Pants for Natali

Xanadu Weyr - The Firelizard Theatre


There are many different things to look at here. In the northern part of this field lies a massive fort made out of wood. About 10 feet to the right of the fort, there are wooden sit-toys carved in the likeness of dragons and even painted as such. In the middle of the field are two sets of swings suspended from a wooden beam, held up by two wooden beams on either side. To the left of the swings is a 5 by 6 rectangular box filled not quite to the top with sand from Xanadu Weyr's Beach. To the right of the swings are monkey bars, completely crafted out of wood. In front of you are two seesaws, both made out of wood. Finally, to your near left are two benches underneath a large Lemosian Ironwood tree. You find yourself standing in the Courtyard of The Firelizard.

Early fall is no surcease from the heat that hangs over Xanadu, even as the moons have begun to rise and the sun has all but dropped below the horizon. Though the mugginess of the day has begun to bleed away, it's yet another hour before the evening's cool begins to set in. Dinner is on in the Living Caverns, and most of the Weyr's residents and riders are taking advantage of the end of the workday to relax. So does N'shen, though he's neither in his weyrbarn, nor with his bronze - instead, he's lingering at the childrens' playground by the Firelizard, seated upon one of the swings, idly twisting it as he lays his head against the chain, staring off into nowhere at all.

Ever one to take advantage of the opportunity for solitude, Natali is giggling in a girlish fashion as she dashes through the trail that leads into the playground, fast in pursuit of a small green 'lizard chittering and chirruping in merry fashion. The trader girl's skirts are lifted at least to her ankles to better run about in, and she's looking quite merry and laughing herself, although it's a bit of a forced laugh. "C'mon Bess," she's urging the little green, "give it back." Give what back? There's some ribbon dangling from the firelizard's claws, so perhaps that's it. There's a final chirp, and the small green settles onto the girl's shoulder, enabling her to snatch the ribbon back. "There, silly. No more of that." She taps playfully at the green's nose.

Giggles and chittering are not so odd a sound as to catch N'shen's attention - but vague recognition of the girl's voice does, indeed, cause his green eyes to finally focus on Natali and her firelizard as they come into view, a faint smile tugging at his lips as he kicks against the ground, sending the swing slowly rocking back and forth. "Chanteuse and Mikado play like that sometimes," he remarks, nodding towards Bess. "More with themselves than with me, to be fair - but since they both hatched at the same time, they ain't never had to depend on me to keep them entertained." Pushing off again, he disengages one hand from the swing's chain, gesturing for her to join him, should she be so inclined.

Natali's expression brightens as she hears the sound of N'shen's voice, and her head turns towards him. "I think it's because she's so young," the girl comments somewhat, unwinding the ribbon from Bess's clutches and wrapping her hair into a quick ponytail, tied back by that selfsame ribbon. "I could be wrong, but I guess since I've never had a firelizard before, I think she just likes to play." She hikes her skirt up again, trots forward towards the swing set at the boy's invitation and drops onto the swing beside him with a smile. "Hi N'shen," she says in greeting. "How're you?"

"Might be it. Chanteuse and Mikado aren't so young anymore, though they're constantly teasing each other." Still resting his cheek against the chain of his swing, N'shen twists himself so he's facing her, offering a lopsided smile. "Maybe we should find you another firelizard, so's she has someone else t' play with and doesn't keep stealin' your things t' make you chase her. An' hello, Natali, I'm just fine, yourself?" He kicks again at the ground - really, he's gotten far too tall to sit in the swing, but it's clear that matters not to him - sending it spinning in a slow, arcing circle before he halts himself again, facing her once more.

Natali wiggles about a bit, settling her skirt so that it wouldn't drag on the ground, while little green Bess hops up onto the chain itself, clinging tight, and almost hanging upside down, chirping every now and then. "Maybe we could," Natali looks rather cheerful at N'shen's suggestion, "although I tried scouring the beach the last time I was down there, and couldn't find any evidence of nests. Guess it's because I don't know exactly what to look for." She's still small enough to sit up on the swing, and maybe even nudge it forward with her feet a little, and she watches the young bronzerider with a grin. "I'm doing well," she answers. "Ormond's been talking about finding some of the ladies to sell fabric too. He'll just ooze charm all over them." she rolls her eyes, and looks about her. "This is a neat play area," she observes. "Never been here before."

"I used t' come here all the time as a kid," N'shen remarks - because, you know, he's completely an adult now - "an' I still bring the twins here when I can wrest 'em away from their mama." He snickers at that, green eyes dancing merrily. "Sometimes, I even run int' the Weyrwoman and her youngest out here. It's a good place for the kids to have a chance to be… well, kids." Kicking idly at the ground, he swings himself in a spiral - first one way, then the other, his eyes always coming back to her face. "Well, if Chanteuse has a clutch again an' I can find it, I'll give you an egg," he promises. "Or maybe if I find one - the main beach is fairly scoured, and few firelizards lay their eggs there anymore. But I can get t' some of the more secluded spots if you like."

"Makes me wish we had something like this when I was younger," Natali rocks forwards, getting the swing to start moving although she doesn't pump her legs to gain any height, preferring to just let it swing back and forth for a moment or two before coming to a stop. "But it was the open road for us, and none of the Holds my family's caravan visited had anything like this." She tilts her head. "Who're these twins, anyway?" She's curious. His offer is enough to make her clap giddily for a moment. "Oh that's so sweet," the trader lass drops her feet against the ground to stop her momentum, and smiles sweetly at the boy. "Thanks."

"Well, y' got it now?" N'shen offers, with a bright smile. "Don't make up for all those turns you didn't have it, but now you can come out and play here as often as you like." He, kindly, doesn't snicker - though his eyes definitely have more than a little bit of laughter in them. "The twins? My brother and sister - Thea an' D'had's kids. They're about two and a half turns old now," he muses thoughtfully, "an' cute with it. I watch them sometimes when my parents are off doin' whatever it is weyrwomen and weyrseconds do. Well," he adds, wincing slightly, "I did before Tao went and knocked up Zuhth. I really need to get by there and spend some time with them. You got any siblings?"

Natali's gaze trails away from N'shen, drifting over towards the monkey bars for a second or two before she's back to grinning at him. "Is there usually a time of the day when it's quiet? Other than now?" Not that this time of day isn't such a bad time either. "I think I'll definitely spend time here. Those monkey bars look awful fun. Probably better than climbing trees." the girl leans back, holding tight to the chains of the swing and nods. "Oooh, I see," About the twins, she means. "Must be nice having a little brother and a sister. I'm an only child." She's terribly spoiled as a result of it.

"It's… interesting," N'shen says slowly, brow furrowing as he considers his feelings regarding the twins. "I love 'em - they're my siblings," he adds, as if that explains it all. "Didn't know it when I first met them, of course. Grew up an only child, myself," and very much not spoiled by it at all. "It's nice having family - mother, father, sister, brother - I didn't have one for a long time." His smile is a bit sheepish as he shakes his head. "But can't knock the one I got now. An' I like it here best early in the mornin', afore the kids are brought out by the nannies, or this time o' day, when everyone's winding down in their own rooms or weyrs or the caverns."

Natali pushes off with her feet again, letting the swing sway back and forth for a moment or two. "It must be interesting," she observes, "to have siblings you didn't know about for a while, and then find out oh, you're related." She moves her legs a bit, gaining a bit of height and making her skirt hem flap in the breeze before she stops and the swing sways back and forth to a stop again. "I liked having my family. My mother, and my father. Didn't lack for friends, some of the other traders have a whole horde of them." she pauses, smiles and nods. "Early morning, or now. Nice and quiet, I guess?"

"Nice and quiet," N'shen repeats, nodding his agreement with a faint smile. "I like it quiet - I mean, I like kids, and sometimes I'll jus' come t' watch 'em play, but sometimes… you just like to be alone? Or at least, in the company of people not so likely to squeal your brains out." He falls silent for a moment, eyes fixed in the distance beyond her, lips pursed as he considers the best way to answer. "It's interesting," he finally murmurs, "to have any family. My mother is not exactly what you'd call… motherly. She raised me, she saw to my needs… but she didn't love me, and didn't pretend to."

"I like it like this," Natali observes, sliding off the swing as Bess chitters at her and floats down to land on her shoulder before she's darting off for the monkey bars. "It means we've got the whole place to ourselves." Which makes it extra nice and fun. Dangling from the monkey bars, she grins over at N'shen. "Kids are ok," she agrees, "except when they're whiney and crying and I just want to run away from them, but yeah, it's nice to get time to yourself. Sometimes it's a bit hard to do that." She swings forward to the next bar, dangling there. "Oh, that's not much of a mother."

Sliding from his own swing, N'shen sticks his hands in his pockets, wandering over to watch her play with a broad grin. He doesn't bother to join her, simply leans against a nearby pole, enjoying the sight of /her/ having a bit of fun. "That's right," he agrees pleasantly. "It's late enough most of the kids will be on their way to bed soon, anyway." Tilting his head to the side, he flicks his braid from his shoulder, snickering. "I like kids a lot - but not all the time. Small doses, for now." Her comment about his mother has him shrugging. "Didn't know what I was missin' when I had her, and by the time I did, I had Thea. She's a real mother."

Natali slips off the monkey bars and drops to the ground, scowling down at her skirt for a moment. "Hey, you know anywhere I could get some pants? My mother's been pretty strict about me wearing a skirt these last few turns, but you can't really do anything half as fun in a skirt as you could in a pair of pants, or a shorter skirt anyway. I'd ask Ormond to get them for me, but he might tell Mother when we got back." she smiles then, somewhat, listening to his words, and nods. "I guess it's not really blood that counts, but the caring, when it comes to mothers. My mother isn't so bad, so I'm happy. Glad you found someone who likes you and takes care of you."

"Stores has plenty, or you can borrow some of mine," N'shen replies, with a shrug and a grin. "Dunno how you can wear skirts anyway, always tangling and gettin' in the way - how d' you climb a tree in skirts, showin' your knickers to the world?" He snickers quietly - though notice, he was polite enough not to sneak a peak while she was on the monkey bars. "Your mama," he also points out, "is not here. And here is a place where yer better off in slacks or shorts than skirts, if only 'cause there's so much to do that wearing pants makes easier - like taking dragonrides, or climbing tvrees."

"Ought to go check out stores then," Natali nods briefly, grinning a bit at N'shen. "See if I could get some there," she tilts her head thoughtfully. "Of course, if you've got some spares that'd be nice too. New stuff sometimes just feels too new." She brushes a hand over her skirts. "Mother had ideas," she explains with a faint sigh. "And it does get in the way of all sorts of things." Like climbing trees. Heck, she wanted to dangle from the monkey bars upside down, but it'd probably give N'shen a peek at her underdrawers. "You're right, she isn't here." And what Illidara doesn't know, can't hurt Natali. "If I had some pants, we could do more fun things." Like tree-climbing.

"Either or," N'shen replies easily. "I can show you t' stores, or you can come t' my weyrbarn and see if there's anything you like. I'm sure I've got somethin' in your size you can borrow while you're here. Or have. Or somethin'." Resting his head against the pole he's leaning against, his eyes flicker from her to the monkey bars and back again, and he chuckles. "Never let it be said I would stand in th' way of you having fun. So - what'll it be? Shall I show you to stores, or you wanna risk the big, bad, bronzerider's weyrbarn - with the big ol' bronze dragon and his parents living right next door," he adds, smirking.

Natali reaches up to tickle the underside of Bess's jaw, the small green chirruping in an odd sort of croaking way as she watches N'hsen's gaze flickers towards the monkey bars and back to her, the girl turning as well to try and catch a glimpse. Was there something odd over there? Seeing nothing, she shrugs, turning back to him. "Let's try your stuff first," she suggests, "before we raid the stores and see what's in there. I'd like to say hello to Taozyuth again." She giggles a bit. "Besides, your parents would be right there anyway." Awkward, really. And she's not thinking that way at all.

"Close enough, anyway, to act as chaparones should anyone question," N'shen agrees, pushing off the pole and gesturing for her to follow him, "I wouldn't want to cause you no trouble with your parents, nor your uncle." His eyes flickering skyward briefly. "And Tao," he adds, with a chuckle, "would like to see you, too." His gaze falls again, meeting hers with a smirk, before he turns away, shoving his hands back into his pockets and picking his way through the sand towards the path away.

"Oh him," Natali's opinion of her uncle Ormond is pretty much at a low right now, the girl waving a hand around as if to dismiss the man for the moment. "He hasn't got anything to complain about." And he really doesn't. "But it'll be good that they'll be there." she grins a bit, hitching up her skirts a little to skitter across the sand behind him. "Is it very far away?"

N'shen shakes his head. "Nothin's really all that far here at Xanadu," he grins, eyes sparking mischeviously as he leads her on. "But, fortunately for you, we're not that far from it, I promise." Jerking his head, he starts off down the path, heading for his weyrbarn.

Xanadu Weyr - Contemplate the Stars Weyrbarn
Large and roomy, this weyrbarn was built with a bronze or brown in mind, for the stone couch inside this structure is certainly big enough for one. The place is vacant and has obviously been flooded in the recent past as a faint waterline can be seen, a grimy ring about the inner whitewashed walls. The slate roof has been repaired where it was pierced with a fallen tree.

All of the furniture has been removed from the living area, likely soaked in the flood and discarded, but the flagstone floors have been recently scrubbed free of the scummy silt and resealed to a shine. There's no kitchenette in this dwelling; apparently the former occupants ate in the caverns, but there is an alcove meant for a table and chairs with large windows that overlook the lake and outlets where both cooler and heating unit could be plugged. Large tufted tapestry rugs with shades of gold, blue and bronze are placed where the dining table will go and another where the couches will be are obviously Thea's handiwork and done with the soft camelid yarn native to her hold.

The best part of this home is the loft, accessed by a spiral staircase ingeniously crafted around a center post with the ends free - all fitted together without the need of nails. The loft itself is a wide, roomy space under the eaves with a sturdy desk, a bookshelf and single bed created on the wide sill of a large inset window in the peak. The thick, feather-stuffed mattress and pillow are new, as are the neatly folded stack of crisp linens and soft coverlet. The lack of curtains gives the sleeper a clear view of both the far distant shores of Black Rock Hold across the Caspian Lake and the expanse of stars at night. A small colorful stained glass lamp on the desk, a few books in the bookcase and another rug complete the space and add warmth.

Natali is in fairly good shape. After all, she's just coming off a candidacy filled with a lot of chores, and as a trader girl, she's used to moving about, so she'd not be one to complain about distances of any kind. "Couldn't be any further than when we were going to Southern Boll this one time," she grins, catching up to him and walking alongside to keep pace. "The little kids kept asking 'Are we there yet?'" The one of her voice is pitched slightly whiney and she glances sideways at the bronzerider. "I'll be good and not ask are we there yet."

Their trail leads through the forest to the coastal road that leads out of the Weyr and along the beach. Several weyrholds can be seen along their path, and he points out Thea and D'had's as they pass by it, noting the empty porch. Then - his. In relatively good shape - the patching done after the last major storm is obvious, as is the care to make it liveable again. "Ain't much," he says, as he gestures towards it, pausing on the road to study his home thoughtfully. "Didn't really get time to fix it up once I finally got it - Tao, uhm… yeah." He grins kind of sheepishly.

"It's a nice place," Natali comments, observing the scenery as they pass by until at last they come to the bronzerider's home. Propping her hands on her hips, she observes it for a moment, and smiles slightly. "Well, it's home to you, I'm sure." she remarks, glancing at him. "And now that you're back, you'll have lots of time to fix it up and all." She pauses, tilting her head slightly. "Sometimes I wonder what it would have been like, not growing up in the back of a wagon, but staying put all the time."

"It's overrated," N'shen replies, as he leads her up the shell walkway to the porch, pushing open the door. It opens onto the human part of the living area which - contrary to popular belief, does indeed now have table, chairs, couches, the whole deal. Beyond it is the wide-open area where Taozyuth lounges on his couch, his eyes turned towards the door to catch a glimpse of his rider and company. His soft chuff greets them as the bronzerider steps back, gesturing for her to enter first. "Well - I say that, but my childhood was no more normal than yours. So. Home. This is it - Thea and D'had worked hard to fix her up for me, hope I can finish th' job now as I'm back."

Natali's shoes crunch across the shell walkway. "They must have looked for a lot of shells," she comments, peering down at the footing beneath her feet before she trots up the stairs onto the porch, and makes her way through the doorway. The first thing she does once inside is to turn towards the bronze dragon, wiggling her fingers in greeting to him as little Besws chirrups a greeting to her much much larger cousin. "I liked my childhood," she admits, "wasn't too bad moving around from place to place. Would have been nice to stay in one place for longer than a few sevendays, but it was kind of an adventure all it's own." She looks about, taking in the sight of furniture. "You know," she remarks, "Father's a trader, and I'd bet he could probably know where to get anything, if you needed it." she glances over her shoulder at N'shen, smiling warmly. "You know, just to help you finish the job."

Chuckling, N'shen shuts the door behind him and steps in, pausing only to kick off his sandals, wiggling bare toes before he makes his way across the living area, reaching out to rub the shiny tip of Taozyuth's nose. "Yeah, yeah," he murmurs, eyes rolling skyward as he replies to something the dragon says. "Don't hold yer breath." Snickering, he jerks his head for Natali to join him. "Tao would appreciate it if you'd rub his nose a bit while I go upstairs and see what I can find as might fit you. He says," is added, with a faint snicker, "he thinks you'll do it better than I do." Winking at her, he moves towards the spiral stair, voice raising to continue the conversation. "I wouldn't mind talkin' to him. I'd like to get this place looking lived in - it's nice now, but - I dunno. I want something that's me."

"Hold who's breath?" Natali happens to ask this, her gaze shifting between dragon and rider, but when the request is made, she grins widely. "More than happy to comply," she comments, a hand lifting as she patters across the floor to the dragon's side. "Although how I'd be able to do it better when I've got very little experience with it and he can't exactly tell me where he likes it rubbed best," She's putting word to deed though, a hand laid against the edge of the bronze's muzzle and moved about in a slow even stroke, the way one might rub the muzzle of a runner. "If you think of anything in particular you want," she yells up the staircase, "just tell me, and I'll send Bess and see if he can get it." She pauses, smiling up at Taozyuth, and continues, "Wouldn't blame you, wanting something that makes it feel more homey-like."

Beneath her hand, Taozyuth slides his muzzle this way and that, helping her find just the right spots to stroke and soothe. "Use your nails," N'shen advises as he glances over the rail, teeth flashing bright against his dark skin before he disappears into the loft. His voice floats down, "Dragon hide is tough, you can't hurt him, and they like to be scratched." The bronze apparently agrees, chuffing at her with his warm, sweet-scented breath, nudging that bright, shining tip of his nose - a strong contrast to the antiqued bronze of his otherwise dark hide. "And I think he just likes you because you look better'n me." Not much of a stretch - in that gawky-awkward state of adolescence, Nash is all elbows, knees, and ribs, as is very apparent as he starts down the stairs again, several pairs of pants and shorts slung over his shoulders.

Natali lets out a soft laugh as Taozyuth moves his muzzle around, and the sound of N'shen's voice above her has her looking up at him with a warm little smile. "I'll do that," she calls up to him, curling her hand so that she's able to get her nails up against the bronze's hide. Scritch scritch scritch. "Silly," she says batting playfully at the dragon's muzzle, and trying to work her fingers in against his nose as best she can. "Well," she remarks, ducking her head a bit and cupping a hand under the bronze's jaw to give him a bit of a rub there. "I guess I do look prettier." She's a girl, yes. The sight of the pants and shorts has her looking curiously at them, but she doesn't say anything just yet.

Halfway down the stairs, N'shen pushes the clothes off of his shoulder, letting them fall to land on the bronze's forepaw. Taozyuth chuffs with amusement, tilting his head to stare at his rider with one great, blue eye. "Teach yer mother to clutch eggs," the bronzerider retorts, eyes rolling upward with some comment from the dragon. "I'll stay up here while you try those on. Whatever fits you, just keep, anything else leave on th' sofa, I'll bring 'em back up when yer done." Though it might be more efficient for him to send her upstairs - well, perhaps he's a bit touchy about the state of his personal bedroom right now. Grinning down at Natali, he sends her a quick wink, then whisks himself back upstairs to give her privacy - relative, of course. Tao, after all, remains.

"Oh my," Natali says then with a slight laugh, watching the interplay between rider and dragon for a moment — it being too much like a half-told story where only only gets half the words read to them. "Is that what having a dragon is like?" she peeks up at N'shen there, halfway up the stairs before he moves back up stairs and sheleft looking at the pants and shorts across the bronze's forepaw. "Well," she remarks to Taozyuth, "looks like I've got some stuff to try on." Her hands move to the hemline of her skirt, fingers working to untie the laces before she's reaching for the first pair of pants with one hand, while letting the skirt itself drop to the floor to lie in a scarlet puddle around her ankles. She does glance occasionally sideways at the dragon, as if a little unsure about undressing in front of him.

As if sensing her unease - or perhaps a sharp mental command from his rider, Taozyuth obediently lids his eyes, rumbling with amusement as he goes a step further and lifts his great wings to cover them as well. No peeking! "Is what like having a dragon?" Nash's voice is faintish - it's clear he's taking his own self-imposed isolation from her very seriously - but still audible. There's sound up above - moving, rustling, the occasional thump - that indicates that he's taking advantage of the situation to set things to rights. The occasional mewl also sounds, and once, a soft curse and a "Hey! Those are /claws/, you mangy creature!" before his soft laugh sounds and the various sounds of progressive cleaning can be heard again.

Natali's laughter could be heard easily throughout the home, the girl chuckling with some apparent amusement at the bronze covering his eyes with his wings, before she lifts the first pair of pants and slithers into them, checking the fit, and even twisting around to observe how it sits over her backside. Not bad. The rest of the clothing is tried in succession, one pair of shorts and a pair of pants ending up on the couch before Natali wiggles back into the first pair of pants. "The conversations," she calls up the stairway. "Are they smart alecks, or something?" She reaches forward to pat Taozyuth's wing. "Hey, you can look now." Her chin tilts, the girl looking up toward the loft railing. "Have you got a cat up there?"

"three." N'shen moves to the railing, leaning on it as he peers down at her, grinning. Taozyuth tucks his wings to his back again, peeling back both lids to stare at Natali with sparkling blue eyes. "Tao's not really much of a smart aleck so much as he's a teacher - and he's trying t' teach me certain lessons I don't feel like learning right now. My fat ol' wise-man there has a lot to say, and it's not always a good idea to listen to him." Huffing, the bronze casts a reproachful look upwards, but though his rider's eyes flicker upwards - a common sign of conversation with his lifemate - he does nothing more than grin. "You can come up if you like," he invites the girl. "It's actually decent up here now."

"That's a lot of cats," the girl admits, grinning up at N'shen above her. "We never really bothered with 'em in the caravan, they'd just wander off. But we never really needed them." Giving Taozyuth a final pat, Natali heads for the stairs, taking them two at a time — which is something that could be awfully hard to do in a skirt — and makes her way up it, pausing halfway up to wave at the bronze again. "I see." she says, her voice not quite as loud since she doesn't have to yell as far. "So dragons can be teachers?" Trotting the final way around the staircase, she moves off it to see what's up in the loft.

It's not much - while below is an area for company, the loft is clearly all Nash - from the sleeping area, complete with neatly made bed (and three half-grown kittens busy remussing it), and a small office/sitting area - it's very much like a modern loft might be, in rustic style. Leaning on the rail, the bronzerider watches her come up, head canted to one side as he amuses himself by simply gaguing her various reactions. "Their mother left them here when Thea and D'had cleaned out the barn for us," he says, voice dropping back to normal tones once she's in earshot once more. "I ended up raising them. They're half-feral, doubt they'll ever be completely tame, but they keep the vermin population down and they're very soft. And yes," he adds, shifting to the next subject, "dragons can be teachers. Tao's a lot older, mind-wise, than he is age-wise. I needed it," he murmurs softly. "Still do. It's hard enough being a young dragonrider. Harder still being a young bronzerider."

Natali's gaze takes in the sights, her expression softening when she catches sight of the three young felines, and she makes a soft cooing sound at one of them. Not that it'd likely work anyway, before she's glancing at the young bronzerider. "That's nice of you," she says, smiling a little. "And it's nice of them to keep the pests out." Mutual win, that. N'shen's words about the dragons as teachers has her nodding a little, trying to work everything he says out into something easily understood. "I think I get it. He's like a mentor or something? A chaperone of the sorts the way Uncle Ormond is to me?" She pauses, tilting her head. "It seemed like a lot of the other candidates at Fort were older than me by at least a turn. Some were even older than that. Is that why it's hard? Because we're still sort of like kids? And why a bronzerider, especially?"

Silent for a long time, N'shen simply watches her coo at the kittens, wander around his room, letting her words wash over him without answer. Pushing away from the rail, he crosses to his bed, scooping up the least feisty of the lot - a tiny female with golden fur, black spots, and large, tufted ears - moving to offer her to the girl to be held. "Mentor - chaparone - friend - Tao's all of these and more. He fills in the places I was missing before I Impressed." His voice is quiet, thoughtful, as he tucks his hands back in his pockets once she's either taken the kitten or it's been let loose to roam. "He has a wisdom that's a lot older than he is - and he helps guide me without forcing me in any one direction." A beat, then, in a softer voice, "I was thirteen when I Impressed - barely old enough to Stand. When he came into his maturity, I was only fourteen. Kids - kids gotta grow up, and here I was trying to grow up, and learn how to be a dragonrider, and deal with him growing up. And then he was mature, and bam. I coulda been Weyrleader. He actually chased Kilaueth - fortunately for us both, he didn't win." Shaking his head slowly, he shrugs a shoulder. "It's kinda hard to explain, but it's like - take what you remember about going from a young girl to where you are now. Now try to imagine it while you got this whole other person you gotta raise, who's always in your head, who's going through the same changes as you."

"She's so cute," Natali accepts that tiny kitten, cuddling her close and stroking her gently, admiring the big ears, and giggling over the tufts. "Have you named any of them yet?" She leans against the railing for a moment, watching N'shen move towards his bed, and grins at him. "Oh, so Taozyuth's really really special then." But of course! "You were very young to get a dragon, and to go through all that." When he mentions the possibility of Weyrleader, her brows rise sharply in surprise. "Good thing, I suppose, that you lost. I couldn't imagine having to lead my father's caravan when I was fourteen." She leans back a bit, fingers rubbing over the kitten's fur as she listens to the bronzerider's explanation. "It sounds like you went through a lot." she finally says at last.

"Anyone who Impresses goes through a lot," N'shen murmurs, staring down at the other two kittens - males both - as they fight over one of his pillows. "There's absolutely nothing that can prepare you for the idea of having someone else share your head, all the time. Of feeling a love - a bond - so consuming that it's more important to you than your own self. Of the absolute loss of self - you're no longer just you. You're youanddragon." Turning away again, he offers her a sheepish half-smile. "I know - I sound crazy. And I'll be honest," he adds, eyes flickering past her peer towards the rail, where Tao has risen to his feet and is staring back calmly, "it ain't me sayin' all this to you. He," and he nods towards the bronze, "is teachin' you, sure as he teaches me. That's why V'dim tapped me to be his assistant, I think. I like working with kids, and Tao here loves to teach."

Natali peers over her shoulder at the bronze, a look of curiosity in her gaze before she glances back at N'shen and nods her head slightly. "I … I think I understand a little." She can't quite grasp all of the concepts, but she does understand most of it. "Who's V'dim?" her question could be considered simple ignorance, she is just a visitor after all. "I think you'd be a wonderful assistant to … whatever he does. And you'd have Toazyuth to help you too." The little kitten is cuddled a little closer, her fingers smoothing over it's head.

"He's the Weyrlingmaster. I think he's grooming me to be an assistant Weyrlingmaster when I'm old enough - it's not a position for a youngster," N'shen adds, grinning slightly. "But since I'm V'dim's assistant, I'm learnin' how to be a Weyrlingmaster without actually bein' one, y'see?" Moving to stand before her, he reaches out to smooth a hand over the kitten's head, then glances over her head to his dragon, nodding slightly as his eyes roll upwards. "It's getting late," he murmurs, regretfully. "Should get y' back to wherever yer staying before someone worries about ya. But now ya got pants," he adds, more cheerfully. "So I can take you tree climbing without worrying about yer skirts getting all caught up."

"Oh!" this explanation seems to do the trick for Natali because she's nodding a bit. "I see. So you're his assistant, but not a Weyrlingmaster yourself. I think I get it. It's like the man who works with my father. He's a clerk or something and helps Father with his paperwork, but he's not a trader himself. Something like that?" She strokes the kitten once more, before bending to let the little feline down. "Yes, I probably should be heading back before Ormond gets worried." she smiles wryly, "although he's probably in his cups by now." Her nod is fervent, cheerful. "So I do. And shorts for when it gets really warm during the day. We can go climb trees, and hang from the monkey bars." Oh such fun. Bending closer, she gives him a quick kiss on the cheek, smiling happily. "Thank you for the pants, N'shen. See you soon." And with that, she's gaily skipping down the stairs, pausing to collect her skirt and the shorts she's found fit her — and stopping with a kiss on the muzzle for Taozyuth as well, before she bursts out of the doorway in a giddy run. She can run now! Goodbye skirts!

Bemused by her exuberance - and yes, by the cheek-kiss - N'shen watches her leave, any intention of escorting her having been blown out the window. He does, however, have the presence of mind to send his bronze firelizard, Mikado, winging after to keep an eye on her and make sure she makes it back to wherever she's staying okay. Once the girl is gone, he paces to the edge of the railing, peering down thoughtfully at Taozyuth. The bronze stares back, chuffing with amusement. Eyes rolling upwards at whatever the dragon says, the young rider sighs and replies, "Yeah. I like her too. No - you can't keep her. Yet," is added thoughtfully, before he sets to chasing kittens from his bed.

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