Lacking Inspiration

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.

For once it's day time, the kind of Spring morning that threatens clear blue with ominous clouds of grey; the kind of Spring morning that is curiously void of one obnoxious queeen. If Leirith is around, she's not anywhere in sight at the moment — or, you know, in mind — but her rider is. Is she ever, standing boot to boot with one Half Moonian Weyrleader who's too damn tall as she shoves a tiny bundle of precious human cargo into his chest. Gently, because THAT'S HER BABY. "And this is YOUR FAULT." There's a protest that comes, but is stifled by the placement of another child getting pressed into his arms. "And I hate you." And there's Ila'den, watching the debacle from behind a smile that pulls at half of his lips, from amusement that manifests in low, rumbling, husky laughter that's hushed and short-lived in intervals, but no less present. And then they are retreating with an exchange of words, with Risali crossing her arms over her chest to scowl her meanest scowl at the backs of bronzeriders before… she deflates, and maybe looks a little lost as they disappear from view. HER BABIES. Whatever. "IF YOU LOSE MY BABIES, I WILL HUNT YOU DOWN." There, that's better. Totally worth the middle finger that seeks her out from over TOO MUCH SHOULDER. Yep, and now she's just awkwardly there, trying to figure out what to do with her life. SO MANY AWKS.

Ricki really should know to avoid gatherings that involve Risa and children, shouldn't she? And so she pauses on the stairs, watching the scene play out for a long moment. At least though, it seems that the children are departing and leaving Risa alone on the beach, and so Ricki's steps eventually continue in that direction. Stepping up next to the goldrider, Ricki leans to bump her shoulder gentle, watching the Half Moon contingent depart with a tilt of her head. "I feel like you suddenly became fun again." She teases lightly.

"Well damn, was that Ila'den?" Niko's voice is soft enough not to carry to the bronzerider - or his weyrmate - as the two make off with Risa's children. Stepping up behind Ricki from wherever whence he came, he lays long-fingered hands along her shoulders, rubbing slightly as he peers down at the Weyrwoman. "Missed him. What a shame. Guess I'm just stuck with you, then." He grins, adding a slow wink along with a murmured, "Works for me." The greenrider's words elicit a soft bark of appreciative laughter and a gentle squeeze of those fingers before he lifts one hand, reaching down to pat Risa's shoulder instead. "They'll be fine. I'm sure they'll come back with only one or two tattoos. Maybe a piercing. Certainly no life-long hangups - those are reserved for teenagers."

NOWHERE IS SAFE, RICKI. And that comment has grey eyes coming up, a hint of mischief somewhere in storm clouds, a predecessor to the way the tiny weyrwoman leans to knock her shoulder in against Ricki's with a laughed huff of, "Shut up, Ricki." And there's N'kon, Risali tracking him, tracking his hands on Ricki's shoulders, jumping to his face when she screws it up for the effect of ABSOLUTE DISGUST. "Ew, N'kon." THAT'S HER DAD. But there's a hint of a smile to answer his, a lift of that chin in defiance and playful dissent that continues with a raise of brows and Risali fixing a look on Ricki. "Are you fond of him? Is death a little too extreme?" SHE IS JOKING. Probably, but then she's grabbing N'kon's hand and one of Ricki's, fumbling with their fingers between hers before she PUSHES THEM BOTH UNDER HER TUNIC AND — leaves them to rest on her stomach? Yeah, there, where she presses them against her core. (Not that core, ya pervs.) "But no fun for me." Clipped this time, enunciation exaggerated because what does that even mean, Risali? And then she's letting go of hands, smoothing down her tunic, looking between bluerider and greenrider before brows draw in. "Why are you both here?" Not that there's an issue with both, but you know. SURPRISE SNEAK ATTACK? IS THERE A PARTY NEARBY? Is SHE the party? SHUT UP LEIRITH.

"I don't know, I mean.. I am sort of fond of him, but I think Tsari would protest even more." Ricki comments, before her hand is resting on Risali's stomach and she is just staring at the goldrider. "Again? Faranth, you are worse than a green firelizard." Ricki just shakes her head, rolling her eyes and leaning back lightly into N'kon, flashing the bluerider a smile. "What do you mean, I just wanted to come to the beach, I didn't know there was anything wrong with that. And I mean, no one has N'kon on a leash." Last she checked anyway - at least not in public.

Eyebrows raise. "Different strokes for different folks." And how many ways, N'kon, can that be taken? "If you kill me, my dear, who will you abuse without risking a cold side of the bed?" As his hand is snagged, he grins - then blinks in startlement as the goldrider presses it to her stomach. "I - wha?" It only takes a moment before it dawns, and instict has him tugging at his hand briefly before he leaves his fingers in hers until she chooses to release him. "Once again, I can confirm unequivicably that it is not mine." From his expression, there's mostly relief in that emphatic statement - if a hint of rue for the reason behind that. REALLY, WHY THE HOLD UP? "Are you hoping to ensure that an entire weyrling class is comprised merely of your spawn? I believe you're on the way." At mention of leashes, Niko wraps his arms around Ricki's shoulders, letting his hands dangle down her chest - in PG fashion, mind! "Alas. But hope springs eternal. I honestly don't know why I'm here. I'm suffering from… enuii."

Tsari's concerns for his rider are dismissed with the wave of one hand, a kind of back-and-forth motion as if she's clearing away the cobwebs brought on by those thoughts and clearing the way for ridiculous statements of, "Leirith will just sit on him. It's fine." And who will she abuse without risking a cold side of the bed? Another slow, answering smile as she breathes out, "Kyzen and Dash, of course." Because have you met Risali? ABUSE IS THE NAME OF THE GAME. And, you know, keeping up with her antics — or her pregnancies, as it were. Grey eyes dance with mischief as she gives Ricki a gentle knock in one of her shoulders again, and then rolls her eyes towards N'kon. "You are both aware that I have two weyrmates, right? Two very male, very male " IF YOU CATCH HER DRIFT, " weyrmates." A beat, and then, "Which would be a very good explanation if I was sure it was either of theirs." Shoulders drop, and there's that scowl again, off in the direction of where Ila'den and R'hyn disappeared moments earlier, fixating for just a moment on nothingness before she looks between blue and greenrider again. "I don't want to talk about it," comes with the kind of force that says maybe you weren't thinking it but you probably are now and I will curse you for a thousand generations to have toad feet or something equally heinous. Then she's hooking one arm through Ricki's, bumping the side of her head against Niko's arm, and sighing, "So am I. Walk with me?" Because sometimes company is nice.

"You -have- met Niko, right?" Ricki counters Risa's point about two very male weyrmates, even as she tilts her head to peek up at him as he drapes arms over her shoulders. "You are here because you care about us both and wouldn't leave us un-chaperoned, of course." A kiss is blown up at him, and then she catches Risa's comments about 'not wanting to talk about it' and she rolls her eyes, even as she is hooking arms and moving to wander with the goldrider. "You and Cara both. You both act as if there aren't -solutions- to this."

"Oh, I am one hundred percent aware of your very male weyrmates," Niko murmurs, his voice almost a purr as he tucks his hand against the small of Risa's back, taking care not to shift his shoulder from beneath her head as he easily falls in step with her and Ricki. "And I do care very much about both of you - although if you expect me to chaparone you, you will be sorely disappointed. I will remind you, it is my MO to facilitate and exacerbate, not prevent." That grin shows too many teeth. "After all, I do so enjoy a good view." Ricki's mention of solutions brings a slight hitch to his craftbred stride - but he recovers with barely a blip, although his expression is just a touch wary.

INTERCEPTION. Risali catches Ricki-blown kisses intended for N'kon with a curl of fingers and a raise of wicked brows, miming a tuck into a pocket before sticking her tongue out at N'kon. "I've met him, I've just never had the… pleasure." That is hers, thank you, much like Ricki's arm and Niko's shoulder. COMMANDEERED. She doesn't even protest the hand on the small of her back, because N'kon is one of the few (un)lucky enough to be allowed close. "Yes, well, Cara…" A wince, a grimace that pulls at her lips and furrows her brows in. "Anyway, it's complicated, isn't it? I don't not want them. It could be Dash's or Kyzen's, and if it's not…" A beat, a moment where Risali worries her bottom lip with her teeth, and then breathes out an unsteady, "I don't know if I could do that to my Dad." What? But there's a shake of her head, another clearing away of mental thoughts and cobwebs as she reasserts that, "I don't want to talk about it." BECAUSE IT'S TANGLED AND COMPLICATED AND FULL OF FEELINGS. Like Niko's implications that have Risali lifting her head to look at him, to look from him to Ricki with a wicked pull of brows. "I don't think he would be okay with just the view at all." And there's her own hand, twisting behind her back to pat N'kon somewhere. She can't see, so it's a FREE FOR ALL where her hand lands. "I promise to invite you and both of my weyrmates for a tumble when Ricki finally stops resisting my charms. Until then, how are the pictures coming along for both of you?"

"Yeaaaah. Cara." Ricki drags out the words, shaking her head slightly. "I mean, maybe it will be good for her, in the long run, once she isn't so.. emotional." Because babies, man. "Oh. OH." Ricki murmurs, first quietly, and the more loudly at the implications, shaking her head and reaching idly for Niko's hand to give it a squeeze. "I think we both know he'd prefer something else, and he has made that clear for a while." A wink, and she stops mid-stride. "For the record, I do believe it was the two of you who so rudely resisted my charms and ran away." Humph. The photography question, though, is left to Niko.

"It was better than being sick in your lap, my darling," Niko replies urbanely, peering at Ricki over Risa's head and blowing her a kiss. "Tsari was - very inventive in trying to prevent the girls from influencing me quite so heavily." Who would have thought the dapper blue would know so much about what a hangover feels like - then again, he lives in Niko's head. The bluerider offers nothing about Cara - whether from lack of knowledge, or lack of wanting to remind Ricki about -that- is anyone's guess. As to his preferences, "And, well, there's something very much to be said for being involved in the process - and I won't lie as to my preferences, but never discount the impact of the visual arts." For once, there's little humor in his words - he's perfectly serious. "Photography is… going well." And yet, there's dissatisfaction underlying the calm words.

"Maybe. She has to do whatever she feels is best for her, in the long run." A beat, and a change. "And as I recall, I wasn't so much resisting as getting literally carted away by Kyzen." Another wicked smile as Risali leans close, as she adopts a stage whisper to ask, "Why, did you want to try for a round two? All we have to do is take a quick left and then Niko can reassure all of the weyr with the utmost confidence again that this baby really isn't his." She's teasing, right? Probably. Mostly. Grey eyes are seeking out Niko's face though, watching him as he speaks before she looks back to Ricki, wicked amusement for the bluerider's words turned to a silent question for the hints of dissatisfaction when it comes to photography. "Is there something that I can do to help either of you? Are you not getting enough subjects, or…?"

There is a soft giggle from Ricki, and she is smirking a little, but then N'kon's tone has her tensing, and making a face ever so briefly. Absently biting her lip, she leans against Risa - though it seems more for support than the earlier teasing, as her eyes peek back to Niko hesitantly. "I.." And she just shakes her head, waving her free hand a bit back at him. With the joking aside, seriousness sets in, and it seems the greenrider doesn't have much to add.

"I don't know," comes Niko's unhelpful, unhappy reply. "I'm just - enuii," he repeats. "There's a million places, a million faces I have yet to photograph, but I can't seem to find one that calls to me. Even you ladies," and he glances down apologetically, "aren't catching my interest photographically." He leers then - halfheartedly, but it's an attempt at levity. "Of course, you've caught my interest in every other way, and that's what matters." Long fingers rub gently against the small of Risa's back, and the look he gives Ricki is full of affection - or, perhaps, more than. "Don't worry about it. Something will come along to spark the fire again. Until then, just consider me your willing servant." Or… something. "So, what's this about round two?"

Risali leans back against Ricki, presses her cheek to the side of her head and allows her attention to stray backwards towards Niko as well. There's a ghost of a smile there — something not quite pitying, but certainly empathetic. It's the kind of expression that says she wishes she could help him find his passion behind the lense again, but isn't quite sure how, and so she offers up, "It will," in agreement. Because N'kon is too good a photographer to lose that… thatness. SHUT UP. WORDS ARE HARD OKAY. But then Risali is smiling again, scrunching up her nose as she twists to press one finger against the tip of Niko's nose and then leans back into Ricki. "You just want to see us with our clothes off. He just wants to see us with our clothes off, Ricki." She's opening her mouth to say something more when — a stumble in her step, a faltering as her vision goes distant and then comes back into view sharp. There's an unhappy pull at the corner of her lips, a set of her jaw that says she's gone Weyrwoman on them before she pulls away, planting a kiss on Ricki's temple and N'kon's knuckles. She's feeling for her knot in pockets, pinning it as she starts off in a backwards walk and then finally looks up to say, "Trouble. Don't do anything I wouldn't do!" And then she's gone, too short legs eating up the distance as quickly as she can, Leirith winging in low behind her to land and follow and possibly ping Garouth. Because oh yeah, Risali looks pissed.

Whatever Ricki was about to say is interrupted by Risali going all important-leadershippy on them, though there is a squeeze to a hand/arm/whatever as the goldrider stalks off, and Ricki is left to stare after her, before a soft sigh and she steps closer to lean on N'kon instead. "I wouldn't be whoever earned -that- reaction.." She murmurs absently, before finally peeking up at Niko, tilting her head. "Can.. Can I do anything?" She asks after a moment, still absently chewing on her lip.

"Maybe if there was spanking involved," Niko murmurs as he watches after Risali, a line of worry wrinkling his brow. Then he shakes his head slightly and peers down at Ricki, smiling reassuringly before lowering his head the distance to press a soft kiss on her lips. "No, love, there's nothing you can do. I'm just dissatisfied with my work. It happens to everyone at some point. I just - I need to figure out where I'm going. Why I'm going there. But that's too serious a conversation for a walk by the lake." Without Risa between them, he's free to slide his arm around his all-but-weyrmate's waist instead. "How are your studies coming?" Because he totally doesn't know. What? He's supposed to grade her work? Wait!

The worried expression turns to more of a smile at the soft kiss, though Ricki's gaze remains locked with his for another moment, carefully eying him, considering. Mouth opens and closes and as he decides it is too serious for now, Ricki at least has sense to drop it - for now - after all, that gives her plenty of time to ponder out solutions. Settling in at his side easily, leaning into him, she laughs softly. "Wait, aren't you suppose to be telling -me- how much studies are going? Have I learned anything? Does it show?" She peeks up at him, sticking out her tongue, before adding. "At least it sounds like I will have plenty of infants to borrow before long, to try and figure out how to get them to stay still long enough for baby photos."

N'kon snorts. "I think it's called ether and strong rope." Is anyone surprised to hear that response from the bluerider? "If you're squeamish about rope burn, I have some silk straps you can use." He grins, a bit humorlessly, then shakes his head. "The best judge of how you're coming along is yourself. Art is subjective, my dear. I think your photographs look great - you're picking up technique just fine, and while you can use some polish, well - so can I. The question is, are you happy with your work?" He snorts again. "I just hope it's not something in the water," he mutters, before fixing her with a storm-blue eye that echoes the sky above. "And no ideas on your part, miss. At least," he adds grudgingly, "not where I'm concerned. What you do otherwise is your own business."

"I'll let you tell Risa we want to tie up the newborn so it holds still for photos…" Ricki counters, shaking her head just a little, wrinkling her nose at him. "I.. I am definitely learning a lot. I just.. well, I can't wait to take all the different things, and put them together. And, I don't know, maybe make something different." That leap from photos to art, perhaps? And then he is giving her that look and she looks up at him with wide eyes. "What, you don't want a little one of your own?" She asks softly, before lifting a hand to gentle pat his cheek. "Don't worry, though. There's a time, and.. I don't think it is now. I don't know about you, but there is still -way- too much to see, to not be able to between."

"Someday, I'll tell you about my siblings." Not that Niko hasn't shared and, likely, overshared plenty about his parents' various children - but still, if she can ask that question with any level of seriousness, then he clearly hasn't explained hard enough. "Give me another - oh, ten, fifteen turns, okay? Then maybe we'll see." He's only mostly serious - but now is definitely not the time, not in his book. Reaching up, he catches her patting hand and presses a kiss to its palm - before licking it with a grin. "And I'm not entirely certain she wouldn't completely understand. She'd probably still kick my ass, but…" He trails off, still grinning. Glutton.

"Ewwwwww…" Ricki whines, flailing her hand around and attempting to wipe it on anything she can reach - his shoulder, his arm - his face. "Besides, I've -met- your siblings." Or at least some of them. "I mean, though, she has enough of them, I'm sure she has figured out the trick to keeping them in one place, right?" A shake of her head and she leans into him, standing on her tiptoes - danger, danger! "What -can- I do to inspire you?" She asks after a moment, a little smirk appearing on her lips.

"Well, you can start by," and Niko's voice drops low, his lips almost brushing her ear as he suggests exactly what she can do to inspire him. And suggests. And suggests. And just what, exactly, can take so many minutes to explain?

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