Count of Three

Xanadu Weyr- Shore of Lake Caspian
The cliffs that run along the shore come and go, various weyrs nestled along the tops of them or dug into the walls, but eventually they recede enough to expose a beach. The white sand echoes the rise and fall of the cliffs with a multitude of sandy dunes, endlessly creating tiny valleys that are constantly demolished and rebuilt by the frequent arrival or departure of dragons. The dunes smooth out as the gentle slope approaches the edge of the deep blue water. The sand darkens, and a shell here and there stands out for children to collect.
The beach narrows to the southwest, leaving a path barely wide enough for dragons in single file before cutting in to a smaller, more sheltered cove. The sands are the same white, the waters the same blue, but they're calmer and more tranquil, more protected from the winds that ruffle Lake Caspian and the currents that tug beneath the surface.
Rough, wide stairs lead up to the meadow above and the road that runs along the top of the cliffs, passing through the fields and heading for the river mouth that can be just barely seen from here. The largest of the staircases up the cliff is located near the docks that jut out onto the peaceful blue waters.

"LEIRITH!" There are probably few things as outlandish as this: one tiny, dark-haired woman, standing out on the sands of the beach with little more than the hushed light of a thousand stars and the glow of two moons to aide her vision. She was probably asleep, given that loose-curled, long hair is pulled over one shoulder and down instead of up in a messy bun, and she's in a very long shirt (the kind that makes it DECENT to be the only thing in) without any boots on. She's also sans her knot, though this is a fact that might become startlingly frequent once you get to know Xanadu's Senior. Regardless, she's there, on the beach, at some hour that probably doesn't exist, yelling at something that, for once, isn't answering her. "LEIRITH, THIS ISN'T FUNNY." There's no booming mindvoice, no bombastic answer, just the ebb and flow of Caspian's tide and and the wink of a thousand celestial bodies amused and keeping secrets from high up above. "Bring it BACK!" Maybe putting her hands on her hips will make the importance of this issue seem more dire. … Nope. Still nothing.

At this hour, waves are a lullaby. The gentle sound of the rolling waters surging forth and receding in grace. Black boots fall in the mostly straight stride of a man who can hold his alcohol more than fine, setting fading tracks into the sands shortly after washed away by the reaching fingers of the lake's touch. Water intermittently swirls over the bottoms of those boots, of a man who wears a bit too much black to stand out against the dark night. That moonslight, though- it catches. Glints off of silver metal that sits 'round his neck and on his fingers, details down his tunic and at his belt. It's in similarity of the waters themselves as the choppiness of the surface catches hints of light and lets it go again in some random pattern of perfection. It would be incredibly difficult to miss the shouting, though it seems to attract the path of him rather than deter it. "Quite the hour to be out, love." Gravel-touched voice is deep, honeyed, rising out of the night like the rest of him. It's not a threat, is it? No, it's too kind, too gentlemanly, despite the ominous note of it. Black hair is disheveled, an intentional look, really. There's nothing unintentional about him, especially that seablue gaze that watches her carefully even as he noted her from afar. "Missing something so important?" Said as he comes to pause a few strides away, his dripping arrogance present even in that manner. It's enough of a question to bare no significant commitment if this ends up being some crazy person, and yet faint interest bared. He glances only briefly in illustration of that question in the direction she's yelling, then back to her- a curious brow risen in a dark amusement mostly hidden in the wayward strands of his hair and the shadows of the night.

But Risali doesn't see Kaellian — at least, not before she hears him. It's those words, sudden and somehow unexpected despite the very real disturbance of one Weyrwoman standing out on the beach, shouting at seemingly nothing long after Rukbat's sung the world to sleep with her perennial lullaby and invited those most-sane to slumber beneath the watchful satellites of Timor and Belior, that startle her. Every hair on the back of Risali's neck answers, brethren standing at attention along her arms, communicated outward by a tremor that travels the length of a chill down her spine and spreads through her thighs to the tips of her toes. She jumps, Risali honest-to-Faranth jumps and turns to greet honeyed, disheveled gentlemanly arrogance with a fury that pulls at one corner of her lips and the promise of words that are meant to be scathing. Grey eyes narrow, and seek, and — she deflates, shoulders dropping, arms coming to cross over her chest as she exhales and aims for pleasant… er. Pleasanter, because there's still a bite to her words that bespeaks annoyance and perhaps a temper that she's throwing all her will into keeping at bay. "Faranth," is what she manages, bottom lip coming between her teeth where they worry as Risali assesses, watches, and — "Faranth. Don't make that face." It comes with a gesturing wave of one hand, alluding to brows, and amusement, and possibly just his existence because THAT'S RUDE, SIR. And finally Risali answers. Is she missing something? A beat, two, three, annnnd another exhale. "My mind, possibly," comes with a hint of humor, a touch of deviance that manifests both in cadence and the enunciation of words as much as the subtle scrunch of her nose. But she doesn't look away. "Have you lost your mind too?"

If he feels bad about making her jump well- no, no he doesn't feel bad. Quite ever, really. That isn't part of the whole whatever it is that he is. Therefore, that rudely raised brow may fall, but amused expression only deepens in chiseled shadow by makings of a serpent's warmed grin that spreads crookedly across roguishly scruff-lined face. Tongue traces the inside of his teeth, a huff of a breath is somewhere between a sound of humor and exasperation of her claims. The patience of the darkness-clad man stretches into a silence, letting her finish, his squared-shouldered self-important posture shifting and a ring'd thumb hooking into the belt buckle at his waist. "Is there another face you might have expected from yelling at the sea?" His head is tilted just-faintly in its general direction, though those eyes chill-touched as if winter had breathed upon the the edges of land and sea, bringing the ice-crusts to cap the waters where they had once been those lulling waves- have never left her. "I am rather certain she tends to not answer. I've asked her many a thing meself to little success." Thick accent slurrs just a little bit as he continues, not having missed the name she'd shouted in all her previous (and current) glory, but not referring quite yet to it. He's closer now, slow strides bringing him in the utterly casual manner of one who owns wherever he puts himself, and turning slightly as if to look out in the general direction she is- though he doesn't yet look again to the water. "Aye." Quieter, because the rapscallion can, lower tones silken, as dark as the rest of him. "Some might say quite a long time ago."

"It's okay," Risali offers, though she's not exactly sure why; she even leans a little closer, affects a tone that implicates collusion between two like-addled minds as she breathes out, "We're all a little mad here." This is Xanadu Weyr, after all, the home of brindled bronze shadows, of Queens whose clutches are born sick or not at all, of fringed smooth-talkers and one bombastically zany queen who's probably built herself a reputation far beyond the stretches of this tiny, inconspicuous beach. It also has Risali as its Weyrwoman, which comes with a plethora of what was that gold thinking politically. And here's why: a tighter smile, a shift of motion as scruff-lined strangers approach that keeps some semblance of distance between them without being blatant nor hostile. And the beach yelling, of course. Most other Weyrwoman are heaps more dignified than this one. All of them, actually. "And yes, I was expecting a different species to answer altogether." And a different gender, she doesn't add on, because Kaellian might be speaking about Faranth, but Risali is talking about Leirith — so it's Risali's turn to raise a brow, to look amused, to stifle it with another application of teeth to her lower-lip without looking away. "Dead things usually don't answer, you know. On account of the whole inconveniently dead thing. And if they do answer, well… I guess you wouldn't need a healer to tell you that you've gone mad." Humor, easy, light, albeit forced because this is Risali who is no good with words and no good with people. It's there to read in the subtle tension of her shoulders, in the way her smile never quite meets her eyes and remains but fleetingly. AND THEN RISALI, VERY AWKWARD and without breaking eye-contact yells, "LEIRITH, YOU HAVE TO THE COUNT OF THREE." Because why not?

If Kaellian notices the distance replaced just-so, he doesn't recapture it, he doesn't remark on it. Not this time, not yet. The man smells of rum, leather and the sea from this proximity, probably most notably the first since the rest could just as well be their location rather than him. It's not overwhelming- thank Faranth- but it is likely ingrained into his very skin moreso than the vice he'd just started partaking in tonight since one could count it as an all day everyday sort of affair. A hand reaches up to scratch just below an earring'd ear, the fingers of it lightly, briefly motioned into empty space afterwards in an almost dismissive manner. "Although many a'rumor may speak differently on that matter, depending on which crazed fool you ask, I would agree with you." On dead things answering, he means, "But I only speak of the sea." The sea is his 'she', that fickle woman who he's come to love. Nurturing and tormenting. Whose temper comes at the very shift of the winds, when the skies blaze red in morning, casting fear into the hearts of sailors. From the spectacular of still waters shining as the most vast jewel under Rukbat's hand, to the mountains and valleys drenched in obsidian nightmare which threaten to crush those who dare traverse them. While malevolence sits subdued, simmering just beneath every angle of him, as those creatures of the deep that lurk beyond sight, beyond light's reach, the way he watches her is not quite that. Mischievous, sure. Trouble, absolutely. Yet, simply curious dominates following her assessment of the area's lost-mindedness, and thus there's the callousness of one removed glazed over it all. Safe is not quite the word for it. Where he almost speaks again, there's then the very loud yelling much too close, much too abrupt. While the jewelry-flourished man doesn't flinch, he does close his eyes, the grin faltered, faded, only just-barely still present at the edge of his expression. "And this Leirith-" One eye opens, then the other, as if fully expecting another shout. Waiting for it. "Doesn't fancy less.. loud.. interventions, I take it."

And maybe there's something about Kaellian that speaks to Risali on a primal level, something as dark and tempestuous as the sea — something that has the woman keeping her distance, this child of a renegade, this goldrider whose fearlessness and strength of will mean that sometimes she's too loud, and sometimes she's too feisty, and sometimes she's as much a force of nature as the waters that clamor higher up in dominance of the beach, answering the pull of two moons. Maybe that's why she watches him so intently, why the hairs that rose remain at attention despite the comforting wash of rum and smells altogether too familiar to a woman who smells faintly of vanilla and something else. Cinnamon, or sugar, or both; something that permeates beyond the oddly familiar perfume of the men she's been pressed between. Grey eyes watch, take in, denote and file and perhaps try to read those things that tell you about souls, and what they've seen, and what kind of darkness lingers in the cusps of irises that are fathomless black. "Ah," Risali answers, still no closer to letting her gaze fall, to partake in a fleeting glance of the mistress in question. "She is a cruel one," comes hushed, as if she might wake the dead of which they were only just speaking, as if she didn't just yell and threaten the peace of Xanadu as a whole with her thoughtlessness. So there's a smile, a hint of teeth that pulls at the corners and stretches into wrongness, into a grimace that might have been an apology on anybody other than Risali. "Well, not exact —" « THREE, MINION! YOU CLEARLY FORGOT HOW TO COUNT, AND SO I HAVE DONE YOU THE HONOR. AHAHAHA. » And there she is, a brazen queen who isn't ugly but certainly cannot be called pretty; a mangle of too-short limbs with slightly gnarled talons, of knobs that sit in different angles on her head and a hide that's not so much gold as a very undignified mustard yellow, banded around the chest with a creamy white. Those eyes whirl green and blue, exuberance in that mind that bleeds beyond her rider into the thoughts of anybody unfortunate enough to be receptive to her touch and within one mile of her boisterousness. There is no such thing as propriety or keeping your thoughts to yourself with this queen — especially not when she's in possession of a very large blanket that looks exceedingly small in her boxy maw but certainly makes her rider disappear when she drops it right on top of Risali's head. Bass and drums thud, swell, crash against minds like battering rams filled with too much cheer and too much sunbright disregard. « SHE IS A DISAPPOINTMENT. » And somewhere beneath the tangle of a comforter, Risali fights for some dignity, poking a further-disheveled head full of loosely-curled hair out before she fights for a hand's freedom and — BAP! RIGHT ON THE SNOOT. Leirith booms laughter, a shift of that massive body as she drops her head perhaps too close to Kaellian, as she whuffles as if she might breathe him in and then exhales again. Right on him. Risali's too busy tucking blanket over her shoulders, around her head, shoving it between her thighs to be of much use. Except, perhaps, that is useful, because it means — "Ah, this is Leirith." A pause as if she might introduce herself or be waiting for an introduction, one that lasts long enough to hint at awkwardness but certainly not long enough for the silence to be filled by an answer. "I hope you find your mind, and whatever answers the sea won't give you." A beat, two, three, as grey eyes linger and then — "Right. Well, bye then." And there's another hint of a smile, forced, fleeting, interrupted by another bap to the snout before Risali, in all her ridiculously undignified glory, does the keep-your-thighs-together-so-the-blanket-doesn't-fall shuffle back towards her home there on the beach. Slowly. Like a giant marshmellow of comforter fluff. Give her a minute. Yep, she just… and gone. VAMOOSH! Leirith lingers a moment, perhaps simply to allow Kaellian a moment to bask in the presence of his future fearless leader, and then she's gone too, leaving behind only a hint of funnelcake and spun sugar.

One might argue that he should have left her to yell at the water for as long as her lungs could take it- and, he imagines- that's probably a rather long time. But by virtue of his many flaws, the seaward swept scoundrel would linger, gathering something of this that would be of importance perhaps eventually. Ice-touched oceanic eyes of storm-rent dark watch her, searching for something, but not able to pin it down on the damp map splayed on the breadth of captain's table, not yet able to mark the x where it should be, could be claimed. That in itself, a frustrating feature when his interest is caught on something about her. Not… exactly.. the shouting, perhaps, but something else. It's only been so recently that things he's desired have been… out of reach. Untakeable. "Is that so?" A question in regards to the cruelty, but there won't be time for an answer. Ultimately, Kaellian is going to wish he was much more drunk for this. There is not enough rum on this continent for- "…Bloody hell-" A much, much more colorful string of curses drowns in the upswept and unavoidable surge of the mental outburst, forcing him to stumble back multiple steps away from Risali, and away from the mustard-queen. It makes the cocksure composure of a devilish man who has seen many things but not this thing duck and turn that attention immersed in puzzling out the weyrwoman to stare ever-upwards at the golden Leirith. "A pleasure, I'm sure…" Delayed, of course, as he slowly straightens himself, a vaguely and admittedly disbelieving narrowed glance cast to Risali before returning to her lifemate and the events of the comforter and snout-bapping that ensue. He'd keep his distance now, one can be sure of that, but that doesn't save him from the giant muzzle of the queen that comes too-close. He's not going to boop it. He has this thing where he'll do about anything to save his own skin. But he does stand quite rigidly in his place, a stain on his otherwise pride-infused nonchalance. Eyes close at the exhale, the muscles of his jaw tightening for a breath of a second, and his throat cleared when she withdraws. "Aye." That's really all he manages, before she's shuffling away. Only after her dragon follows does he, with too-light gaze that follows after them, continue on his path. Back to the docks. Back to his ship and the crew that have just returned from their short reprieve of warm food and warm beds. Back to the sea that may or may not have those answers sought.

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