Family Matters

Xanadu Weyr - Clearing


A wide clearing stretches from east to west, the ground packed hard although grass grows across most of it. Trees are strictly forbidden in this space, their danger to the constant draconic traffic reason enough to banish them to the forest that creates a this and sharp border to the north. Where the ground is less trampled, tiny flowers poke their delicate heads out from their shaded hiding places with upturned petals to wave to whoever may be looking.

The cliff looms imposingly on three sides, stretching upwards all the way up the side of the mountain where, high above, Xanadu's Star Stones and the ever present watchdragon sit on a lonely peak. Directly south is a massive tunnel, fully wide enough for even the largest dragon to fly down. Southeast are wide steps leading up to the Caverns and eastwards is the large entrance to the Infirmary. Somewhat north of the Infirmary is a human sized archway that has a frequent quantity of traffic — it leads to the Tavern. Southwest lies the low ledges currently belonging to Xanadu's queens while north and west a broad path cut by the side of the cliff leads to the Feeding Grounds and due north is the spacious trail that leads to the rest of the Weyr.

The sun has just managed to creep up over the horizon, lighting the weyr clearing and filtering down through hazy clouds that seem to be growing thicker in the distance, bunching up as if preparing to bring rain later in the day. It's too early for most people to be up, but a few are milling about, either heading for breakfast or walking quickly to get some early work done. Rogawani is among these, a broom in his hand as he starts to sweep out the pathway leading into the hatching arena. Two of his firelizards, green and gold, are sitting atop a rocky outcropping nearby, chittering to themselves.

Riyontali is already up, and, from the looks of it, has been. Today she looks like she is content with the world — but that could be the runner she is leading around. The tall pinto has a large bandage wrapped around his left foreleg from below his knee to his ankle, and seems to be having a little trouble walking, so the girl is taking it slowly with him. "Far's I'm concerned, they can make me groom runners every shardin' day. Better'n kitchen duty for sure." The girl remarks without preamble as she approaches Ro, grinning. "Got done with the two injured ones and decided to take Mr. Tall Runner here for a walk, ain't that right, big guy?" The broom is eyed with a wrinkle of her nose, though the smile doesn't leave. "Guess sweepin's better than dishes, yeah? Least you can be outside for a while. Bet you can find lots of places to sweep — you know," The grin goes slightly mischievous. "Bet they'd let you sweep the aisle in the stable, too. You could say hi to your runner!"

It's the sound of runner hooves that draws Rogawani's attention upwards at first, his face spreading into a smile as he sees first the pinto runner and then Tali. "I was down there yesterday, actually." He explains, leaning on the broom slightly with one arm, raising his other shoulder in a half-shrug. "But you're right, it's better than kitchen duty." He chuckles, and then leans the broom up against the wall of the hatching arena, stepping forward a bit to meet the girl and runner. "How's he doing? They think his leg will heal up?" He asks, bending down a little to get a look at the runner's injury.

While the boy is bent down, however, he can't see someone else coming behind Tali, following the path up from the stables. A tall man with mouse-brown hair and a sun-streaked, short-cut facial hair walks a few meters behind her, talking animatedly with a younger boy with a Fortian beastcrafter knot. "Just a few days to check the stock." He explains to the boy, ruffling his hair affectionately before stopping, glancing over at Tali. "Don't wear him out too much, now." He advises, seeming about to head off when the candidate crouching in front of the runner catches his eye. The journeyman pauses, and just stands there, dumbstruck.

Riyontali affectionately scritches the big pinto's neck gently, chuckling. "Better'n just about anything, really. I'd get bored if I didn't help muck while I was grooming 'em anyways." She shrugs, then smiles at the runner once more. "He'll be fine. Got cut up pretty good, fell down while having a bit of a disagreement with a Caprine…caprine won it." She snickers, shaking her head. "Fetlock was a little swollen but they didn't want to bandage it all the way down.." For her part, the chattering pair approaching don't so much startle her. "Morning, sir!" She says brightly. "Nosir! Certainly not." The candidate agrees cheerily. "Will be bringing 'im back in soon, sir…" But where he seemed like he was moving off a moment ago, now, not so much. His expression gets a blink. "Sir?"

It takes just a second for the journeyman to come around, blinking as if waking from a dream and turning to offer a smile towards Tali. "Sorry." He apologizes quickly, and then offers a hand out towards her politely. "Journeyman Ronani. You're one of the candidates, correct? You seem to know your way around runners." It's obvious he's making small-talk just to linger there, as his eyes sweep over towards the boy once more. "And you…" He pauses, looking more critically this time. "Must be Rogawani. Your mother has been telling me about you. She seemed under the impression that you were quite upset about me being here."

Rogawani's chuckle rumbles up from his chest, showing true amusement as he seems to nod, seeing that the injury isn't as bad as it looks. "Well, at least there's one other candidate who understands that much. The rest think I'm crazy for wanting to trade kitchen duty for mucking out stalls." The boy slowly rises up, dusting off his trousers before reaching out to touch the runner gently on the nose. That, of course, is when the voice behind Tali catches his attention. He mutters a quick curse underneath his breath and steps back, tensing just slightly as the amused look and nearly all the color drains away from his face. Looking down at his feet, Rogawani shoves his hands into his pockets. "Yeah." He kicks at a rock, and then looks up, casting a sheepish, embarassed look towards Tali. "Tali…" He takes a deep breath, and then lets it out again. "This is my father. He decided to up and leave when I was a baby. And he wonders why I'm not happy to see him." It's easier to talk at the girl, than to look at the journeyman.

Riyontali smiles down at Ro. "I do it too. Maybe we are — but they're worse. Ugh. Kitchen duty." She snorts, and then draws herself up respectfully; Ronani is, after all, a Journeyman in the craft she flirts with the idea of joining. "Well met, Journeyman Ronani. 'course I do." It's out before she can stop it — and the girl grins sheepishly. "Er, that is, yessir, I do. All I've ever known, runners and caprines…" Then she trails off — the conversation is suddenly much more interesting. There's a long silence, in which she glances back at Ro with a frown for his curse and sudden pallor. "Ro, what's…" Blink, wince. "Oh. Shells." That's all the girl mutters for a moment, before she rounds on the Journeyman, arms crossing. "That's not nice, leavin' a lady alone with a baby, you know. If I were the lady, I'd take a stick to any guy who did that! Hrmph." A beat. "…sir."

Ronani's face hardens a little bit at the boy's words, his eyes twitching at the corners. "That's quite impolite, you know." He says plainly, almost admonishingly as his arms come to cross over his chest. At first, his eyes seem to soften for Tali, the same way Rogawani's often do when his attention gets shifted inadvertently. "Perhaps the beastcraft would be a good match for you then, if things don't go well." There is a strange tone to the man's voice, as if he doesn't hold much stock in the chances any candidate has of impressing a dragon. Then, his eyes turn colder again as the girl, too, turns on him. "Excuse me?" He seems genuinely surprised at her reaction. "Aren't you a bit young to be judging the affairs of adults?"

Rogawani, throughout this display, stands rigid with his hands balled up at his sides. It seems almost as if it takes every ounce of his adolescent control to keep from shouting in the journeyman's face. "Impolite…" He mutters, his hands tensing so that the knuckles turn almost white. "You… You come back here after all this time, come trapsing into my home." He doesn't move, but the anger seems to pulse beneath the surface. "You upset my mother, and you expect me to be happy to see you? You didn't even write. Not once in fifteen years. What kind of pathetic excuse for a father are you?" He opens his mouth, perhaps ready to go on another tirade but instead, he's distracted by Tali's comments, and his eyes go a bit wider. The shock of her words nearly cause him to laugh. "Um, Tali? Last I checked, you were a lady." His hands loosen a little, and he tries to offer her a small smile, even as his gaze remains steely, not wavering in its intencity while his father is nearby.

Riyontali is surrounded! Even Mr. Tall Runner is a boy — and well, boys are…boys. And prone to being irritating. In a display of childish stubbornness, Tali lifts her chin. "Ain't such a thing if you run off on a kid." She says stoutly, listening to Ro quietly for a moment. Or well, maybe listening isn't the right word; she nods without looking at him, eyeing the apparent baby-leaver with ire. However, she next rounds on Ro, eyes widened a little. "You checked wrong." She growls — why yes, she actually growls, how charming! — while narrowing her eyes. "I ain't no lady and I won't be, ladies go and do dumb things like making babies with dumb boys." Does she glance over at Ronani? Juust maybe. "But babies're bad enough. Without havin' to do it all by yourself." She turns back to Ronani, frowning. Apparently that 'good respectful candidate' doesn't extend as far as people who irritate her sense of what's-right?

Ronani's face begins to grow brighter red, being attacked from two sides by -candidates- of all people. His stance begins to mimic the one his son had been in just a few seconds earlier, tensing at the torso and hands balling up. "You, stay out of this!" He shoots a finger towards Tali, dismissing her as if she were nothing more than an annoyance. Rogawani, on the other hand, gets the full force of his glare. "You…" However, unlike his son, the journeyman doesn't seem to have the same self-control. His fist snaps out so quickly that it seems a blur, striking the boy hard in the face. "Who in Faranth's name do you think you are!?" His voice is stern, angry, filled with resentment. "You think that white knot makes you something? I never wanted a sharding kid. Told your mother to go fly between, get rid of it. Blame her. I want nothing to do with either of you. But she seems to think I owe you something. I. owe. you. nothing."

The self-control that was previously going towards keeping himself from snapping on the Journeyman, shifts subtlely as Rogawani does his best not to laugh outright at Tali's odd way of thinking. "Okay. Okay." He clears his throat, hiding a chuckle that tries to sneak through. Her kittenish agression is almost endearing, at least, that's how Ro' sees it. And that's about all that Rogawani has a chance to see before a fist comes flying at him. The force of the blow is enough to knock him off his feet, hands going up instinctively. On the ground, Ro' lifts one hand to his face, checking for any sign of blood and breathing two quick breaths before looking up into the furious face of his father. His own face hardens then, and he slowly pushes himself up to his feet again, right into the rage that follows. "I don't think the knot makes me anything. I could have a drudge knot and I'd still be better than you." He snarls, the first sign of his own anger seeping through the tight control. "Why don't you go fly between, Ronani. Fly between and never come back."

Riyontali holds steady to the pinto, who's eyeing the situation with a certain amount of irritation. She opens her mouth, expression dictating that she might just be prepared to launch into a snappy, /highly/ incorrect response to being told to keep out of it, but before she can — he hits him? Eyes widen and an incredulous expression flashes across the girl's face, replaced by her cheeks turning scarlet and eyes narrowing. "White knot makes us Weyr property, /Journeyman/." She positively snarls, advancing, though letting out the runner's lead so that he doesn't have to; he happily keeps back, tense and wary. "Get out of here, before I go fetch who we /belong/ to." It's quite plain that she'd like to give Ro the lead and leap at Ronani, puppyish and cute might it be. Thankfully for her fledgling career as a candidate, she doesn't. "Or you scare my runner into breaking something." Added spitefully after a moment. "You should /know/ that flailing around like an /idiot/ might spook him. Journeyman." Glare.

A few people have started to gather now. Those who normally would have been going on to breakfast or to their work, have paused to stare at the confrontation in the clearing. There's even a small group of candidates near the entrance to the hatching arena, peeking out but not joining in the fray. Ronani pauses, his eyes tensing as he seems about to throw another punch. It's one of the stablehands, probably one familiar to Riyontali who grabs the first before it can go anywhere. "If you so much as lay one more hand on that boy, I will personally introduce you to the dungheap." Ronani turns abruptly, having to look upward at the tall stablehand. His expression falters, and he mutters something under his breath that sounds like a curse. The older man shoots a glare down at the journeyman, before adding an approving nod towards Tali. Ronani, on the other hand… snorts. "You can bet that I'll be having a word with the stablemaster about you." But apparently his anger is contained for now, and he pushes around the stablehand, stalking towards the cavern. The tall stablehand smirks slightly, then looks down at the two candidates. "You okay Ro'? Tali?"

The tension in Rogawani's body eases away as soon as a tall shadow passes behind his father's form. His mouth quirks upward in a wry, bemused grin. "It's okay, Tali. We've got backup." He says under his breath, still seeming a little on edge, but slowly settling back into his usual mannerisms. He keeps his eyes locked on the journeyman for a moment, staring him down as if he were a man, not a boy. He doesn't add another word, leaving that much to the stablehand, his true father in many ways. When the journeyman flees, the boy's smile spreads into a grin, having to crane his neck upward. "Yeah, I'm okay Da." He rubs at his eye, which is already turning a bit purple. "You won't get in trouble for this, will you?" He asks, not seeming all that concerned.

It takes Tali a moment to acknowledge Serris; she's busy trying to make Ronani's head explode with her eyes. If she could shoot laser beams with her eyes, it would! Then Serris is there, and the girl is flashing him a look bordering on worshipping for his interruption. However, her attention quickly flicks back to Ronani, and the laser-eyes come back with a vengeance, until he stalks off. Only then does she turn back to Serris, scowling. "No. I'm gonna shardin' take that man out with a —" Pause, a fleeting sheepish look. Certainly she wouldn't consider anything of the sort, she's a candidate! "Who's he think he is, knockin' a candidate around? /I/ don't shardin' know, but I'd like to find out so I can teach him differently." But she smiles at Serris. "Thank you, Serris, sir." The girl frowns at Ro, and the bruise-to-be around his eye. "Ugh, that's not gonna be pretty. Want me to go fetch you some numbweed?" At this point, the runner seems to forget that he was irritated, and moves to nuzzle pleasantly at Serris, while Tali strokes his shoulder.

Serris simply chuckles, seeming to find Tali's 'looks could kill' expression as amusing as Rogawani had found it earlier. The big man places one hand affectionately on the runner's nose, stroking there with a gentleness that seems so odd with his large size. "Easy there." His voice softens, and it's hard to tell if he's talking to Tali, the runner, or both. "He'll be leaving shortly. I'll make sure of that." The gentle stablehand's eyes narrow, and it's clear that he means it. "If he bothers either of you again, you tell me. I'll take care of it. I'll not have either of you losing your knot over that pile of trash." He raises his gaze, and looks around to those lingering. "Get on with ya. Nothin' more to see here." He waves an arm, and a few of those lingering start to head off, murmuring to themselves.

Rogawani simply stands there, as if he were somewhat stuck in place. The grin on his face softens as he looks at Tali's frown, shaking his head. "I'm fine, really." There is a little wince as he turns his head, which shows that his words aren't -quite- the truth. Reaching a hand up, the boy rubs at the back of his neck, seeming a little embarassed. "Sorry you had to see that." He mumbles, looking down at his toes for a moment before seeming to gather some courage. "And thanks for not taking a swing at him yourself. Wouldn't want you to lose your knot 'cause of me. As much as he might deserve a good beating." Ro' flexes his hand into a fist, and then relaxes it again, trying to shake off the tension that still lingers beneath the surface. "Screwed up family I got, huh?"

Riyontali's eyes narrow up at Serris, too, catching the amusement — but apparently she's not up for a beat-down of kind Serris! So she just wrinkles her nose at him and snorts. "Good. I'd shardin' hate for him to…" And she cuts herself off again with a sigh. "Yessir, for sure. It'd…almost be worth it. Stupid boy with his stupid smirky-face. Hate people like that." Growl growl grumble, but not with much vehemence any more — in fact, she even smiles a bit as the older man chases the others off. Ro gets a wry look and a snicker. "Liar." She murmurs with a semi-amused roll of her eyes. The apology is shrugged off, and a quick smirk flashed after that. "Shardin' right he would've! Guess it probably wouldn't have been worth it in the long run…Serris can take care of him pretty well, I reckon. But, sir," The girl flashes an entirely-too-sweet smile. "You might wanna ask goldrider Thea for help. If you need any. Bet she can see to it that he gets posted in somewhere like the 'reaches, where all he'd have for company'd be the ovines." Smiiile! And then a snort, and another wrinkled nose. "I guess so. You'd just better hope mine don't come around. Ugh."

Rogawani continues to rub at the back of his neck, seeming almost bemused at Tali's grumbling. He doesn't do anything to dissuage it though, taking a step to the side in an effort to get his legs working again. "Yeah, well…" He's caught in the lie, but just shrugs it off. One glance over his shoulder is all that the boy manages, before snorting and dismissing everything. He'd be quite content to forget everything that had happened if it weren't for the steady thrum of blood beneath the bruse on his face. "I bet yours are kittens compared to mine, but I'll owe you one. One free backup for family conflict." He nods, and writes in the air as if giving the girl an I.O.U. The mention of Thea, however, has the boy shooting a look at Serris, who seems to consider this idea. "That might be a good idea." The big stablehand chuckles, almost darkly, and then reaches out to ruffle Rogawani's hair affectionately. "I'll take care of that. You two get back to work." And with that, Serris heads towards the weyr, chuckling to himself. Ro' on the other hand, just looks a little overwhelmed. "You don't think I'll get in trouble for this, do you?" He asks her in a low voice, looking worried now for the first time.

Riyontali is not the fretting type, but she narrows her eyes and frowns all the same. Still, she shrugs it off as well, smiling at the next. "Bet so. Though my da's going to /have/ kittens when he finds out I was searched." This, however, only seems to amuse her, at this point. "Why thank you! Though, if they go get 'em for the hatching, I bet we'll be too shardin' busy to do any confrontin'…" Cough. She flashes another smirk at Serris, nodding. "Yessir, it is. Oh yes, we'd probably better. Somebody comes stormin' out here and we aren't working, it'll be bad." Siiigh she goes, waving the stablehand off with a sigh. "I like Serris. I wish he was /my/ da." Ro gets a wistful smile, before she's shaking her head, expression darkening. "Nah. I don't think so. I mean, he hit /you/. He'll be the one getting in trouble. Oh, when they find out he threatened — and /hit/, and was gonna hit /again/ — a candidate! I wanna be there." She smiles at the other candidate. "Don't worry. You're in the clear, I betcha. My word, your word, Serris's word, against his. And we're actually smart." Harrumph.

"Yeah. I wish he was my father, too." Rogawani echos the girl's whistful sigh, and there is a bit of a longing there. "He raised though, so that's 'bout as much as I can ask." The boy's head tilts though, looking a little confused at Tali's comment. "Why would your da be upset about you being searched? Shards, Serris was glad… he always wanted me to do more than just ride runners." His hands to back into his pockets, leaning his shoulders forward a little before glancing back at his waiting broom. "Hmph." The area around his eye begins to throb, which doesn't help his concentration any. "Well, I hope that's how they see it. I'd never hear the end of it from Donakan if I got kicked out." Ro' kicks at a rock on the ground, sending it clattering away.

Riyontali favors Ro with a rueful smile, nodding slowly. "I guess it is. He's your real da. That boy's not at all. I dunno…" A contemplative frown. "I'd be happy that one didn't raise me. Shardin' wherrybrain. You'd probably have turned out like Donakan." Here she smiles mischievously, only pausing for a little nosewrinkle. "He thinks I'm comin' home after a while. If I Impress…" Her hands spread and she shrugs. "Doesn't matter what he thinks, though. Matters what the dragons think!" The smile returns, wryly. The candidate is eyed closely for a moment, before she thrusts the lead rope at him. "I'm gonna go get some numbweed. They'll not thank me if you're shardin' bleedin' out the eyes and stuff." Trusting him to take the rope, she smiles, and trots the short distance to the infirmary, emerging not long after with one of the many small pots scattered about. "Nobody ever asks any questions when one of us manages to get hurt. You'd think that's a sign." Mutter mutters she as she holds out the pot expectantly.

"I'd like to think I'd have turned out better than him either way." Rogawani muses, straitening himself up to his full height and lifting his chin a little with a momentary show of boyish pride. However, that deflates a little as he nods his head, smirking wryly. "Well, I hope you stick around. You're… fun." It seems as if he wants to say something else, but thinks better of it. Then, the rope is shoved into his hand and there's nothing to do but stand there and exchange a look with the runner as Tali bolts off for the infirmary. "Between you and me, you think I stand any sort of chance with her?" The runner just looks away. "Right, fat chance." He mutters, bemused, and then lets his thoughts trail off as soon as he spots the girl returning. "Thanks." He exchanges the pot for the lead rope of the runner, and slathers a good dose of the stinky stuff around his eye. "I should get back to work. I don't need another excuse for the weyrlingmasters to get mad at me today. As if this wasn't bad enough." He pulls one shoulder up, as if using it to point at his eye. "See ya, Tali." He offers, and takes the bowl of numbweed with him, moving back towards the hatching arena to claim his broom.

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