From Toys to Training

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.

It's a clear, warm early-autumn day. High cirrus clouds hint at stormy weather later in the sevenday, but for now the sun is shining, and there's a gentle breeze blowing across the beach. Sonyxaeth seems content to enjoy it. Charging up from the ocean water, the gold shakes herself off, wings flipping wide to flap them out before prowling up the beach to join her rider. "Don't touch me with your cold, wet self," Esiae mutters at the gold, harsh words softened by an affectionate grin as the patpats Sony's damp nose. "And don't drip on my paperwork, neither." Indeed, her work is spread out in a halo on the towel around her, organized into stacks that are apparently neat to her, but are messy by anyone else's standards.

Saethiath races out of the forest, a large fluffy something clutched tightly in her teeth. She's fast. Very fast. And her tiny lifemate is left quite in the dust as she runs after. She's behind a tree when she calls out, "Don't go into the water it'll never dry out!" her voice high and soft. Well, it was until she comes from behind that tree and realizes they are not alone. Red flushes abruptly onto her cheeks and she slows to a walk. Saethiath almost made it to the water with her fluffy toy, but…. She huffs once and turns on a dime. Bright spashes of orange flick out to the gold as the shameless green greets the queen.

Esiae and Sonyxaeth have been together long enough that they blink the same surprised, borderline stunned little blink as Saethiath darts down the beach, green blurred with something that might have been furry. While the enormous gold turns her head to eye Saethiath further, Esiae leans around her to get a better look at the voice following after the green. "Hi there," the goldrider greets with a laugh, brown eyes flicking from Abrael to Saethiath and back. "Having fun?" If she is, Sony definitely wants in on it. The gold trots confidently down the beach towards the green, whuffling for those flashes of orange. Thunder rumbles back, the dark noise lifted somehow by a pleasant hum of violins. « What've you got? » Eager and interested, Sony all but wiggles, whirling eyes peering at the fluffy object that might be a toy - maybe. She can't tell just yet, but she surely wants to know.

Saethiath has zero shame whatsoever. No matter how mortified said actions might make Abrael who just wants to melt into a pile of mortification right there. But there's no way to walk backwards without being rude, so wtih a shake of her head that sends her hair half over her face. "I, hi." A finger reaches upwards and twines through her curls, tugging anxiously. Said non-shame-green is just going to twine herself RIGHT up in the queen's personal space, dropping her mangled looking toy at the gold's feet. « It is a toy Abrael made! »

Esiae, well, she's outgoing enough for the both of them. Rising to her feet, the goldrider dusts lingering sand off her pants and ambles closer to the greenrider. Not too close - she's friendly, Esi, but not entirely stupid - but it's close enough for talking purposes. "Hi," she repeats with a grin and a small wave. "I'm Esiae, and that-" she says with an affectionate glare towards her gold "-is Sonyxaeth." The gold in question definitely earns that glare, in her rider's book. Upon hearing it is a toy, the dragon bounces backwards out of Saethiath's range, agile for her size as she lowers herself into a crouch. « I see! » Thunder claps through her mind, lightning forking with interest and amusement. « What games do you play with it? » She looks like she might be angling towards toss and catch, or something of the like, but it's the green's toy, and Sony's respectful of that, even if a little overeager for her size.

Abrael pauses, and standing rubs one ankle against her other leg. Through the veil of hair she'll respond, voice soft. "Abrael, um, and Saethiath. I'm, um, sorry if she interupted you…" But the goldrider doesn't look upset? So maybe it is okay. Saethaith drops the fuzzy toy, and abruptly rolls herself over onto ther back, and catches up the toy to toss it into the air. « But not pulling. It breaks then. » A single sad line of black dashes across the otherwise cheerful orange splashes.

Whether it's her normal routine, or perhaps inspired by enjoying more than her fair share of sweets lately, Kera comes jogging onto the beach. Her t-shirt along with rest of her is drenched in sweat from her excercises and boots kick back sand with each stomp of her foot. It's hard to miss a dragon on the move, particularly a golden one, then being soo big and all. Rather than jog wide around the group, her steps slow and she starts trying to catch ehr breath as she finally comes to a stop a little distance from the green, gold and their riders. Bending and bracing herself on her knees as she takes big gulping breathes a few times, Kera waves to both woman, nodding respectfully, as well as she can at the moment, to riders and dragons alike. "Go…G'day weyrwoman, Abrael." She just heard her fellow greenrider give the name. Which is good since she doesn't know the woman very well, yet, either of them really. Her gaze catches the fluffy looking thing "Oh, who's stuffy?" She watches it get tossed about before peering to the other women.

Esiae's far from upset. In fact, she seems downright jolly for having a good reason to abandon her work. "Nice to meet you," the woman says amiably, eyes scrunching up with a grin. "I think I've seen you two around, yeah?" It's possible they've passed by each other before, with them both having weyrs on the beach. As for being interrupted… "Oh, pff, don't worry about it. It's all boring stuff - personnel files, lists of stuff we've got in storage, requisitions. Very dry." Brown eyes roll skywards with a sigh, but she seems to have accepted her fate. Both eyebrows lift when Kera comes jogging into their midst, waiting for the woman to catch her breath before waggling her fingers in a wave. "G'day to you, too…?" she says, stretching the 'ooo' out as though requesting Kera's name. She'll let Abrael explain the stuffy, for at the moment, her dragon is too busy leaping to catch the fuzzy thing gently in her jaws. « Oh, I'd hate to break it. Yes, we'd best not tug at it, then, » Sonyxaeth murmurs with a sympathetic singing of violin strings, the gold prancing around to find a more challenging angle at which to toss it back. Wings out, over the shoulder, against the wind — toss! Catch that!

"Oh, it's, uh, just a toy. Um. Saethiath gets bored sometimes, when I, um, am working so she, uh, it keeps her distracted." Thats a thing right? Abreal tugs on that strand of her hair ans licks her lips once. And then she'll try eye contact. Big stuff there guys. Saethiath has more joints than any dragon should ever have, and dashes after that stuffy. Apparently she didn't quite get the rules of catch. At least she knows she's too big to try to jump on the gold like she use to do to her clutchmates?

Kera stands back up once more starting to breath easier but keeping a little distance between herself and the others. No need to gross them out too much with how sweaty she has gotten during her run. "Kera, ma'am. I'm Moncerath's rider." Eyeing the toy the two dragons are tossing among themselves and trying not to chuckle at the two dragons enjoying themselves. "Not seen dragons playing /that/ game before. Think the trend will spread to other Weyrs Abrael?" She's flashing an amused grin as the fluffy stuffy goes higher this time when it goes up.

"That's actually not a terrible idea," Esiae says of using a toy to distract one's dragon with a laugh, turning so she, too, can eye the playing dragons. "Sony ain't too hard to handle, but I can definitely think of one or two dragons who could use something like that." Brown eyes flick back to meet Abrael's gaze, not quite understanding how significant that was (yet!), flashing the greenrider a grin and a shrug. "Whatever works, yeah?" Esi nods gratefully when Kera takes the cue and introduces herself. "Thanks. I'm… really behind on getting around to meeting everyone. Between the paperwork, and getting my weyr back in order after travelling…" The woman huffs and rolls her eyes. "Just been busy. It's a pleasure, though." Not seeming to mind Kera's sweatiness, the goldrider's lips flick up in a sideways smile before noting, "There's cooler places to run…" As in less hot than the beach, even if it is a nicer day. Sonyxaeth rumbles with draconic laughter as Saethiath dashes for the toy. Not nearly that fast or agile, she settles for skipping along after the green, waiting for a good moment to steal the toy - without damaging it.

Talking about dragons is always safe. Always. And since the pair don't seem at all annoyed by Saethiath's energy… Abrael relaxes a touch. Which, of course, is when Saethiath abruptly looses intrest in the game. The toy gets droped with a splash of orange, « Yours now! » before Saethiath takes off again. "Oh, um, I, right. I should. I'll see you?" And then tiny little Abreal is running after Saethiath again.

Kera can't help the chuckle that slips out as the dragons continue their game of stuffytoss. Nodding agreeably that it seems to keep the winged ones entertained, she waves to her fellow greenrider as the woman rushes off to see what mayhem her dragonmate will get up to next. Turning a thoughtful grin to the queenrider "I wonder how well that could work for Xanadu's Festival games. See how far your dragon and toss a stuffy." Fanning herself to assist the cooling breeze, Kera snorts. "Yea perhaps, but at least if I wrap up my run near the shore…then all I've to do it kick off my boots and jump in to rinse most of the sweat off and then float about." She holds up her arm to mime floating about the water without a care. But she hardly looks ready to swim around, more likely she just wants to flop down and move very little for a time. Waving off Esiae's concern about not knowing her name, "Nice to actually meet you as well weyrwoman. Seen you around a bit sure, but, always nice to met you face to face, and not just seeing a weyrwoman strolling on the other side of the caverns, or meadow.." or whatever.

Esiae and Sonyxaeth are equally as surprised by the greenriding pair's departure as they were with their arrival. The gold dragon churrs when the green darts way, leaving the toy to her. So confusing. Still, she picks the thing up and holds her head high as she prances back to Esi's towel to groom the sand off it. Well. More or less. Mostly it's just her trying to groom it, and shaking her head and comically flicking her tongue when sand gets on it. Gross. "That's an idea," Esiae says with a snap of her fingers, eyes going all distant as though imagining dragons from around the weyr all chasing after stuffed animals. "We can call it search and rescue practice, or hunting something. I bet it'd catch on, if we pitched the idea right." The goldrider grins for Kera's snort, though, head bobbing for her logic. "Well, fair enough. I suppose a dip in the water wouldn't be the worst idea right now." Her gaze flicks out to Azov's waters before returning to Kera. "Heh, I do do a lot of strolling," Esi admits, a tad sheepish as she eyes that paperwork she's not doing. "I find that if you strut around looking like you mean business, people don't try to foist more work off on you." Cough.

Kera grins broadly at Esiae's strolling tactic revealed "Ah, so that's your secret. Does it work more often than not?" Looking back towards the water, a few steps are taken to move closer to where the weyrwoman has a towel stretched out. She'll dip her head politely to Sonyxaeth and murmurs a 'G'day' to the large dragon before flopping onto her backside in the sand. "I look forward to one day being able to get my run in and have those nifty cooling units the techcrafters invented keep me from sweating…well, sweating quite as much at least." Fanning herself a bit more she lifts her face to the breeze. Sonyxaeth's grooming of her new toy is watched a moment, maybe surprised that it's holding up so well. "Wonder what she made it from. I doubt the stuffies I've got would hold up to dragon….care..very well. Maybe some more sturfy ones can be made for the search and rescue drills."

"You know, it really does work," Esiae laughs, following Kera back over to her gold. "You just gotta make the right 'talk to me and I'll kill you' face," she adds, knitting her brows and flattening her mouth exaggeratedly to prove a point. "The younger riders flee before me. It's pretty great." Gathering up her papers, the weyrwoman flops onto one side of her towel, patting the other half in case Kera'd rather not sit in the sand. "Shells, yeah, wouldn't that be nice," Esi says dreamily of a techcrafter cooling unit. "I'd feel less like I had to confine myself to forest jogs, myself." Sonyxaeth glances up towards Kera when the greenrider mentions 'dragon care,' a low rumble that sounds a lot like a chuckle echoing over at her. "She says she's being very careful," Esi translates, rolling her eyes at the dragon. "Since it's not hers. I'm sure they've got something they can make 'em out of, though. Maybe a heavy weaved fabric to hold the stuffings together, and then stitch fur on the outside to give it extra durability and real-ness. Though, if they were kept fragile, it might be good for teaching how to lift gently," she adds with a snort, clearly thinking of some of the weyr's less refined dragons. "Do the drill over until you can lift it without tearing," she explains with a smirk.

Kera snickers at Esiae's words before she can stop herself, though she quickly reigns in her humor, some. "I'll make a point of looking properly terrorfied when I see you strolling about." A cheeky wink is flashed as she gets back up just long enough to brush sand from her backside then claims a corner of the large towel with her boots well off the material. Smiling back to the goldrider, she joins in the moment of wistfullness "Hopefully former weyrleader Ka'el's little project will still move forward, and we'll be jogging around getting goosebumps cause the air is so cool inside." Hopefully the workman and crafters involved get paid by the job and not time involved, so they won't dawdle too long in the building of a Xanadu Gym. Reaching, Kera begins loosening her laces and sends a slightly worried glance to both Esiae and her dragonmate when the weyrwoman shares the dragon's words "Oh, I didn't mean to imply she was treating it roughly." Her head shakes "Far from it. Just that even with the gentliest of dragonhandling, it can only stand so much dragon….attention..before something gives." like stitches popping or fluffy material just tearing in two. Kicking off one boot, she nods thoughtfully "Ya know, weight them a bit so they feel more real…I can see that working quite well in training excercises."

"That'd go a long way in upkeeping appearances," Esiae jokes right back, nose wrinkling with an appreciative grin for the greenrider's wink. "Can't let 'em think I've gone soft." Though, they'd probably think that of her within minutes of actually talking to her anyways. Still, it's the idea of fear… "Last I checked, they were still workin' on it. Something about… pipes… or ventilation… I dunno. The crafter talking about it was wicked boring," the woman admits, hand moving in a puppet gesture to indicate how the man went on. Catching that worried look, Esi quickly shifts to raise her hands and pat the air, a bright grin flicking up onto her features. "Oh, nono, we know! I just… did a poor job translating her tone of voice," the goldrider says with a chuckle. "You're right though. They're just so big. Can't help but wreck things a little bit." Sonyxaeth growls for that, but her eyes are spinning with a pleasant blue, showing she didn't really mean it. The idea of adding weight to their toys brings a spark to Esi's eyes, chin dipping in a fervent nod as she considers that. "Yeah. Shells, yeah. It really could be great. We should do it - make one, show how it works. I bet we could get the weyr to pay for making the rest," she says in a manner that implies it would be paid for and would be implemented because, well… she was a weyrwoman. A junior, but she still had weight. Mwahaha.

Kera smiles up to the large dragon and chuckles when Esiae agrees the fluffy things are fragile under dragon influence. Working the other boot loose, she cants her head to the other woman "Can ya picture if she was playing with it, then sneezed suddenly?" Lifting loose fists upwards, she flicks fingers out wide like a mini explosion "Poof! Fluffy inner bits everywhere." Some mental image seems to really amuse the greeny, cause Kera start giggling to herself as she fights with the boot. Looking back the way Abrael vanished, she jutts her chin out briefly to show direction "You'ld need to get Abrael to make them. While I've had plenty of stitching practice, I'm better at stitching people together then cloth." Perking up and peering back to the weyrwoman at the mention of complaints of pipes and other work for the indoor gym. "Oh, I hope they finish it soon. Would be nice to workout and not feel like it's the heat wearing you down over the excercise."

Apparently Esi can picture that, because she laughs for the idea, head tipping back at the image of fluff and fur going everywhere, coupled with the look of surprise on the mystery dragon's face. "Oh shards," the woman says, fanning herself dramatically to calm down. "That would be beautiful." The idea seems to alarm Sonyxaeth, though. The dragon peers down at the toy, then slooowly draws her head back, finally letting the thing be. Esiae nods, likewise glancing in the direction that Abrael retreated. "My ma might help, too. She's a seamstress. Between the two of 'em, I bet we can get a real good concept going." She's so excited, in fact, that the junior gets to her feet. "In fact, I might go write her a note and see if she's on board right now." As for the gym… "Yeah, shells. Maybe I'll also bug Innes, see if she doesn't know what's the holdup." Nevermind that she'd know herself if she was actually listening, but shh. Sensing her rider was preparing to leave, Sony picks up the toy and begins the slow trot towards the weyr proper - perhaps to return it, or to use it to entertain herself while Esi went to work.

Kera casts a couple of glances to Esiae while they are both highly amused of the mental image of a dragon sneezing with a stuffy. Tugging the boot off finally, she tosses it next to the other and toes wiggle with new found freedom. Nodding as she follows along with the weyrwoman, who seems to be getting more excited about the idea by the moment. "I look forward to seeing the results." On the weighted stuffies and the indoor gym. Kera pushes up to her feet, not bothering to brush off the sand, she's heading into the water shortly anyway. "Okie, don't forget to scowl as you stroll." She waves to the woman as her dragon already seems to be heading off "You both enjoy the rest of your day. Hope your toy survives Sonyxaeth. G'day Esiae." Then she starts off to the water, splashing in to her waist before surging forward, her boots left behind on the beach. For now.

"Me too," Esi says, flashing Kera a grin. "I'll be sure to let you know once it's operational - maybe our dragons can do a demo," she says, meaning Saethiath, Sonyxaeth, and Moncerath. "And oh, don't worry," Esiae growls, pulling on her best Grumpypants Weyrwoman face. "I'm on it." The expression is short-lived, however. Gathering up her paperwork and towel, she smiles over at the greenrider, head bobbing in an agreeable nod. "Yeah, you too! Enjoy the swim." Flipping a little salute with her free hand, the goldrider then turns and jogs after her lifemate, blonde hair flicking as she goes.

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