The Preoccupied and the Patroller

Xanadu Weyr - Training Grounds
This wide, grassy expanse is nestled into a vaguely bowl-shaped curve, granite walls jagged and misshapen as though something's taken a bite out of the mountain. It's high above the level of the beach, with a lovely easterly view of the sea and a long path leading down to sandy shores. Cliffs surround the training grounds on all other sides, excepting a small archway leading towards the hatching arena.

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 might be needed to train human and dragon bodies alike.

Candidate access to the combined barracks can be obtained by way of a simple door embedded into the wooden half of the structure. Weyrlings are encouraged to make use of a short but massive tunnel that slopes gently upwards into the half of the barracks meant for dragon use. To the right of this opening, a jagged crack in the stone leads to a dim cave, alive with the sound of water.

Snow provides endless opportunities for entertainment. While none is currently falling, there’s enough on the ground to satisfy Kovagath’s curiosity, the blue plowing around with his nose to the ground as if he hasn’t thoroughly investigated the training grounds already. A slightly pinkish tinge, left in his wake, eludes to the fact that someone wasn’t finished getting cleaned up after his last meal before deciding to play detective in the snow. Neither Sh'y nor Kovagath seem particularly fussed about this. The weyrling follows along a few paces behind, letting the blue do his thing with minimal interference. The morning is otherwise quiet, so at least Kovagath’s current obsession isn’t intruding upon any other baby-dragon play.

Clues. There are footprints in the snow. Oh, wait, maybe those are Sh'y's? But no, this boot is bigger. This boot is— RIGHT THERE. It's attached, actually, to a large man who, despite the weather, is only bundled inasmuch as wearing a sweater made of some thick heather grey yarn and having a hat on his head counts as bundling. F'yr's lips are gently curled in a smile that might be nostalgia, or might just be quietly enjoying the sight of Kovagath in action. Baby dragons and all that. His hands are tucked into his pockets and though he's stopped well back, he lingers, because he's going to leave the choice of whether or not a social interaction ought to be had here in the hands of the one getting the least sleep. Or, you know, probably more realistically the dragon who rules heart, body and mind at this stage of the game.

Footprints in the snow? SUSPICIOUS! And when the boot is found to be attached to a body, well. EVEN MORE SUSPICIOUS! Or at least, worthy of further investigation. Kovagath stops, head up, whirling eyes assessing this threat stranger from afar. His attention brings Sh’y’s attention, and for a moment there’s a bleary-eyed study of F’yr like trying to reconcile these two worlds is a bit of a struggle. (It might have to do with a very distinct lack of sleep happening in these early days, along with all that baby-haze surrounding him). But then there’s a bit of a smile, just at the edges of the weyrling’s mouth, and a snort from Kovagath who has determined that F’yr is not, in fact, a potential invader that must be dealt with (he had his doubts for a moment). And so they approach, the blue with bold steps that are just a little higher than normal on account of the snow, the weyrling happily keeping to his wake rather than forging his own path, at least until they are near enough that standing at Kovagath’s shoulder makes more sense than hovering by his tail. “Hey,” is offered once they’re near enough to make talking easier. A beat and he offers an (unnecessary?) introduction of, “This is Kovagath,” for the blue. It comes with one of those silly little, sappy looks that Sh’y is both wholly unaware of and also utterly helpless in stopping.

"Kovagath," F'yr greets with an easy smile and a nod not pronounced enough to be a bow, but with a marked kind of respect. If the introduction is unnecessary (it is; he's definitely handled paperwork about the weyrlings already and that's discounting personal interest that probably assured he knew the dragon's name moments after any of the Weyr's queens did), he doesn't let on. Nor does he comment on Sh'y's expression because he's a good friend. And also, he looks that way himself sometimes, but for Glorioth, so he has exactly no room to tease. "I'm glad to meet you," is to the blue before he's redirecting blue gaze to the Beastcrafter. "Thought I'd give you a few days to get settled before stopping by." Does Sh'y's tired state still let him speak all the silence of the once-farmer? That F'yr wanted to give Sh'y time to settle, to adjust a little before reminding him he has places to turn that aren't inside the barracks with him, if he ever needs a someone outside of all that. "I encouraged Glorioth to fly a patrol, but he sends his regards." Honestly, he probably sent his DOUBTLESS, KOVAGATH WILL BE BLINDED BY THE RADIANCE OF MY VALOR SHOULD I DARE TOO NEAR. I SHALL GLIMMER FROM AFAR AS THE BRIGHTEST STAR IN HIS HEAVENS, or something to that extent, but F'yr's probably captured the important part, right?

Kovagath, while not nearly as loud as his parents (or, let’s be real, most of Xanadu) might be, is still perfectly happy to cast his thoughts wide enough to be picked up by whomever is in the vicinity. There is no yelling. There is no insistence upon hearing them, but they are there all the same; the glimmering low-light of a dystopian city-scape caught in either dusk or dawn. Peaceful and almost inviting. « It is nice to meet you, too, F’yr. » The blue will make with the quiet investigating of this stranger-friend, not so intrusive as to invade personal space, but not nearly subtle enough to hide the fact that he’s definitely sizing F’yr up. Sh’y doesn’t seem too worried about it. He presses a hand to Kovagath’s shoulder, but it’s definitely a gesture of affection rather than concern. “Settled.” The word is somewhat amusing, in a very dry, definitely-need-sleep kind of way. But the mention of Glorioth’s current distraction has the little blue perking up, head swiveling this way and that around the field. « That is a fantastic idea. You stay. I’ll patrol ». And off he goes without the courtesy of a farewell, nose to the snow every few steps, starting a route that will take him in a wide-ish circle around the pair. He won’t go far, and certainly Sh’y will be keeping an eye (or both) on him the whole time. “I appreciate that,” comes from the human half who, while he might be bonded to his own dragon and so perhaps has some more insight into these things (HAHAHA No he does not), is still grateful not to be bombarde with potential accusations of being shifty-eyed or villainous. “To be honest, I wouldn’t’ve been able to tell you how many days it’s been,” admits Sh’y, who is definitely spending more time sneaking peeks at Kovagath than addressing his friend properly.

F'yr's intake of breath as Kovagath volunteers himself to patrol ends with it being held instead of finding outlet through words. After a moment, he lets it go in an audible exhale that is not a sigh, though the look he casts Shiloh is a helpless look that's not quite apology but might speak to a touch of RAGRETS. It's not as though he had suggested his lifemate away just so he could be the one imparting all the stellar ideas to the young and impressionable himself, so sorrynotsorry, Sh'y. "That's the way of it. The schedules the weyrlingmasters post in the barracks are pretty much a lifeline to time early on, and even then, if you limit yourself to trying to think in weeks and months instead of days, you'll probably stay more sane." He does not helpfully offer how many days it has been. Instead, he's gesturing toward Kovagath. "Everything and more?" It's more an invitation to the other man to gush talk about his lifemate than an actual need for confirmation of the general idea that F'yr had been trying to impress upon Sh'y prior to impression and failing, like every rider-to-candidate there ever was before the pair of them.

It’s fine, really. Kovagath going on patrol is the least of Sh’y’s worries (they’re gonna plot to break down doors. This is probably also (not) fine). But that doesn’t stop those dark eyes from tracking Kovagath’s progress. “The idea that our life will resemble a routine is…” at the moment, astonishing. And yet, Sh’y is not stressed about that, because why would he be? Right now it’s all eat, sleep, explore, oil, wash, cleanup, sleep more, eat more… It’s a chaotic mess of somewhat spontaneous activities but it’s done because Kovagath is in his life and so… it is the best sort of chaos. Everything and more. Sh’y won’t say it, but there’s a quirk of his lips that acknowledges it. “He’s…” Everything. But telling this to someone who clearly already understands seems redundant. “I don’t even know how to explain. It’s… overwhelming. It’s a little easier when he’s asleep. To figure out which parts are me and which parts are him.” And maybe it’s a little scary, at least during those times when Kovagath is asleep and Sh’y comes out of that weird hazy fog of dragon-and-weyrling-brain, to wonder who he even is now that Kovagath is here.

The squint is at memories hazy and distant; not a winning combination on a good day. Today might be a good day since F'yr doesn't look too tired nor ruffled, and maybe that's why he can hazard, "I think I remember saying something like that to R'hyn about this time while he tried to drown me or tried to save me from drowning," OR BOTH, IT WAS BOTH, "in the dragon pool when Glori fell asleep on me there." That might not be a figure of speech. Either way, it means that F'yr has felt that level of 'is routine even ever going to be a thing??' It probably explains why he's reaching out to — abruptly stop with his hand inches from Sh'y's shoulder in what was definitely going to be a supportive shoulder clap. His eyes go to the patrolling blue. "Will he mind if I touch you?" This question probably says a great deal about F'yr's early days without him having to tell stories. He'll wait for an answer before completing the gesture or withdrawing it. The nod is commiseration with how sleeping dragons help that particular thing. "I can't say it changes with time," because that would be optimistic and uplifting and apparently that's not what the bronzerider is here to be, "but it does become easier with exposure. Practice. And you will, I think, get more sleep. Most do." But not him, judging by that tone. And yet, he seems to get it now, so maybe things do change. Or just get enough practice that one can do them in their sleep. "I'm sure I'm not the first to say you should sleep while he's sleeping, but if a day comes where you're feeling you can stay awake awhile without making the day harder and you want to talk, you can have Nope find me." Beat. "No note needed." That's wry. F'yr will know the next time Nope shows why that is and everyone gets to keep their fingers and not get screeched at by a crazy gold or leered at by a ghoulish brown. There must be normal firelizards in Xanadu; just not owned by anyone here.

Sh’y gives the question consideration, a glance spared for the patrolling Kovagath, before he decides, “No. He wouldn’t mind.” There is probably more to that answer, but the short version is good enough for now. The blue is invested in his investigations, though that does not mean he is not aware, at least vaguely, of what is transpiring between his human and this other human. “I don’t mind it all the time,” admits Sh’y, gaze lingering on the wandering blue. “It’s just weird. Like waking up, even though it’s him going to sleep.” Does he need to explain? Probably not. “The exhaustion doesn’t help,” is said with something akin to amusement; a dry humor that comes with a twitch at the corner of his mouth. “But even that, I don’t… mind.” Because it’s him. Because how could Sh’y mind when the reason for that exhaustion is that he is with Kovagath, even if it is the less glamorous side of cleaning, or feeding, or cleaning up after the feeding. “I do try,” to sleep while he’s sleeping. “And I will.” Send Nope, sans the note, to preserve everyone’s fingers. Because there will come a time when Kovagath sleeps and Sh’y does not and the pressing weight of ‘who am I now’ and ‘how does that work’ will get to him. How could it not? It’s already begun even if the happy-fun-Impression high is still going strong. “If I get a day where I feel like me again.”

The short certainly helps F'yr's hand not awkwardly linger in midair, completing the gesture of support. "It's new," the bronzerider offers even after the slow nods that seemed to indicate he was following the exhausted weyrling's descriptions. "When things are new, they're usually a little bizarre or unreal, even if it's in the good way." The exhaustion is what it is, so that only gets an empathetic smile that presses the man's lips in a line that crooks up just at the edges. Humor is a good way to deal with that one since not a thing in the world will change it before Kovagath's natural curve of development runs its course in that way. "You will." This much, F'yr can assure, with perhaps the slightly more troubling but honest qualification. "You've changed, though. Can't not, with all this." He gestures in the direction of the blue with a smile that holds warmth within the candor of his expression. "Try not to overthink it." HAHAHA. Coming from F'yr, this is hilarious, but listen, he's trying to help. "You'll have time to sort it all out, so deal with the most important thing first and then the next and—" he makes a rolling gesture to indicate 'and so on.' "It's really like farm work that way." The most pressing chore, then the next, and the next until it's done. "You should go patrol with him." He encourages. "I have to get back." And lingering was not in his plan, just a brief stop in, reminding Sh'y that if he ever starts to feel overwhelmed and alone in the human way, there are hands ready to grab his and pull him out when he feels like he's drowning… if they can. The intentions are good anyway.

At least, for the moment, it’s had for Sh’y to overthink much of anything. Sheer exhaustion coupled with that honeymoon phase of Impression has him well-wrapped around the baby blue’s mind more than his own. Later, whether days or weeks or months, he’ll find the time to ponder this new life he’s been brought into; start going down the twisty trails of ‘what if’ and ‘what now’ that will inevitably dominate his thoughts between those times that Kovagath is awake and needing him. And along with it, the ways in which he is no longer who he was. But, for today at least, he’s deliriously oblivious to all the existential crisis coming for him. Which means that all he can think to say is, “Yeah,” the word more breath than anything else; an exhale that comes as he lets his gaze find and linger on the wandering Kovagath. One foot in front of the other. One task and then the next. Another “Yeah,” for patrol, because he really doesn’t need to be encouraged twice. Not when his fingers are going twitchy and his mind is clearly occupied with what Kovagath might be getting up to. But he’s not so distracted he can’t spare F’yr a final glance, a little quirk of a smile and an honest, “Thanks.” For all of it.

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