Salty and Delicious
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Xanadu Weyr - Beach

The unerring range of subdued white rises and falls in a multitude of sandy dunes, creating an endless amount of tiny valleys constantly demolished and rebuilt by the frequent arrival or departure of a dragon. Smoothing out as it slopes gently to the edge of the deep blue water, the sand darkens and a shell here and there stands out for children to collect. The beach itself is set along a low cliff - the height lessoning as one heads eastwards, blocking a portion of the beach from direct access.
The wide wide stretch of water opens up to the east, the far distant shore way beyond the horizon and the beach curves ever so slowly round to east and west, distant arms of land embracing the wind-ruffled Caspian Lake. East leads up to the mouth of the Rubicon River, where the protecting cliff is merely an arms length higher then the sand, and beyond that, a winding road leading out of Xanadu's territory. Westwards, the beach narrows as the cliff swings out, leaving a path wide enough for dragons in single file before cutting in to the sheltered cove designated the Weyrling Beach. However, cut in the cliff face to the north are a variety of rough, wide staircases, providing access to the clearing and to the meadow.


The day after Mur'dah delivered Raelii to her new home, the brownrider was up early for his duties. Trading with a wingmate, he gets everything done by the early afternoon, and sets about gathering some things into a basket before he changes into a loose short sleeved tunic, shorts and sandals. Ahh. /Comfortable/ and so not High Reaches. Then he goes in search of Raelii. Which means he just wanders through the caverns waiting to run into her. Because…that usually works, right?

That'll work, yes. The summer weather is a HUGE change from the midwinter of the High Reaches. Raelii’s mother advised her to pack her summer things, and so she's got on a pair of shorts, a sleeveless cotton floral-print shirt and sandals but she's still flushed, not having acclimated yet. It's afternoon and here she is, still lingering in the caverns after a word with the headwoman at breakfast informing her that she'll need an interview with the steward regarding her contribution to the Weyr while awaiting the arrival of her family. She's still waiting but, the steward is a busy man and it's looking less and less likely that she's going to be slipped into his schedule. She should make an appointment is what she should do! So she scribbles a note requesting one, peeks into the administration hall and hands it to the first Quasar rider she spots. Ha! Now she's going to skitter off to explore!

Mur'dah meanders for a bit, muttering under his breath about firelizards and how she needs to get one, and wondering if he shouldn't just start shouting, when he catches sight of someone that might be her. "Raelii!" he calls, voice echoing as he hurries between folks to try and catch her up.

Oh, oops! Is she being called for that interview already?! My, but the steward is efficient! Raelii turns around and looks behind her, but nope! The admin hall door is shut. She stands on tiptoes to search the caverns for who's hailing her and spots… "Mur'dah! Hi!" The bored teen now sports a wide smile. She skips forward, ducking and dodging people - being tiny is good for that sort of thing - and skids to a stop on the polished stone floors. Amazing, isn't it? She neither drops from above nor slams into him. "What are you up to?" is per perky question.

Mur'dah rocks back as if he /expects/ her to slam into him though. It's a learned response now. "Trying to find you!" he answers with a grin, giving her a quick once over. "You look like you're enjoying the warm weather, huh? Like to walk with me?" he asks, shifting the basket to his right arm to offer her his left. "I want to show you something, if you're free?"

Give her time? Raelii will surely come up with some way to accomplish that! "Me?" it's a pleased squeak accompanied by a little bouncing on toes because anything is better than sitting on the couch by the hearth watching people pass by to-ing and fro-ing in busy purpose while she swings her feet idly. AND it's Mur'dah (that's the major part). "Yes!" The enthusiasm is all for the walk with a little hand-fanned gesture at her pink-flushed cheeks. "It's hot in here!" She links her arm with his - no hesitation there - and peeks curiously at the basket he's carrying. "Okay!"

Mur'dah laughs, linking arms with her and giving it a squeeze as he leads them expertly through the crowd, trading nods and grins with folks he knows (and that seems to be most of them) until they're outside. "Been down to the beach yet?" he asks, settling into a long-legged walk in that direction, basket of secrets swinging at his side.

"I haven't been anywhere yet!" is Raelii's almost-wailed plaint. She's been stuck in the boring caverns all day! Aggrieved as she is, she still says it with a grin because, hey! She's apparently headed to the beach! And so she skips - partly to keep up with that long-legged stride of his and partly because she's happy to finally see some of the Weyr. Or at least more than the clearing, which she peeked at from the cavern entrance at breakfast. "Is that where we're going?" Asked because, yeah, she has no idea what direction they're headed. She has yet to get her bearings.

Mur'dah nods, "Yup! I'm taking you to one of my favorite beach spots. Figured I owed you some warmth after all that cold you put me through," he teases her, grin crooked and amused. "Plus I promised your dad I'd keep an eye on you." Or both eyes. /Eye/. Cough. Looking ahead, looking ahead. "It's a great beach. Do you have any swim gear? We could go swimming. Do…you know how to swim?" Not everyone was raised by water, he remembers at the last moment.

Raelii does a little two-step beside Mur'dah. "The beach!" It sure beats the caverns! Though, she looks down at herself. "Not on me," she admits with a wrinkle of her nose at the thought of going back to change. "But… I can swim in these." She tilts her head to find his eyes on her and she returns a smile that is full of sparkle and fun and anticipation. It's hot and she is used to winter, so, "I could use some cooling off. I can swim enough to get by." And hopefully not drown. "There were always creeks and lakes along our caravan route." When the too-brief summer rolled around in the High Reaches.

Mur'dah nods, "But never in the sea?" he asks thoughtfully as they move down the path and start to catch glimpses of the sand before it's spread out before them. Pausing, he lets her arm go to kick off his sandals, shoving them into one of his large pockets before offering her his arm again and continuing on barefoot along the shore, angling towards the water and the firm, packed, damp sand.

"Augh! No. The seas around Tillek are cold turn-round and rough besides," shudders Raelii. Girl loves the snow but can't deal with cold water, go figure! She stops when Mur'dah does and deems it a very good idea, this shedding of sandals and so takes hers off as well, leaving them to dangle in her fingertips as she re-takes his arm. She's giving the sea a long, considering look. "Is the water cold here too?" She has no idea how far south the southern continent is - or if they've gone far enough south to be… like the north. "The water looks nice. Bluer somehow."

Mur'dah shakes his head, steering her into the gentle surf so she can see. "It's nice and cool," he says. "Now, anyway. Come winter it's far too cold, but now? Now it's perfect." Walking further along the beach the crowd begins to thin and then he nods up the beach a ways, towards the trees. "See? Nice little nook there, with the trees curving like that. We can sit on that log and eat, and then maybe go for a swim, what do you think?" he asks her with a grin.

Raelii squeals softly, as the cool foam washes over her feet and she agrees with enthusiastic nodding. "It is!" She peers ahead, lifting her other hand and using her sandals to shade her eyes. After giving the spot a long look, "I think it's perfect, that's what I think!" And she beams up at him, big brown eyes saying that he's thoughtful and kind to find her and offer. "That's whatcha got in the basket then? Lunch?"

Mur'dah blushes a bit and coughs, looking away at the trees. "Yup. Thought we'd sit and eat and, you know. Just talk and stuff…" Stuff. Right. He's so awkward it's painful as he sets the basket down and gestures for her to make herself comfortable on the log before he does so as well. "Got some juice, and some fruit and some sandwiches, and these fried tuber chips that are great. Salty and delicious."

Raelii blinks a few times at Mur'dah's profile. What? She doesn't get it. He must be as warm as she is, that's got to be what the faint flush to his cheeks is all about. She playfully kicks a light pray of water his way with a foot. It's not more than a few drops that patter his bare legs. Speaking of… nice! But she makes no comment and turns her attention to the place they're headed. "It sounds great! Thanks for thinking of doing this," she says as she hops up on one of the leaning trees that overhangs the water and sits astride it like a runner. Her sandals are tossed over on the shore where they won't fall into the water while her legs swing bare feet to swish the tops of the wavelets. She leans forward, bracing hands in front of her on the mossy log, eyes sparkling. "I'm in Xanadu. I'm so excited I think I'll pop!" Heh. She's been cooped up in that trailer too long!

Mur'dah sets the food out and then hops onto the trunk after her, though he sits sideways, leaning to compensate for the angle. And he laughs. "Well…I wouldn't recommend /that/," he says, grin crooked and playful. "But perhaps some play? Running and swimming, and…uh." Here he hesitates, uncertain if it'll be seen as childish. And yet…he thinks she'd go for it, "we could dig and build sand holds and stuff. If you wanted. I've got the rest of the day off." Coincidence? Hell no, he planned this.

With a light laugh, Raelii, tosses her hair back over her shoulder. "Okay then I won't because that would be messy," she says with a saucy grin that brings out a dimple beside her mouth. She reaches for a sandwich and takes a bite. Her mouth is full when he says play - running and swimming and building sand castles - all have her widening her eyes in a 'you will??' sort of way and emphatic nodding of her head. Want to? Does she ever! And after she's swallowed, she beams at him. "Tell me all about the Weyr." That'll last them through lunch right? Ha!

Mur'dah blinks a little bit and looks around. "Uh, well. It's a weyr…and…we've got lots of technology. Mom's the Senior. The Weyrleader is my clutchmate. Um. My sister has a flower shop here, and she's a brownrider. It's a nice weyr. There's fishing, and stuff…" He trails off, clearing his throat and taking another bite of his sandwich. Yeah….no.

Raelii's happily munching away on her sandwich, nodding encouragement for him to fill her in on all the Weyr gossip. Swish-swish go her feet in the wavelets. She gets through exactly two bites and… he's done. Siiiigh. Still, "Your mom is the Weyrwoman?! Oh man, how cool is that? You get by with all sorts of stuff right?" Then a tiny frown. "Or maybe you're more under the microscope?" She ponders this and then shrugs. "So your whole family is here then? What about your dad?"

Mur'dah chuckles softly. "Yeah, she is. Thea. So I was born and raised here. And…no, not really. I try to be good so she doesn't have to beat my ass and feel bad about it," he admits with a crooked grin. "Because she would." Maybe she wouldn't feel /too/ bad about it. "Probably more under the microscope. Most of my family is here. Have other family in High Reaches. Cold Stone." Remember? "My dad…" He grimaces. "He's here. He's…" Let's be blunt, shall we? "He's got a drinking problem so I don't see him much."

Way to go Raelii and ruin the sunshine! At the mention of his dad, she reaches a hand across the space that separates them aimed for a light, empathetic touch to his arm. "I'm sorry," she says simply. There are no words, really, that can make that better. She nods about Cold Stone Hold. That's right, he did say. "You're lucky to have your family being all riders right here with you," she says. Isn't she naive. But right now she can't see past graceful wings and the freedom of the skies. And the sun on the water and the handsome, dark-haired rider who swept into the snowy isolation and brought her… here! She's just popped the last bit of sandwich into her mouth, so with a squeal, she throws her arms wide and sideways-falls off that log to flop over into the shallow water. Splush! Then she just lies there beaming up at the boy on that log. Someone's happy.

Mur'dah smiles gently at her when she touches his arm and shares her sympathy. He just shrugs. "Nothing to be done about it." There's still guilt there, but he's not stupid enough to lay it all out on the first - uh. Date? "I am lucky to have my family here though, definitely. I've never been without family." Then she's falling and he jumps, startled at first until he realizes she did that on purpose. The teen laughs, leaning over to grin at her. "You're something else," he comments, shoving the rest of his sandwich into his mouth so he can hop down and splash her before he pulls his tunic over his head and sheds his shorts - don't panic, he's got swim trunks beneath.

Raelii grins up at Mur'dah. Something else. "I hope so!" she says vehemently, because who wants to be like everyone else? "Live like there's no tomo- awk!" She splutters as the droplets splashed rain on her face and she levers up with her elbows, readying to splash him back. Her hand stops midsweep, however, when he starts shedding his clothes. There's no panicking, just wholesome (though her father would question that definition) curiosity. She's heard things about weyrfolk in her turns on the trading circuit and since her father's never allowed her in one unaccompanied… She doesn't look away as those shorts come down, but oh, swim trunks. She's not sure whether she's relieved or disappointed. So she scrambles to her feet and… splashes him back before darting off. He did say something about running, did he not?

Mur'dah grins at her, though he blushes a bit when she /studies/ him. Every time he thinks he knows how she's going to react, she…doesn't. But when she splashes him and bolts, /that/ he knows what to do with as he laughs and lunges after her, lanky but strong and barreling along the sands and shallow water. "Better run, Reaches girl!" he calls after her teasingly and tauntingly.

Good! Raelii will be the unknown quantity in Mur'dah's life. She runs. Does she ever! Laughing and snickering, but pausing to splash water backwards in her wake at the pursuing Mur'dah. She darts and doubles back every now and then and she's pretty light on her feet but she's not used to running through water and he inexperience shows as she attempts to veer out deeper where the waves are thigh-deep. It slows her down! Eep?

Raelii is caught!!! She shrieks. She flails. Water flies everywhere! But she's also laughing. They're far enough away from any drowsy sunbathers not to bother them, right? She doesn't care if they do! Because she's heedless of them at the moment. Her focus is trying to topple Mur'dah into the water. Why? Uh, uhm… because! Because he caught her! That's reason enough, isn't it? She's taking this playing thing seriously!

Mur'dah laughs, light and carefree when he catches her but then she /flails/ at him. "Gaah! You're worse than a yellowtail on the end of the line!" he says, just before she manages to get him just enough off balance that he falls. And it's comical, with pinwheeling arms and a /startled/ expression. How did she do /that/?! Then *splash*.

At least she's…a lively…catch? How did she topple him? Raelii did it with a leg hooked around one of his and a bump of her hip to his. And theeeeeeeen in the process she loses her balance, teeters and… falls on top of him. SPLUSHHHHHH! Hello Mur'dah! This makes how many times this High Reachian has fallen for- er on you?

Three. Mur'dah has been counting. Laying there in the shallows with the girl on top of him, the brownrider squirms slightly, opens his mouth and closes it, his body going slightly rigid. And no, NOT THERE. He's holding himself back as he grins up at her, biting his lower lip. And blushing. Blushing /dark/. Then his hand moves of its own accord to lift, and brush hair away from her face before he freezes. "Sorry." Was that high pitched? No, surely not.

Raelii's still laughing, but also trying to get up off of Mur'dah. Every time she manages to get her knees under her, she keeps getting knocked over by an in-coming wave. Fingers skimming her cheek finds soaked strands of her hair and while the touch surprises her, it doesn't offend her. The merriment dancing in her brown eyes fades slightly predominated by puzzlement for the apology. "What for? That was fun!" The next wave is unexpectedly a bit larger; it floats her slightly, then washes her atop him once more, sweeps over her head and leaves her spluttering. The tide must be coming in. Raelii continues trying to flail to her feet.

"For being so bold," is Mur'dah's gentlemanly answer. He frowns in concern when she splutters though, and when that wave receedes he wraps his arms around her and pushes to his feet, swiftly and gently righting her and setting her down in the sand. One arm retreats to his side but the other stays loose around her waist. Stabilizing her. Right. "You want to go sit? Or dig in the sand?" he asks, eying the sea.

Bold. Raelii flicks a considering look at Mur'dah. "You were fine." Chapar might think otherwise, but then again he might be all loom and no doom. Set on her feet again, Raelii thanks him with a bright smile as another wave smacks them from behind. It's not a big wave, but it's enough to make balancing a challenge, especially for one unused to the sea. "Sit," she says, still winded from the chase though the water. Her clothing clings to her, soaked through. Some warm sunshine will be nice.

Mur'dah nods, loosening his hold on her so she can slip free and walk on ahead, while he follows. "So how are you finding the weyr so far?" That's a safe enough topic, right? Though he does eye those clinging clothes briefly, going to his pack and pulling out a towel to offer her. He roughly uses his over his skin and his hair, and then wraps it around his waist. Cough.

Raelii splashes through the shallows and onto warm sand near their overhanging tree picnic spot. "So far, it's… busy." Though most of what she's seen is the caverns. She's stepped to a pool of sunshine, turns to see the towel and steps back. "Ooh, you thought of everything!" she says with approval as she takes it and blots her face, then spreads it on the dry sand and sits atop it. She'll just air-dry. "There's a lot of people here, all doing… work." Of Mur'dah's manskirt - towel kilt? - she says nothing, seems to find this quite normal. "What do you do here, Mur'dah?"

Mur'dah nods in agreement. "Yeah, ti is busy. Always lots of people around, lots of things going on. It can be hard to find quiet spots, sometimes, like this." And he gestures around. Grinning, he waits for her to get settled before he grabs the juice and sits on the sand beside her towel, adjusting his skort and leaning back, propping up his weight on a braced arm. "I'm a rider in the transport wing, so I run errands all over Pern. It's a great way to travel, see things, meet people. I enjoy it. It's easy."

Raelii flicks a look around the beach and then back to Mur'dah. She's…just spent the entirety of the fall and winter in a quiet spot says the quick smirk to that. She squeals though, at his wing duties, "That sounds very exciting! I mean, we traveled all through Tillek, Ruatha, Crom, Nabol and the High Reaches, but so sloooooowly." She rolls her brown eyes at that. Oh to flash Between on speedy-quick dragon wings! Impish, she teases, "You like easy, eh?" Snerk.

Mur'dah grins at her. "But if you like the hustle and bustle, there's plenty of that too," he says, flicking sand at her wet legs with a grin. The squeal doesn't even startle him anymore - he's getting used to it! "It is exciting! I get to go all over and just…see everything. I love it. Maybe sometime you can come with me on a delivery or something. Do you have your job assignment yet?" His grin is crooked, haughty almost. Swagger. "Yeah, well, dragons aren't slow. We could go from here to High Reaches and back in under a candlemark, and that's with some sight seeing." Then at her question he laughs. "Well sure, who doesn't?" he asks, dragging fingers through his damp hair to loosen it, rubbing at an itch on his bare chest as the water dries. "I can /do/ hard stuff, just don't always choose to."

Raelii laughs lightly, her legs twitch at the flicked sand but otherwise she doesn't react to it. Mostly because she's giving Mur'dah a curious stare for that dragonrider pride written all over his face. Oh then he's offering her more adventure! With a big smile, "Yeah! I'd like that!" She doesn't beat around the bush with girlish games of shy reticence at all! She leans forward, wriggling her feet into the warm sand, shaking her head no at the same time. "Not yet. I requested an appointment with Jera- Jethra-? the steward." Her feet sunk to the ankles, she turns her head to Mur'dah, leaning the side of it on her bent knees. "Where's Kalsuoth today? What do dragons do when they're not taking you places anyway?"

"Jethaniel," Mur'dah supplies with a grin. "He's a bit hard to understand sometimes, but I'm sure you'll do great." He likes a girl that doesn't play games. Since he is so bad at them. Coy isn't really his thing. "Kalsuoth? He's taking a nap right now in the sun, happy as can be. We did a lot of things this morning, so he's resting. But he could be playing or eating or swimming or talking with his friends. Same things people do, I guess, when we're not working." He grins at her. "He's very pleased you're here."

"Yeah, he's the one!" Raelii nods with her head still pillowed on her knees. Brown eyes watch him as he answers her question, widening at the 'talking to his friends' part. Apparently she hasn't given much thought heretofore about the intricacies of dragon personalities. Kalsuoth is pleased she is here? She lifts her head, "Reaaaaally? Why's that?" She can't imagine the brown much likes a girl who keeps smacking into his rider!

Ohdamn. He shouldn't have said that, should he have? Mur'dah coughs, hesitates, and then goes for the truth because really he doesn't have the complexity in his mind to even attempt a lie. "Because I'm glad you're here." It's muttered and strung together into one long word, but she should still be able to figure it out. Especially when he gives her that sheepish, crooked smile.

Maybe not if he wanted to be cool about it and keep it under wraps? Raelii returns a smile that is innocently pleased. The flush of soft rose on the curve of her cheeks is telling that she can…kind of figure it out. She's charmed. "You're glad not to have me knocking you over into the snow," she teases with a dimpled grin to cover her sudden rush of giddiness and flicks playfully at the sand with her fingertips, directing the grains his way.

Mur'dah laughs, flicking sand back at her, though he's careful to aim it away from her face. "Well. I don't mind it so much when you run into me," he admits with a sheepish grin. Complete with a shrug and a LOOK OVER THERE, before he darts a quick sidelong glance her way.

He… doesn't?! GLEE! Raelii's about to impishly promise to keep it coming when she's distracted by… what's she being pointed to look at over there? Spotting nothing, she turns back and shoves at Mur'dah's shoulder with a snicker. "Ha ha, very funny!" she smirks before suggesting, "So about those sandcastles…" Before they embarrass themselves further? She'll be happy to dig, create sand sculptures, swim and just hang out until he's got to go or until dinnertime. Her first day at Xanadu Weyr? A win, as far as she's concerned.

No, he doesn't. Not one little bit. He grins and gives her shoulder a nudge back before he's rolling onto his knees and crawling closer to the damp, compactible sand. /This/ he knows about. Forget all that mushy stuff. He can dig and show her the best way to build, hang out, and all that good stuff. Unfortunately the evening doesn't last /quite/ as long as he'd wanted to. The main reason he chose this spot was for that tree over there, which would have given them prime sunset watching perches. Alas, he's called away before the sun has truly begun to set. He walks her back to the caverns though and bids her farewell, grumpy that he didn't get to show her the sunset on her first day. Next time though. Next time.


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