A Lesson In What Not To Do

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’s a rare day indeed that finds Risali between chores, free time curiously void of one usually present I’gen-turned-Xanaduian bronzerider (K’vir, if you were curious). The harper’s found herself a quiet patch of grass in the garden to spread a blanket on, settling on her bottom with knees arched in order to provide a support of sorts for a notepad — and whatever it is that she’s doing to that piece of paper (writing death threats probably wouldn’t be wrong). Risali’s taking her time with it, pausing only occasionally to reach out and pluck small pieces of fruit from a plate that’s been set to her right — until suddenly, she’s not. There’s a strangled sound of frustrated indignation, Risali grabbing the notepad to SHAKESHAKESHAKE (like maybe that will make whatever she’s doing do itself), and then she flops onto her back, arms at either side, with the exhale of a long-suffering sigh. “You can’t murder him, Risali,” she says, heedless of the fact that anybody close enough to hear her might just possibly think she’s crazy. “He’s your father. You love your father. Even if you didn’t love your father, murder is against every law in every hold and weyr, and we are not renegades. Breaetttthhhhe.” Really, just turn around and make for the hills. You’ll spare yourself a headache.

It’s a black nosed, white-furred, little terrier that makes her way into the garden. She’s about fifteen pounds, wiry-haired, and looks more inquisitive than soft. It’s her nature to go up to stare at Risali, though she tilts her head to the side when the woman begins to shake the notepad. It’s not a person that follows the canine, but a trio of firelizards that seem set on swarming around Risali’s head. One, a green, tries to take hold of that notepad with her teeth and claws to tug. She wants it! Give it! The entire scene is one of a baffled looking dog, a crazed green, and two stately males of brown and bronze move to settle on a nearby surface for a perch. The green’s going to rend those pages if RIsali doesn’t hand it over. The crazed creature is reprimanded soon enough as Metan makes his way after his creatures, noting Fickle’s tactic with an aggravated groan. “You’re being too dense, you silly creature!” he tells the green and claps his hands three times to call the small green off. She sulks and releases the notebook to go and toss herself dramatically across Metan’s shoulders. The man offers Risali a half-smile, his lips curving upwards on one side as the other portion of his face seems permanently fixed in place. “Sorry about that. She’s been… playing games lately. And thinks all notebooks are hers.”

What a cute little terrier — too bad Risali’s attention is centered on Reasons Why Patricide Is A Very Bad Idea and not Incredibly Cute Puppies That Don’t Deserve To Be Murdered (and may actually deserve her attention). She misses the impossible-to-resist tilt of a curious puppy head (all canines are puppies to her, it’s a thing), but it’s impossible to ignore the sudden appearance of three firelizards that — for a moment — she mistakes as her own. “WHISPER! HUNTER, ARCHER — NO!” And then it dawns, as little firelizard appendages rend Letters That Are Probably Better Shredded, that the green committing battery against her particularly defenseless notepad is — “NOT WHISPER! GET!” Risali’s scrambling to her feet, flailing hands and pulling on her notebook in a manner that might have been comedic were she not so absolutely furious. Tightly-bunned black hair is falling from the tie she’s used to tame it, shaken loose as she attempts to keep possession of her belongings until the tie falls or snaps (who knows in this chaos) and she’s looking wild in a tumble of curly locks that attempt to defy gravity near the ends. Cue Metan, whose voice and clapping hands earn him a startled shriek from the harper as she spins to face him, loses her footing, and goes down hard. Look at her, trying to ward against him with her notebook — by throwing it at his precious face before realizing that’s a person. Ohp! Too late! And down she goes! At least she’s back on her bottom again, in almost the same fashion she was before starring in When Flits Attack. Except this time she’s on her back and falling in fruit. And there may or may not be paper sticking to her hair. And she may or may not have watched all of her dignity go flying out of every proverbial window available. Chest heaving, Risali turns accusing grey eyes onto her fellow candidate. ‘This is your fault!’ she doesn’t say, and it takes a good, long moment (somewhere between ‘awkward’ and ‘is this really happening?’), and the EXTREMELY BELATED APPEARANCE of her own three firelizards, before Risali trusts herself to speak. “NOW YOU COME?” Okay, or shriek, but you get the point. She waves off her own trio of twittering ‘lizards as they make camp in Too Much Hair, and finally, finally, she pushes herself up on her elbows and then sits upright. “It’s fine,” she tells Metan, plucking a piece of paper with bad words from her hair — though her tone is clipped, as if it’s REALLY NOT FINE AT ALL. “I’m sure my father will appreciate not getting a letter telling him to lose himself between.” She’s so pleasant, isn’t she? BREATHE. And then, almost as if really seeing Metan for the first time, Risali straightens her spine, pushes hair from her face (wincing, when firelizards get tangled in it) and finally has the good grace to look… well… “Faranth, I’m so sorry.” Whether her book hit Metan or not, Risa’s hands go out, almost placatingly. “I was startled and I just reacted and — and I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” A grimace not the product of Flits In Hair. “Are you hurt?” All tentative tones, all genuine apology. And then she spots the puppy, clearly wanting to shower the terrier with affection (if the way her shoulders slump in defeat while she eye-melts is any indication), but too polite to do so when in the middle of a Serious Conversation. It doesn’t stop the entirely-too-feminine squeak from getting passed her lips, or her fingers from waggling at the dog, or her lips from mouthing, ‘Hello, sweetie,’ in the terrier’s direction, all while willing the ground swallow her whole. This is her life, these are her choices.

All the chaos that erupts around Risali sends Sister fleeing into the nearby brush. Oh no - she’s not staying around for these antics. It’s off to the cook who has befriended her and the scraps and loving pets she’ll receive for her visit. Metan watches his canine go with a bemused smile that he turns onto Risali. He doesn’t move forward to offer the girl help. He doesn’t laugh or react outside of casually shoving his hands into his pants pockets and rocking back on his heels as he witnesses all her rather theatrically flailing. He rubs at his jawline, scraping fingers along a few day’s worth of stubble. That book that was supposed to hit Metan’s face? It was intercepted by the small bronze, claws hooking in, eyes blazing yellow and taken Between. Risali will not be getting it back. Metan ignores that piece of information, hoping that Risali will not notice his firelizard’s claiming. He lifts a handle up to scritch at Fickle’s eyeridges as he finally decides to drawl to Risali. “You’re not the quiet sort, are you? It’s a good thing I have no desire to settle into those candidate barracks. I imagine you keep everyone up at night.” He’s not mean about that delivery, no - he’s still grinning at her. Friendly. Approachable. “Did you break something in your tumble?” he asks, lifting a brow as he finally steps forward to offer her a hand up.

What do you MEAN THERE’S NO MORE PUPPY? Unfortunately for Metan, Risali notices the notepad thief with only too much clarity, pointing with an indignant squeak that's all syllables and half-formed words until the stubble-faced man of mystery draws her attention right back to him. Notepad theft successfully forgotten — for now. The harper’s mouth goes slack in momentary disbelief at Metan’s not-quite-as-friendly-as-his-tone-might-imply words, grey eyes tracking the man’s progress as he steps forward and extends a hand for her to take — “YOU! I— I am PERFECTLY CAPABLE OF SILENCE,” she informs him, in decibels that contradict her every word. The proffered hand is stared at for a length of time bordering somewhere between ‘Awkward’ and ‘Is this really happening?’ before Risali finally takes it, using Metan as leverage to pull herself up to her unimpressive height so that she can poke him in the chest — if he hasn’t retreated or doesn’t grab a wrist to stop her. “And I do not keep anybody up at night.” Risali turns her attention from Metan to her fruit-sticky clothes, flinging a hand towards her hair for good measure (a move that has all three of her flits popping between to escape) before she answers his question about whether or not she’s broken something during her tumble. “Other than my pride? No. Nothing is broken.” And finally the harper sighs, bringing her arms over her chest as she stills her fidgeting and brings grey eyes up to hold his. That might be a bit of a scowl, but at least she’s being… somewhat friendly? “Thank you for asking — and how did you manage to get out of bunking in the candidate barracks?”

“Are we all supposed to sleep there?” Metan asks, drawling innocence and an accompanying smile to follow. “I wasn’t escorted there under duress like I was with Fort.” He shrugs once and splays his hands out in front of him. “Until they force me too, I’ll sleep in my own bed. I’ve a room here at Xanadu already.” He doesn’t want to but he has to as he tilts his head and considers Risali. “Are you always so dramatic? Is it a Harper thing? I mean, my aunt has a flair for it but you’re… rather flamboyant.”

Welp. “WHAT,” Here. “DID YOU,” We. “JUST CALL ME?” Go. “Dramatic,” the word comes darkly, punctuated by Risali’s sudden step away from Metan as if she’s been scalded by the hands that helped her to stand only moments before. “You do not get to insult me.” Thank Faranth for small mercies, like the fact that two very important people in her life have managed to tame her in a way that nobody else has. You see, the old Risali probably would have up-ended dirty water on Metan, or put him in a headlock just to shriek in his ear; this Risali merely shakes at him, reigning in fury with tightly curled fists and jerky momentum once she finally conjures the restraint to move (sans the violence). Or maybe not. One finger goes right for Metan’s sternum, and Risa bites a last, “Your firelizard is the one who –“ Pause. Risali’s jerking back again and turning to gather her blanket and her perfectly ruined plate of goodies, mumbling something that sounds suspiciously like, ‘…wasting my time,’ before she spins back to the other candidate with her arms full. “I have chores to get back to. Enjoy your day.” And off Risali stomps, laden with blankets and encumbered by her unending fury.

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