Positive Influences

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.

The better part of the Weyr's population gives the weyrling training grounds a wide berth unless they have a good reason to come this way, perhaps out of respect for the still young dragon pairs, or perhaps out of a healthy sense of self-preservation either for life, limb or simply their hearing. It is a noisy place even on the best of days, though not at all moments. This is one of the quieter ones as Rukbat tracks just far enough to turn morning into afternoon. Afternoon, for humans on regular schedules and not grab-it-when-you-can baby ones, eat lunch about this time and that might explain why Tejra is settled on a blanket on one of the less oft used section of the training grounds that remains in its natural state. True, the day has the chilly bite of winter, but that probably explains why Tejra sports a stylish if not new sweater in a dove grey that sets off her red hair, though it's mostly contained in a slouchy knit cap of the same color if not the same fiber. Her pants are a thicker material than she typically favors out of deference to the weather, and in a color somewhere just shy of a deep brown with boots rising to the knee. Her legs are lazily crossed as they extend on the blanket before her. She leans on one arm while the other picks across a box that is of the sort favored for reusable meals on the go. Her pale gaze flicks up every now and again to take in the action on the training grounds, but she maintains her voyeuristic distance for the time being - but then, she's not finished her lunch yet!

Avoiding the weyrling training grounds is probably healthy for everyone, not adding that some dragons, well one, prefers to kill food or watch it die at the very least. Neifeth has her spot for this act, a place in the far edge of the grounds to avoid upsetting the other babies. On this chilly day, the deed complete Nei stalks forward, more feline then dragon in movement with powerful shoulder muscles and haunches propelling her forward with nearly zero effort. The most recent growth spurt has left her momentarily proportional, and she moves fast much faster than poor Evi can hope to move, and that means that she reaches Tejra first. Arriving at where the harper is clean is the extremely bloody dragon, small pieces of fur stuck to her hide and little bits of bone in her talons show her triumph at killing things mostly dead when provided for her, but. A quarter of a dragonlength away from Tej Neifeth's mind prods forward, softly «Your hair, where did you get it?» The tone of the young dragonet is barky, a snap to it that speaks of DEMAND born of privilege. Words come with sparks of pink light, the forest of her mind probing forward with bioluminescent moss covering the trees, neon blue patches illuminate her mindscape with an eerie neon glow. Evi is at least a full minute behind, rushing forward with her thick green skirt covered in blood, her white tunic splattered with evidence of the murders she's complicit in helping commit. "NEI!" Is gasped out, breath hard to come by at her current speed of 'save the harper.'

If Tej were the type to have her stomach turn at the provocation of a little animal blood and fur, she would surely not have chosen the romping ground of known carnivores for her lunch. Even if she hadn't expected the show of hunting prowess so recently completed, she didn't get up and move once it started. No, she calmly consumed items at an unhurried pace that goes on even as the baby dragon brings her storm of Nei-ness close enough to actively interrupt her lovely picnic. Serenity's name is Tej today and her expression doesn't flicker, there's no sign of distress or even annoyance at the imperious tone in the green's voice. Fortunately for all parties, what Nei wants is not something Tej is unwilling to give. "Bought it off a trader at the last gather I attended," rolls the complete fabrication smoothly off her Harper-trained tongue. "The shine cost me extra, but I think it was worth it, don't you?" She turns her wide, innocent pale gaze up to the dragon just as she pops a bite of cooked red berries in a pastry shell into her mouth, the crimson of the treat making her lips an echo of the green's current decoration. Her eyes flick to the approaching weyrling woman and then back to the dragon. "Yours' has a nice shine to it. Do you suppose she'd want to sell it if you get to go to a gather one day?" Tej is so very helpful, isn't she, Evi? Do delay, she can only put good ideas into Neifeth's head. "'Lo there, Evi," she'll grant the girl with a Cheshire smile when she finally arrives.

The forest changes rapidly, the rapid change as the sun rises and the mossy trees are now coral orange-pink, treetops made of soft cotton candy clouds of impossible size, the dimension of the downy foilage preposterously large. The trees settle upon grass of the shiniest pale blue, ice-like, but instead of still or stiff as ice should be, it waves casually with a pulsing breeze. Nothing about the mindscape of the young dragon is subtle, the smell of crisp sweetness that mimics the odor of blossoming fruit trees, the warmth, and gooey softness is quaint, but the forest is implausibly vast, stretching forever on. Neifeth settles herself overtop Tejra in every way, mentally, physically closing the distance with grace and ease before arching her neck down in a manner that mimics a tunnelsnake readying to engulf some poor critter. Placing the redhaired woman at the end of her muzzle, the slightest tilt of her head to the right side reveals sharp white teeth electric green lips fail to conceal. Bright whirling eyes betray her good mood, though, blue as the day is long. Planting her shadowy teal front feet, she extends her neck, bloody muzzle mere inches from the hair in question. The sharp tone in her voice returns, not particularly high pitched but as demanding as before «How much for yours? It is used, so I expect a bargain. Also, it's touched you so, it's been defaced at best.» There's no humor in this mind voice, a smug bold vigor that dares defiance. «We will not be selling any part of Evi, no one has such riches.» Assurance thy name is Nei. Before Evi can reach them, the cyan striped slaughterhouse survivor moves to scoot the pastry away from Tejra. As that happens, the tired, thinning, bedraggled weyrling arrives breathing with a pant, it's a long way across the grounds! "Neiiiii." The ashey-brown wanna be blonde leans down, hands on her thighs unable to speak with any coherence, cheeks red from cold and exertion. "Tejra, meet Neith." The words flowing from her lips with ease of practice, her mouth curling into the broadest grin, nose wrinkling upward and eyes sparkle in a manner reserved for mother's staring at newborns. Nei is not done with Tej, «A GATHER, you are to describe this in full. Now. Immediately. » There's a tinge of Veruca in this small tyrant, the whining spoiled tone born of privilege and entitlement. The new greenrider is pressing her lips together tightly to avoid smiling, brown-green eyes genuinely amused nonetheless.

Well, Neifeth can settle over where Tej was that blink of an eye ago. Now she stands at the edge of the blanket. How she got there might be as much magical mystery as she's professing to put into her hair (but no, it was lightning reflexes with superior muscular control that combined to a fast roll back over her shoulders to her knee and gracefully up to stand for anyone that didn't blink). A single brow is arched at the baby dragon but the teeth that are only barely passing for a smile is a warning. To Tej's credit, she's smart enough not to bare weapons, but neither is she going to cede the advantage of the freedom of movement. She won't shy from the muzzle near her face though, she just won't be trapped regardless of Neifeth's intent. She does lean just slightly away because blood doesn't go with this outfit, but her face doesn't lose any of its serenity. "I'm afraid it can only be sold once," she clicks her tongue in faux sympathy for the disappointment. "Though anything of mine is bound to fetch high price. Just ask yours." She turns that edged smile toward the playful as she looks past the green to the rider. The pastry was abandoned, a small price for freedom, so the green can nose it all she wants with Tej's good will. Now whether or not Neifeth's stomach and Evi will thank the Harper for that is anyone's guess. "And if you're not selling any of hers, you can hardly have a use for mine anyway." Now, the woman will rock a step forward, with the bloody nose occupied by that movement of the pastry, executing a graceful, sinuous move to reclaim her box of vittles and step back again, and if this move brings her nearer to where Evi is bent over, so be it. It's not really that she's seeking protection from the weyrling, but rather that conversation is easier and the blanket may be ruined now anyway. She offers her box with its few pastries and chunks of toasted tubers and roasted fingerroots to the younger girl in case she'd like to partake. "I'd say it was a pleasure, Evi, but her manners are sorely lacking." If no one else is going to tell the weyrling pair, Tej won't shy from the task, but then she is a Harper (even a particularly mannerless one - pot, kettle, all that). "You'll have to be a bit more specific, pet," Tej almost definitely chooses that particular mock-endearment to get under the green's skin, "I've been to so many. Endless stalls of vendors selling everything the imagination can crave — well," this aside to Evi, "not everything, some things are specialties not fit for a gather," and to Neith, "most everything though. Delectable smells on the air, bubblies for a thirty-second, music somewhere and the clothes, everything from the tattiest workman up to the most elegant Lady Holder. It's nothing compared to the fashion sevens at Weaver, but then, what is." She sighs dramatically, her free hand pressing to her heart, pale gaze flicking between dragon and rider. Has she caused enough trouble yet? Did she find the line yet? Does she need to keep going? She can, she will.

Was Neifeth supposed to not notice Tejra running? Oh well, too bad. As the redhead flips back, Neifeth follows and crouches down, sinking her talons into the dirt beneath her before a look from Evi changes her course. The way the pair moves has evolved over the last two months; they're deeply in sync, and when one moves, the other does too. Evi takes a deep breath and straightens herself up, face flushed with both weather and exertion as her hands go to push errant strands of hair from her face and droplets of blood are smeared forming streaks that turn segments of hair maroon. They are both a total mess, Nei abandoning the pastry the moment Tej's interest departs. Edging forward, each step is taken with silent care, Nei's undivided attention is laser-focused on the sneaky woman before her. Anyone prone to bouts of anxiety would be justified in feeling ill at ease. With a flick of a forked tongue, Neifeth's mind is gone, poof, then back with a trickle of water, the slight smell of mint indicating she is still mentally intruding «You thought we would be putting that MOP on mine? Please.» The most condescending, please. Evi winces, shaking her head at Tej but smiling like a feline who has eaten a bird. Effervescent joy exudes from every pore in her body, hips swaying back and forth with the uncontained excitement of showing off her new lifemate. "Told you." In response to the comment about manners, eyes going up to the sky and back down in a mock show of exasperation. This changes as Tejra describes gathers, and Nei prowls forward, tail coiling around her rider's feet while her snout perches on Evi's shoulder. «Take me.» The boisterous imperious demand given to whoever will listen, «I want to go NOW. » I want a goose that can lay golden eggs. The mix of whining and pouting, with childlike demand, does not phase the once a weaver girl. "We will go, Nei, we will, but there isn't one on right now. When there is, I swear I will take you." The adamant tone used along with the soothing sing-song voice shows practice and mastery at the art of handling her new friend. Lowering her head down from Evi's shoulder, Evi gives Tej a LOOK. Both eyebrows open mouth partially ajar in a sigh. «Do you have a problem?» Neifeth demands, «One such as yourself should know that manners only serve lesser creatures, smaller, weaker, those subservient smalls. Mine seems to think you are not such, she was under the conclusion that you were made of more.» The fey side of the snotty green is out in full force, wild, mercurial, manipulative in tone with that snide mocking and subtle sense of challenge. What the hell kind of lifemate did Evi get. Nei continues «New game, can you do a cartwheel?» Evi rolls her head back and whines, the subject triggering vexation.

There are no supposed tos where Tejra is involved; only can, can't, do and don't. The only time supposed to or should makes a strong appearance is when it involves the knot she rarely wears (and doesn't today). Neifeth's notice simply means it wasn't like a magic trick to the dragon, maybe it was simply the start of a game. Maybe Tej meant for the green to follow. Maybe she just was disinclined to be trapped; some people have strong feelings about that kind of thing and act on instinct. There isn't fear in her scent, though, if Neifeth's paying attention to such nuance. "For what purpose would you wish it, then?" Tej asks quite reasonably, her head tilting just slightly as she quirks a curious brow. If Neifeth's condescension bothers her, there's no sign of it in demeanor or stance. She's still visibly at ease as she plucks up a fingerroot to chew. She leaves the handling of the dragon to the one charged with it (FOR ALL ETERNITY, EVI), but she does watch the exchange calmly, amusement briefly ghosting across her face. "New game." Tej agrees readily to that much, but it would seem that she has different ideas about what game it ought to be. "Manners are a disarming tactic. A pretty please or thank you, the right semblance of capitulation can take you far. No one but you needs to know what's here," a hand touches her temple, not her heart, but that's probably also something this woman keeps well-guarded. "I can do a cartwheel, but why would I? Simply to please you when you've given me no reason to wish to? If you want a cartwheel from me, mayhaps you should offer me something in turn." The questioning brow turned toward Evi now is one of actual question. Setting aside that Tejra is clearly being EXTREMELY HELPFUL in teaching MORAL LESSONS to tiny-enormous dragons, it does seem that she's looking to the green's rider for silent guidance as to whether or not this is the right tact to take in dealing with the mercurial green. There's no saying the mercurial woman will take whatever answer she's given, but at least she's asking - so that has to count for something, right? "Manners are also helpful if you're going to represent your Evi in the best light at a gather. They can turn you away, you know." It would be a shame says her voice, but… such is life. Full of these little disappointments.

Neifeth stretches her body all the way out, arching her neck, rolling her shoulder muscles, and partially extending her wings. The motion is faintly feline, her mind slithers out towards Tejra again, the scene has changed, and the forest is now a beach. The beach that is now Nei's mind has lilac purple sand, the water is an incandescent orange and the overwhelming smell of citrus fruit. «Then it would be MINE, you simpleton and not yours.» Childish in the extreme, but her explanation is no different than many a petty thief, denying someone else something pretty. Evi frowns at the explanation, narrowing her gaze and exhaling loudly. "She's pretty good at collecting other people's things." Hushed tones, her voice unsteady as she explains her lifemates proclivity to acquire the belongings of others. Only when Tejra begins to speak of manners more clinically, as a way to manipulate does she TRULY have Nei's ear. «Evi. NOTEBOOK.» Demanding, sure, but not as rude as she was with Tejra earlier. Evi reaches into her green skirt pocket, a notepad bound in pink fluff is procured. A second dive into her pocket reveals a small pencil, not much bigger than her finger. «SO. LET ME GET THIS STRAIGHT.» LOUD and pushy, the dragon pulling herself into what can only be described as a sitting position. Rear underneath her, head arched down at Tejra and wings settled on her back, a student if only for this very moment. «If one of us is polite, says 'please'» The SNIDE mocking in her tone when the word is uttered broadcasts that she has such LITTLE use for the word. «OR 'thank you.» Massive mental eye roll, whyyyy. Evi is known for gagging when uncomfortable, which is often these days, and Nei imitates that sound mentally. BLECK. «We don’t need to mean it? Brilliant. Put that down on paper Evi dear.» Poor Evi, the look on her face as she reluctantly plays secretary to her new charge. LIKE WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TEJ. REALLY? The human portion of the pair steps forward now, "She wants you to teach me to cartwheel. I let slip a sevenday ago that I can't. She saw you move and I thought about it. I told her I can't, she's not accepting this." A full frown, this is her lot, Tej. A lifetime of improvement by the meanest of girls, the bullies in every crafthall and hold could come to learn at the feet of Neifeth. «Evi will repersent herself, why would I go? Sounds like drudgery and do I look like a drudge?» A loaded question, Evi shaking her head back and forth in tiny jerks subtly trying to indicate to Tej she shouldn't answer. "Tejra, would you be willing to teach me to cartwheel? Please." DISTRACTION. Evi doing her level best to at least mimic good behavior.

Tejra's pale gaze narrows just slightly as she watches the green and then her rider as they speak in turns. She doesn't, this time, say anything until everything has been said and done. It's a curiously, strangely passive way of being for one so normally not. Then again, it is a little feline-like in its own right, not reacting when a reaction might be anticipated. She doesn't even bring more food to her lips for any of those moment. It's only after Evi makes a plea for distraction that the redhead makes any response. She slants an unreadable look at the rider before looking to the dragon to say, "No, dragon, you need never mean a single word." Possibly, she means much more broadly than with just manners. It might call into question much if not everything that Tej says. "If the one saying the words is undermined by the other," she will offer this much perhaps actual help to the one expected to use her manners, "it's like being caught in a lie. You're worse off for the attempt." All or nothing. Team or bust. And… well, sorry, Evi, Tej doesn't look sorry. In fact, Tej's expression is remarkably calm, unmoved by any of the occurrences here, now. She doesn't comment on the mercurial green's abrupt shift in position or the dragon's however temporary interest in her little life lessons, or even the weyrling's request. She says simply, "That's a service I'm paid to perform." It's not a yes and it's not a no. Maybe it's not even something relevant by this moment when things change so swiftly in the presence of the young green.

Confusing Evi and Nei is not a difficult task, and more so with lack of real sleep and the total chaos that is weyrling life. Neifeth seems satisfied to the NINES with the idea that she can say polite things, without meaning them. A REVOLUTIONARY IDEA. The cyan terror preens happily, wiggling her entire body in pleasure at this new thought eyes whirling the happiest of blues. «So, does Evi have to lie too? Evi, make notes.» A bright green field stretches from her mind, the sky a vast array of purple with stars twinkling blood red, her mental landscape changes about as quickly as her moods, and the new scene is tranquil. A hand reaches out to grab at the food absently, seeming to not even notice that her hand is splashed with dried blood. “I think um if you don’t mind me trying Tej? I think she’s saying we both have to be nice. Right?” The human half of the pair attempting her level best to learn, head canting down and to the side, as interested in Tejra and Nei is for the moment. “I um, don’t really have marks right now. Not anything I can spare, Nei-love. Maybe Tejra will take a trade?” Neifeth humphs, not fully accepting their lack of funds. The voice is sweet and full of apology, they are opposites in many ways the human half dripping sincerity and kindness. “Can um, I ask why you would eat here?” Eyes rolling over to her bloody, viscera covered partner. “Not that we mind the company, it’s nice when Nei can meet new people!” Nice for WHO? Probably not the new people, alright. Beyond that, there’s no denying the complete flush of joy in Evi, the bright smile on her face, cheeks plumped up and lips curled with such contentment. Luv, twue wuv.

Perhaps Tejra is adopting a new practice when it comes to dealing with this particular green pairing because the serenity of her face doesn't shift, doesn't twitch, doesn't react even by a hair of movement until everything has been said, thus it certainly doesn't seem that she minds in any way that Evi tries her hand at interpretation (of course, if she did mind, one might wonder if one could see it behind that tranquil expression). Then a smile spreads slowly across her lips, a smile with a wild edge, a sharpness and no small dollop of danger in the way her lashes sweep down and then up again as she looks up to Neifeth. "'Have to,'" is repeated back in as near a mimic to the green's own tone as Tej can readily make with her Harper trained voice. "Evi is not compelled," that word is made delicious as a satisfying bite of prey as it rolls slowly off Tejra's tongue and out of her mouth, "to do anything at all. You, however, may be. Unfortunate, that. I would practice following the letter of a command and no more that you may always see the loophole in what you're commanded." Queen's command is, it's said, pesky that way. "You never know when it might come in handy," and if the woman has ideas about that, they dance just behind her eyes and don't even try to find a breath to birth them through her lips. "As to whether or not Evi need lie, it depends on her character." Now Evi gets the full weight of that assessing pale gaze. "Are you the sort who needs to lie to behave well?" Whatever well might be defined as. "The more lies one tells," she notes as a related, perhaps presently irrelevant aside, "the better a memory one must have for what's been told." More relevantly, she continues in her melodic purr, "You need not both be nice. You need both be consistent in what you present. Lies aren't nice. Sometimes they're sweet, but never nice. Consistency is what's important." That wild smile shifts to something winsome and sweet that is directed to Evi. Tej is so helpful, isn't she? "I do take trades. What might you offer?" A brow is arched at the slightly younger girl in intrigue. She's listening, but she's not going to skip the opportunity to hear what Evi might wish to give before she might offer ideas of her own. She glances down to her blanket, the one with the new holes from where Neifeth's claws dug into the ground as she pursued her, and back to Evi. "I have friends here," the gesture of her free hand indicates the training grounds, and there's humor in her expression as she looks at Evi. "I said I'd visit when I was in the Weyr." Beat. "I'm in the Weyr." See? She's right here. Her lips twitch in amusement not quite allowed to bring back the smile that left when she looked at the blanket. "But I can't stay, not just now. I'm sure I'll be back around sometime though. Until then," Tej tips her head in a parting gesture, flashing a smile to the green pair before swiftly collecting what she can of her things and abandoning the torn blanket the green might still be standing on before heading back in the direction of the rest of the Weyr.

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