Fort Weyr - Lake Shore
This lake shares many features common to mountain lakes — a brilliant blue jewel nestled amongst the rocks. The waters are crystal clear, and the north shore slopes gently before abruptly falling away into the depths. This lake does have one significant differentiating feature, however. The south shore of the lake is a tumbled mass of rubble, rock and earth of an ancient rockslide smoothed only by the elements in the intervening years. This rubble, as well as the rather sheer east and west faces, makes for the north shore to be the only one easily accessible.
Morning by the lake is a relatively busy time, with dragons bathing and being bathed, weyrfolk doing their thing, and a small contingent of guard recruits enjoying their time off with a bit of sparring down on the shore. From the looks of it, the loser of each bout gets a dunking, as, when one opponent takes the other down, the rest of the lads haul him up to his feet and toss him in. Unluckily for Russall, he happened to be the loser… and he huffs goodnaturedly at his comrades as he steps out and strips off his wet shirt, whipping it at their calves.
Given the switch in seasons between Fort and Xanadu, it is no surprise that a visiting Xanadian blue is going to make good on the opportunity to bathe and sun in HOT weather. Ujinath glides in from above and gracefully descends right by the shoreline, shuffling in impatience as a auburn haired rider jogs up to catch up with him. "Alright, alright! Hold still, will you?" Kiena grumbles as she deftly unbuckles the straps and with Ujinath's help, slides them free of his cerulean hide. Briefly the blue swings his head towards the antics of the Guards before he slips into the water and continues to observe from a distance. Still muttering under her breath, Kiena drags the straps a safe distance away and wipes a hand across her forehead. "Forgot the sharding seasons…" she grumbles, already regretting her choice of shirt as she rolls up the sleeves. She looks up just in time for Russall to be stepping out of the lake, her eyes darting from him to the sparring Guards and snorts in amusement.
Guards, even those in prolonged training, have sharp hearing, and so Russ managed to hear what Kiena said as he was whipping at his friends. He dances away from their counterattacks, towards the bluerider, surprisingly nimble on his feet for his size. "Spring, summer, autumn, winter," he says with a shrug and an expression that says duh.
Kiena tilts her head a bit and a single brow lifts and at first it appears that she's incredulous in the way he greets her until her grin ruins the whole effect. She chuckles dryly. "Sassy, aren't we?" she drawls, her accent neither Fortian or quite Xanadian but diluted all the same. "All of you come with that attitude? What's your name, Guard?" Her tone is firm but her expression is otherwise amused. She'll assume he's a Guard but not his rank. Not that she could tell given he's shirtless but it's possible too she'd not be able to discern the devices regardless.
Russ's hand comes up in a salute, and he nods his head to the bluerider. "Sometimes, no, and Russall, ma'am." He drops his hand, then turns slightly to the side to start wringing out his sodden shirt. Behind him, someone else is getting a dunking as the shrinking dry recruits whoop and cheer. "You're not from Fort. You need help getting around, or something?" The way it's delivered is an offer; he'll show her what's where, if she needs it.
"Figured as much," Kiena muses and then grimaces. Not for the salute but more so for the use of ma'am. "Shells, how I hate being called that. Makes me feel old… older," she mutters and then sighs. "Well met regardless, Russall. And no, I'm not from Fort." Her eyes turn briefly past the young Guard and to where one of his fellows now earns a dunking. "Kiena," she offers when her attention shifts back to him and followed by a crooked smile. "Smithcrafter and rider of blue Ujinath from Xanadu Weyr. So. What earned you a toss in the lake? This some sort of peculiar Guard initiation or…?" Wait, what? The offer of help is met with a low laugh. "Nah, I'm fine. Already finished my business here but Ujinath wanted to linger."
"Then I won't call you it, Kiena of the Smiths, blue Ujinath, and Xanadu Weyr. Protocol's only good to a point; no reason making people uncomfortable, is there?" He shrugs, wringing his shirt a little harder. When he sees her looking to the lake, his gaze follows. "Eh, just a thing we do when we're off-duty. We're currently off-duty, so…" So the boys are getting a dunking. "It's an alright way to wind down after night duty." Another shrug, and Russall grins as he looks down at the bluerider. "Good weather for lingering, isn't it? Better than Xanadu's?"
Kiena pulls a face, "No reason at all but that's… a long winded title." Though in her head she's grinning. Kiena of the Smiths? Nice! "How about just Kiena? And I'll stick to Russall for you. Unless you like titles?" Judging from his reception to her reaction, she feels that that answer may safely be 'no'. "Ahh, I see. I like it! Who's to say even a Guard can't have fun, hmm? Given your line of work, I'd think you lot would need it more than anything." She returns his grin, which swiftly turns to a sort of joking grimace. "Unless you like snow and ice, then yeah, Fort's the place to be for good weather."
Russall laughs. "Well, you could call me Russall of Fort Weyr, the Weyr's Guard, and formerly of the Weavercraft, but Russall's just fine. Russ, even - whatever you want, really. I'll maybe answer." Twisting a little more to the side, he starts to swing his shirt around like a windmill blade, with the spatters carefully - or so he hopes, anyway - directed away from the Weyr's guest. "I don't mind snow and ice, y'know? It's alright. So's warm weather, too. Mud's not even that bad. I figure they've probably all got their plus points and their downsides."
"You expect me to remember all of that?" Kiena quips with a little sarcasm of her own and grinning again, she chuckles. "Russall or Russ it is then. Far better if I have to shout your name. Or I suppose 'Guard' works too but I may get your friends with that, wouldn't I?" Plus she'd not dare be so stupid as to go screaming 'Guards' at the top of her lungs, joke or not. She'll step back as he begins to windmill his shirt, snorting again. "Ever hear of hanging clothes to dry? And you'd be the rare few who don't seem to mind any sort of weather. Especially mud! Kind of nice, not to hear bemoaning of this season or that's downfalls. Mud isn't even half bad. Good for wrestlin'. Hear my brother has sort've started that trend here?"
"Recruit, technically," Russ replies, squeezing his shirt out one last time before twisting it and looping it around his shoulders. "Recruit actually, actually - there's no technical or not about it. I haven't bothered trying for a promotion." Her question is answered with a waggle of his brows. "I'll dry it off later. For now, it's sticking here." One hand pats the sleeves where they hang down in front of him. "Your brother started a mud-wrestling trend? I dunno about that, but I know we do it. I'm not half back, actually. Who's your brother?"
Kiena's brows lift curiously. "Why not? Still sortin' out whether or not you like it?" she asks, momentarily distracted as Ujinath wades out of the water and shakes, earning a few disgruntled cries from nearby lounging dragons and weyrfolk. She'll have to apologize later for that, with her attention swinging back to Russall. The waggled brows earn him a teasing eye roll from the bluerider and a smirk. "Well, dunno if it's so much of a trend as it was just the highlight of some of the festivals they had here a few Turns back. They also had a hand in it being part of Ista's Weyr Games. I tried it then but lost to an Istan greenrider… No matter. I won archery and smoked Kimmila at that — wonder if she's forgiven me yet," she mumbles, slipping into a tangent for a bit before she eyes Russall. Her smirk turns into another crooked grin. "Th'ero's my brother." she answers simply.
Russall shakes his head. "It takes effort to get a promotion, and then there'll be more work if I get it… I'm happy enough as is." He nods along as she explains about the wrestling, pursing his lips in surprise when she reveals her sibling's name. "Uh-huh. Well, I guess we can give the Weyrleader credit, right?" His grin grows, and he tugs on the two damp ends of his shirt. "I was in the Weaver Hall when the Games were happening, or I would've tried my luck in the mud wrestling… not that I was much of anything back then, just a scrawny thing." And now he's tall, even if he's not absolutely rippling with muscle. "Archery's pretty precise, though, and I know Kimmila's good, so you must be pretty impressive with a bow. Do you play darts?"
"Fair enough!" Kiena answers and doesn't seem disappointed by his response. If anything, she looks subtly impressed and further so when Russall doesn't react poorly to her admitting blood-ties to the Weyrleader of Fort. Rather refreshing not to have someone do a complete 360 turn in behaviour. "Some credit, less his ego swell." she jokes lightly, testing the waters. Generally her teasing of her sibling is far more colourful. "A Weaver, now a Guard recruit? Interesting change in paths," Now her eyes give him a once over, curious and slightly distracted again. Ujinath has stepped from the waters now, wings half unfurled to allow them to dry as he stalks closer to the conversing pair. "Kimmila is very good and taught me." Kiena explains with a grin that is almost boastful. So it was a case of pupil beating teacher? Ouch. "Darts?" There's the curiosity again, mixed with just a hint of mischief. "I do and actually happen to own a dartboard." She'll just refrain from saying it has a picture of a likeness to a certain male Fortian bluerider etched onto it. "Do you play, then?" Kiena asks wryly.
"I even did a stint working in the kitchens here - I'm quite diverse, y'see." Russ waggles his eyebrows, and slips his hands into his sodden trouser pockets. They squelch. "I play darts. We've got a league going on in Shenanigan's some nights; you oughta come join us as a guest player. It's always nice to have someone new come in and play… though we don't normally let girls in. Last one I played with sorta cheated, so…" He lets his expression give away exactly what he thought of that move. "There's marks involved, if that helps sway your decision."
Kiena snorts again with laughter before pulling a slight face at the squelching sound. Ugh. "Uh-huh. So far you've proven yourself to be diverse in choice of work," she admits before chewing at her lower lip in thought to his offer. Her brows knit, "Cheating? Shame then on her but I ain't no cheat. Not at darts, at least 'n marks don't interest me. If I play, it's to play and maybe not make a fool of myself enough that I can boast a bit." So she'd play for the sheer amusement of it all, despite whether or not she wins. Her shoulders shrug and her head tilts up to grin to her blue. Ujinath has joined them though the blue remains a respectful distance away, only craning his head forwards a bit. "What'd you think, Uji?" The answer is nothing more than a gruff snort and shuffled exhale but something in the way the blue's head tilts and eyes whirl give the appearance that he's smugly grinning. "Thought so. He likes you. Figures you've got the right attitude," Kiena translates for Russall though it probably doesn't make a lick of sense. Until… "So, Russall of Fort Weyr, the Weyr's Guard and formerly of the Weavercraft," Her memory isn't so shoddy after all and her grin says as much. She's having a wee bit too much fun with this… "Up for tryin' another path and adding to it? I think… Candidate for Kairoikyriath and Zeruth's clutch in Xanadu makes a nice addition? Though…" She makes to pat her pockets. "… don't have a knot for you… uh… Shells. Sorry." Awkwardly she pauses and then coughs, rubbing at the back of her neck as she sheepishly goes on. "But if you accept, we'll get that sorted out!" So now she waits expectantly for his answer which is not awkward at all! No pressure. Riiight.
"Not cheating cheating, but she insinuated she'd never played, so I went easy on her, and then she somehow whacked in three bullseyes, so… yeah." Russall is not impressed with that sort of behaviour. "We play for fun, we play for marks, we play to have people buy us drinks…" He looks up at Ujinath, tipping his head to the blue, and snorting at Kiena's nonsensical explanation. "… and formerly of Fort's kitchens," he adds in with a wink… until his expression suddenly changes when she makes her proposal. "Well. Huh. That's something, isn't it?" His fingers curl more tightly around the wet shirt, tugging it down onto his neck as he thinks. "I've got nothing to put a knot onto right now, so you're good… you can give it to me later." He laughs - a tough nervous, even - as he shrugs his shoulders, looking over one to the last few recruits who haven't slunk off to change into dry clothes. "Oi! Guess who's standing for Xanadu's clutch?!" They laugh and jeer back good-naturedly, as Russall looks back to Kiena with a grin on his face.
"Couldn't that be called beginner's luck too?" Kiena teases gently though from her tone she doesn't believe it. She clicks her tongue again and shakes her head, her grin returning soon afterwards. "Sounds like my sort of game then. Fun, marks and drinks? Perfect." What possibly could go wrong with a night like that? She snaps her fingers, "Damn! I almost had it!" But to his credit, she doesn't recite his "title" all over again saved as he is by the bluerider waiting to hear his answer to her proposal (though mostly it's Ujinath's doing). "Point there," she admits and then laughs heartily as he gives his answer by calling to his (former?) comrades. "And I'll take that as a 'yes', then? Best go inform your Captain and uh… change. And pack. Can't Between with you in the state you're in now." Kiena grins back and nods to where Ujinath rests and the straps. "You've time. I got to get him suited up again but we'd be better not to dawdle much longer. It's a rough jump in timezones 'n I doubt they'd appreciate it much if I came bargin' in the barracks with you in tow at the wee hours of the mornin'…"
"Yes, ma'am, that's a yes." Russall adds a playful emphasis on the title, giving the bluerider a salute to match. "I'll head off and do the informing now; there's someone else I want to tell, too. Meet you back here shortly?" Then off he jogs towards the guard's area - and either Kiena or Ujinath, maybe even both, may then see him jogging his way over into the living caverns. When he comes back he's got a duffel slung over one shoulder, and he's as dry as he can be. "I put your name down for the league, two nights from now. Whether I'm with you or not, they'll have you take part if you can make it."
Kiena holds up a warning finger to Russall when he uses the term ma'am again but it's all in play. "We'll meet here," she agrees and gives him a teasing parting wave as he jogs off towards the living caverns. While he's gone, she'll get the straps sorted and back onto Ujinath's cerulean hide and will wait for him, propped against the blue's foreleg. "Well that's awful kind of you," she muses with a faint snicker to her voice, reaching out to take Russall's duffel bag. "Hopefully duty will not interfere then! Why not see if you cannot start a league in Xanadu? If one doesn't already exist…" Now that she mentioned it, the bluerider is curious to see! "Ever ride a dragon before?" Kiena asks, while carefully stowing away his bag and grabbing her own helmet and a spare one for him, which she tosses. Hope his reflexes are up to par! Which they prove to be and once she's certain he's not going to panic when airborne, she'll help Russall mount up and buckled in. Ujinath will take wing the moment his rider gives him the cue and he takes a lingering moment high above Fort Weyr before making the jump home. The rest follows like clockwork, with Russall receiving a few more instructions before being led to the barracks and where at last the two part ways.