Harps and Horses (cause runners doesn't sound as pretty)

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.

Early afternoon in Xanadu Weyr and Rukbat is shining full force, golden rays permeating everything and everyone, so it's rather hot but not unpleasantly so with these cool breezes coming off the lake's crulean waters. Things are fairly quiet, except for the soft but clear music of a harp, mixing with the sounds of the lakeshore, seeming to complement them…or they complement the music. The harpist is a young woman, age a little hard to guess but probably still in her teens, with long curly dark auburn hair tumbling down her back in perfect natural ringlets. Smokey gray eyes watch the fragile fingers dance over the strings, drawing forth the sweet melody. She is not too tall but not short either, looking somewhat on the sickly side but there is a faint pinkness to her cheeks and a thickening of the slender limbs that mark returning health and strength. Her face is that of a stranger, new to the Weyr…or at least not a face that has been seen in a very, very long time indeed. She looks quite content to sit and play, even though the lake and its attendant creatures would seem to constitute her only audience.

It is unlikely, given that the Weyr has several hundreds of people living in it, that Shiloh would recognize all of them. If anything is to give away Natira as being foreign, or at least newly-arrived, it would likely be her knot. Or lack of one. But Shiloh isn't looking at knots, either. He's not really looking at anything, actually. Just wading in the water along the shoreline, barefooted with his pants rolled up and his boots in one hand. He doesn't seem to be in any particular hurry; he's probably not heading anywhere in particular. Just enjoying the day. He's probably not the only one. In fact, he's clearly not the only one, as Natira seems to be doing much the same, albeit with music rather than water wading. Maybe it's that which draws his attention. Music on the beach might not be rare, but perhaps bringing an instrument out here would be. A curious glance, but as Natira seems rather engrossed in her music-making, he's not about to interrupt her at it.

Especially a darkwood lap harp with mother of pearl inlays on the soundboard…but Natira is possessive of her harp, where it goes, she goes…unless she's going into water for some reason…she can swim, just not very well. The song comes to an end, for the delicate fingers still the strings. For a moment she comes out of her composing-induced trance…and smokey eyes widen when she spots Shiloh and realizes she was not as alone as she had thought. One hand goes up to cover her mouth, the other drops to the sand to self-consciously smooth an imaginary wrinkle out of her sky blue with swirly gold-silver-magenta abstract designed sarong and then goes up to make sure her slightly loose-fitting black halter top is where it should be.

Shiloh's probably not the only one wandering the beach around noon. Particularly on this beautiful day. And while there may be space enough between them — him being on the water, and Natira being… not in the water — he's near enough to see she's uncomfortable. So there's a lift of his hand, a little touch to the rim of his hat in faint 'nod', and a pleasant enough, "Didn't mean to disturb you, ma'am," as he moves off once again.

Natira hesitates and then calls after the retreating figure. "You're not disturbing me sir…I just startle easily and I didn't see you there. I didn't mean to be rude. And my name's Natira."

Shiloh hesitates a moment before turning back. He won't actually approach, but he'll stand where he's at. Is it conversational distance? Maybe a little further than that, but certainly they can hear each other with a bit of effort. "Well met, Natira," comes in casual return. "I'm Shiloh." Another pause and he adds, "Don't think playing music on the beach counts as being 'rude'," in gentle reproach of that particular apology.

Natira stands to her feet and approaches a little, to the edge of the water without actually stepping in. "It's pleasure to meet you, Shiloh," she answers. "Raglan always getting so wrapped up in your music that you don't even notice you have an audience borders on being rude…it's a tendency I admit I have. Audiences should always be acknowledged in some way so you know you appreciate them taking the time to listen to you. Are you with the fisherfolk? Grandpa said some of them go walking barefoot in the water with their poles…" Though her brow furrows when she can't see any sign of a fishing pole. "Mayhap I better guess again."

An eyebrow lofts, but Shiloh refrains from comment for a moment. There's a tip of his head to acknowledge those words, and a tucking of one hand (the one without the boots) into his pocket as he shifts his weight to get comfortable. "Not sure I count as an audience," he drawls. "Seems a touch rude to expect your acknowledgement when you were playing for yourself and I just happened to come along." But semantics aside, it's the question of whether he's a fisher that has both eyes lofted, and quick glance given to his feet in the water (as though he might have forgotten where he was) and a bit of a snort. "Not quite." Not a fisher. "But I don't think you need to fish to enjoy a walk in the water." A beat or two and he adds, "I work with runners."

Natira nods. "I like the water…when my harp's not with me that is. And if you work with runners you must be one of the ones looking after Sun Gem. I hope he's not giving you any trouble. He can be a bit ticklish in some places and he tends to show it by stomping on your foot or trying to kick out."

"Maybe," agrees Shiloh. "Name's not familiar, but we got a lot of runners. Apprentices and stablehands do most of the daily work." Shiloh tends to do the training, not so much the grooming, mucking and feeding bits. "But I wouldn't worry much. They're used to that kinda thing. O' rather, s'not something that'll catch 'em off guard." Shiloh, at least, isn't worried. "You're welcome to check on him, if you want," he offers.

Natira smiles shyly. "As soon as the healers let me go to the stables I will. You can't really miss him…palomino gelding with a blaze and four white stockings. And a very long tail, but then I never let anybody cut it when I was a child for fear of hurting him and now I like him with his tail long."

"He sounds lovely," says Shiloh, a twitch of a smile at the corner of his mouth. "I'll keep an eye out for him." Another touch of his hat, a little tip of his head in that polite, cowboy manner. "Get well soon then, Natira. I'll leave you to your music." And Shiloh will finish his walk, before heading on back to the stables to finish the day's work.

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