Xanadu Weyr - Meadow
A large, slightly rolling meadow is set high enough above the riverbank on both sides to avoid suffering from flooding, healthy ground cover and grass spreading out from either side of the dividing river. Scattered amongst the meadow are a variety of weyrs, each with a narrow path leading up to it from a main, winding road. Some are set under a few trees, while others sit by themselves. The meadow continues with gentle rolls and dips, grass tall and short waving in the slightest of breezes, and eventually those hills grow higher and steeper, ending in a large ridge that provides a fine view of that meadow and the rest of the Weyr, gazing out over the multicolored roofs of the houses and the cliff that holds the caverns.
Runner stables with the paddock beyond are to the south beyond the meadow weyrs, and a smithy and a woodcraft shop are settled closer in towards the path to the clearing. Trees border the northern side of the meadow, and more of those low, rolling hills can be seen to the northwest. A road passes through the meadow, coming from the east and used by traders and crafters alike. Wagons laden with felled trees from the forests or ore from the mountains are hauled by burden beast up the road through the meadow, over the bridge spanning the river to be processed in the appropriate workshops.

It must be Ajral's morning hour off, for all that one would expect Xanadu's mindhealer to be very busy — just by nature of who she is, where she is, and what her job title is. She doesn't look particularly stressed, though, sprawled out as she is on her side in the grass (though she likely should look uncomfortable, because leaning on one arm like that is going to start smarting eventually) with a large sketchpad in front of her, left hand holding charcoal and drawing small lines. A few wildflowers have sprouted in the area in front of her, and the healer's focus is firmly on them, occasionally glancing back to the drawing. Her left foot is also hovering slightly in the air, as if she simply forgot to set it down and gravity has yet to start to work. She's humming some obnoxiously catchy tune under her breath, too, sorry for any passers-by who don't like that song and are going to be humming it for the next few hours anyway.

Elayne's progress through the meadow is one of weaving steps and distracted focus, the world around her dimmed to a vague blur of colours and sounds as she regards the open book in her hands, the pages too large to bear simply prose or poetry. It's from the direction of the forest and the Innovation Hall that she travels, her path one seemingly set to take her towards Xanadu's caverns - if she ever starts walking in something resembling a straight line and stops letting her feet wander wherever they wish. However, it's too late for her to consider paying more attention to her surroundings, particularly because she almost walks over Ajral, only to catch one of her feet on that hovering left foot and all but quite literally faceplant the ground, the book flying out of her grip as she tumbles over.

Walking can be very dangerous! So can lying down in a path where someone might walk, and so perhaps both parties should have known better — either way, Ajral's reaction is a startled, "Oh, crap," and to set the charcoal down, move up onto her knees and then crawl the few inches over to where she's clearly broken her oaths and injured someone with her bad drawing habits. "Are you all right?" she asks, concern for the human victim, book temporarily forgotten, "Despite how I just totally caused that, and I'm so sorry, I really am a healer, I swear."

The sound that rises from Elayne is part groan and part smothered curse, hands that were flung out too late evidently not enough to have saved her from the brunt of the fall, for both her hands and a smudge over her left eyebrow are bloodied. She blinks blearily at the state of her hands, one lifting to her face to do little more than smear mud and blood there as she peers at Ajral and wrinkles her nose. “I’m alive,” she states, matter of fact, as if that’s an entirely appropriate assessment of the situation. “I think I fell over you, and, since I possess my feet, that probably makes it my fault.” Still, she stares at her hands some more and tilts her head, finding no answers in study of them. “But… uh… If you’re really a Healer…” Maybe she could do with some help.

"In that case, it's probably mutual," Ajral admits with one of those small but aiming-at-calm smiles. That 'oh crap' was truly as flappable as she gets about ninety per cent of the time. Now she is all collection and no startle. "I likely should've chosen someplace to draw that wasn't in a walking path, even if it's an — unorthodox one. And yes, I wouldn't lie about that, even if facial wounds aren't my specialty," A nick like that probably won't require a plastic surgeon. "Here," Ajral sits back down tailor-style and takes some of her waterskin, dumping it out onto her handkerchief. "Hold this to — wait. Here," the other hand offers the water itself, "First pour this over your hands, since there's dirt on them. Then take the cloth and wipe the dirt off where it hurts, then hold pressure with a clean part of it, that should fix it up." She speaks at a measured speed that makes it sound like she's entirely confident this is what she should be doing (and she is, at least, correct); on the other hand, the fact she didn't suggest cleaning a hand before it touches a wound first indicates this definitely is nowhere near her specialty. "If it doesn't, then it's worth a trip to the infirmary but on first assessment it doesn't look deep." Faces sure bleed like crazy, though.

As though it must be something entirely normal, Elayne simply closes her left eye as blood begins to drip and travel its way down over it, no comment made about the blood itself, what must be pain or… any of it, really. Beyond that initial reaction, it would appear that there’s entirely a lack of one, Ajral’s instructions listened to without any noticeable concern over the cuts and scrapes she’s gone and got herself. Where she pauses is in accepting the waterskin, given the state of her hands, an apology murmured before she does so, trying to keep only her fingertips touching it and not the palms of her hands, for all that it means that she fumbles it back to her before she tries to clean them up enough that she can accept the handkerchief, though this is also accepted with an apology. She does a decent enough job of getting mud out of the small slice through her eyebrow, bypassing cleaning up the rest of the blood to prioritise applying pressure and attempting to stop it. “What kind of Healer are you?” sounds like a genuine enquiry and not a challenge of Ajral’s skills.

As far as Ajral is concerned, calmness and silence is a perfectly acceptable and logical response; it's carrying on about blood that she would have been less than tolerant of. It's unfortunate to have one's face covered in bloodstain on one side, though, sure. "Oh, don't worry about getting dirt or blood on it," she says of the waterskin dismissively first, with a smile. "Oh, I'm a mindhealer, actually," she adds serenely, "But basic first aid's not something I'm allowed to forget. Even if I'm a little slower than some might've been. Cut yourself a lot?" she can't help but ask, head canting a tiny bit off to the left; it's genuine curiosity combined with trying to puzzle out the life-as-usual sort of response.

"I’m one of four. Between us, we’ve had our fair share of bumps and bruises. And that’s without counting everything that our parents’ dragons have got up to over the turns.” It’s a wry response, delivered with a flicker of a smile, just as Elayne dares a look at the handkerchief to try and gauge whether the blood flow is slowing. That more takes the opportunity of lifted pressure to meander down into her eye suggests not, so she quickly presses it back where it was. “I’ll at least get you a new handkerchief,” she promises, dryer this time. “You get a lot of work at a Weyr? Mindhealing, I mean. I always kind of thought that dragonriders would be resistant to it. Not as in unable to be helped, but… their finding it difficult to accept.”

"No, you're completely right," Ajral says, and while her expression is still calm her voice is full of amusement. "That dragonriders can be very resistant. I usually have to be careful even saying what I do when I meet someone casually, or they won't talk to me. Forget answering my questions, lots of people at High Reaches liked to pretend I wasn't even there because I might 'headshrink,'" that word comes with air quotes, "them. Which is ridiculous, but there you go. I get a lot of mandated work, though, from wingleaders if a rider went through something stressful, or something like that. And other people actually realize they have problems that require or would benefit from therapeutic techniques." Which is essentially everyone at Xanadu, but very few of them have come to that realization independently. "I'm used to being relatively unpopular," she admits, now smiling for real, "Though I can't say I've ever had the experience of being attached to siblings. That is one I've studied but don't quite understand. I can see how it might result in injury, though, especially if close in age. Plus dragons are probably not the best babysitters?" But that's more of a question: she has no idea.

"If it's any consolation, you seem like a perfectly decent human being to me," Elayne declares, just as matter of fact about that as she has been about anything else, though there's an earnestness there now that suggests that she must mean the words to be a higher compliment than they may sound. "Besides, if you're trying to help a rider, you're essentially treating two people, so anyone who is willing to take that on and stand their ground is okay with me." As for the matter of dragon babysitters, the one eye she can presently see through lights up along with an easier smile as she says, "Laurieth and Wroyth have always looked after me just fine. And they hate pretty much everyone. I always found that… comforting. They were so gentle with us and so angry with everyone else." Her one-shouldered shrug is a little helpless. "I love them. I think I've met better dragons than people, to be honest."

The mention that mindhealing dragonriders is actually working with two minds is met with a thoughtful expression fron Ajral; not being a rider, she definitely hadn't considered that before. And now she is considering it a lot. "That's — a point," she concludes. Maybe it's a good point, but she isn't sure yet. "I appreciate the vote of confidence, though. And it isn't that I thought dragons wouldn't care, so much as that I wasn't imagining dragons as always being the best ones to make responsible decisions … it's possible I've known more playful dragons than the average. I would assume that the dragons of one's parents, were they exposed to one from infancy, would be intensely protective, so you've — confirmed that, I guess! One person may not make statistical significance, but it does in a sample size of one person." So there. That makes it hugely significant. "Dragons are … their minds are essentially designed, they exist in order to not want to cause harm to humans or other dragons," even if that second part doesn't always work, "And there's something truly beautiful about that, and that will make them overall more stand-up individuals, I think. Many humans have dark minds and dark ideas. Many others are out for themselves above all." Ajral is not fantastic at talking to teenagers, apparently, as she speaks to Elayne as if they're both adults. Without even a momentary concern for how she's talking to someone a number of turns younger who might not want to hear about the evils of human nature.

"…I think it's because they forget," Elayne murmurs, her voice more gentle now as she gives taking a look at the state of her face another go, exploring the line of her left eyebrow with a relatively clean fingertip. "We hang on to everything that hurts us. Everything that we don't like. Don't want. Everything that's ever made us feel small. Dragons don't. They're who they are because they're who they are. We can be made dark and twisted… and worse, we can choose it." If anything, it would appear that Elayne is much better at - or at least prefers - talking to adults over people her own age. "Though I guess I don't know if a rider can turn a dragon that way. That might be interesting to study. If anyone would let someone do that. Is it ethical?" Perhaps that is a rhetorical question. "It's not my field, anyway. I sing. Though it almost sounds as if it would make a decent ballad, if it weren't apt to offend riders inadvertently." Another shrug, handkerchief drawn away from her face. "I'd better go get this cleaned out just in-case, I think."

Ajral seems perfectly content to speak eye-to-eye and on level regardless of age, here, and she's listening with a serene but somber nod or two. Yes. She can see the logic behind all of this; these are things that more dragon-y people than she will know and understand, and things that she should be learning, but her contact with dragonriders has been something in and out over her twenty-odd turns. Not wholly consistent. And friends with dragons have been far few to nonexistent. "Um, no," she concludes, and that's in regard to the question of ethics: "It certainly isn't, but that doesn't make it a curious question and something worth wondering regardless. There may be ways to study that sort of thing retrospectively, harmlessly, if the right records were kept. Which they may or may not have been, but I might have to take a look. And bring you the results," she adds, smile returning, "For you to write a ballad about. I'd surely love to hear it. And," right, time, that's a thing, "Because I have to go back to work, I'll let you do that. This once. Next time, if I make you fall again, don't do my laundry for me." Grin.

It's hearing Ajral say the word 'ballad' (and not her own use of it) that makes Elayne suddenly sit up straighter and glance about as quickly as the beginnings of a headache will allow, gaze seeking to discover just where her book - which turns out to be comprised of sheet music - has landed. It turns out that it's tumbled several feet away and got caught up in a taller variety of wildflower, a page bent back where it was open when relinquished, but otherwise unscathed. "I'd appreciate that," she confirms, whether Ajral means it or not, folding her legs beneath her to get to her feet, now squinting against the ache that sets in for real as she stands and moves to collect up her book, not giving it a second look now. "I'm sorry for bleeding all over you," is an exaggeration but the sentiment is no less genuine. "I'm Elayne, by the way." That must serve as a farewell, along with a belated, "Thank you!" as she turns and heads off with much more purpose this time.

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