Firelizard Theater
A natural clearing in the forest has grown a different sort of tree. The Courtyard of the Firelizard holds grass trampled into dirt around the wooden play structures.
In the northern part of this field lies a jungle-gym like fort, with two towers that soar to fifteen feet of height. One of them adjoins a large open deck with spiral staircase up and a metal slide down. That aside, the structure's made almost entirely of wood, the boards locked together either by being interlocked or by huge wooden bolts hammered into the boards. The towers are studded with uneven boards and rough spots, various climbing challenges on each of their faces. A swaying rope bridge with wooden slats connects the towers, and beneath it there's a sealed tunnel to run through or play minecraft.
Just past the fort, there are wooden sit-toys carved and painted into the likeness of dragons. They're about two feet high and four feet long, though the green is smaller than the blue. There's a place for a child to sit on the dragon's back, with their feet resting on the dragon's paws and hands on the bars bars attached to the neck of the dragon. Pushing with hands or feet will make the dragon rock and writhe.
In the middle of the field are two sets of swings, suspended by rope from from a wooden beam that's held up by crossbraces on either side. There's a set of monkey bars, made entirely out of wood but carefully polished until the dark bars glow, and a set of seesaws. The sandbox is set back a little from the rest, filled with sand from Xanadu's beach and scattered with buckets and shovels.
Trees border the area, including a massive Lemosian ironwood that has beneath its branches wooden benches with a view of the playground.

LISTEN. It can't be all work and all business all of the time; Risali just doesn't have the attention span for that, and ANYWAY, some days (like today) are clearly meant to be spent outdoors. Rukbat is making a blossom of colors across the sky as she sinks towards the horizon, and Risali is a lone-wolf in a playground meant for the weyr's children, standing on one of those wooden swings to propel herself higher, higher, higher!!! and possibly pretend that's she's flying, if the way she keeps her eyes closed and extends her arms around rope and lets all that wind WHIP HER HAIR AROUND AND HER JACKET OPEN AND — yes. Okay. So she is not a paragon of dignity, she is far from being a role model for grace, and nobody ever said that being an adult meant giving up all of life's pleasures, but this is probably just ridiculous. Mostly because there is also Leirith, who is bombastic with alacrity, whose mind is firework sparks to ignite bass and drums in a manner MUCH MORE OBNOXIOUS THAN WHAT SHE USUALLY MIGHT CLAIM TO BE. « RHODELIA. MINION. MY MINION REQUESTS YOUR PRESENCE. AND SOME SNACKS. BRING YOUR FIGHTING SPIRIT, FOR WE HAVE MANY CHALLENGES. » Because this is definitely not an abuse of your assistant by any strethc of the imagination. RISALI WOULD NEVER.

Who can ignore a summons like that? Rhodelia if she smart, but running headfirst into challenges she should probably avoid may be how she got her position in the first place. Tonight is no different. The request for snacks does delay her arrival a bit and Rukbat's rays are sitting ever lower as she appears, complete with a pic-a-nic basket and maybe a wineskin or two. Before fully entering into the playground, she pauses and glances around. With no physical sign of the bombastic gold in sight, she continues forward with a whistle for the swinging weyrwoman. "They wouldn't give me any ice cream cause they said it would melt." There's a bit of an eyeroll for whoever they might be. "But I got pie!" And who doesn't like pie?

"Heathens," comes Risali's ABSOLUTE ABHORRENCE OF RULES manifested through the subtle nuance of tone. "Pie is good, though." BUT SO ARE CHALLENGES. Risali is making a gesture with her hand probably meant to convey that Rhody should put down that goodie-filled-basket for now, even though the weyrwoman DOES NOT STOP HER SWINGING. In fact, she sounds a little too cheerfully-enthusiastic when she sing-songs, "Come and join me! Over here." A gesture towards that second, abandoned, DON'T YOU WANT TO LOVE ME RHODY swing as a smile big enough to bare hints of canines crosses Risali's features and scrunches her nose. MISCHIEF. MAYHEM. FLEE! The weyrwoman is up to ABSOLUTELY NO GOOD TODAY! "I want to see who can jump the furthest." PROBABLY RHODELIA. HER LEGS SEEM LONGER, WHICH IS NATURE'S WAY OF CHEATING, but that doesn't mean Risali doesn't enjoy the challenge. "And then I want to talk to you. About something important." Because listen, it's kind of a courtesy, right? If things are about to get Serious, one should have enough of a heads up so that they can make up som Dastardly Important, Stars, Can't Miss That One, Not Today appointment or life event to have to run away to.

"It would have been better with the ice cream!" Rhodelia might still be pining for her lost chance at some pie a la mode. That's dessert for another night that. It doesn't take much persuading to get her to carefully drop the basket, well outside of the danger-zone of swing radius. This particular challenge does get a grin on her face as she bounces on those slightly-longer-legs. "Is that it?" Because really, jumping off a swing seems pretty mild as far as Leirith-Challenges might go. Even if that isn't it, she's going to ignore that while she gets into the swing and tries to catch up to Risa's swinging head-start. Even as she's pumping her legs to try and get maximum-swingage, she'll wince when Something Important is brought up. "It's not about the missed meeting with the tanners, is it?" Because if so, there might just be a suddenly important SOMETHING ELSE to attend to.

"It's always better with ice cream," Risali agrees, in the somber kind of tone that says she's holding a mental funeral for WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN. RIP, PIE A LA MODE. YOU WERE ALWAYS LIKE A PIE A LA MODE TO HER. "No that is not it. What do you think this is, amateur hour?" But then Rhodelia does join her, and Risali is parting with breathy laughter as she keeps trying to swing higher, and higher, and HIGHER STILL. "Tanners? What tanners?" But don't be fooled; she knows exactly which ones, and she probably wasn't TERRIBLY SAD to get a slew of angry correspondence on her desk about how positively unprofessional their not-showing-up was. Risali probably even wrote them back a very diplomatic response. A very colorful one. With language. And a smiley face or five. "Are you ready? One, two, three!" AND THERE RISALI GOES! She launches herself forward, holds her breath for those three seconds of free fall, and then hits the sand with an explosion of it from her chest, stumbling forward from her feet, then toppling down onto a knee and ROLLING TO A REST SOMEWHERE. IT'S FINE. She's too busy laughing to SEE IF SHE LOST (she definitely lost; TAKE THE WIN, RHODELIA) and recatching her breath, but she will get there.

Kick and Swing. Kick and Swing. It's all about the rhythm and Rhodelia is quickly catching up. "It was probably the angry tanners," she'll supply. Although angry tanners might not narrow it down any. She'd be angry too if she had to smell as much lye as they work with all the time. "READY OR NOT!" She'll wait until right after three to jump since that gets her swing to the peak of it's arc. It's a win in only the loosest possible definition as Rhody totally does not stick the landing. She stumbles, once, twice, a third time before she ends up standing on one foot with her arms raised to VICTORY! So what if she may have possibly rolled an ankle in the process. She'll gingerly test out the whole standing on it thing, glancing over to her boss. "Soooo, we proved gravity still works. What other important business do we have tonight?"

Risali CHEERS FROM THE GROUND once she's caught her breath, clapping, and whistling, and making out like Rhodelia has achieved GREAT THINGS. Which, she very clearly has. It's that second question that has Risali's smile going a little tighter, that the goldrider rolling onto her side and propping herself up on an elbow so that she can tilt her head and look up at Rhodelia from ALL THE WAY DOWN HERE. ON THE GROUND. HOW THE MIGHTY HAVE FALLEN. "I…" A beat, a furrowing of her brows, and Risali flops back onto her back, fixating grey eyes on the sky above instead. It's probably awkward, how long she takes to speak again, but she manages it. Finally. "Are you okay? Is everything with Stefyr okay? It's not too much work, is it? Between him, and… your normal work load? I was hoping it would reduce your stress," and maybe make a few more appointments show up on her schedule, BUT LISTEN.

"I'm fine," Rhodelia will proclaim even as she folds herself down to join Risali down on the ground. NOT AWKWARD ANYMORE. She even wiggles the offending ankle. She's at least got full range of motion even if she's not standing on it at the moment. When questioning turns to Stefyr, she blinks. "Why wouldn't it be okay with Stefyr? I know he looks like her got run over by a runner at the moment, but that definitely wasn't me!" She might be taller than the goldrider, but she'd still have trouble reaching the man's face, especially forcefully enough to leave such colorful marks. "He told me it was something with the kids and…" She waves around them. "Maybe the see-saw?" She didn't ask too many questions because when does she actually ask important questions? Rhody shrugs at the stress levels. "Some things might be a bit slower for now, but that's how folks learn, right? Plus… it's not like Citayla is going to be having a ton of meetings for the next few sevens anyways…" So that gives a little bit of free-time back into the otherwise busy schedules needing assistance, but the void won't remain free for long.

SCOOT SCOOT SCOOT. Risali shimmies her way across the ground until she's right next to Rhodelia, bumping shoulders and heads, shivering and then SHIFTING AWAY because Leirith is full of TERRIBLE IDEAS. And listen, DON'T MAKE IT WEIRD, RHODY. It's not her fault. Neither is that little whimper, or the way she bites down on her lip to try and stop it. Bless poor Rhodelia. Did she ACTUALLY SIGN UP FOR ANY OF THIS? "I'm glad," that she's okay, she means. And then she laughs, soft and not-nearly-long-enough. "He didn't tell me what happened," comes quieter still. "So either he was protecting the kids, or he wasn't telling you what happened either." Because WHY WOULD HE TELL RHODY ABOUT THE KIDS, BUT MAKE IT SEEM LIKE SOME GRAND SECRET? It doesn't matter; Risali has never been one to pry either. Still, she listens and she nods and she tilts her head so that she can see Rhodelia again. "You know Ilyscaeth laid her eggs, right?" LIKE, HOW COULD SHE NOT KNOW, THOUGH.

Rhodelia doesn't even think, but just returns the shoulder bump like normal. The shivering and the whimpering does get an eyebrow raise, but of CONCERN and not JUDGEMENT. "Are you okay?" Fun fact, Rhodelia actually signs up for NOTHING. It's a moral stance she's decided to take. All those signatures she's required to give with work things? Just a random pattern of swirls that could possibly look like a name if you squint real hard. She blinks again at the possiblity of Stefyr and a SECRET. A thought that had never crossed her mind, because who would think that naive farm boy could keep something like a secret? "But who would he be protecting the kids from? Come to think of it… the bruise was probably way too big to be from a kid unless they were repeatedly headbutting him or something…." The doubts are beginning to creep in, but there are some things she's sure of and she can give a big ol' nod of confirmation for the last question. "Finally… if she had waited any longer I think there would have been folks seriously betting on her laying twenty eggs!" Not that Rhodelia keeps track of who bets on what or anything.

"Yes," Risali manages on an exhale. "Just… Leirith." RHODY. YOU HAVE WORKED WITH RISALI LONG ENOUGH TO KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS. Stars? Golden hides? GLOW-Y SHOWS OF INSANITY? Addle brained weyrwoman who's a little TOO KEEN ON TOUCH? It's COMING FOR YOU. RUN FOR THE HILLS. As for Stefyr, well… Risali squints a little up at the sky and then sighs. "I saw Keruthien too — he's K'vir's cousin, I don't know if you've had the pleasure." Risali says pleasure as if it is really ANYTHING BUT. HERE IS LOOKING AT YOU, KERU. "He had the same deal, but…" A beat, a vague gesture that Rhody PROBABLY CAN'T SEE unless she's looking at Risa, "on the other side of his face." One, two, three, and — "He said it was rough sex. With Stefyr." And now Risali is laughing. BECAUSE THAT IS A THOUGHT, ISN'T IT? "Faranth, but if it's true, I am not sure that even I want to know what either of them are into." BECAUSE AWKWARD. But she exhales again, and then she tilts her head to look at Rhody once more. "I'm sure some already have. She was getting pretty big." But no, they got 10. TEN BEAUTIFULLY HEALTHY LOOKING EGGS. "I… know you already agreed once, but it kind of feels… weird not to make a tradition of it. So." WHAT'S THIS? Risali is producing a white knot, to hold up in the air between them and then extend with a lazy kind of lowering-of-her-arm towards Rhodelia. "Would you do us the honor, again? I promise that I will make sure that you have ample time to be a candidate. Stefyr is one now too, so you don't have to worry about his as much, either." WIGGLEWIGGLE. "I don't know anybody who I think deserves this knot more than you. Who else can say they saved the Weyrwoman from a second meeting with He Whose Hands Did Wander Astoundingly by putting him on D'lei's schedule instead?" HMM? NOBODY. "Who else brings me snacks and loses paperwork when she knows I'm at my wits end?" RHODY. Listen, we are taking liberties, but you can refute them if you want. That's fine.

"I've met him," Rhodelia will admit to knowing the cousin-smith even if she didn't know the cousin bit. But at the point where Risali shares Keru's version of the events, Rhody's eyes widen and she immediately clutches her sides. It starts as a quiet laugh that won't even let her catch her breath, but soon enough she'll be literally rolling (at least one roll anyways), while trying to wipe some of the laugh-tears from her face. "I… I… I…" Can't really breathe, but she takes a deep breath and tries again anyways. "Can't believe that's true. Which just makes me want to know the truth even more!" She had been willing to believe the child-mobbing story, but not anymore! The wheels are already turning on ways she might try to EXTRACT the truth from the two men, but she doesn't get too far in her internal plottings before she's blinking up at that knot being offered and she struggles upright. "I don't see any reason why I shouldn't…. aside from I doubt the sixth time is going to be any more of a charm than the third. or forth…" But she does have a lot of practice at the whole candidating thing! For the liberties, she gives a wink. "If I have my way, soon you'll have Stefyr to also help lose the paperwork. Soon you might not even have to see any paperwork if you're lucky!" And no, it's not all going into Nessa's shred BURN bin.

Nope. Rhodelia's laughter sends Risali laughing again, and then she's reaching out a hand to grab Rhody's upper arm and IMMEDIATELY REGRETTING IT, but listen. Ignore the shiver, ignore that huff of breath, and SHE WILL TOO. "Faranth. We should telephone different version of events." But… Risali nods, and gives a quiet kind of smile. "Well, at least now you might get a better chance. Keruthien is standing too." BEST IDEA? OR ABSOLUTE WORST? Why. Not. Both. Still, she rolls again, onto her stomach this time so that she can LEAN OVER RHODY, ALL UP IN HER BUSINESS, and pin that knot back on her shoulder. "You're really the best." WHAT IS WITH THE EMOTIONS? Listen. Even Risali is allowed to be affectionate sometimes. "Thank you. For always being in exactly the right place at exactly the right time." For losing her paperwork, and sacrificing bits of dead leaf to Nessalyn's burnpile. "But okay. Let's eat this food, and then I'll walk with you to get you settled back wherever you want to go, deal?" She's already on her knees. BECAUSE LISTEN, there might have been no ice cream, but SOMEBODY SAID PIE. And she intends to eat ALL OF IT!!!

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