Defective
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Xanadu Weyr - Shore of Lake Caspian
The cliffs that run along the shore come and go, various weyrs nestled along the tops of them or dug into the walls, but eventually they recede enough to expose a beach. The white sand echoes the rise and fall of the cliffs with a multitude of sandy dunes, endlessly creating tiny valleys that are constantly demolished and rebuilt by the frequent arrival or departure of dragons. The dunes smooth out as the gentle slope approaches the edge of the deep blue water. The sand darkens, and a shell here and there stands out for children to collect.
The beach narrows to the southwest, leaving a path barely wide enough for dragons in single file before cutting in to a smaller, more sheltered cove. The sands are the same white, the waters the same blue, but they're calmer and more tranquil, more protected from the winds that ruffle Lake Caspian and the currents that tug beneath the surface.
Rough, wide stairs lead up to the meadow above and the road that runs along the top of the cliffs, passing through the fields and heading for the river mouth that can be just barely seen from here. The largest of the staircases up the cliff is located near the docks that jut out onto the peaceful blue waters.


It's a beautiful day — or it would be, if it weren't below freezing, and if there weren't huge piles of fairly-nasty slush all over the main of the Weyr. The sun's shining, there's no cutting wind, and even though it's cold the sun warms it up a bit. Out here, the snow is less bothered, whole drifts of it piled among the dunes and gnarled trees against the cliff-face. Further from the bustle of the Weyr, it's not common to see too many people, but they're there if you know where to look. Namely, among the dunes, where a small round ball of coats and mittens is being…tossed. Into the snow. By a inky-dark dragon who's definitely laughing. "Higher! Higher!" It's the second generation Jaesriuth's — watched over might be kind of a strong term — influenced, and he's as obnoxious as ever. Who throws a kid who's only *just* ten turns old. FWOOOSH, there she goes again, higher this time and laughing at the top of her lungs as she lands in the huge pile of snow. "Yeah!

It's a very stern-looking Sanldoth that glares imperiously over at Jaesriuth, judging him quietly, though what else is new there, really. Slitted eyes whirl with various colors, but otherwise the sharp-knobbed green doesn't move. There's some interesting things going on in her head, no doubt, but those thoughts are reserved for those deserving, not poor little Chel, who's only having some fun. Unwarrantedly dangerous fun, but fun nonetheless. "If ya break your neck, I'm not spoon-feedin' ya for the rest of your life." Ah, a voice of reaso— Oh, no, it's just Esiae. Huffing quietly because here goes the neighborhood, the green gives up, curling her head down under one wing. There. What she can't see, she can't be blamed for. Illogical, but then, look who she lives with. Hands stuffed deep in pockets, Esi beams down at Azchel in her snow pile, nose wrinkled a bit as though simultaneously amused and disgusted. "Findin' you like snow after all?" Fingers waggle pleasantly up at Jaesriuth, and the same would be offered to Sanldoth, but, well… "Bigmouth couldn't keep his trap shut, eyy? Makin' you do all the watching for him?" There's a particularly wry twist to the woman's mouth, words low and aimed mostly for the blue, but if Chel overhears, oh well. "Anyhow, I heard someone went and had a turnday recently. Wonder who that'd be, and if they deserved a present." Sly eyes twitch over to Azchel, brows tilting up juuust a bit as something wiggles suspiciously in her coat.

For the number of years poor Sanldoth has been watching Jaesriuth's misadventures, it is probably not surprising how good he is at ignoring the glaring green. Azchel, maybe not quite so much, but Sanldoth's been sitting there glaring for an awful long time yet and hasn't eaten them. So the wary squinting may or may not be warranted, as the kid climbs out of her giant hole in the snowpile and tries to avoid the green's stare. « Don't you worry, Sanldoth's just boooo-ring. » Jaesriuth includes the whole troop gathering in on that, sweet-bright for the aforementioned green, eyes dancing amusement as Chel brightens right up for Esiae. "You say that *now*." The girl giggles, dusting snow off of her coat and abruptly diving back into the pile. Can't forget the throwing-rope. "S'good for playing, and unc — Jae's got fire. Lots of it. I never saw a dragon flame before." Her eyes are very, very wide as she stares up at Esiae. « Rymrth's a smart guy. Explained it. I couldn't just *leave* her there, look at her. » Huff. Chel's too busy eyeing the rider's wiggling coat, eyes narrowed. "You're wigglin'." Is her first comment, just in case Esi's got something in there she doesn't know about, before her eyes widen and then narrow again; she tries to hold back a bright smile and fails miserably. "I did! I'm *ten*."

« I am not boring, Jaesriuth, » Sanldoth answers, using his name like another might use a curse. « I am merely pointing out that the number of times you toss her and she lands safely significantly and statistically increases the probablility that she will be injured with the next toss, » she adds, not sharing that with anyone but Jaesruith as is her fashion, but pretty much everyone else can guess she's thrown something his way judging from her sudden, indignant glare back in his direction. "I say that for keeps. Ain't nothin' gonna convince me to spoon-feed anybody, least of all a shrimp like you." Her smirk only widens for that change of words, eyes sparkling up at Jaesriuth. "If there's anything uncle Jae's good for, it is fire," she agrees, using the nickname very much on purpose. She considers a reply for the blue, but her look is likely enough, knowing and mirthful at once. Instead, she twitches her brows over at Azchel, unbuttoning her coat just enough to withdraw a lanky little ball of orange fluff from the depths of her coat. "Think a kitten would be a good present for a ten-turn-old, then?" Mewling dismay at being exposed to the air, the little thing paws back towards Esiae, then towards Azchel as the goldrider extends the kitten out towards her. Reacting to its sibling's alarm, a somewhat larger brown tabby peeks out of Esi's hood, mewling squeakily. What's going on here?

ALAS that dragons can't actually blow raspberries, because Jaesriuth's response would involve one. As it is, he laughs in a crackle of energy, wings flipping out as he grabs for the rope Chel's forgotten. Esi's cooler than her old uncle, sad day. « Well, then it is good that my own could heal her! Plus, children are *tough*. Look! » The poor kid's in for the shock of her little life when she goes flying facefirst into the drift; laughing the whole way in shock and delight, of course. "AAAHhhhOOF." And she's scrambling back out just as quick, spitting snow and giggling maniacally. "Well, fine, but you're gonna need it sooner'n me. See if I give ya yer gruel when you're all old'n wrinkled." The kid laughs, flopping on her back in the snow for a moment and kicking until she's more or less facing the goldrider. "He's *so good*! Yeah!" She agrees, nodding and grinning up at Jaesriuth; who's…fluttering his inner eyelids at Sanldoth, gross. Not charming. No matter what he thinks. And ignoring Esi except — « Better than *grandfather*. » He's delighted. Oh, boy. …yeah, that noise? It's coming from Azchel, who rises up out of that snow like somebody lit a fire under her behind. "YOU GOT ME A CAT? YOU GOT ME A CAT OH MY F —" But no, that's going to *scare* the cat. She quiets abruptly, vibrating with energy as she reaches for the little furball. "I got a *kitten*, oh, look! You got one too!"

Alas also that Sanldoth's can't just reach out and choke Jaesriuth for that, because she looks as though she'd like to when he abruptly tosses the poor girl into the snowdrift again. A long moment passes, in which black holes whirl through her mind, threatening to swallow his lightning alive before the brief flicker of frustration fades, followed by blank, starry calm. « Yours heals dragons. That is not the same. » And the eyelid thing is definitely gross, but its intent must reach Sanldoth, for she merely sighs aloud and stares at him. It might be admiringly under there somewhere. Way, way under there. Esiae laughs for the snow-spitting that ensues, pulling the kitten back to herself to keep it free and clear until the girl can get the majority of the snow back off herself. "Psh, I'll be a retired weyrwoman, I'll have weyrbrats lining up for the honor," she says completely untruthfully, head shaking before suddenly her eyes light up. It's Faranthmas all over again! "Grandfather," she says, because she clearly didn't put that together just yet. It's been hard enough wrapping her mind around Zan'ri and Azchel to consider what that made the girl to R'iahn. She doesn't push the issue now, but that look in her eyes is positively fey. This will be discussed at length later. For now, she beams down at Azchel, letting the girl settle herself before handing the kitten over. "I did! Well, actually, you're doin' me a favor - them and their siblings were chasin' me around the weyr a couple'a days ago - but I figured of all the people I know, you'd do best with one." She grimaces a bit for the tabby now hunching on her shoulder, huffing quietly. "We aren't talking about it." Because she never wanted the fuzzball anyways, but it's very likely somebody's convinced her to give it a shot.

It's really just a miracle that Jaesriuth hasn't gotten himself throttled by now; he's steadfastly bright and amused, eyes flickering and dancing with joy as Azchel squirms around in the snow. « Sure, it's easier. » The blue flutters a few more times and laughs, subsiding in an untidy sprawl alongside Sanldoth. Old biddies, lounging in the cold. Chel's considering this untruth for a long moment before she shrugs — smirking around a tooth that may or may not have been missing before her snow-scapades. "If y'say so." She beams, because there *is* a kitten dangling there and the kid's not dumb enough to make it disappear by telling Esi she'll be too old and weird and the kids'll run from her crazyface. "S'what Jae said." This gets a suspicious kind of squint from the girl, but she shrugs one-shouldered, letting that one go with a giggle and an in-place wiggle. KITTEN. Much more important than POSITIVELY ANCIENT relatives who have sprung up out of the snow. The little thing doesn't look real happy about the snowy state of the girl's coat, but Azchel has a pretty good grip on it. "You really think so?" Chel smiles wide and happy, planting a smooch on the squirmy fuzzball's nose and wrinkling her own. "S'not a problem *I'd* think's one, kittens followin' you around. You're weird. Why you not thinking 'bout it? What's its name? Is it a boy or a girl? Oh! What's this one? What should I name mine!" Esi totally asked for it, really.

« You would not be saying that, were S'gam here, » Sanldoth says, tone a big smug now, though she'd never admit it, leaning gratefully against the great warm blue, though she'd never admit to that, either. "I do say so," Esi says with an equally lopsided, though much more toothy, grin. Yep. That's definitely the crazyface that'll drive 'em off - it gets even crazier and more manic-looking for that suspicious squint, but the goldrider's more than happy to let the kitten redirect the tide of explanations she just doesn't want to get into right now. "Hey, there were eleven of 'em, and they wouldn't shut up. Meow meow meowing, following me no matter how I tried to ditch them…" A beat. "Yeah, okay, maybe I am weird, but… animals don't like me." These ones clearly the exception. "As for his name… I dunno. Something big feline-ish, 'cause he's got this teeny little mane going," she says, fingernails flicking along the shoulder-perching kitten's cheeks. "Beastcrafters say these two're both boys," she adds with a helpless shrug as for naming hers. She's not terribly adept at it - it's likely Balian's name was provided for her by someone else! "I dunno. What does he remind you of?" Helpful.

Jaesriuth is all dignity and amusement, flicking fizzes of energy. « Certainly I would. S'gam knows what I mean. » He harrumphs good-natutedly, content to provide warmth and be smug and amused. Azchel *rolls* her eyes for that grin, wrinkling up her whole face comically to grin at the rider. "Y'know ya look a little off." She just can't help herself, wiggling in place still. "I like ya, but." Because obviously one tiny girl's liking erases a whole lot of crazy? Or something. And there's a lot to erase, by Faranth! And she just huffs for the next, scrubbing her nose over the kitten's and making happy noises that the kitten…opposes, loudly, ears flat against his damp skull. "'cause they *liked* ya, dummy! C'mon, they just wanted a little love. S'all you gotta give 'em, and they'll be your friend forever. That right, kitten?" The kitten wails. Unaffected entirely, Azchel bounces, putting on her considering face as she spins in a little circle, careful to protect the kitten against her chest. Not that that really seems to help his ire any. "Call 'im Roar? Like, RRrrrar!" The kid stands on tiptoes to smooch at the little browner kitten, laughing. "Boys! Both of 'em! Hadta be a boy, didn't ya?" The mournful-looking kitten has resigned itself, at least a little, to his new owner's happy kisses. Doesn't stop him from glaring at Esiae and his brother. "Yours totally looks like a jungle cat! Mine's pretty."

Sanldoth doesn't even grace that with an answer. She merely hums low in her chest, chin resting across the larger blue's back. Humph, with love. Esiae doesn't deny looking a little off, shoulders rolling with a shrug. "Yeah, well, can't have looks, brains, and sanity. That'd just be unfair," the goldrider drawls with a smirk, wincing and snickering a bit for the orange kitten's obvious distress. "These ones are defective then. Ain't no feline's liked me before, or since. Found what I thought was their momma yesterday, she hissed at me and ran." Lips purse at the name suggestion before she aims a nod back down at Chel's. "Dunno, that seems more fitting for yours, don't'cha think?" Her kitten blinks rapidly for that kiss, whiskers wiggling, but he bats at her for her retreat, meowing as though asking her back. "Yeah, boys, go figure," Esiae laughs. "But the 'crafters assure me boys are usually better-behaved anyways." That… remains to be seen, really, but before the goldrider can go on about it, the door to the cottage nearby opens wide enough for O'rly to pop her salt-and-pepper (really much more salty now, but shh) head out. "Dinner's almost ready, Azchel, come in and wash your— oh, Esi!," Lory says, brows lifting in pleased surprise. "I wasn't expecting you. Well, no matter. You know Riah always cooks as though the whole wing's coming over." Or, you know, Zan'ri, because Faranth knows the man shows up whenever he damn well pleases and eats for four every time COUGH COUGH. "Well, don't just stand there, get in. Be sure to wipe your boots and leave them at the door, or San'll have a coronary," the greenrider says, voice still going, if not muffled by her disappearing behind the cottage's red door. Sanldoth does indeed eye them, but only as a means to hurry them along. "Better get going, or we'll never hear the end of it," Esi drawls waving Azchel ahead of her before following after, entirely too happy to enjoy a homecooked meal, even if it's one of R'iahn's brews.

Jae's smugness is almost a physical thing, radiating from him like sunbeams. He even puffs out his chest a little, pleased that he's absolutely won this one *and* got cuddles to boot. Life is good when you're good. "Ain't defective! You don't listen to her, babies." Chel tuts, squeezing the orange kitten to her many-coated chest and rolling her eyes like a champ. She comes by it honestly, at least. "Prob'ly cause you stole her kittens offa her. Or she thought you were gonna give 'em back." The kid laughs, shaking her snow-dusted head and making a comically horrified face. Clearly, she has a skewed idea of what cats…look like. "Who needs'ta *behave*." She's all innocence for that one, go figure, and it gets snapped up by an even more innocent expression when O'rly pops up out of the door. Yeah, she's absolutely a sweet little thing. No snow-flying here. "Yes ma'am. Thank you!" The girl smiles beatifically, clearly putting it on thick; she'll figure it out soon enough, bless. "Yeah, Esi, wipe your shoes 'fore you go inside." A couple entirely unconvincing doe-eyed blinks, and she's skipping towards the cottage, following the chivvying well enough. "We won't? But they *like* us. Jae…" She's totally not above a little Sweet Little Child's In Trouble begging — and Jae is a sucker every time. « Yes, Sanldoth, we should…make sure they don't wreck the place. Come on. » Uhuh. Sure. At least it's easier to keep an eye on them from their wallow.


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