Massive Maiden's Storytime

Xanadu Weyr - Training Grounds
A wide, grassy expanse, nestled into the gentle bowl shape where something's taken a bite out of the mountain. It's high above the level of the beach, and there's a good eastern view of the lake and a long path leading down to that sandy shore. Granite cliffs surround it on the other sides.

While much of the grounds are left in their natural state, one area has been trampled and trodden by enough feet that the grass struggles to grow. A running track circles a set of equipment - straw dummies with wooden frames, obstacles of various sizes and shapes, and targets for flaming, archery, and whatever else.

There's a dragon-sized opening to the south that leads to the cavernous weyrling barracks, and a smaller tunnel to the northeast - large enough for dragons newly emerged from the sands, but quickly outgrown by hatchlings who are then forced to take the long way around - at least, until they learn to spread their wings and fly. Between them in both position and size, a jagged crack in the stone leads to a dim cave with the sound of water.

« ONWAaaaaAAAAaaaaaAAAaaaaRD!!! » is the entirely too loud, entirely too brash, entirely too entire warning that booms with off-key FANFARE (HIS OWN THEME SONG, LESSER MORTALS) that N'on gets before an all too agile bronze the size of a small cart is all up on him. DID HE THINK HE COULD ESCAPE THE KEEN POWERS OF GLORIOTH'S (not at all questionable) OBSERVATION OF HIS OBSERVING OBSERVATION? Never, N'on. (Except when it happens. But that's not this day.) This day, the too-much-momentum-in-every-step-because-he's-solidly built-if-on-the-small-size-for-a-bronze-of-his-age beast somehow still manages to stop before he would crack one of N'on's ribs to give him a matching battle wound to the man panting up behind him. Stefyr might as well have died on the hatching sands, to be replaced by his ghost, for all that the tall man is so exhausted already that the circles of sleep deprivation are obvious under his eyes. The look he first gives the greenrider might be 'SEND HELP' but what he actually says between wheezes, one arm wrapping the chest that's bandaged under his unrelatedly-bloodstained shirt is, "Glorioth, N'on. N'on, Glorioth." Introductions complete.

It would be hard to miss N'on’s presence, since he turns up at the training grounds with Zhelinath. She’s slim for a dragon, but you really can’t hide even the most petite full-grown dragon. Perhaps Zhelinath has something to do with Glorioth not quite knocking N’on over, since her wings flare a bit as he comes barreling over, and she seems more than prepared to flick out a claw and create a barrier between her own and the over-eager hatchling, if necessary. (Hey, N’on knows hatchlings. He came prepared!) For the greenrider’s part, he just grins broadly at the newest bronze and gives him a finger waggle of greeting before turning his attention to Stefyr. Does he look concerned about Stefyr’s condition? ….Not so much. In fact, he doesn’t even look particularly surprised. He just gives a congratulatory pat to the shoulder that isn’t connected to a damaged arm, then produces a basket that he offers over to the weyrling. It’s full of varying confections, probably decorated like dragon eggs, and almost certainly baked by his weyrmate. They would not be nearly so pretty if N’on had made them. Assume Stef takes the basket, N’on will then retreat to Zhelinath and fetch his own gift: This one is purely for the dragon. The pack attached to Zhelinath’s straps smells fishy before it’s even opened… But that’s because it’s literally fish. Probably fresh caught that morning, and now offered to the dragon if he cares to try it.

Glorioth looks up. And up. And up. And up. « YOU ARE MASSIVE, » it's a compliment. He sounds impressed. It doesn't matter that he's seen the Weyrlingmaster staff's dragons regularly. Zhelinath is new, and maybe he doesn't even remember the weyrlingmaster staff's dragons. The bronze is definitely about to go on (and on, and on) only to have these curious things being passed around by a silent man. "No mayonnaise icing?" F'yr inquires, his attempt at humor falling a little flat out of pure exhaustion as he accepts the basket. "Thank you. And V'ayn. This is… touching," not just thoughtful. He really does look touched, and the rawness of all the emotions in his face means that the look is almost painfully right there for N'on to see. The small bronze's tail lashes the ground, nose snuffling suspiciously at that basket in his rider's hands until there's something different smelling to wuffle at instead. « WHAT— » He stares. « VILE, REPULSIVE, » he flicks out his tongue to lick it because why would either of those noisy adjectives stop him and one touch of tongue turns into tongue and teeth drawing one into his maw. « WHAT IS THIS SQUISHY NIRVANA? » Then there's sudden coughing and he flaps back. « IS IT POISON? DELICIOUS POISON? » "No, it's fish." The bronze tilts his head giving every indication of squinting at his rider without actually being able to do so. He then turns that look on first N'on and then Zhelinath. Does he even trust his rider? Yes, but did he actually register what was said? Possibly not even a little at all.

Zhelinath’s amused huff makes it clear that she’s not at all insulted by the compliment. « It’s called fish. It’s food. » Zhelinath’s mindvoice is practically a murmur compared to Glorioth’s, but she settles down comfortably to watch the baby try his new meal. The rest of her explanation is projected as a shadow puppet play backlit by candleflame, cartoon-cutouts of men on a ship casting nets into a cartoon ocean to bring up vast quantities of fish. Meanwhile, N’on’s attention is reserved mostly for F’yr, waving off the joke with a smirk. “He will send enough for all the weyrlings,” N’on signs, helpfully. “We saw you get hurt,” he adds, with a gesture to the wrapped arm. “The healers took care of you?”

OOH, a story! Dinner and a show! It's true that Glorioth doesn't have a lot of attention span that are not things that are very active, very violent, very heroic or all three at once, but since he has fish to occupy his over-energetic body, for the moment and he's experimenting with talon and maw to see just how squishy these things can be (sorry, riders, if you thought you were going to escape this not splattered with fish bits), he gives the green's show his attention. His amusement is so simple, it's like the baby he really is, entertained by shadow and light. There's a slight tension that eases in F'yr's shoulders as, for just these moments, his dragon is babysat by someone else. He doesn't actually let his attention wander far but… his eyes do come to N'on. "Nice of him." And really, it' would be rude if the new bronzerider didn't help himself to one of the cookies on the spot so he can, "Mmmm," with slightly zombified but no less real enjoyment. Since his mouth is full (very full, since he shoves the rest of the cookie in to free up his hands), he signs: "Cracked ribs. Bandaged. Just time. Hurts. I'll live." A pause. "If he doesn't kill me." And that, of course, warrants the bronze's whirling glance to move away from fish to his rider. « F'YR-NOT, MY FRAIL FRIEND, I WOULD DEFEND YOU WITH MY LIFE. » It may be exactly what the man fears most. « WITH MY GLORIOUS HEROICS. » Because leaving it just at what would be sweet and not all about him would be much too much.

Zhelinath revels in finding an audience. When she risks losing the baby’s attention, her head tilts a little. Is that a speculative glint in her eye? Perhaps! Suddenly, the projection gets a lot more exciting. In the midst of all that fish-catching, suddenly a pirate enters the scene, and the ship erupts into a sword fight fit for a heroic battle. N’on is more focused on F’yr, giving a sympathetic wince to the cracked ribs. “He will grow,” the greenrider signs. “It will not always be this hard.” That seems to be the best he can offer in terms of encouragement, though he does follow it up with an offer: “Do you need anything?”

OOH, his second-favorite word! HEROIC. Boring riders are left to be boring together. The bronze swivels his head back to to the green and the fish, laughing LOUDLY, « AHAHAHAHAHAHA HA HA HA HA HA, » to express his delight. He especially likes it when someone loses a limb, or a head. Those are the best. If there are silhouetted blood squirts, EVEN BETTER. "Are you sure?" F'yr sounds (really fairly) dubious as he casts a sidelong glance to the hundred+ pounds of pure energy and very little malleable brain. He oozes self-assurance even when he's not thinking about it. "Have any sleep to spare?" the big blond asks with a slight tilt of his head and a touch of a curl to his lips. At least he hasn't completely lost his sense of humor yet. He even has enough of his wits to ask, "How are you? And V'ayn? And Zhelinath?" Because even though he now is linked to one extremely self-involved lifemate, he still cares about the world outside.

N’on shrugs, still wearing that sympathetic smile. “Zhelinath did.” The fact that Zhelinath calmed down might not be the best encouragement, but it’s the best he has to offer. “We’re well…” he signs, though his gaze strays to the green and her audience. She continues projecting the pirate battle, only to have a roguish hero emerge from the crew, giving the pirate a real chase through the rigging of the ship. N’on’s brow raises speculatively, and he smirks a bit as he looks back to F’yr. “She’s a good babysitter,” he signs. Is that an encouragement to sneak a nap? MAYBE.

The smile is weak from F'yr, but it's not for lack of Zhelinath's ability to enthrall his lifemate between the fish and the hero he's probably taking mental notes from (or would be, if he weren't totally sure he knows exactly what he's about with all this honor and glory, so pfft, who needs notes). "It's a good technique. Maybe I should start telling him bedtime stories," only that (and this, let's be fair) comes with its own set of pitfalls. Is there anything that looks remotely like rigging that he can try to climb? HE WILL DO IT, no one need doubt him. HE CAN. HE WILL. WITH GLORY. "Maybe I'll just… sit." Right here. Exactly where he's standing. He sinks to the ground and hugs the basket, helping himself to another cookie. "Is the world really any different outside this barracks?" It would feel a little upside down and shaken about by this point in the exhaustion cycle. TELL HIM OF THE OUTSIDE WORLD, N'ON.

Aaaaah, the collapsing-on-the-ground-with-a-basket-of-cookies phase of weyrlinghood. N’on knows it well! He sinks down to sit next to F’yr, leaving all the cookies for the weyrling. He clearly needs them! N’on just grins at the last question. “You haven’t missed much,” he signs. “The barn cat had kittens.” Zhelinath’s miniature epic continues to unfold, as she seems to take sincere delight in Glorioth’s reaction. As the shadow-puppet sword fight continues to unfold, the pirate seems to be winning, having managed to back the hero onto one of the beams supporting the rigging. Just as it seems like the hero ought to find some dashing way to pull out of it, the pirate manages to knock him off, and he falls into the shadow-cartoon sea below. OH NO THE PIRATE HAS WON, WHAT SHALL WE DO!

« VILLAIN! » Glorioth's roar has F'yr scrambling to his feet even as the bronze leans up, up up as far as he can manage to go as if he could see the invisible epic better, as if he could reach right into Zhelinath's head and throttle that pirate. "Glori," the blond breathes an attempt at restraint, not even noticing that - WOE - the cookies went spilling everywhere. Maybe one or two survived the tipped basket. « F'YRLESS FRIEND, WE MUST TRAVEL TO THE SEA TO DEFEAT THE EVIL-DOER DOING EVIL, » this was a live report, wasn't it? The bronze turns a fierce look on his lifemate. « WHICH WAY IS THE SEA? » The big blond's mouth opens and closes like a fish out of water, which he surely is, "It's too far away, Glorioth. You're not big eno—" He doesn't even get to finish before the bronze is roaring at him. « NONSENSE, MY LIMITED LIFEMATE. THERE IS NOTHING I CANNOT DO. NOTHING! » If F'yr hoped there would be any sign of weakening resolve as any kind of logic offered up by his mind to his lifemate penetrated… well, he's disappointed because Glorioth's unflappable and complete faith in his own abilities cannot be shaken by anything so puny as facts. PAH. The weyrling looks helplessly toward the greenrider, eyes wide, wide. DOES N'ON SEE WHAT HE'S DEALING WITH HERE?

N’on just grins at F’yr. GRINS. Maybe he’s remembering some of his and Zhelinath’s growing pains? No doubt Zhelinath’s early quirks were different, but there’s enough similarity to have N’on amused rather than concerned. Zhelinath, for her part, makes a noise that could be classified as a polite cough, though it’s more like a cross between a huff and a rumble. « You are missing it, little one, » she murmurs, with only the slightest touch of reproach. The shadow play pauses with the pirate having leapt down to the deck of the ship, posing and laughing victoriously while the remaining crew cowers in fear. When Zhelinath continues, the hero appears in the ocean and starts climbing up the side of the ship where the pirate can’t see him.

But you've lost him, Zhelinath. Because why watch adventures of heroic magnitude, when he can HAVE adventures of heroic magnitude. « No, my massive maiden, it is you who is missing it. ONWAAAAAaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaRD!!!! » That resounding off-key song of a word that means charge and gogogogo in one heralds F'yr breaking into a jog, one apologetic look back over his shoulder at the greenrider and the abandoned cookies and fish because Glorioth is already hurtling off, much too apt in these matters of physical finesse, his bulk only adding to the momentum that he builds as he runs…. toward the cave that houses the dragon pool. Thank Faranth that even though his sense of adventure is overactive, his sense of direction still needs work.

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