Bold Women

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.

If someone asked V'ro how long it's been since the hatching, he probably wouldn't have any idea. What day is it even? It's just been a blur of meat, muck, oil, emotions, sleep deprivation, and occasionally even taking care of his own needs. At least today he mostly only smells like oil and the barracks, but even that isn't super strong as he follows Koth's fascinated, persistent exploration along the beach, pouncing on shells, pouncing at the water, rolling in the sand until she's basically covered in it. She looks back at him occasionally, so if they're talking, he must be practicing his inside voice.

"There you are," Tejra's melodic purr sounds from too close as she comes to sit next to V'ro, not touching the older man, her head tilting to look at him, take in his sleep-deprived state and then to look out toward the dragon. "That one yours, then?" Maybe she wasn't at the hatching, or maybe she's just offering him the chance to tell her all about his new baby. Tejra, for her part, looks upsettingly put together by contrast. Her braid is a little messy, but attractively so, and her clothes are perfectly fitted for movement and graceful flow. Her feet are bare and with her had dropped a pair of sandals onto the sand at her side.

The sound of the familiar voice draws V'ro's attention to the present. Or at least away from what looked like distant thought. He smiles at Tejra as she sits, like it's been ages since he's seen her and it's a welcome change. Whatever's going on in that head of his, it has the young green turning hers from the hole she was digging on the water line to look their way. "Aye, that one's mine." He sounds kind of proud. "Koth is her name." And fond.

"And you thought none of them would want you," Tej teases gently, looking over that expression on the weyrling's face, tilting her head a little as if it might let her take in his tone a little more. "Does she care to be introduced?" The harper asks with lofted red brows looking from man to dragon. "I suppose since you're pleased about it all that congratulations are in order?" She doesn't actually make the congratulations; that would be too mundane, but the implication is left for him to claim as though it were the act itself.

As though she were waiting for some indication to do so, the green bounds toward the pair sitting in the sand, around them with a soft warble, before finally stopping behind them so she can wedge her pointy face on the sand between them. Hi. "Red, this is Koth. Koth, this is my good friend, Tejra." Did Tej know that? She's his good friend. There's no commentary on any need or want for congratulations; the stupid look he gives his dragon sort of implies she's all the congratulations he could think to want.

"'Lo there, Koth," Tej greets the dragon after she waits out the green's approach with her typical unflappable aplomb. "I quite like your choice in lifemates," she compliments the green since V'ro's busy making those soppy faces at the other half of his life from here on out. She looks from dragon to rider and cants her head thoughtfully, "Want to tell me about her?" The look that slides back to the dragon invites, of course, that the dragon can feel free to speak for herself but doesn't assume the green would wish to, despite the number of loud dragons that inhabit Xanadu.

"If I'm being completely honest, she kind of reminds me of you," says V'ro with grin that verges on sheepish. Probably because, all things considered, he doesn't know Tejra that well. "She's brave. Confident. Doesn't do what she's told just cause she was told to do it." He has a slight grimace for that, but he seems to think Tejra will find it amusing or something. « He likes you, too, » Koth offers like it's some big secret that she's helpfully letting the harper in on. « He likes bold women. It was an easy choice. »

"Of me?" That makes Tej's head jerk back slightly as if V'ro had slapped her. There isn't an affronted expression, just thinly veiled astonishment mixed with befuddlement. "By the First Egg, I hope not, for your sake." The Harper intones the last three words as deadpan as any voice can get. She looks to the dragon in question and murmurs the adjectives, as if trying to see just how and where they apply to the physical presence. "Obviously, you're very wise. And not just because you picked him. Doing what you're told isn't any fun," Tej tells the dragon helpfully, sotto voce. "Do you like to be touched?" The redhead will offer a hand for eyeridge scratches or headknob and jaw strokes, whatever the green seems to like, if she likes anything at all. "I think you may have my character slightly confused," she adds as an aside to the rider after a moment. "It's not that I'm brave or confident. I simply don't care." Behold, V'ro, the field in which Tej grows her ….. Lay thine eyes upon it and thou shalt see that it is barren.

« Who doesn't like being touched, » is Koth's rhetorical answer, quite content to let Tejra scratch whatever part of her itchy hide she'd care to try. Of course, plenty don't like to be touched, but Koth is young and neither she nor her weyrling are that sort, so it's difficult for her to conceptualize anything else. "I'm not sure there's as much difference between those things as you want people to think," the greenrider points out. But he knows better than to argue when he's outnumbered. « V'ro says we should do as we're told. But he doesn't believe it. » It's an important distinction for the green, and the weyrling makes a face that suggests he can't, in good faith, deny it. "How are you doing?" he asks the harper instead, trying to change the topic to something safer.

Tejra's hands are tentative at first, but swiftly they adjust to the slightly different feel of young dragon than her comparison point of young firelizard. In fact, it's not long before she's making a thrumming sound of delight in her own throat as she lavishes attention on Koth with hands strong and skillful. "Mm," that sound transforms, "That you would say so means you're still too optimistic about the nature of people. Or maybe you're just do sleep deprived that you don't know what you're saying." Tej casts him a Cheshire grin before looking to Koth, not the least interested in being redirected. "Sometimes we have to say one thing and believe another to scrape along with the rest of the world. It's like playing a grand game. The clever and the lucky usually are better off than those who aren't or those who don't learn the rules and how to bend them. That's what he's doing," she nods at V'ro without addressing him, continuing to the dragon, "bending the rules." And don't worry little Koth, Tej approves. Maybe she'll tell V'ro how she's doing when he's not using the question as a distraction tactic.

"It's not optimism. Just perception," counters V'ro, watching the girls enjoying each others' company so very much like he's not entirely sure they wouldn't prefer he left them to their own devices. "Maybe some sleep deprivation," he'll allow. Koth does not seem particularly convinced, but she is a clever creature, so she's not dismissing the harper's wise words out of hand. She side eyes V'ro, who shrugs, then her whirling facets are focused on the redhead again. « I suppose that makes sense. » But it's a theory she'll obviously have to test on her own.

A pale gaze is flicked over to V'ro skeptically, but she looks back to Koth without a verbal comment. The look spoke volumes enough, didn't it? Tejra's hands move methodically across the green's head, "Your hide is so soft," she compliments in what would be a coo from anyone else, but from Tej is simply a particularly appreciative purr. "So what do you know about him that you want to share with me?" She addresses the dragon. Turn about is fair play after all; V'ro had his chance.

What does Koth want to share? She's never been asked that question before, and she doesn't rightly know. V'ro is already making noises about it, but seems hesitant to outright discourage the green. Because that would only encourage her. Koth rumbles her own appreciation for the compliment, doesn't give the weyrling any credit for how often he oils it, and instead offers up, « You scare him a little bit. » Clearly not in a way that upsets her, granted. "Scare is a strong word," he protests. "You don't scare me." Koth ignores him, continuing, « He's not very lucky. But he is clever, in his own way. » Thrilling review, Koth, thank you.

"I think so too," Tej murmurs as she leans her face closer to Koth's as though sharing a confidence. "I don't think he gives himself enough credit, but you'll take care of that, I'm sure. You seem quite clever yourself." And she means it. This isn't one of those empty compliments. She glances toward V'ro, the turn of her head at a strange angle from how most people would go about it, something about it subtly animalistic. She whispers loudly enough to be heard but quiet enough to imply collusion, "Do either of you want to tell me why I scare him?" And the smile she gives V'ro has sharp edges; Tej is definitely someone's nightmare, if not V'ro's.

« I am clever. » Humble, too. « I'll keep him safe. » From what, she's not yet certain. But Koth already knows on some level that she is his safety, and maybe that feeling bleeds over to Tejra, too. V'ro eyes them both as though he's feeling ganged up on, and he's not sure what to do about it. "You don't—" « You're exciting. Like… like hunting. I can't wait to hunt on my own. » Okay, the baby dragon is getting distracted by other interesting things that are less weird for V'ro, but perhaps less interesting for Tejra.

"Ahhh," Tej got everything she needed really, in those few words. Too bad, V'ro. "Hunting is a great deal of fun. I like to hunt, too." There's that edged smile for V'ro though she softens it just a touch when she looks to Koth, or maybe because of Koth. Obviously she and Koth are off to a fine start on their friendship as completely independent of her friendship with V'ro as things can get. "But don't worry, V'ro, I don't bite unless it's called for." And what would make it called for? Well, she probably can't make the full list aloud in front of young and tender ears. "Do you mind if I give him a hug? I heard some dragons don't like it." There's enough evidence of that in the barracks.

V'ro will just glance away from Tejra and look everywhere else in a way that's not at all meaningful or weird. Koth seems to find this amusing, for all that she was just saying she'd keep him safe. Tejra must be a good sort of uncomfortable for her lifemate. « I don't mind. He doesn't mind. » Did she actually check with him? The glance he shoots the green might suggest not, but he glances at the redhead a moment after, "I'm not sure I love you two getting all cozy and friendly." Just so everyone's clear on where he stands.

"Oh, sure you do. You just don't know it yet." Tejra's sure for both of them. She grins and pushes him in the chest before she's scooting on the sand and tucking herself under his arm, her own slender arms curling around his chest for a gentle and lingering squeeze. "I'm glad you can rest easier now, V'ro." It's simple, it's heartfelt, and she lets him go shortly after she finishes speaking to the man to bounce up to her feet. "Now, Koth, my lovely," she smiles down at the dragon. "Has he told you yet that hunting is a special kind of dance? Has he taught you anything about dancing yet?" IF NOT, TEJ HAS HER COVERED.

"Mmhmm," murmurs V'ro, unconvinced. But he's amenable to the whole hugging thing, even if Koth uses the moment to rest her head on top of his while it's happening. "Thanks," is genuine, and he's not going to get emotional, really. Fortunately Tejra bounces up so he has plenty of space to deal with any weird feelings. « He has not! Why haven't you, V'ro! » But he doesn't have an answer, ruffling a hand through his hair and giving up on being in charge of the situation at all.

Don't worry, V'ro. Forces of nature like Tej and Koth together were never going to be something you could ever do more than survive anyway and look, your hair is only a little rumpled, so you're doing well! "V'ro can learn, too." Tejra effective voluntolds the young man with a flash of a mischievous grin. "You, darling, are already a graceful predator. Him, we'll have to work on." And with no further ado, the Harper launches into baby's first dance lesson, with an eye toward how it all gets used in a hunt. If her teaching means V'ro will end up stuck on the beach for a nap, Tej will even keep him company, for a while anyway, and she'll wake him before the sun does too much damage to skin less resilient than dragon hide.

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