Two is Better Than One!

Xanadu Weyr - Meadow
A large, slightly rolling meadow is set high enough above the riverbank on both sides to avoid suffering from flooding, healthy ground cover and grass spreading out from either side of the dividing river. Scattered amongst the meadow are a variety of weyrs, each with a narrow path leading up to it from a main, winding road. Some are set under a few trees, while others sit by themselves. The meadow continues with gentle rolls and dips, grass tall and short waving in the slightest of breezes, and eventually those hills grow higher and steeper, ending in a large rige that provides a fine view of that meadow and the rest of the Weyr, gazing out over the multicolored roofs of the houses and the cliff that holds the caverns.
Runner stables with the paddock beyond are to the south beyond the meadow weyrs, and a smithy and a woodcraft shop are settled closer in towards the path to the clearing. Trees border the northern side of the meadow, and more of those low, rolling hills can be seen to the northwest. A road passes through the meadow, coming from the east and used by traders and crafters alike. Wagons laden with felled trees from the forests or ore from the mountains are hauled by burden beast up the road through the meadow, over the bridge spanning the river to be processed in the appropriate workshops.

Leirith, well… Leirith still has those No Good, Very Bad, Terrible eye patches on over her eyes - but something is different today. The little queen is always practically vibrating with energy and joy, unhindered by what has kept her limited to date and then some, but today is different. And Risali is there with Leirith, hands and foreheads both pressed to the dragon's max as if she can possibly help to contain any of those wordless but still loud drums; as if she can minimize the effect of soul-deep bass that reaches out far indiscriminately. Where else would she be? Firelizards were dispatched at some point, to Cara and D'lei, asking for an audience (and possibly to others, who MAYBE HAVE DRILLS AND CANNOT MAKE IT), and so now the pair wait. "Soon, Leirith." Risali breathes. "Very soon."

Today is… the first day of the rest of their lives? Well, yes. But so is every day! This one is special because… reasons, presumably. Ones that will be revealed in… the fullness of time, yes. When will the time be full? …possibly SOON. D'lei is on his way, at least. He's riding Garouth, though… he is very much not demonstrating proper use of his straps. It's okay, though. The bronze is walking on the ground, wings folded, so it's fine that D'lei is just lying there on his back (Garouth's back, that is. The rider's lying on his stomach) with his head propped up on his elbows. This is fine. He doesn't fall off, not even when the waves of bass throb against minds and are answered by the gust of a cold wind. D'lei balances there, nice and steady… until they get there, but then when he falls (climbs) off it's on purpose, so everything is still Just Fine.

An audience request? A mystery to be solved! Faeth is there like a shot… if a shot were slightly wobbly in the sky, landing often, and having to constantly re-adjust their trajectory because their tail is slightly too short and knocks them off balance (no matter how much they might deny that fact and claim that people are just being rude if they bring it up). But if points were to be given for sheer bloodymindedness and determination to get there… well she'd definitely be in the top five. Cara takes the slower route, mostly through being left behind in the initial rush and then decided that maybe now wouldn't be the best time to try jumping on for a ride. "Would you wait up." is soon followed by "Faeth!" and then "I will cut off your wings I swear it." Other mutterings become mostly incomprehensible as she concentrates on running along, muttering under her breath, and arriving quite a bit after her lifemate.

And the chill of wind sends the forever-party in Leirith's mind into a booming swell, the not-so-small-at-all-anymore queen shifting about on paws as wings rustle in the agitation of impatience against her back, and she bumpbumpbumps Risali with her nose again. Then Faeth is there, and the drums somehow get even louder, causing Risali to wince (though not reprimand) as she whispers something to Leirith and breaks away from her to greet the riders. D'lei is first, because he's there first; Risali catches his hand in one of hers and pulls him over to Cara, whose hand also gets caught in her own so that she can give them both a gentle squeeze and guide them. "She wants us out of the way," she whispers, and she pulls them over towards Leirith, though a ways off to the side, before she lets them go. "Ready, Leirith?" But the gold is all sound, too excited to form coherent thought as she shifts, and shifts again, and again, and again, and again. "Hold still. Hold still." And fingers reach up to pull buckles free and slowly peel away those patches and - then Risali stumbles, because that is disorienting. Leirith? SHE CAN SEE, and the first thing she sees is Garouth and oh. There's an absolute stillness about the growing gold, as she takes in hide and coloring and size and projects it back to Garouth with her assessment of him: he is magnificent, and handsome, and fierce. « I see you, Garouth. » And it's earnest, upbeat despite the giddiness that somehow makes it sound almost breathless. « I see you. » The last thought is clear: he's a badass. But while she lingers on the bronze, Leirith does eventually shift again to take in her much smaller sister, aware of her in a way she's never been before, taking in shades of green and smallness befoe she projects her thoughts and her vision back to her as well. Beautiful. Faeth is beautiful, and small, and probably if a dragon could cry, Leirith would be doing it right now. But that's a human thing to do, which is why Risali is pressing the heels of her palms to her eyes and trying her very best to pretend like she is totally not giving in to happy emotions NEW WEYRLING, WHO DAT WHO DIS. "Thank you for coming," she tries instead, for Cara and D'lei, as Leirith stands there shaking with the desire to move closer, and yet… remain where she can see them. « I see you! » It's for both of them that time, not that she limited her voice to one or the other from the very beginning.

But Faeth WILL SHOOT THROUGH ALL IMPEDIMENTS. Even if they're her own body. That is no excuse for them to continue to exist! The mystery will be solved. Garouth rumbles beneath Leirith's throb of music, the wall that shakes with the force of the speakers, and he also turns his head to watch the green for a moment. He's a rumble for Faeth also, his mental winds brushing the contour of the concept of her wings with something that is at once greeting and a subtle suggestion of how to adjust them - like a mental wind tunnel that shows highlights of aerodynamics in motion and their potential. Maybe a little more stretched, yeah? Soar. (And also, hello.) D'lei squeezes Risali's hand as she takes it and drags him over to join Cara as well for… "Uh oh." There's a grin with the murmured words. If they need to be out of the way, what doom is this that even Leirith understands the need to have the squishies no squooshed. But he stays where he's put, neatly out of the way with Cara, and watches as… "Ohhh." The eyes! THE EYES. Leirith's are revealed, and they reveal… GAROUTH. The bronze rumbles louder, a thrum from his chest that rises in volume, and he spreads his wings a little, showing their span, their ragged edges that shift like his very shadows. « You have found me. » With her eyes! And he's proud of her, for having made this journey of discovery that required waiting for so long and adapting and now she's there and she sees him… and Faeth, too, and Garouth's rumble of pride continues as Leirith takes in her sister as well, seeing and putting vision - her vision - to a mind and a sense of touch and a voice. D'lei grins, with the over-shaped goofy version of that expression but no words to answer Risali He steps closer, though - in behind Risali to tuck his arms around her from there, so he can hug her without interfering with her watching of Leirith as She Sees. Or his own, for that matter; watching over her shoulder as Garouth lowers himself to a crouch with forequarters down and hind still lifted, like a canine play-bow of invitation to tug with his new visibility on the invisible cord of connection.

Tendrils of rose thread their way through those drumbeats, brushing against Garouth's flight images before Faeth's touch mingles with the excitement of her BIG sister. There's excitement too in the way that the little green shuffles from foot to foot, clearly desperate to ask what's going on but not wanting to butt in just yet. Nooooot yet. She does shuffle closer to Garouth though. Shuuuuuuuuffle. Cara's hand is snagged, then dragged, and she moves easily, but she's not willing to hold back as much as her other half. "What's going on Risa?" The tone in her voice? Excitement. It's catching after all. As they're left alone-ish, she turns to look at D'lei giving a puzzled look and a little shrug of her shoulders as if to ask if he knows, but without saying anything because… the wrappings are coming off!! There's a gasp, and the observant might notice a crossing of the fingers on her left hand before she hides it behind her back. Somewhere between Risa's 'hold still' and the first declaration of sight Faeth starts to wiggle even more with excitement, the herb garden of her mind bursting into full bloom and threatening to take over the world. Focussed mindtouches? Not today! Today it's broadcast to anyone that happens to be nearby. « You do! You do! » Dragon and rider move as one, though each has a separate target - as Cara lunges to hug Risali (and potentially catch D'lei as well unless he manages to duck) Faeth bounds towards Leirith, and then backs off, and then forwards again. Frolicking. it could definitely be called frolicking.

They are both, truly, creatures of beauty, and Leirith greedily devours the way colors catch in the sun, and shift when each moves and - « Always. » She tells Garouth, because she has told him it a thousand times before (though it seems that the phrase is losing some of its innocence, though enough of it remains), and she will remind him every day. Amusement, and joy, and love comes for her sister, watching the way she moves, appreciating the agility she herself will likely never know, letting Faeth see herself how Leirith sees her until - yes. Garouth lowers himself, and Leirith shifts herself down with hind-quarters up, pressing her maw into the spring-new ground of the meadow. « Run! » she tells them both, wings snapping out and extending over the heads of riders as she makes her intention to both Garouth and her sister clear: run, and she will catch you. And hopefully they are quick to obey, because the queen is already bounding… in the wrong direction. Okay. Give her a moment. This is the right way to place her feet, right? Okay… maybe… maybe not. WAIT. SHE'S GOT IT. SHE'S GOT THIS. SHE'S TOTALLY GOT THIS. « RUN! » Preferably away from where people's PLACES OF HABITATION will wind up under dragon-feet, please. Risali watches the dragons with a breath of laughter that's maybe only a little shaky, leaning back into D'lei when he comes to her as fingers catch his arm, then his hand, and squeeze. And here comes Cara! Drawing Risali's attention for a split second with her movement and another laugh as she reaches for her when she lunges. She brings her arm around the younger weyrling's middle and pulls her in against herself and D'lei, using the hug to disguise that SO WHAT IF SHE'S CRYING (because that's what hugs are, just really clever ways to hide your face and express too much emotion). But she doesn't have words, because words are just… void of the proper meaning, and there are games afoot.

Cara's questioning look is answered with a spread of D'lei's arms and a shrug of his own. He hasn't a clue! …well, not about this, anyhow. Not until the mystery is resolved and those eyes are revealed! AND THEN HUGS. D'lei most certainly does not duck Cara, in no small part because that would mean him not hugging Risali and NOPE NOT HAPPENING. So they can all hug together, in some kind of happy-teary-pile of YAY because, well, Leirith can see now! So it's Just Fine if Risali's eyes are blurred by those tears. Her job as seeing eye minion HAS BEEN ACCOMPLISHED, and D'lei grins to Cara over Risali and watches because he wants to see this seeing now. And Garouth? He rumbles as his wings flare, the shimmer of his brindled pattern as bronze shines against the darkness, and… he laughs, a shake of the ground beneath the forest as it trembles with amusement. When Leirith says to run… Garouth runs, with a sideways pounce and a bound into motion that… well, it's probably a good thing he never intended to go far, because Leirith is HAVING SOME ORIENTATION PROBLEMS. This is fine, though. This is fine, because Garouth can gambol in an arc that doesn't actually take him very far away even as he runs, up toward… oh, the observatory? This is a great plan, because it's daytime so none of the starcrafters will be there to get squished! Okay, yes, there are lots of fragile and expensive things there, but surely they'll veer away before they crush too many of them.

Ah the joys of a threeway hug. At some point it'll probably occur to Cara just how this looks, and in public too, but for the time being she is happy to hold and be held in the Joyous-Cuddle-Of-Sight (tm). The grin on her face… couldn't be removed with a citron, and that quiet muttering of "Oh Risa." that can surely be forgiven when it comes from a place of utterly happiness for her friend. Boom, thyme bomb. A happy little herby explosion confirms that it is indeed Game On and Faeth whisks around on that stubby little tail of hers and bounds a little bit away but in the opposite direction from Garouth. Oops. Re-think, re-orient, re-prance… yep, she meant that honestly. « Can't catch meeeeee. » Hop, hop, run towards Garouth and the observatory! Ignore the wiggling of her backside as she runs, it's meant to do that.

"I know," Risali breathes back to Cara, just as excited; she's breathless, uncaring that her voice breaks in between the two simple words, then laughing again. And she just holds on, to D'lei and to Cara, maybe a little too tight, but not giving a damn what it looks like to the outside world because this is one of those moments that the outside world doesn't get to intrude upon. So Leirith runs, and her footing is wonky and clumsy and disoriented, but she runs anyway, bass and drums beating after bronze and green as Faeth orients herself and rejoins the game. THEY CAN DO THIS. TOGETHER. Break all the things, that is. The things that aren't people, at least. And maybe together is the best idea. Leirith tucks her wings back in when she realizes that they form a resistance against the air and cause drag, slowing her down in this game of chase that she intends to win even if it means, « Catch him, Faeth! » Because isn't this what Garouth's monsters taught her? To use your prey to lure out others, as another way to seek and catch. And if Faeth, who is smaller and faster, catches the bronze first, well… then she's caught them both, hasn't she? AND DON'T LISTEN TO HER THOUGHTS, YOU GUYS. THAT'S REALLY RUDE. SHE CAN'T HELP IT YET. And then Risali is moving, pulling Cara in a little closer, squeezing as she breathes, "Thank you," against her hair, and then lets her go. Risali's turning to D'lei then, so she can catch his face in her hands, and amber with grey, communicating the same thing wordlessly as she uses the tips of her toes to plant a kiss on his cheek, and then she's running too. Hugs are good, and friends are better, but crying is not so good, and when have you ever known Risali to sit around and cry it out? "GO, LEIRITH! GET THEM! TO THE RIGHT, TO THE RIGHT!" Because this is how cheaters win, and Risali certainly cannot change her spots.

This way! No that way! Maybe both ways, because then Leirith could have a better chance of chasing in the right direction… which she will. Eventually, anyhow! « I will be first! » To the finish line? To… be caught? Who knows! But Garouth flares his own wings, because never mind that they create drag and are actually an impediment to his speed, they are a display that he can make for Leirith now that she can see it; a glimmering banner he carries as he runs with a stretch of his body down against the ground that has him leaping small hillocks with a single bound! « So chase me! » cries the bronze, laughter in his mind as he runs and is pursued by gold and green. Because this is clearly how it works, right? This is logical and sensib- no, wait. This is awesome and fun, and Garouth revels in it as he zigs and zags, drawing that pursuit. D'lei grins back to Risali, his hand shifting to brush her cheek softly - not to wipe tears, nope, the existence of those is not permitted under section 37B of the unified Risali code, but just to touch there in response to that kiss as he grins to her with his eyes warm and bright… and then she's off again, at a run to help Leirith PURSUE. D'lei grins to Cara as the two of them are left behind - for now, anyway. "Shall we?" CHASE TIME?

And so the world is tipped on its head and the girls chase the boys. Equal rights and all that! Faeth's butt gives one more wiggle and then she's off, not as a target for Leirith, but definitely in pursuit of Garouth. She might figure out the plan eventually, but for now it's all Fun. « Flank him! Flank him! » There's a tinge of copper comes into her thoughts, mixing with the herbal base as her brain goes to work on planning, plotting, and otherwise seeking to bring about the massive bronze's downfall. Two against one, those have to be good odds regardless of size. Cara watches as Risali moves away, and there's a definite fond look there and maybe just a hit of watery eyes. And then Risa's gone and Cara starts to laugh, tears are completely forgotten as D'lei speaks and she drops her head in a little bow. "After you." That foot she sticks out in front of his, totally accidental. Honestly.

THERE IS A WHOLE LOT OF SABOTAGE GOING ON TODAY! It is just a whole lot of girls versus boys, and Leirith delights in it, meeting Garouth's laughter with her own exuberant delight. She heeds her sister's directions, and she banks - in the wrong direction, but this is fine. Because that was just so that Garouth thinks he's safe, surely, and she banks again, the correct way, pushing the limits of her body so that she can try to find a way around and cut him off. But that doesn't mean she is capable of remaining without distraction, and it happens when Garouth flairs his wings and there's a honest moment of the dragon-equivalent for breath being caught - and then she's thrumming her thoughts at both of them: this is fun, this is amazing, and she is beautiful, and he is… breathtaking. That's Risali's words, not her own, but she forms words outside of her appreciation for clutchmate and not-so-foreign bronze. It comes with the sweet scents of spun sugar and funnelcake, and it sends her determination skyrocketing. « We are going to catch you, Garouth! Faster, Faeth! Don't let him escape! Two is better than one! » And Risali keeps running too, eyes forward and not at all on the possible-tripping-of-D'lei that's happening behind her as she keeps shouting instructions and running to keep up. "He's going to get away, Leirith! Faeth! Don't let him! GET HIM!"

D'lei is surrounded by cheaters! Because, sure, he starts to run after Risali, but then there's this foot stuck out in his way where Feet Should Not Be (Except For His), and he trips because he is too trusting. And so he stumbles forward, with a yelp and a thud of his feet as he attempts to not fall over by continuing to run instead. So what if that means hopping on one foot and leaning (falling) forward until he bounces off the ground with a palm? It is only a minor scrape. The gravel now embedded in his skin are very small pieces of rock, and there's a glee in his heart that… is only partly the overflow of emotion from Garouth, splashing back to fill his rider. The bronze runs, veering from Faeth's pursuit - and taking advantage of the ground's slope as he does - only to see that Leirith is running… the wrong wa- WAIT NO, RIGHT WAY NOW. He roars, a triumph at being pursued or at least at the not-so-little-anymore gold being able to pursue, to summon Faeth as her minion not only to do what she cannot but to help her together. « Yes. YES! » And he keeps running, now tucking his wings in against his body - because he's attracted his chasers, drawn their attention, and he will not make it easy. His goal? To lunge past Leirith, to make it through that gap in her trap given by her momentary confusion of direction… perhaps even to send Faeth tumbling into her sister and snarl the both of them together! But first he has to make it past, find enough speed to get by Leirith before she's ready to pounce. Will he make it, or will her claws catch him as he flies? (…runs.) So what if anyone watching might look funny at this seeming reversal of traditional roles? It's not for them.

"Sorrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeee." Cara most definitely is not, but manners are a thing that must be done even as one is tearing off across the meadows in pursuit of the world's largest game of tag. At least she does have some small amount of sense in that she keeps mostly out of the obvious path of the dragons, though with the way they're running around 'obvious' might actually be an overstatement. Faeth turns, feet scrabbling to find purchase against the ground as she turns, her wings flaring out beside her as she just gives in and hop, flap, turns, and then takes off again after Garouth. « We've got him! We've got him! Pounce now! » Oh the innocence of youth. For all she thinks they might have him trapped, Garouth is of course heading for that gap, and that means that Faeth is now heading straight for Leirith. Collision course! Awooga! Awooga! Danger! Evasive maneuvers needed!

And Risali can definitely hear that there is something going on behind her, but she can't spare a glance; not when the girls are closing in on Garouth as much as Garouth is closing in on them, and Risali's screaming, "LEIRITH, POUNCE!" But there's no EVASIVE MANEUVERS TO BE HAD HERE - though for once, perhaps, Leirith's clumsiness works in her favor, because she does pounce and… stumbles? Yeah. She stumbles, lacking grace and footing both so that it's less a catch of the bronze, and more a… tackle? And unless Faeth applies her agility, then there's probably going to be a BIG OL' HEAP OF THREE DRAGONS THERE. Assuming, of course, that Garouth and Faeth are… caught.

D'lei will PERSEVERE! Just because he's been tripped up by cheaty cheaters who make false claims of penitence is no reason to give up, and indeed he laughs as he chases after the girls, brushing his hand against his trousers to knock that gravel off. It's all fine, everything is awesome in this moment, and he runs after as Garouth makes for the gap only to have it close! It crashes in like a gate that he has failed to hack in time, the jaws of a trap that come FLYING TOWARD HIM in a Leirith-shaped projectile that knocks into him with a DEFINITELY NOT SMALL ANY MORE Leirith. WHOOOOOOF! « I - am - foooound! » Caught, he means, and the wolves of his mind set up a howl through the forest in seemingly hundreds of voices as he tumbles to his side in front of Faeth, his bronzen bulk a tripping hazard far worse than anything Cara did to D'lei. Where by tripping we mean a barricade of tangled bronze and gold FROM WHICH THERE IS NO ESCAPE. (Probably.)

Faeth folds, which is surprisingly easy when your back end is so much shorter than your front. Butt hits the ground, feet dig in, brakes applied… Unfortunately considering the speed she was going at there's little chance of her actually stopping dead, and instead she goes into a rather spectacular, and oddly graceful, slide that has her gently twisting around in a full circle before THUD. « Got you! » Not that it's difficult to catch someone when they're already stopped, but such small details really don't matter. At some point Cara began laughing hard enough that breathing is becoming a bit of an issue, she's still buckled over trying to laugh-snort-breathe all at once when Faeth scrabbles to her feet and sets off running again. « Chase me this time! » No waiting, no looking to see if the others have untangled yet, she's off and running and heading for the beach at full speed. It takes a moment but Cara follows pretty quickly after, probably to make sure nothing happens to the oblivious runaway, but there might be just a little escaping revenge tripping in there too.

DISHONOR, CARA! DISHONOR ON YOUR WHOLE FAMILY. DISHONOR ON YOU, DISHONOR ON YOUR COW. And by dishonor, I clearly mean HIGHEST OF FIVES. Ahem. Caught. Garouth is caught, and Risali is swinging around mid-run to face D'lei and coming for him - probably half at Leirith's insistence and just her desire to be close. And she catches him around the middle, with a delighted laugh, fingers catching in his tunic and fisting in the material as grey eyes find Cara laughing and she laughs harder. And oh, Garouth! Leirith's dancers spill out into the forest to howl with the wolves, victorious in their game, confident in their hunt, and Leirith bunts Garouth and Faeth both with exceeding enthusiasm that swells rather then dulls. Pride? Yes. Love? Definitely. « We will always find you, Garouth! » And her maw is open, panting in effort to fill laboring lungs as she watches her sister go and - another game. Give her a moment. She needs to remember how to breathe. Risali's lungs are laboring too, but laughter lingers in the brilliance of a smile as she watches Cara go and then tilts her had back so that she can look up at D'lei. "And now I've caught you," she tells him on a whisper, before she catches his hand in hers and takes off after Cara. Leirith's delight expands again, and she's as careful as she can manage to be, disengaging herself from Garouth as she takes off after her sister towards the beach. « And now, Garouth, we will catch Faeth! » Because, after all… two is better than one!

DOUBLE CAUGHT. Or, really, DOUBLE DOUBLE CAUGHT. Because Garouth is caught by Leirith (whump) and Faeth (thump), tumbled together into their pile. « You do. » Garouth croons to both, pleased because HE IS CAPTURED. Or because LEIRITH CAN SEE. Or maybe just BECAUSE. And that's one double catching, but then Risali goes back and DOUBLES the Leirith-catch by getting D'lei as well, and he laughs, breathy and eager as he squeezes her in against him with a crush to squish out any breath she may yet have. No more than a whisper of words, and he grins to her with them as he nods, amber eyes intent on hers for a moment after one laugh ends - and before the next begins, for his hand twines with hers as they run again, this time in pursuit of Cara (the cheater!) who's in pursuit of Faeth… and so are Leirith and Garouth, bronze giving himself a shake as he stands. « There is no escape! » he agrees to the young gold, with a mighty roar before he launches into a run once more. « We chase! » BECAUSE IT'S FUN. Though being chased… well. That's fun too!

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