Puppy Heist

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.

In a weyr full and thriving, always abustle with the hum of business, of guests, of trade, it must be terribly difficult, at times, to differentiate new faces from old. It's so easy to blend in, to become another face in the crowd, to project confidence, and assurance, and fly incognito right into the weyr's loving embrace. Of course, there are other schools of thought. "Ah. It's. We seem to be… Hmm." These are the soft-spoken words of a man who has seen better days (but also, probably, worse), bundled in layers of scruff and clothing, arms wrapped about a suspiciously large, suspiciously squirming lump around his middle as he rotates in a slow circle and takes in the activity in the midmorning clearing with the look of one who is totally, completely overwhelmed. "Oof," he says in a defeated fashion as, unable to determine where to go or what to do next, he's decided to just… stand there instead. Yes. Right there. In the middle of the clearing. Just staring. This is fine, Casper. Totally fine. Is he mumbling all this to himself in quiet undertones? Yes, yes he is. "Nobody's gonna care or run into you or anything. Gonna be juuust dandy."

SOMETHING GOING WRONG? HERE? IN XANADU WEYR? AHAHAHA. AHA. HA. AH. It's more likely than you think. That is punctuated by the very lost Beastcrafter being snuck up upon by one VERY, VERY, NOT-NEARLY-SO-SNEAKY-BUT-SHUT-UP QUEEN. Leirith tucks her legs in, shuffles teen-tiny steps at a time (onnnnnnnnnnnnnnnneeeeeeeeeee, twoooooooooooooooooooooooo), pausing and looking NOT AT ALL SUSPICIOUS every time a turn faces him in her direction until — « HELLO THERE, MINION! » It's a giddy blast of bass and drums, and excitement that bleeds from Leirith's mind into everybody else's and has some people DUCKING WITH AND ARM OVER THEIR HEADS as if under attack. But no, no attack. Just Leirith, who is joined SECONDS LATER by Risali who stands behind Casper now, clearing her throat as hands go to hips, and her head tilts, and she would probably look a lot more impressive if she wasn't so thoroughly bundled up in LAYERS. She might sound less muffled too if nose and mouth were exposed to the cold BUT NO. THEY'RE NOT. "Are you lost?" comes about as friendly as Risali can manage, which is somewhere around 'awkward' and 'unsure' and 'forcing a smile he can't see anyway because there is cloth around her mouth// and anyway HER EYES KEEP GOING TO HIS WIGGLING LUMP and those brows raise as if asking him another question like, 'You aren't trying to abduct and murder small children, are you? Because I HAVE A VERY BIG, VERY NOT SCARY DRAGON BUT PRETEND JUST THE BIG PART.' "New? Do you need help?"

Give Casper some credit: he's not entirely clueless. Just. Mostly. He does notice that that ginormous mustard-yellow dragon is getting closer…. closer… closer… every time he revolves in a circle, but it's more the worried, abashed 'nothing amiss here, I just can't tell my ass end from the front, move along' slidelong glance of one who is going to stay here until he figures it out himself. He's socially awkward, okay, enough that he very carefully puts the gold to his back rather than try to engage in contact - much to his regret. When that blasting echo of words pounds him right around the brainy bits, the beastcrafter nigh about leaps out of his skin, imitating a cat's frightened cucumber leap an entire foot to one side before whirling about with a startled, "Motherforker, what is wrong with you?!" Arms that have wrapped themselves tighter about the wriggling lump in his jacket tense at the appearance of Risali, wary gaze zooming up and down her person repeatedly before offering Leirith the same treatment. Risali. Leirith. Risali. Leirith. Risa— "Hah!" Is he lost. The question amuses him, not enough to break him from shocked caution, but enough to elicit that single spoken laugh, unaware or unbothered by the goldrider's own awkwardness. "Am I lost, she asks. Of course I'm lost," he says with a disparaging look weyr-wards, as though it's the weyr's fault it's so large and teeming. "Place's ridiculous. Entirely too easy for little things to go missing in there." Talking to himself again? Maybe not, for there's suddenly a low whine from within the depths of his coat, and a small black nose that pushes itself out ahead of a little grey face. Floppy ears attempt to perk at Risali, the little puppy struggling within the fabric as though attempting to escape and, failing, leans up to bathe Casper's face in kisses instead. He shows no reaction, instead issuing a prompting, "Know anybody who's lost a dog?"

« THEY'VE BEEN ASKING THAT QUESTION SINCE I BURST FROM MY SHELL, » Leirith answers, still cheerful, still brimming with excitement that spills over into another wubwubwub of sound that Risali, blissfully, is immune to. « THE ANSWER IS NOTHING. I AM A BADASS. » And Risali is keeping that forced smile intact - which you can tell, because LOOK AT HER EYES - as she stands there AND GETS SASSED. BY A PUPPY HOARDER. Instead of sassing back, Risali steps in beside him, turns to look towards the weyr as one elbow bumps against him and she takes in that view. One, two, three moments, and the Weyrwoman's head rolls back on her shoulders, something SMUG about the expression she fixes him with when she says, "You've never been to a weyr, have you?" I mean, he probably has, but it's not a WILD GUESS. A wild guess that SUDDENLY DOESN'T MATTER - not to Risali, anyway. Not when that puppy pops up and Risali makes a sound that's half-surprise, half I want to touch it as she watches the thorough mauling of one UNCHANGING FACE. Devil. Who gets puppy kisses and doesn't end up melting halfway through. "Me," Risali says immediately, extending her arms to take the burden away from him. There's no hesitation, no pause, no stopping to think about the fact that she might be stealing somebody's puppy. That's the power of puppy teeth and puppy breath and puppy kisses: you want them ABOVE ALL OTHER THINGS. "I am." Give it to her.

That earns a long look from Casper, and wary social ineptitude or not, it earns a laugh. It's as slow and hesitant as the rest of him, a dry, clipped heh, heheh, heh that brings a slightly twinkle to dull blue eyes before they swing back to Risali. Leirith. Risali again. "I like her." Oopfh, up he hefts the pup again, awkwardly dipping so her reaching tongue gets pulled just out of range of his face and right into Risali's when she comes to park beside him. Alas, that poor smugness of hers - it might well be rendered moot by the laplaplapping of a tongue if she isn't careful. Cas winces for his mistake but doesn't fix it, instead huffing a gruff noise that might be all the response she gets before, "Plenty. Doesn't mean they aren't…" One hand gestures helplessly at 'the view,' the other assist her in pouring the dog from his jacket, tipping like a particularly strange teapot to plop the pup into her arms. Kisses, hooooo. Instead of dispensing of his burden and running like any sane person would, the man instead tucks his hands into coat pockets, casually observing the situation about to go down with no clear intent to assist it whatsoever. Rude. Instead he aims a cautious side-eye Leirith's way and asks, wincingly braced for mental invasion, "Is she really though?" Missing a puppy that is.

Risali clicks her tongue against her teeth at the admittance of liking Leirith as grey eyes find blue and dry tones carry, "You're going to regret that," through fabric and probably a still-forced smile. BUT HECK YES THAT SMUGNESS IS DEMOLISHED BY PUPPY-KISSES. Half of them get fabric anyway, which doesn't exactly encourage Risali to lean away from cute babies - "Unreasonably large?" Risali finishes on a coo, gladly turning into a TEA CUP to accept PUPTEA (GET IT? SHUT UP IT WAS FUNNY) and quickly shuffling it around into her jacket. One hand slips down to cradle the canine up while the other shifts to pull down her scarf, and Risali scrunches her nose, and mouth, and eyes closed in order to DUTIFULLY ACCEPT the lavish attention of one very excitable puppy tongue. BUT LISTEN, even that question has Risali squinting open one eye, the rest of her face still scrunched as she risks, "I'm right he— and gets interrupted by one puppy tongue that has FOUND SOMETHING NEW AND ASPIRES TO DISCOVERY. « SHE IS MISSING MANY THINGS, » Leirith tells him, in a way that might be solemn if that mindvoice belonged to anybody other than Leirith. But it doesn't, so she sounds cheerful in the excess, bombastic in her joy as conversation turns to INSULT OF HER LIFEMATE. « SHE IS MISSING DIGNITY, GRACE, SEVEN INCHES OF HEIGHT — » "A badass lifem-mmm-" « INTELLIGENCE. WHAT IS THE OPPOSITE OF DISAPPOINTMENT? SHE IS MISSING THAT TOO. » UN-PUPPY BOUND HAND REACHES TO FISHSLAP AT A SNOUT, but Leirith pulls away with a BOOMBOOMBOOM OF LAUGHTER. « AND NOW SHE IS MISSING HONESTY. » Because yeah. She's totally not missing a puppy. OUTED, the weyrwoman is turning her back to Casper. "She's not yours either." SO THERE. LOGIC.

There's another low growl of noise from Casper, this one tinged with the weary acceptance of the permanently inconvenienced. "Maybe. But you have to admit, it was funny." WHAT. Everyone can enjoy it the first time Leirith says that! Who expects a dragon to call themselves badass, after all? Not this guy. He's just man-simple enough to find it enjoyable enough for another small 'heh'. Alas, whatever tinge of something that forced smile may or may not add to Risali's voice or face goes right over his head, perhaps unbothered, perhaps just that dense as he hums assent for her assessment of the weyr. "And busy. Everyone's got an agenda," and he don't just mean the calendar kind. "Not just weyrs like that, though. Halls. Holds. Mmph." Not a fan, this one, which perhaps explains his willingness to stay close, to cling to whatever familiarity he has found in this stranger and her— "Ah. You're a weyrwoman." And he's just insulted what is probably her home. That thought comes and goes visibly across his face, readable as a flicker of 'ah, shit,' before he sighs the sigh of one accepting that what's done is done. No taking it back now. Besides, maybe she won't have noticed what with this deployment of cute, which apparently only affects Casper when it's not him receiving it. Tension around his eyes fades, corners of his mouth softening into a smile as he says, "She likes you." Gentle amusement becomes almost rampant for Leirith's input, gruff tones helpfully supplying a low, "Pleasure?" It's the only opposite of disappointment he can concoct on such short notice, posture remaining loose, hands still in pockets as he watches Risali turn from him. "No, but I'm sure someone misses her. Only reason I bothered." BOOM. HEARTSTRINGED. There's a sort of wistfulness in his gaze that lingers as one hand lifts to push back at hair, scrub at bristled cheeks, and add, "Bah. Might not even belong to anyone here, I was halfway to Ressac, but it seemed the best bet."

"Never," Risali answers with a conviction that would be a lot more convincing if something that cute wasn't making out with her face. Leirith is NOT FUNNY, CASPER. SHE IS RUDE, and maybe that's what Risali is trying to communicate when she throws back one hand to smack Casper with the back of it in lieu of opening her mouth up to more keeses. One eye squints open again, Risali tilting her head and holding tighter to the Nameless Pup that eagerly tries to follow the movement with a whine. That grey eye fixes on Casper as he speaks, and her lips twist into a smile that's there and gone as she tilts her chin up and breathes out, "That's called politics," as fast as she can to keep ANY STRAY TONGUES FROM STRAYING. But she does not confirm or deny her status as a weyrmoman; she doesn't give him ANYTHING ELSE except for a huff of laughter for observations of where puppy-adoration lies. Risali shifts one hand to pull her scarf back up over her face, trying to ALLOW HERSELF TO SPEAK as she parts with half-laughed, "I think she probably likes everybody." Because she's VERY CUTE and VERY GOOD and Risali can't SEE THOSE EXPRESSIONS or even that gaze when her back is to you. MAYBE her shoulders slump a little, but Risali is clever enough to pull her scarf back down so that she can't speak. "Halfway to Ressac?" comes anyway, Risali moving her head back and forth and tilting her face up to escape kisses. OKAY. SHE SEEMS TO BE CALMING NOW. "You came here from there to find her owner?" And now Risali is turning back to look at the man, brows knitted in confusion, grey eyes finding blue to hold despite the fact that she's still getting an enthusiastic delivery of the occasional licklicklicktailwaglick.

Cas accepts that smack with a low-rolling laugh, one that's slightly less rusty now he's warmed it up once or twice. "Seems unfair to me. She's allowed at little credit, despite the…" He hands gesture in little explosive motions on either side of his head, lips scrunching weirdly to best make sound effects to match. They're quick to stuff back into his pockets, his own head lolling ever-so-slightly to one side to consider her for those rushed words. "Indeed," he murmurs around a faint smile, brightness sparking back into his gaze. "And a terrible thing it is. Too much giving with one hand while stabbing with the other." At least it's good-natured enough an opinion, mirth never wavering as she laughs and tries to cover her face again, blues fixed on where the pup is trying her level best to remove the weyrwoman's skin through pure adoration. "Probably. You're the only other person I've seen her meet, though. Thought maybe I was special." Alas not, though he doesn't seem terribly phased. No upsets here, only the extension of hands in an offer to take the rampant kisser back - or at least put her on the ground out of the danger of mouth-to-mouth repupitation. "The near side?," Casper replies in the same tone, as though that might make the distance traveled less weird. "Half way might also be an exaggeration. A third." Because that's better. "I sound crazy, don't I? Couldn't leave her, though. Too cold." Shrug. "Do you have a… lost and found? For canines?" Perhaps a little too hopeful, that.

"Never," Risali reiterates, because Leirith is the kind of dragon that takes EIGHTY-THOUSAND-MILES if you give her EVEN ONE CENTIMETER, CASPER. But at the imitation of what Leirith's mindvoice is like, Risali stares — and then presses her face into puppy fur, stealing puppy-face-smoosh-hug-kisses to DISGUISE HER LAUGHTER and also just because what the cute. NO, CASPER. LEIRITH WILL HEAR YOU. That kick of boot-into-boot is SO VERY SUBTLE even if it very blatantly translates into, 'SHUT UP,' as she peeks at him from over the tops of pups. It's with a vigorous petpetpet that Risali draws back to answer the accusation of just what politics entails with a smile that starts somewhere mischievous at the corners of her lips. "I only stab you if I really like you. What's a little stabbing among friends, right?" And did she just IMITATE PUTTING A DAGGER IN HIS RIBS? She did - though there's a falter of her smile, an inward draw of brows as her expression crumbles and - is forced back, much less open this time. She does eye his arms suspiciously when he puts out his arms, hugging the puppy a little closer to herself and turning out of easy reach once more. "You don't sound weird," Risali finally answers, hushed but honest. "I was more or less thinking that you…" A beat, an awkward hesitation as Risali exhales a huff of almost-laughter, a pull of her lips lacking humor lost to puppy fur as she gives the Kissing Monster another kiss of her own. "You were very lucky that he found you," she tells her, but then she does deposit that TINY CUTE back into Cas' arms - hesitantly, and with the kind of expression that says she doesn't want to let her go. "Maybe she can see your soul. Animals know things that people don't." It's a belated response to being The Special One for dogs. "We don't, but" Risali follows the return of the puppy without giving Casper any space, both hands now focused on VIGOROUS BEHIND THE EAR PULL-PETS and another kiss to snouts. "I can take her." Grey eyes lift to blue, as if seeing whether or not he is okay with the arrangement.

Well he doesn't know that! For all he knows this is simple best-friend-mind-dragon-buddies banter! That's his story and he's sticking to it, just like he's gonna stick by his opinion that Leirith deserves to know just how badass she is. 'Just once,' he mouths over and over, finger lifting to reflect the numeral even as he accepts that kick with a barked laugh, a move of that finger to point right at Leirith, and a, "It's okay. I know you're a badass." He deserves that stabbing by the time it's given, mimes its impact against his person, and the gore that spills out in its wake. Blood, blood, blood, and death - or at least, a slow sink to his knees. "Make it fast," he begs in that dull rasp, perhaps mistaking her faltered look for one of lacking mercy, head tilting aside to show her his neck. "Don't make a man suffer." That turn out of easy reach has him hefting himself to his feet, keeping the distance she's made between them but perhaps closing it in an entirely-too personal fashion by asking, "Shall I pull out the one you've got lodged in your back, then?" Ah. So perhaps he didn't miss that look after all, nor the one to follow, though his expression doesn't much alter as he meets her looks with a steady gaze that he then diverts groundwards, skywards, sideways as that awkward edge returns. "Animals are perceptive," he agrees, attention forced to draw back in by the deposit of one grey-and-white wiggle worm into his arms. "She would be happy with you," he does concede after a moment's deliberation, blue eyes lifting from canine to weyrwoman to fix her with a gauging stare of his own. "At least try to find her family though?" It's not an accusation, but also not as much of a tease as he wants it to be, warring between knowing he should consent, making it out of the range of this many people alive as soon as possible, and, perhaps, missing an unlikely companion. "Very well." Though forgive him if he doesn't surrender her just yet.

WELL HE GONNA LEARN. Risali keeps shaking her head, making GRABS and SWIPES at Casper's finger that are all genuinely playful in nature (and therefore all miss) and end with her making a CUT IT OUT motion around her neck that — is futile. Shoulders sink as Leirith BOOMS giddy, ecstatic joy, Risali's smile still very much in place on her lips, amusement lingering in grey eyes, in the shift of her body even as she IMAGINARY SHANKS HIM. DIE YE FOUL LEIRITH-ENCOURAGING BEAST. Definitely deserved it. NOW SHE IS GOING TO THINK SHE'S COOL AND IT'S YOUR FAULT. « AND I KNOW THAT YOU ARE A BADASS. MORE BADASS THAN MY MINION. MINION! » "We can't keep him, Leirith. He's a person, not an animal." « YOU RUIN EVERYTHING, DISAPPOINTMENT. FINE. OKAY, BEARDED-ONE. IT IS DECIDED. YOU MAY CALL ME FIERCE LEADER. » And yes, okay, Risali is laughing — both at that and when he goes down and BEGS FOR MERCY. Any other time she just might mime his execution and utter quasi-somber words but — not this time. This time something gets the better of her, digs claws deep in the brightness of her soul and tries to snuff out the light behind her eyes. It succeeds momentarily — just momentarily - but long enough for her to be caught. At least she's partially turned away from Casp when that question comes, when tension coils through muscles and forces air from her lungs in a caricature of laughter - something that last no longer than that single breath. "It's…" so much more complicated than that? For a moment that expression is so at odds with earlier behavior, but she recovers quickly enough. Though, not quite fully. "I promise," Risali whispers, and she means it, too. "I have a lot of connections, you know." And there's a quiet smile as grey eyes jump from puppy eyes to blue eyes that are JUST AS MUCH IN HER SPACE as she is in theirs. "You can always come and check on her to make sure." A GESTURE AT LEIRITH. "She isn't exactly subtle." More humor, forced though it is, crumbling as it does when brows knit again. "Does she like to run?" An odd question, but THERE WE HAVE IT.

Casparis: immune to both finger snatchery and well-intended ixnays. Lips stretch wide in a bright grin as he plays keep away from her playful grabby-grabbies, always jerking away at the last second before replacing it in the air between them. "I'm sensing a theme," he says as the ringing of Leirith's mind passing through his subsides, "of the pair of you liking to keep things." There's no heat in the accusation, amused jest only as he levels a look up (and up and up) at Leirith from his place on his knees. "Remember me, Fierce Leader." And then he braces for the killing blow — that never comes. "Ah. Too real, then," he murmurs into the silence before that singular word, shushing her attempt to reply with quiet noises as he places one hand bracingly upon the back of her jacket and mimes jerking vigorously with the other. "There," he says, miming discarding the metaphorical knife over one shoulder, just in time to catch her whispered words. Arms tighten about the pup, shoulders slouching to bring him closer, the better to hear her, or perhaps the better to consider the small grey thing in his arms. "Yeah. Alright. I will." Come check on her, he means, expression having taken a turn for the strangely serious while his head was bowed. "It's fine. I'll just ask for the resident badass." A small smile quirks at the corner of his mouth, fingers lifting as he mouths, 'Oops, two' before sobering again. He looks almost sad as blue eyes flick between each of Risali's greys, taking one final measure before awkwardly stretching to return the puppy to her in a cradled, wiggly puddle. A beat, two, and then, finally, "She does, I think. Why?"

« VALIANT, NOBLE, SHORT HUMAN. I WILL REMEMBER YOU ALWAYS. UNTIL I FORGET. BUT UNTIL THEN - ALWAYS. » LISTEN. Leirith knows her shortcomings, Casper. AND SHE THINKS THEY'RE FUNNY. That's why she's BOOMING LAUGHTER to rattle in every skull even when things take a turn for the serious. And even now Risali finds it in her to play along, scrunches up her nose in the beginnings of a smile as she rolls her shoulders after he removes metaphorical knives. "Hmmm. Much better. Can you get the one here, too?" A POINT AT HER RIBS, a return of that mischief even if it's squandered quickly and muted throughout. "But good," is her answer about coming to check in, fingers extending to the new life she's about to bring into her home - eyes jumping back to blue with a hint of mischief as she SMACKS HIS ARM AGAIN. STOP THAT. STOP GIVING LEIRITH IDEAS. But almost sad looks have Risali dropping her gaze back to the dog, reaching out to take the bundle of puppy in her arms as she considers his answer, his question and hesitates. There's a deliberation there, a moment when lips tremble on the answer, when breath comes shaky and unsteady and then a flicker of determination presses her lips into a thin line, that precedes the return of mischief and humor (which is probably, in all honesty, a means of distraction). "Because this is a heist." Okay, so she already got permission, but she's putting the puppy on the ground and calling, "Come on! Run, run, run! Don't let him catch us!" And Risali does. She runs, laughter pulling from her chest as she flees, puppy gleefully on her heels, not even stopping as she turns to call out, "THANK YOU! I PROMISE TO TAKE CARE OF HER!" as she goes (and almost trips, because running sideways/backwards is difficult), as she encourages her new little companion and slows down just enough to keep pace. And that's it. Casper either joins the chase, or he doesn't; either way, Risali and her new resident are chasing down freedom from whatever lurks behind the Weyrwoman's eyes. Leirith? She pursues, a booming, « UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN, BADASS. » But there's a feather falling, vanishing as that thread of communication is severed.

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