Huff and Puff

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

Not Ashwin's day at all. First, he had plans to take today off and drink or something like that. Second he's been assigned a shadow. Both of those are enough to make him surly and so it's with a little scowl that he awaits the arrival of the one who's supposed to accompany him on his morning run. Rinxyth is nowhere to be found because he doesn't have to get up until later for his part of PT. What a lazy butt.

Is a shadow really all that bad when it's Quillan? He doesn't think so. The lanky teen looks like he may have just rolled out of bed and pulled on his PT clothing to make it to the lakeshore in time, because his curly hair is rumpled and… are those pillow-creases, still lining his cheek? Once he's identified Ashwin and made his way over to the brownrider, he stops, stands up straight, and salutes him. "Morning, sir. We're going running, right?" Ignore him if he drops the salute to cover his gaping yawn.

Ashwin is obligated to hate Quillan because he represents responsability and something that he has to do. So, when the youth approaches having clearly just gotten out of bed the brownrider's brow twitches. "Been up long enough to know if it's a good morning or not?" He asks. A moment later a firelizard appears and drops a comb in his outstretched hand and vanishes again. "First rule of being candidate, at least look the part." See him toss that comb. "Late out of bed? Get any breakfast?"

"Been up long enough to know it's a morning of some sort, sir," Quillan replies, before shaking himself out to try and wake up a bit. Sort of like a canine giving himself a good shake-down after a bath. When he's done with that, and there's a comb being offered to him, Quill manages a grin before tackling his tousled curls. "We were up pretty late debating a team name. 'Blues' is just so boring, but it's hard to make a decision when there's too many people who won't compromise…" The comb snarls on a tangle, and he tugs it free. "Didn't get anything in me yet, but I prefer running on an empty stomach." With his hair somewhat neater, Quill cleans of the comb, brushes it against his shirt, then hands it back. "Thanks. Hey, sir, can I ask why you're Ashwin, not… A'win, or something?"

Ashwin accepts the comb back and slips it into a front pocket all the while staring mutely at his problem in front of him. "Running." That question is a hard one and he hesitates before answering it. When he's come up with something witty enough he lets his words turn the corners of his mouth into one of those not-happy-sarcastic-smiles. "Because I felt like it? If I was going to change my name to something like that it'd be 'I'win'." The sarcastic answer is followed up right away by a little shrug. "You know the tradition. Honorifics are usually taken from a newborn dragon's first attempt to say a rider's name." A softer, kinder smile. "Ashwin isn't actually my given name, if that's what you're wondering too. It does the job, Rinxyth likes it."

"I kinda wanted to know if they'd let me just go by Quill, if I Impressed. I'win would be pretty cool, though…" Quillan gives Ashwin a lop-sided grin, scratches at his stubbled cheek, then straightens himself up to sretch out his arms and legs. "So long as your dragon likes it, and you like it, then it's all good, right? Anyway. How fast do you run? Do you do, like, a PT sprint, or is it more of a, uh, jog? I'd say leisurely, but I don't think that's going to be the case."

The softer, kinder smile remains fixed in place and the look of malcontent hasn't yet reasserted itself over Ashwin's face. "I'd say ask your dragon if and when you impress, he or she's the one who'll have to be saying it. I don't think there are hard rules for anything like that, though. You are who you are?" The next question? Well, that catches him off guard too. "I usually run until it starts to burn and then jog for awhile then go back to running when I start to enjoy it too much." He tilts his head to the side with a concerned look. "You going to be able to keep up?"

Quillan bends down to wrap his hands around his calves, stretching some more. "Yeah, I think I can try and keep up. I dunno how long we're going to be running for, though, so… we'll see. If I drop down dead, I'll let you know." He cants his head to look up at the brownrider, grinning. "There's not much call for long-distance running in the Minecraft, you know? But I at least try and go for a jog every morning." The last is said as he unfurls himself to stand straight again, stretching his arms up to crack knuckles high above his head. "I'll follow you, then?"

"Sure." Ashwin quips over a glance at Quillan's footwear. "And if you fall down dead I'll make sure someone finds you before the scavengers do." Now, here's a fact. A real one! For someone who indulges in as many bad habits as Ashwin does he really, genuinely loves to run. Runner's high is his idea of a good time. But there's mercy even if he is obligated to hate Quillan and he starts off at a leisurely jog as the youth would put it. "So. Where'd they ship you in from?"

A leisurely jog is certainly within Quillan's stride, and he matches Ashwin's pase with ease as they start off. He can even talk while doing it! "I was actually already here, though only for about a month or so - not long. Come from Igen, though. Igen Weyr. Ma, pa, their dragons, everything's back there." Jog jog jog. "What about you? You Xanadian, or from somewhere else?"

There's a weird little hesitation when Quillan asks Ashwin where he's from. See? This is why he hates new people. So before he answers he speeds up to a run. He's short, but the joy of it has him streaming on along the path he chooses until as promised he begins to slow once he feels the right amount of burn. "Telgar." There's just enough shortness, just enough lack of happy in his voice, tone and expression to let Quillan know he's pissed the brownrider off somehow but who knows how?

Quillan wouldn't be able to talk and keep up at that running pace for long anyway, so it's just as well Ashwin waits to answer. As it is, the candidate lags a little, ending up a pace or three behind the brownrider until he slows them back down again. By then, Quill's breathing a little more heavily, but he isn't struggling. Not yet. "Blew some rocks up there once," he replies between breaths, giving the man the sideeye as he does so. "You don't like Telgar?"

Oh, there he goes asking questions again. So Ashwin speeds up for a few minutes. By the time he slows down the burn is creeping up calves into thighs but his breathing is calm and under control. Even his jog is on the brisk side though. "Not that. Telgar's a fine place." Looking straight ahead, he jogs around a curve in their path and beneath a tree. "I don't think too much about who I used to be? Focus in the present not the past. I'm who I am, not who I used to be?"

And there they go, speeding up again! Quillan huffs alongside Ashwin, lengthening his stride to keep up as best he can. But by the time they've slowed down again, he's got some catching up to do. "Uh-huh," he manages between heavy breaths, and while wincing - someone's feeling it now. "Present. Right. Got it." He may not be close to dying yet, but talking requires effort. "Why. Do you. Go. Fas… ter when I… ask a question?"

Now he's not even really listening to Quillan. He's pondering if speeding up in response to his question about questions shows sociopathic tendencies of some kind or other. That's at the forefront of his thoughts when they round a corner and the path normally has a footbridge over a little gulley but today it is being worked on. So without thinking about it, the three or four foot wide gap is lept and he slows to a jog and then finally stopping to mop his brow — he's finally worked up a sweat! And reach behind him. "You brought water, right?" He asks Quillan. It's a rhetorical question, he figures Quillan did not and it's his way of suggesting that he do so in future.

Whoa - Quillan signed up for a run, not the Grand National! His pace falters when he sees that the bridge is out, but when Ashwin ploughs on ahead like there's nothing to it… he follows suit. There's a "Gah!" from him as he leaps and doesn't think he'll make it, but he does… and then is so surprised that he's actually managed it that he stumbles. He's still windmilling to regain balance without stopping when Ashwin decides to pause, and Quill looks incredibly relieved as he drops his hands down to his knees and huffs for breath. As for that question? He shakes his head. Nope. No water!

Ashwin isn't a complete beast. Just mostly! He lounges with his hands in his pockets, breathing a bit heavily but hardly out of control until Quillan gets himself back togeather. "I knew you'd make it." He says, hand coming around from behind his back with a silver canteen. It's old, battered and has seen many days and this particular day has water in it instead of booze. "Here ya go. Pour some over your head if you need to. Anyway it's only a few feet deep if you didn't." He smiles endearingly and waits some more for Quillan's breathing to come back to normal. "I'm sorry if I'm coming across prickly. It's not one of my better days and it's not your fault you were assigned to me. Look, it's… I guess everyone has a lot of things they want to forget and I'm one of them. I don't get out much, so I don't meet new people much, so the asking about my past brings old things back. That's all, isnt your fault in the least."

And Quillan is eventually able to breath properly again. "Maybe a little heads up would've been helpful?" He says as he accepts the canteen, drawing a mouthful of water from it before pouring a little over his head. He's not wasteful with the water, and takes another glug before handing it back. "Thanks. Sounds like your past pretty much sucked, right? Here's some advice, though - if you don't want to talk about where you're from, maybe don't bring it up in the conversation? We could've started off talking about chicks, or something. Eggs. Dragons. Or we could just forget everything we've said and start again, if you want?"

From where the canteen came from (a small pack that may or may not have been noticed) a cloth comes, revealing a pair of breakfast wraps. "Not really, it just was a past. Was just a very different person. I suppose I'm over explaining. I feel a little self conscious because I was probably being rude and you are just trying to be friendly." On the whole he looks like he's relaxing. "Maybe this shadowing program isn't just for you candidates. I was hoppin' mad when I found out I had to participate, but not a bad thing." Finally, a real smile. "You're right though, I suppose. Natural answer to 'where are you from' is how about you. Did good to keep up with me, though!"

"Screw the past," Quillan replies with a shrug. "What's done is done and can't be changed. If you don't want it, then you don't live it any more, so screw it. And what can I say, I'm just a pretty friendly guy." He smirks, pressing his hands to his hips and stretching by leaning back. "Yeah, next time I'll beat you. Maybe next PT I'll ask if we can be assigned together… cos you're alright, Ashwin-without-a-past. You'll be better when I beat you, though." Laughing, he stops his stretching and looks hopefully to the wraps in the brownrider's hands. "Are those for sharing, maybe?"

"Yeah, right." Big, big grin there. "I run this path every morning, minus the bridge of course. That one caught me by surprise. Hurdles are boring though and if you can run, you can jump. Practice it lots and if you can keep up, you're welcome to come. I haven't had anyone push me for a long time, the friends I keep aern't really runners." He then blinks, rather innocently. "Actually, no. I'm going to eat one and the other's for the firelizards, I just wanted you to see food ~knowing~ that you hadn't had breakfast because I am just ~such~ an ass like that." A pause, a little pause. "Yes, one is yours. I figured I'd get someone who'd show up with no breakfast and no water."

Quillan snorts. "Running's alright. I've never done it like we just did it, but I could get into it." Then his expression sinks because he might actually believe Ashwin when he says the wrap's for the firelizards… and he lets out an 'ooof' when the truth comes out. "Yeah? You figured right, sir. Or are you one've the so many riders who hate being called sir, and want to be just Ashwin? Your choice." He holds out his hand, hoping to receive that wrap. Teenaged boys get hungry so quickly!

"Call me what you like. I'm not going to make you call me sir but it doesn't bother me either. Just the same with Ashwin. That's probably fine enough for out here but you probably should use sir when the weyrlingmaster is around for the sake of your own hide." He makes decent wraps, this one didn't come from the living caverns. Too many personal touches, wasn't mass created. Just the right amount of sausage, egg and some sort of seasoning. Quillan's wrap is handed over along with the canteen. "So, what're you hoping for? Thought about colors? You mentioned chicks, so green is ~probably~ not your thing." An amused, very amused little smile. "Bronze? Brown?"

The wrap is greatfully accepted, and Quill takes a chunk out of it before answering Ashwin. "Yeah, I am so not greenrider material. Bronze'd be good, and I reckon I'd be good for it. That's where my money is. But, dad's a bluerider, so blue would be alright. Nothing wrong with brown either, really. Mum's a greenrider, so I'm just going to make sure I'm never, ever around in Igen if her Phoebith's glowing." He pulls a grossed-out face at that thought. "What did you think you'd get, when you were a candidate? Did you know Rinxyth was what you wanted?"

Nom nom. This is Ashwin eating a breakfast wrap. Nom. "I like being a brownrider. In theroy, it's like being a bronzerider but without having to keep all of the responsability forever. Little times here and there where you are expected to step up but you don't have the same kind of spotlight on you. Nobody cares if you wanna drink, nobody cares if you wanna screw, you aern't up on a pedestal. Not that a bronzerider who did either of those things is anything new, but everyone always gossips about it anyway and makes it a big deal.. but as a brownrider? Who cares." He shrugs with a little smile. "Blueriders are such underdogs, most of the most interesting people I've ever met have been blueriders. That's what I figured I'd end up with when I was first searched. Nope. Rinxyth had other ideas." There's a laugh. "Generally, if you want to ground your dragon from chasing, they'll listen. Not always but most of the time. They won't like it though. Rinxyth, for all his size can sulk like you wouldn't believe."

"And a sulky dragon is never fun," Quillan agrees. "I guess the only thing I know for certain is that I'm not going to Impress a gold, if there's even one out there. What's Rinxyth think about that? Jan and I were talking about it, and we've not heard anyone say there is for certain, though she says she's heard rumours that there could be. Shards if I know, cos none of those eggs looked obviously gold, y'know?" He pauses to take a big bite of his wrap, chewing it thoughtfully. "I honestly think I'd be good with anything. Bronze, brown, blue… it's all good. Just… maybe not so much green."

Ashwin is looking at Quillan with interest. "Don't let traditional gender roles infulence what you think about colors. I've known plenty of greenriders with more independence and leadership than you'd think, and just because you ride green doesn't mean you are … " He shrugs. "I've known more than a few really bossy greensriders, really bad ass people. Besides. Gender really… doesn't matter much when it comes to flights." Finishing his wrap, he dusts his hands off. "I guess what I'm saying is don't rule anything out because sometimes things surprise you. Don't get in your head any preconcieved notions and try and keep an open mind." He pauses, hesitating, getting that far away look some riders get when talking to their dragons. "Rinxyth says he's staying out of this one, he has no idea."

"Oh, nah, it's not that I don't want green because of some prejudice or something," Quillan's quick to explain. "Like I said, my mum's a greenrider. She's helped with weyrlings, she even stepped up to run a wing once, but I don't think she liked it. I just want a different colour because I reckon that'll get me laid more." Wink wink. "Y'know. No waiting for proddiness to strike and all that." Nudge nudge. "Do you let Rinxyth chase often? Cos I figured it'd be cool to try and get in at least one flight a sevenday."

Ashwin raises both eyebrows. Oh, he raises them so very far. "You know half the time you don't even remember most of flight sex, right?" He's speaking gentle, because he's trying not to crush Quillan's hopes and dreams. "It's not . . I don't really like flights. I find them like being blackout drunk. If I want to screw, I'd rather do it sober and not have an awkward wake up after." He sort of waves his hands in front of him. "You'll find dragonriders are a pretty sexual bunch of people as it is. You don't need flights to get laid if that's what you're thinking."

And the teenage dream bubble is burst. Quillan frowns, disappointed, but not willing to give up on the shattered remnants just yet. "Well, I figured it'd just be easier. And the flight stuff is intense, right? And there's no need for all the flirting and buying drinks or whatever that you'd need to do if it wasn't during a flight. My dad always seemed to enjoy it whenever Dernth caught." He shrugs, polishing off that last bit of breakfast roll and wiping his hands down on his shorts. "Anyway, that's like what, 2 turns or something from now? There's a sharding long time to wait until flights are a thing, and that's if I even end up a rider! Who knows, man." Quill holds up his hands, leaving the question up in the air. "I oughta go get bathed and stuff, I've got a tech class this morning. But you were an awesome running buddy, Ashwin. Can we do it again?"

Ashwin waves Quillan off. "My advice to you is to just learn to have an ounce of charm here and there. Dragonriders are a pretty free lot, like I said. You're decent looking, don't act like an ass, you'll do fine. Some people enjoy the drinking, flirting, and buying drinks. You'd be surprised, you might even too." He stretches himself, folds up the cloth and tucks it away and turns to keep on running down the path. "Show up any time you think you can keep up."

When Ashwin starts to leave, Quillan waves after him. "Sure thing, man. I'll be the one running past you!" For him, it's a much slower jog back to the barracks.

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