Meeting the Nocturnal

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.

Most of the sky has turned blue and purple, a bruised remnant of the day, with only a sliver of the fading sunset on the horizon. There's enough light to make out the sand and water's line, though even that is only a matter of time. It's not the time of day — night? — that many of the Pernese choose to visit the beach, and that's precisely why Niko has chosen now to visit. And she has company.

The wher is making her way along the water's edge, wandering in and then out, and then spinning and mock-growling at the water that splashes across her back. The beast's black leash is left on the sand, unnerving empty, beside a dark-clad young woman. Niko has settled herself to the sand, her crutch and boots laid out beside Nisk's abandoned collar. She's seated with her knees bent before her, arms crossed atop her knees, and a wry smile toying at her features as she watches the wher play in the water.

Evening. If there’s any portion of day that Ka’el could claim as his favorite, it’s this. The colors. The coolness. The peace. What’s not to like? It’s a relief from the summer heat, and Ka’el hasn’t had much time to himself today, with one task leading directly to another. Purposeful, that, but now with the sun behind the horizon and the sky painted the hues of evening, he traverses to the beach. His riding jacket is draped over his shoulder and boots are still in place, leaving behind imprints in the sand as he goes along, eyes distant. He’s alone, no dragon or firelizard trailing him this day. Just himself and his thoughts, which are swirling his mind as dark shadows, interrupted by the sound of splashing. He blinks, looking ahead at a figure in the water. Eyes narrow, trying to make out what is it…a dog? He quirks a brow and continues to walk, spying a more human-like form on the sand. He’s making his way towards her.

A dog? Perish the thought! The wher's shoulder reaches about waist-level, but adding in the length of her forked tail, she'd make a /very/ large dog. Also, dogs don't make noises… like /that/. An unusual sound, but for what it's worth, the beast appears to be happy. Or she was. The wher freezes in the water upon spotting Ka'el on the beach, lowering herself into a crouch in the shallow water. Crocodile, anyone?

Niko's head turns abruptly, green eyes seeking out whatever has spooked the wher. "Who's there?" She's squinting at the approaching Ka'el, before flickering a look toward the wher. The beast relaxes slightly, swishing a bit in the water, but iridescent eyes linger on the stranger. Comforting.

The closer he gets, the more apparent that the beast in the water indeed is no canine. Not wholly unnerving, as there are all sorts of creatures that frequent the weyr under the accompaniment of a human companion. Dragons. Firelizards. Canines. The occasional goat. Ka’el lifts a hand to the back of his neck to give an idle rub while lips part in a yawn, attention flitting to the source of the voice. Suspicious he is not. This is Xanadu, after all! And being familiar with the faces of Xanadu is now sort of his job, and so he directs his walk towards her. “Ka’el,” he announces before reaching her, “Crestwood. Galaxy rider of bronze Kanekith.” AKA, one of the good guys! “Evenin’,” he offers, slowing as he nears, eyes flitting to the stick, now seen as a crutch of some sort. Maybe a walking stick. Going on a hike, maybe?

A growl from Nisk has Niko's eyes going unfocused, and after a stubborn moment, the wher is hissing her annoyance and simply laying down in the water. Keeping her snout just high enough to breath, eyes still glinting in the dimness, but otherwise hidden. Invisible, as far as she's concerned.

There's a snort from Niko as she looks away from her 'pet', lifting a black 'brow as she regards the approaching bronzerider. "Evening. Night. Yes." Well, at least she agrees. "Are you lost?" Why else would he be here?

Lost? "Uh … nah," Ka'el says, shaking his head once. "Wouldn't be worth much to Search an' Rescue if I couldn't keep track've myself in my own Weyr," commented with a crooked smirk. The jacket over his shoulder is pulled off and draped over his arm instead, stopping a close but not too close conversational distance from the girl. She has a Thing in the water, anyway. Something that may want to jump out and attack him if he ventures too near. He glances that way, though with the growing darkness and the wher's submergence, she's difficult to pinpoint. "Just night walkin'," he says, eyes drifting from water to her. "Could call it patrolin' if I was more focused. But.." He shrugs a shoulder. "You've a friend out there, eh?" he asks, gesturing to the shallows.

Two pairs of eyes stare at him in the dimness, neither terribly friendly, before his explanation is voiced and she's offering a single-shouldered shrug. "Most people don't walk at night," she offers, the words sounding more chiding than informational. There's an audible sigh, a tangible sort of resignation, before she's lifting a hand to gesture him closer. She uses her chin to gesture to the sand beside her, and then looks back to her wher. "That's Nisk. Nisk, say hello." That forked tail swishes in the water, and there's a huffed breath that sends up a bit of mist from the water. "Charming," is Niko's drawled response to the beast, before she's looking back to wherever it is Ka'el has moved himself.

"Yeah, s'true," Ka'el comments with a vague look of thought. "But, I pride myself on not bein' "most people"," he remarks, grin crooked. Her silent invitation is indeed noted, and he moves nearer to her, plopping down in the side and leaving about a foot of space between himself and her. Not too close, yet close enough for conversation to continue. At the introduction of Nisk, his eyes return to the crocodile in the water and he lifts a hand in a wave to her. "Hey Nisk," he offers to the less-than-pleased looking wher. "A wher, huh? Don't see many've those around here. Miners mostly keep to themselves. She's…" he glances at that buff of misty breath, "not the friendly sort, eh?" he assumes, looking more amused than disappointed though. He looks back to her. "You're a miner then? What's your name? .. You're not lost, are you?"

"Oh, she's plenty friendly. She just doesn't like you." She tips her chin toward the rider, expression somber for a moment. The tease is broken by a wink and smirk, and she's shaking her head a bit. "Whers aren't fond of strangers. Once she gets to know someone, she's actually pretty good. Better than most." Most? Apparently crocodile over there isn't Niko's only experience with the beasts. "Yes and no, Niko, and no," she answers the succession of questions without so much as a pause, and her expression is loosening into more of a wry grin than the irritated smirk he began with. At least she can amuse herself? "At least no more than I have been all day. It's a beach. Weyr is…" pausing, as if considering it, before pointing to the side. "That direction. Can't really go wrong."

Ka'el quirks a brow and looks towards Niko. She doesn't like him? Well! He exhales a huffed breath, expression half pouting: brows furrowed and lips somewhat jutted out. He's hurt! (not really) But his act begins to crumble beneath her wink, and he snickers, laying his riding leathers on his lap before leaning back a bit, propping himself up on the palms of his hands. "Not lost. Name's Niko. Not…a miner? Or was that yes to mining?" he asks, apparently getting some of the questions out of order in his mind. Clarification is needed! He turns his head in the direction of her gesture. "Huh. Mine's thataway too," he says. "Just into the forest, there. Nice and away from it all." A pause, and he tips his head slightly. "You're a new face, or am I jus' that unobservant?"

Niko angles herself enough to keep eye contact with the bronzer as he leans back, though shows no intention of doing so herself. Amusement glints in green eyes as he tries to sort out the question and answer game, and he earns himself his first true grin before she's clarifying, "Name's Niko. Was a miner until a year or so ago. So yes… but no. Not anymore." She lets her gaze return to the water, quirking a 'brow upon finding Nisk at least a foot closer to the beach. Still in the water, still 'invisible', but edging closer. "I got to the Weyr a few days ago. Really can't gauge your observance just yet. You prefer staying away from the others?"

"Ah, that makes more sense! Would've questioned why you had a wher if you weren't a miner .. which…technically y'aren't," he says, words taking on a thoughtful lilt. "But you were, so that counts. And explains why it is y'have the water wher over there." Nisk, in all her invisibility, is given another glance, but if he notices in the growing darkness that she's gotten nearer, he comments not on it. Fingers gently curl, digging into the warm grains of sand as he turns his attention to the surface of the water, reflective of what little light there is left in the sky. But, upon knowledge that she is in fact a new resident, his expression lifts. "Yeah? Well score one for me for noticing. Welcome to Xanadu an' all that official business," he says warmly. "And .. mind me askin' why you aren't mining anymore? Seem sort've young to be retired already," he notes. "And uh …" As for staying away? He wrinkles his nose briefly in thought. "Moreso now than before, I suppose. I like my space, but I like bein' with others too, in the right sort've situations." Parties, mainly.

"They would've probably made me leave her behind, if they could've gotten her to work with anyone else." Niko admits, eying the oh-so-sneakily approaching wher with a bit of a smirk. "She's too small to pull anything, but that let her get into smaller spaces. Either way, they couldn't get her out from under my bed. Well, I guess they could've, but someone may've lost a hand." The closer Nisk gets to the shore, the shallower the water, and the more of her crouching form can be seen. Not so invisible now, are we? "She's stalking your boot." It's a matter-of-fact warning, and should one be able to gauge the focus of iridescent eyes, he too might notice the wher's focus on said foot. She seems to be taking her time about answering that first question, but eventually she's shrugging. "There was a rock fall in one of the mines a year or two ago, and my leg was in the way." Her tone is easy, despite the topic, and she even tips her chin a bit toward the crutch at her side. "I don't do so well with rocky terrain anymore."

Ka'el's fingers continue their languid curling and uncurling upon the sands, feeling the warmth that has seeped in from hours beneath a blazing summer sun still radiating now that it's evening. Eyes remain on her as she speaks, listening with obvious interest seen in his gaze as she speaks of the accident. He winces sympathetically, his mind conjuring a picture of the ill-fated scene before he attention glances to that crutch she gestures towards. A crutch? So that's what that stick is. "Wow.." he says, head shaking a little. "I've never given much thought to mining or what could go wrong. Don't know many miners, but I figure you're lucky to've gotten out alive," said with gently raised brows. Nisk has not gone forgotten though, and the stalking wher is given a sidelong look. "…I don't know much've whers either.." he admits, speaking out of the side of his mouth. "So tell me, honestly…should I worry if she feels it fit to attack her prey? Would I be losin' a foot in the process?"

"It happens, yeah. Probably would've died down there if Nisk weren't such a stubborn bitch." Speaking of the wher, Niko's offering a half-snort and half-laugh as Ka'el ponders the fate of his foot, and turns a considering look toward the creature. "You might need a boot when she's done, but she knows not to bite too hard. You probably smell like dragon." She tips a sidelong look at the rider, smirking a bit as she voices the obvious. "She's not used to them. Other whers, and fire lizards, yeah… but I've never taken her around dragons. New smell." And thus worthy of stalking. "She'd probably be a mile or so deeper in the water if she saw an /actual/ dragon, but you don't look all that bad…" Was that a compliment or an insult?

Ka'el smells like dragon! … Well, that is highly likely, considering how much time he spends in the company of one. But still, he wrinkles his nose at the comment and lifts his arm to give a pit a hearty sniff. Meh.. not bad. He smirks as his arm is lowered down. "Well hopefully 'dragon' isn't too offensive a scent," he says as he sits up, removing his weight from his hands which he idly dusts together to rid fingers and palm of sand. "I'd hate for the end've my career in Search and Rescue be 'disfigurement due to wher. High levels of dragon smell' or somethin'." What a sorry way to go! But despite his words, he doesn't appear overly worried. She wouldn't allow her mate to cause him too much harm…right? Her latter comment elicits an amused smirk, and his brows angle upward coolly. "Yeah? I'd hope to think I look better than my dragon, but …. you've never met Kanekith. Best lookin' bronze either've you'll ever see, I'm willin' to wager." He pauses, considering her now with a thoughtful look. "Wanna try?"

Niko is grinning outright as he assesses his own 'smell', green eyes glinting a bit in what little light remains. "You don't smell like a dragon to me," she assures. "But she's… good at those things." Smelling things. "I had a friend with a firelizard she couldn't /stand/. Had to shower after spending time over there or she wouldn't stop hissing at me." Nisk has come close enough that her snout rests on the beach itself, attention still locked on Ka'el's boot. Niko's glancing up at the mention of Kanekith, 'brows raising outright at the offer to… what? "Wanna what? Meet him?"

"So, no hissing," Ka'el notes to the watchful Nisk, "means good. Hissing means bath." He leans forward a little, keeping his eyes on the green creature. "I'm slowly figurin' your code, wher. Soon, you an' I will be friends." Or Ka'el will end up being a chew toy who constantly needs new boots. Only time will tell! He leans back afterward, and the look on his face when he next looks to Niko is borderline mischievous. Not quiet devious. Though definitely troublesome. "Yeah, why not? If you're to be livin' here, then she'll need to get accustomed to seein' dragons, right? We're a Weyr. Dragons are in and out all the time. As common as passin' clouds, and not all fly in the day." Apparently he does know at least a little about whers and their nocturnal habits! "Kanekith loves new people, and he's never met a wher before. It'll be interesting to see what they make of each other." Interesting or disastrous. Funny how often those two words coexist!

Niko seems to be aware of the potential for disaster, spoken or otherwise, and she's tipping a dubious look toward the bronzer. She's silent long enough to edge into awkwardness, and then she's musing, "Depends. Nisk may hiss and put on a show, but she couldn't hurt your Kanekith. Wouldn't dare." Even if she's rather confident about attacking that boot. "Can you keep your dragon from eating my wher?" Well, we're being blunt.

The poor defenseless boot! What'd it ever do to her? "Hey, you. I"ll have you know," Ka'el says, speaking to Nisk, "that these boots were a good trade. Probably the best I've made in turns. You put holes in 'em, you're buyin' me a new pair." His teasing warning is punctuated with a point in her direction, but the emerging grin ruins the already unbelievable act. Maybe theatrics isn't in his future after all! At least in any role of the antagonist. "Kanekith has refined tastes," he says to Niko, smoothing out his shirt a little. "He dines on only the finest cut of porcine and the delectable bites of herdbeast. He'd daren't ruin his palate by taking a wher as a snack." A brow arches (what was that about theatrics?) before that pesky grin makes a reoccurring appearance. "I promise he won't touch her. Much as he wants others to think otherwise, I call the shots."

She watches him for a moment — staring, really — before turning her gaze back to Nisk. "What d'you say, Nisk? You wanna meet a dragon?" She voices needlessly. If whers are anything like their dragon-esque counterparts, she could be projecting the same thing. Whether prompted by voice or thought, the wher's snout finally turns away from Ka'el's boot to regard Niko. The pair seem to have some sort of exchange, eyes locked, before Niko's offering a suffering sigh and looking back to Ka'el. "Only if there's food she can have. As long as it's meat of some sort, she's not picky." Dragons? Who cares about dragons! Dragon /food/, however…

Ka'el watches the exchange with interest. He's seen the look on the face of riders countless of times. But wherhandlers? How is it the same? How is it different? What do… "What? Food?" He's pulled out of his thoughts by the condition set by the apparently hungry wher. His eyes shift to the dark sky. "S'about the time he goes hunting. He likes doin' it at night for the challenge," he explains with a vague smirk before his gaze goes a little distant. Unfocused as he reaches out to his lifemate. "He's hunted already. Eating." He scowls as his mental prying is interrupted, Kanekith nudging him away like a dog who cowers over his bowl to keep others from gobbling it up. Ka'el's eyes roll before they focus to the present again. "Don't worry. I'll get him here with some of whatever it is he's eating. It was bloody." Yum yum? "And so while we wait, and please don't get offended, but can you walk at all?"

Niko shows a similar interest as Ka'el's focus shifts to the dragon. There may have been riders in and out of the hold, but a miner's daughter never had reason to spend much time amongst them — let alone near their dragons. She winces theatrically at the mention of blood — if she's been handling whers for as long as it seems, she's no stranger to raw meat — and then she's looking back to the now-rapt Nisk. Whatever is relayed to the wher has her tail splashing anew in the water, and without much warning — at least for Ka'el — the creature is leaving the water to make her way toward the pair at a cheerful sort of trot. When she settles again it's in front of the two, leathery head laid down on the bit of sand between them. Ka'el = Food. Food = Good. Well, you get the drift. It may not be the most sophisticated bit of logic, but at least she's not eying his boot anymore? Niko reaches out to scritch a bit at the wher's ridged forehead, then lifts her chin toward Ka'el. "If you move slow, and put your hand on mine to start with, you can touch her."

It's only after her attention has more-or-less shifted to Nisk that she allows, "With or without the crutch? I'm slow without it, but I work on it. With it…" There's a one-shouldered shrug, leather jerkin creaking a bit. "I can move pretty fast. I'm used to climbing over rocks in dark tunnels. No more of that, but well-lit hallways?" She makes a soft 'psh' sound, rolling her eyes in what's likely self-mockery.

Nisk's actions are reminiscent of a canine to Ka'el as he watches her sudden transformation from lurking crocodile to bounding pup onto the sand, causing him to slightly lean back and brace, as if expecting to be pounced. Luckily, he is not attacked by claws and limbs and a face that, if not already aware of its approach, could bring nightmares to the unconscious mind. And now that she is so near, he gets his first really good look at her. Nope. She's definitely no dog, but she isn't grotesque either. There's something about her .. maybe her resemblance to her dragon cousins, perhaps her bond with Niko, that reminds him of his own lifemate, who is well on his way. He watches the interaction of wher to handler with an emerging half smirk, nodding a little as Niko speaks of her limitations of walking. But before he can question her more about any of it, his intrigue of touching the wher drifts his attention. "Yeah? … If I leave here missin' a hand…" he says in mock warning, "there'll be hell to pay." Blue eyes stay rooted upon Nisk, watchful for any telltale signs of trouble or unease as he moves the hand closest to Niko, gradually. Slowly. Inching his way towards hers. Hesitating (don't bite me, wher!) then gently placing his upon Niko's, fingers to fingers, palm against the back of her hand.

"Oh, come on… you've got two hands /and/ a dragon. You'd be fine." The words are teasing, but she doesn't tense when the wher plops herself down in the sand. She'd be a little unnerved in the wher was planning on mauling him. Right? "You promise your dragon won't eat my wher, I promise my wher won't eat your hand." Sounds fair. "Yeah, like that. Good." Nisk's tail flicks warningly as the man reaches toward her, but with Niko's hand still between them, she's not trying to ward him away. "Ka'el." She speaks the rider's name slowly, eyes shifting between the wher's to Ka'el's own. Nisk's eyes follow, however difficult it may be to catch in the dimness. Niko's gaze returns to Nisk, and whatever passes between the pair has the wher's tail swishing with renewed excitement. Probably something about meat. "All right… I'll slide my hand out. Stay still for a second, so she isn't surprised, then you can pet her if you want." True to her word, Niko's hand begins to shift beneath his own, withdrawing slowly to leave his palm bare against the wher's still-slippery head. The back of her hand is stroked along the side of Nisk's face then, pausing for a moment for the wher's forked tongue to touch at the backs of her fingers. Fingers that, should Ka'el be paying attention to the nuances of handling the creature, now has some of his scent and taste upon them.

Ka'el isn't sure why he's holding his breath, not does he seem actively aware that he is. The thought of being bitten by a large, unharnessed toothy animal might cause anyone to be a little apprehensive, no matter how brave he may be. And so breath is held as Niko's hand moves against the skin of the wher, and his slides along with it as it rest upon hers. He momentarily glances her way as she speaks his name, eyes lingering for elongated seconds before moving back to Nisk. Should he say something to her? A hello, how do you do? Will that scare her? Figuring following directions is the best way to go, and none of Niko's directions so far tell him to say anything, he keeps quiet, nodding as she speaks to him. Her hand is slid out from beneath his, and he stays perfectly still as he's left to feel the wet wher hide on his own. Statuesque. Has he breathed yet? He does now with a slow exhale through the nose as his fingers gently caress the animal's hide. "Hey Nisk," he finally speaks, breaking the unspoken rule that may or may not have been a rule at all to begin with. "Ka'el. Right, that's me. Ka'el whose fingers don't taste very good at all, trust me. You don't know where my hands have been."

Above, a shadow is beginning to descend upon the beach, far quieter than his size may seem to warrant. In the darkness, Kanekith's bronze metallic hide gleams almost silver in what little moonlight there may be, and wingbeats are slow and heavy as he makes his landing further down the beach, clutching a dark something in his mouth.

While Nisk likely heard the wingbeats before Niko, the wher's alarm may as well be the girl's how bonded they are. Green eyes widen sharply at the sound of the approaching dragon, and it seems more poor timing than any wrongdoing on Ka'el's part that has her making a quick intervention. The hand that had been beneath Ka'el's goes now to grab the rider's own, fingers knitting atop his as she pulls both away from Nisk's head as the wher looks sharply toward the dragon. The rumbling in the wher's chest is audible, tail flicking now in agitation, and Niko's movement seems more instinct than thought. Hand still clasped in Ka'el, the youth is shifting more quickly than any cripple has a right. It's fortunate that he's on her good side, for Niko's sliding her leg abruptly against his own, blocking both his boot and calf from Nisk's immediate reach. In other words, putting herself between rider and wher, even if it involves breaking a few personal bubbles. "Shhhh…" she's offering the wher, seeming almost oblivious to the fact that she's now pressed to his side. The hand that isn't in Ka'el's goes to rest atop Nisk's head, and Niko's eyes actually close as she works to ease the creature's unease. Who knew dragons were so /big/?

“Oh hey, Kanekith’s h-..” Ka’el begins but never does finish his phrase to alert the two of them of the dragon’s arrival. Doesn’t seem as if he needs to, anyway. He quick grasping of his hand startles him enough to have him tensing as he’s jarred away from the wher. What’d he do wrong? Was he mere seconds away from actually losing a few fingers!? Eyes flit to Nisk upon hearing that growl in her chest, and he grimaces, sharply turning his eyes down shore. Big as he is, he’s difficult to miss, even in the darkness. Kanekith’s wings stretch wide, boasting their span before he folds them neatly to his sides. Swirling eyes pierce the darkness as his thoughts reach out to his rider. Why the fuss? He can hear the growling of another creature, one far smaller than himself, and thus the mighty bronze is nearly dismissive in his stride towards the little group, head held high and the severed hindleg of a bovine dangling from his jaws.

Is she okay?” Ka’el asks, voice low and directed to Niko who suddenly is rather close. Nay, pressed against him! For..his own safety? “Are we okay?” She promised him all of his fingers. He daren’t reach for Nisk again, for the closer Kanekith gets, the more apparent his size. “Hold on, Kanekith. Easy buddy, we’ve got a newcomer.” He speaks to his dragon aloud, tone light, and the footfalls of the dragon slow and stop a handful of yards from where they are. Blood drips. Down, down. Drop. Onto the sand.

Bleek. Bleek. Bleeeeeek. The sound is hardly the roar a dragon might muster, but it certainly conveys the little wher's alarm. This was a /trick/. A dirty trick! She agreed to meat and some other lizard-thing. /This/… this… bleeeeeek.

"Shhhh…" Niko's all but pleading with the animal, easing herself onto her knees to all but kneel over the agitated wher. She lowers her forehead to touch the wher's own, and odds are there's more spoken between the two than the ex-miner's whispered words. She doesn't even lift her head when she speaks next to Ka'el, voice a bit muffled by the fall of hair that thankfully shadows both girl and the wher's line of sight. "Can he… give her the meat?" It's a quiet request. "Just toss it over by her. She's just scared." Bleeeek.

What is this? What is that thing down there? Kanekith's eyes swirl a hue of curiosity. Purple. Rich magenta. Laced with yellow. Gone is his initial agitation from being summoned away from his favorite part of mealtime: Rest With A Full Belly Time. And for what? To bring his last morsel here to the beach? He makes a sound deep in his throat, a deep warble of question as his head lowers down, down, down towards the sand. Ka'el is shifting worried eyes to Niko and Nisk. "I didn't mean to upset her," he says, sounding genuinely apologetic as he reaches to touch at Niko's shoulder consolingly. No one can ever convince him the bond between wher and handler isn't strong after today. He rises now, mindless of the sand that sticks to his pants or of his jacket that falls upon the beach. He moves towards Kanekith and unspoken words are passed from rider to dragon.

Snort! « Why shall I give what is mine away? » The dragon's voice, rich and suave, is heard through Ka'el's mind only, and his rider exhales a breath. "Just do it." He pauses. "It's a kindness." To which the bronze again snorts, jaws still clutching the meat. His head begins to lift, though pauses with a look from Ka'el and more words, this time spoken silently. Dragon wings are ruffled, and eventually he relents, giving his head a slight flick to toss the meat their way. Beh. He didn't want it anyway. Take it, peasants!

That touch would reveal Niko's trembling, if it wasn't apparent already. Or perhaps it would be better described as Nisk's trembling? Every instinct in the creature tells her to run. Hide. Danger. But here they are, holding still, being quiet, saying 'shhhhh' like 'bleek' weren't /far/ more appropriate. In fact, there are still a few muffled 'bleeks' from under Niko's hair. But then the meat is tossed, and the agitated flipping of her tail slows. "He brought you food, Nisk," she offers loudly enough for the others to hear. She may be able to speak to Nisk's mind alone, but at this point Kanekith and Ka'el should likely be privy to the conversation. "He won't hurt you." Her hand strokes down the wher's back, comforting, before she's pulling back enough to sweep her hair back. Giving Nisk a chance to see the nearby bronze, and should Kanekith even care, a chance to see his puny cousin.

"Thank you, Mighty Kanekith," Niko is raising her voice, probably needlessly, though her eyes don't leave the wher's. "For sharing with Nisk. She is very grateful." She tucks a hand under the wher's snout, guiding her gaze away from the giant dragon to the nearby leg of meat. "Look, love. It's for you." Nisk's attention flickers to Niko, to Ka'el, and then to Kanekith. It lingers understandably longer on the last, but after a few more encouraging words from Niko, the wher is moving at a careful crouch to approach the meat in the sand. She keeps an eye on Kanekith as sharp teeth bite into the fresh meat, and she keeps that peripheral gaze on the dragon as she belly-crawls back into the water, dragging the meat with her. Invisibility is a good idea right now.
With the meat now dislodged from his jaws, Kanekith again lowers his head to his rider, pressing his coppery muzzle to his chest and holding there a moment. Hello. He's missed you, even if you summoned him away from his nap. <3. Ka'el, despite worried glances to Niko and Nisk, can't help but to grin and press his palms against his lifemate's muzzle, bringing human head to dragon in a murmur of incomprehensible words laced with the gentle tone of affection. He rubs his nose and then pulls back, nodding towards Niko who now is granted Kanekith's attention.

Mighty Kanekith eh? Oh yes, he likes the sound of that very much, and there's a pleased sounding rumble sounding within his chest as he lifts his head fractionally. He's watchful of this unknown human and the unknown creature near her. Puny in comparison, yet curiously somewhat like his clutchmates. The green ones. He makes that connection and lingers on it, curiosity growing. She is so small! Smaller even than his smallest sibling, and thus this tiny thing must be no threat to him. And just look how it moves! Crawling on its belly like a trundlebug, taking the meat. His meat! He grunts, but then…oh yes. He was supposed to gift that meat, wasn't he? And so he settles again, watching as she retreats to the water. He..follows. A single step is taken towards the surf, head still kept low. Ka'el exhales a breath. "No bitten hands. No eaten whers. Might take a chance and call this a success…"

It's not long before Nisk has returned to her spot as a 'crocodile' in the now-dark waters. A rather frightening prospect for a mere human, but what likely amounts to a tadpole to the curious dragon. So tiny. Fortunate for all involved, Nisk's relationship with food is a strong one. The wher has calmed considering after gnawing half of the bone clean, water or no water, and is only pausing briefly when she notices Kanekith coming closer. If the Big One wanted to eat her, why would he have given her food? And Niko said shhhh. And so Nisk goes back to her gnawing, though glowing eyes are now raised to watch the approaching dragon.

Niko's allowing herself a breathless sort of laugh, the sort that comes after missing a close call — a /very/ close call — and her own gaze is raised to regard the dragon. "He's stunning," she offers Ka'el, though her eyes continue to flicker between wher and dragon. "She's a runt," she admits after a moment, probably belatedly. Who knew Kanekith would arrive so quickly? "The bigger whers used to run her off when there was food." Explaining, perhaps, why the 'gift' of meat has had such an impact upon the wher.

So entranced is Kanekith with figuring out just what Nisk is that he's completely missing the words of praise that are being said of him. This, folks, is a gasp-worthy moment, for Kanekith lives for praise. He breathes for attention and will do anything to get eyes on him! But for right now, his eyes are on the water, and he stops at the shoreline, letting the foamy surf curl up to his clawed toes with each reaching and receding wave that washes ashore. He does not project thoughts to the wher, keeping them to himself although he probably could. He's not attacking. Not growling. He merely observes her eat and seems rather content to do so.

"Hell…everyone needs to have a wher…" exhales Ka'el. "This is the most still he's ever been when meetin' someone new." He marvels at this, shaking his head as he watches his dragon ponder the water, and with a grin, he returns towards Niko. "Thanks," said of the compliment to his dragon. "He's..somethin' alright. I wouldnt've known Nisk was a runt. She doesn't act like one," he points out. "Which is good. The smaller ones have to be tough, eh? She seems it, especially after not havin' run off squealin' at the sight of a bronze." He looks down towards her, then offers his hand as a help up, if she wishes.

"Oh, she /wanted/ to…" Niko admits quietly, almost teasingly, as she watches the interaction between dragon and wher. Just as Kanekith seems content to watch the wher, Nisk seems content to finish her food as she peers back at the dragon. "But she's pretty tough, yeah. She learned to hold her own after a year or so, once she found out she could fly faster." There's a fond smirk at the memory. "She'd grab their catch and be gone with it before they knew she was there." His offered hand draws her attention away from the pairing at the water, and for the first time this evening, there's a flicker of unease as she glances toward the rider. What was that about walking? "I… thanks," she finally murmurs, one of her hands going to clasp his own while the other reaches to angle the crutch beneath her. It takes her a moment to straighten on the uneven sand, rearranging her grip on the crutch and leaning a bit into his bracing, but then she's upright. Not quite letting go, but more or less steady.

Having cleared the bone of meat, Nisk is letting it drop carefully into the water. A clawed foot goes to pin it to the ocean floor below — she's not done chewing it, apparently — before she's lifting herself a foot or so higher, snout raised tentatively toward the dragon's. The questioning trill is a whisper compared to Kanekith's, but likely familiar enough to further that curiosity.

As her hand finds his, Ka'el grips her securely as she makes her way up to stand. It's a process. So much more effort is needed in a task that takes him less than handful of short seconds to do, but he's a patient and allows her all the time she needs to gain her footing with no complaint from him. And though he doesn't stare, a look is given to that leg she favors, as if seeking the deformity that's causing walking to be such a hassle. Once she's up, he doesn't move from where he is, apparently not at all minding himself being used as extra support, and his hand continues to grip hers until she needs it no longer. "You probably don't need me to get along," he says, "but the thought've leavin' a woman alone after dark has never sit right with me.. So, will you humor me an' allow me to walk you somewhere? If not at least towards home, then the Caverns so that you're not alone? I've to report home. I've early mornings, most days."

Kanekith's head has lowered now that Nisks has angled up, more interested in her than the underwater bone that she guards. Sniff. Sniff. Hmmm. Friend or foe, this little green one? He'll have time to figure that out, he's sure, but for now the bronze is being pulled elsewhere. The mindlink of another dragon beckons him, and he warbles in his chest, perhaps a sound of farewell before he lifts his head and begins to lumber off, taking a ground route away as opposed to sky.

Nisk tilts her head in bemusement as the bronze retreats, but considering she has all of her parts /and/ a bone to chew on, she seems content with the situation. There's a soft trill at the dragon's back, her head raised almost as boldly as the bronze' had been. /Now/ she's being bold. She takes her claws off the bone to let it float back to the surface, and after catching it between her teeth, she's trotting out of the water to rejoin the human on the sand. Well, that went rather well!

There's a quirked grin at Ka'el's comment about leaving women alone in the dark, but she manages to tone what would've likely been deep sarcasm into, "I've got a wher with me, dollface. There's a good reason people use them as guards…" She turning from him long enough to step into one boot, and then leaning far enough forward to pull the second into place. "I live out on the forest's edge. If you're going that way, I don't mind company, but don't go walking away from home 'cause of me."

She has a wher protector, yes! But a green runt? Would she strike the fear into the heart of a bandit or baddie? … Probably so! And so Ka'el laughs and nods in agreement with her, echoing his former statement. "Just humor me, eh? It'll help me to sleep at night knowin' that I've done my civic duty for the eve." As she gets her boots situated, he stoops to retrieve his jacket as she informs him of just where they'll be going. "A valiant answer would be that it doesn't matter how out've the way your weyr is, it'd be dishonorable to abandon you before your journey even started," he smirks. "My answer is: I'm goin' that way, so I'm happy to walk you .. Huh. Didn't know there were any weyrs near the edge," he muses, making a mental note to go check it out. With his jacket in tow, he stands by her uncrutched side, smiling lightly. "Ready?" he asks, offering an arm. "Nisk can lead the way, if she knows it already. Scare off the bandits before they even think of robbing us.”

Thus, the three of them, with Nisk nobly acting as chauffer, head through the night time weyr, back towards the forests which they both call home.

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