Cute and Innocent

Xanadu Weyr - Beach
The unerring range of subdued white rises and falls in a multitude of sandy dunes, creating an endless amount of tiny valleys constantly demolished and rebuilt by the frequent arrival or departure of a dragon. Smoothing out as it slopes gently to the edge of the deep blue water, the sand darkens and a shell here and there stands out for children to collect. The beach itself is set along a low cliff - the height lessoning as one heads eastwards, blocking a portion of the beach from direct access.
The wide wide stretch of water opens up to the east, the far distant shore way beyond the horizon and the beach curves ever so slowly round to east and west, distant arms of land embracing the wind-ruffled Caspian Lake. East leads up to the mouth of the Rubicon River, where the protecting cliff is merely an arms length higher then the sand, and beyond that, a winding road leading out of Xanadu's territory. Westwards, the beach narrows as the cliff swings out, leaving a path wide enough for dragons in single file before cutting in to the sheltered cove designated the Weyrling Beach. However, cut in the cliff face to the north are a variety of rough, wide staircases, providing access to the clearing and to the meadow.

A good thing about Galaxy? It's not always work, work, and tedious work. It's also about looking good. They are the police force of the weyr, charged with keeping people safe and making them feel safe as well. For that, one can't look scrawny and unkempt. Neither can dragons. And so today, after his usual (and mandatory) morning exercises and a light lunch, Ka'el has been sent off to wash Kanekith. The bronze boy has been busy! Other than fathering a clutch, he's been doing fly overs, sea scans, patrols, obstacles, and extra hunting. And he's dirty. So! It's with a bucket of soapsand a towels that Ka'el heads down to the beach with, bare footed and wearing long shorts and not much else. Kanekith is with him, irritated but…not so much. He likes baths because they make him look good! And so as they near the water, the bronze picks up the pace and splashes into the shallows, wings outstretching. Ahhh, it feels good! It's hot already, this early afternoon.

Kera seems to have taken the first chance to she could to flee the confines of the apprentice dorms. Or maybe it was the crazy girl screeching right in her face to wake her up. How rude! But at least she had brought breakfast. None the less, the apprentice makes her way from the meadow, having learned that restdays can be lost if Jourenyman need things done. So better to get out of sight and what better place than the beach. It's mid-summer and her legs are still rather pale. Time to fix that. As she approaches the beach, Kera spots a large bronze splashing about ahead. It takes her a few more steps to recognize the rider and waves. "G'day Ka'el."

Kanekith crouches down in the shallows, touching his wings. Then suddenly, he lifts them up quickly, spraying water up, up and about! "Since when are you a water lover?" says Ka'el who squints and lifts an arm as water is flung his way. "Ah. Settle down or we'll never be done with it!" he complains, though…there's no real heart behind his complaint. This is far better than what he could be doing and occupying his mind with. Things less pleasant. He plunks his bucket down on the shoreline, then glances back as he hears his name. "Hey," he calls, waving an arm Kera's way. "Ever wash a dragon before?"

Kera 's brain takes a few seconds before to comprehend the question. When it finally clicks, her steps slow, but she doesn't stop. Continuing towards the bronze pair, she gives a headshake "Out of the beasties my dad made me help bathe, can't say a dragon was ever on the list." A little chuckle may be heard a she kicks off herr sandals, spreads out her towel well away from the water and slips down to her swimsuit before approaching the water. "I'm not very sure I'ld be good at it really." Head tilting upward to peer at the bronze. He's sooo much bigger than the beast that used to stomp her feet as a kid. Taking a deep calming breathe she wades out to where Ka'el is. "How are you both today?"

"Heh, Kanekith's a …." Pussycat, lately, but Ka'el doesn't say that. Instead, he looks consideringly at Kera, mouth slowly closing. These last few weeks have been … trying, at best. He can't remember the last time he hasn't felt stressed about something. Or upset. Or angry. Or sad. He glances to the bronze, then back to the girl as she approaches him. "He's a little picky about who he lets touch'm," he says with a slow nod. "But, if you do the correct steps, you may be granted privilege. Are you willing to try? I'll tell you what to do." He gives her a small smile that somewhat falters at her question. "…We're alright.”

Kera stops where she is and even backsteps in the water, her hands slip behind her as if show she wasn't attempting to touch the dragon. With a little nod "I can try." /just don't squish me/. Reaching to her braid, the apprentice twist it up and tuckes into a loose bun. "What do I do first?" Peering back to the bronze, she gives her head a respectful dip to the bronze. Ka'el's faltering smile causes her to observe a moment and give her head a shake "Somehow, I get the feeling that's a half truth."

Ka'el tell a half truth? He considers her a moment but doesn't comment. Instead, he wades into the water, gesturing for her to come along. Kanekith has finished splashing and instead is watching both Ka'el and Kera. His head is held high, and his metallic body seems to gleam more now that it is wet. He's watching Kera more so than his rider, and gently does he rumble in his throat. Ka'el stops walking, but makes a hand motion for Kera to continue forward. "Go on, now. Keep it slow. You did well nodding to him. He likes that," he praises. "Now stop just before him. Not too close, then wave your left hand at him. Slowly, mind you, and say hello."

Even without many mindhealer lessons, the apprentice can still read people. It takes her a few steps before she realizes Ka'el no longer right there with her. Stopping as she looks back over shoulder and gives a questioning frown. After a long second or two, she takes a couple of steps closer to the bronze and wiggles her left fingers in greeting. "G'day Kanekith." Nibbling on her bottom lip briefly "Enjoying you swim?"

Kanekith's eyes swirl a sky blue color as he watches Kera, his regal head lifting just a little as shse speaks again. Beneath the water, his tail tip twitches a little, then he exhales a snorted breath. "Good, good. You're doin' well!" praises Ka'el, nodding quickly. "He's thinkin' about it. Just wait a while…" Wait for what? He doesn't say, and it isn't as if Kanekith is going to inform her! But after a few quiet seconds, the bronze does take a step forward, towards her. "Don't look him in the eye yet!" Ka'el stage whispers to her as the bronze's head lowers down, down, down til it's level with her. He stops, his dragon face just feet away from hers. He warbles. A gentle sound. "Don't breathe.." instructs Ka'el, again leaving out the amount of time she's supposed to hold her breath. "Very, very slowly…reach out your hand…"

Kera 's eyes flick back towards Ka'el when she's told not to look at the dragon's eyes nor to breathe. Wait a sec, this isn't what she agreed to do at all. 'wanna help wash my dragon, he said' Now, here she is with a hand sticking out while she stares nearly crossedeyed at the dragon's snout. As the seconds pass, the aprpentice darts a worried gaze towards the dragonrider. Hey!, remember me? Kere plus air equals happy apprentice.

Hm. There's a hand at his snout. Kanekith peers at it, then peers at the apprentice, then back to the hand. « She ceases to draw breath. Is she looking for death? » is asked to his rider, which almost makes Ka'el laugh. Almost! But he strangles it back down. "C'mon Kanekith. You know what to do.." he says instead, encouraging his bronze. The dragon's tail flickers, and there's another short few seconds of considering before Kanekith crouches with wings slowly spreading. Then … SWOOSH! He flaps his wings forward, scooping water towards the apprentice with a great SPLASH! Ka'el can't hold it in anymore, even though he also gets some of that splash. He laughs!

Kera looks back to the bronze's snout once more. Canting her head at his change in posture. She catches a hurried breath and starts to ask "What his he doi.." She doesn't get out anything else. In fact, she barely gets her eyes closed before a wall of water splashes down. The apprentice lurches in the sand, but keeps her feet under her. Once the water passes, she resembles one of those fancy spouting fountains in a Lord Holder's lushy-green garden courtyard. Spitting out the water, she coughs a couple of times, chuckling darting an amused smirk to both rider and dragon alike. Nodding as if she's agreeing to something. "Good one." Swiping excess water from her face, she steps back away from the bronze pair. "Does this mean the prank war is on?"

If dragons could laugh, the sound that Kanekith makes now probably is the closest thing that they'd get to one. He's amused! That was a fun game. But really now, the washing should begin so that he can be clean and get back to what is important. Ka'el grins broadly at the younger girl's fountain expression before he doggishly shakes his head to get hair out of his eyes. "Oooh Kera. You're sure you want a war with me? Kanekith and I are the best in the weyr, you know. We've never been outpranked. Never bettered." He grins as he moves to retrieve his bucket and washrags while Kanekith lays in the shallows, ready to be scrubbed. "But if you insist," he says to the girl, "then this is war." He smirks, tossing a rag at her. "You're good and wet enough. Now you're ready. Dragon washing is a wet sort of time. Just dip a wet rag in the bucket." He demonstrates, "and give a good scrub to his hide."

Kera reaches up to undo her now drenched braid-bun and starts squeezing out the excess water before reworking into a loose bun. Her hand are both busy fiddling with her hair when she gets a wet rag to the face. "Oompf." Making hurried grabs, she manages to catch the soppy rag and laughs "Oh, you just wait. I'll think of something that will get the both of ya." She nods decisively with a sly smirk. After dipping rag in the bucket she extends her arm towards the snout. Her gaze flashing between watching Ka'el work and the snout near her.

Ah, that's better! Kanekith likes getting pampered (even if washing isn't exactly pampering. It's necessary!) and croons softly as he's rubbed and washed, even on his coppery snout! His eyes half lid in contentment, and Ka'el smirks a little at the feeling felt through his dragon. "I'll keep my eyes wide open then," he says to Kera, looking over at her. "Thanks for your help. This goes twice as fast when I have someone with me!" Which isn't often. He dips his rag once more then clambers up to sit atop the bronze's back to get the hard to reach high places. "You been alright?" he asks of her as he rubs and scrubs at and around neck ridges.

Kera alternates between rubbing in circles and side to side scrubbing, following the contours of the dragon's snout. She sidesteps as she works, splashing the area clean and moving on along the jaw. Craning her head up to peek at the bronze from this close, Kera nods in agreement. "Well he's huge isn't he. Surpised you don't spend most of your day scrubbing as it is. And your welcome. I wasn't gonna do anything but swim and shellhunt." Dipping the rag in the bucket again, she goes back to the scrubbing "That's not too hard is it?" She looks between Ka'el and Kanekith, unsure which one to address her question to.

"That's true," agrees Ka'el as he scoots up a bit to reach the far reaches of Kanekith's neck. "He's big. Bigger'n what he was when he hatched. You know he's to be a father, don't you?" He says, shaking his head. "It's … odd to think about. Feels like he's just hatched himself, and now…" He smirks a little, though the look fades not long after. "Things happen quickly with a dragon…" He pauses a moment, then relays a message. "He says it's fine, but he has an itch between the eyes he wouldn't mind if you scratched there." He chuckles and gives his dragon's great bat a pat. "Ever see a dragon hatch, Kera?"

Kera cast a glance to Ka'el's obvious statement. Well of coarse he's bigger than when he hatched. She nods though "Yea, rumor gets around, even among the apprentices. I guess congratulations are in order." This to the large bronze of coarse. Stretching up, she tries to work over the area bugging the bronze currently. Dipping more sand on the rag, she continues, scrubbing right between the eyes enthusiatically before carefully rinsing. Shaking her head "No, not dragons. I've watched my parents litter beasts from canine, herdbeast. I was even present for a couple of dolphinbirtths. But they pretty much don't need much help." She shrugs "But I've not been to a hatching yet. I'm rather looking forward to it."

Rumor. Ka'el vaguely frowns at the word but he nods his head anyway. "Yeah, you're right about that," he says, nose wrinkling a little. The congratulations does bring back a portion of his smile though, and Kanekith is utterly pleased. The itchy spot is gone now thanks to Kera, and he's being praised! As he well should be. He caught Luraoth fair and square. He outflew everyone! His happy crooning deepens, and Ka'el can feel the vibrations of it from where he sits on his back. He scoots down now, working awy from the neck, to the back and upper sides. "Will you come 'round this way?" he instructs, pointing to the dragon's left side. "You lived on a farm, then? So did I, turns ago. Not too many animals, other than the runners. We grew corn." He pauses, considering her. "Who knows. Maybe you'll be searched. Kanekith's taken a liking to you, and he fathered those eggs. He may ask you to stand." Another pause. "..Would you want to?"

Kera rinses the area again before wading around to where Ka'el points out from his upper perch. Dipping into the bucket once more, she sets about circling the area, making lots of scrubbing bubbles. Giving a little snort at the mention of the ole farm, Kera nods "Yea. Just a little way back from the river. Mom needed the river access to work with the pods. And dad being a beastcrafter constantly had beasties of one sort or another that needed help with birthing or some sorta sickness." The apprentice starts to chuckle at the idea of her being searched, thinking Ka'el's joking "Oh very funny! No fair pranking me twice in a row." She's amused though and continues to giggle. "Another good one." She nods agreeably and looks up to Ka'el, her chuckles trailing off. "Wait, you're being serious now, not tugging my braid?"

Ka'el pauses to concentrate a little as Kera speaks, and then *pop!* from Between arrives another bronze! This one muuuch smaller than Kanekith. A firelizard! He swoops around Ka'el's head. "Hey you.. calm down. Here." He holds up the rag and the firelizard, Alloy, snatches it up and swoops down to the water. He knows what to do! It's the rag dunk game! He dunks it in to ocean, getting it nice and wet, then deposits it back to Ka'el with a chirrup! "Stick around," he says to the firelizard before he resumes washing with a newly wet rag, making suds. He looks down at Kera, then widens his eyes a little. "Oh, he isn't asking now" he says quickly, shaking his head. "But I'm serious that he might. I figure, dragons look for people they like. People who they wouldn't mind ridin' their kids. Someone who'd treat'm right. I'm not .. exactly sure how it works. He's never fathered a clutch before an' hasn't been around long enough to do any searching. I'm just … curious. If he did, would you? Ever thought about bein' a rider?"

Kera looks around quickly as the little popping noise draws her attention. Seeing the firelizard arrive and observing his antics, Kera chuckles and proceeds with scrubbing the dragon's side. Her actions slow as she listens to Ka'el explain something about Weyrlife that she hadn't learned yet. Tucking things away to give thought to later, she dips the rag again and glances uncertainly up to the bronze briefly before going back to scrubbing. "When I was a kid, back before I wanted to go to the Hall, Some of the Hold brats used to pretend sometimes." She shrugs "But since I went to the Hall,…" Peeking up to the rider again she gives a little nervous grin "I'm not sure what Journeyman Cyrus will think. I would need to get permission from the Hall I think…" She's just not sure how to respond to something so unexpected. First they try drowing her, now they are trying to confuse her good it seems. "I don't think I would be opposed to it." She'ld be a fool to flatout say no. Even the silly apprentice knows that.

Alloy flits to and fro, rewetting the rag whenever it's lifted up. It is like a game! But eventually Kanekith's back is finished, and the young rider slides off his side and splashes back into the water, landing on the opposite side of Kera. Now there's a big bronze dragon blocking her from view! But his other side needs to be washed, and he gets to it. It's better this way anyway. This way, Kera can't see the small frown that forms on Ka'el's face. The way his brow furrows is blocked. The look of displeasure, unseen. "Think long an' hard," he advises after a bit of silence. "Nothing's the same after, if you Impress. Absolutely nothing, and it isn't all sunshine, and there's no going back." He gives Kanekith's side a reassuring rub before stepping away. It’s not you, buddy. "Thanks Kera, he can rinse himself," he says, apparently done. Kanekith stands up carefully and moves off to deeper water to submerge while Ka'el heads back to the apprentice to collect the bucket and her rag.

Kera finishes scrubbing and splashing up water to rise as best she can before stepping back and dropping her rag in the bucket. Bending she rinses her hands off, swiping away and gritty bits. "I guess these are all points of Weyrlife that I should give some thought to huh?" Unaware that's she's upset the bronzerider, she offers a little smile "You've certainly given me alot to think about….Ya here stories ya know. But never seriously consider yourself in those stories. Not for more than a few passing seconds, then it's back to duties…know what I mean?"

Alloy is off, circling around the area where his buddy Kanekith has disappeared. He gives a chirp when the bronze does resurface, soap free, and the firelizard lands comfortably on his head. Chirrup! He's happy to catch a ride back to shore, and Kanekith doesn't seem to mind his tiny dragon cousin being where he is. Ka'el watches the dragon(s) for a second, then looks back to Kera, collecting her rag and dropping it into the near empty bucket. Bronzes take a lot of soapsand to get clean! "Yeah. Think about it," he reiterates, his frown gone. It wasn't meant for her in the first place. "The worst thing anybody can do is agree to somethin' that was never meant for them." He pauses to splash water against his chest, ridding himself of soap residue, before flicking droplets her way, a bit of his grin returning. "Gotta dry him off and strap him up. I'll see you later, huh? Thanks for puttin' up with me. And him." A smirk. "It was his idea to splash you."

Kera nods agreeably and seems glad that Ka'el understand her ramblings. Watching the dragon slip under the water, she can't stop herself from giggling at the firelizard and his latest mode of travel. "Okay, that's just too cute." She watches the both of them before chuckling again and wading out of the water to her. Instead of drying off, she just plops down on the towel and stretches her legs out. It's hot and sunny, she'll dry whether she swipes the water off or not. Nodding once more "Isn't that the plain and simple truth of it. Disappointed both my parents by not following into their crafts. But it just didn't seem like what I wanted to do for turns and turns." Kera gives a hint of a shrug but offers a smile and wiggle of her fingers "Nice chatting with you Ka'el, even if you are trying to blame your innocent dragon." Tisking as she shakes her head "Shame on you Ka'el!" She smirks calls out and waves once more.

Cute? Ka'el follows after her, glancing to his two bronzes. "I think you mean… that's a very .. uh, manly display of…dangerous stunts and such." He coughs and shakes a mental fist at his mates. Stop being cute! He pauses when Kera lays out to air dry. Not a bad idea on such a hot day, and Ka'el envies her. He wants to lay out too. Relax and let his mind go … places. Places far from here. But, alas. "You're on the right track. Do what you love doin'," he confirms with a small smile. "See you, Kera. And don't let Kanekith fool you. He's not so innocent. Or cute!" His grin grows after that and he moves off with his firelizard and dragon. His dragon, who knows he's adorably cute and utterly handsome and always ever so innocent.

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