detachment or a fondness for the obvious, but she's as unapologetic about this as she is everything else. "Yeeep." She pops the 'p,' staring at Khetsiyah, the hint of a smirk teasing her lips. "I mean, I don't know that I'd call it stealing. Do these fish really belong to anyone in particular?" In other words, she has no idea whether she's stealing, nor does she seems particularly affected by the possibility. As Khetsiyah backs away, Ness moves forward, still with her net in hand. "What thing?"

"Most people give their companions names," Khetsiyah says, brows drawing in at the strange creature in front of her. A quick glance at the calm waters and then she turns back to Nessalyn, "I don't know what I'd call it, but it seems very much like stealing." A point upon which Khetsi isn't sure she's comfortable with. Another step back, before she halts and holds her ground with her weight settling in her hips and her hands fisted at her chest, between her breasts. "Mine." The mere fact that the woman seems to be entitled to know — or so curious to know it borders aggression has the apprentice digging her own heels in. "I call it mine." A bare second's pause, then, "Ma'am." Because a knot is a knot is a knot.

"Those are names. Cat, Green, Bronze… those are names." Good names? Absolutely not. But they are, technically, names. "Good thing Tineangrath came with her own name, or I'd probably call her Dragon." But Khetsiyah has Tineangrath to thank for the fact that Nessalyn pauses, just barely resisting the urge to keep pursuing the girl until she's cornered — simply because it seems possible to do so. "Whose fish are they, then? If you can tell me whose fish they are, I'll call it stealing." She's aware that it's a moot point since she is prone to thievery, but no one can prove that here and now. "I know it's your, kid, I'm asking what it is." Her expression flinches at that 'ma'am'. "Don't call me that."

"Should I call you woman?" Khetsiyah tips her head to the side, ignoring the request for what the thing in her hand is for the moment. "That is also a name," she points out, "or would you prefer me to call you something else?" Her brows draw inward before her gaze falls to her clenched fist, the knuckles pale against the brown skin where it pulls across the bone and tendon. "You didn't ask what it is. You asked 'what thing?' Which could easily be asking what it is called, and so I gave you a name." Looking back up, Khetsiyah holds her ground, but not rudely so. Just that Nessalyn isn't pressing and so she isn't backing away. "What should I call you?" Let's settle this first, her expression says, before the mystery object is examined, yes.

"You could call me woman, although that's not my name." Though Nessalyn doesn't argue that it's a name, at least. "You can call me Nessalyn. Or Ness. Or 'hey you' for all I care," she answers, dismissing her choice of name with a casual shrug. She twirls the pole to which the net is attached idly, watching it spin with a contemplative gaze. "I did ask what you've got, which is a question of what it is," she points out, lowering the net so that it's pointed in her direction. "And I really don't think you can be fussing over my choice to call the cat Cat when you're calling that thing mine.

"But this," Khetsiyah lifts her clenched fist, "isn't sentient." But wait, she pauses here, brows drawing in again in a moment's confusion. "Not in the way the cat is, at least. Or you. Or I, or dragons." The leather cord attached to whatever is in her hand trails out like a serpantine antennae that flaps with every movement. "Well met," spinning on the heel of the moment, the girl switches subjects, "Nessalyn." Deep green eyes focus on the weyrwoman, unwavering. "You demanded," she points out quietly, "without the courtesy of a name and stalked me." The subtle set of her jaw dares Nessalyn to deny this fact. "So forgive me if I did not leap to give you what you wanted." Beat. "Ma'am." Now who's being cheeky?

"So? How does being sentient factor into things? If they're all that sentient, they should be picking their own names." See: dragons. She casts a glance toward Cat, who is trying to soak up the last of the heat from from the stones left by the setting sun. Although his eyes open, half-lidded as he surveys the pair of them, he seems disinclined to move any further. Nessalyn tilts her head in a faint acknowledgement of the greeting, before her hand flies to her chest in mock outrage. "Are you telling me I'm not allowed to walk a few steps if someone else has walked a few steps? You must have a hard time of it in the Weyr, what with people walking everywhere. Who else has stalked you today?" Khetsiyah can dare as much as she wants, because Ness is absolutely going to deny it, and with a shamelessness which allows for no hint of remorse. "Kids these days are so suspicious," she mutters with a heavy sigh. "You try to have one conversation and they're snapping at you."

"It seems kinder to give things real names when they have feelings," Khetsiyah says with a teenager's shrug. A girl she may be with a woman's intuition, she still is — at heart — a teenager with a teenager's whims. One of which happens to be a stubborn streak a mile long. Her eyes narrow. "You were stalking me." Nessalyn might deny it until the cows come home, but Khetsi's tone is firm. Still, her regard for Nessalyn changes slightly, imperceptibly. As if the woman has confounded her in ways she's not used to. "And adults these days demand everything from people without so much as a by your leave." She backs up a step, angling her face towards the sky. "I suppose I should get back." But without revealing what's in her hand?!

"And who are you to decide what's a real name and what isn't? A name becomes a name because we use it as one." Although her brow lifts in a pointed challenge, there's no real vehemence behind her words. She's always just a little bit detached, remaining at arm's length from any emotional investment. "You're going to have a long, difficult life ahead of you if you think that's stalking," Nessalyn matters, lifting her eyes to the skies as though they might offer some help. There might be a shadow of gold up there who could do so, but the garden is not meant for dragon landings. "Get over yourself, kid. That wasn't demanding. Demanding would be pulling rank, and telling you to hand it over or you'll be punished. I could still do that, you know." And the more vindictive side of her would very much like to tell Khetsi that she's going nowhere until she fills a bucket with fish. But Tineangrath is having none of it. "You'd better work on developing a thicker skin, or you're gonna spend most of your time feeling like the victim. Now get out of here." Without revealing what's in that hand, apparently.

Khetsiyah has a lot to learn for her life is thus far short, but she watches Nessalyn the way a bird watches a worm. Studying it. Cataloging it. Marking its behavior. Tucking her clenched fists into the pocket of the breezy, oversided sweater, she starts backing away. Slowly, this time, and with less — fear? No, not the right word. "I didn't say I was a victim," she murmurs, only a touch sassy — turns out, she can control her tongue. "Just that…" … that you were rude hovers in the space between spaces, but never gets said. That Nessalyn could pull rank, yes, the awareness of it lurks in her dark green eyes, and as a woman-child, she's not dumb enough to not be mindful of the consequences of that. "Good night, ma'am." What? A needle jab? And Khetsiyah is turning away, about to slip into the shadows when she pauses. "You've no idea what my skin is," a whispered collection of words, and then the girl is GONE. Without revealing her mystery as the encounter between thievery and teenaged drama comes to an end. But you know what? The real hero is obviously the CAT.

Cat licks himself. The end.
Epilogue: Cat butt to the camera.

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