Dazzling and Dark Changes

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.

Late afternoon, early evening at Xanadu Weyr and the day is slowly coming to a close. That use to mean something around these parts. The chilly air has brought with it more hints that winter will be here soon. Leaves falling off the trees and creating a mess wherever there was order there is now CHAOS, and that goes double for the Weyrling Barracks. The number of LOUD overenthusiastic, to downright caustic dragonettes, is unseemly, and the whole Weyr has had to listen to the loud group of little darlings for 10 days now. The longest ten days of Evi's entire life. Laying flat out asleep UNDERNEATH an archery target lies a brilliantly neon cyan green dragon. The bright colors of her hide make it impossible for her not to be noticed, she's a continuously growing flashing sign in inky dark stripes. At the moment, she is fast asleep, her weyrling rider pushing up against her with all of her strength, picking up the tip of her tail, and dropping it. NOPE. Going NOWHERE for now. Evi is wearing a bright green skirt and white shirt though there seem to have been bloodstains on the top. The young weaver is a shadow of her former self, giant dark circles, tiny scratch marks all over arms and face. There's no way this is what anyone imagined dragonriding would be like. Sighing, Evi sits down next to her new mate, pouting.

"Trouble?" The melodious purr of Tej's voice might be the first warning the focused weyrling has of her immediate presence, although she only reached this part of the yard where she can step up onto a haybale and linger with tilted head after crossing the whole rest of the training grounds. Her pantaloons are a burnt copper today with dye-darkened folds that make the close-fitted at hip and boot-lip and flowy everywhere else look all the more fluid. Her teal shirt sets off the color without being overwhelming in its own right as this one is an unusually close cut along the torso while the sleeves flare until they're bound close to her wrists. She looks curiously down at the weyrling, her red braid swinging, but she doesn't offer help, not immediately. "I should think naptime would be a relief? You look terrible." It's not cruel, but it's also not particularly kind in the candor of the statement. "Does V'ro look as terrible as you?" She wonders, casting a glance behind her as though she might find the other green weyrling lurking conveniently about.

Any other time Evi might delight in Tej's presence, enjoy commenting on the fit of her pants the color of her shirt. The outfit is exactly the kind of thing the young Candidate use to love, now though it seems like her entire world has been turned inside out. As Tej close enough to the pair, a hint of what Evi is dealing with will seep into her mind. BRILLIANT purple skies, a growing field of sapphire blue grass that feels endless in its expanse dotted with bright orange trees, there's the smell of fresh-cut grass and earth mixed with the feeling of being WATCHED. Yes, the distinct impression that something is watching, stalking, following through the technicolor meadow. The mind of the baby dragon, even the edges of it in a dream, feels neverending and all-consuming. Evi does not even seem to notice the vivid scene or ominous feeling, her eyes taking a long time to focus on Tejra. "I had hoped she would nap inside." Is shot towards the beautiful redheaded harper, a chill, and a nip about Evi that is brand new. The change is noticed, brown-green eyes grow big and headshakes slowly. "Um, he probably does? I… I have not really seen anyone in ages. I know I see him but, he could look similar." A baffled honesty, words slowly and precisely delivered with no hint of indecision or tremble. "Is that why you're here?" The question falls off near accusation, missing that mark but coming close.

Is there a nip? It doesn't faze Tej any more than the slight chill in the autumnal air. She hops down off the bale of hay and minces a few graceful steps closer to the young green and her new lifemate. Her serene countenance never wavers, not with those impressions coming to her, nor whatever more she takes in of the girl who really isn't all that much younger than herself, except in perhaps experience. But then, these experiences are something Evi has and will have that Tejra may never. "Maybe look, next time. They are the only ones who are going through anything remotely similar to what you are," she recommends though there's no zing in the unasked for advice. She gives a glance toward that barracks and then again to the sleeping dragon, before she sinks in a flow of fabric that might as well not even hold a human form for all it hampers the eases of the movement, settling into a low crouch to observe the green from a different angle. "No. One of the other harpers is dragon-crazy. Wouldn't shut up about them," the green gets a nod, "Kept going on and on about how dragon babies were the best kind of baby. I'm not sure I can see how any kind of baby is a good kind, save for the need to propagate the species and all that rot." It's obviously wonderful that Tejra is part of the team teaching the Weyr's children, isn't it? "So 'not easy' seems to be the tip of it. Tell me the rest." It's funny, the way she crouches so low, twisting her elegant neck to look up at Evi with a squint, the whole pose making her look somehow more bestial herself, more wild, and there's that sharp edge of intelligence in her pale gaze. The last words are an instruction, but gentled by a tone of invitation.

Every move by the lanky harper woman is watched, tired eyes still sharp enough to lock onto a target and follow it. Evi is, after all, a new mother herself, and those instincts do not sleep. "They are all in there own worlds." Is offered up, head tilting to one side and sticking to that side in utter exhaustion. DONE. The fact that her eyes are open is no indication of wakefulness. "Well, tell him he can come.. stare at mine." In another time, another day, a few sevendays past Evi would have shown off her new baby with maternal pride like one of her many cats. The tone of voice that offers up her lifemate's presence falls far short of old generosity, each tired word contains no emotion. "Motherhood was easier than this." Gentler now, eyes softening, but maybe that's the sleep seeping in. Each movement made by Tej as she comes to sit near her, and Nei is watched with a delay, processing slowed by her wearied state. "She is… Dazzling." BURSTS of a BRIGHT smile issue from Evi, more energy than would have thought possible a moment before. BEAMING BRILLIANT HAPPINESS, she GLOWS with irradiant JOY for an instant. Off, switch dimmed down as the batteries cannot take the strain on depleted energy levels. Evi folds her hands in her lap as if removing a mask or shaking off a giant trench coat; she is her again but more somehow. Grown, her posture is straight, and when she speaks, her eyes lock onto Tej and HOLD. "When awake, she might be the rudest thing to ever exist on the whole planet. There's nothing she will not say. NOTHING. She spends all of her time between complaining and FIXING the world. Mostly though me. I… She might be changing me." The lack of any inflection seems to indicate neutrality on the subject.

The deep crouch Tej is in allows her movement, though those less at home in their bodies and with their balance might not manage the series of tiny sidesteps that end up a sort of crab scuttle to give her a slightly different vantage of dragon and rider. The redhead's pale gaze doesn't miss the brief glow or the shuttering of that expression as the energy flags. "Funny, I thought that was me," holds both humor, for the degree, and truth for the base of the subject. "But I suppose I've grown enough to pass on the mantle of 'most annoying child.' She's welcome to it. "I've no doubt she's changing you, just as you're changing her. That's what happens when you decide to love someone. You change. They change if they love you back." There's a message there: remember, little Evi, that dragon loves you, underneath it all (maybe oozing in between all the bits of it all, even). "But remember, even when it doesn't feel like it, you have to be willing, to choose to be willing, to do the changing she's wanting, and you can always say no." There's something a little sad in that; maybe Tej loved someone once. Maybe it was a mistake. She doesn't really get into it all, but clearly these are words from life lessons learned. Who knows if they apply to dragons? Frankly, Tejra Snow knows nothing, but she fakes it real well. Look at how serene her face still is? It's tranquil.

Small flares of ever-changing energy float into any and every mind, the meadow becomes a forest, and the trees tower over the two humans. The distinct idea that you are nothing, no one, your disappearance would not even shift the soil in this landscape. A young dragon at rest is a world all in herself, that world expanded to be easily viewed by everyone. At the IDEA that Tej could even compete against Nei for annoyance, Evi rolls her eyes. "If I could wake her up, you would see." Threat lingers in the warning, tongue too spent to grow barbs. Did Tej think her words were going to hit the young once-a-weaver hard? In the face. SLAP. Blinking and quizzical looks are aimed towards the form of the harper, "She. Does love me. She loves me more than anyone ever has." At the idea that NO might be something, she can say she rolls her shoulders back and stares up at the sky. Whether her eyes are staring at the darkening midnight blue above or the cotton candy pink one that her lifemate now presents is for her to know. "No is not a word, I have managed to save a few of my relationships with others by convincing her that she is too great to speak with them for now, she buys this." Tired body sags, even more, posture failing and an O forming in the shape of a yawn. "What she shows everyone else is not who she is." This part is plaintive, her desire to share her lifemate only if she can share the REAL Neifeth. Name and all. "She won't use her name, or oil, or eat ANYTHING I do not kill. I tried on the second day, she screeched and stomped for HOURS." The girl who refused to touch underwear with nothing but pencils may have met her stubborn match, it's actually hilarious in some ways. Two unbending female forces mixing to create ONE. Stalking, finding, seeking, quietly there's something BEHIND them, something coming for THEM. Evi giggles and strokes Nei, "Do you feel it? I- I have been living somewhere else for days. I do not even know what I look like. Do you have a mirror?" The question is random, off the wall, only incredibly tired people ask such nonsense.

A better question might be whether or not Tej cares if her words hit like a slap, intentionally or otherwise. There was no intention, but nor does there seem to be even a blink of reaction apparent in that smooth demeanor borne by the redhead. "'No' is a powerful word, Evangeline." Tejra's tone is hard, a sharp left from the melodic purr of her usual cadences, a tone that returns almost immediately. "Don't let her convince you that you are powerless. 'No' always holds meaning and power even when it does nothing to change what you face." 'No' is not magic that way, alas. "She's a child," Tej doesn't quite dismiss Evi's plaintive words, "You have, what, sixteen turns on her? She might act like she knows what she's about, but tantrums are a part of childhood," the grin that cracks briefly is wicked, "and adulthood. Pick your battles," she advises, shrugging as she sinuously rises from her couch to pace a few steps one direction and then back the other way, following an invisible thread. "I don't have a mirror. Not yet. I'm saving for a commission. None of the ones I've found here are right." And mirrors matter, in Tejra's world, with an undue weight. "When I get one, you may see it if you like." It might be months yet.

All the shines of a thousand spotlights glow through the trees emanating from Neifeth. There's an invitation for Evi to join the green in slumber, song of a siren far in the wood, close as a whisper. "Would you be willing to come more?" The innocence of the question can now be thoroughly cherished; the treasure that she was shines bright in this new contrasting world. "I… do not have more than her now, I could use a friend." An invitation of friendship, one scratched hand reaching out, palm up, fingers closed as if somehow she is released her friendship so much a winged insect towards the other woman. Drooping eyes struggle to follow the woman as she paces, mind creeping glacially, "You must come back when she is awake, so you can see." The vague threat of what the cyan nightmare green holds inside her head lingers words said with a soft shake of ratty hair that needed to be combed sometime this sevenday. "I might wait to look until you come with yours. I wonder if anyone took a picture of me before the eggs hatched. I want to see what sleep looked like." Yawning deeply, near translucent white eyelids ringed in dark hollow circles close. A few moments of rest before she opens them again, bright. "I am- so. I am. That thing that you are when you do not wish to be. Rude. I am that, to you." Instead of saying SORRY, she skirts around it, avoiding apologizing directly and maybe at all if Tej doesn't catch her drift. "Why is your mirror special?" Curiosity holds her awake longer. How much one can't tell, the scene that slithers into the mind has become more chaotic. There's a sea of purple, blue, and pink stars above, but now also below, is there water below or above? How are they standing on it? Glassy sky meets the glassy ocean; perhaps they are standing on two skies. One up. One down. Losing oneself in this creature would be as simple as breathing. All of this only if one examines it, or choose to see. Like a picture, one can elect to watch or press away.

Pale eyes settle on the younger girl, red brows drawing slightly down. "I travel. But I'll come by as I'm able." A journeyman's work is never done, but that is probably a provisional yes. "If you look around, you might find you have more than you think," might be a stab in the dark, or maybe just one of those cryptic things harpers like to say to make themselves sound smarter than they really are. They probably teach a course about that back at the Hall. "My mirror is going to be large. Very large. And if not special, it makes it unique, in this Weyr. They don't have mirrors large enough for a person to properly see," at least not in any of the public spaces. The woman looks between dragon and rider. "You should take a nap. I'll come to meet her, sometime." Then Tej moves to mount the hay bales and give a graceful hop to the ground on the other side, going on a circuitous route of the training grounds, perhaps removing herself from the green pair just so Evi won't feel the need to try to keep her eyes open any longer.

"Really large? Isn't that- expensive?" Evi cocks her head over further to one side, body sliding slowly down into celadon back paws that are MUCH to large for a dragon still so SMOL. Even in this new horizontal pose, eyes remain open, watching Tej with interest and appreciation. "I have Nei." Blandly stated back, obvious the comment about having friends flying far overhead. Swing and a miss, Evi dear. "Goodbye… maybe new friend. We will wait here now." There's softness, whispers of a former self still present outside of the new dragon mind that has ensnared its prey completely. TRAPPED. Never has anyone been more TRAPPED then this tired weaver with this green, Stockholm syndrome is the only option. At that, Nei opens a wing, fully capturing her prey-mate under electric stripedy sails. The archery target tumbles off her back with a thunk, Evi's loud groan is muffled by the wing encasing her in a cocoon. Metamorphosis not complete yet; butterfly still unfinished.

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