When Snow Flies
meadow.jpg


Xanadu Weyr - Meadow
A large, slightly rolling meadow is set high enough above the riverbank on both sides to avoid suffering from flooding, healthy ground cover and grass spreading out from either side of the dividing river. Scattered amongst the meadow are a variety of weyrs, each with a narrow path leading up to it from a main, winding road. Some are set under a few trees, while others sit by themselves.
Runner stables with the paddock beyond are to the south beyond the meadow weyrs, a smithy and a woodcraft shop are settled closer in towards the path to the clearing, while trees border the western edge of the meadow, and a faint outline of a stone wall and low rolling hills can be seen to the north. Wagons laden with felled trees from the forests to the southwest or ore from the mountains to the southeast are hauled by burden beast up the road through the meadow, over the bridge spanning the river to be processed in the appropriate workshops.


The meadow is a hilly, grassy place. No surprise there. It's also not surprising that upon the grass that's gone dull and brown with the changing seasons, there is a layer of snow. Welcome, winter, to Xanadu! There's not much snow, it just being the fledgling version of winter, but there's enough that the kidlets of Xanadu have made a lopsided version of a mini snowman near one of the weyrs. But said kids are gone. Perhaps ushered indoors by parents (or fosters) or off to the caverns to warm up. It's quiet. End of the day quiet. The sun is still up, hanging in its late afternoon position in the sky. Other than an old auntie sitting outside her old abode on a rocking chair with about a thousand blankets bundled around her, there seems to be no one around. Or at least, no one around right now.

Is it a snowman really? Or is it one of those kidlets that's spent far too long outside in the cold? The world may never know. Not until a desolate mother comes along searching! …but she hasn't showed up yet. Soriana has, though. She emerges from one of the weyrs in the meadow, pausing outside to take in a breath. Inhaaale. Whoof. Okay. It's sighed back out, and once she's done that, she looks around. Auntie, two cottages over. Lone snowman, slumped nearby. Okay then.

Creeeak…..Creeeak. That's the sound of a wooden rocking chair being rocked back and forth in a painfully slow fashion. That auntie is as snug as a bug in a rug, and grayblue eyes watch the nothing that there is to be seen, her own face barely seen as wrapped as it is. Oh wait, now there's something to be seen. Soriana is noted, being one of the only things moving to catch her eye at the moment, and her rocking gradually stops. Is it weird to be watched by an anciently old woman? Maybe. It's probably weirder when that anciently old woman exhales a breath that sounds like a high-pitched cough. Who coughs like that? Apparently, she does. And after that cough? Keeeer-splat! A snowball! Thrown obviously at Soriana but landing on the wood frame of the weyr instead not too far off. Just a single shot that came from .. somewhere to the left. Possibly near that snowdrift that looks big enough to hide a rabbit? Or possibly near that runnerless wagon over yon.

The meadow is dangerous these days! Soriana keeps getting snowballs flung at her. The auntie's probably a watcher. She's keeping guard for the hidden snowball-flinging… whoever it is. Soriana eyes the field to the left of her. Is it… she hmms, and sidles over toward that wagon. It seems the most plausible hiding spot for that mysterious snowball source. A weyrbrat, perhaps? A rider taking advantage of his off hours? She intends to find out. Eeeyeee. …don't mind that brown firelizard flitting into existence overhead, either. It's a pure coincidence.

"You missed!" hisses a voice that sounds suspiciously like a specific rider's who is known for causing shenanigans. "Shh!" The stealthy just aren't what they used to be, are they? There's a small bit of a jostling noise that comes from behind that wagon before things are still again. The auntie goes back to rocking, now a spectator. Back at the wagon, a blue eye peeks out from behind, head hooded. Erp, she's looking this way! Mysterious figure number one ducks back while a second snowball, coming from the opposite side of the wagon, is tossed…by Mysterious figure number two! Fly straight. Fly true, snowball!

Yeah, look at that suspicious eye and voice. Soriana edges closer, and the flying snowball is… dodged! Mostly. It whiffs against the edge of her jacket and leaves a white spatter there. "Oh. Gee. It's snowing sideways today." She says in that droll tone. And keeps sidling toward the wagon, because now she's sure that it's the source of her snowballed doom. And… she ducks, and looks away from the wagon to make a snowball of her own. This… is likely a mistake.

"Hey!" Mysterious voice number two protests as Mysterious figure number one pushes him for missing yet again! "Shh!" These two need to go back to stealth school, but at least their scuffling lasts only seconds before they're back to their roles. Lookout and (alleged) assailant. But lo! Opportunity has risen, for now Soriana, although coming their way (the jig is up!) has momentarily put her guard down. "Go go go!" Ahhhh! Two cloaked figures, and by cloaked we're talking leather jackets with hoodies beneath, the hoods of which pulled up over their heads, come barreling out from behind the wagon, both holding an armful of premade snowballs. Throw! Toss! Soriana is doubled attacked from both sides as the two young men unload their artillery on her. Meanwhile, back on that rocking chair, the old auntie laughs that witch-sounding cackle that some old people get in their old age.

…yeah, Soriana's pretty well doomed, where by doomed, we mean getting plastered with snowballs. Or at least spattered with snowballs. Thump-thwack-thump, and while she makes one snowball, she gets hit with… several. She falls back on her rump, but! She does fling that one snowball of hers after one of those attacking figures. It was a traaaaap! She laughs as she gives her head a shake. Yep. She's defeated. Also she eyes that old lady. Spy!

It's not long before the two attackers run out of ammo, and one of the two is indeed hit by Soriana's single thrown snowball. Right in the face, too! Which has Mysterious figure number one, also known as Ka'el, laughing at his snowballed partner in crime. "Bleh!" Tej draws the back of his jacketed arm across his face, wiping away icy bits of snow that clings to his chocolate colored skin. "Lucky shot there, weyrwoman," he says, grin wide and good natured as he offers a gloved hand to help her up. Ka'el does the same, his expression just as jovial as he extends his hand for her other. "Good effort though…with your one snowball," he snerks. "Show no mercy, boys!" says old auntie from her chair, lifting up a tiny fist which she holds up with her battle cry. Oh, old people. They're so…old peopleish.

Soriana laughs at Tej's faceful of snow! "I have to get lucky sometimes," she tells him with a grin in return, and takes his hand and Ka'el's both to let them draw her up. Ka'el, she just shakes her head to. (Okay, she also grins.) "That's 'cause I'm quick-witted. But not nearly quick-witted enough to actually get out of the way." And she's up! Still grinning, she glances back to the auntie. "And what did I ever do to you?" she calls. Though she can guess: being young! One of these fine young gentlemen (hah!) probably fixed something in the auntie's cottage. That, or they remind her of her grandson someone or other, who was a fine boy. (Old people!)

"Quick-witted and slow?" remarks Ka'el as he and Tej pull back to help her up. With their combined effort, they could pull her up off the ground completely! But they don't. Once she's settled, Tej works on getting the last bits of snow from his face before it starts melting. "If you're a'wonderin, weyrwoman, it was his idea." Tej makes a nodding gesture to Ka'el, who makes a boggle eyed innocent face. "What me? Soriana," he turns to her with an appalled look, "you know me. Does this seem like something I would do? Attacking my weyrwoman for no reason at all? Shamelessly bombarding her while she innocently works? Barreling her with snowballs with no means of protecting herself?" Gasp! Shock! Not Ka'el! …. >.> The old auntie gives no answer to Soriana except for more cackling, gald to be a part of something, even if she's not actually a physical part of it. She played her role! And now it's getting rather cold and she works on getting up to head inside, leaving the younglings to their play.

"Better than slow-witted and quick," Soriana replies to Ka'el with a laugh. Either of these men could probably carry her off. Smithing builds good muscles! Together? Yeah, they definitely could, but they don't. She glances to Tej, and grins as she nods to him, then looks back to Ka'el. Ka'el the denier! Does this sound like something he would do? "…yep. Sure does!" She grins, and claps him on the shoulder. "But, y'know. I'm sure it was an exercise! Preparing to defend the weyr from wintertime attackers. It's probably on the official schedule and everything." The cackling auntie gets another laugh from Soriana, a shake of her head and a wave as the oldster shuffles off inside.

"Encourage him and you'll be a'dodgin' snowballs all winter," warns Tej, whose laugh is as big as his body. "I sure do miss the days of you sneaking into our dormitory," he says, the teasing words given to Soriana. "Causing trouble. Now look at you. A weyrwoman of Xanadu. How is that, by the way? And Ka'el, a rider." A burly gloved hand is pushed at his comrade's shoulder, and Ka'el returns the favor, jostling before he grins to Sori. "Ah don' let him fool you, reminiscin' on old times like he is. He's nearly a Journeyman now. Probably leavin' us soon to go venturing over Pern and terrorize apprentices." Is it possible to look smug and bashful at the same time? Well Tej certainly is pulling it off with a proud little smile yet modestly hunched shoulders.

"Oh, I'll be doing that regardless," Soriana replies to Tej with a laugh. "I've had snow flung at me more times this winter…" She gives her head a shake. "So, y'know. That's what it's like being weyrwoman. You get no respect!" A grin, because she's joking. "It's good, though. I think I've got it mostly figured out." Mostly, but for this conversation, the comment's light and playful. She glances to Ka'el, then back to Tej. "Journeyman, huh? Well, good luck on walking the tables and getting your knot! I guess it has been a while that we've been distracted by our dragons, huh?" She grins. "Maybe I'll come do a dorms inspection before you get promoted. Just for old time's sake."

"Turns," agrees Tej. "It's been turns and I still can't believe the changes." The mentioning of dorm inspections has him cringing. "My stash of snacks was found during our last," he admits, which gets a dumbfounded sounding 'no!' from Ka'el. "A'yup. Every last fritter and cookie and candy piece, gone. I've barely made it through the days without them. Have a heart will you, weyrwoman? If ever you come across an apprentice's stash of emergency snacks, turn a blind eye. Some days, it's all we have to look forward to." Woe! His broad grin is quick to surface again though, but soon enough he's looking in the direction of the forge. "Speaking of, heading back is probabl a good idea. I must stay in their good graces til that knot is mine. T'was good to see you again," he says with a warm smile to Soriana, offering a wave. "Take care!" He waves an arm, then claps it on Ka'el's shoulder in farewell before parting.

"It has, hasn't it?" Entire turns! Soriana gives her head a shake, because seriously. Time. It's weird! She hehs at the mention of those snacks. "Hey, those're important!" A glance to Ka'el. "Remember Hotaru? She probably could have survived for a sevenday on her supply. Maybe a whole month." She grins, then looks back to Tej. "Okay. And I know it was his idea," a jerk of her thumb to Ka'el, "but, really, you served nobly in the Snowball Assault. Your name will be remembered!" …fondly? Hopefully? She's grinning, anyhow, and she waves to him as he heads off before looking back to Ka'el.

"Hotaruuu…." Ka'el says in remembrance. "Wow, it's been turns since I even thought about her. Wonder where she is now." Somewhere bringing chaos with her, likely. He smirks and waves to Tej, after giving him a fond punch to a burly shoulder in departure. "My friends all like you," he remarks. Discounting Jnelle and sometimes Xanthius. "It's annoying. They'd take your side in a minute an' leave me out to dry. Y'see how fast he sold me out on the snowball attack? Pft. Terrible. His mouth quirks slightly before he nods down the footpath. "You got a minute? I've a question for a weyrwoman to answer, possibly."

"Didn't she go back to Fort?" Soriana says of Hotaru, but it's with a shrug. "She was going to be a vintner. Or something." Not that Soriana actually knows anything about her more recent than, well, turns ago, but… "Heh. Course they do. Shows they've got taste." Because she's just that awesome? Or maybe it's a lack of taste, given that Jnelle the fancy and Xanthius the stylish don't like her. But anyway! "I know it was your idea, anyhow. Tej is responsible." Ka'el? Pffft. But, at Ka'el's mention of a question, she tilts her head. "Yeah, sure. I've got to get back eventually, but…" shrug. "What's up?"

Ka'el smirks and rolls his eyes. "It was Mr. Responsible's idea to use the lady in the chair as a lookout to give a signal when you came out've that weyr. We saw you go in. To be honest, I think she was more wantin' to come hide with us than look out, but I was afraid seh'd break a leg or something." Because old people randomly do that, see. He nods at her reminder that her time is not all his, and he walks just for the sake of walking, pace slow and gloved hand, though nearly moving to loop around her, reaching for hers instead. "I know Weyrwoman Thea's sort've picky about beasts in the weyr proper. Heard a while back that she wasn't happy with a grph..hawk? kept here. What's the Weyr's policy with the keeping of whers? Do you know?"

"Well, that's respecting your elders!" Soriana says, and smirks. She doesn't argue about the leg-breaking part, though. Old ladies do that! "Yeah, I was checking in on Cryodonth," she says of her presence in that weyr. "Finally doing dragonhealing stuff. Sorta." If by dragonhealing stuff one means routine checkups combined with fluffy 'hope you feel okay!' Weyrwoman stuff, but it's better than nothing. She takes his hand with hers, walking along at a nice slow pace. Hurrying? Nope. If she has to hurry, Luraoth will tell her so. Until then, her attention's on Ka'el, and her head tilts at his question. The gryphhawk gets a small nod, but… "Whers… bonded ones? Because a rogue wher's dangerous like a rabid canine. She wouldn't want those anywhere near the Weyr, I wouldn't think. But so long as it's bonded… well, they're not to be let out of sight of their handler. Whether they're to be off-leash depends on temperament. She'd probably want one of the golds to mindtouch and make sure." And now the question. "Why?"

Rogue whers are so dangerous? Ka'el watches her with a look that suggests that this is news to him. "Shell, I know as much about whers as I do…gryphhawks." Which one can safely assume is little to nothing at all. "Eh. A little more now, but not enough to be of any use." He quiets to continue to listen, watching her between watching where they're going, obviously paying attention. Leash? A brow lifts at the term, and after a moment he smirks at a thought. "Because," he answers, "I know a wher. The first one I've gotten to know personally a bit. She's … small, or so I'm told. A green and I'm sure I've seen canines a bit bigger. Bonded," he assures quickly, "to a fr-.." He second-guesses the word, and he makes a brief face. "To a girl I know. I wanted to be sure there wouldn't be trouble with her. Nisk, the wher, doesn't work in the mines or anything, and I was worried there'd be an issue if she wasn't bein' put to use." A look to her. "There isn't, is there?"

Soriana sees that look of 'this is new information!' from Ka'el. So she explains. "When a dragon loses their bondmate, they between. When a wher does, they… basically go crazy. Unless someone else of the bloodline can take over the bond." She makes a bit of a face. "Whers are… sort of like dragons and sort of not. It gets complicated." She gives a shrug, and nods about Ka'el's lack of knowledge. To the last of hers, he doesn't have reason to, but… aha. She nods at the mention of the green he knows. Canine-sized? Yeah, that's small. A fr-girl? That gets an inquisitive look, but… mmh, not gonna ask. "Nisk. Hurm. Well, she should still be registered with the minecraft here, even if she's not working with them." Because records. "Is she eating from the weyr herds? It'd probably be okay as long as they work out the payment somehow." A canine-sized wher can't eat that much, right? "So long as her handler's contributing and keeping her well-behaved and well-kept, I don't think it'd be a problem? Though she definitely should be registered. If the minecraft won't do it," for whatever reason, "then with the Weyr."

"Really?" Yup. News! Insane beasts trolling through the woods. And whers look…creepy enough when they're in their right minds. He doesn't even wnat to imagine a crazed one with no handler. He shudders. "Weird. Wherhandlers are a bit…" he makes a gesture to his head, "themselves, aren't they? Usually. I hardly see any've them. I know that whers are night time creatures, an' so handlers are too. Nisk's is. I've never seen Niko in the light of day before." So. Wherhandlers are the vampires of the world! Noted. "M'not really sure where Nisk's food comes from. I…guess the herds? Kanekith let her eat from his kill once," he waves a hand, "with much coaxin', but that was once. I'll ask her, an' I'll tell her what you said. I don't know if she's registered or not. She's been here…mmm, not overly long, but not briefly either. Two, three months or so? The eggs were already on the sands when I ran into her."

Crazed beasts indeed… whiiich is why whers are kept careful track of. Nobody wants a lone handler to kick the bucket and leave a grief-wild wher rampaging through the woods. Soriana nods a 'really' to Ka'el, then hehs at his description of wherhandlers. "Sometimes. I knew Derin, back when he was here. Decent guy, but…" she shrugs. "Whers are… sorta like if dragons were eggs forever? Like, they mostly talk in pictures and simple words, and they've got a lot less… planning." …and let's be clear here, dragons are not known for their awareness of past or future. "She's probably got things worked out. Same's people with canines do, or riders of Asteroid." Probably. But if she doesn't, it might be trouble. Or at least bills. "I don't think it'd be a problem, so long's the wher's happy, healthy, and under control. And registered." Surprises are sometimes not a good thing.

Ka'el smirks. "I've picked up some've the things Nisk has shown Kanekith. Kane likes her … weirdly enough. But it's likely because Nisk acts as if he's the greatest thing ever." Which Kanekith likely expects from everyone. It's about time he's given the idolizing he deserves! Even if it is from a miniscule speck. "But you're right. It's all very simple. Niko told me the same, and the way she sees things is…discolored. It's odd hearing someone describe seein' things through the eyes of somethin' other than a dragon." He slows his already slow walk until steps cease altogether. "I'll talk to her," he says again, although 'talk to' may be more like 'send message to' at this point, but either way the information will be passed. "M'roastin' sausages later tonight. If it's not too late when you get off, you should come by and get some. No snowball attack included," he promises with a grin. Scout's honor.

Soriana nods about Nisk and Kanekith, with a laugh at the end. "Probably." That bronze has an ego the size of… that bronze! She listens curiously to what Niko's said about the wher, and nods. "Whers don't even know their names, y'know. Nisk… she's named that because of Niko. Not like how Kanekith just knew." Or any other dragon, but whers? Not so much. Soriana walks along with Ka'el until they come to a stop - a nowhere in particular stop - and she gives his hand a squeeze as she nods. She's not too concerned, given that this wher sounds… rather under control. The minecraft wouldn't give a wher egg to someone without giving them at least the basic training, right? So it's probably fine. Besides, there are sausages that will be roasted! Soriana grins. "Back at your weyr?" she asks - just to make sure this isn't a beach cookout or something - and nods. "I'll see if I can make it. I don't think I've got anything too late today." Yet. But you never know what'll show up at the last minute.

"I can't fault her for that," says Ka'el with a headshake. "I didn't know my name when I was born either." Not that it'd matter since Kanekith switched it up on him anyway! Dragons are so pushy and demanding. "Yeah, my weyr," he confirms. "Couple'a people from my earlier shift are comin' over. Gotta check M'kal's schedule and see if he's got night or no. He'll probably bring Marel. If it's late an' you still want to come, send word to Kanekith. I'll save a few for you and wait up." Which he apparently doesn't mind doing. It's Sori! "Thanks for the word on whers, weyrwoman." He smirks as he moves in to kiss her briefly. Parting ways begins here. "Gotta check up on a few more things with that. See you later, I hope."

"True, that," Soriana says with a laugh. "I'm pretty sure I didn't know mine for, oh, entire turns." She grins, then nods about the sausagefest. (Though, Marel might be there. And so might Sori.) "I'll try to make it. I should be able to." Maybe she can dodge her work! Like she did with… some… snowballs. The thanks makes her shrug a bit. "It's my job?" she says, joking, then adds a more serious, "But really, the minecraft'll know more than me. They've worked those things out with the Weyr." There are procedures! …there are always procedures. But, for now, Soriana ignores them to just lean in and kiss Ka'el back. "Yeah, I'll be there. Even if I'm late. You need anything brought, just tell Luraoth."

Hey, there are some girls in his squadron! Like, two. And the third no one reeeeally knows for sure if she's male or female, and no one's gathered the balls to ask either. "Nah, you don't need to bring anything." He's got it covered this time! "Just you." A crooked smile follows that, and because he's Ka'el (and because things have been relatively quiet thus far in regards to passers-by) he steals another kiss for the road. Smoooooch! Warm and affectionate, with just a slight edge of wanting more but not taking it now to it. He pulls back with that same grin. "See you tonight." With sausages and friends, new and old! He gives her a smart salute before turning and heading off deeper into the Weyr grounds.

"Okay then," Soriana says, and smiles. "I'll bring me." It's an important delivery. Can't be late with that. Nope. She leans in for that second kiss, and her hand (that isn't holding Ka'el's) brushes over to his hip, just for a second. Because, well, sometimes when there's kisses, there wants to be other touch to go with kisses. (Okay, so make it four or five seconds, but still.) It's only a slight edge. "See you then." With sausages! She salutes him right back - gotta have salutes, to go with the kisses - and grins as she heads off in her own direction, motivated to get her work done quickly so she can escape at a reasonable hour despite her snowball-fight distraction this afternoon.


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