Knives and Darkness

Xanadu Weyr - Weyrling Barracks
A long and roughly oblong cavern. About a third of the space is open, used for classes or chores as required. The rest of the space is filled with couches of varying sizes, all with plenty of space between them. Some couches are obviously intended for the very young weyrlings while the largest ones at the back are for the older weyrlings.
There are supplies for the care of dragons tucked back against the walls. A barrel of oil sits with scrub brushes and soft clothes, and a thick hardwood table is used to prepare meat in bite-sized pieces for the young dragons. There's also a few supplies for the weyrling humans, like bedding for cots or extra pillows for those sleeping on their lifemate's couch.

C'iel enjoys a good sneak, apparently, but in the evening he is not sneaking. In the evening he is just recovered from a dragon induced nap, and after the myriad of busying chores can FINALLY get to that extracurricular bit of fun that was prepared for him: sewing back together some couchparts. A manner in which no amount of hide-under-wing and attempts to feel small can truly pass as casual. Ceruadharth rests behind him still, watching the needle move with some fascination. And the still-present charcoal outlines on the wall seem to spring out like a true Stand of black wood, the shadows long but on the warmer side and flicks of flower hiding among them. It seems there was some enmity here earlier, but the embers are all but spent.

Meion finds herself cutting up meat, again. The fact that the pieces can be bigger helps to offset the fact that there are just as many of them in the end, once she accounts for how much more Euclath is eating than even a week ago. This room seemed so spacious when all the dragons were new-hatched, but now she's starting to wonder if there will even be room for all of them to fit before the time comes to move out. She has faith that other weyrling classes have come before, but… it's not always easy to remember. She's absorbed in her own work, but Euclath's head rises slightly as he takes note of C'iel, and there's only the slight sense of threads running across the room to tug at Meion's shoulder before she glances over. It's not exactly silent communication, but it's getting quieter, at least! "Ask him yourself," she replies out loud - then a sigh, and - "Euclath wonders what you're doing, but he's practicing not talking to everyone all the time, and he doesn't want to ask Ceru." Which is probably more than the little blue wanted her to say out loud, but she can't un-say it!

Garouth glides in, and never mind that his wings are tucked. He just moves with that sort of grace, the step of one paw in front of the next that makes him a dark-and-bright shadow whose mental touch hints at the night coming behind the bright splashes of evening's last stand. So, there's another dragon to fill up this space, this one bigger than any of them currently are… though a good half of this clutch might outstrip Garouth, given their full growth. Little shadows trace under threads, cast by their extent - and extending further, to mingle with the shadows that must surely exist beneath black woods. So yes, he's here now, quiet in his entrance but making no actual attempt at stealth, just… not calling attention to those who don't notice. (Those who take extra notice might note that D'lei passed nearby but ducked into the office of the weyrlingstaff, but he's not in here to be further noticed just yet.)

From some body of water beyond the barracks does the one of black sail rise. Zyddagath's hide glimmers not of oil, but water, the residues of dribble off of him in rivulets and streams, following the sharp angles of those oily darkness-entrenched smoke-burned hull and spar. Silver'd talon clicks as each paw is laid in slow intent, almost in mirror to the man who walks just to the side of him, just in front of a shoulder. The bronze shakes his head slightly, abyssal eyes upon haunted figurehead partially lidded as the last of the water falls from over them from the ridges of his head. He has something in his jaws, hooked just-so 'tween teeth such that whatever it is isn't bent or torn or rendered by those predicious fangs. « Not doing something is hardly practice to do it. » Stygian waters come with ominous tide, and the foreboding tickle up one's spine. How many times can hairs on the back of a neck be raised before it becomes a normal sensation? Unlike Euclath, Zyddagath simply does not care that he broadcasts those words to more than his blue clutchsibling. Ki'lian's smirk is drawn crookedly but it doesn't quite reach his eyes, like it hasn't for quite some time. Those too-light seablue eyes just that touch darker, just slightly off. The weyrling bronzerider lifts his good hand to take whatever it is from Zyddagath as they reach their couch, sitting on the edge of his cot to wrap it in a cloth and fiddle with one of the.. few.. footlockers that have been 'borrowed' for Zyddagath's pleasure.

C'iel and Ceru exchange a look for a moment, before the former leans out over the edge and cups a hand to mouth. "Tell Euclath I am sewing together his brother's pillows! And that he had bad dreams." Which is why he shredded them, yes. It is a Good Lie, which would be more convincing if the pair were together some of the most terrible liars on Pern, and for the fact that they are both radiating pride that they came up with such a plausible story together. The Big Blue is locked into fascination, and amusement, though C'iel's hyperawareness only piques with the arrival of Zyddagath and Garouth, for he is using his Human Eyes to see. "What about holding your breath?" It is actually C'iel that offers this little question, perhaps inspired by the waters rolling in. Then, remembering himself, a dual bit of greeting is offered. "Welcome back." Or welcome here? Whichever.
Ki'lian has partially disconnected.

Meion does not feel excessively compelled to repeat to Euclath what she's quite aware he heard. She lifts a brow slightly when she sees C'iel's obvious Lying Face, though she doesn't call more attention than that to it - it's enough for Euclath to notice her slight disbelief, but he's not talking to anyone who isn't her today. She shrugs at Zyddagath's comment. "I don't know, I had quite a few lessons as an apprentice on how not to burn myself on the forge." Which is an interesting statement from a computercrafter, but she doesn't expand on it. "Since you're busy with that, did you want me to cut up some extra for Ceruadharth?" Because she's here and all. And she has the knife and everything.

But if Meion doesn't repeat it to Euclath, how will this be a proper game of draconic grapevine? It's the greatest game that nobody ever actually wants to play! Garouth's shadows are far less overblown than Zyddagath's, subtle in presence but remaining unaffected by the soggy stench splashing through. « Skills suit situations, » the bronze observes. « Greetings. » It's a general greeting, even if it's more a concept of polite salutation and musk-tinged presence on the wind than it is an actual word… but human minds can fill it in with that word, the better to suit their framework. D'lei's not too far behind, making his way out and across the hall at a leisurely stroll that still has his lifted hand not too far behind the greeting from his dragon as he looks around to see with those human eyes who's here.

"Aye." Is it for C'iel's greeting as he seats himself on that cot. If the man cares about C'iel's lying, it would probably be more approval than anything- if he were really paying attention. However, his gaze is distant as it usually is, as it has been since Impression. Soft metallic sounds are muffled in the effort of Ki'lian opening that trunk and setting in this newest addition of a rather quickly growing collection. This would be the same location that the toy Zyddagath stole/was given from Ceru ended up, but it's unlikely that it's still just toys in those things. It takes the seafaring man a few extra moments to click the lock back into place, his left wrapped hand rested in his lap in a loose fist, the right deftly setting latches, and then a boot used to shove the whole of it as far under the cot as it would fit. Which probably isn't far, because there's some other trunk that stops it. Ki'lian isn't looking at Meion specifically, but the young gaunt bronze is. Staring, really, in that way of not-moving and barely-breathing and looking more like an inanimate shipwrecked gargoyle than a weyrling dragon. However, some translation is necessary before Zyddagath's lips curl slightly, for there is some unnatural delay in response. The lip-curl, while very much appearing like a snarl, almost seems more like a wicked draconic grin, « Your examples are most… useless. » Black waters drawl, the dense fog writhing thicker and more menacing, curling over its surface as if crawling towards that mind-boundary, reaching to just-barely-touch with the sensation of withering, weakening.. fading. « You were taught to use something by never using it. How were you to ever learn to do it yourself? Or did you just remain a failure. » Nobody ever said Zyddagath would be a good at making friends.

"I was bad at that one," C'iel says in response to Meion. Most of the crafts he'd tried his hand at had bitten them, and he is not shy of it. To Mei's offer, he shrugs. "We ate pretty recently… but a little could not hurt. If you do not mind?" Smile. He leans up, whispers something to Ceruadharth, and the blue nods. From the sketched-trees the shape of a dark avian flutters, soars, and lands weightlessly at Meion's shoulder. There is a muted tapping before it lazily circles the room. Bit by bit, hopping rider, dragon, a little feather brush, a little familial affection—yes even for the dragon lacking in social graces. Meanwhile at the couch there's a little chatter still as C'iel sews, and gestures. "… 's is a back stitch. Simple but reinforced, since the fabric is pretty stressed…" Ceruadharth nods, though his attention is a little peeled to Zyddagath, Meion, Garouth. Whenever he gets into these discussions, the outcomes are always most intriguing.

Meion rankles at the implication the young bronze makes. Her facial expression tenses slightly, but the cutting-knife whacks through the next few pieces of meat a little bit harder than is strictly necessary. "Ki'llian, have you been entirely skipping lessons in reasoning with your companion, here?" She gestures at Zyddagath, using the knife she has at hand like a pointer. "Or does he truly believe that there's no skill involved to work with subtlety?" She laughs, but it's not a particularly humorous one. "Though I'll freely admit - I was an absolute failure at the forge. No smithcraft knot for me." Euclath senses her emotional state, and raises his back defensively, circling from where he was resting to put himself between Meion and the rest of the room, prepared to protect her. She hardly notices, eyes fixed on Ki'llian. "Perhaps he will understand how to practice subtlety if you can get him to speak without making an ass of himself. Or is that something else he would rather do than not-do?"

Garouth's mental touch is cold, a freezing of the waters that turns creeping fog to ice-shards where it encounters them. « Perhaps they are useless, » the bronze says with stilled winds and icy air. « Perhaps you are merely an idiot. » There's the mental equivalent of a shrug, carried in a gust of wind. « I cannot say. » D'lei, coming in on this conversation, grimaces slightly at the mental catchup as he comes past Garouth's foreleg, surveying … weyrling with needle, weyrling with knife, Ki'lian. Right. Good times. There's a clearing of his throat, and a half-smile without humour. "Knives are for meat, please," is directed at Meion, and then to Ki'lian - "I believe the weyrlingmasters have been working on your ability to control your lifemate, yes?" Zyddagath himself… is ignored. D'lei is talking to that weyrling bronzerider, he is!

During the last remnants of exchange, probably already sensing what exactly was about to said, and a keen interest in the aftermath of it, Ki'lian has his elbows on his knees and is finally paying some sort of attention to the bluerider. There is nothing to take out of his expression, though, for he might as well mirror that dragon. Zyddagath is unperturbed, unmoved. That same cocksure sense of him remains, lingers in the same density as it had arrived in the first place the day he shelled. When she's done- oh how kind of it is for him to wait in that sinister patience of his that only brings about more amusement, more arrogance, barely contained within the room let alone the pair of them. The young bronze tilts his head by no more than a few degrees, considering her through all those extra words, « I am not wrong. » That smirk on Ki'lian's face draws a little further to one side, crooked in more than one definition of the word. He would sit up as the techcrafter addresses him, arms spread in both welcoming of the woman's retort and shrugging it off- all the same bloody motion. "I haven't any idea what you mean, lass. Reasoning, he does just fine." Words are gravel-touched but licked in that honey'd venom, volume just-enough to carry that distance. "If it is subtlety you wish, I cannot say that this time, your wish is my command." There's a enigmatic chuckle, breathy and curtailed intermingled with his words, "I would imagine one as information loving as yourself would appreciate something a little more.. to the point." Blunt, direct. Sure, that's all that was. The stilled winds and icy air crafts no movement in the dark waters or even the ghastly, surreal fog that still churns to its own ominous, phantasmal movement. In life- or what is supposed to be life- the dark-hewn young dragon makes a faint chuff-creel sound, low in volume. Humor. Zyddagath's lifemate licks his lips as he's addressed, almost as if tempering the smirk he'd had there, but it doesn't do much about it. "Aye, sir, that they have." Just as there's something not-quite-right about the pair of them, neither is the tone of that reply.

C'iel and Ceruadharth glance at one another, a moment of confusion and miscalculation. Then, the Blue slips down, pink eyes fading to violet as the narrow stand of forest grows into twist and snarl, a rather blatant way of imposing barrier and space between his siblings and respective riders. It is only nervous struggle that keeps them from sympathetic anger. «I do not believe you are an idiot, Brother.» Such kindness. «Nor do I imagine you would believe that you are always right. If that were the case, you would never become more than a hatchling.» And CERTAINLY he is not. The other violet eye to Meion. «He may not always be able to use your experiences to understand things. That does not lessen their value.» C'iel has all but stopped mending, watching wide-eyed and silent. He slowly slips beside Ceru, and lifts a hand to his hide. Unlike the blue, he has no desire to butt into in the middle—at least not when D'lei is stepping in.

Meion looks to the knife in her hand when D'lei mentions it. With a nod to the weyrleader, she sets it down on the cutting table. She might have an apology about brandishing it like that, but first: "Ah. My apologies, then. It's not the student who is lacking, but the teacher." A very slightly exaggerated bow to Zyddagath. "It's unfair of me to expect so much of you. I'll be clearer in the future." But with Ceruadharth stepping in, trying to make peace, she's willing to stand down. She takes a piece of meat from the table and reaches down to give it to Euclath, sitting and resting her hand on his hide as he takes it. His eyes whirl with reflected agitation - and she's hardly going to call herself calm, though with her extra years of experience she's better-able to recenter her emotions and try to bring Euclath's with them.

Garouth is silent, though shadows shift in the darkness… and he is certainly ready, should anyone move from words to actions. D'lei also watches, listens, waits, and… "Ki'lian." He's not yelling. He's just… saying, firmly, and loudly enough that there's not a question of if he's heard. "I am aware you think you're better than us. I have been aware of this fact since I permitted your lying ass to stand." His gaze is steady, intent on the weyrling. "I'm not sure you are aware that I am perfectly capable of reassigning you - weyrling or not - to sit on top of a mountain and freeze off that smug ass of yours… and the queens are quite capable of enforcing that order on Zyddagath, despite his overwhelming sense of superiority. So. Don't act like I'm an idiot who's being taken in by your bluster, and make a convincing attempt at desiring to be a harmonious part of this Weyr, or I will see to it that you are not."

Zyddagath's attention falls to Ceruadharth with the same barest-motion of a turn of head, enough to angle a faceted eye upon him, « You are wise to believe so. » Because what is better than kindling further this particular one's ego. To the rest, there is no further comment, though nothing receeds. Not the waters, not the mists, not whatever figment sits just there out upon those waters risen o'er the unseen horizon. Ki'lian's jaw works for a second, and this, at least, gets that expression of his fade by degrees. This man who has been for the most part resigned, silent, removed since Impression, caught up in his own head and that shared mindspace, shifts to stand to face the Weyrleader. It's not an encroachment of the Weyrleader's space since he stays beside his cot, nor an aggressive move, though there is no drop of his general poise. The young bronze, while unphased by namecalling, is less-so pleased with what comes to pass. Facets churn red, bloodied seas within each gruesome angle, and he too has risen to all fours to stand. "No." That word is not to D'lei, but something that must be said too-quickly for him to remember to say it silently. However, as silent as the ocean currents themselves, Zyddagath is closer to his side. A shadow. A being that exists somehow not-quite-naturally. He's too-young still to not get a rise out of shifting emotions, and this is probably the first time Ki'lian has been involved enough with someone else without… control over that situation. "I am well aware of this fact, sir." An exhale through his nose is unhumored, the faint hint of a grin is unpleasant but.. curtailed in a combination of emotions that are unlikely all his own, "I would never grant you such a title, nor did I quite realize a simple conversation of no consequence between each other would have such dire punishment. I will.. ah.. take heed of it." Tension has filtered through his shoulders were it doesn't typically lie, hinting at whatever semblance pf control he must have over that bronze behind him.

Ceruadharth smiles ever slightly. «I am. And you will not disappoint me.» Totally a promise, and a leap of faith, and not at ALL a threat on behalf of the innocent blue! Forget the Weyrleader who can dictate your fate, or dragons that can impose their will on you; a clear wave of EXPECTATIONS is now placed on Bronze, and to some extent rider. If they were to be broken? Ceru would be crestfallen. Crests would fall. It would be terrible. … Sensing the ebb of emotion, if not the absolution, he lowers himself and his presence shrinks back to that corner of his. C'iel watches for a while longer, before lowering his head and quietly resuming his repairs. The task will likely run until they doze off again.

Meion says nothing to other humans as the situation escalates, tenses - and then crests, with the sharp entry of a full-grown dragon and his rider into the feedback loop between the bronzerider and bluerider. She just sits low and looks down at Euclath, almost compelling his gaze back to her, trying to focus her thoughts in the way the weyrlingmasters have been teaching, to explain things. Euclath's eyes are awhirl, a snarl and tangle of fear and concern and reflected emotions he hardly understands, like wounded pride and self-righteousness. But they slow, steadying in time with Meion's breathing. When they're still again, she reaches back, taking another piece of the meat and offering it to Euclath, then putting a few more pieces in a large bowl to hold out for C'iel. "I think I'm done cutting for the night," she finally says, by way of explanation. "Hopefully these are enough for Ceruadharth."

D'lei keeps his gaze on Ki'lian through it, though Garouth is certainly aware of the younger bronze's motions, his gaze tinged with hints of warning orange and copper. What lurks in the shadows? (And who can those shadows call upon?) …that's a thing that won't be found out just now, for Ki'lian and Zyddagath hold fast, and so Garouth remains. The Weyrleader's gaze is steady, though - as Ki'lian protests 'innocence' in the form of claiming the conversation a mere frippery of light words - there's an arch of brows up and a downward tilt of chin, expressing without words his extreme dubiousness at that particular claim of ignorance. It's like he thinks Ki'lian is smart enough to know what it means to needle someone and seek social dominance over them! Some sort of backhanded semi-compliment, for sure. Blues and blueriders are…. ignored, left to their own interaction as bronzes have their own, and while D'lei's nonverbal communication makes his opinions of what Zyddagath was doing clear - because he most definitely thinks Ki'lian is capable of understanding and using that mode - he does, after a moment, give a slight nod. "I believe in giving people chances," D'lei says, and his mouth moves in a hard press that - despite its curve - is not a smile. "This is yours."

For all that Zyddagath does not care about keeping a cap on his broadcasts, there is very little shared except what was already there before. Whatever lies behind, or more likely far below, comes only in the barely-notable evidence of motion of souls barely-seen underneath the water's surface as they continue to move as if nothing has come ot pass. Whatever Ki'lian is aware of or not, whatever his past has made him particularly good at or not, isn't supported by more words. He seems to be… struggling, but not specifically by D'lei's hand. He takes a deep breath, exhaling slowly, though there is no less working of the muscles of that jaw. Where nonchalant cocksurity has made up the whole of him before, it isn't so easily there right now, where pressure and impulsiveness and displeasure are compounded athousandfold. One of his hands has curled into a fist, the other reaches to place a palm on the side of his dragon's neck. It is as much support of himself, probably, as physical assistance to that thin restraint and boundary. While the next doesn't appear to direct correlate, to the weyrling bronzerider it must, "I would request a meeting with you, sir." Wherever the gratitude lie, there's something about that request that holds something…akin to it. Adjacent. But not direct. Never direct. "If at all possible, when he is older." If he's not on a mountain freezing his arse off by then, obviously. Sooner than that would bare about the same level of problem. The seafaring man studies D'lei, then after a long pause, "If I may be dismissed… I need 'tend to his hide."

Meion listens, quiet and - if not calm, at least managing a passable impression. She feeds Euclath in silence, though there's a perceptible back-and-forth between them; sometimes seeming like a tug-of-war, other times like both of them working together to untangle the thick bundled knot of a cable they're both pulling on. It will get easier with time, she's been told. And with time, maybe she'll even come to believe that - but for now, she'll just have to wait it out.

What transpired could perhaps easily be ignored, forgotten, or dismissed, but some glance of C'iel's remains. Quiet hands, compelled to mend. One thread at a time, one stitch before moving to the next without perhaps fully understanding why beyond… it needed fixed. "… more than enough, thank you." C'iel replies to Meion, mirrored in gratitude by Ceru as he accepts the offering. "If you need anything at all, we'll be here." Spoken loud enough to be taken by anyone, but who are we kidding? There is also a hint of 'even if we are napping,' following food and oiling.

"You may have one," D'lei grants Ki'lian, readily and without hesitation. He's as certain of that as he was of his ability to banish the pair, and - should that snow-covered mountaintop impinge - he's also quite certain of his ability to ride there himself and have a meeting amid the ice fields… though he's hoping it'll manage to be somewhere with actual chairs, instead. As for Ki'lian's other request? D'lei nods. "Dismissed," he says. "I'll expect you for that meeting… when he's older, and you can take the time." Those last words are not without… a sort of understanding, at least; some shred of empathy for Ki'lian's situation even if the Weyrleader remains stern and unyielding on the core of the matter. Is it difficult, dealing with a young bronze of dark urges and deep emotions? Ab-so-lute-ly. But. Sometimes, you have to burn the crops to stop the Thread… and even if that's not reality these days, it still lives on in aphorism and the metaphorical starvation without that scorched harvest. Still. Maybe it hasn't burrowed too deep, and maybe there's still a path that saves everyone. For now, D'lei's path leads him away, out of the barracks and into the night. Garouth will follow, though not immediately; his presence remains, quiet but there, until the bronze feels certain no violence will erupt tonight. Which may well mean until everyone is asleep, even if Ceruadharth might claim that dreams cause night-violence. Maybe Garouth just doesn't care about cushions.

In that same way Ki'lian has been all but absent since he left those sands, his focus is on D'lei until he's granted both permission, and dismissal. He nods, and slips into a dragonman's distant gaze. Inwardly tuned to such a degree that it is probably surprising daily that the doesn't run into walls. That wouldn't do, of course, since it wouldn't look good on either of them for him to be stumbling about. That also means that he doesn't grant a salute, however this one time it might earnestly be forgetfulness rather than that dark, serpentine subtlety he claims isn't there. But you can always depend on a dishonest man to be dishonest, afterall. Ki'lian's wrapped hand stays against smoke-burned and corroded hide, the pair moving together towards the training grounds. The man would pause to pick up a bucket of oil and brush hanging over its side, and regard Meion just as he passes out of the barracks. Ice-cold are those seablues, a glint in them that isn't apologetic, but isn't outright mean. Simply- amused. He winks at her, and then is gone. Out into the night, just past the walls of the grand structure, to oil by feel of itch rather than sight. And collect himself, likely, from whatever slippery depths that interaction placed him so close to.

Meion may be the last one to fall asleep in the barracks - even once Euclath has drifted to rest, she's sitting near him, staring out into the darkeed room and considering on exactly what got her so angry. By the time she manages to sleep, she's certain to be in for a short night. Even without the temptation of interesting data to analyze, Meion manages to keep herself up far too late. She's just talented like that.

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