From Weyrlings to Weyrmates

Xanadu Weyr - Coastal Road

This coastal road runs parallel with the edge of beach that stretches endlessly beside the Caspian Lake. From coast to inland the dunes of the beach grow smaller and smaller until they eventually peter out into nothing but small moguls in the sand. The path is eventually seen to be blocked by a river that reaches the lake just south of the point where the road turns west and crosses a grassy meadow towards a sturdy wooden bridge that can be seen in the distance.

It is the end of a long day — a good day, but long nonetheless. After drills and more bothering of the poor Weyrlingmasters on the subject of *betweening*, Ontali has retired to more entertaining pursuits. That is, the decoration of her brand spanking new weyr. Or, well, that is, her wonderful old weyr that's all /hers/. She and Cidheoth are dragging things in from the stores, a bundle of something wrapped in a bright yellow blanket, the dragon bearing that while Tali cheerfully carts a whitewashed wicker end-table of some sort. The girl disappears inside with both briefly, before emerging to stand on her porch, watching the sun sink lazily and slowly for the horizon. The breeze off of the sea is stiff on this outer edge of where folks have huts, but it keeps things cool, trees rustling and shifting. It's been a scorcher, but with the end of the day, it lessens slightly, and at least it isn't too humid! Bare feet kicking up sand cheerfully, the Weyrling descends from her porch and heads down the path to the beach, while Cidheoth suns amongst the trees. The girl hums a jaunty tune as she goes, feet swinging carelessly, arms following suit.

It has been a long day for R'owan as well. Scouting out possible weyr locations, the bronzerider had turned down a number of possibilities which seemed too flowery for his own tastes. Finally, spotting an abandoned building that may have once served as a lighthouse, Ro' laid his claim and got to work with repairs that seemed badly needed. Banging, clanging, all followed by many trips of a somewhat disgruntled bronze dragon hauling wood and furnature scrounged from the lower caverns. Finally, with the day starting to run towards a close, the young rider finally emerges from his new home, clapping hands together and looking somewhat self-satsfied. Nyunath, on the other hand, seems content to doze as if he were sleeping. As his eyes sweep the surrounding huts and domiciles in view, he spots the familiar form of a certain high-spirited blue dragon. Ironic that he'd choose a spot just about right next to the one person he wanted to see. So, dusting off his bare arms, Ro' follows the bluerider's own footprints down the path towards the beach, "Hey, Tali!" He calls out, raising a hand up. "Busy day, huh?" Uh oh, there's that tone in his voice again, as if there's something more he wants to say but he's making polite smalltalk first.

Cidheoth's bright warble for R'owan is pleasant and cheerful as he peeks from among the trees surrounding their little corner of dunes. The blue waggles his wings and chirrups, paws shifting in the sandy soil, expression supremely content. Freedom, so close! Tali's reaction is similarly energetic, bounding the short distance between she and the young bronzerider when she spots him. She pulls up short and wavers for a moment, apparently deciding /not/ to fling herself at him in a bearhug, just this once. Even if moving out of the barracks is terribly exciting. "Ro!" A glance down the beach, then squint for Nyunath. "I thought that was you. Just got back from bringing in some stuff, was gonna come say Hi." The girl's grin is broad and impish. "Knew we'd end up close." He gets an affectionate grin, before she's lifting an eyebrow, catching on to that tone. "Busy enough. I don't think I'll miss the snores and stuff from the barracks, though. We've all lived together for what, two turns now? Kinda gonna miss it." Babble babble — abrupt stop. "What's up?" Funny how it's almost not a question!

"Hey there, Cid." R'owan greets the blue dragon cheerfully enough, although Nyunath's own greeting for the blue is only a dwindled, faded dry landscape. The bronze is unenthused after playing pack-runner all day. For the most part, the young rider's face is an open, broad grin. "You should see the view." he thumbs over his shoulder, beaming proudly at his choice of weyrs. Still, as she pauses just short of a hug, he makes the first move and reaches forward in an attempt to sweep her up and spin the girl around with his own sort of boyish enthusiasm for the moment. Only after setting her on her feet again does he lift one eyebrow, clearing his throat a little bit. "Ahh that. Guess that's part of what I wanted to talk to you about." Luckily, it seems that any ill feelings about a certain blue flying a certain grouchy weyrlingmaster's green are set aside for more important things. "I was thinking since we're so close by and all… and even if we weren't well…" There goes the babbling again. Taking a breath, Ro' just laughs at himself and then grins as he leans forward and places a kiss on Tali's forehead and then gets down on one knee. Uh oh. He pulls a silver necklace out from his pocket, and dangling on the end of it is a simple ring with a blue stone set in it. "Just going to get this out of the way." As if it were a formality, what he's about to say. "If it weren't for the dragons, I'd have asked ages ago. And just because we're riders doesn't change how I feel. So…" He holds out the necklace and ring on his palm, looking up towards the girl who's had the better part of his heart for probably the past two turns, "Would you be my weyrmate, Tali? I mean, you don't have to live with me or anything. Just… so' long as I know."

Cidheoth glances towards sleepy-Nyunath with amusement gleaming in quick-whirring eyes. The blue ambles down the path after Tali, then brushes past, gallumphing out into the water like some oversized, funny-gaited canine. Tali watches him fondly, but is then picked up and spun, laughing brightly. Her grin when she's set back down is mischievous, and she *almost* looks like she might pounce, or tickle, or something else devious — but this is Serious Business. Or, you know, not the time for inducing a roll in the sand. "I'll have to come bring you some cookies later or something. Maybe I won't burn them or poison you." She laughs, affectionately prodding at his chest. Then there comes out a less impish, more patient look, head canted slightly to the side, short hair flying every which way. Hands reach automatically to hug as he leans in to kiss her forehead, expression amused — until the point at which he drops to a knee.

Every female since the dawn of time (okay, maybe not quite so long) knows what that means, and most dream of it — Tali hasn't. So why does she look like she's been slapped across the face with a frozen fish? It's the logical next step, even, but that doesn't mean that dear Ontali has any clue as to how the relationship thing goes. Well, you know, except this one. "Shells." The girl mutters, blinking owlishly, wonderment twitching around the corners of wide eyes. "Really?" Smart girl, our Tali. But no, her expression clears in the next moment, a little grin twitches up the corners of her lips. "Damned dragons." Growled with amusement, as she gently takes the necklace and ring, giving them a wondering, thorough examination. "So pretty. Shells." Muttered happily, as she flicks eyes back at Ro, apparently realizing that she might give the poor boy a heart attack. "Oh — sorry." There is a sheepish grin, as a hand drifts down to thumb his jaw, quiet a moment. "Of course I will, Ro. Nobody else on Pern as crazy as you are." Her light teasing is accompanied by a gentle grin, and an offered standing-up-hand. "I'm sorry if I ever worried you." The grin stretches. "Though you shouldn't've worried. You're the best." And oh yeah, it's totally just that easy. Of course

Something about that water is almost inviting to Nyunath as he watches the blue disappear into it, pale brozen head lifting as his eyes whirl. There is a distinct flicker of stormclouds across his mind as he seems to war between interest and laziness, and eventually the interest wins out as he gets to his feet. « Cookies. » He rumbles thoughtfully. « Not tasty at all. » Apparently he's old enough now to express opinions on at least a few things he's managed to get his nose into. A shadow passes over the couple briefly as the big bronze just steps, quite literally, over them on his way, careful not to get too close or bump them.

"No, I'm just down here to tease you." R'owan replies quickly, although he's still all smiles as she takes the necklace, seemingly happy enough that he picked out something she likes. When her hand draws close, he takes his own hand forward and kisses her palm before rising. "Good. And there's no one in Pern I'd want more by my side." He reaches an arm out and throws it around her shoulder, hugging her close. "Besides, we can be crazy together. Sounds like a fun plan to me." His eyebrows lift, with almost a challenging expression on his face. "A big, bright, open future where we're free to go and do as we please. And the two best dragons in all of pern to do it with." He laughs outright.

Cidheoth splashes happily, thoroughly enjoying exploring the area of the beach that's now /theirs/. « Cookies. » The blue muses, quietly, recalling some memory or other, then offering a soft shower of candescent bubbles. « They aren't as good as heart. » Half-agreed with what might be an amused rumble, as he wades around the shoreline, glancing over at Nyunath with an amused expression. « Fish, however, » A wing expands grandly out at the water. « We have. »

Tali is briefly distracted by the spectacle of the dragon just stepping *over* them, issuing a startled laugh. "Don't worry, we'll move, Nyunath!" She calls playfully after the bronze with a roll of her eyes and a laugh. Then her attention is focused wholly, again, on R'owan, expression soft and amused, perhaps slightly mischievous still. Is she ever not? "You'd better hope you're not." The girl giggles, subsiding into a contented grin when he stands again. The side-hug is snuggled into happily, an arm tossed about his waist, head laid on his shoulder. "Nobody else'd put up with me." She almost cackles, rolling her eyes. "Or my dragon." Snort. The next, the challenge in his expression, all of it, brings out a wolfish grin in Tali. "Can't think of anything /I'd/ rather do, dunno about you, love." She murmurs impishly, then grins a bright, enthusiastic grin at her — Weyrmate. "Soon. I can't wait. D'you reckon they'll let us run off for a few days before we have to do wing stuff? Isn't it traditional when you get hitched?" Her tone is light, but expression intensely happy, content and impish. "I /suppose/ they're the best." Cidheoth snorts. "As long as they don't complain too much." Grin!

Nyunath doesn't even seem to acknowledge his rider or the newly made weyrmate as he steps over them, moving to join the smaller male at the water's edge. It seems, momentarily, as if he could care less about what his rider is doing, but his mind fleetingly shows an image of the two riders together, which seems to fit in his draconic mind. « Humans. » He mumbles, bemused. However, the prospect of fish draws his head back around, eyes whirling. « Have you tried them? Are they good fish? » He asks, lowering his head towards the water and rumbling in his chest like distant thunder.

R'owan glances up towards his dragon and rolls his eyes slightly, "He says not to bother moving, it's easier for him to move around us." His eyes linger on the bronze for a moment longer, but then the warmth of Tali beside him draws his eyes down again as he leans his head down to place a kiss into her hair. "Put up with you, huh? Well I happen to enjoy your company. And Nyunath gets along just fine with Cidheoth. They're both curious enough to keep themselves entertained." The prospect of getting to run off for a bit after weyrling graduate causes a small hint of something fiendish in his eyes. "Mmm, I think they'd let us have a day or two. We could go find some island off the coast somewhere that no one has ever set foot on and have a little privacy for what? The first time in almost two turns?" He laughs and then shakes his head, amused by how quickly the time flies.

Cidheoth doesn't seem to notice his rider, watching the water fiercely, eyes whirring quickly. When Nyunath joins him, the blue glances up and warbles brightly, then glances back with a snort. « I don't understand mine. » He returns drily, before turning back to stare into the water with ferocity once more. « I caught one earlier. » Memory flashes — still for a very long time, then suddenly *snap*! And a fish! « They are. Not very big. But it is fun to catch them! » His voice shimmers with a bright sheen of enthusiasm, as he echoes the rumble; higher-pitched but cheerful, he peers intently into the lake.

"How sensible." Tali drawls, tone taking on an unconscious echo of Cid's dry amusement. She grins up at Ro, eyes crinkling as she elbows him playfully in the side. "You say that now." Teased lightly. "We'll see." The girl laughs, then snorts towards the dragons, expression affectionate. "Cid likes Nyunath. Curious…understatement." A little snicker, before she's returning the fiendishness, lips quirking into a mischievous smirk. "Think so?" Gaze drifts out over the lake, goes distant for a moment, before she's smiling faintly, now more sedate, serene. "An island where nobody's been. I like the way you think, R'owan." The use of his full name is drawn out playfully, as she snorts. "I guess it's been about that, shells…I don't know what I'll do now! Shells. So much to consider." But really, she doesn't sound too put off by that!

Nyunath's dry mindscape brings a questioning roll of thunderous drumbeats, « What confuses you about her? » Still, he seems far more interested in the shared image of the fish. Slowly, the bronze moves forward into the water and begins to look down towards the fish. They swim away from his large shadow. « Patience. » He rumbles and then waits until they seem to get used to his presence. Lower and lower, the bronze ducks his head until it's just above the water and then *chomp*. He gets a mouthful of water, and one fish waggling by it's back fin sticking from the end of his mouth.

"Ooof." R'owan lets out a small breath of air as he's elbowed, but his face still shows that playful sort of expression. "I don't think that'll change, even if you elbow me a hundred times. Although I think my ribs would get a bit bruised." He steps away and rubs at his side a bit, feigning that the motion hurt more than it really did. He lets himself flop unceremoniously onto the shoreline, and looks up at her as if expecting that she'll join him. "Just Ro'. Screw all the official rider crap. There's no way I'm calling you Ontali." He screws his nose up a little, not all that fond of the name the blue dragon had given her. "You'll always be Tali to me." He smiles again, and tilts his head faintly. "You were hoping to get tapped to search and rescue, right?" He asks, somewhat randomly.

Cidheoth's amusement is plain in his faceted gaze, one eye focused on Nyunath. Quickly, it falls back to the water as he stills, wings fanning to shade the glare of the sunlight above. « She is mine, » A fierce rush of pride in this dazzles in a cascade of vibrant sparks. « And she is his. » This, more subdued, cautious, a dance of luminescent bubbles. « It is… » But the young blue seems lost for words at this point, and subsides, focusing intently upon the water. He doesn't shift /too/ much, a cobalt statue rising above emerald-touch water, eyes whirring. Evrntually — energy almost crackles off of spark-touched headknobs as he darts his head down, and emerges with a dripping muzzle, and pleasantly fat fish. Contentment.

"You're no fun at all." Tali drawls pleasantly with a laugh, watching him step back with an expression full of mischief. "How am I supposed to have any fun if you don't fight back?" Is a clear tease, as she sprawls uncerimoniously at his side, snuggling up against him once more — for all the world as if she might stay there for forever. Maybe she can try! She's a resourceful girl. "Pfffft." Comes after a moment, with a low chuckle. She, enjoy teasing her new Weyrmate? Certainly not. "You know it." The girl lapses into comfortable silence for some time, watching the waves not so far off with amusement. Well…she always knew she'd end up living on a beach! "Hmm?" A brief pause, considering. "Well, yeah. I guess…that's something that Cid'd be really good at. And it seems…fun. Well," The girl shakes her head. "Not fun. But. Not…boring. Not that transport's boring, not if you make it fun. Get to see lots of Pern. That's what you were going for, right?"

With a quick motion, Nyunath pops the fish up into the air and then catches it in his mouth, not even bothering to chew as he swollows. Fish don't really satisfy, but it's a pleasant enough change of pace for the big bronze. « He is mine. And he is hers. » The bronze bobs his head once in an immitation of a human nod. « They are not… like us. » Nyunath's mindscape rumbles like distant rain across a parched landscape, drumbeats in the distance. « We will have our mates, too. You have had one already. I will catch soon. » He seems quite confident of this fact even as he lowers himself into the water, letting small bubbles pop up through his nose.

"No fun?" R'owan lifts an eyebrow and lets his face shift into a serious line. It's his 'work face' that he hasn't used in quite a long time. However, it's doesn't linger for long, and the edge of his mouth starts to creep upward into a lopsided smile. "Would you like me better then if I did … this!" He reaches over and moves his fingers against her side, trying to tickle her, a challenged grin on his face. "You'd rather have me as I am, I'm sure, though. Goofy, silly, and absolutely in love with you?" Yep, he nods this as if not letting her argue this point. He does take his hands aawy though after a moment, nodding slightly. "I want to see all there is out there to see. Then figure out just what I want to do." Long term plans were never Ro's strong point.

Cidheoth just munches his down, ignoring the guts that flop unpleasantly about his jaws. However, he fastidiously dunks his head into the surf, going so far as to submerge his muzzle in the sand and shift around for a few seconds before reemerging — otherwise Tali won't spend time with him! And that's always tragic. « They are not like us at all. It is confusing, but she is mine and I trust her. » Is agreed faintly, among a gentle rain of indigo sparks and the faint crackle of energy. « You will. It is not so hard. Fly high, dive fast. » Sagely advice from the dragon who likely won on sheer luck! Figures. The blue drifts further out, sinking so that he floats a few inches above the sea bed, wings splayed to take in the setting suns' warmth.

Tali lifts an eyebrow at the reappearance of the work face, almost fooled — for a minute! Just a minute! And she's distracted, and all. Excuses, excuses. She's also distracted when he starts tickling her, so her reaction is something like 'flail arms, squeal like five turn old girl' rather than…well. Flail arms, squeal like five turn old girl. It's the universal reaction, after all! When she gets her wayward limbs under control, Tali tries to fight back, but likely fails at it, as it quickly dissolves into a two-armed hug and a torso somehow half-sprawled over him. "'course I would. You're the best." Repeated quietly and with amused sincerity into his chest. This seems to content her for some time, before she's chuckling again, nodding slowly. "You're smart." The girl admits with a snicker. "That's sort've a lot more coherant than my plan. Oh well — one day at a time, right?" Apparently, they aren't her thing either!

« No. Not at all. » Nyunath agrees companionably to the smaller male, seeming to take in his advice. A quick roll like water flowing into parched places follows, even as the bronze's sunset wings extend to splay out over the water's surface. The more sentient thoughts filter out of his mind, leaving only the desert rains behind.

"Smart? Me?" R'owan laughs just once, and then shrugs his shoulders, reaching one hand down to run it through the ringlets of her hair. "Nyunath seems to think so. He's the one with the grand plans. I just want some fun while I'm young enough to enjoy the freedom rider-life gives." His eyes sparkle a bit with the growing realization of just how much his life has changed. "Sure, it's work, but we can go where we want. No one to answer to but our dragons. Real freedom." Okay, so maybe that's not -quite- how it goes, but Ro' certainly has some romantic ideals about what being a rider means. "One day at a time, though." He nods sagely. "And this one's almost over." He looks up at the dwindling light, a smile pulling at his lips. "Maybe I could convince you to show me your weyr, tonight." He says with a cunning sort of tone to his voice. "Mine's still a mess. So many repairs to do."

Cidheoth slowly settles as well, content to roll with the waves, spark-covered wingsails splayed, body lax. He floats, contentment evident on his features, not seeming to notice or really mind the other sensations other than the water beneath him.

Tali's laugh is warm as she twists to glare up at Ro', rolling her eyes and giggling. "No, not at all, Ro'. You're but a poor messenger boy, eh?" The girl drawls, teases cheerfully, then buries her face again with a little giggle and grin. "I think most of Cid's grand plans involve saving Pern. I don't think we're in any real danger of that any time soon." She sniggers quietly, easily, but gently squeezes the poor bronzerider. "Don't let him make you do somethin' you don't want to, eh?" This is quieter, more sincere, before she's back to amused and chuckling, shaking her head wryly. "Freedom. I used to think I was free when I rode my runners. I think I was wrong, Ro'." She might still miss the challenge of training the runners — but taming a wayward dragon is more…fulfilling. All things considered. And they're young, so they're allowed their ideals! "We /can/ go anywhere we want. We could just leave if we wanted to. Never look back." A significant pause. "But that'd be wrong." Is added quietly, and she's quiet for a time, before twisting again, favoring him with an impish expression. "Is that so? How inconvenient." The girl's tone is oh-so-woeful as she grins up at her 'mate. "I suppose I'll have to, then." And she manages to contain her excitement for a full two and a half seconds, before — "It's so *pretty*!"

With the dragons both lulled by the warmth and the waves, R'owan seems content as well, rolling his eyes a little bit to his weyrmate's teasing. "Nyunath… well sometimes he feels born out of time. Like he and I were meant to be fighting thread, but there isn't any out there to fight." He murmurs, and then shakes his head from side to side. "Have to remind him that transport is important, too. I think he'll want to see me do something important someday, but not just yet." No, not anytime soon. R'owan is far too enamoured with the life he has now to go trading it in for paperwork and responsibilities. Leaning down, he places a soft kiss to Tali's forehead, "I don't think I could really stomach leaving. Xanadu's been home to me all my life. Then again…" Whistfully, the boy brushes a strand of her hair. "Anywhere that you're at is home enough." Aww. His smile brightens a bit into a grin, "Well, lead then way then. I'll show you mine when it's finished." Yep, show me yours, I'll show you mine. Silly rider.

Ontali is almost sleeping, expression serene as she sprawls against the young bronzer, smiling a little. "Really?" Her chuckle is faint and fleeting. "You want me to find some firestone for him? I bet he'd enjoy flaming…" There's a pause and a stout nod. "It is." Agreed cheerfully, to the next, before she's smiling up at Ro' fondly as he kisses her forehead. "Xanadu's more home than the hold ever was." The girl's voice is firm, expression caught between wistfulness and memory. "They can never have me back, either. All yours." The last is a cheerful, sleepy murmur that if she were in any right mind she would probably keep a lid on — le vomit! Then she considers the next, eyes dancing in the long moment between thought and action. "Works for me." A laugh, cheerful and impish. "I could always help, yanno…" She pulls at Ro' and then bounces down the path to her cottage, glancing over her shoulder with a bright grin once before disappearing inside

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