Dignity, Xanadu Style

Xanadu Weyr - Main Clearing
A wide clearing stretches from east to west, the ground packed hard although grass grows across most of it. Trees are strictly forbidden in this space, their danger to the constant draconic traffic reason enough to banish them to the forest that creates a border to the north. Where the ground is less trampled, tiny flowers poke their delicate heads out from their shaded hiding places with upturned petals to wave to whoever may be looking.
The cliff looms imposingly on two sides. Toward the southwest, a spire stretches up to high above where the everpresent watchdragon sits on a lonely peak with Xanadu's Starstones. A massive rocky spur extends to the //The hatching arena and Dragonhealers' Annex sit to the southeast, built together into a single complex that takes up a large portion of the perimeter beneath its domed roof. To the southwest, wide steps lead up to the caverns, and almost directly south is the entrance to the Infirmary. Nestled between the infirmary and the main caverns there's a human-sized archway with frequent traffic - it leads to the Wanderin' Wherry Tavern.
Tucked near the arch, just off to one side is a tiny wood-frame shop bearing the name 'Wildflower Boutique'. Windows have been cut along the cliff in various places along the cliff. Those of the administrative offices are placed to have the best view of Xanadu's airspace - to the southwest, over the entrance to the caverns and the infirmary. Others mark the dormitories and those of lucky residents, while toward the northern edge of that spur cluster the windows and entrances to the crafters' complex.
The rest of the Weyr lies to the north and east - a broad road that leads through the meadow and the trees of the forest beyond. At the far northern edge of the clearing, just inside the perimeter kept clear of trees, a clocktower sits and proudly displays the hour.

The only pose so far: Xanadu has a perfectly good beach. Several in fact. But none of those bodies of water are smack dab in the middle of everything and so they just wouldn't do today and so somehow… someway… a sketchy, shady, decommissioned barge was found. Not exactly the most seaworthy of vessels even when it was in it's prime and certainly could use a case of flex-seal if Pern actually had it. Said sad barge has found it's way, filled with water into the clearing. Not quite blocking a path but coming quite close and Inasyth hovers excitedly beside the barge that looks more like a kiddie pool when dwarfed by a dragon. « Rhhhhhhhhhhooooooooody! You're taking forever!!! » But even with the complaint, she arrives, wearing both swimsuit (for dragon bathing) and knitted scarf (because life is sometimes about compromise). Rhodelia pauses… looking between dragon and barge. "Did anybody grab a ladder?"

Really, is it the creaky-wet barge that almost blocks the path, or the excited dragon? Admittedly, the dragon's probably easier to get move… but the barge is less likely to push you into it, 'accidentally' or otherwise. Either way, D'lei's steps slow as he notes the path-interfering incident before him, and whatever thoughts he might have had for what he's doing today get derailed as he tips his head first back to take in Inasyth, then over to the barge, before he starts into motion again, forward to join the whatever-this-is. A glance to Rhodelia, as he speaks, and a twitch of his lips. "Who needs a ladder when you've got a dragon?"

What in Faranth's name is this wonderful development!? and why didn't SHE THINK OF IT? Kihatsuth would like to know and the queen chaos will descend and gain her answers. She'll come in all hackles up and puffed feathers aggressive posture, but the second she speaks in that melodious croon, her entire mannerism changes. « Inasyth! » Sister. « What is this!? » And of course this means the large voluptuous green is going to just insert herself however she can into the mix! Ru'ien wasn't planning to make a pit-stop here in the main clearing but has doubled back on his original path. He's not dressed for swimming, but his outfit is the usual eclectic mix of style, some pieces leaning more feminine in cut and design. Painted nails, a few mixed jewelry accents (specifically bangles), light (but colorful) makeup and much of his hair braided and gathered back. There's a whistle at his approach, gaze taking stock of that repurposed barge and a broadly slanted grin. "He's got a point, y'know~" He promptly juts a thumb at D'lei.

MAYBE SHE WAS SUMMONED BY COMPLAINTS, though it's not exactly like boisterous dragons doing questionable things and making trouble for the Weyr as a whole is something new to Xanadu Weyr. MAYBE Risali got the relay down that draggo-line of communications that there was something exciting and badass about to go down and Risali would be an EVEN BIGGER DISAPPOINTMENT THAN USUAL IF SHE MISSED IT. Whatever the case may be, Risali is here — or, well, she is approaching, shouldering out from the caverns leading to the administrative wing to put her hands on her hips and take in the view. Beautiful. Don't mind her, she's mimicking D'lei (unintentionally) with the backward tip of her head, the way grey eyes race up dragon and barge before her gaze drops to Rhodelia and lips press in a hint of ill-concealed mischief and humor. The way she takes that first step forward is exaggerated, executed as her attention slides away from her fellow goldrider to D'lei as she makes her way forward. "Inasyth," Risali says, in lieu of addressing any of the humans (or the green present) first. "You're looking lovely as ever. Kiha," comes next, a scrunch of her nose and a flash of canines for the green. And then, as she gets closer, she tips into a shoulderbump against D'lei and then gestures at the barge as her eyes fall back to Rhodelia and she RUDELY LINKS AN ARM THROUGH RU'S. "Where was my invitation, Rhody?" BETRAYAL, and a side-eye for Ru. "And why do you look so yummy?" SIR.

A little bit of column A, a bit of column B… mix and match your obstructions! The path around the barge is certainly getting quite soggy already. "A dragon can be a lot like a ladder… unless you're trying to fit somewhere a dragon might not," Rhodelia waves to the whole barge even as Inasyth is sticking her snout in and blowing bubbles. Best part of telepathy, the dragon doesn't even have to stop making the barge into the worst jacuzzi. « I CAN FIT!!! » And then, here's her sister and the water bubbles are joined with a stream of mental champagne bubbles as well. « KIHATSUTH!!! COME SIT WITH ME! YOU CAN TAKE THAT END!!! » And just like a really fat cat, Inasyth's gonna attempt to climb into that long, narrow box even knowing physically there's no way this can end up well… As for lack of invitation for Risali, she blinks blankly. "You didn't see it? It was with the cookies?" Cookies that definitely didn't look like cookies. or smell like them. Maybe solid pucks of oatmeal and raisins that might risk losing a tooth on if you don't bite carefully.

D'lei grins to Ru'ien, then returns his attention to Rhodelia as she offers an answer. "Mmh," he says, with a slight furrow of his brow. "Is this one of those riddles? Are we going to end up talking about firelizards and writing desks?" Which would, admittedly, probably be safer than a dragon - or two - making the barge-water splash and burble like a whole cauldron full of toil and trouble. D'lei tilts his head to Risali as she approaches, gives her a lean and shoulder-bump back, and then… well, D'lei's own dragon may not be here physically, but Garouth's at least enough of a ridealong to cue his rider in on the other sort of conversation going on, so D'lei's gaze is drawn to that impending disaster of sploshy water. Not that he does anything to try to stop it, mind. He's just paying attention to it, because if the world (or Xanadu) is going to end in water, and he happens to have a good view, he's not gonna waste it!

"Because I am always a snack~" Ru'ien proudly boasts with humored flare, going as far as to strike a slight pose and sweep his free hand over his body for emphasis. He'll keep his arm linked with Risa's the entire time, even half-tugging her closer in obvious BFF affection. "Gotta keep my audiences hungry for more, y'know?" he teases, clearly taking the joke and running with it. « As you wish! » Kihatsuth knows they can't both fit! It doesn't stop her, because this is her flavor of mischief — and she's not about to upset dear Inasyth! Those overlong talons of hers click and clack (rather forebodingly) against the barge. She may even be purposely dragging them under the pretence of needing better purchase! No surprise, right, when the side buckles under her weight? « Oopsie~ » " Oh shi—" LISTEN. Did Risa want to get dragged along? Because Ru'ien's going to be skipping away from that mess unfolding! Even if it means dodging around D'lei and Rhody. It's gracefully done, despite the antics to his movements. "I did not get all decked out just to have my outfit soaked!" Even just his boots! Such a travesty~ "And mud is a really bad idea right now." They'll never get him out of it, for one. Texture-fixation has only just started to manifest in his lovely proddy state … but Ru'ien's not testing limits in the main clearing.

Cookies? Confusion draws her brows inward for all of the time it takes to count a single heartbeat and, "Ah," Risali whispers, as her lips quirk in another flash of humor seconds after understanding dawns. "That's what those were." She thought they were paperweights. And the note? CLEARLY A DEMONSTRATION OF WHAT THEY WERE INTENDED FOR. "Noted." A beat, and then she's blinking her attention up to D'lei, shifting her lean without letting go of Ru so that her chin can land somewhere VAGUELY IN THE AREA OF HIS SHOULDER. "Hi," she whispers around another hint of canines, another scrunch of her nose. "I like your pants." And is she biting down on her bottom lip to fend off her own laughter at HER OWN WORDS? She is, and then she's getting tugged back towards Ru and letting it out anyway, giving him a gentle PUSH on the jaw as if to tell the greenrider to shush even if there's no heat or actual violence in the gesture. "Well, it's working. I can feel my self control slipping already." AND OHP. TOO MANY DRAGONS IN THE POT. Does Risali look delighted? She does. It's just enough to distract her for all of five seconds before Ru DRAGS HER ALONG WITH HIM. WHO DID NOT GET ALL DECKED OUT JUST TO GET ALL WET? Risali tips into the greenrider as she stumbles along with him, laughter pulling from her lips as she breathes out, "Ru, getting wet is the best part." AND THE MUD. THE MUD IS HOT. Still, she pulls her arm from the greenrider, gives him a gentle shove somewhere near his hips with an affection that registers in the softening around her eyes, the warmth of a quiet smile as she says, "If you're out looking for trouble, save a spot for me, yeah? I think that mud has my name on it." A beat, and then in conspiratorial tones, "Or D'lei's." Another beat, a MUCH MORE MISCHIEVOUS SMILE. "Or Rhody's." Or both. SHE ISN'T PICKY.

« Ooopsie??? » Well that might as well be catnip (dragon-nip?) for Inasyth and she fully commits to butting herself into the party-barge so she can get a look at just what her green sister's oopsie might be and well… there buckles the other side… and more of the side that Khiatsuth was on collapses as well. Not nearly as dramatic to be a world ending tsunami, but that's definitely a wave of water coming and Rhodelia just squeaks and jumps behind D'lei, even if human shields aren't much good against water. "I think the mud is coming for us!"

D'lei tilts his head to Risali, listening ever-so-carefully to her words. His lips quirk, but his voice is ever-so-level, perfectly reasonable as he observes, "They'd look even better on your floor." But never mind that, because while that barge has definitely seen better days already, it's about to see ever so much worse! The crack! The snap! The gurgle! « You have defeated it, » comes Garouth's mindvoice - if not the actual dragon - in a drifting shadow of amusement whose eddies toss up shadow-puppet images of hunters and hunted. « Such fierceness. » And such flooding! Because, yes, the water is coming for them, and as it does, it turns all that it touches into the kingdom of mud. "Only fair, isn't it?" D'lei replies to Rhodelia. "I mean, we came here for the water, and now it's coming to meet us… and bringing a friend!" But, well, he's not oblivious to the fact that some people might need defending from such monstrous creations, and so he bravely, boldly, knowing that Risali will probably shove him into it face-first if she gets the chance, strides forth into the encroaching mud! …this is about as effective in preventing its advance as one might expect, which is to say, not at all.

Kihatsuth is BEAMING (or as much as a dragon can)! Well done, Inasyth~ « Oooooh! » she practically mentally purrs, leaning more of her weight into the barge though much of the damage is already done. How satisfying and destructive! « I like this MUCH better~ » The water? The mud? Everyone fleeing? It's probably everything! Garouth's additional comments set her to a brief moment of preening. How kind! The green is going to be fairly engrossed now with the wreckage; bits of barge, water and mud entirely. Her moods will be mercurial, but tilting more to favorable for maximum chaos and mischievous. If Ru'ien weren't consumed with his need to avoid said water, he would've laughed for that remark from D'lei to Risali. NICE~ Of course, the shove he receives from the Weyrwoman is met with a low chuckle and roguish grin. "Don't bring the mud with you, eh? I'll hold the usual spot." he winks, still taking small half-steps backwards to put more distance between himself and now water-logged ground. Ugh! "You three have fun! I've got some … prior engangements to attend to~" So much suggested there but he only does a playful half bow, an equally as playful wave and then he's gone!

Do D'lei's words make Risali laugh all the harder? They do. Enough that she doesn't get a chance to retort before she's whirlwinded away despite being shameless and not NEARLY AS CONCERNED WITH SELF (or outfit) PRESERVATION AS RU IS. Which she makes clear when she's whispering, "Ru'ien, have you met me?" Because of course she's bringing the mud with her. "But good. Make them beg." And then she's turning back on her heels. THE MUD ISN'T THE ONLY THING COMING FOR YOU, RHODY. HIDE YO DRAGONS, HIDE YO MAIN CLEARINGS, HIDE YO WEYRFOLK, THEY SLINGING MUD AT EVERYBODY OUT HERE. By which we clearly mean, OLAWD, Risali's coming. Okay, so first the water is coming to her, and then she's slipping in some particularly wet, sabotage-y muddiness as she advances… and then she's in the mud laughing at her own clumsiness… and then she's slipping again trying to get up but WHO NEEDS DIGNITY ANYWAY? NOT RISALI. JUST YOU WAIT. AND WAIT A LITTLE MORE. FIVE MORE SECONDS. THREE… TWO… THERE. BECAUSE OLAWD, SHE COMIN'. D'lei has the right of it, and while Risali isn't quite as slathered in mud as she will be once the water has a chance to soak a little more thoroughly into the dirt, she finally finds her footing and RISES, bending at the hips to put her hands in the muck and gather up a glob that's running from her hands even as she flings it RIGHT AT RHODELIA. And takes a moment to laugh before her eyes find D'lei and she points to him. Don't mind her, she's advancing again, this time looking like she really is intent on bodily shoving D'lei's face into the mud. RUN WHILE YOU CAN. Or don't. "Rhody, get him!" Or you know, betray her, since she fired first.

Look, Rhodelia can't hide Inasyth on a normal day, much less a proddy day. Ina's here and she's there and she's everywhere at least regarding the mud, cackling and rumbling and… is she trying to make some mud-dragons? « DEFEATED IT MOST FIERCLY!!! BUT I THINK THERE MIGHT BE A FIEROCIOUS MUD MONSTER OR THREE!!! COME QUICK!!! » That relay goes out to Leirith as well because THE MORE THE MERRIER. As Ru'ien so bravely runs away to his prior engagements Rhody can only mouth a 'take me with you!' but her fate is sealed in water and mud. Especially as Risali is lobbing mud like a woman whose had a lot of practice with very literal mud slinging. Rhodelia does manage to avoid most the flung mud for a moment even if she almost-halfway falls while trying to dodge. "I mean… I guess mud is a better friend for water to bring than say… fire. But I don't think water and fire are on speaking terms. Once she reclaims her footing, she stoops and grabs not one, but two big ol' handfuls of mud and underhand tosses right at Risali… and D'lei. Aim really isn't her strong suit and when someone's trying to shove another's face into the mud can you really hit one without the other?

D'lei did ocean-going rescue work for a while. He knows - as the crest of the sploosh-wave hits him - to lean in against it because, oh, it's got force. Even with that, he still sways visibly at the moment of impact… but he keeps his feet. Ha! …admittedly, probably nobody except the dragons could actually see that grin of pleasure at defeating the forces of nature (and they're unlikely to be paying attention to him when there's such a fascination of barge-fragments), but it's still there. And then he's standing in the water, but his problems are far from over. D'lei turns, methodical, one foot at a time testing his position… which is probably the best way to keep his footing, but… well. There are externalities here. Like Rhodelia, whose slung handful of mud gets him right on the hip. And Risali, who… "Coming to take your revenge, huh?" he asks her, with an arch of his brows and then a shift of posture to a wider-legged stance. "Well… then I'd better give you something to take vengeance for!" This is perfectly sensible and logical, don't worry about it. Or, if you're Risali, do, because D'lei leans his shoulder down, spreads his hands, and (attempts to) charge his way to meet her. « Likely, » Garouth acknowledges, and this time his mental images are rather more defined. In fact, once you account for the glop of mud obscuring things, the three mud-monster figures look amazingly like Rhodelia, Risali, and D'lei. What a coincidence!

"RHODY!" RHODY YES! But the indignant shouting of her queenriding-sister's (you know, in the sorority sort of way) name is underlain by laughter, the kind that says she would have been disappointed if Rhodelia's mud hadn't actually hit her regardless of aim, splattering across her shirt and stopping her mid-advance. And then she's torn, caught between stopping to lean down and get IMMEDIATE REVENGE FOR THE SIS-TRAYAL and D'lei's voice drawing her attention back to him even as she's gathering more mud to toss at Rhody. "You thought this day would never come," she calls back, playing along because WHY NOT. "But I, Risali of Xanadu We — oh. Faranth." And then she's trying to do two things at once: actually sling that mud at Rhodelia (while laughing) and brace, trying to take one, two, three hard won steps toward D'lei as that delight turns to mischief turns into a CRASH in which she spares no effort to JUMP HIS LOWERED SHOULDER and get her arms around his neck. IT MIGHT WORK. IT MIGHT NOT. WHO IS TO SAY? (D'lei, that's who). AND FEAR NOT, INA. LEIRITH IS HERE. Or, you know, is approaching with a BADUMBADUMBADUMBADUM croon of overenthusiastic, boomingly bombastic affection for the younger queen. « WHAT A BADASS YOU ARE, MY INASYTH. I WILL COME, TO BASK IN YOUR GLORY. » And, we mean, listen, if, when Leirith does arrive, she CASUALLY FLOPS INTO THE MUD in a bid to get all the humans drenched in… probably mostly water, but ALSO MUD, then who is going to hold it against her? WHO? « YOU LOOK LOVELY WHEN YOU ARE FIERCE. » Because I mean, have you met Leirith? COMPLIMENTS AND FLIRTING FOR EVERYONE.

And while Inasyth is certainly delighted and bubbling laughter at the image of the rider-mudd monsters, what she shares back is something bigger… and definitely more her shaped even if the image is a rough cartoon-ish sketch. But then Leirith is there in the flesh and in the mud and so Inasyth slithers on over to the older queen. « YES, WE'LL BASK TOGETHER IN GLORY. THIS IS MUCH BETTER THAN A BATH. » And totally what she had planned, guys. 100% under control. Rhodelia is too busy trying to fight the mud for her flip-flop in order to dodge Risali's next mud sling which hits right on her shoulder and gets an "Awww…. my scarf!" That mud's never coming out of the knit. Especially not as the Leirith-mud-wave comes and she falls straight on her butt. Instead of getting up, she just belly-slides over towards Risali and D'lei, going for the ankles with a belated yell of, "COWABUNGA!"

Does Risali succeed at jumping herself onto D'lei? Yes. Does he succeed at slamming into her? Also yes. Is it a disaster on all counts? …did you really need to ask? We all know the answer. Okay, okay, so here's how it happens. Risali leaps, and she slings her arms around D'lei's neck with a sort of sideways lurch that's caused partly by her intentional dodge of his shoulder and partly by the slip of mud beneath feet. His attempt to dodge failed, firstly because he was committed to his charge, but secondly because mud did the other thing it does and stuck, catching his foot for a moment and slowing him down. But - and here's where we reach into the disaster we all knew was coming - mud is a treacherous mistress, and the impact of Risali is enough to shake loose that one stuck foot, at which point - in his stagger back - D'lei discovers that the mud beneath the other foot is so far the opposite of stuck that it slides freely and is no help at all as rotational velocity spins them around in at least a two-seventy as D'lei's arms grasp and wrap around Risali's waist to ensure that … well, we could stand around all day talking about what he meant to ensure, but what he actually ensures is that - when Rhodelia slams into their ankles - they both tumble and crash into the mud with a wet shplooorp that would be pretty impressive if it weren't for the dragon-sized mudbellyflops that make temporary squelchy craters and throw up gloopy debris enough to hide Rukbat behind its haze. This. Is. Xanamud!

« IT IS, » Leirith agrees. « AND MUCH MORE BADASS. » Because being badass is an important requisite that one must NEVER FORGET. EVEN WHEN YOU'RE A DRAGON, AND FORGETTING IS SECOND NATURE. Is that her snout in the mud? Yes. And is that her snout NOW APPLYING IT TO INA, like some kind of BADASS WARRIOR-QUEEN DRAGON WAR PAINT? … Also yes, but only if Ina doesn't dodge her. And then there's the draconic equivalence of laughter as she cracks her maw and tilts her head to one side, bobbing even as her mindvoice trills her amusement at damn-near (mentally) deafening decibels. Risali, in the meantime, is trying to get a hold, or footing, or both, except THIS IS MUD and D'lei is ALSO having trouble and HERE COMES RHODELIA. SHE CAME IN LIKE A WREEEECKING BAAAALLLLL. And the moral of the story is that this how you get three dragonriders in the mud, Risali's fingers having slipped to twist into D'lei's tunic even as his arms come around her waist and down they go, Risali making a pitched noise in her throat that's a mix of anticipation, a swallowed scream, and laughter before — WOOSH — she hits and — WHOMPF — Leirith does too. If you thought it would stop Risali in her tracks, you're only half right, and only because it takes her a moment between an exhale of laughter and a moment of gaining her bearings to shift her body halfway over D'lei's as if she means to pin him and bring up MORE MUD WITH HER. Look. Listen. Is she aiming for his face? Yes? Is she also aiming for Rhody's? … Also yes. Which means she's got to get on her knees, which means she's overextending, which means she's off balance and just as liable to miss (and tip face first back into the mud) as she is to succeed. SHE'LL ONLY KNOW IF SHE TRIES, AND SO TRIES.

DODGE? NEVER!!! Inasyth actually stops her rolling for the mud-war-paint to be applies, rumbling her own laughter and recipriocating with even MORE MUD for Leirith's face (Cause Senior means even MORE MUD-PAINT, RIGHT?). Rhodelia ooooofs as her ankle attack was timed just right to get everybody falling into the mud and even herself. Maybe she was hit with some limbs in the big ol' tanlged mess of mud and people or maybe she just hit herself on the ground. Either way… Rhody is wiggling, wiggling, wiggling her own way out of there. With the biggest betrayal of all… She's bravely running away without a word! But considering how much mud she's got on her, it's not like she can really hide her tracks….

GASP. Doesn't Rhodelia know the rules of Mud Club? This indignity will not go unpunished! …but, uh, it might be a little while before either D'lei or Risali is capable of wreaking further vengeance, because Risa's got this thing where she's trying to smother D'lei in mud, and he's got this thing where he's attempting… not to avoid it, because that would be too sensical. No, he's writhing as he attempts to grab up mud from around him and shove it down her shirt, because clothing should not prevent getting that mud everywhere. Which, yes, means he's eating mud. It's okay, it's not the worst thing he's put into his mouth recently. (THANKS, RHODY!) These two… well. They're probably going to be a while, so… enjoy that head start!

GODSPEED, RHODELIA. RUN LIKE THE WIND. Leirith gladly takes fierce paintings because WHY WOULDN'T SHE? And anyway, now she can SNEAK UP ON THE UNSUSPECTING ANIMALS IN THE PENS, BECAUSE THIS IS CLEARLY SOME STRAIGHT UP INFALLIBLE CAMOUFLAGE. Maybe she'll even SPOOK THE SPOOK DRAGON (that's Garouth, in case you were wondering) on her way to MURDER. He'll definitely NEVER see her coming. Ina should join her. They will be an unstoppable duo of badass majesty. WHICH, YOU KNOW, is important but SO IS THE FACT THAT RISALI IS, INDEED, STAYING PUT. That she forfeits JUST AS MUCH OF HER CLOTHING AND DIGNITY in the pursuit of painting D'lei's face in it. So yes, they are going to be a while. And longer still maybe than even that, given the Weyrwoman shows no signs of intending to relent her assault any time soon.

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