Chasing The Moon

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.

Just because he's somewhere new, that doesn't mean D'lei is going to change everything! Which means he still went out this morning for a run along the beach. Admittedly, he ended up going out somewhat later than his usual, because time zones and his internal clock not yet having adjusted to them. But that's okay, because it also meant that the weather was just a little less freezing because Rukbat had managed to get over the horizon! Which is not to say it's warm, exactly, but at least it's shaping up to be a clear, calm sort of day. It's mid-morning now, and the exercise has warmed D'lei enough that he's abandoned his jacket to the care of Garouth. The bronze sits on the shore, watching as his rider does a slow stretch from side to side. "…no, really. Look, there's ice out there…" A snort from the bronze.

D'lei is certainly not the only one who's late to get out of the barracks and start a run - though, to be fair, Risali is at the mercy of a much younger dragon, who has a long list of demands (and a slew of conversation) to be met upon waking up every morning. She's been fed, bathed, and oiled, and her inability to see is definitely not a deterrent as she uses Risali's eyes (and a hand placed on her body) to guide her along the relative calm of the beach. Risali? She's given up on her jacket as well, tying it off around her waist at some point and slowing only once she comes upon Garouth and D'lei. She does, but Leirith does not, and Risali is issuing a frantic, "LEIRITH - " too late. RIGHT INTO THE BRONZE THE QUEEN GOES, wuffling upon impact and reaching out with the loud bass of her mind to shake the inside of Garouth's. Risali winces, though she is beginning to realize that this is her normal. « Waheeey! Minion, we've made it! Your ability to run short distances without dying will be the Zekaaaaaaa's downfall! » Is she laughing? She is. And finally, despite the fact that she was already projecting her voice onto him, Lei's attention turns to Garouth. « And you! You're not dead! Apart from the excruciating pain, this is great! » Yep. Leirith. At least she isn't trying to run off anywhere, opting to stay and harass Garouth; to be safe, Risali still walks around D'lei, and places herself in a position to see the mini-queen at all times. Give her a moment to catch her breath, and then grey eyes go to the Monaco Bay rider, smile pulling at her lips. "D'lei," she says in greeting, joining him in his stretches.

Thud thud THUD goes the Leirith! Garouth snorts again, turning his head to look at the hardheaded little queen as she thumps against him. And inside his skull. Are those his internal organs liquefying? They just might be. « What if I were dead? » He swipes his tail around, tapping it against her legs like the world's strangest jump-rope or least subtle tripwire. « How could you tell? » Inquiring minds want to know, and while there's certainly traces of teasing in his tone, there's no sense of unpleasantness to the shifting shadows. Indeed, the cold of his mind is something just a little like an ice-pack to soothe the effects of her crash. D'lei, on the other hand, starts with a startled, "Sha-…" as he sees Leirith's trajectory, then finishes it with a "…rds," that's honestly a bit of a letdown after the crash happens without significant ill effects. He glances to Risali, gives her a nod, then… eyes Leirith for a moment while he continues his own stretches that were so rudely interrupted. Okay, there we go, and… "Hey," he says back to Risali with a crooked grin of his own. "…at least she'll end up tough?"

And while Leirith can't see Garouth's tail (especially when Risali's eyes stray to D'lei), the little gold certainly does her best to catch it with her paws - much like a cat, or a pouncing pup. What if he was dead? « Then you wouldn't answer me! » Leirith fires back, all upbeat. How could she tell? « Because you answered me. » And yes, Garouth's teasing is met with amusement, bass throbbing at the shadows in an attempt to make them shift in time with her beat as she keeps at her game of Capture-Garouth's-Tail - and may or may not be straying from him in her attempts. "If she doesn't kill somebody first," Risali retorts, the smile still on her lips a little more tight to hint that, despite the clear jest, it's something she is genuinely concerned about. Grey eyes shift back to Leirith and Garouth, the little queen using the sight to start off in the wrong direction, realize she's turned around, and then scramble back towards the older dragon again. YOUR TAIL, SHE WILL HAVE IT. "Or herself." A beat, and then Risa's eyes are back on D'lei once her lifemate is close enough to Garouth once more, smile back in place, though a little softer. "Are you okay?"

Around and about Garouth's tail sneaks. Get it! Pounce that tail and… have it wiggle under paws to try to escape! Such a sneaky thing it is, especially when there's no sight to help things along. It's a challenge of unstable footing and perception by touch instead of vision. Feel how the sand shifts when the tail slides against it? How about the slight breeze it makes? All the little cues that make this game educational… as well as simply fun! « That's true. » he agrees, with a rumble of amusement that pulses out through the darkness to make a sparkle of light on the edges of shadows. Whom, whom, whom, that music driving the strobes at the borders of the darkness… or maybe just making the lights flicker because of their sheer power draw. But really, why just clock something when you can over clock it? « So. What if… I wasn't dead… but I didn't answer you? » Hypothetically and all. His tailtip curls up, trying to sneak a tickle under her chin - then flick away, quickly, before she manages to catch him! D'lei can't help but grin, watching this… though Risali's comment, jesting as it is, makes his expression shift to a wry smile like he's amused on one side of his face and concerned on the other. "At least Garouth can take it." Size advantage: bronze! …for now. D'lei looks back to Risa. "Yeah." A smile. "Though… it's weirder than I expected, being back in barracks again."

Leirith doesn't grasp it right away, but she is certainly (albeit, clumsily) learning; she tilts her head to the subtleties of sound, always just a second too late except for when she's suddenly not, and the bass expands until, once more, there's dancers spilling out in masks, flashes of color in the strobe-light effect of their minds. « Aha! I got it! I - I don't. I don't got it! » And there it is on her chin, Leirith snapping her maw in the air as if to catch Garouth's tails between her teeth, stumbling right back into the bronze in her impatience. Give her a moment, maybe two, and the mini-queen decides to stay, shifting her wings in closer to her body so that she can press into the warmth that Garouth offers and LEECH IT. Leirith's dancers are scattering throughout Garouth's mind, sweeping through as if trying to find something and coming up empty-handed. But it doesn't matter: the revelers revel, heedless of the shadows that are darker in spots. « You would give me the silent treatment? » Leirith inquires, but there's no disdain in her words, simply that up-beat amusement as she figures out the finer nuances of being a dragon. « Why would you do that? I mean, I give my seeing-eye minion the silent treatment when she does a really poor job of seeing, but you have your own eyes. » And there Leirith is, at the edge of his vision, almost as if she wants to see what he sees, but stopping just shy of actually doing it - and the reason why is there, if Garouth looks: another, older bronze, reprimanding her for using his sight without his permission. « Is it a badass thing? » Speaking of Garouth: "Faranth help him when she's fully grown," she murmurs, though her attention is back on the dragons when she pauses. "Of course, you'll probably be back in Monaco Bay by then." Grey eyes jump back to D'lei, tired despite the humor lingering, slow to dissipate. "I'm more glad that he tolerates her. My uhm… my person. My person has a bronze dragon as well and, well… their first meeting didn't go so great." Seriously. Garrus meeting Claptrap. THINK ABOUT IT. Yeah. From the look on Risa's face? It was borderline terrible. "I imagine it's unpleasant, being granted your freedom only to have it taken away again. Are you under all of the same rules again?"

Garouth rumbles, a laugh that shakes the ground underfoot with something that might be an earthquake… or just the stomp of all those dancing feet making it move. He shifts his position as Leirith settles against him, a knead of paws under him and a spread of his wing over her. Have a blanket, little gold. Don't freeze into an icicle… and while his mind may be cold, his body certainly has warmth to leech. « If you made me sad, I would be silent. » He's quiet for a moment, but hardly silent. Not with the little squirrels and mice scurrying around to get a better view of the dancers as they spread through shadowed trees and dark and windy trail, the stir of branches and dry leaves in the wind… « But when I am angry, I fight. » He's matter of fact, for at the moment he's neither of those things; just explaining, because there are questions and they have answers. He can help her see… metaphorically, and also literally; because when he senses her lingering there, the curiosity and hesitation, Garouth makes the offer readily. His eyes, higher-placed than her minion's and with a subtly different spectrum. These colors are brighter. Those are duller. The gleam of light on the waters, that same faint glow echoed in the skin of their humans… who are looking back to them! And talking about them. D'lei hehs, the expression shifting to a wince as he thinks it through. "Maybe she'll settle down? Zeleth - in Garouth's clutch - she was always running around too. But… she did get a little calmer as she got older." Only a little. Not enough to qualify as actually calm by any stretch, but still. There are small and limited hopes! "…besides, I'm not sure being half a continent away would stop her now, let alone when she can between." Nowhere is safe! He grins to Risali, then looks back to the dragons again before the mention of her person makes him glance back that way. What does she mean by - oh, right. That makes sense now. He winces in sympathy at her expression, because he can imagine bad ways for things to go and her face seems to imply he should do so. "Some bronzes are very…" What's a good word here? "…particular. And dignified." A crooked smile, and another look at Garouth. He nods about the unpleasantness of the return, though he follows it with a bit of a shake of his head. "No, thank Faranth. We're staying in the barracks, we have to make all the lessons and follow the rules while we're here… but we're still allowed to between when we have free time." As if weyrlings actually get any of that! But, maybe he can sneak some in when the rest of them are busy with the baby-care that Garouth no longer needs.

Whatever it is, the dancers delight in it, much in the same way that Leirith delights in simple security offered by a larger (for now) dragon's warmth, and a wing to trap the heat. Leirith turns her muzzle into Garouth, trapping her head between his body and her own as she listens. « Then I would catch you the moon, so you won't be sad! » Leirith informs him, her dancers coming together from where they dispersed to chase sounds and shadows alike, joining hands until they're taking shape of the shadow dragon he'd shared with her before and taking flight. « And my minion would fight with you! She's the fiercest, toughest, baddest assedest minion there is. » A pause, as if Leirith is only just considering Garouth's words, and then her dancers are off again, their bodies bowing with the wind and the leaves in an intricate dance that mimics Garouth's shadows and lends them beauty. « Unless you want to fight with me! In which case, well… Goodluck, minion! » Yep. Leirith is totally laughing; her dancers do it, releasing peels of delight from behind their masks. And then she's silent - silent because she's seeing in a way she so very rarely gets to see, her mind soaking up the landscape, the colors, the rightness of it when her usual gateway to the world is so intrinsically wrong (even if her Risali is, ASSUREDLY, perfect - to her). Risali? She's pulling her jacket from her waist and shrugging into it the moment gooseflesh threatens on her arms, giving up stretching in favor of conversation and another weak smile. "That's promising to hear. Though, for as exasperating as she can be, I also don't want her to change." It's that bond, that endless, irrevocable adoration that can never be replicated in the relationships formed with other people. It's like being in love, but so much… more. Still, Risali's moving closer to the bronzerider, leaning in to give him a shoulder-bump with a look that would be serious (and a threat) if not for the hint of laughter in her expression. "Shut up, D'lei. You're going to give her ideas." And when D'lei looks to his lifemate, Risali's gaze follows his, watching the snugglefest as much as Leirith shares it in her mind; it's disorienting, really. "Zekath is usually gentle. I'm not sure that he knew what to do with her." And then a laugh, as mischief clamors for dominance in those grey eyes and Risali turns another look onto D'lei. "I'm sure your mate is happy." And then, softer: "Have you heard from them?" She's not going to go assuming genders here, OKAY.

Oh, the things hatchlings say! Garouth is… surprised, yes, and amused by how his metaphor meets her interpretation and falls apart… but also pleased, in a way. The desire to help, even if he's pretty sure it doesn't actually work that way… yeah. He approves of that, and he rumbles as the clouds above the forest shift to let that dancing dragon-shape rise, high up into the starry skies. « I do not think I will be sad. » Those clouds return to carry the dancers back again as the dragon separates, like silver carpets extending beneath their feet and trailing behind in dissolving streamers that leave a sheen of glimmering mist hanging in the air. « Nor do I intend to fight you. » He rumbles, the sound warm as his hide against her, and shifts his wing to a slightly closer snuggle. « That battle would hardly be a fair one… even before your minion. » Because Garouth is a grown dragon and Leirith isn't? Sure, that's ONE interpretation. But really, why look for silly reasons like that when there are far more obvious ones sitting right there, being awesome, with their noses smushed to bronze hide as they see through his eyes? The answer is clear! D'lei laughs at Risali's reply, and nods. "I know what you mean. Like… I was mad at Garouth for that fight, but… I see why he did it, too." A glance to make sure the bronze is distracted, and he adds, "…and part of me wants to side with him." There he goes, giving his own dragon bad ideas to go with the ones for Leirith! He wobbles from the shoulder-bump, because Risali is so fierce and not at all because he's over-acting to play along. "Ahhh, sorry! See, this is why they sent me back a class… got to learn to shut my mouth!" And he's so bad at it, he can't even keep it shut after that to avoid grinning! So terrible. He hmms as they watch the dragons, and nods. "Maybe it's having known Zeleth," he offers as explanation as he studies Garouth. "But yeah. He's fine with her." Like a large and tolerant wolf letting a puppy gnaw his ears. "I'm glad, really." Because what a mess this would have been if it turned out that Garouth couldn't stand the hatchling dragons, right? The mention of his mate gets a wry half-smile from D'lei, with no nod to follow it, and then… a sigh. "She's… on vacation, with her other lover." He doesn't sound upset, though neither does he sound happy. Regretful, maybe? The expression grows more toward that as he looks up, past Garouth to the sky. "So, no. She's sort of mad at me, anyhow, because… well, Garouth caught a green, and that rider got pregnant."

And Leirith remains, even her dancers paused in their rapture, a sea of festivity going still until they've blended into the shadows and disappeared, little more than hints of color here and there as mist and moon and light catch the feathers of their masks just right. Leirith moves physically, pressing closer at the behest of a wing, nudging her nose further into bronze hide as if to make more space for herself, captivated by the world as Garouth sees it. And slowly, so slowly, the dancers begin to move once more, a gentle sway to welcome the rumbling heat of his proximity. « It might not be fair, but it would be a good reason for a party! » comes that upbeat voice, slamming back into awareness with a hint of distance - a testament to her distraction behind his eyes, « Because I would win, of course. » She is young; she doesn't get it. She's amusement given form, the perpetual humor found in things that shouldn't even be funny. She doesn't comment on him thinking he will be spared sadness, except to have her dancers swirl again, forming dragons that race after his beasts - an unwitting way of telling him that she will be there to share in it with him, even if she doesn't fully comprehend much beyond friendship. The dancers pounce upon 'the moon' together, and then disperse once more. Risali's attention is temporarily stapled to D'lei in the meantime, only slightly distracted with the task of filtering out Leirith's thoughts from her own and holding onto the words D'lei speaks. Then Risa's giving him another gentle nudge with her shoulder. "Shut up, D'lei," comes more firmly, still teasing, mischief in grey eyes as he speaks, and she nods, and then - oh. Risali's expression falters, brows drawing in confused thought as small details of D'lei's relationship are revealed at it takes a moment for her to fortify enough distance between herself and Leirith (despite her distraction) to think proper. "That… it was a flight." Meaning: she doesn't understand. "You hardly have control over that." She may not have had the (dis)pleasure of her own queen rising yet, but being the daughter of a bronze and goldrider both, she's privy to some of the more ugly aspects of dragonriding. Well, that and she's dating a rider. Risali reaches out one hand to place on D'lei's shoulder, as if she can transfer whatever he needs down the line: strength, understanding, companionship. "That isn't fair." And then, almost awkwardly, Risa is dropping her arm and curling it back in against her chest. "So is that normal, then? Multiple lovers?" Is she blushing? SHUT UP. YOU'RE BLUSHING.

Garouth turns his head, taking in the panorama of sea and shore as daylight shines on them… in contrast to the forest's darkness. Both are shared with Leirith, and his laugh shakes the leaves of the forest, sending them tumbling down with a shift through to confetti and glitter for the revel. « Of course you would, » he replies to her inevitable victory. Because she'll be bigger than him? Maybe, but he continues with his tone turning playful as foxes leap from the bushes, tails a-flame as they spin around the dancers. « You would be spending time with me. » Now the dancers chase those foxes with tails on fire, glowing and sparking as they bounce over logs and under trees, leading the way at breakneck pace through the forest with many an attempt to double back and circle round. The chased becomes the chaser becomes the chased! Who's in what role again? …does it even matter? Either way, the forest laughs with the game! D'lei grins as he's told to shut up, and… does! At least, with the outright terrible ideas. The more ambiguous and challenging ones of his personal relationships? Well, those he does spill. All the doom. A shake of his head for it being a flight, but a small one. It /was/, but… that's not the issue here. A quirk of his lips for the fairness, present or otherwise, and then… "Heh." He totally does not see a blush, nope, but that's mostly because he's feeling just a bit too awkward himself to actually look in Risali's direction. It's lovely cliffs they've got here in Xanadu, really. Great for staring at. "I'm holdbred, it's not like I'd know." Now he does steal a glance at Risali, and follows it with a shrug. "She - Quinn, that's her name… it's her idea. So we don't get messed up by flights." A wry smile, because didn't D'lei just say Quinn was mad at him over a flight? "It's… she's not mad at me because of the flight. She's mad because the other rider's pregnant… and…" He sighs, and looks away to the cliff again. "…because I said I'd help her with it. The kid, I mean."

And what a while chase it is! The dancers shriek their delight as they become the chased, crying feigned war-cries when they become the chasers; Leirith's amusement lends vibrancy to the colors of her mind, casting a glow that chases after the shadows even as it can't quite touch them. « No, » she corrects, her own laughter sending dancers twirling in their chase, jovial as they try to catch foxes and burn up in their fires, enjoying the way their clothes and masks disintegrate, giving way to new outfits, to new colors, to something new, « you would be spending time with me. My minion! » Risali is a stark contrast to her dragon, the joy void on her face as she stares at her feet and follows the tracks left behind in the snow. Those cliffs are rather… captivating. "Oh," Risali says then, softly, too busy feigning interest in everywhere but D'lei to catch his glance when he looks in her direction. It's not until D'lei's reached the last that Risali's head snaps up and those brows furrow, mouth forming half-furious words that die in her throat before reaching coherency and give life to delicate-sounding snort instead. She's learning! You might not guess it, but this one has a temper, and she has no qualms about unleashing it upon unsuspecting bystanders for perceived sleights. "For doing the right thing?" If Risali sounds incredulous and disgusted, that's because she is. She curbs her own anger by pulling dark hair from its tie, and forcefully putting it back up again. One, two, and then an exhale as Risali forces her attention back to the dragons and the small pocket of happiness they've found. "I can't imagine sharing K'vir with anybody willingly," she admits then, arms crossing over her chest again, "but I would never stop him from doing the right thing. Or from being happy." And then Risali's reaching out then, to grab D'lei's hand if he allows, to capture between her own tiny hands and squeeze them as finally, finally she allows grey eyes to capture his. "I'm sorry that you've having to make that choice." And then she lets him go, moving around to his other side in an attempt to distract him with another shoulder-nudge in the opposite direction. "Want to race?" The brightness in her tone is forced, but the offer is not. "From here to that ledge there." A point, it's not too far off. "Winner gets to choose?" The prize, that is.

« And that, » Garouth agrees as the patter of little paws increases the tempo, « is why you will win. » Himself! His brindled bronze and black hide, like the colors that tangle up with the shadows as the dancers twist their way along. It was Garouth all along! And the foxes bark their laughter, circling back to the dancers to burn away the old costumes like the brilliant leaves that fall from trees in autumn, the better to be replaced by new blossoms come springtime. « Your excellent taste in minions. » And he is an excellent … minion? Apparently! Also a cuddler, and if that wing and mind serve an additional purpose in distracting the youngster from the more serious and unhappy conversation happening between the humans? Well, that's just another of the services Garouth can provide! D'lei… frowns at Risali's response, with a slow shake of his head. "It's… not like that… exactly…" But he offers no clear counter-argument about what it is like. Quite possibly because he doesn't have one, what with the proximity of his initial conversations with Quinn and his banishment here. It is in motion! The game is afoot! And he… lets himself be tugged around to face her, his eyes lowered at first - oh look, hands - before lifting to her face to actually see her eyes. He smiles, halfway. It's an attempt anyhow. "She'll… get over it. I think. It's just… a surprise." Does he sound entirely convinced? Nope. But he does have most of a smile, and he gives Risali's hands a gentle squeeze back. "…thanks, he adds, and there's a quiet moment before… oh look, a distraction! In the form of a challenge. He grins, sudden as a mask going on - though it's genuine enough, it's just not everything. "You're on."

If Leirith was in a position to preen, the gold absolutely would; instead, the mini-queen burrows closer into Garouth, crooning. « That is why we will win, » Leirith informs him again, upbeat tones sending the dancers into a frantic pace that increases the tempo in tandem with pattering paws, pounding. « Because you have picked the baddiest assiest baddasses to badass with! » That's a lot of 'badass' for one little mind to handle, and then, « And because one day, you will catch the moon. » The dancers spin, blossoms of fire as their clothes catch, burning fallen branches and the fallen leaves of autumn to start - you guessed it - a bonfire. « And he will know that you are the one he should fear! » She just sounds a little too excited about all of that, don't mind her. If Risali thinks that his lack of a counter-argument is because it's exactly like that (it does), she doesn't say anything; it's not he place to dictate and give direction. D'lei is his own man, capable of making his own choices, regardless of whether or not Risali agrees with them. Instead, she offers him what she can: a lack of judgement, understanding, companionship, and a distraction. "She'll come around," she concedes, knowing not the woman, neglecting to add on the end of her thoughts if they're both wrong. Quinn would be a fool to walk away. Even she knows it. "Alright, bronzerider. It's a good thing we've got all this snow around us, 'cause I'm about to kick your ass. Ready? On your marks, get set…!" OFF RISALI GOES! Laughing as she takes one, two three steps and calls, "GO!" over her shoulder, already at a dead run. She totally cheated. WHAT? HE HAS LONGER LEGS, OKAY. THIS IS FAIR. THIS IS TOTALLY. FAIR.

Moncerath's wings droop loosely at her side, even so the tips never touch the sand, as the green waddles slowly onto the beach. Kera sways gently on her dragonmate's back and there are quite a few odd looking packs hanging from Moncerath's straps. It's a very warm winter morning and the rider is dressed in a faded purple tshirt, shorts, and her most broken in pair of boots. The pair observe two weyrlings, and even from this distance, Kera can see Risali cheated. Shaking her head with an amused grin, she urges Mon to continue on a bit closer to the shore. Several other weyrlings and their dragons are scattered among the beach, some bathing their dragons, one or two watching the race between the goldling Risa and the transferred exile, D'lei. Rather than bust up the race, Kera leans forward, propping her elbows on green neck as she watches ther final ourcome.

« Very badass. But not bad. Nor ass. » These are important qualifications! Things together mean different than they do together. Just like, by their powers combined… they can be more than the sum of their parts! Forest party, dancers and foxes and… fire! It's not the first time Garouth's woods have been aflame, but this is different. This is a bonfire! A merry pyre of smoke and flame, dancing light and dark plume! « I will. » That smoke, spread like dark wings! It blots out the moon in the sky, and NEVER YOU MIND what happens behind the curtain. As for that other one… « It might take a while. He is not nearly so clever as he thinks. » But it will happen! How can it not? There is a fire in their spirits that burns to reach the heavens, and so… it's really not at all surprising that it draws attention. Moncerath! And Kera! Garouth swings his head to observe them, sharing that view with Leirith through his eyes. Lookit, there's a greeeen. And a greenrider! Though he's got no real opinions about them, one way or the other - the border patrol just noticed the scent of a stranger, that's all. Visitor alert! But, while his dragon may have noticed, D'lei is distracted. A quirk of his lips for Risali's agreement, like… now that she says it, he's now not quite sure he believe it any more. Which contributes to more of a wry smile, and a duck of his head. ALL THE UNCERTAINTY. And nothing much he can do about it right now except… ignore it! So. ABOUT THAT RACE. Ready? He was born ready! …except then he stopped being ready because he grew up and wait she's going already? "Aaaah! Cheater!" he accuses as he attempts to get that ass of his into gear. Run! Ruuun through the snow that he actually has very little practice with, because Monaco is tropical and this white stuff is slippery and makes it hard to run! And yet. He tries! Long legs, don't fail him now!

« Is there a distinction? » comes Leirith's humor, her innocence, her limited knowledge less a hindrance in her mind and more just one more challenge that she certainly won't let get her down. « He will regret the day he challenged us! Ha! » Her pride, her adoration, her absolute trust of her 'minions' makes the fire burn brighter as her dancers throw in sticks and leaves that burn and twist, sending up plumes that writhe like Garouth's ghoulish shadows, too bright, as the dancers shift in primal rhythms, hands reaching up, up, up as if they might pull the curtain of smoke and the moon from the sky. But the fire is suddenly gone, the dancers whisked away, the door to her mind slammed closed so that Garouth is left with only that throbbing bass as he shares Moncerath's and Kera's approach. She observes, but has no such reservations about - strangers (outside of clearly allowing nobody else the liberties of the true beauty in her mind). « Waheeeey! » She chimes. Still, she's curiously silent as she rides Garouth's vision. Risali? YEP. SHE TOOOOTTALLY CHEATED. And when D'lei calls her on it? She rewards him with more laughter that becomes a pitchy keen as she goes slipping on a particularly icy patch of frozen sand, arms windmilling to no avail: she's going down anyway. OR IS SHE? SAVED BY D'LEI! Risali cheats again, catching at the bronzer's arm to keep herself upright, struggling with her footing before giving him a little push down towards the semi-soft snow (amid more laughter). "Who're you calling a cheater, bronzerider?! I'm a lady! I'm just making it fair!" and off she goes again in a sprint, reaching out her hand to - OOF. Down she goes, INSTANT KARMA'D. But at least she's sitting up laughing, grey eyes tracking back to D'lei as she struggles to get to her feet again. PROBABLY TOO LATE, but she deserved it.

Jaicoureth arrives on the beach not all that long after Moncerath and Kera do. Though unlike the green he is without his rider. This isn't an unusual sight around Xanadu as the blue is often seen going about his own business. He spies Moncerath and Kera a distance up the beach and begins to head that way at a steady pace, doing his best not to kick up sand as he goes since there are others on the beach lounging or playing. He'll greet those that he knows as he passes and once he gets closer he'll hum a greeting to Kera and Moncerath, « Good morning. What a pleasant winter morning it is. So much better than at Fort. » Much less snow for sure. His eyes shine a pleasant shade of blue as he looks past the known pair to the unknown pair that seem to be engaging in some sort of physical contest. A race! His mind shines with the candlelight reflected off the surface of smooth diamonds. « Hello. » he says warmly to the young gold and the bronze that he has never met, « Always a pleasure to meet new dragons. » For surely the gold is very new given that she is so young. He was there to see her hatch and he remembers, the bronze is not as young but new all the same. He refrains from calling out to the humans since it might disturb them, there will be time to greet them when the race is done. As he arrives at Moncerath's side he'll plunk himself down beside her taking a breath of the fresh morning air into his lungs. His mind continues to refract the light, « How are you all? » The question is directed at no one in particular. He turns his head toward Moncerath to try to gently nudge her shoulder in special greeting. Though not hard enough to dislodge Kera. He then turns his attention toward the race just in time to see Risail fall. He flinches a bit, but all is well as Risali appears to be OK.

Kera continues watching the race, shaking her head and muttering to herself, and Moncerath. "Who woulda thought a simple foot race was such a contact sport, aye Mon?" With a little grin she lazily rubs her hand across her dragonmate's neck. The green swiveling her head around to greet Jaicoureth, a snuffling nudge to his shoulder as she warbles her greeting, but the commotion down the beach draws her attention back to the footrace. Kera laughs as Risali goes down. She stays on her dragon perch, for the time being, better view to see how D'lei will recover from the goldling's downward shove, and perhaps, will he retaliate. For the moment, her objective of training is put on hold, at least until after a winner is determined. All along the beach, weyrling pairs have paused thier tasks to observe the young riders' strange behavior.

Challenges? More like opportunities! « There can be. » Arguments! Pompous fools! Chest-puffed awesomness! The possibilities flicker among the shadows. Leirith is already asking those deep and meaningful question about the nature of morality and awesomeness, and she is yet TINY. This too will change! The fire grows, stronger with every snapping twig and crackling leaf that make it leap higher - and make those shadows dance out behind, the monstrous shapes that lurk - and frolic - drawn out by the ancient call in their souls to join together as a tribe! … but there can be no strangers in the sacred revels of the pack, and the fire vanishes to leave the shadows darker than before. Only the faint scent of smoke, and that stirred away by the cold wind that gusts with the beat of the bass through the forest and comes along with Garouth's shared vision to offer his greeting, dark and cold as the snowy night, to Jaicoureth and Moncerath. « Hello. » D'lei's footsteps should be keeping to that same beat - and he tries! He's just about caught up to Risali - grinning despite her cheating cheaterly ways - when she discovers a FOOTING HAZARD. "You're so go- auuuugh!" Now he's the one going down, because that patch of ice under her feet? Turns out it's pretty darn close to his feet too. And he really is not practiced at all with running in the snow, because again, Monaco? TROPICAL. ALL THE TROPICS. None of this snow nonsense, which means this is the very first time ever for him to tumble forward face-first into the snow. Without his jacket, even! PLFFTF.

Saumath's nap has been interrupted, by a race? Nights may have been quite late of late, but there's a rumble as excitement courses through the bronze and he practically dances his way out of his beachside lair. Then there's a low grumbling mutter and a slump just as his bleary-eyed rider comes out to see what all the hubbub is about. "Now this brings back memories." The young rider murmurs and then he's looking around. Sure enough, there she is. He spies a Kera up on her perch "I guess it is lovely day for a run." There's a little groan there though. Young bronzer looks a little worse for wear. There's a sudden look at Saumath "You keep quiet." Nope. Not happening. Sweet southern drawls, a voice as smooth as velvet « You all need some dancin' lessons. Uh huh, uh huh. » And there's little shimmy and a little tail shake and a flourish of his wings and head.

Leirith absorbs it all, remaining curled against Garouth and tucked under his wing, muzzle trapped between the heat he gives off and her own growing body; it's not like her own sight would do her much good anyway, given both of her eyes are carefully patched to ensure total blindness. Wouldn't want the infection in her eyes to get worse, after all. Jaicoureth's mind against hers has that booming bass throbbing into his diamonds, pulsing as she exudes excitement that bleeds into each dragon's mind. WHO NEEDS VOLUME CONTROL? Not this queen! HER SUBWOOFERS HAVE SUBWOOFERS. « IT'S A PARTAAAY! MINION! DOES THIS MEAN WE CAN BURN DOWN THE BARRACKS? » Though which minion that is directed to is unclear, projected into dragons and riders alike without discrimination. Don't worry. She'll learn. Risali watches D'lei go down with another whoop of laughter and, using his precarious position on the ground, the weyrling crawls the rest of the way. TAP! "VICTORY!" She cries out, moving to her feet only to double over in laughter. Give her a moment to recover and push black hair breaking free from her bun out of her face, and then she's making the careful trek back to D'lei - with a pronounced swagger that's a lot less swag because she keeps slipping and throwing out her arms to catch her balance. Finally, she reaches him. "I do believe that I've won, bronzerider. You owe me." But she's reaching out her arms to help him up, smile wide, and fading when grey eyes jump up and sweep the beach to find that there are way too many eyes on her. Now the red on her cheeks cannot solely be blamed on exertion, and there's a gentle clearing of her throat. "Uh," she says, intelligently. "Hello." « What is this Fort? And what would you know of dance? Pah! Me and my minion are the best dancers there are. The absolute best. There's no better best best dancers than us. » Really, she just keeps going on.

Jaicoureth rumbles happily at the greeting from the green, « Your weyrlings seem to be very energetic. As werylings are wont to be. » The blue takes the vision of the dark and cold night and projects a starry nights sky that is unnaturally bright, just a touch on the surreal side. The sound of and orchestra playing softly in the background can be heard. His attention is drawn toward the other bronze that suggests dancing, « Dancing can be fun indeed. » The blue turns his mind back toward Moncerath, « Dancing could teach them coordination. Which is important for the young ones. Though that might be further down the schedule. » He seems to remember something about that, but it was long ago. The train of thought is lost in a swell of music that seems to come from nowhere. The notes rise and fall as he modulates them based on the whim of his thought. The young gold draws an inward smile and a glint of starlight from the blue, « Fort is where I come from. It's another weyr much like this one, but different. » He will share with the young queen images of his home, so much different than Xanadu. Ahh volume. He had that problem once too, « I know a few things, more about music than dancing perhaps. »

Kera leans a little towards her left, peering down to T'lon with a smirk. "I thought it was a good day for a run myself, but this lot can barely stay on their feet." An amused snort slips out of the awlm with an amused headshake. "But they are still young, most of them. They'll find their feet, eventually." Kera winces at some of Risali's near slips when the goldling makes her way back to the fallen bronling to offer him a hand up. "Good sportsmanship Risali….at the end." The greenrider gestures a finger towards her eye then points right at the the young weyrling that clearly says / I Saw You Cheat/. After a moment, she gestures for the weyrlings to gather round while Moncerath summons the young dragons. "Everyone run over her, if you can." « Hello young ones. Mine wants you to gather around in a loose circle for a check over. » All along the beach, pairs begin trodding across the beach, some dragons dripping still from their baths.

Did you know that snow, in addition to being cold, is wet? D'lei does now! Also, it has stabby ice bits. FUN FACT. He sputters into the snow as Risali claims her victory, and then he gets the bright idea to roll over onto his back and sputter up at the sky. This is absolutely 100% progress and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Especially not Risali. Seriously, don't. He looks up to her as she returns from her cheaterly victory and… "Ha. By foul treachery!" He swings his arm up, pointing over his head at her. J'accuse! "Fortunately for you, I am honest and true…" Glare. "…and will pay my debts." He reaches for the arm, grin starting to make its appearance even as he starts to roll back over and clamber to his feet… but that's also when he notices the change to her expression. Something is happening, and he's probably not bleeding because he'd have noticed that (probably), soo… first things first he gets to his feet, but second things second he turns and actually looks around to see… "Huh." A glance back to Risali. "Seems we have an audience." How much did they see? He has no idea! But he does lift his hand in a wave to them, now that he's noticed them. Garouth remains where he is, a pool of cold mental shadows and warm brindled hide, and moves his gaze to observe each of the others in turn. When Leirith's talking to them, usually, though he doesn't always manage to keep up with her. But that's okay, she'll probably be talking (shouting) to whoever it is he does happen to be looking at soon enough! For all Garouth keeps looking around the conversation, he's relatively quiet for his own part of it. There's a dry crackle of kindling at her question about the barracks, the wind helping to carry the sound to other ears more qualified to make that decision. He can neither confirm nor deny the possibility of fire! And as for music and dance… there's only that wind to be found, the sway of branches set to motion by its passage. Moncerath's request, at least, has him lifting his wing from over Leirith… though he doesn't move otherwise, simply keeping his gaze steady now on the route from here to there.

T'lon shoves at Saumath a little "Enough with the dancing, it's lessons for them. Don't distract them." There's a pause and a grin "They're distracted quite enough as it is I think." There's a bit if a laugh. He looks at the gathering weyrling dragons and then his eyes flicker to Garouth "Is he the one I've been hearing about?" He calls up to Kera. "Is it true what I've been hearing, that he mauled and severely injured the Weyrleaders dragon?" he asks, trying not to let his voice carry. Saumath rumbles to Jaicoureth visions of fire dances and drumming beats and a guitar in the background « Fort is a lot of fun. Different but fun. Ierne was better though » Flashes of strobe lights brighten his mind As for dancing? He's going to still shimmy and shake as he pleases.

Jaicoureth's home brings forth Leirith's curiosity, the tiny gold observing each image with a pulsating sound before she shares the visions granted with Garouth. « Are there many more like this? » She inquires, though it's unclear who she is asking. Both? All? And then Moncerath, and her summons. SPOIL SPORT. But Mooooom. What do you mean she has to give up her comfort? Garouth might lift his wing (and lend his eyes) for Leirith, but the gold simply wuffles and remains. For a time, anyway. Finally, finally, she extracts herself from dragon cuddles and gains her footing, bumping her maw into Garouth with blind clumsiness. She is used to Risali's eyes, which leaves her slightly disoriented, but it doesn't prevent her from trying to walk. First she bumps right back into Garouth, correcting her course on impact to make her eye-patched way over to the gathering dragons and rider. Kera's eye point and words have Risali dissolving into laughter again, but she wisely says nothing, breathing, "So it would seem," to D'lei instead as she helps him gain his feet. His glare? She meets it with an innocent rise of her brows and then her tongue sticking out at him in a silent gesture of CHILDISH MOCKERY. "You say 'foul treachery,' I say cunning." And then she's leaning sideways to whisper, "Run faster next time," before patting his arm around a too-bright smile. Why? Because she's using him as a crutch (he can use her back, it's fine), to navigate her way back to Kera and Co. T'lon might get a glare along the way, but who's really paying attention? « What is this Ierne? » The strobes? She just enhances them with that throbbing bass in her mind, sharing it with Garouth and - well, incidentally - everybody else around.

The blue will keep his place next to Moncerath as she calls the young ones to gather in a circle. As they arrive it willg give him the chance to get a good look at each of them. His mind will continue to radiate the warmth and soft music to keep whatever cold is present, mental or physical, at bay. He says nothing to the green to ask about what her plans are, because they will all get to see those very shortly. Jaicoureth's stars shimmer as the bronze praises Fort, « Fort is a good home. I haven't been to Ierne a long time. » The young gold's questions are taken in with the warm glow of light from a candle, « There are many places. All different. Perhaps I will tell you about them sometime, but for now I think you are going to get a lesson. » he says in his gentle baritone. Garouth's wind will be taken in and the gentle swooshing sound will be modulated into the light notes of a flute, « Lessons are fun. » he says. The blue will shift his head slightly to look in the direction of Kera and Moncerath. He will fall silent as he waits to hear what they have planned.

Kera finally makes herself move from her comfortable lounging spot on the green's back, swinging around to slide hop to the sand. Moncerath gives a little wigglling shake and gently stretching her wings out as the awlm begins removing odd looking weighted vest with velcro straps and pockets. "It's a good thing you're here T'lon. These may look familar to you." A smirk is sent to the young bronzer and she continues removing more of the heavy vests, dropping them in the sand in a circle around the green. When the young riders straggle in to form a loose circle, Moncerath eases back to observe the young dragons and riders from a little ways off with Jaicoureth. Kera gestures to the packs as the last of the group finally make it over "I'm glad you've got alot of energy this morning. And that you like to run, cause that's what you'll be doing today. You young rider are going to begin your physical training today. Building up your endurance and your strength. Everyone grab one of these vests and get it on." She gestures to T'lon and continues "We'll come around and help you adjust the straps proper sizing." And while the soon to be riders are doing that, Kera's attention turns to the young dragons. "For now, you get to watch your riders and relax. We'll be coming around to look over each of you. Don't want you getting hurt by ignoring an ache or something that could get orse if ignore." And while she is talking to the dragons gathered around, she's also expecting their riders to be paying attention, even while 'suiting up'.

Garouth certainly does look the part of a suspicious newcomer! Why, now that he's lifted his wing, it's even possible to see the marks of recent injuries on his side that… sure do look like they were made by draconic claws and teeth. Just what sort of creature is Xanadu allowing near their weyrlings? He's probably corrupting the youth! Those cuddles with Leirith are… uh… « Mine is by the water. » He answers her curiosity, sharing a flicker of images showing deep aquamarine waves and the verdant tangle of a jungle. « There are others. » He may be providing for her egress, but he doesn't exactly encourage her to leave. Why rush? He's just going to continue being a terrible influence, and also warm. He rumbles softly at the bump, unmoving. « Feel the ground. » he suggests to her, voice soft like a drape of shadow that shows a slope beneath her feet. It's a way to align herself to the visual she sees! Well, that he sees. And thus that she does! D'lei snorts to Risali's re-casting of her actions - aka her LIES - and just shakes his head at that advice. "Oh, I will. Next time… just you wait." Glare. …and also lean, because four legs are more stable than two and if they do this together they can get back to their dragons without having another ground-face incident. Probably, anyhow! Won't know until they try. So they do! Though… while he doesn't hear all of it, what D'lei does catch of T'lon's comment makes him pause for a moment, losing a step (shoulda listened to the beat) in order to frown. Garouth seems unconcerned, though! As he would be. And D'lei… well, he tries to shake it off himself and continue on, but his expression's not quite as cheerful as before. Once Leirith's arrived safely at her destination, Garouth rises to pad after her and join… well, not quite the circle, he's a bit big for that. But he sits right behind, paws tucked under him like some kind of guard canine keeping watch. And oh hey! Here's a pair of riders, safely arrived and ready for instructions… and vests. D'lei hehs, eyeing them. "Fancy. In my day," y'know, a whole two turns ago, "we just used firestone sacks."

« Don't you forget! » Leirith tells the blue, all upbeat, pulsing bass as she makes her way from Garouth - telling the nightmare bronze that, « I'm just going to assume you didn't see that, » with amusement. Clearly he just needs to LEARN HOW TO DO HIS NOT-JOB, BUT TOTALLY HIS JOB BETTER. Risali's giving D'lei a mischievous look for his 'threat', huffing, "Bring it," to him before T'lon can be overheard. She notes the Monaco Bay rider's shift in demeanor as well, choosing to give his arm another squeeze as they work together to navigate their way back, letting him go once they've arrived so that she can stare with OPEN DISDAIN at the vests. It's without complaint that she retrieves her own (and perhaps looks a little alarmed at the weight of it), pulling it on over her shoulders and buckling herself in as best as she can. There's a gasp of laughter for D'lei then, Risali giving him a nudge in the ribs with her elbow as she works, mouthing, 'Shut up, D'lei,' for EMPHASIS. SHUT YOUR PRECIOUS FACE. Leirith is totally paying attention, okay? But as soon as her rider is returned and she's been given her instructions, the little queen uses her rider's eyes to - bump into one, two, okay three - dragons before making her way back to Garouth. He's close enough now, right? THIS COUNTS. And then she's wiggling in closer, maw where his forepaws should be as she swings her rump backwards and bumps him with it to get comfortable. Wings tuck in against her sides, and she waits. Where it's warm. « Show me yours again, » she tells the bronze, conjuring up the images he shared moments before. SHE WANTS TO KNOW. She can multitask. Totally. « This is boring. » RUDE, but, well. That's Leirith, making Risali wish the ground would swallow her whole one Weyrling lesson at a time. "Like this?" she asks, weak, as if it might draw attention away from her up-beat, cheerful gold.

Jaicoureth has seen this lesson before. It wasn't all that long ago that he was briefly an AWLM here. He is happy to observe as the young weyrlings get 'suited' up in those strange weighted vests. He inclines his body ever so slightly so that he can very gently lean against the green, though not putting his weight behind it. It's just pleasant to be near her. « It will be interesting to see how they do. » he mentally whispers to the green as he keeps his gaze on the weyrlings and the young dragons and not so young bronze. If he notices the injuries he doesn't seem to show it. His interest is more likely driven by the young gold and her visual predicament. A swell of music is sent in her direction « I will not forget. Have no fear. There will be all kinds of time to tell you many things you may wish to know. » Garouth's images of Monaco are met with warmth and the gleam of light, « I have visited your weyr before. I remember those places. » He notes the sadness of the brozes rider. Something unfortunate must have happened. Though there will be lots of time to find out what happened and help if he can.

Kera works to stifle a grin as one weyrling nearly does a header into the sand before catching his balance with the weighted vest. "Careful, you'll take a day or two to get your center of balance again." She loosens and tightens a few of the straps, before nodding at the fit and turning to Risali. Scaning the vest and nodding, reaching to make one or two adjusts so the weight is better distributed for the goldling's frame. "How's that." The awlm peers around to all the gathered weyrlings. "Sometimes it helps to crouch down a couple of times." Kera makes her way around the group and pauses to look over D'lei's vest. Gesturing towards his shoulders, "Might wanna tighten them up a bit but good otherwise." Walking once more around hte circle, giving the group a chance to get used to wearing the weighted vests, she claps her hands "Alright, from now on, these will be a part of your regular uniform. We are starting you with minimum weight and will gradually increase." A moment for that to sink in. "Alright. Now, today, you're going to do some running. Laps aup and down the beach." Kera turns and gestures to a marked boulder at one end of the shoreline, then turns and points out another on the other end. "You'll be running laps til midday meal, this afternoon, you'll be able to drop into some soft seats with your books in the lesson room. So you have that to look forward to while you're getting stronger with each lap."

Garouth saw nothing. It was too dark. Yes, okay, the darkness is his own mind and does nothing to diminish his perceptions, but that's not the point! The point is that he saw nothing… and he's better at it than D'lei is at hearing nothing, apparently. Though the bronzerider's expression does ease a bit with the squeeze and the continuing on, to where he's quite capable of grinning in response to his instruction to shut up. Nobody said he couldn't use his face hole for that! Just that he shouldn't be letting those WORDS out of it. He gets himself a vest of his very own (joy) and starts to shrug it on. "Here, let me get the other end of that," he adds to Risali as he reaches for a strap that's gone behind her to offer it to her hands. See how well he follows instructions? He was quiet for entire minutes, there. Garouth is much better at keeping to his silence. He is a statue! A watchful guardian, like one of those foo lions on the sides of staircases. Well, until Leirith makes her way back like a billiards ball bouncing off the other weyrlings to arrive against him. That draws a soft rumble from him, a vibration felt through his chest along with the warmth… though he remains where he is, at least in body. His mind takes back the images Leirith returns to him, and… extends them, like the fog of war gradually receding by the focus of attention. This beach leads to that rock, and behind it there's this tree… though the shadows creep back in where her attention isn't, dimming the view once more. Jaicoureth… well, he can follow along, but he's not the player character on this mental map. Just a sidekick! « It is my home. » Where he isn't, so maybe that's a part of the sadness going on here! Even if D'lei seems cheerful enough at the moment, nodding to Kera's instructions and re-adjusting his straps as he listens to the rest of it… then eyes Garouth. Well. Time to focus on making that mental connection go both ways, hmmm? Since someone is supposed to be learning his lesson here, and he doesn't exactly look to be the one who's going to suffer today.

« Good! » comes Leirith's un-ending cheer to Jaicoureth. « Because then I'll be angry! And you won't like me when I'm angry! Or my minion. Mostly my minion. » But does she mean it? There's nothing but amusement in her voice, the subtle hints of teasing song as Risali turns and lifts escaped hair away from her back and shoulders while D'lei helps her on instinct, blinking down at the strap he offers her and taking it almost sheepishly. "Thank you," she tells him, and she means it; then Kera is there, helping to adjust her work so that Risali's lifting her hair again and then shifting under the uncomfortable wrongness of the weight. "Better," she breathes, and then she crouches - once. It's a mistake. She falls onto her bottom and just sits there a moment, grey eyes going to he-who-nearly-face-planted as if to mutedly form some kind of, 'What are our lives right now?' support group. Her attempt to get back up? A failure. Faranth. The images in Garouth's mind are chased by the music in Leirith's, the encroaching shadows blooming and shrinking in time with the heart-pounding beat as excitement carries her along the map of where he's from. « Here is better, » Leirith tells him then, peeking behind a rock and stopping at the water in his mind. « Our moon is better. Stay. » But where any other voice might be dripping with longing, Leirith's is simply… up-beat. As always. Kind of like how Risali is giving up on hopes of pride and dignity - as always. Grey eyes go up to D'lei, and then she's reaching up her hands in a silent question of help. "Please?" If he doesn't help? Well, she'll just try to take his legs out from under him, of course. IF SHE HAS TO BE ON THE GROUND LIKE A PROVERBIAL TURTLE, SO DOES HE. And she'll laugh about it. Better just help her up, D'lei. SAVE EVERYBODY THE TROUBLE. "Leirith, leave Garouth and everybody else alone and pay attention." A beat. « Nope. »

The Sound of Silence from Garouth and D'lei. The blue continues his watchful gaze to the weyrlings, but also keeps his mind open to listen to all that the young ones are chattering about, or in some cases aren't. « Yes. » The blue says. It is the bronzes home, and home is always a good place. The music will swell and fade into the background as the blue chuckles inwardly at this young gold, « I somehow doubt that we will be seeing you angry any time soon. You seem perfectly content to be joyful. A wonderful trait to have. » As Jaicoureth converses with the dragons Kera will walk through the groups of weyrlings making sure that they are putting on the vests correctly, making sure that the pairs are doing ok and that sort of AWLMery sort of thing. Soon the various groups of weyrlings will begin their walk, jog, or run depending on their current level of fitness.

"Sure," D'lei says to that gratitude. It goes without saying, which explains why they're saying it. Because… they need to be grateful for something, and their new plate mail armor Is Not It. Their new plate mail armor is a reason to curl up in the snow forever! That's what Risali is doing, right? Her master plan? She can't run if she can't walk, and she can't walk if she can't stand up. So yeah, the sympathetic wince he had when she fell is replaced by amusement as she FAILS, but… okay yes he's not capable of being enough of a jerk to leave her there. That, or he's too concerned about the consequence! So he adjusts his feet on the snow to (hopefully) have a good grip and not fall to treacherous ice, bends from the knees not the waist, and… reaches out his hands to Risali. Don't fall over, don't pull him over, don't fall over, don't pull him over… it's a double mantra for him and her both! And if they succeed? They've got running to look forward to. Oh. Boy. Garouth, meanwhile, sits sedately and offers environmental sounds to remix with Leirith's music, the chirp of jungle creatures and the splash of the water. « Of course here is better. » Garouth answers with a soft flutter of snowflakes. « You know it. You feel it. You have not felt my home. » The snowflakes melt, raindrops pattering down. « I have… and you will. » Now he's planning her future? Big Bad Garouth-Wolf stealing away hatchlings! « I will take you there. »

Look at Risali, being all nice for once and not pulling D'lei down with her. In fact, the harper-turned-weyrling is very careful not to off-set D'lei's balance as she uses his hands to haul herself back up and - voila! TEAM WORK! There's a smile for the bronzerider, a mixture of 'thank you,' and a victorious, 'WE DID IT!' as she pumps one fist in the air, then punches D'lei in his arm, then waves to Kera and pulls D'lei into a jog with her. They don't need to run, right? They were just running, and anyway, Risali would like to get used to her new gait. Thankfully, her center of gravity is already relatively close to the ground, so the adjustment is… minimal. "Whoever thought of this is cruel," the goldling huffs to the bronzerider, but there's laughter in her voice, curbing the edge of her words. « That is to lure you into a false sense of security! » Leirith informs Jaicoureth, but the words are full of amusement, a challenge, almost, to see how he will respond to her baiting. « And when you think you're safe - WAHBAM! » The bass in her mind pounds as she delights in her own humor, punctuated by the soundtrack of Garouth's nature and probably tuned into something much more refined by the melodious blue. Her bass makes the rain rise like water on a speaker too-loud, causing it to ripple and rise in the opposite direction so that it's falling up instead of down; a curious effect, one that fascinates, but doesn't slow her down. « I'm going to go to all of them, » she informs Garouth. « To this Fort, and this Ierne, and this… » Whatever his is called; she simply projects his own images back to him. « And you will be with me! They're really going to have to be nice to us when we steal all of their moons. »

Kera will wave back to Risali. Her watchful eye catches all. Including some of the weyrlings that are having more trouble than others. D'lei and Risali are triumphant indeed and need little supervision from her. As the weyrlings manage to find their groove she will eventually take her leave of them and she and Moncerath will head back to the weyrlingmasters office. Though Jaicoureth elects to stay around and continue his conversation with the bronze and gold. A certain level of placidity marks the mindtones of the blue, if she is attempting to bait or get his goat she'll have a difficult time. « Mmmmm. My sense of security does not seem to be lulled at the moment, but I suppose that is the genius nature of your trap. » He will move on to the more interesting of the topics, « After you graduate you will be able to go where you will, and with who you will. » The bronze indeed can take her wherever she might like to go, « Though you will have to wait until you graduate and grow up a little bit. » Her enthusiasm though is precious, « You will find that most will be nice to you no matter what. »

Victory! D'lei grins, receiving his rightful reward of… punches and jogging. …how did he go so wrong in life? He had such a bright future once! "Ha," he says as he settles into that jog with Risali. "At lea-" Wait. No. He has (just barely) enough sense to not explain how it could be worse! This time he shuts up before Risali even says it. HE LEARNS. "…I mean, they're supposed to be making me suffer…" he says instead, even if it's not technically true. They're supposed to be making Garouth suffer. …actually, even that's not true. The lies are like turtles! They're supposed to be making Garouth learn personal responsibility and a lack of violence. So, uh… « One is seldom as safe as one thinks. » There's amusement beneath that, in the rumble of Garouth's mind as a flock of jungle avians all stir, beating wings in an effort to escape the prowling felines. Rain returns to the clouds, and returns as… snow? Or hail. Or sleet! So many options from the sky, like all the many Weyrs that Leirith will visit. « Monaco Bay, » he offers without interrupting, like an overdub of the visuals she shows for it. « Where will you keep that many moons? » he asks her curiously, a swirl of clouds hiding the sky. « It is easy to desire. It is hard to keep. » Jaicoureth is certainly heard, and Garouth does at least agree with one part enough to add to it himself. « You must grow stronger, before those journeys. »

D'lei thinks he's got it bad? Imagine being poor K'vir. Haha. Haha. Ha. (RIP, precious Cinnamon Roll). "They are making you suffer," Risali tells him around a breathy little laugh. "They put you in weyrlinghood with me." And Risali's all wicked deviance, communicated in grey eyes as she nudges D'lei again and then takes off slightly ahead of him. "Try and keep up!" Leirith? She stirs in Jaicoureth's mind, beating at the walls like a party gone on long throughout the night, that incessant neighbor that just doesn't seem to know when to stop. « Just you wait, » she tells him, a thrill of excitement as she lifts her head and wumps Garouth with her sightless head. It's an accident, but seems to ground her as she rolls onto her back, tail thumping a petulant beat against Garouth's darker hide as she listens to both. « Monaco, » the queen repeats, committing it to memory with amusement, and then laughing in both blue and bronze's heads so that the water explodes out regardless of what form it's taken, splattering at the edges of thought as Garouth asks such a ridiculous question. « The moons aren't for me, » she tells him. « They are for you. » And she remembers: he likes the chase; suddenly the bass in her mind is a rush of excitement to echo the emotion he shared before, a primal beat that speaks of stalking and being stalked, done without opening the doors of her mind to release the beauty of her dancers back into Garouth's forest - not when the blue is sharing their minds with them. « If you do not want to keep them, then why would you chase them? » It's an innocent enough inquisition, and then - something she can't do? Amusement. « You forget that I have the most badass minion around. We can do anything. » But it's the last part of the blue's comment that gives the little gold pause, and then there's a rush of excitement, the flickering acknowledgement of her desire to be wanted, to be welcomed, to be loved. « They will? » THIS IS GLORIOUS NEWS.

The glint of firelight off of diamonds is seen once more as the blue gives due consideration to the bronzes words. « It all depends on your definition of safe. There is all kinds of safety. Though I think you both are reasonably safe here. Except from the ultimate predator. Who is always circling, waiting to pounce. » he says using Garouth's imagery. Leirith is lucky that the walls the blue has built around his mind are thick. He was nearly as loud as her when he was younger and had to work on keeping it in, « Oh yes. Most are kind. You don't have to do anything to earn it. » He emits a small chuckle from his mind at the antics of the young one, « I'm sure in due time we will see how things are. » All things in due time.

"Ha!" It only gets one ha, because more laughing than that would require more breath than D'lei really wants to give it, but he grins nevertheless. "I'm doomed." Such cheerful doom, though. A brave smile to meet his fate! "Well, you try and not fall over!" he retorts to her, and then… once more she's started off without him and he's trying to catch up. It's like this is a PATTERN here. Is this what he can expect every day of weyrlinghood? PROBABLY. That's why it's a terrible fate! So he suffer-jogs along, this time without sliding on the ice. One faceful of snow per day is enough, thanks! That explosion of water from Leirith passes through Garouth's clouds… then turns to a laugh of his own as the droplets trigger the storm to release its rain, falling down with heavy droplets in a patter on leaves and roofs alike, quick beats around the heavy bass throb like the hurried steps and panting breaths amid the chase. « For the moment. » He echoes her beat, an answering throb like the heart of his rider, now pulsing faster with exertion from the run… or a dance. « There is joy in it. » Though even as he says it, there's a shiver through the trees, a cold wind that tears leaves from the trees. « Some are more. Those, I would keep. » Another gust of rain, this one crackling to ice as it falls amid deepened shadows. « …if I can. » He's no response for her (and her minion's) ability to do anything, neither agreement nor argument. Only shadows, deep in darkness.

Doomed? That's the understatement of the century, and for all of D'lei's keeping up with his witty retorts, Risali simply shoots a look over one shoulder at the bronzerider and then… yep. She raises both of her hands into the air, middle fingers raised, as she just keeps jogging. She'd be laughing too, if not for the fact that laughing sets her wheezing. Okay, so she's laughing, but it's definitely more of a wheezing as she keeps on. Leirith, meanwhile, is booming her joy at the blue, barely contained excitement that has her rolling again, bonking into Garouth once more, shifting wings that definitely clip to bronze. « I don't want to wait! I want to go now! » But Garouth draws her attention again, excitement going dim in the wake of curiosity as the gold beats at those raindrops again, forming patterns in the puddles that form to look like his shadow dragon from before, glimpses of the different weyrs she'd been shown before a reflection in each pool. « Which ones do you want to keep? » A beat, and then. « Of course you can! You are almost as ferocious and badass as my minion! Even the, » a flash of teeth and claws « mean one can't stop us when we're together! » She's just so confident in that. Alas, one day she will learn the ways of the world. « You will help protect our moons? » she asks the blue then.

The typical reaction of youth rolled up into one excitable package. That is Leirith. Jaicoureth lowers himself to his belly so that he may rest upon the beach, the warmth of the morning light pressing against his hide, « I'm afraid you both have lost me. » Clearly this is a reference to something that he hasn't been made aware of yet, « I'm not exactly sure what you mean when you talk about protecting moons. » The joys of metaphor are on display for all to see in this moment, « I'm sure that we'd both make sure you were safe if that is what you are asking. »

Garouth bows his head… which could be an aspect of that darkness surrounding him, buuuut once his head's down there… he nudges Leirith as she rolls against him. Rolly polly dragony bumps! Though even so, there's a certain reserve there, a weight to his thoughts that hadn't been there before… though there's a shiver of amusement across the surface, at least. « Almost. » Risali wins the double prize for fierceness. Look at those trophies! D'lei does, with a grin and more bits of laugh than he should for proper running… though even so, he does seem to be actually putting that leg length to use now and catching up. Soon he may even surpass her! If only this rock they're running to now was the stone of victory, as opposed to just the one of 'now you get to run back the other way again'. Raindrops fall in Garouth's mind, and as the ripples still there are images reflected in the puddles. The largest, ringed by verdant green, reflects the moon. Others, smaller, hold different shapes; cliffs by the sea-shore, a scattering of colored stones, a puddle - barely filled - with a downy feather floating in it. Garouth sways his head and bumps Leirith back on the other side, a soft rumble as he does. « There are many dangers. » The flash of teeth and claws is joined by the sting of sharp words, the image of a crying face. « We must be strong. » Strong, stronger, and someday they will be the strongest! « I could be content with one… if I did not see the others. »

Huff, huff, huff. SHE CAN DOOOO IT! D'lei just… does it better. "Oi!" the harper shrieks when he uses his long legs to his advantage and, sure enough, does surpass her. "Now who's cheating?! Get back here!" And while Risali pushes herself to keep up, she just… can't. At least she's in good spirits about it though, laughing and not doing what she wants to do: trip D'lei as he goes passed. As hilarious as it would be, he might actually get hurt, and things certainly stop being fun and games when somebody's bleeding out on the beach because you thought you were funny and their flimsy, mortal head did not. And of course she wins the double fierceness prize. This is Risali. Still, Leirith wuffles when the older bronze is bonking her side, nipping at his maw as proportionately small legs wiggle in the air, aiming for his face, unseeing. She's gentle about it, at least, especially if she manages to catch him. Still, the puddles are examined again, Leirith finding nothing of what she asked in their depths, and so the goldling is sending a throbbing pulse of bass throught the water, sending it up again in brilliant ripples that arc towards the sky and spatter. Heavy droplets fall back to the ground, chased into the foliage of Garouth's mind with beat after beat after beat. « So you don't know what moon you want? » she asks him, and then there's a sigh, curbed only by the un-ending cheer and her own amusement. « Underachiever. » A beat, and then the queen croons, rolling again, head bumping once more against the body beside her. « We are strong. The only danger is in forgetting that! Nobody gets the best of my minions! » At least, that's what Risali just told her. Speaking of Risali, she definitely lost this round, coming back 'round from the jog to double over and simply remember how to breathe for a moment. One, two, and she's moving over to Leirith then, hand going out to touch the gold's head (and Garouth if he'll allow), so that she knows it's time to leave. "Food?" she asks D'lei, because it's about time for that afternoon meal. But Jaicoureth! Leirith has not forgotten you. She stumbles into the blue on her way, all cheerful tones when she tells him, « Garouth chased the moon! I want to give it to him. » And away the pair go. D'lei and Garouth will catch up or they won't. Risali is hungry.

Jaicoureth didn't really get his answer, though it seems he isn't meant to right at this moment. There will be other times and other opportunites to solve the puzzle of this pair. For now though it is time to move on to other things. As the little gold stumbles into him he'll lean down to gently press against her shoulder to point her in the right direction, « Be well you two. » he says as he leaves to ponder.

Yep, there's his muzzle - and there! - batted and nipped and pursuing with nudges. He's gentle with the little gold, unconcerned should any of her nips end up harder than she meant. It's not like she can see what she's doing! In their minds, there's water, flung up - rain, thrown down - and Garouth lets it fall, the spatter of the puddles tossed throughout the forest to splash against leaves and drip down to the earth. « I could chase all of them. » he says as those raindrops fall. « That would be achievement. » Overachievement, even! Which… is maybe not ideal either. Something about happy mediums and moderation? …yeah, Leirith is probably not the one to consult with on that particular subject. « …the moon calls to me when I am gone. » It's seemingly out of nowhere, and then he leans his head down further, pressing his muzzle along her side with a warm press. « You will have many minions. Only one is Fiercest. » He rumbles, the murmur of thunder in the distance as more clouds roll in. « I have one moon. The others are… something else. » What? WHO KNOWS. He's probably only making this more confusing, but that's what Garouth gets for trying to avoid scarring innocent young minds. Confusion! And rain-spatters. Fortunately those aren't coming down on the actual riders as they run - haha, D'lei is in the lead! "Ne-ev-er!" One per pant of breath! And then they're there and back again, and… done? Kera's not here to tell them otherwise, so that must mean they are! Garouth lifts his head a bit as Risali nears, permitting her touch and then lifting his head the rest of the way to let Leirith go. Food time? "Shards, yes!" …is now time. Garouth and D'lei will follow, though the bronze's mind hangs back. « When she is older, she will understand. » he tells the blue in a quiet breeze, then adds a gust. « Be well. » And then he's off! To food, or at least the vicinity of it. And maybe he'll figure out a better explanation for the young gold, or maybe she'll just be distracted by some other topic. Who knows? The future remains to be explored.

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