Lakeside Chat

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.

Since moving into the barracks, things have slowly picked up their pace. There are candidate chores that no longer seem unavoidable, even with craft duties, classes, panic attacks, all sorts of things that just serve to eat up the time and keep one busy. Averil, however, has slipped away from the constant business of the barracks and made his way out to the beach. Settled on the sand beneath an umbrella, he has his journal on his knees and is alternating between writing and doodling on the edge of the page.

Panic attacks do tend to keep one busy, it's true. Thankfully, Shiloh hasn't had any of those, even if he's (tried to be) present at any that Averil might have. He's kept mostly to himself and tried his best to stick to his normal routine in the stables and has been mostly successful, barring the few times he's been requisitioned for things like cleaning closets or washing dragons. But with time to himself, it's probably no surprise that he's taking himself to the beach as well. Probably because Averil is there. Nope announces the imminent arrival of Shiloh by appearing in the air near the artist, hissing away at him before he makes himself a little nest in the sand, slithering around until he's just so and promptly falling asleep. A few moments more and Shiloh is dropping to the ground beside him, nudging the brown a few inches further so there's space for him to squeeze in between firelizard and artist. "Hey."

Averil twists around at Nope's hissing arrival, his lips twitching in a warm smile as he watches the little brown firelizard nest into the sand. Course, the book is flipped closed as his gaze sweeps up the beach, a warm smile tracing over his lips at the approach of the beastcrafter. When Shiloh settles in next to him, he's immediately curling into his side, his lashes sweeping down into a comfortable half-lidded repose as he rests his head on his mate's shoulder. "Hey." Slipping the journal out of his lap, he twists around and drapes his legs over the top of Shiloh's squirming in until he's nearly settled in his lap entirely.

This is fine. Shiloh can totally be sandy and stuff. Particularly if it gets him an Avi in his lap. Or nearly in his lap. One arm loops comfortably around the artist's waist, the other settled in the sand to support his weight, a crooked smile hinted at his lips. "Good day?" is wondered idly, the words followed with a quick kiss to Avi's forehead. "Were you writing?" In the journal. Cause he totally saw it, before Avi closed it up on him.

Averil is all to happy to squirm his way into Shiloh's lap entirely, his chin dipping in a firm nod as he loops his arms around the beastcrafter's shoulders. "I have been. And I spent some time drawing for myself, as well. You," he adds without a hint of hesitation at admitting it. "Were absolutely right about my doing that." He's must more relaxed then he has been. Not perfectly so, mind you, there is still a whole lot of nerves waiting to be unpacked, but considerably less then there might have been. "I was writing about the Haunt," he admits as he glances at the journal. "I want to make sure that I have that memory to look back at. Are you done for the day? We could get lunch?"

"Occasionally I have good ideas," agrees Shiloh with a hint of dry amusement. "But I'm glad it's helping." He was pretty sure it would. That's why he suggested it! Nuzzling at the artist's temple, he hms quietly in return for the explanation. "You want the memory of the Haunt?" he wonders, an eyebrow arched. "I recall a lot of screaming, and clinging." He's definitely teasing him just a bit, fingers tickling at his sides. "And because we survived, now it's become fun?"

Averil exhales a quiet laugh, having the good grace to look sheepish as he admits. "Exactly." It's fun /now/, a good memory that he wants to hold on to. "Of course, if we go next turn, there will be more screaming and clinging, but I think you enjoy both of those, as well." Flashing an impish smile, he stretches before nestling in closer, his hands moving to drift up the nape of Shiloh's neck. "I think I may start coming down to the stables to write, though. I still don't like being away from you during the day. And staying in the barracks is just asking to get tasked with some chore they come up with."

"Not quite the same," drawls Shiloh, an eyebrow arched at the artist's observation. "And what makes you think I'm gonna take you back there, hm?" He tightens his hold and bites at his ear playfully. "I can think of a few other ways to make you scream." But that's as far as he's willing to take it on the beach, pressing a quick kiss to Avi's temple before settling back in his half-sprawl on the sand. "Could, if you want," he agrees. "Not the best place for pen and paper though." The stables. "Always the gardens, too. If you need somewhere to hide relax."

"Except you aren't in the gardens and the chances of being able to watch you work are considerably less." And come on, Averil is absolutely a fan of watching Shiloh working. It's the playful and bite and the words that accompany it that have him shifting, though, the smile on his lips more then a little inviting. "I am going exhaust you once this is over," he points out with a stubborn little tilt of his jaw. Still, he ends up shifting in his position, leaning over to scritch Nope's head before resettling in his comfortable lounge. "Do you think it would be alright for us to go for a ride one of these mornings," he asks curiously. "I would love to go swimming."

"M not likely to be in the stables, either," argues Shiloh, tone dry as he slants a look at Averil. The stables is where runners eat and sleep. It's definitely not where they get ridden or trained. At least, not where they are trained on the daily. Certainly not where Shiloh is usually found. The paddock. The trails. Those are the places where he works. "You think so?" he wonders, slanting another look at the artist in his arms. "You're welcome to try." To exhaust him. A snort for the very idea, and he squints toward the water. "You want to ride or you want to swim? Either way, I don't see why not. We're sleeping in the barracks," he points out. "That doesn't mean we've become apprentices again. We can do what we want." Within reason. Shiloh, at least, is determined to keep his day to day life as routine as possible.

"Both," Avi admits. "Ride and swim. Swim with the runners," Slipping off Shiloh's lap, he stretches out next to him, scooting in until they are cuddled up on the sand. "And I know," he admits about the stables. "But I miss the runners and the apprentices, to. Who is bringing them treats?" He's pretty sure no one has been bringing them treats if the look on his face is any indication. Lapsing into silence, he watches the waves lapping at the sand, a comfortable sigh spilling past his lips. "I need to bring meatrolls back to the barracks for Cat," he murmurs. "He's still to little to completely hunt on his own."

"I don't know why you stopped coming." To the stables. The admittance comes with a look at Avi as he sprawls beside him, a little frown creasing Shiloh's brow. "I didn't tell you that you couldn't come to the stables. You stopped doing that on your own." A bit of a sigh and he lays back as well, repositioning his hat so that it's across his face, shielding him from the sun and keeping the brim from being creased in the same moment. "Meatrolls're gonna upset his stomach," he murmurs. "Bring him raw meat. Or raw fish. Unless you wanna hand freed him forever." And while Averil might be perfectly fine with that thought, Shiloh clearly is not. "He's a cat, Avi. He's gotta learn."

Averil blinks a few times, waiting for Shiloh to get his hat settled before resting his cheek against the beastcrafter's chest. "I don't… I don't know," he admits quietly. "I think I convinced myself that I was supposed to either being doing my own work in the studio, or chores." Which is ridiculous enough that he actually blushes about it. It's the last that has him pursing his lips, his nose wrinkling mildly at the thought of raw meat. "I.. suppose you are right," he allows. Left to his own devices, he'd be feeding Cat from his fingers forever. "He has to learn to hunt." But he's not going to let him starve in the process.

"He's not gonna starve." Maybe Shiloh can read minds. Or maybe he just knows Avi well enough to guess his fear. A poke of his finger lifts his hat enough to let him squint a look at the artist. "They learn to hunt by playing. S'why they pounce on things that move." Like strings. And people's fingers. "He'll be catchin' mice before you know it. But you gotta let him. He's gotta learn. You can feed him a little bit," he agrees. "But not too much, or he'll get chunky and lazy." And clearly Shiloh means to make this cat a working creature and not just a cuddly pet. He curls his arm around Avi, tugging him close against his side. "I love you," is usually a very nice thing to say, and while Shiloh absolutely means it, this time it's a preface for a little bit of tough-love information. "I want you to consider what will happen if you Impress. What will happen to Cat if you Impress. You can't care for a kitten and a dragon at the same time. So best to get him used to hunting so you know he can take care of himself, if it came to that."

Averil knows Shiloh is right. He does. But that doesn't mean has he to like it. Particularly when he wouldn't mind if Cat was a cuddly pet."Just a little," he agrees after a moment of silence. Drawn in, it is the tone that has his gaze sweeping up to Shiloh's face, his gaze remaining serious as he listens to what the beastcrafter has to say. "I know," he promises. "I do. And if that happens, your apprentices promised to look after him for me. He can hunt in the barn if it comes to that." That he does not, for one moment, believe that it is going to come to that is something he keeps firmly locked away in his head. "I love you, too. I know you are just looking out for the both of us."

They can argue about Averil's chances of Impressing another time, though Avi shouldn't believe for one second that Shiloh isn't aware of all that self-doubt lingering in that head of his. Even if he doesn't think of it as self-doubt. "I am," agrees Shiloh. He shifts, pushing his hat back as he cranes his neck so he can kiss him. "He'll be fine. And you'll be fine, too," he promises. "He's learned his lesson about climbing trees." Maybe. Or maybe Cat's just gotten better about climbing back down them. Shifting a little, he squints another look at Avi. "You said something about lunch," he recalls. "And yeah, I'm done for the day." The answer to an earlier question that was asked and, possibly, ignored in lieu of kitten discussions.

Averil is more then happy to meet and return that kiss. And yes, he does think he's being ever so good about keeping his doubts to himself. So much so, that he smiles as he pushes up to sitting, his hands raising to push his hair back off his face and twist it into a loose knot at the nape of his neck. "Should I go get us something, eat in the living cavern, or do you want to go to the cafe?" Any of the options are fine with him, his weight shifting as he curls his legs under himself and reaches for his journal to tuck it in his satchel.

"Mm. Caverns or cafĂ©. You're pick." Shiloh pushes himself up, pausing to shake out his shirt in a vain effort to rid it of sand. This is what comes of lounging on the beach. At least nothing will be ruined by the impromptu sprawling session. Standing, he brushes at the seat of his pants and down his legs, letting the sand rain back down to the beach. There will still be a trail of it wherever he goes but, well… better than it could be. "Need to start napping on the grass," he sighs. Even if they weren't napping at all. "Where're we going?"

Averil considers for a moment, his lips pursing as he stoops down and gently scoops up Nope. "Cafe," he decides as he takes a moment to let the firelizard get settled around his neck. "I like the view and the crowds are not as bad as they can get in the living cavern." Adjusting his satchel over his shoulder so it does not disturb Nope's resting, he steps over and ducks under Shiloh's arm, his chin tilting up as he affords the beastcrafter a sunny smile. "Ready when you are."

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