Gift Exchange

Xanadu Weyr - Clearing

clearing.jpg

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.


Kidlets. Kidlets everywhere. Okay, not really, but a small group of children from the lower caverns has taken over one part of the clearing. Two nannies and two candidates are nearby, keeping things in some semblance of order. Laughter rings out easily enough into the clear morning. "Tag, you're it!" A childish voice calls. "Me?" Rogawani laughs, dodging around the smaller kids before taking off at a run. "I'm gonna getchoo." He teases, and taps a boy on the head before running off again. Why do so many make babysitting into work, it's fun! "Hey!" The boy calls, and a group of three children rush towards Ro', two grasping his legs and the other knocking him over into the grass. "Aaaah, okay you got me!" He flails back, arms spread out across the grass, even going so far as to loll his tongue out as if he were dead.

Having made a full recovery, and apparently not having seen young Fortinos around, Riyontali is out and about. Right now, she is sweeping industriously, emerging from the stables with a cheerful whistle. Her broom whisks like mad, and she seems to be in rather a hurry; but can you blame her? She moves down the paths at a good speed, and eventually bounces into the clearing — at which point she pulls up short, blinking at the scene that's spread out before her. Kids, lots and lots of shrill-voiced little 'brats. Cue wince. But — "What are you /doing/?" Tali laughs to Ro, blinking and snickering, lips twitching into a grin.

Rogawani lays completely still for a while, doing quite a good job at playing dead. A couple of the kids start to poke at him, to which his lips twitch just slightly. "Yay, we killed 'im!" One of the boys cheers, and then runs back towards the gathering, the other two giggling as they follow quickly behind. Peeking one eye open, Ro' looks around, and then up towards Tali. "Is it safe?" He asks, with the most amused look on his face. Folding his arms over his chest, he beams up at the other candidate. "I've found the best way to get them to ignore you, is to be dead. Works wonders."

Riyontali eyes the kids with trepidation, and looks quite relieved when they scamper. She favors Ro with a lifted eyebrow and a snicker. "I dunno, they're still within a mile of me." She says with a somewhat wolfish grin. "And I think I draw in their worst traits. Sooo. You tell me." She giggles, and narrows her eyes, 'hrm'ing. "Good point. I think they have the attention span of a proddy green 'lizard." The kids, further off now, are still eyed warily, then the amused look is turned on Ro'. "Well, at least you can have fun with 'em, yeah?"

For the time being, Rogawani seems content to lounge in the grass, raising his arms back behind his head and twitching his foot as if to some rhythm in his own head. "Well, I never said I could get rid of them completely. I'd hazard to say you're safe for the time being." He grins wolfishly and moves to prop himself up on one arm. "So, you look like you're feeling better?" His head tilts slightly, noting the distinct lack of green that some weyrfolk have had since the bonfire. "The wiggly-stuff attack finally subside?" Keeping his tone light, he looks over towards where the two nannies and other candidate are, nodding a little. "Better to play. Makes the time go faster."

Riyontali eyes the nannies, and other candidates, and seems to decide that she's safe for the time being. She tosses down her broom and /flops/ down in the grass, attempting to bury the broom a little in the grass. After all, out of sight, out of mind, right? "Good." She laughs. "I think they hate me. Or love me. I can't decide which it is, but…" Nosewrinkle. Then she's snickering, and sighing gustily. "I think so. I can't think've eating anything green, but, well." A little shrug and grin. "Took a long soak last night. Felt much better. Hadn't had a proper bath." And yet, as she leans on but one hand and peers at the nails on the other, they're dirty yet again. A snort, then she's peering over at the kids again, smiling. "I'll remember that. I wonder if I could get 'em to play 'hide in the fo —" Here comes a comical wince and a quick shake of her head. "Maybe not hide in the forest. No. I don't need anybody after my hide. Bah!"

"Kids love anyone who'll play with them, or they can annoy. Usually folks our age fall into one of the two categories." Rogawani chuckles to himself, still propped up slightly on his elbows. He's never seemed to mind kidlet duty. "I'll trade you next time you have babysitting duty. I don't mind it so much, and I get a good night's sleep afterwards. They wear me out." He admits with another laugh, and then looks over at her with a curious expression. "Any idea if Fortinos did that on purpose or on accident? The geletin thing, that is." His expression hardens a little, as if hoping it was on purpose so he might have an excuse to hang a certain farmcrafter up by his skivvies. "Don't much like that folks got sick over it." Hurumph.

Riontali snickers quietly, wrinkling her nose, still watching the group of children warily. "I guess it's better to amuse 'em, then." She grumbles wearily. "Not so much fun when they decide to annoy you." But the girl laughs all the same, considering the offer with a grin. "Well, I sure wouldn't mind a bit. I'd like that." She chuckles, then offering a slightly stormier expression — somewhere around 'vicious' will do. "I dunno. I think on purpose, or he wouldn't have scattered like that. I'm going to scalp the little rat." Growled, with a glare towards the caverns. "Was gross. Hate gettin' sick like that. Ick." But there's a pause, and a much brighter grin surfaces. "Oh! I've been meaning to shardin' tell you happy turnday!" Mischief flashes in a little snicker. "Overheard Serris about a sevenday 'fore the bonfire."

"Mmhmm." Rogawani nods his head a bit, glancing back as a pair of children break of from the main group, chasing each other further into the field before looping back again. "Mostly they just want to have fun, so if you figure out a way that makes less work for you, it makes it easier on everyone." He pushes himself up then, pulling his legs under himself as he props himself up on one arm. "Next time I've got laundry duty Fortinos is going to find himself with a distinct lack of underpants." Ro' rubs his hands together, plotting evil things apparently. "Don't think scalping would be a good idea, but maybe some runner dung in his pillow?" Easier to think up non-violent ways of getting back at the other candidate that don't include getting kicked off the sands. He seems about to suggest some other nefarious plan, but the sudden mention of his turnday causes him to blink. "Huh, oh. Yeah." He rubs the back of his neck in his usual nervous way. "Thanks. Not much good it did me. Own my runner now, but I still can't ride 'im."

Riyontali snickers softly, watching the kids with a little less wariness — they don't /seem/ to be intent upon invading her space. "Wonder if they'd think doing chores is fun." She laughs. "Bet I could convince 'em of it." There's a broad, somewhat lazy grin as she wriggles booted feet in the grass. The next gets a grin that's certainly evil, eyes dancing. "That, or you could leave a lot've soap on 'em. Serve him right to have itchy —" Pause, cought. "Well. Yeah." She's quiet for a moment, expression caught between amusement and irritation — amusement wins, though. "Maybe that'd work. Could put soap on 'is pillow, too." The girl looks entirely amused by this, and almost misses the nervousness. An eyebrow lifts and she grins again. "Why not? Can do anything you shardin' want on your off days, can't you? I gotcha something, though. Well, it's for 'im, but it's pretty." The girl squints back towards the stables. "Wanna see?"

"You'd have to be creative, but I bet you could get them to do it. Make it a game." Rogawani seems to think about the prospect of small child slave labor, but in the end decides better of it. The wicked sort of look does return to his face at the idea of leaving soap in certain pieces of laundry, and that idea seems to please him greatly. "Mmm. I like the way you think." So many plans, so little time. Rocking himself forward a bit, Rogawani shrugs his shoulders. "Sure, I could ride him around the weyr, but that's really not that much fun. Rider is a trail runner, and we're still not allowed out of the weyr without rider supervision." He rolls his eyes, as if finding that particular rule of being a candidate to be ridiculous. "Oh. You didn't have to get me anything." The seems momentarily flustered, not having expected this much, obviously. "Sure. I'd like to see?" He gets to his feet, cupping his hands. "Cover for me for a few, will you Mack? I'll owe you a few minutes of your afternoon chore." He promises, a wave of the hand from the other candidate seeming to answer in the affirmitive.

Riyontali giggles cheerfully. "They'd probably like sweeping if you gave 'em bubblies or something." She laughs. "My little brother used to like to sweep the kitchen, when he was little enough to still wanna make ma happy." A roll of her eyes; clearly, she didn't want to make her mom happy /that/ much! "Good." As to the second, with a smirkish grin for the boy, before she's frowning thoughtfully. "Maybe we could convince one've the riders to take us out and show us the area around Xanadu on runnerback? Ummm," The girl seems to try hard to think of an excuse for such a thing, but in the end, doesn't. "Well, just because. They've gotta want us to have /some/ fun." Sigh! Then she laughs, grinning ruefully. "Well, they gave me a bunch'a marks for finding that little girl, and I figured they weren't /my/ marks, I wasn't the only one there. Told 'em that and they didn't care." This seems to still irritate her, and she rises to her feet with a little more force than is required, frowning. It's gone after a minute though, replaced by a grin. "So I gotcha something. Since you were dumb enough to follow me and all, yeah?" The grin is teasing, as she smiles over at the other candidate. "S'not much, I couldn't really find much, but I think you'll like it." And she turns, grabs her broom and starts off at a trot for the stables.

"Well, I was helping in the stables when I was close to that age." Rogawani motions his chin towards a few of the older weyrbrats, who seem more intent on talking amongst themselves than actually playing with the others. "'Course I loved runners, so that was an excuse. Riding time for mucking stalls." His face spreads into that boyish grin again, "I don't know about convincing the riders to take us anywhere. With renegades and felines and worse out there, they seem quite happy to keep us cooped up in here." He listens to her story quietly, following along at an easy pace behind her as she heads to the stables. "Oh, been meaning to ask, you hear anything about how the girl is doing? Morl's been asking." Sure, there's a bit of his own curiousity there as well, but at least knowing might set the miner at ease. Tucking his hands into his pockets, he just seems curious. "Dumb enough, huh? Wouldn't be that I care what happens to your pretty little head, would it?" He sticks his tongue out at her with just the same sort of teasing tone to his voice.

Riyontali snickers quietly, waiting until she's stopped moving to speak. The stables are cool and shady, and the girl pauses just inside to let her eyes adjust, grinning back at Ro'. "I used to beg them to let me ride the runners until they finally got me a little pony. She was old and slow, but I used to ride 'er when I went out to help with the caprine and ovines." A faint, reminiscing smile, before her eyes snap back, and she's smirking. "Maybe. They do seem pretty shardin' happy, though, yeah." The smirk dissolves into a rueful snort and nosewrinkle for a moment. "Well, Z'orde came and found me again yesterday. Asked me where we'd found her, like /I'd/ shardin' remember anything 'cept that it was near Thea's, and it was by /his/ cottage anyways." A snort. "She's okay, he said. Said she wouldn't say anything about where she was or who was there. I wanna talk to her." The girl frowns faintly, before it flashes back into a grin. "My pretty dumb little head, you mean." She snickers and rolls her eyes skyward, then crooks a finger. "Put it by 'is stall, over here…"

"I'd wanted a runner since I was seven or eight turns. So Da' promised if I helped in the stables that he'd get me one, and I could pay it off every turn by helping out." Rogawani explains the story of his own runer with that same sort of nostalgic look on his face. "Fifteen was my last turn of indentured servitude." He snorts, stepping into the shadow of the stables behind her, letting his boots make soft clomping noises on the wooden floor. "You're welcome to take Rider out any time you want. He's probably bored stiff." He lets his thoughts trail off at that point, probably feeling a bit bad for neglecting his duties as a messenger so much. When she starts to tell him about the renegade girl, though, Ro' shakes his head. "They'd be better off asking the dragons or the riders who picked us up. I'm clueless as to where we were." He shrugs his shoulders up slightly, and then walks forward towards his runner's stall, giving one glance backwards. "No, pretty little head. There's no dumb about it."

Riyontali giggles softly as she listens, smiling. "Well, that's a good way to do it, aye." She nods slowly. "Took forever though, didn't it? Shells!" There's a rueful chuckle for the boy, and a grin. "At least he's all yours though, yeah? I kind've miss my girl, but she's a little, um, stumpy. For me now. Better for m'little brother, really." Then she arrives by the grey's stall, and smiles at him, holding out a hand for the runner. "I'll do that if I ever get time. Though I could probably borrow the runner da sold the trader who brought me up, if you ever wanted to ride around somewhere 'round here. He doesn't buck too much." The girl peers fondly down the aisle at the dark colt situated between Rhasmir's two other runners. "I bet he gets attention, though, yanno. He's a sweetheart." She grins at the grey, then takes up a bag from the ground next to the stall, offering it over. "No kidding! You'd think he'd bother them instead'a me. Think he just thinks I'm funny when I get cranky with him." She snickers, them snorts, rolling her eyes. "Oh yeah. Not dumb of me to go bouncing off into the forest when there's Faranth-knows-what out there? I dunno. Z'orde told me they could've still been there," She actually has the grace to look chagrined. "Or kidnapped me or something." But here she smirks; fat chance, that! "S'not much, but I figured it'd look pretty with 'im and all…" Said of the bag, which gets a little shake.

There is a shuffling sound, followed by a recognizable "Waugh!" before Agate and Bloodstone flit into the stables and begin circling Tali and Ro, chittering happily. Morl enters a few moments later, patting dust off his front as he does so. He smiles ruefully to Ro and Tali in turn, then gives a sharp whistle, starting low, then going high and his flits stop circling and find perches in the rafters. He gives them a glare, "Jus' 'cause y' trip me don' mean y' c'n' misbehave!" He glances back down from the now well-behaved lizards, "Hey Ro, Hey Tali."

"Mmhmm. Took a long time, but I'd never have been able to afford one otherwise, or get my job as a messenger." Rogawani nods his head, and just shrugs in a dismissive sort of way. "Was worth it." As his hand touches the stall door, the boy looks over his shoulder, smirking slightly. "Tell you what, if we both get left standing, I'll take you on a trail-ride. If it's just me left, you've got to promise to take me up on your dragon, though." He waggles a finger at her playfully, apparently still of the assumption that he's the least likely one to impress. "I still wouldn't call you dumb, though." He mutters, taking the bag from her and reaching inside, still mumbling while he looks. "Pretty brave if you ask me, and besides… I'd have protected you if there were any renegades." Yeah, one sixteen year old boy with a belt knife against who knows how many of Kefai's men? Well, he can at least dream that he's some great protector, right? "Wow." As he takes the gray-blue blanket out, tossing it over one arm, and then draws out a halter and lead. "This is… this is great!" Apparently he's quite pleased. The twitterings of firelizards are nearly ignored as he beams at the girl, and then blinks, "Oh, hey Morl."

Riyontali eyes the firelizards curiously, squinting. She apparently notices them for who they are, though, as she ignores them in the next moment. When Morlanol appears, she lifts a hand and smiles. "Hey, Morlanol. How goes?" The girl asks in a friendly fashion, before turning a smile on Ro'. "I bet so! Shells. And he's a handsome fellow, aren't you, Rider?" The runner gets a little smile. The proposal gets a broad grin, then. "Shells, yeah! Good plan. Hey, you better hope you don't leave me stuck with a dragon without one yourself, mister." The girl teases with a snicker, then smiles again. "Maybe brave." She agrees with a smile. "I believe you." Either she doesn't consider that they might not have much of a chance against a large group of renegades or she ignores it, in favor of grinning languidly. "I thought they would look really pretty on him, yeah? Was thinking maybe green, but I dunno. That looks nicer, I think." She giggles. After a moment, though, she turns to smile at Morlanol. "Keiva's doing good. Not talking or anything. You know she's almost as old's me? Well. Maybe not quite. She sure didn't look it."

Morlanol grins at the two, "H'lo. Oh, Ro… I have tha' presen' y' asked me t' fin' fer Thea." He produces a somewhat bulky package from the bag at his side. It's well-wrapped in clean white paper and nothing of the inside is clearly visible. He gives Ro a wink. "I thin' Tali shoul' give anyone who doesn' impress a ride when she 'presses… well, maybe not Vivian." He grins a cheeky grin. "So th' girl's doin' alrigh'? Tha's goo' news. Any plans t' foster her or such?"

Rider seems all too happy to be getting attention, and he gives a small whuffle of sound as he reaches his nose forward to bump lightly against Tali. Rogawani, quite proud with the new gear he's been given, throws the blanket over the runner's back, "See, you've got fans, buddy. They get you all this neat stuff." The halter and lead are hung up on one of the runner's tack posts, next to a quite old and frayed looking set that it will likely replace. "Thanks so much Tali." He strokes the runner's neck, and then smiles towards her. He's distracted, though, when Morlanol offers out the wrapped package. "Ahh." He takes it, and tucks it under one arm with an almost shy motion. "Thanks Morl. I really appreciate it." Then, he chuckles a bit. "Wouldn't want to take Donakan up either." He seems to let her quip about leaving her stuck with a dragon without him to rest where it was. "Soo… Tali." He seems to be looking for a way to form the right words.

Riyontali smiles cheerfully at Morlanol. "Aww, what'd you get her? She's seemed a little down lately, yeah?" A glance back at Ro, before she's snickering at Morlanol. "If I do, 'course. You've gotta do the same though." She grins at the boy, then lifts an eyebrow. "I dunno, Vivian seems pretty nice. I met her the other day. A little bit…strange. But. Weyrfolk." The boys get a mischeivous grin. "She is, I guess. Odd one, but I guess you couldn't blame her. I dunno about fostering…should be, I suppose. Maybe." But her thoughtful frown is interrupted by Rider, who's favored with a laugh. The girl scritches beneath the runner's chin, making a face at him. "Oh yeah, big guy. Bet Morlanol'd even like you, yeah? You'd not kick 'im in the head unless he crawled under you or something, would you?" To her credit, she doesn't baby-talk the runner, as she tosses a grin over to Morlanol. Then it's her turn to be sheepish, a foot scuffing absently. "Um." Pause, grin. "Yeah. Just glad you like it. Serris was no shardin' help at all." She snickers, then eyes the boys with a lifted eyebrow and wry grin. "No, certainly not. Unless I could scare him a little." She's still giggling when Ro speaks again, but it's cut short with a curious lift of an eyebrow. "Mm?"

Morlanol grins, taking a somewhat more confident step towards Runner than either had seen him take before. He was still terrified of another incident, but being forced to work with runners had given him a better eye for which runners he should fear. He holds his hand out for a moment, letting Rider sniff him, before gently stroking the runner's nose. "Yeah, Viv can come off as nice… 'less yer a miner, then it's all glares an' snide remarks. An' o' course I'd take m' frien's up if'n I 'pressed. How coul' I no'?" He gives a slight blush at the 'kick in the head' comment and mutters, "'Twas th' pillar did tha'."

"Vivian's not so bad." Rogawani murmurs, still trying to find the right words for what he wants to say and latching on to the new topic until they manage to come to him. "She's just… got her mind set on the way things are, and will be. Kinda like Keziah in that way." He toes at the ground with his boot, looking down momentarily before glancing up again. The gray gelding simply shakes his head, an easy motion as he mouths happily at Tali. He even moves his nose towards Morlanol, giving the boy a good sniff and staying perfectly still while he rubs at his nose. "He's as docile as they come. About the only thing that spooks him is tunnelsnakes and when dragons come too close to the barns." He coughs to himself, raising a hand to his mouth and then does some more heming and hawing before finally rocking on his feet. "Well, it's not for Thea." He glances towards Morlanol, and then back at Tali again. "Morl's been helping me with it, because I'm hopeless with sewing. Anyways, you'd said you wanted one so… I figured it'd be a nice gift to make it special." He holds out the wrapped package that he'd just been given by the miner. "Hope you like it."

Riyontali watches Morlanol with a little smile, nodding stoutly. "Nice." She murmurs cheerfully as he pets Rider's nose, then laughs. "Aw, shells, really? Well…I guess some girls can't help it. I guess I'm used to 'em. Hold girls aren't even all that smart when they're being mean." She frowns; apparently, her opinion of holdbred girls isn't all that high. "But she didn't seem mean. Doesn't like runners, though." Here, the girl laughs, scritching at Rider's cheek affectionately. "Silly." Then she's chuckling again, with a wince. "Shells, a pillar? Ouch. Well, at least they're not sharp and pointy, yeah?" She nods, then turns a grin to Ro'. "'zactly. I dunno if we see eye to eye, but, whatever makes 'er happy." A shrug and chuckle, as she happily scritches Rider. "Aw, shells, buddy — I can't blame you! Tunnelsnakes are gross, and well. I bet you've seen dragons eat your friends, haven't you? Even if herdbeasts aren't good for much other than eating." Snicker. Ro's given a curious look for his apparent bout of nerves, eyebrows creasing just a bit — is that an almost alarmed look she tosses to Morlanol? Maybe. But finally he speaks, and she keeps her mouth shut though it looks like she might like to protest Thea's sudden lack of a gift that was apparently hers. Thankfully for her, she keeps her mouth shut on any protests she might have. It doesn't last long anyways, as the next has her curious once more, with a grin for Morlanol. "Me too." She laughs, though apparently she hasn't caught on yet. The package is taken, though, and both of them given a bemused grin. "Erm…" But apparently the girl can't decide on anything useful to say, so she just carefully opens the package, making sure not to damage the paper too much. The jacket is extracted with care, and an astonished look given. "Shells!" Tali squeaks, but then seems to forget to continue on the train of thought as she happily examines the jacket. "Oooh!"

Morlanol continues to stroke Rider, moving around under his chin and up by his ears, "Yeah. This'un's nice, bu' tha'un," He points to a particularly nasty looking stallion in the back, "Tha'un's jus' waitin' t' kill someone." He scritches for a moment or two more before he speaks again, a more contemplative look on his face this time 'round, "Viv did seem nice enough, jus' a tad full o' herself 'fore I mentioned I was a miner. Then i' was 'impress a wher' this an' 'waste o' time' tha'… mebbe she jus' don' like miners?"

The gray gelding's eyes slowly shut, and if a runner could melt, he probably would be. He whuffles quite happily, his tail twitching only once. About the only sign that the runner is anything but a pile of mush under attentive fingers, is the rare movement of one of his ears. Rogawani watches, tentatively as Tali opens the package, tucking his hands into his trousers as if he were worried she might have anything but a good response. However, his face brightens a little bit as she squeeks, and his smile returns there. "You like it?" He seems genuinely pleased with her reaction, if not more-so than with the gift he'd been given. On the topic of Vivian, however, Ro' just shrugs a shoulder. "She didn't care for runners either. Just think she doesn't like anything outside of riders and her duties to the weyr. The rest of us, as useful as we might be at times, are all lower-creatures."

Riyontali thoroughly ignores the boys for a moment, happily examining her new jacket. Finally, she shakes it out and carefully tugs it on, peering down at herself with a laugh. "Well, shells!" Finally, she speaks up, grinning brightly. "This's brilliant! Wow!" There's an amused chuckle as she tugs at the sleeves, then she twirls a little, despite the fact that it's not a dress. It doesn't flop around like one, either — but she doesn't seem to notice. "Do I like it?" Ro' gets a laugh. "Of course I like it! It's so comfy!" Never mind that the day isn't exactly cool. It takes her a moment to stop poking at the little designs and grinning, but eventually she does, and winces. "A Wher? Shells, that's not too nice. I've never seen one, but I hear they're really mean." Snort, then she snickers a little. "Should've seen one of the girls at home. She was so much worse than that. I swear, she would have let people carry her around outside if she could've gotten them to."

Morlanol snickers, continuing to stroke the very gentle horse, smiling softly, as one often does when dealing with a soft, fuzzy object that doesn't bite. "Whers aren' tha' bad, really. We use 'em to hun' critters 'n' fin' voids 'n' loads in th' mines, bu' they're nothin' compared t' dragons 'n' they're a lo' meaner, though if ones used t' ya, it won' bite ya or nothin'." He snorts at the thought of anyone being worse than Vivian, "I thin' she migh' let people do tha' if they offered."

"Glad you like." Rogawani chuckles, watching as she twirls around with obvious amusement in his eyes. "And it should be nice and warm for when you impress that dragon on the sands, too." He muses, smiling to himself before the sound of his name being called breaks him from his thoughts. "Ro!'" It's Mackavol, peeking his head into the stables. "The nannies want to take the kids down to the baths and I really need a second pair of hands for that." With a resigned sigh, Ro' shrugs. "Sure, I'll be right there." He's gotten his few minutes off from chores, so it's time enough to head back. "I should get going. Thanks again, Tali. I love the blanket and lead, and so does Rider." Who is still happily melty, and oblivious to the fact that his owner is leaving. "Just close his stall for me when you leave." Spurring himself into motion, Rogawani heads out of the stall and around the corner, soon vanishing into the open door of the stables after a word or two with the older candidate.

Riyontali grins over at Morlanol, nodding. "Bet they're good at hunting." She muses quietly. "Wonder what it'd be like to train one. Eh, probably never know." Snicker. "I'm not gonna become a miner any time real soon, I don't think. Like my runners too much." Melty-Rider is given an amused look. The quip about Vivian gets a sharp laugh. "Aw, I dunno. Seems kind'a sensible for that much, much as it wasn't nice of her to say you should be goin' with Whers instead of dragons." The girl chuckles, then turns a happy smile on Ro'. "Pffft. We'll just see about that." She wrinkles her nose — and eyes Mackavol with a slightly weary expression. "'bye, Ro! See you later. Good luck with the kids." He's got a sympathetic look following him out of the stables, as the girl reaches up to scritch at Rider. "You ever ride a runner, Morlanol?" She asks after a moment, glancing over at the boy with a curious frown.

Morlanol shrugs a little, a slight grimace crossing his young face, "Mayhaps, bu' th' chance fer a miner o' my size t' 'mpress a wher… well, i's no' ev'ry day, bu' I'd be firs' choice if'n my folks go' th' option, bu' th' chance t' 'press a dragon? How coul' anyone pass tha' up?" He waves a hasty good by to Rogawani, feeling a bit guilty for being happy that he's not working with the kidlets himself. He glances up at Tali, fear returning to the edges of his eyes, "Naw, I never rode a runner…"

Riyontali's smile is understanding. "I was always good with runners. They wouldn't shardin' let me work with 'em until I was, eh. 'Bout eleven." She wrinkles her nose and snorts. "Even though I was good at it. Folks can be dumb sometimes." A chuckle, then a quick nod. "Yeah, exactly. Not exactly something that y'can pass up happily, yeah?" The girl smiles. "I don't even know what to hope, though. D'you?" Then Rider is eyed again, with a little giggle. "You should try it sometime. That big ugly thing down there's nothin' compared to a good runner like Rider." But she lets it rest at that, smiling.

Morlanol shrugs again, it does seem to be a common form of body language for the young boy, "I dunno wha'll happen, bu' I hope t' 'press. Bu' jus' bein' able t' try is somethin' I never though' woul' happen. No' t' someone like me." He continues to stroke Rider's soft nose and head, "I migh' try ridin' some day if someone like you or Ro'd be willin' t' help… and pick a nice, calm runner fer me. Bu' with so much goin' on righ' now… I'm jus' no' ready…"

"Yeah." Tali agrees quietly. "I never even thought about being a rider, before now. Not even when I was real little and wanted to be —" Mouth opens, then shuts quickly. "Well, yeah. Anyways." A foot scuffs on the ground, and she chuckles. "I hope you do too. I dunno about me. I'm gonna miss people either way." She frowns, but only fleetingly, the smile returns as she eyes Rider. "Yeah, for sure. We're all real busy right now. Maybe when it's all over I'll show you how it goes. Falling ain't as bad as it sounds, really, though."

Morlanol scratches behind his ear, thinking for a moment as he strokes Rider's smooth neck, "I hope y' do. I hope most o' us do, 'specially you an' Ro an' Ruzel an' Cen. Then we c'n help each other if it's hard t' be riders at firs'." He stares off in thought, "I'll miss people too." He strokes Rider a few more times, "Fallin' I've done. Bein' small like I am I was used t' 'splore th' voids 'n' such af'er th' whers made sure 'twas safe an set up the joists. Sometimes where y' break inta a void is a ways above th' ground."

Riyontali smiles wistfully as she watches Rider. "That would be nice." The girl sighs. "I bet it is hard, though. I mean, havin' two baby firelizards is bad enough, but at least they're tiny…" She chuckles ruefully. "Well, shells! That just sounds dangerous. I hope they had somebody ready to come in and fetch you." A frown, but then she's wearing a sheepish expression — an ancient rider, the same one who fetched her out of the forest, comes strolling into the stables, scowling. "How'd I know I'd find you here, girl? C'mon, need to ask you something. Boy." He nods to Morlanol, then strides out without looking back or, you know, waiting. "Shells." Growls Tali, as she carefully closes the stall, leaving the top half of the door open so Morlanol can continue patting Rider. "See you later, Morlanol." She smiles a little at him, then trots out after Z'orde.

Morlanol mutters quietly to himself as Tali is forced to leave by the older rider. "'Twould be nice if'n some o' th' riders took th' time t' learn our names… 'slike they don' think we're gonna stay."

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