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.
It's a beautiful day with the sky a brilliant clear blue and only a light breeze from the west and the temperature is a comfortable warmth that, while not entirely suitable for swimming, at least makes for comfort on the beach and out of the water. Kiena's mind isn't on swimming anyways and the bluerider is busy standing near to Ujinath, her riding jacket all but completely unfastened and her head bowed forwards as she checks over some of the strap leather of the set the blue currently wears. "Easy!" Kiena mutters as she has to shift again when Ujinath moves restlessly and the blue rumbles impatiently. "Yeah, I know I promised but fat lot of good it'll do either of us if any of these fail…"
With the weather so good and the candidates back from their space adventure, it's perhaps a bit unsettling being back onto the surface of the planet Pern. Even so, Kaitro is in a good mood, beaming happily with a little skip in his step. He pauses as his eyes flicker over at Kiena and her blue, tilting his head to the side as he proceeds forward. "Need help with your straps?"
Kiena would have loved to have experienced the Bahrain and likely will someday now that she's heard about it. For now though, she keeps herself firmly planted on Pern's surface but does jump a bit when Kaitro sneaks up on her. "Shards! When did you creep up like that?" she drawls with a breathless laugh and then quirks a brow, "Y'know what to look for?" Kiena asks as she steps aside a bit for the Candidate to approach, while Ujinath tilts his head curiously. "Though I suppose that sort've training won't come till Weyrlinghood should you be one of the lucky ones Hatching day… Heard you and the rest of the Candidates got a trip up to the ships though. How'd that go?"
Quiet laughter is heard and Kaitro offers a sympathetic glance, "Ah, sorry, Kiena. I didn't mean to startle you. I have a bit of experience with straps, but I admit that I'm not overly familiar with them. I sometimes helped my mom and dad with their straps but it wasn't really often enough for me to know what I'm looking for." His eyes flicker towards the blue in front of him, offering a warm smile. "I'm not worried about hatching day. Either I'll impress or I don't. Either way, I'm not going anywhere, and I'll just go back to my normal every day life doing what I love. It was great, you should've been there. I had a great time flying about in space and it was so amazing to look out and see nothing but the stars. It makes you think that we are very small in this vast universe we live in."
Kiena blinks for a moment and then has to resist the urge to smack the palm of her hand to her forehead. Duh, of course he might have rider parents! She's never asked Kaitro too much about his past and isn't about to start now, only instead she waves him further forwards. "It's easy enough to figure out. Just looking for wear and tear on the leather and metal. Bad gear means increased risk of failure in flight 'n that's what Ujinath and I want to do today. Here," She points out to a few key parts of the straps, easily within Kaitro's reach. "You can check those. I already have but I'd appreciate a second set of eyes." she muses and then gives him a sidelong look. "Good head on you! You seem ready, relaxed even. Not nervous?" Another laugh, "I can only imagine! Glad you got to enjoy the experience though. It'll make for good tales down the road."
"I admit to not knowing much about leather. Maybe you could show me?" Kai steps a bit closer to the dragon, leaning forward as she starts to point at different parts of the straps, tilting his head to the side. "Alright, no problem. I can do that." And he stands on the tips of his toes as he hefts himself upwards to try and eye the straps, checking for anything that might be faded or worn, or on the verge of tearing. "No, why should I be? There's nothing to be nervous about. Either I'll impress or I don't. If I impress I have a wonderful partner, if I don't I can go back to cooking. Both are things that I am looking forward to." He beams happily, "It was great, flying. It's not the same as being on a dragon, but it felt amazing."
"Simple enough! For leather, it's all about the colour and texture. Anything that looks spotty or dry or cracked is bad. Kind of like… skin, in a way? You want soft, supple and smooth with good colour." Kiena chuckles as she instructs him, keeping a careful eye on him though not being so obvious about it. She trusts him! "Well spoken again! You sure you don't have some Harper hidden away in you somewhere?" she teases and then grins. "So you like to fly, eh?"
"Alright, fantastic, I can do that. It shouldn't be too hard, I've seen my parents straps enough times even though I spend more time with my fosters…" He trails off, his fingers trailing against the smooth leather, feeling the subtle differences between the leather, his eyes trailing against the fabric, looking for anything that might stand out. "I spent a bit of time with the harpers, a couple of months or so. Maybe their teachings rubbed off on me, or maybe my fosters just raised me well. I'm just am who I am, I like to keep a positive outlook on life. That's all." He beams slightly, "It was great flying around up there, I'm almost sad to be back down here with my feet on the ground, but I can always fly again, I suppose, if I asked someone to give me a lift. Maybe once the eggs are hatched I'll travel a bit more. There's so much I want to see and experience here on Pern."
Kiena quirks a brow, "You were fostered?" she asks gently, letting the section of strap she was inspecting fall back into place. Kaitro won't find anything unusual about Ujinath's straps. She keeps her gear in tip-top shape and he's bound to find out just why soon enough. "Well, don't ever lose that positive outlook. Faranth only knows some folk here need it," she mumbles. Herself included, given how most of her past is rife with darkness and turmoil (most of it her own doing). Chuckling, she can't resist teasing him again, "Sounds like someone got bit by the flying-bug!" Laughing, she goes silent and thoughtful when Ujinath rumbles and chuffs and Kiena taps a finger against her jaw. Hmm. "… guess it couldn't hurt…" she mutters under her breath and then grins. "Ever really fly on a blue before, Kaitro?"
"Yeah, I have two sets of parents, which makes me doubly lucky. My real parents and my foster family. I never got to see my real family too often, so I consider my foster family to be my real family." Kai says cheerfully, moving forward as he checks over the straps, laughing loudly. "Well, it's certainly a contagious bug, it's not hard to love flying. It's a rather wonderful feeling." He glances over his shoudler, tilting his head, "Ride on a blue? No, not really. I haven't ridden on many dragons."
Kiena chuckles, "You are lucky! I foster my twin girls, Eliana and Eszrisa and their youngest brother, Keruthien, will be fostered once he's a full Turn. He's with the nannies now. I always thought the larger families were the richest of all, even if they may not all be of blood. Family is family as are friends," she murmurs and then her grin broadens all the more for his answer. "Oh, it IS a wonderful feeling! And you haven't?" She clicks her tongue. Tsk! "Unfortunate. Why don't we fix that… Unless you've chores?" She peers at him curiously.
"I'm not sad I didn't get to spend time with my real parents, I mean, I had a whole nother family of sisters and brothers, and we had a great time. I had a wonderful time growing up and I don't have any regrets." Kaitro says softly as he continues to investigate the straps, a wide smile pulling at his lips. "The way I think about it, the whole of the weyr is my family, and it's up to me to make sure that my family is running strong and that I am able to assist as I can. It may not be much, but one man makes a difference however small." He turns his head, laughing cheerfuly. "I would be greatly honored if I could fly on your lovely blue here. You will have to give him my thanks."
Kiena gives Kaitro a long and lingering look and oddly enough her smile seems almost a touch fond and she has to check herself before she ruffles his hair like she would to her own children. "Now if only others saw the same benefits and positivity to fostering!" she muses instead and is interrupted again by Ujinath's impatient whuffle. "He says," she begins, snickering. "That his 'thanks' will be to finally get to fly and if we could just mount up already if we're going to do this. So… you heard the blue! Up, up, up!" She flicks her hands, gesturing for Kaitro to begin mounting up only to pause and then smack her forehead again. Wait, no! "Gear… right. Uh… Hold on." With a practiced leap, she climbs up to one of the higher pouches and rummages around before tossing him a helmet and goggles. "See if those fit!" she calls and hopefully he has good reflexes!
"Well, you are talking to Mr. Positive here. All the others are getting tired of me being sunshine and rainbows all the time." Kai laughs cheerfully, a wide smile pulling at his lips to indicate that he finds it rather amusing. "I like to look on the brighter side of life, I mean, there's no point in being negitive, right? At least I don't think there is." And at the blue's persistance, he laughs even louder, "Alright, alright Mr. Fussypants. We'll get going." And he would be about to climb up on the blue before Kiena is fetching him riding gear. He lifts his hands, fumbling at them as they are tossed to him but he manages to keep ahold of them. He grins and then starts to pull them over his clothes, "If not, it's only temporary."
Kiena shakes her head, "There isn't, trust me! Otherwise you wind up pretty sharding miserable." She would know from personal experience. Still perched on Ujinath's side, one hand gripping the straps firmly, she almost loses her grip as she bursts out into hearty laughter while the blue snorts. Mr. Fussypants? HIM? "HA! That's a good one and I'll have to remember that…" Kiena sighs through a few more giggles of laughter before grinning down at Kaitro. "Yeah, I know but the helmet at least needs to fit snugly, alright? Safety first 'n all…"
Kaitro shakes his head slowly, "I don't see any point in being miserable, I'm quite happy." And as he finishes getting dressed he lifts himself up onto the blue with a bit of trouble, he's not too experienced on climbing up dragons, but he's done it enough recently to where he's not terrible at it. "I'm only teasing, I'm sorry. That was a bad joke." He laughs, settling behind the rider and grinning, "Hey, it fits fine as far as I can tell." His hands lift to bring his goggles over his eyes for protection.
"Good!" Kiena muses and when Kaitro is ready and begins to mount up, she'll leave him to it though step in to help if he really begins to struggle. She's not about to be cruel and make him suffer too much from his lack of experience. "What? Hardly! That was an awesome joke. Ujinath IS Mr. Fussypants! The Mr. Fussypants, actually!" she says with a laugh but strokes the blue's neck fondly and while Ujinath seems to sigh heavily, the blue is truly in good spirits. He gets to FLY soon! Buckling Kaitro in, the first thing the Candidate might notice is that she's doing so rather firmly and there are a few extra security straps in place. "Alright! Let me check…" And provided he doesn't protest, Kiena will test to be sure the helmet is at least correctly buckled on and won't risk slipping of falling off. Grinning, she'll settle behind Kaitro. "So! We'll be doing some real flying. You're probably use to the straight 'n light stuff. Take off, glide, soar, Between maybe, land…" BORING. "We're not doing that today." Uh oh. "If you get scared, just tell me, alright? Ujinath likes to fly fast but don't worry… I've got it all under control!" Famous last words?
Kaitro is all smiles as he settles in front of the bluerider, settling into his seat with a joyous laugh, "Well, he does seem like a Mr. Fussypants to me, being all anxious and wanting to fly without letting us make sure we are ready to go." He reaches out tentitively to give the blue a little pat, unsure of whether the attention is warrented or not. He tilts his head, seeming to notice that this time is a bit different than all the other times he's been buckled into the dragon. And when she speaks again, he beams widely, "Really? That's so cool, I can't wait then, I've never flown on a dragon like that before." And he turns his head forward, estatic and seeming excited to be off. "I have all the faith in the world in you and your blue, I know you're not gonna let me down."
"Oh, you have no idea," Kiena drawls with another snicker and Ujinath just ignores his rider's teasing in favour of spreading his wings and preparing to take off. "Didn't think you did! No one really flies like this usually unless they've their own dragon or, well… if offered as I just did!" So it's Kaitro's lucky day? "Pity we couldn't make a race of it. Maybe another time we'll grab the other Candidates and make a game of it." A day of fun though who knows what time is left before the eggs Hatch! "You'll be safe!" Kiena promises and then settles behind him. "Alright, Ujinath! GO!" He doesn't need to be told twice and with a loping bound and a leap that sends sand and water scattering, the blue launches into the sky. This is no lazy take off either! He's up like a shot and faster still when he finds a thermal for that extra boost. The angle is steep and he keeps soaring up and up until he twists and allows gravity to take hold, naturally flipping over with his wings half furled as they start a downwards plummet that breaks only when the blue decides to flare his wings again and speed off out over the water. Wind whistling past their heads, Kiena's whoop can be faintly heard.
"I love flying on dragons, I don't really fly too often, so I'm really looking forward to this." Kaitro says cheerfully, hunkering down as he reaches out to grab the straps before him, winding them in his hands more for his own comfort than anything else. He seems to brace himself as she shouts for the blue to go but suddenly he's getting a really bad case of whiplash, sending him hurtling back against Kiena's stomach. Thankfully the straps keep him in place and he tightens his legs against the blue's neck as the wind whistles into his ears, causing the youth to let out a joyful whoop. His stomach fliping as the blue angles and twits and shifts in the sky. A thrill shoots through the youth's body, caught up by the utter joy of flying on the blue.
Kiena wasn't quite braced for Kaitro to come hurtling back into her and she grunts but laughs all the same even if her voice is lost over the wind. She'll give him a gentle nudge back into position and just in the knick of time too as Ujinath lets out a warbling cry of joy and tucks into another tight spin. Those extra straps make sense now as the blue flies not only FAST but borderline reckless and Kiena goads him on to his full capabilities in agileness and speed. He rolls and spins, dives and soars, turns and banks steeply as he weaves a path across the skies and high above the Weyr itself. Joy seems to radiate from the blue and Kiena too, for this is their freedom and escape from the trials of the day. "Hanging in there alright?" Kiena shouts over the wind as they level out from another downwards spiralling dive. Ujinath is racing out over the waters again, skimming down low to the rolling waves…
… and all good things must come to an end. After making another fast, break neck circuit over the water Ujinath turns back towards the shore and backwings neatly to land. He's exhausted by now but in a gleeful way, satisfied and pleased. He'll be off to the feeding pens next and some late day sun basking but he'll let Kiena and Kaitro dismount first and the bluerider will ask for the Candidates help in removing the straps. More practice for him (and appreciated help from her!) if he should become a Weyrling or rider someday and then they will part ways, with Kiena returning home to her weyrmate and son.