Of Runners, On the Beach

D'son meets Amelia and Sunny on the beach and learns a bit about runners.



First glances would notice a young woman on the shorter side of average and well proportioned. She has long, curly dark chestnut hair and skin on the fairer side of tan is mottled with freckles. Hazel eyes are topped by expressive eyebrows that too often will give away her feelings. Her clothing suggests attentiveness to her figure, which is soft around the edges but clad to minimize that effect. During working hours, she can be seen in often-filthy stable clothes, and probably smells like manure and hay. Off-duty, however, Amelia prefers pretty skirts and ribbons in her hair.

Morning, for many at Xanadu, means fighting the breakfast crowds. Today, for Amelia, it means taking advantage of the crowded living cavern to exercise runners on a more or less empty beach. One of the runners recently moved from hold to weyr is lame with a stone bruise, and the Beastcraft apprentice is spending her morning strolling down the beach. The runner is a dainty chestnut riding mare who, though lame, is groomed to a shine and walking much more easily in the sand than she would be on hard ground.

And for D'son, it means sneaking away to get in a little bit of sketching time, which he's currently doing from a perch on a half-folded blanket, satchel lying alongside and his sketchpad propped up against his knees. He's been drawing the ocean up until now, but Amelia's appearance with the runner shifts his posture and he flips the page to start quick-sketching the equine. "Heya," he calls over in friendly fashion as the pair near. "Is she going to be okay?" For the visible lameness.

Amelia has time for a quick glance to the owner of the voice and starts to return the greeting, but the runner notices him at the same moment and is startled by his 'sudden' appearance on the beach. She skitters to the side, and Amelia moves with her, calming her and leading her back towards D'son, "He's not going to eat you, he's not bothering anything," she's telling the runner as they get close enough for her to smile at D'son. "Hey there. Sorry, she's a bit hot-blooded- gets startled when she sees something she doesn't recognize. And she should be okay… that front hoof got a bruise is all. She was ridden a bit too hard."

"That's okay," D'son says with a friendly smile and holds the sketch up so she can see he was trying to draw the runner. "I've been trying to draw living things more lately. It's a lot harder than objects and schematics," he notes with a little laugh that turns to a wince. "Oh ouch. Hope the person who took her out doesn't do that again. Even if she's hot-blooded, she looks pretty."

The runner stops before Amelia can lead her closer than about ten feet away, and stares at him with cautious curiousity. Amelia pats her gently, scratching a spot on her withers. She peers at the drawing. "Nice! I've heard drawing runners does wonders for being able to draw all things- they have such complex bodies and all that." She continues petting the mare, who is starting to make funny faces and wiggle her lips- that spot on her withers is 'the' itchy spot. Amelia giggles at the mare. "She's one of my favorites. Much as I hate her being in pain, I'd rather she be out of commission so this doesn't happen again, actually."

"Thanks," D'son says with a smile and chews on the end of his pencil, then adds some little details now that the runner is closer. "Dragons are good too - they nap a lot and hold still," he says with humor in his voice and folds his arms atop his knees, sketchpad still resting along his legs. "Does it happen a lot? Them getting ridden too hard?" Curiosity in his tone. "And I'm D'son, by the way," he lifts one hand briefly rather than waving it around too much or holding it out for a shake. "If I get up and come over, think she'd be okay with that?"

"More often than I'd prefer," is her response to the first question, then she hesitates, looking at the mare, who has by now accepted that D'son won't eat her and is busy enjoying scratches. "Well… move slowly- like you're a dancer or a cat, if you would. She seems to have accepted you, but she also chose how far away she wanted to stand. I'll keep scratching- just come up and do the same spot, and talk softly to her." A little concern creeps into her voice, and the mare raises her head and steps away from the scritches, peering curiously at both of them now.

"You'd think people would be more thoughtful in a Weyr, given dragons and all," D'son says with a little shrug and puts the sketcpad down. "If it's going to make her jumpy, it's okay. Just thought it might be easier to talk over a little less distance," he gestures to that space chosen by the mare. He does though, start to rise, slowly and carefully though 'graceful like a dancer' is probably not an apt description. He does /try/.

Amelia says "Well, she's not /really/ from the Weyr; she was originally from Black Rock, and she came over with me and my folks when we moved back to the Weyr. I misspoke- she's not really in danger of being hurt again, unless she gets sold again, though I hope she doesn't." While she's explaining, she's also stroking the mare's neck, and the mare is settling down again, and rather than continue to peer at D'son, she leans towards him, and Amelia walks forward to encourage the mare to check him out. "See, you can sniff him, he's a good guy!" She smiles, and adds, "Oh, and I'm Amelia.""

"Ohhhh, okay. That's good then," D'son says and brushes sand off of the back of his pants. As the mare takes that step forward, Dels holds his hand out palm up for the runner to sniff. "Hey there," he says as soothingly as he can, casts a smile over Amelia's way. "Well met, Amelia. So you haven't been at the Weyr all that long then?"

The runner closes the distance towards his hand until she can stretch out her neck to sniff it- just out of reach to touch, of course. She snorts, sending bits of saliva into the air, and relaxes. He passed. Amelia grins. "I do believe you're welcome to pet her now. She likes this spot, she'll make faces for you," she demonstrates the spot she'd been scratching earlier. "I haven't been here long, though I did grow up here til I was old enough to go to the Hall. Have you been here long?"

D'son waits until the mare's snorted and relaxed then gently slides his palm up along her nose. "Here?" he asks as Amelia tells him the spot for scritching and he moves his other hand there carefully. "Oh, so you were born here and are coming back," Dels smiles across the runner's head at Amelia. "Um … let's see, I was nineteen when Inimeth flew Kilaueth, so I've been here for just about five turns now. He flew her twice, was Weyrleader for a while and then he started losing."

Amelia steps back to the mare's hindquarters, laying an arm comfortably over them. Her brow furrows a little. "Wait.. you were Weyrleader? Aren't you a little… young for that?"

"Yeah, I was. For a few turns," D'son says with a little shrug, though he keeps up the scritching. "And yeah, I was a little young for it. It's just as well he started losing I guess. Though the current Weyrleader's even younger than I am," Dels notes with a little grin. "The dragons decide, so even if you're not really ready for it, you have to /get/ ready for it."

Amelia nods slowly, "Is he? I haven't seen him yet, I guess. We didn't hear a lot about the weyrleader at the hold, anyway- people like to talk about our own leader, and sometimes about the weyrwomen here, but well, one of the reasons we moved was it was pretty tense out there if you had weyr relations, and my mom made sure we were welcome to transfer." She shrugs, and scratches the mare a little on the hindquarters. The mare is making faces in response to D'son's ministrations.

"Yeah, three turns younger than I am," D'son claims with a little smile, hand still moving over the runner's coat and he checks out those faces she's making, ducks his head a little. "You really can tell when they're happy, can't you? I'm so used to Inimeth talking in my head and telling me exactly what he's feeling." He chews on his lip for a moment or two, nods. "Yeah, I wish that was something we could fix."

Amelia echoes the sentiment, expression serious. "I talked to Toban's daughters sometimes, when they'd come around the stables or want a pet fixed up. There's plenty of sentiment in the family that the girls should be allowed to succeed him, but I guess he's pretty insistent on a son." She nods, too, at the runner comment. "They don't have poker faces, that's for sure. Though not everyone knows how to read them- if you know how, you just have to look at their ears, their legs, their posture and it's simple enough. I should get her walking again soon, speaking of legs. The sand is good for her feet, gentle on the bruise." The mare, however, is perfectly happy standing there accepting attention.

"Yeah, some people are like that I guess. The whole … male heir thing," D'son says thoughtfully. "I don't really get it … but I try to you know, be sensitive about it when it comes up." He nods about runner expressions and looks down at the mare's feet then back up again. "Some of that isn't too different from dragons really," Dels remarks. "Though … it's not the same either." He gives the mare a last pat and nods. "Okay. Mind company, actually? I'll walk with you for a bit. Might give me some more ideas for drawing."

Amelia's expression falters only for an instant; she blinks quickly. "Uh, if you want to. Or really, as long as Sunny doesn't mind- that's her name," she nods towards the mare. "I was going to go towards the docks, then walk her through the water on the way back to the stable." She smiles a little. "I think their faces are similar- dragons and runners, that is. Dragons are a bit knobbier and all, but until you get to the body, and well, minus the mane and being fuzzy, they're kind of similar."

"Sure," D'son says with a grin and steps away just long enough to pack up his stuff, sling his satchel over his shoulder and then he'll join Amelia to keep walking along with Sunny. "Sounds like a nice walk. And if you've got questions about anything about the Weyr in the last five turns, ask away," he says cheerily and nods. "They've got similar lines, just flow a bit differently, I think," Dels opines and then falls to chatting lightly off and on as they walk, though he's also not uncomfortable with letting things go to silence now and then until it's time to turn back toward the Weyr and other duties and obligations.

Amelia watches him collect his things, expression the slightest bit puzzled- he may or may not have caught it when he turned back. As they begin to walk, the mare is perky, nudging one or the other for more attention. Amelia more or less ignores the mare, though she walks with a hand on the mare's neck, and directs D'son to walk to her other side rather than the mare's other side, "So she doesn't feel crowded," she explains, and also falls into easy chatter as they walk.

Coloring faintly for the misstep, D'son crosses over to walk alongside Amelia instead with a little nod. "I didn't think of that," he admits about the crowding. "I've only ever helped to muck stables and curry the runners before I impressed." If he notices that puzzlement from Amelia he doesn't mention it and proves to be an amiable companion for the duration of that walk, waving as they head off in separate directions at its conclusion.

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