Amelia is Offered a Job

Xanadu Weyr - Meadow Ridge

The meadow continues its gentle rolls and dips, grass tall and short waving in the slightest of breezes. Each hill seems to grow a bit higher, a bit steeper, as eventually, the meadow works up to a large ridge, the top flattening out at its new elevation.

From the top of the ridge, the view is certainly something to be admired - higher than the majority of the trees, one can look out over the rest of Xanadu Weyr proper. The houses in the lower meadow - each roof a different color - and the clock tower peeking upwards from the its forest surroundings are all visible, as is the cliff that houses the Weyr Caverns themselves. And yet, the ridge also holds an amazing view of the night sky - horizon to horizon - unaffected by the light pollution of the more heavily traveled regions.

Settled upon the ridge is a rather distinctive looking building - nearing three stories tall, circular grey walls have carefully been erected, and a large dome is settled upon this solid foundation. Large panels make up the roof, aside from one section which remains open, and from which the telescope the struction houses peeks out. Sitting adjacent to the tower is a long, low building, meant to serve as offices, record rooms and dorms for those who man the observatory, as well as providing a handy platform for those who seek to use smaller, hand-held 'scopes.

Fall brings to Xanadu the scent of fallen leaves, that special clarity rendering the sky above a rich blue unseen most other seasons. Out enjoying the crisp clarity, walking alone during what surely must be a break in her office duties is Thea, in no particular hurry, just taking in the sights, enjoying the sun and a bit of a breather from the close confines of the caverns.

Along the high side of the ridge is Amelia mounted bareback atop her favorite runner, a dapple gray mare of mixed lineage. Trotting and cantering and occasionally walking, the mare is working up as much of a sweat as Amelia is riding her. Eventually, they take a turn downward and slow to a walk to more safely move down the ridge. Their path moves perpendicular to Thea, and Amelia raises a hand to wave for a moment before grabbing hold of the black mane to keep her balance.

Hoofbeats carry easily on the air in the peaceful afternoon stillness and yet, Thea continues on towards rather than away from them, her strides and the set of her face determined. As she ascends the ridge, bringing the pair into her sight, she stops to watch with only a slight tension in the line of her shoulders to betray her unease. It's with considerable interest that she studies the way Amelia handles the mare and the runner's response to her, so she is ready with a return wave for that greeting, waiting until the two are within hearing range to call pleasantly, "Hello Amelia. I was hoping to find you here." With an eye for that sweat on the runner, "Shall I walk beside you so she can cool off properly?"

It takes until Amelia hears Thea's voice before recognition sets in, at which moment she gathers up the reins and turns the mare away, so they wind up a safe distance away from Thea. "Hello- hoping to find me?" her return call is quizzical, but she nods, and slides off the mare, then begins to walk alongside, leading the way towards Thea. The mare is puffing a little, but her ears are perked and her movement is energetic. "Sure, and sorry, I didn't recognize you out there, I would've cantered another way."

"No no, you're fine," Thea's tone is reassuring, her smile sincere as she continues towards the other girl with a steady but cautious pace when Amelia dismounts. She stops several steps away, nodding confirmation, "Yes, I-" Her ice-green gaze sweeps the mare, a hint of disquiet in them before returning to her rider, resolute. "I need to talk to you about familiarizing my children with runners. It's a must-do, I'm afraid." Avoiding any sort of nervous movement, she offers the mare a sniff of her hand with a slowly outstretched hand, although she's far enough away that the mare may chose not to or take a few steps to close the distance to her fingertips. "You do very well with them," she adds quietly with a flicker of admiration the Beastcrafter's way.

A quick head duck is all Amelia allows to give away discomfort over the compliment. She smiles at Thea and watches as the mare, possibly sensing Thea's trepidation, hesitates before stretching out her neck. When that doesn't bring her close enough to the hand, she gives a delicate snort and closes the distance, placing her closed muzzle into Thea's hand. Amelia has a little grin for that, "Good girl, Stormy." She pats the runner's shoulder as she moves closer at the same time. "That's often the way with little ones, it seems. They always have their 'runner' phase, no matter what gender. It's practically a rite of passage."

Thea manages to remain unflinching, relaxed as the muzzle touches her hand, although there is no delight on her face with the experience, only that bit of tightness in her shoulders to betray her. When the mare has had her hello, familiarized with her scent, she drops her hand, rubbing it on her thigh in an unconsciously nervous gesture as she moves to the other side of Amelia so the pair can walk off their workout. "They haven't stopped talking about the animal since the storm, but I'll have them learning beyond that phase." The latter half said firmly before she takes a deep breath and waits a beat before admitting candidly, "I know it's obvious I'm not fond of the beasts, nor comfortable with them. Seryth is supporting me right now."

Clever as she is beautiful, the mare releases a sigh when Thea moves away, and starts walking docilely beside Amelia. The Beastcrafter chuckles a Thea's comments. "Yes, it'd be good to get them through the phase and onto other teachings, something like music or fixing things or otherwise more safe, so to speak." Her grin is wry as she speaks, though she nods understandingly. "Guess that's a good thing about dragons, eh? I'm sure just as many children go through their dragon phase as a runner phase- it's all about things you can ride, I think. Well, and with ponies, perhaps things that are fuzzy. With the fall coming in, Huck's winter coat is growing right in- pretty soon if they come see him, he'll be a fuzzball."

"I'll have them know how to ride properly and conduct themselves around the-" Thea tilts her head forward slightly as she flickers a sidelong look towards the mare, "-runners. Whatever other interests they choose to follow, this is one thing I will have them do." Chin back up, she quirks a brief smile over at Amelia, "Well, dragons won't- except when they're first hatched maybe- injure someone." She listens with a half-smile and nods, "Huck will look, ah, interesting to them like that I'm sure." Reaching absently to tuck a strand of dark hair behind her ear, she inhales, "If it's all right, may we meet you in the meadow or somewhere outside to do that? I can't," she swallows, her voice carries a hint of distress, "I can't take them to the stables."

"Of course. Dragons have a much more developed consciousness compared with all of the beasts I study in the craft. But then, they had to be. I suppose if runners had been native to Pern, they would have been fiddled with, and we'd have huge flying runners instead of huge flying dragons." Amelia laughs a little, and nods. "Of course, I can take Huck on a walk. Just let me know when, so I can get him all dolled up for them."

Thea shudders in spite of her attempt not to at 'flying runners', laughs weakly in the wake of Amelia's humor. She's relieved and doesn't bother to try and hide that with the reassurance she can meet her elsewhere, "Thanks, Amelia. My, ah, experiences with them here have been far from positive, although this one is well-behaved." Her chin lifts indicating the grey runner, "I'll schedule something with you, then." She's thoughtful as they walk, head bent to eye the ground in silence for a few strides, "And I'd also like you to consider something if you will. When they're ready, I'd like you to be their riding instructor if you can find the time." She lifts her head to meet Amelia's eyes, sober trust and a little of her inner turmoil mingled in that glance as she hastens to assure, "D'had and I will pay you well."

"Well, I'll do my best to ensure their experience is pleasant and safe," Amelia offers what she hopes is a reassuring tone and a gentle expression. While they walk, she sets a hand against Stormy's neck, giving the mare scratches along her mane line. "And well, when they're ready, if I'm still posted here, I'd love to teach them. I don't know if I'll be sent somewhere else once I get my journeyman knot. But yeah, if I'm here, just get in touch and we can make a schedule. I wouldn't expect it to happen for another couple years at least, though."

Thea keeps pace with the pair, nodding her understanding, "Yes, I was a crafter myself although we raised camelids, not runners. I'm aware that the Hall can recall and repost you at anytime, though I'll be honest and admit I do hope you are here." She turns a warmer smile on the girl, "I've been doing some inquiring and have heard nothing but good things regarding your work here, Amelia." All this while she watches Stormy out of the corner of her eyes, noting her responses to both his handler and the environment surrounding them - such things as a puff of wind that stirs the long grasses suddenly, dragons passing overhead, the sharp snap of a stick when she steps on it. "I'm in no hurry to have them riding on their own at two and half turns old," she smiles faintly, "but if you think they can be led around…" She allows that to trail off before asking, "So you start them around age four turns then?"

Amie has the modesty to just nod gratefully and not get too warm. "Thank you, I do my best. Helps when I love what I'm doing." She returns the smile, then nods thoughtfully. "Three or four, if they're in the midst of their runner phase. Really, a child could be put in a saddle anytime, depending on that child's maturity. There are some adults I'd never want to see on runnerback, and some children that instinctively know how to sit and how to hold onto a mane or reins and how to be gentle. Course for the children who don't know, we have ponies like Huck who are roar proof, so to speak- even a ferocious hungry dragon won't alarm them."

There's a short, ironic bark of laughter from Thea complete with a gesture beach-wards, "Well, yes, I would be one of them you wouldn't want atop one, I'm sure. My one and only ride was a disaster." Clearly this is not all that troubling to her, if one could judge by the change in the tenor of her voice when she says, "Would that they were all ponies like Huck, then. Please tell me," her eyes swing towards the stables off across the meadow, "that they haven't still got a big, black, half-wild stallion stabled in there?"

"Him? He's still here, but he's out in the far paddocks now. We're not meant to house lots of stallions here. He's thrown some gorgeous foals, though. And not nearly as wild as him. But then, they've all so far been handled extensively since birth. That's part of the key, y'know. Lots of gentling, less forcing." Amelia gives Stormy some gentle strokes to reiterate it, and the mare swings her head in to nudge Amelia off balance; the crafter grabs hold of Stormy's mane to regain said balance.

Thea's shoulder twitch a little tighter while awaiting the answer, it takes the junior a visible effort to relax them even after the relief that shows on her face. Emphatic, "Good!" Her voice roughens, although she keeps it soft enough when she says, "I agree. Though I know nothing about runners, that one should never have been brought inside." And although Amelia hasn't asked, the goldrider must feel she deserves to know, so she shares, "He nearly killed someone I- a friend of mine." She doesn't comment on the ill-tempered runner's get, but does turn to watch the nudging going on over there, the taut skin about her eyes and mouth relaxing as she smiles, "Well, it's obvious she's affectionate." And as they're nearly down off the ridge, she's careful to watch where she's going, the trail being steeper here, "I'm sure the gentling and not forcing goes for runner and rider alike. Which is why I want Muir and Marella exposed to the animals. It was inexperience that set the runner off."

"I'm sorry about that," Amelia doesn't mention rumors she's heard of the black stallion, instead offering Thea a level gaze, "It's so true, needing experience, and needing to be able to read their body language. There's too many people who think they can just hop on and run with the wind and that it'll be super easy, but it's not as simple as that unless you're getting on someone like Huck." She smiles a little, "Or someone like Stormy, actually. But then, she's nearly as old as I am, so she's got quite the even temper."

Thea nods, her smile gentle as she returns that level gaze with a clear-eyed one of her own, a woman making peace with the course she's chosen. "Or knowing how not to startle them, or how to act when they do startle." Yep, a little rueful there before she laughs quietly, "And it's an important thing to learn whether one is riding or not." She is more at ease, perhaps it's actually the decision being behind her, when she says gravely, "Thank you, Amelia. I'll be in touch. And now, it's back to work for me." As she heads off she turns a twinkle over her shoulder at the younger woman, "The twins will be delighted when I tell them we're going to see Huck-Cutie."

As Thea turns away, Amelia comes to a stop, Stormy stopping beside her. She grabs two fistfuls of mane and a moment later jumps up, throws a leg over the mare's back, and hauls herself into place. "Huck'll be waiting for them!" is called over her shoulder as she nudges Stormy to turn towards the stable at a trot. "Have a good evening!"

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