A Predicament with a View

Xanadu Weyr - Forest
The trees grow thickly here, avians nesting in their branches and flitting about after insects. Flowers sprout up and speckle the ground between, the green of small plants and their blooms of bright saffron and cheeky rose that creep all the way up to the bases of the trees and adorn the fallen leaves and mulch of the forest floor. Those trees rise upward in their aged magnificence, gargantuan limbs casting often welcome shade, the general atmosphere and scent of the path is one of freshness and wild abandon.
A path winds its leisurely way through the trees, wide enough for wagons to pass. As it goes through into the forest, a number of other trails branch away, both more and less traveled. Many of them lead to private weyrs, but there's a few more trodden paths - notable among them a road to the feeding grounds, set against the western slopes.
The forest grows wilder the further north one goes, deep growth and ancient places, and the road splits in two against it. One branch leads to a clearing with a large stone building finished with wooden cladding, while the other turns back toward the meadow. Just before it emerges, a trail veers off to the Firelizard Theatre.

THE FOREST! It is where one can find Risali whether they are looking for the goldrider or not — but only if they're really looking (or just unlucky enough to stumble upon her). She'd abandoned the tried and true paths marked for those less familiar with the repetitive expanse of trees and growth and found herself a little clearing — not big enough to fit a dragon by any means, but certainly large enough to fit a couple of humans. And what is she doing? CLIMBING TREES, OF COURSE. It's a most inadvisable past time, given the current occupied status of her body, but when has Risali ever listened to good ideas? The worst part is that she could definitely be at the Firelizard Theatre enjoying a swing, but no. She's out here, in the forest, STRINGING UP HER OWN ON A TREE. But, of course, first she's testing out branches by moving along arms that stretch thick enough to hold beneath her feet and bouncing — to test the give, maybe. Either way, she is full of terrible ideas and doing terrible things and she's singing while she does it, which means every once in a while, mid-step, she closes her eyes and reaches out the fingers of one hand to play a piano that doesn't exist but for in her head. WORST. IDEAS. Unless you're Leirith, who clearly thinks the entire thing is badass.

What could go wrong? …don't answer that. That sort of gory consideration is best left for other people who have far less exciting lives. Not the sort who sit in trees and huh the wind is picking up in a sudden gust of dive-bombing brindle bronze because why yes, Garouth is swooping down in a flash of metal through the leaves that turns into a shadow and a gale of wind before he arches his wings to snap back up, just before he'd actually encounter those trees, and fly onward as if he didn't do nothing and never mind the feather-rustling crow-laughter in the shadows of his mind.

Risali makes a very undignified noise that she will never admit to making when the branch beneath her sways and she's forced to catch at the branch above her or risk IMMINENT GORE. Rude, Garouth. STRAIGHT DISRESPECTFUL. And maybe Risali thinks the bronze will hear the, "OI!" that comes from her lips on the heels of definitely not falling because she yells it once she's regained her balance, ignoring the storm of gust and dragon minds that boom like thunder into existence with a clash of noisy, unrepentant laughter. Leirith clearly thinks the game of potentially knocking Risali out of a tree is good fun (mostly because her minion stuck the landing), but it's merely her amusement that carries over and sticks. Risali glowers in two different directions (like the dragons can SEE her), and then, with only a moment's hesitation and testing her footing, she goes back to what she was doing, and clamors over to another branch for STRENGTH TESTING.

Risali strength-tests the branches, the dragons strength-test Risali… at the end of the day, there's an awful lot of strength to be had here! As is evident, because she's still in that tree. Garouth is at least apparently done causing trouble (for now), flying on to wherever it was he was going. But! Now a Risali has been FOUND AND MARKED, and while this could be the end of it… it isn't, because it's not very long before a D'lei comes in along the ground. AS ABOVE, SO BELOW? Only… without the wings. Or the diving. Or the shaking the trees, though he is looking up into them.

GOOD ON YOU, GAROUTH. Leirith seems disinclined to join in on the making of trouble for once, but she does make sure that Garouth knows, « She would smack your snout if you were closer! » SO FIERCE HER MINION IS, the imagery of one-too-many Leirith-bound hands passed onto Garouth because HIS FATE IS IMMINENT. Probably once they're all back home and Risa can corner the brindled bronze — mostly because she doesn't seem to have an ounce of self-preservation in her body. Not for things like dragons, anyway. But up here, up high, Risali has the vantage of… well… being up high, and so she does see D'lei as he encroaches upon the scene, movements going slow and then still as she does her absolute best to navigate lower and closer to the bronzerider. You know. Like a cat in the tree stalking her prey — only Risali is probably not nearly as stealthy or graceful. BUT DAMN IT SHE TRIES, GIVE HER CREDIT. Sneaaaaaak.

« She will have to chase me down. » Which doesn't mean that Garouth thinks she won't, because it's like he's met Risali or something, but that doesn't mean he's going to go and make it easy for her! Where would be the fun in that? Much more entertaining to swoop down or - to stalk through the trees. And, okay, maybe some of those branches are shaking an awful lot under a Risali-weight - not the big shakes, but the smaller ones that set the leaves to shuddering - but hey, there's still some wind here even when it's not being helped along by a dragon, so that doesn't entirely make it completely obvious where it is that the Risali in the trees is stalking… or at least, it doesn't seem that D'lei has quite picked her out yet as he comes closer… cloooseeeer…

WAHPOW! THERE'S A WILD RISALI! She emerges from the trees BEHIND D'lei (or, you know, aims to be behind him), landing on her feet and surging forward at the same time so that she can tackle him to the ground. Or maybe just collide with him. Or maybe just miss altogether and take a less-than-graceful stumble forward for some good old HELLO, HOW ARE YOU hanging out with the forest floor. Whatever position she lands herself in, there's a rush of laughter from her as she pushes forward, as she lands with, or on, or completely away from D'lei BUT THE ULTIMATE GOAL is to pin him on his back with a half-laughed, half smugged, "Pinned you."

GASP a ferocious beast from the trees who has CLAWS (fingernails) and TEETH (teeth) and POUNCES at a D'lei who heard something and was starting to turn but didn't quite manage it in time to not have A RISALI flinging herself at him (not like that (right now)) with a SILENT RAWR and a collision of WILD RISALI. BEWARE OF RISA is what the signs around this forest should read (but don't (partly because there aren't signs (for the most part))) but anyhow there is wrassles and shoves and maybe some dirty tricks involving tripping and knee-kicking that have the ultimate result of, yes, there's a D'lei and he's got one leg hooked around with Risali's (who tripped who, again?) and one hand on her shoulder as she's got the other to the ground with her hand around his wrist, and… He grins, wide and sharp. "So what're you gonna do about it?"

"Hmm," comes with consideration as grey eyes rake down, as they trace and delineate grooves and contours with a secret, carnal knowledge that's implicit in Risali's expression. "That depends," she breathes, dipping her head to the curve of D'lei's jaw, pressing lips and the tip of her nose in a slow drag to his chin. "I could eat you," she says, nipping at his adam's apple, at the underside of his jaw. "Or," comes the mischief as Risali raises her head, as grey eyes find amber and pin them like she pins D'lei's body — with weight, and mirth, and something a little too hot. "I could just trap you forever, make you call me your mistress, and force you to do all of my very, very evil bidding." A beat as she maps the bridge of his nose with her eyes, drags them along his lips where they linger as she breathes out, "Like hiding all the bubblies from the people in the caverns, or," another pause, as she tilts her chin up, as grey eyes look for the trees without Risali sitting up to make this easier, "putting extra swings where they have no business being in the forest. You know, small things that nobody will think anything of until it's too late and we've successfully managed a hostile takeover." Because that hasn't already happened. But then Risali's attention is back on D'lei, brows lifting as she drops her voice to say, "But I think the better question, Dashiel, is what are you going to do about it?" And maybe that tightening of her hand around D'lei's wrist is a threat — as is that shift of her body, perhaps a subtle attempt to free her leg so that she at least stands a chance.

"I am pretty delicious… or so I've been told," D'lei muses. Really, who could blame someone for wanting a bite of that? Maybe two or three, some nibbles that… okay, now we're probably getting into evil bidding territory. "Don't forget changing all the locks on the offices, so people just have to take a day off," he suggests helpfully, and never mind that they're two of the primary people who would be locked out. It's okay, they can be self-serving! That's what evil's all about! And that's definitely what this is about… evil and threats, and the laughter with which D'lei meets the counter-challenge. "Maybe I just wanted to know your schemes. Strategic intelligence." He grins, broad and toothy, and as Risali's leg untangles - free! Freeee! - his own pushes off the ground, trying to kick off and roll over onto her (and, yes, baby but PFFT, Risa got good padding right?) around the pivot of his arm - held wrist and all.

"And modest too," Risali offers around a too-wide smile, around another soft noise in her throat that speaks to assent and precedes, "But definitely the locks." Because hey, that's a very good idea, and one that we JUST MIGHT HAVE TO PUT INTO USE FOR FUTURE RPS because COMEDY and HORROR ALIKE. But that's for another time; now is for Risali's very poor plan to shift her leg and unwittingly give D'lei enough room to maneuver her onto the losing end — but she doesn't go without a fight. There's a huff of air, a laugh that escapes as she wrassles some more; as she pushes, and shoves, and pulls and still finds herself looking up D'lei. To be fair, that baby hasn't grown enough to be little more than a blip on the radar. There's a hint of softness in an otherwise toned body, but that's it. Nothing dire, nothing that might impede or hinder or require extra padding from contact with the forest floor and taking D'lei's weight. She does attempt to lock one of his legs between hers, or at least toss a leg lazily around his hips if she's not so lucky. Either way, there's another soft, thoughtful sound in her throat as Risali tilts her head and grey eyes soak up the bronzerider. "A predicament with a view. My favorite." And there's that slow smile again, the one that says so she lost, but is it really losing when you get trapped under this man? It doesn't mean she doesn't test how much freedom she's got. "Now what? You know my schemes and you've caught me." YOU GONNA TURN HER OVER TO THE AUTHORITIES? Which… are pretty much them, but shhhh.

"Mmhmm," D'lei acknowledges to his vast wealth of modesty that balances out his other virtues so well, though it's really more a murmur than a conversation, because seriously, they've got some horizontal brawling and forest floor foxtrotting to do! D'lei laughs again - this time a bit quicker in breath - as he looks down at Risali instead of up, with a tangle of legs that… well, how much of a problem can it be if neither of them intends to go anywhere? Well… okay, at least D'lei doesn't, and a shoulder-lean on one side and a leg-tuck on the other means Risali ain't much going either, even if she does have one bonus leg for her own. "I could throw you from the cliffs, with what I've got…" he says, not that it's much of a threat given that she'd just jump off them herself for no particular reason other than doing it, but never mind that. "But no. I've got other ideas for what to do with you." He grins, and then lunges down with those sharp teeth to… nibble. That's right, he nibbles and nips and noms, all over what he's intending to be Risali's jaw and down her neck, but who knows where those lovebites will end up being!

That bonus leg just comes up and hooks around D'lei's hips anyway, so there's definitely no chance of escape — for either of them. Granted, Dash is stronger, but Risali's strong enough to cling like a deranged koala and join him wherever it is he tries to flee to. Which is irrelevant because we have established that they are not fleeing. "Mmm?" Risali responds to cliffs and being thrown from them, eyebrows lifting with interest that's not so much feigned as amused. "And just what is that?" But she knows; her body knows too, and goosebumps are already rising on forearms and manifesting as shivers down her spine before D'lei even grins that grin and lunges to nip, and nibble and — laughter. Risali laughs, caught between breathless, giddy want and breathless, giddy need; it's a humor that has the goldrider shifting beneath the bronzerider and pushing her hips up in an attempt to buck him from her. But it's no good, she's trapped, chest heaving, lungs working double-time to swallow down oxygen because laughter and… well… because this is D'lei, the one who makes Risali's heart go into overdrive, beating a frantic pattern against her ribs. He's the one who makes her body feel too hot and out of control and — "Okay, okay! You win! You win, you win, you win! Point!" And prone to very terrible, very public ideas if he doesn't stop. "Faranth, Dash." A bit my breathless this time, a bit more husky. "You win."

And would it be so bad if those terrible ideas happened, if those nips traveled lower and teeth tugged at fabric, pressed through or torn aside and- and then those motions of hips, the way Dash rolls and almost-bounces, the way his own body is moving as Risali writhes and- and- aaaand this is a rather public place, isn't it? Just a little way off one of the paths, and with the trees widely spaced enough that there's plenty of room between their trunks - and the thick foliage keeps brush from growing down here. So. Propriety and virtue win - this time, and the fire in D'lei's eyes - the arched tension of his body over hers - releases into a laugh. He wraps his arms around Risali as he rolls again, onto his back once again, drawing her around to be on top of his as he does - but this time, it's a lounging position, muscles relaxed beneath her and a grin as he looks up. "Hi."

Faranth. No, really, Faranth. Risali forces her thoughts onto long dead queens and invokes them mentally because physically Risali is on fire — is fire — and it's D'lei's fault. It's always D'lei's fault. That burning, searing, blinding heat is the effect of getting too close to his event horizon, a proximity that renders her almost dumb to the outside world, incapable of resisting that inexplicable pull, that lure, that intoxicating need to have her hands on him and his hands on her. But Risali grasps at humor and fragments of common sense, eyes alive with their own demands shifting back to humor when D'lei laughs and she laughs with him. And there she goes, making an 'eep!' of sound as they're rolling again and Risali comes out on top, as she smacks D'lei's chest and pushes herself up with loud, giddy, alive laughter that ends only one he says hello and she (smugly) leans in to drag one finger down the length of his sternum. "I win," she answers, bringing her hand up to trace D'lei's hairline instead. "So," she breathes, scrunching her nose and squinting her eyes as she looks back up to the trees and — "Since we can't work off that tension here, did you want to help me put up that swing? I promise to only push you from the lowest branches." Which are still high. RUDE.

And what has Risali won? …well, he's lying here under her, with a grin and a reach up to trail his hand down along the outside of her leg as she sits over him amid the victory of, "Every day." And there's something earnest there as well as playful, the grin encompassing not just amusement but also a deep and powerful joy. (He's not helping, is he?) But despite that - "We should put one out over the water. So we can swing out and…" D'lei demonstrates, more or less, with a fling of his arms wide against the dirt to evoke the idea of letting go and falling splooshward, and grins. "But trees first. We're already here." AND WHOSE FAULT IS THAT?

LOOK AT RISALI. LOOK AT HER. For a moment, the goldrider looks as if she's just come to some very intense, very surreal realizations, the kind that leave you wide-eyed with lips parted in a soft 'o' and — "Faranth, Dash. No." A beat. "I mean yes, but no. No we will not stay here and do this swing. You. Are. A. Genius." And Risali is catching D'lei's face between her hands, leaning in to press her mouth against his in a kiss that's both hard and somehow soft, her body going pliant against his and then hard again because no no no even if yes yes yes. "And thank you," she whispers against that mouth, as she swallows down another breath and amends with, "for every day." Because she wouldn't be winning if he wasn't letting her win — she knows, and that's why when she draws back there's something earnest in her smile, something bright and carrying deeper meaning even as she rocks back on her heels to stand and extends a hand for him. "Come on. I want to go put it out by the water. Please, please, please." And then probably do it even though she shouldn't because small humans but SHUT UP, RISALI DOES WHAT SHE WANTS. RULES WERE MADE TO BE BROKEN.

MAYBE, that's what - except it's not actually a maybe, really, because it's more the yes-and-no that is not equivocation but both at once. D'lei kisses back, his arms coming back up from the ground to curl around Risali and hug her to him, squeezing in as lips press, the firm of passion and gentle of care - because every day is something not at all mundane or to be taken for granted. His arms slide back again as she sits up, taking that offered one and rising to his feet with it - and a squeeze for it - and grins. "The water." Because of course he's agreeing to an idea the healers would frown hard at and disallow, because how will these small humans develop to their true potential if not by living from day negative whatever this is. And living means taking risks, and so let's do this.

YEP. GOTTA GET OUT OF THERE AND FAST or it won't matter how much cover they have — that or Risali will just lure D'lei deeper into the woods and then where will we be. And you know what? THIS IS THE OUT POSE, SO MAYBE SHE DOES THAT ANYWAY. Maybe Risali grabs him by the collar of his shirt and pulls him with her while she stumbles blind to somewhere with more trees and more overgrowth. In the end, the day will end the same way: with a swing being built out by the water, and entirely too many terrible ideas being executed from that swing for anybody's good.

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