The Passenger

Xanadu Weyr - Main Clearing
A wide clearing stretches from east to west, the ground packed hard although grass grows across most of it. Trees are strictly forbidden in this space, their danger to the constant draconic traffic reason enough to banish them to the forest that creates a border to the north. Where the ground is less trampled, tiny flowers poke their delicate heads out from their shaded hiding places with upturned petals to wave to whoever may be looking.

The cliff looms imposingly on two sides. Toward the southwest, a spire stretches up to high above where the everpresent watchdragon sits on a lonely peak with Xanadu's Starstones. A massive rocky spur extends to the north, curved slightly to hold the clearing and pocked with doors and windows.

The hatching arena and Dragonhealers' Annex sit to the southeast, built together into a single complex that takes up a large portion of the perimeter beneath its domed roof. To the southwest, wide steps lead up to the caverns, and almost directly south is the entrance to the Infirmary. Nestled between the infirmary and the main caverns there's a human-sized archway with frequent traffic - it leads to the Wanderin' Wherry Tavern.

Tucked near the arch, just off to one side is a tiny wood-frame shop bearing the name 'Wildflower Boutique'. Windows have been cut along the cliff in various places along the cliff. Those of the administrative offices are placed to have the best view of Xanadu's airspace - to the southwest, over the entrance to the caverns and the infirmary. Others mark the dormitories and those of lucky residents, while toward the northern edge of that spur cluster the windows and entrances to the crafters' complex.

The rest of the Weyr lies to the north and east - a broad road that leads through the meadow and the trees of the forest beyond. At the far northern edge of the clearing, just inside the perimeter kept clear of trees, a clocktower sits and proudly displays the hour.

With so many people milling out of the hatching arena and a majority no doubt heading in the direction of the main cavern to partake in a celebratory lunch, it takes some longer than one might expect to finally emerge onto the path back into the clearing. Somewhere along the way, Lhiannon seems to have run into the intended target of her cross-world visit; there's an exchange of small, paper-wrapped and tied packets between the wiry man who gesticulates in animated conversation and the tall, Fort-knotted greenrider who listens politely and makes some reply that gets lost in the general hub-hub of conversation and cheers that emanate from some of the others around them. They part ways soon enough, he for the craft complex and she for the glacial green who sweeps to a landing a short distance from her rider. "I'm sure they're quite busy, " says Hana aloud to something inaudible with a brief glance back toward the arena, tucking the little package from the southern-posted crafter into her riding jacket with a mop of her wrist across her brow. The corners of her mouth quirk into a little grin as she scales easily to the dragon's neck while Fjainoith crouches, patting the so-pale hide once she's aboard while she settles into her seat and checks the security of her buckles.

It's a JOYOUS DAY here in Xanadu, despite the winter weather making it not the hot spot for Southern vacationing just now. Maybe that's why the redhead in the purple cloak, many times mended, but cleverly done, is picking up speed as she weaves a graceful path through the bodies making up the departing and those headed to partake of the hatching feast's bounty in the caverns. Her grey knit hat is pressed to the top of her head with one hand lest she lose it in the mincing steps that change her direction to keep her from becoming too familiar with any momentary oblivious dance partners. She has options because the glacial green is not the only one preparing to leave the clearing, so it may just be that Fjainoith is closest - or maybe just the one with the right destination, given her rider's knot. Most Harpers, even the not particularly musical ones, know how to project, and so it is that Tej's, "Oi!" of 'hey there' and 'hold up' cuts through the din perhaps in time enough to keep the Fortian from taking off without one more delivery. She slips through the last people near Fjainoith and into her personal bubble, but not too far, just enough to call to the rider. "If you're heading home, rider," and there's more than a slight inclination of her head— to Fjainoith with a smile that teases wider for the dragon than it does for the woman atop as pale eyes shift back to the one presumed to speak for the pair (even here in Xanadu~), "Would you take a passenger?" A flowing flick of fingers indicates she means herself, the no-not-visible, one fiery braid trailing over a shoulder woman who could look like anything under that cloak, not that it matters since this seems to be business. Yet, there's something there and gone in the depths of her eyes, some immense sadness not allowed expression, the slight pinkening of pale cheeks either weather or something else, but certainly naught that can be readily accounted in this moment of meeting.

Fjainoith and her rider simultaneously look in the direction of that shout, at its owner who comes close enough for conversation. Frame tense in a way that suggests she's a breath away from pushing to her feet, the dragon looks down her long nose at the daring woman in an undisguised stare that's probably meant to unsettle a person of lesser mettle. A Xanadu winter is nowhere near a Fort winter, but perhaps it seems a touch colder for a moment. Equally pale eyes meet Tejra's in an evaluating sweep after Lhiannon pushes her goggles to the top of her head to get a better view of this plot twist proposed passenger. "I am, " she says to the first, reaching behind her to free the second set of buckle-and-latch from where it's been tucked neatly out of the way to prevent flapping about (Faranth forbid) in-transit. "It's no trouble to give you a lift, of course." Fjainoith shifts just enough so that she's better positioned to make it easier for the redhead to climb aboard. "Have you traveled between before?" It's rattled off with all the presence of one who apparently asks this often, even as the blonde swings around to be able to better offer a helping hand if it seems to be wanted or warranted.

It probably has less to do with Tej's mettle and more to do with her quirk of being one of those dragon people, in the way some people are baby people and just turn into enormous idiots at the sight of squishy, wrinkled new-human-shaped things. Unfortunately, she's not the sort to become thoughtlessly obliging to the wants of the dragon she's goo-goo eyed over, nor is she sappy, but she does have that something in the way she looks at Fjainoith that it might be recognizable if they've ever dealt with her ilk before. "My thanks," is not exactly cursory, but not lingered on the way of over-the-top gratitude, speaking of someone who frequently cages rides where and when she can. Really, the nod to Fjainoith for shifting seems to be given more actual mental investment, though she hardly seems to need the help, climbing as if she were a rider up into the straps. "Frequently." She articulates the words in a way that lets each syllable curl over her tongue, just, it seems, for fun, as she gets herself into the appropriate seat and starts at the buckles. "I appreciate your assistance." This actually seems to be more heartfelt and has a strange tension that ends up being a little hitch of breath between 'your' and 'assistance.' A mask fracturing? Just a touch. "I'm Tej," she offers, which is a 'give' on her part, even if no stranger would have cause to know that, nor does she seem the woman to expect to, but here, now, in this particular situation, she also leans forward, to reach and offer her arm for an exchange of pleasantries if Lhiannon is so inclined.

Dragon people have their uses, too. There's the smallest rumble as the younger woman mounts with such ease, and Fjainoith swings her head around after she's settled to slightly lift those ice-touched wings. On the heels of 'frequently' — "Indeed? Good." Once it's evident that her new passenger clearly knows her way around a set of riding straps, Lhiannon adjusts herself back into her own seat with only the smallest tilt of her head at that hitch between words, half-turning back at the introduction to meet that offered arm with a polite, brief grasp of her gloved hand to the other's. Pleasantly, "You're well met, Tej. Lhiannon, Fjainoith's. All set?" Moments after, the green smoothly rises to all four limbs and launches upward, circling briefly over the weyr before gaining enough altitude for safe teleportation. One breath, then two - enough for a last glance down, perhaps - and then they're between. Three heartbeats later, they're suddenly high over Fort, where it's markedly a mountain summer and rather warm despite the drizzle that greets them from overcast skies. "Welcome to Fort, " calls the greenrider over her shoulder as they begin to descend into the caldera. "Would you like to be dropped off near the caverns? Somewhere else?"

"Pleasure to make your acquaintance, the both of you," in case there was any doubt. It can easily be said to be a pleasure since they're doing the redhead a favor and whatever she may look (conflicted, she looks conflicted) as they leave the ground, there's no one to observe her as she takes that moment to glance down. A murmur is lost to the wind, but the, "When you are," in response removing any doubt that the passenger needs any more time before they vanish between is perfectly audible; evidently she's practiced communicating with someone a-dragonback before as well. She is holding her hat even as they vanish, to be sure it's not lost to her, and her face pinches slightly when cold tingle becomes light slaps of rain. Still, she seems unperturbed, turning her face up to the drizzle instead of away. Her hat is pulled off, not needed in the weather and tucked away before arms can slide slightly away from her, enjoying the feel of the play of the air across her hands, the tug on her sleeves, cloak awkwardly contained by the strap but straining to billow all the same. None of it seems to bother Tej as she markedly enjoys the rain. "Anywhere near the administrative complex would be perfect, but I can walk if you've places to be, Lhiannon." She dispenses with titles, not having offered her own and, well, it was Hatching Day. Isn't everything a little loosey-goosey with Tej always on Hatching Day? "Oh, unless—" and here she appears to think, "Raaneth's clutched, hasn't she?"

"The administrative complex, " repeats Lhiannon, managing to wrap question and confirmation into those syllables all at once as Fjainoith turns to the north. There's another glance behind her for the woman with the upturned face, eyebrows lifting slightly even as she permits herself a small smile before turning back around. "Raaneth has clutched. I think your chances of being able to visit with her would probably be greater if we took you by the hatching grounds. Friend of Alexa's?" It's a casual enough inquiry, the sort of small talk one might even expect from a rideshare driver native on transport duty and not an unreasonable guess to hazard.

"Yes," Tej will readily hand over that piece of currency information. "I'm looking for Alexa." There's a little puff of a sigh that mingles almost at once with all the airflow, but still might be heard enough to be mentally reconstructed. "The hatching grounds would be perfect." That's called as she resumes her face-up tilt to the rain, maybe with mouth open - it's fine, none of this is strange if no one can see her. At least VTOLs are unlikely to find their way into her mouth at this velocity, right? Still, she doesn't offer more for free.

The silence that follows Tej's affirmation might be the sound of Lhiannon filing that bit of information away for later, the audible and the not. "Hatching grounds it is, " she replies readily, waving a greeting to another green and her rider as they cross paths on their way down. "We'd be glad to take you back to Xanadu when you're through, if you'd like." Fjainoith lands with only the smallest bump of a touch-down, a wing extending to minimize the amount of rain between their position and the hatching cavern entrance as she leans down to ease her passenger's dismount. "Enjoy your visit, Tej, " her rider says easily, ready to offer a hand down if it's needed.

"Thank you," Tejra's reply is automatic, but there is enough pause to it that it may leave questions in the void. "I'll take you up on that when the time comes." When will that be? That might be the question. It would be reasonable to assume sooner rather than later, especially since Tej has brought nothing with her and seems to be very impulsively heading for the hatching cavern once she is down, leaping rather than climbing the last distance, letting her cloak flutter~ in the drizzly rain until it slaps her calves soundly and curls with the bit of wind. "Thank you both!" is an additional call, probably for the courtesy of the wing, for the ride, for everything, but she doesn't hesitate in heading toward the cavern, each step as controlled as walking on air now that she's not amid a crowd. Puppets do that, will or nil. One wave back at the green pair is all there is before she's mounting the steps into the gallery like a polite guest, no doubt to get Raaneth's attention from there, if she can.

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