Five-Armed Foes
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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.


Few humans may dare to do a polar plunge, but the wintery water isn't that cold for creatures born with hide designed for the void of between. Rhodelia has settled well above the high tide line and clear of any accidental splashing as she watches on to the 'exercises' her lifemate is currently inventing. Can dragons do a backstroke? Should they even try??? That's not a question concerning Inasyth as the young gold keeps alternating between swimming normally and jumping up to do the opposite of a belly flop, a backflop if you will, paired with a few wiggle wiggles to propel her deeper into the water. « And one and two and three and FOUR! Exercise doesn't have to be a BORE!!! HAHAHAHA! I made a poem, Rhody! A POEM! » AND SPLASH. That's a very practiced nod the weyrling gives her dragon, but at least she doesn't groan. Sometimes enthusiasm can be a bit contagious, but not contagious enough for her to throw herself into exercise, even as her foot nudges at the piece of metal at her foot that looks suspiciously like a discarded kettle bell.

It would be fair to expect F'yr to be one of the humans who undertakes such bravery (read: stupidity) as a polar plunge, because he's certainly done it before. But today he's dressed in a ragged but soft burnt orange sweater that has no business being anywhere but the rag bin - but on a weyrling is probably very close to the same thing; it will never survive the month, if it even survives the seven the way this blond has been going through clothes thanks to his very heroic and very busy lifemate. « HUZZAH! » is probably the first warning of the impending arrivals, Glorioth all but galloping into the surf in his booming charge, with music and an enormous, « AHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAH AHAHHAAHAHAH! » to join his golden sister. « BETRAYER! » he declares even as he heads for Inasyth. « HOW DARE YOU DEPART ON A MISSION OF SUCH DARING WITHOUT ME? DO YOU NOT KNOW OF THE DANGERS OF THE DEEP? » Because there are dangers, Inasyth, hear the scary music? That's how you know. Even if it is still chronically off-key. With Glorioth well distracted, it's little wonder that F'yr moves to take a close seat beside Rhodelia on the sand, his own greeting seeming all the more quiet by contrast to his lifemate's volume. There's a shoulder to shoulder nudge after F'yr's arms loop loosely around his knees and a low, "Hey," for the older woman. His eyes flick briefly to the discarded metal, and away, though it doesn't change that his lips briefly tug into an amused and too knowing grin.

« Danger? Pfah!!! » Inasyth blows a mental raspberry in her brother's direction even as she straightens up, swivelling that long neck so she can peer better at the galloping Glorioth. She doesn't need to peer long to get an idea for his general path and suddenly the gold takes a deep breath and disappears under the waves. « I'LL SHOW YOU DANGER!!! » Add a twang of strings, same two notes repeating over and over, gradually getting faster and not caring at all if it clashes with the bronzes own off-key scary music. The water isn't really deep enough to allow her to truly disappear, but she'll try her best to be a scary, sneaky draconic-submarine as she lunges for her brother's belly to give a snoot-boop if she can manage it and her wings breaking the surface don't betray her. Rhodelia isn't at all surprised by F'yr's arrival since Glorioth makes such an effective Herald and she gives her clutchmate subtle head nod of the what's up variety for greeting. "Ever wonder how they got so big already?"

« CEASE YOUR SHENANIGANS, FOE-SISTER, » Glorioth is not messing around, Ina, and neither should you be when you hear the terrible news. « WE HAVE COME TO HUNT THE DASTARDLY FISH OF STARS. IT ONCE BESMIRCHED OUR NOBLE FATHER WHO IS… » DUN DUN DUN « MISSING. WE QUEST TO FIND HIM. EVENTUALLY. » Not right away. « WE SHALL PREVAIL THROUGH EVERY TRAIL UNTIL WE — » And that's when there's that snoot-boop which gets a very severe clash of weapons in answer. How dare. There are serious heroics on-going here, Ina. « — FIND HIM. » There's a sense of eye-narrowed glaring at the gold even if his eyes don't do any such thing, already lidded once in defense against splashes of water. "Every day," F'yr replies easily, and at ease. If Xermiltoth really is missing and not just banished from the sight of his children for long enough for Glorioth to have effectively forgotten the whys or hows or wheres of it all, then the man is not apparently worried. "Are you glad?" He asks after a moment. "I mean, not that they're so big, but… After standing all those times and finding her… is it all… an experience you were — I don't know, grateful for?" His eyes drift across the horizon, routinely coming back to the still young but enormous dragons in the cold surf.

« ARE YOU FOE-REAL??? » Insayth's head bobbles up out of the water as soon as Glorioth starts giving the very real and very serious details of this quest. Her head cocks to the side as she actually stops to consider her next course of action. « Which him? Xermiltoth or the Fish of Stars? I think I can sense the fish this way!!! MWAH-mwah-MWAH-mwah!!! » That last sound is accompanied by a loud, throaty hum as she closes her eyes and blindly sweeps towards the shallows. « THE FISH! THE FISH!!! I CAN SMELL HIM. MWAHMwahMWAHMwah!!! » That sounds apparently is the sign of concentration. Rhodelia doesn't miss a beat before calling out, "TO THE LEFT!!!" and possible dragon collision is avoided for now as the closed-eyed Insayth veers appropriately away to her own left. Maybe not the direction intended, but it works. As for what she expected, Rhody gives a shrug of her shoulders. "After standing so many times, I wasn't expecting anything really except disappointment. She's definitely not that. And a whole lot more. Literally." Her fingers instinctively flex as if working out some of those cramps from all that dragon scrubbing and oiling she's been dealing with. Even less than half grown, Inasyth is still MASSIVE.

"Don't let her lick a starfish," F'yr imparts hurriedly to Rhody, only to stop himself with a hand reaching to grip her forearm, "… Or do." And he tilts his head toward the gold weyrling, a glint of mischief in her eyes. "I gather it didn't hurt Xermiltoth except in pride." Let's face it, this might be why F'yr is letting his lifemate while away his leisure time on this particular quest. Now that Inasyth is taking things with the appropriate level of seriousity that Glorioth expects, she may bask in the RADIANCE OF HIS VALOR (and approval). « First, the fish of stars. Then the next step. And the one after. And finally, though all our trials, our dear possibly-departed dad. » Glori's not counting Xermi out yet, but he's probably entertaining the possibility with more relish than is strictly expected from children possibly in mourning. But it's all so exciting, isn't it? The danger? The not knowing? Nevermind that if the Weyrleader's dragon had died, surely the whole Weyr would feel it right down into their marrow. « LET US FIND THIS NEFARIOUS FISH OF STARS. YOU WILL KNOW HIM FROM HIS BIZARRE ORIENTATION. » An image is attempted, a little fuzzy, but it's vaguely the shape of a stard drawn on paper, something his rider showed him no doubt. F'yrfully helpful, that one. F'yr releases his grip on Rhody's arm once the all important message is communicated and he's back to the briefly diverged from conversation. "Well, if nothing else, you'll have stellar arm strength from all that dragon cleaning. So that's something to be grateful for. Probably more helpful in hefting tanks of agenothree than filing, but then…" Filing was never Rhody's area of expertise and he dares a teasing glance in her direction.

"Lick a… why would she… nevermind…." Rhodelia shakes her head as realizes there are some questions like WHY that she might as well just completely toss out of her vocabulary. The woman's face scrunches as apparently some mental orders are relayed and Inasyth responds with a huff that could only be described as a growing dragon baby's version of a teen's OKAY MOM. At least the eye that's not facing Glorioth is cracked open to peak as she continues to make those MWAHMWAHMWAH humming noise and swipe her massive tawny paws in the shallower water. « AM I HOTTER? Oh, no… that's colder…. » Cue an abrupt direction change. « THIS WAY IS HOTTER. I CAN JUST FEEL IT!!! » She stops still as one of her paws splashes upwards and hurls water and something reddish towards her brother. « CATCH THE FISH OF THE STARS!!! » Only, starfish don't have pinchers which they snap quite angrily as they hurl through the air. Flying spiderclaw probably qualifies as bizarre orientation. Rhodelia will let the dragons figure it out as she focuses instead on conversation of arm strenghth and flexes an arm that has acquired at least a tiny amount of muscle no matter how discarded and underutilized the kettlebell near her feet might be. "Well, I gotta do something else when the rest of you all are learning how to burn down the Weyr with firestone." The last is at least whispered in hopes that a certain DESTRUCTIVE bronze won't hear.

"Because she's Xermiltoth's blood and some things are hereditary," F'yr replies anyway, with a smile that turns into a laugh at some private joke. « WHAT DOES TEMPERATURE EVEN HAVE TO DO WITH IT? » Glorioth demands, swinging his head briefly in F'yr's direction. Then to Inasyth herself, « DO YOU KNOW THE LORE OF THE FISH OF STARS? DOES IT REQUIRE WARM CLIMES OR COOL? » It's possible Inasyth has lost him a little. Maybe she should save her riddles for the literate. For his part, the baby bronze just… looks around, searching the floor with his paws, occasionally dipping his head under to search by eye. Bronze head pops up to observe the flying spiderclaw and flash the image at Ina in annoyance. « THAT LACKS THE CORRECT SHAPE FOR A FISH OF STARS. » PAY ATTENTION, INA. Sploosh goes the spiderclaw back into the water. Meanwhile, F'yr laughs again. "Listen, if you think about it, you're really the more useful at burning down the Weyr. Just make sure you have a clear path of retreat, and start with the office first." He is joking, Rhody, don't get any ideas Nessa hasn't already had probably 100,000 times. "I'm not sure that Glori's the one we have to worry about with the firestone. He'd rather mash it until it's dead." That brutal pulverizing thing is appealing to spry young things. He won't neglect the limbs either. Fire … it doesn't so much matter. If needs drive… well, he probably wouldn't say no. "Koth on the other hand…" He shrugs. Koth is pretty fierce.

Inasyth finally cracks the other eyelid, totally breaking the whole rule of no peaking that she made up for herself and this game QUEST she had been invited to participate in. « Things are WARMER when you're close! » She somehow miraculously refrains from adding a DUH to the explanation. « You ever get that tingly feeling in your left front talon when you just know you're ON A ROLL??? » The gold raises said left front paw and wiggles her talons before plunging it back in the water for more enthusiastic swiping accompanied with a good deal of grunting. SHE'LL GIVE YOU 110% GLORIOTH!!! Even if it does lead to not the correct marine life, she'll keep swiping. And who are they kidding? There are probably some smudge marks left from the last time someone tried to burn down the office. Luckily it's mostly stone and still standing. Rhodelia just gives a snort. "Retreat is the one thing I'm good at. Much better than filing!" There is a grin at the image of fierce little Koth with some flame. "I think that will just help her level the playing field then." Watch out once that little green's got firepower.

F'yr's face is suddenly buried in Rhodelia's shoulder, his shoulders shaking as he loses it. He was good while hearing the internal commentary from his lifemate about Inasyth's theories of heat and success, but as Inasyth's paws come up and wiggle, the big blond freezes and then— his lips press together, harder and harder with each movement of the baby bronze, who stops. The water churns where his tail whips it into a frenzy as he considers his sister's methodology (minding that she's been on the wrong team at least twice in the last twenty minutes and is not especially reliable just now), and slo-mo lifts his own left right paw from the water to tilt his head quizzically. R.I.P. Sweet F'yr. We hardly knew ye. He doesn't stay on Rhodelia's shoulder long because he's laughing so hard, that he ends up lying on his back in the cold sand, his arms clutched around his middle, knees drawing up and howling with laughter. Maybe it's not that funny to anyone else, but it really doesn't have to be; F'yr doesn't generally trouble himself when his responses are non-standard. The ruckus on the beach, however, is enough to draw the notice of the baby bronze who abandons the PROBABLY EVIL sister in the water, to the tender mercies of the fish of stars and its compatriot fish of various shapes and sizes, with every intention of charging up the beach to DRIP OMINOUSLY over his rider. Rhody can be dripped on too, if she doesn't abandon F'yr fast enough. Sorry, Rhody, conversation has to wait.

Rhodelia startles as suddenly she's got a shoulder full of F'yr although the unexpected weight means she doesn't get very far and just gives an awkward pat to his shoulder. As F'yr starts howling, her eyebrow raises. "Are you okay? Like… as okay as you usually are?" The bar is really, really low. Inasyth is PERFECTLY okay with Glorioth's own twist on her MASTERFUL FISH HUNTING TECHNIQUE (don't listen to the haters), crowing with delight as he starts with the tail thrashing. The crow turns into a confused croon as the bronze charges back towards the beach and screw the fish of the stars, she's galloping right after. « WAIT FOR ME! OR, DON'T WAIT. I'LL CATCH UP! BELIEVE IN ME WHO BELIEVES IN ME!!! » Right as F'yr collapses onto the sand, Rhody starts the process of scrambling, but its too little, too late. If Glorioth doesn't drip on her, Inasyth definitely does when she finally does catch up and NUZZLES her rider and if her brother doesn't stop her, F'yr as well. « Have either of you seen the dangerous fish of the stars??? We're on a mission. Or a Quest? Expedition? We're on a SOMETHING! »

He's fine, it's fine, Rhody. Don't worry. Don't worry about the menace in the air, or the way Glori dives toward F'yr his wings spread wide to keep him from coming down with too much force onto his rider. It's like a pounce. Except that when this pounce is done, talons are curled into ugly sweater (no one will mourn ye, orange was not F'yr's color as he was told on more than one occasion). He rends slices in it even as he lifts his rider bodily from the sand and gives him a little shake. Since F'yr's hands are only wrapping onto the forelimbs of his dragon lest the shirt tear, and still laughing, everything's probably fine. « YOU ARE F'YRFULLY FULL OF YOUR MADNESS TODAY, MY FRIEND. » It's not pleasing to the bronze, but apparently this is a 'thing' and it's more tragic than it is problematic. Another shake has F'yr hiccuping the laughter to a stop. RIP goes the shirt and F'yr falls! But only about two feet because his impressive upper body strength is just that functional and he proceeds to do a pull up using his lifemate's forelimbs as the bar. It's just so that he can swing himself a little before he jumps down onto the sand, landing and stumbling but fine. Everything's fine, wet Rhody and drippy Inasyth. These two are just very physical with one another even under the best circumstances. « My F'yrociously disappointing friend cannot always control himself enough to be useful, » Glorioth relates to Inasyth. He might apologize, but he doesn't do that. Doesn't know how. Doesn't care. He's just explaining so she doesn't get her hopes up that F'yr is going to be any use to them. The man stares down at his ripped shirt and chuckles, but at least it doesn't get away from him again. "Want to walk back to the barracks?" is inquired of the whole group. "There might be more clues about the fish of stars in one of our study books. I think we ought to go search them until we find it." Look at that slick man lie with ease. He flashes Rhody an unrepentant smile.

Rhodelia is too busy trying to wipe her suddenly soaked hair out of her face to worry much about F'yr for the moment. She hadn't planned on taking a shower on the beach today but young dragons can be just so helpful like that. Inasyth is practically BEAMING as she drip-drip-drips water right onto Rhody's head. Even still-growing dragons can still be MASSIVE. The glare she attempts to give to the dragons (BOTH dragons) lasts approximately 0.000000025 of a second before she gives up with a shrug. Some battles just aren't even worth fighting. "You know… I think I heard that some formations might even be particularly good for star fish hunting. We should totally go study those books. In the barracks." Preferably with a blanket and a gianormous mug of klah. Rhody will seize on that lie and return an equally unrepentant smile of her own before she continues the effort of trying to herd the easily distracted Inasyth back to the barracks.


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