Tentative Friends

Xanadu Weyr - Firelizard Theatre
A natural clearing in the forest has grown a different sort of tree. The Courtyard of the Firelizard holds grass trampled into dirt around the wooden play structures.
In the northern part of this field lies a jungle-gym like fort, with two towers that soar to fifteen feet of height. One of them adjoins a large open deck with spiral staircase up and a metal slide down. That aside, the structure's made almost entirely of wood, the boards locked together either by being interlocked or by huge wooden bolts hammered into the boards. The towers are studded with uneven boards and rough spots, various climbing challenges on each of their faces. A swaying rope bridge with wooden slats connects the towers, and beneath it there's a sealed tunnel to run through or play minecraft.
Just past the fort, there are wooden sit-toys carved and painted into the likeness of dragons. They're about two feet high and four feet long, though the green is smaller than the blue. There's a place for a child to sit on the dragon's back, with their feet resting on the dragon's paws and hands on the bars bars attached to the neck of the dragon. Pushing with hands or feet will make the dragon rock and writhe.
In the middle of the field are two sets of swings, suspended by rope from from a wooden beam that's held up by crossbraces on either side. There's a set of monkey bars, made entirely out of wood but carefully polished until the dark bars glow, and a set of seesaws. The sandbox is set back a little from the rest, filled with sand from Xanadu's beach and scattered with buckets and shovels.
Trees border the area, including a massive Lemosian ironwood that has beneath its branches wooden benches with a view of the playground.

Winter. It's everywhere you look in Xanadu Weyr; it's in the unyielding grey of sky overhead and the blanket of snow covering the ground, hushing life beneath it with iridescent white. It's the smell on the air - heat made tangible by the smoke it gives off, punctuated by the whisper of something more, something magic, something that is so very missing from tropical weyrs like Half Moon Bay and remind Risali why she never left Xanadu when Calisi offered her a position that allowed her to stay. A lot had changed since then, but Risali's presence in Xanadu Weyr has been a constant. Today she is alone, settled on one of the swings in the relative emptiness of that Firelizard theatre. Her focus seems less on swinging and more on sitting, shifting the barest amount, twisting back and forth in minute degrees while the focal point for grey eyes remains her feet. Leirith? She's around here somewhere, but much too big (and gravid) to be found where her rider currently resides.

Fear, oh World! Fear! For the Weyrlings of Half Moon Bay have been released upon thee, to go where they want and when they will. To bring chaos and doom and general… political backlash if manners are not minded and behaviors are not monitored carefully. Aedeluth is not at all shy about announcing his presence. His voice rings out both physically and mentally the moment he bursts from Between, mental cords flashing out to embed themselves in all those who happen to be near enough. Which is pretty much… everyone (well. Everyone draconic). He is indiscriminate in who gets to know he has arrived, far too proud of his new found freedom and abilities to travel wherever he wants (at the approval of those dictators who wear weyrlingmaster knots, of course) and whenever he wants, with his Weyrling on his neck. HE IS HERE PEOPLE! FEAR HIM. Those mental connections are retracted quick enough, likely due to some disapproving noise said weyrling is making in his head. What a bother. But like it or not, the bronze spirals down for a landing quick enough, even if the snow is a cause for brief hesitation and a rougher landing than is typical for the gimpy-legged creature. Huff. Annoying. S'van is deposited, and though he has left summer behind and now finds himself in the land of winter, he is at least dressed for the occasion, donned in the traditional leathers of a dragonrider. He even remembered to bring a scarf (GO HIM). Where is he going? He has no freakin' clue. This is clearly a day trip of a relaxed nature, and not some sort of assignment. So one direction is as good as another and, while he leaves Aedeluth behind to ponder whether or not he likes or hates the snow, S'van will go this way, which just so happens to lead to forests, and theaters, and goldriders on swings. And maybe he's just a little too smug for his own damn good (we will blame Aedeluth for this) because he doesn't even think about pausing before he closes the distance between him and Risali and unceremoniously drops himself into the swing beside her. Like he was expected. Like he was wanted. Like he owns the damn place. "Hey." He will probably regret not brushing off the snow first. But for now? Ignorance is bliss.

AEDELUTH. HE MUST'VE GOT IT FROM HIS DADDY. And more's the pity; if Leirith knows that Aedeluth is here (and she does, because how could she not), then Risali knows that S'van is here. And if S'van is here, that means that one of those innocuous snowbanks cleverly hidden within all this winter-white landscape is probably being plotted for use as a gravesite for said bronzerider - long before he disrupts the peace that Risali's found in the seclusion of abandoned play areas. And S'van does disrupt Risali's peace, first with the sounds of snow being crushed beneath booted feet, then with the subtle give of leather every time the man moves; he blocks out the lack of sun with his stupidly big body so that there's more lack of sun, and brings the smell of leathers, and between, and something so very S'van with him when he sits beside her and takes ownership of that second swing. But Risali doesn't move. She remains as she was, with grey eyes on booted feet, wrapped up in a jacket that clearly does not belong to her (because it drowns her; you try being 5'0" with a weyrmate that sits at 6'4"), with a scarf wrapped around mouth, and hair, and nose. The goldrider is more two grey eyes and a bit of black hair at this point than Risali, but that's not relevant. What's relevant that the moment of solidarity with quiet and nature is shattered by S'van's voice, and Risali exhales, fog rising in the air before her face despite the guard of a scarf over her mouth to catch her breath, and then she moves. It's a slow shift, her shoulders coming up first, her head lifting as she leans sideways into one of the ropes and tilts her chin just so, grey eyes falling in S'van as she takes the younger man in and - "Hello, bronzerider," Risali echoes, though there's something muted in the words - something affectionate that curbs the indifference of two words by way of tone. "Half Moon Bay too hot?" Her words are muffled by cloth, but they're still capable of being distinguished enough for comprehension - hopefully.

S'van is unafraid of goldriders who may or may not be plotting to murder him, and then dispose of his body in the snow-covered mounds that would likely do way less to HIDE a body, and a lot more to PRESERVE a body. No. There is no fear there. Maybe it is the fact that she looks like she is drowning in leather (and therefore, oh, so tiny) or bundled up in fabric (and therefore, oh, so cute!) that is responsible for the bold approach and lack of self-preservation. Or maybe it is just that… he is S'van. And he does what he wants and to hell with the consequences? Regardless. This swing is now his. So like it or leave, cause he's settled in and disinclined to relinquish his not-at-all hard-fought-for ground. Was he prepared for snowy-Xanadu to be so damn cold? Probably not. At least, his hands have been decidedly shoved into the pockets of his jacket, and he's hunching his shoulders in a way says maybe he's wishing he'd put on a sweater or three, before jumping Between in a mad rush to escape the, "Sweltering," heat of Half Moon Bay. But S'van is a guy, and probably has an ego. Which means he is now stuck, toughing out the cold as he pretends it doesn't bother him. Shivering? No, no. That's just an absent-minded jiggling of his legs. You know. Nervous habit. "Heard Leirith went up." Because the whole freakin' world heard that gold rise.

Risali has to have somewhere to hide (preserve) S'van's body until the snow gives way to Spring. The ground is frozen, after all, and she is tiny. Murdering men thrice her size takes thought and work and D'lei or K'vir or both to be available for on-call disposal when shit hits the proverbial fan. But maybe murder isn't on the goldrider's mind, because those grey eyes remain fixed on the Half Moonian beside her, a lift at the corners saying maybe there's a smile hiding beneath protective barriers when he buries his hands in his pockets and definitely doesn't shiver because that would be UNMANLY and DEMEANING. Risali saw nothing and knows nothing. "She did," Risali says softly, but it's all the more she offers as she slides from her swing and booted feet find not-so-solid ground; the goldrider stays sturdy despite, moving towards S'van as she slowly unravels her own scarf while she speaks. "D'lei won, but I would be a liar if I said I was surprised. Zekath and Garouth are always kind and patient with her; Leketh is too, but she doesn't see him often. I'd have been surprised if it was anybody else." And there she is, hands up as if to show she's no threat, standing before S'van with her scarf in one hand and a quiet smile pulling at her lips. "She chased the others instead of letting them chase her." And forward she steps into the bronzerider's space with just as little ceremony as he offered her when he sat on that second seat and fucking owned it. Like it or leave, S'van, because she's leaning forward and reaching around the bronzerider to pull her scarf in place around his neck (and over his scarf), adjusting it into some semblance of order and then gently patting where the remainder of fabric falls over his chest as she leans back. "There," comes on an exhale. Hands tuck away into pockets as Risali takes a step back, shoulders tuck in towards her chest, and Risali gives one of those smiles that's teeth and closed eyes while the goldrider shifts lightly on the balls of her feet. She has very long hair. She'll manage. "I heard you've learned how to between, weyrling." Which is obvious because he's here and Aedeluth is here and ALL OF XANADU KNOWS THAT NOW because the little bronze just had to go and make an entrance (one that was greeted, by the way, with an effervescent onslaught of giddy bass and drums in hello), but she says it anyway. "Congratulations." A beat, and then genuine confusion that draws her brows in, grey eyes jumping from grey to somewhere behind and to the side of him, as if she's spotted something in the distance. "Why are you here, S'van?" Because there are a lot of places S'van could be, and Risali doubts he's here to say hello to her.

"I would be lying if I said I was upset that Leketh lost," is S'van's wry but far too cheerful response, not at all ashamed to hint that he was more than likely the one who benefited from that particular outcome. "Or that Aedeluth did not chase." This time, because although the bronze is decidedly IGNORING that effervescent onslaught, he is recently reconsidering the possible charms that glowing gold hide may offer him. But as for D'lei the victor, and K'vir the… not victor, there is no real response from the weyrling. Does he know these people? Maybe. Does he understand their significance to Risali, or the importance that they hold in the goldrider's life? Doubtful. He's been far too busy with his own bronzerider to worry about her two. Even if there's something akin to sympathy in his gaze, if just because it sounds as though things were… awkward? Weird? Whatever they are after a first-flight. "Sounds? rough?" because let's be real. S'van knows nothing about nothing when it comes to proddy golds and the eventual rising of them. At least not from the female perspective. But he's trying, at least. There is no tensing of shoulders, no concern flicker of grey eyes as she approaches with a NOOSE disguised as a scarf. Calm in the face if impending danger. Resigned in the face of death, as hands work and fabric falls, and suddenly he finds himself bundled all the more despite the fact that he is still gonna not-shiver on the swing he's claimed. "We did," he responds just as needlessly, the proof of his success literally sitting in front of her. As for why he is here? "Never been. Thought I'd come check it out." Which apparently amounts to sitting on a swing, freezing his butt of, talking to a goldrider about mating flights. "And because it is away from Half Moon." And impending decisions of which he has made no progress. "If Leirith wasn't a gold, which Wing would you have wanted?" Out of the blue questions, for the win.

It's a wry and all-too-cheerful response that does not earn S'van the goldrider's ire or offense, but Risali's laughter; it's a hush of sound that rises and dissipates nearly as fast as it's come, a moment of mutual agreement that precedes Risali slowly shrugging out of her much-too-big jacket to reveal that she's got another on underneath - her own, from the looks of it. "I would be lying if I pretended to be upset about that." There were a lot of people there that Risali didn't want to wake up next to, and perhaps that is where the awkwardness lies. Forward the tiny woman goes again, putting the jacket around S'van's shoulders with careful, gentle ministrations as she breathes out, "Only because I had no control. It was…" A beat, Risali's hands stilling as if she needs absolute calm to allow her brain a moment to find the right words, and then she's in motion again. "I don't remember a lot of it. Mostly fragments, really, but D'lei is my… my person. My family." Risali draws back, hands tucking away again into her jacket as she rocks on her heels and gives S'van another one of those quiet smiles. "So I'm glad that it was somebody I already trust with my…" A beat, an exhale, a shifting of that tiny body that says she's uncomfortable because she's talking about herself and maybe that's why she steers the conversation in another direction; it's not that she's ashamed of K'vir or D'lei or the fact that she's lover to both. It's simply that Risali has never been very good at opening up about herself. To anyone. "It's not important." And there it is, a half smile, a dismissal of half-formed thoughts that she doesn't want to complete, and then they're on the topic of Xanadu and Risali is nodding her head. "It's beautiful. You should come in the fall, when everything is a thousand different shades of autumn." Because then it's breathtaking. "Bring Jae with you. K'vir might even share some of his rum." But, 'Away from Half Moon,' sounds like a heap of complicated, and for a moment, Risali simply stands there watching S'van, breath rising in puffs of fog before her as she debates how to answer and - "Galaxy. It's our search and rescue wing. I asked if I could be in it, but apparently golds and their riders are better suited to pushing paperwork and dispatch as opposed to saving people." There's a wry smile for that, as if Risali would rather be doing dangerous things (she would), but she doesn't elaborate; instead the tiny woman moves back to her swing, sweeping away slowly accumulating snow before pulling herself back onto it. But she doesn't swing, she just… looks at S'van again. "Do you want to talk about it?" comes softly, and she waits.

The laughter earns a bit of a smirk, one that may just be smart-ass in nature, though it dissolves quickly enough. There is a jacket being draped around his shoulders, in a gesture that clearly says she's noticed his lack of tolerance for cold weather, while simultaneously demonstrating her own. But S'van is not the type to mind fussing over, at least not in this moment when seclusion means there are no prying eyes to tease and taunt him later for it. And he is cold, so… the extra layer is welcomed. "Thanks." For the jacket. The conversation of chasing and catching, of losers and winners and loss of control, does not at first appear to discomfort the weyrling. He is familiar enough with the concept. Though it is only a matter of time before he's sort of squirming in a way that speaks less of the chill in the air, and more to the intimate nature of the topic being discussed. The jiggling of his leg transforms into an actual nervous habit rather than barely disguised shivering, because he does not want to think about Risali in that way but can't exactly avoid it with this line of conversation. So there is twitching, and uncomfortable expressions, and a decided shift to his gaze as he seeks out a tree, or a pile of snow, or a jungle gym to stare at in an effort to avoid the dialogue unfolding around him. "Yeah, good that it was… him." Which is really a lame attempt to agree with her while not furthering the discussion of flights and their inevitable outcomes. He is more than happy to shift gears, and far too concerned with his own disquiet to be noticing her own. A grunt of acknowledgement for visiting in the Fall, with an accompanying glance towards the currently-bare or brown trees. And then the answer to his more important question; Wings and assignments. "Seems a waste," he decides, of golds being denied the chance to choose their fate. Risali sits again, and S'van's only acknowledgement is a quick shift of his gaze her direction before he just stares forward. "I dunno. What is there to talk about? I have to pick. But my choices are kinda slim," he decides. A thoughtful tilt to his head precedes the next sentence, and he is not at all passive aggressive when he admits, "and even then, I may not get tapped where I want to." A shrug of dismissal. "Aede and I aren't exactly model citizens." Deviants, despite a drive that has them working twice as hard as their fellows. "Still months away," which is his way of saying he's not gonna think about it until he absolutely must. Procrastination. "But thought I'd ask, just to get some opinions." Shift-shift on the swing, a kick of his toe at the snow. "I can't see Aede teaching weyrlings. And I can't see myself pushing papers. And I'm no crafter, so that kinda leaves transport or… search and rescue."

The bronzerider's thanks is met with a scrunching of nose - a smile that reaches Risa's eyes and says, 'You're welcome,' without her having to impart those obvious (and polite) words. Kind of like how Risali simply nods her head in regards to it being good that it was D'lei she tumbled with because maybe she doesn't want to think about the fact that one day her and S'van might be waking up next to each other after a night spent doing unspeakable, borderline violent things together - and seasons coupled with wings are a much safer topic than flights and the outcomes of dragonlust between two people who may or may not have been willing prior. Especially when Risali already knows what S'van looks like naked. As for it being a waste, Risali lifts one shoulder in a shrug and laughs the kind of laugh that's not really a laugh and maybe a touch bitter, but is short-lived. "It's… just what they think is best, I suppose. I don't think it's bad or good, just… is." Now Risali is the one shivering on her seat, crossing her arms over her chest as she shifts to face S'van while she listens to him talk and - an exhale that marks her acknowledgement of his words once he's finished. Silence stretches between them, threatening at the border of 'forever,' before another shiver sends Risali into motion and she looks away from the bronzerider. She kicks her legs out and leans back to start some momentum and starts to swing before she speaks again. Movement will keep her reasonably warm, and there's no D'lei to haul her away to warmth this time. "Both of them are important. I guess the better question is whether you're somebody who likes to take risks, or somebody who likes to be safe. Do you want to save people, or do you want to meet people?" Grey eyes flicker sideways, back to grey, and then forward again as she keeps moving her feet and body in those necessary undulations to keep herself swinging. "But where is it that you want to go, S'van? Because where you want to be is more important than any of that."

The horrors of impending Leirith flights are firmly shoved from S'van's thoughts. He shall not think on it. Not right now. Not today. Not when he's doing his utmost to pretend it shall never, ever happen and more or less succeeding. "It's a hold over," he decides. "From days gone past. Tradition." For queens to be administrative. To be protected from harm. But the shrug of his shoulders says the topic has been dismissed. As shivering is a clear indication that Risali is not as cold tolerant as she first appeared, there is an inevitable offer of returned clothing. "Do you want the jacket, or the scarf back?" even as he is unwrapping the scarf. Because it is going back to her, whether she wants it or not. Because S'van is not so rude as to sit comfortable while someone else is freezing to death even if she is a FIERCE AND TOUGH badass. And because his stubbornness knows no bounds. And maybe because three layers is a bit more than necessary, and he's starting to sweat beneath that scarf. So either she's gonna wear it, or it'll end up on the ground, becoming cold and damp and possibly ruined. The stretch of forever-silence is not uncomfortable. Lost in thought or patiently waiting. Maybe just enjoying the lack of pressure to decide things even as she's posing questions and making him think. A snort. "If I pick search and rescue, I'll be flying under J'en as Wingleader. Don't you think that would be awkward? Not to mention a conflict of interest?"

"Yeah," Risali agrees softly about the hindrances of being a queenrider; a holdover indeed. Still, the offering of clothing has Risali shaking her head - though she does take her scarf to prevent it from meeting a horrible fate in the snow, ruined and unsalvageable because cold and wet are inevitable outcomes when you're dealing with frozen water. "Just need to move, S'van." And Risali is swinging, because swinging is movement and what is the tiny woman if not a woman in motion? Still, S'van's next admittance has Risali exhaling on a backward swing, breath trailing fog in the chill of air as she lapses into silence for another stretch of time and then… "I think it might be the harder choice if either of you are incapable of separating your personal lives from your job." Which is not a yes, or a no, or even a maybe, "But I don't think you should let it stop you from doing what makes you happy. One day, one of you might be Weyrleader, or Weyrsecond; it's not impossible that one of you will be over the other eventually anyway." And then Risali is motioning. "Come on, bronzerider. Swing. I want to see who can jump the furthest." And there's mischief and deviance in the glance she spares him - a whisper of laughter as she tries to gain more momentum and, whether S'van is willing or not, she's breathing out, "Onnnne. Twoooo. Three!" And then Risali lets go! Launching herself into the snow where she crumbles in a terrible landing and finds herself on her back - maybe alone - laughing. This is Risali's way of distracting. Like it or leave, S'van! Like it or leave.

Lips press into a thin line; hard eyes find a tree to stare at. Words are processed, weighed and evaluated before he finally breaths out a puff of visible breath and decides, "Maybe." And then difficult topics are decidedly abandoned in favor if the present. In the face of a challenge that he is more than willing to accept. Shifting bodies, swinging legs, propulsion as he gains momentum and tests the integrity of the branch above them. There's freedom in movement and letting go, and S'van is happy to do both; to move limbs and body and let go of logic and contemplation. There's a devilish look on his face, and clear determination in his gaze, when she starts her count down. Three-two-one and away he goes, 6'5" of weyrling propelled through the air to land in the snow just as ungracefully as the petite weyrwoman beside him. Laughter and relief, even as cold snow is seeping into places it really SHOULD NOT GO and reminding him that he is, a creature of sun and sand. It does not stop him from sprawling in the snow to stare at the sky. And here he will stay, pretending he's not turning into a icicle until time and cold, or Risali, or weyrling-obligations makes him move once again to return home and deal with life.

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