Lessons, Maybe

The current time for zone 9 is: 2683.9.25 15:35:06
D'son meets Aludra who teaches riding and introduces her to Inimeth.


Xanadu Weyr - Caverns

A massive cavern in it's own right, this one has been skillfully adapted for human habitation. The high ceilings have been painted a light, soft ivory, as are the walls where numerous tapestries hang to provide brilliant color and insulation from the stone. The floor has been left in its natural state, pale pink granite speckled through with glittering mica and dark flecks of basalt, leveled carefully but kept sufficiently rough to avoid slips.

The cavern itself is loosely divided into areas, each one set up to be suitable for some segment of the Weyr's population. The most frequently occupied area, however, is the one near the Kitchens where tables of varying sizes provide a place to sit down and eat or chat and a buffet of consumables is almost always kept stocked. Its plain that on most days, this area wouldn't accommodate anywhere near the full population of the Weyr and equally plain that on such occasions when a formal meal is laid out, tables are appropriated from all the other areas.

A big fireplace is set into the wall near the Kitchens as well, several comfortable chairs nearby providing haunts for elderly residents or riders who like a good view of all that happens. Rugs cover the floor in strategic spots, all of them abstract or geometric in design and most in the softly neutral colors of undyed wool.

Exits lead off in all directions, a big archway the largest and that leading outside. Shallow stairs to the west lead to the offices and administration area while tunnels to the east lead to the infirmary, kitchen and resident's quarters. Southwards, a sloping tunnel leads down to the hot springs and southwest is a wide tunnel, carefully roped off to avoid accidents.

Mesquite tilts his head again with one last hopeful churp. He looks at the newcomer, adjusting the message on his leg just a little. No, the one that he is here for is not here. He takes flight on his errand. Perhaps they are elsewhere.
Mesquite heads into the clearing

For once, the hearthside chairs are mostly deserted. Only one is occupied, and that by a young woman. On a small table beside her lies a leather runner bridle and some tools, indicating she was, at one time, working on the bridle. At the moment, however, she seems to have taken a break to eat. She holds the plate in one hand, while the other lifts tidbits to her lips. A mug of juice sits at her side, next to the bridle. She also seems to be sharing her meal with a bronze firelizard. The 'lizard is wearing the colors of his owner, and doesn't appear to belong to the girl. She speaks to the creature in a pleasant tone of voice as she offers the bronze food. The firelizard takes the bite, stepping back, and soon flies off. This seems to amuse the young woman, who goes back to her meal.

A little windblown, D'son comes in, hand rumpling through too-long hair that's damp around the edges - sweaty, likely from the riding cap he's just pulled off. The bronzerider hums a little, slightly off-key as he slides between tables to reach the pot of klah that is always kept warming here, flips down a mug with a pause in his humming, then resumes it while he pours. Good mood? Likely. Turning, Dels spots the outbound firelizard, tracks his point of departure backward and considers Aludra for a moment. Familiar? Yes? No? Brows wrinkle up and he walks on over. "Hey there. Are you new or am I forgetting that I've met you before?" he asks with a friendly smile.

Caught in the midst of a bite when the rider approaches and speaks to her, Aludra hurriedly chews and swallows, washing it down with a swig of juice. "I've been here for awhile," she replies, "but I'm usually down with the runners. I don't believe we've met." Her head lifts, and she smiles up at the man. "I'm Aludra," she adds, pronouncing it as Ah-loo-drah. There's also a faint Keroon accent to her words. The meatroll is set down on the plate she holds, and both are then added to the collection of bridle, tools and such on the table. "And you are…?"

"Runners … huh, right, wait, did you stand for one of Kilaueth and Inimeth's clutches?" D'son asks next, focus intent on Aludra's face as he offers her his hand. "Aludra. Nice name. I'm D'son, Inimeth's rider. Mind company?" Nodding towards one of the chairs at her table.

"Yes, I was Searched for one of Kilaueth's clutches, but I didn't Impress," Aludra explains. There doesn't appear to be any upset in her tone. "I decided to stay, obviously." This is followed by a soft chuckle. "Well met, D'son. Please convey my duty to Inimeth." Polite, indeed, well mannered. "Please, I don't mind company at all." She gestures with one hand at the empty chairs. The hearth has died back to a comfortable warmth, and the lunch rush appears to be over, so the caverns are fairly quiet.

"Oh! That's probably why you look familiar then," D'son says with a brighter smile. "Probably saw you on the Sands," he says as he pulls out one of the chairs, settles down into it and puts down his mug, shrugs his jacket off onto the back of the chair. "Inimeth says hello back and hopes that you're happy at Xanadu," the bronzerider conveys, eyes going a little distant for a moment, then refocusing on the young woman. "So, runners. Stable work or riding?"

Watching the rider settle, Aludra sips from her own mug. "Perhaps. I was in the back because I was nervous. One of the other girls was crying and I tried to comfort her a bit," she explains. "Please tell him I'm very happy here. It's so much different than home. So many things to do and learn." The enthusiasm in her voice can't be missed. "I do a little bit of everything, actually. Mostly I teach riding. Some of the children were interested, so I started a class. Nothing official, just showing them how to not fall off and how to take care of the runners." She smiles fondly. "I've been riding since I was … oh, very young. My father was a Journeyman Beastcrafter who raised thoroughbreds."

"It's pretty nerve-wracking, standing," D'son agrees, stretching his arms out, then dropping them down to the table's surface where elbows rest and he reaches for his mug of klah to have a sip or two. "He's happy to hear that. Inimeth's — well he's sociable. If you want to meet him too, later, he's just outside in the meadow enjoying the sun," the rider explains with a fond smile, then nods. "Yeah, since I'm not Weyrleader anymore, I've been pretty happy with all the time I've got to learn stuff. Been going over to Landing a fair bit to learn more about computers and all that." Pausing to listen further, his head tilts to the side, perhaps to catch the tenor of that accent. "Riding since childhood … sounds like you're from Keroon originally?"

"Yes, Keroon," Aludra replies, setting her empty mug on the table beside the half-finished plate of food. "I miss my runner. He's getting a bit old, but Yessha - one of my friends back home - writes that he's healthy." She idly touches the bridle, as if thinking of going back to work on it, but doesn't pick it up. "I'd like to meet Inimeth, yes. He and Kilaueth looked so /huge/ on the sands, and I was so nervous… might be better meeting him in a more relaxed setting." She smiles as D'son mentions computers. "I'm not very good with them, but I like to look things up in the databases. So much information! Staggering." She pauses. "Do you ride runners at all?"

"Do you miss home too?" D'son asks curiously, hands curling around his mug. "Heh, yeah, Inimeth's pretty big as bronzes go, though one of his clutchmates was a bit bigger," the bronzerider describes. "Even though he's big, he usually doesn't try to make anyone nervous. Sometimes I think he forgets that you know, he's so many times bigger than people are." He laughs about the computers, nodding. "Yeah, there's so much to learn. It's really great. I — like machines. I used to build little things when I was thinking about being a Smith. Might go back to it, or Tech." A shake of his head answers her question though. "No, I don't, but you know, wouldn't mind learning."

There's a moment of pause while Aludra apparently considers D'son's first question. "I miss some things about home, but not everything," she admits, her tone slightly guarded. "I miss the few friends I had there, and my cousins, but — " She lifts one shoulder in a shrug. "Home is where you feel most comfortable, I think. I feel … I like the weyr and the freedom it allows." She then picks up the bridle, running her hands expertly over the leather. "It'll be hard to get the image of him on the sands out of my head, but I'm sure it'll be easier to meet him in the meadow. I remember him being handsome, but just a bit on the scary side. Didn't help that other Candidates were scared, too." She pauses again, adding, "Not that I'm afraid of dragons. Be silly to stay in a weyr if I was." A soft chuckle, then, "Well, if you'd like to learn, I happen to know someone who teaches riding." There's a hint of teasing in her expression.

"Yeah, there's that about most Weyrs," D'son agrees about freedom. "I'm from Ista Weyr myself. Transferred here when Inimeth caught Kilaueth, but I don't think I'll be going back, though I would've at one time," the bronzerider admits. "I feel more comfortable here, that and my best friend came here too, so," he grins at that, a little goofy edge to it for that matter. "Yeah, he won't be all puffed out happy and prideful about his hatchling out there," Dels says with a laugh then looks across the way, a touch of sparkle reaching his eyes. "Yeah, imagine that. A really pretty someone too. Added incentive for lessons, yeah?" Not particularly smooth that, but it seems a sincere enough compliment.

And Aludra responds with a sincere enough blush. "Thank you," she says, eyes lowering to the bridle once more. "That's very nice of you to say." It's easy to tell she's not used to getting compliments like that, especially since it takes her a few minutes to compose herself. When she lifts her head, her cheeks are still a little flushed, but it adds a bit of color to her face. "I enjoy being here. There're so many interesting things to do and see. It was a bit overwhelming when I first got here, but that soon wore off." As for his story, she nods. "I've always wanted to visit Ista. I've heard all the jungle is beautiful. Maybe someday I'll get a chance to visit." A pause. "It must be nice to have your best friend here. I imagine it makes the weyr more home-like." And then, she smiles. "So, when can I lure you down to the stables for a riding lesson?" There's an answering sparkle in her eyes, now.

Aludra's reaction makes D'son's head duck and he lifts a hand to the back of his neck, rubs there looking sheepish, his own cheeks faintly touched with pink. "My family's still at Ista," he supplies with a grin. "And the jungle /is/ really nice if you like steamy tropical forest. There's tons of bugs though. I used to go trap them for bait to go fishing. And yeah, having Mikey here is really great. Well, K'ael is how you'd know him, if you know him. Bronze Azaeth's." Her query draws out a laugh and his head ducks again, his mug pushed back and forth between his palms. "Almost any afternoon really, though don't laugh if I make a muddle of it. And I'll have to make sure Inimeth's okay with me riding another creature."

Aludra listens, being polite enough not to draw attention to D'son's own pink cheeks. "The plains can be very hot, and we have our share of insects, too. Mostly those little bitey ones, especially at night. So annoying." She pauses, toying with the leather bridle, perhaps to give herself something to do. "I'm afraid I don't know many riders by name. I sort of keep to myself most of the time." Another lift of her shoulder. "Not that I don't enjoy meeting people, but sometimes I like solitude. I think what I miss the most is my room. At home I had my own room, and here, well, I have a corner of the residential cavern. It's just a little niche, and not really … private, you know." She presses her lips together a moment, then takes off on another topic. "Afternoons are good for me, too. Please make sure Inimeth doesn't mind. I'd hate for him to make a meal of me!" This is obviously a joke, since she laughs.

"Yeahhh, jungles well … you can get some giant things. Big crawlies," D'son demonstrates with both hands. "And biting things too." His hands drop back down, nodding about the keeping to herself. "Well if you do meet Mikey, he's a flirt. Really nice guy, but a total flirt," he explains about his friend. "And yeah, I get that. At Ista I had a weyr on the outside of the Weyr, overlooking the jungle. Here I've got a whole small cottage. It's so much /space/," he says with a laugh. "And before that, dorms with the other kids of course." His head bobs up and down energetically about Inimeth. "I'm actually asking him right now and he's saying he doesn't mind if it's for someone who stood for one of his clutches," the rider relates with a bemused look. "And nahh, you're too little to make a good snack," he jokes back.

There's a laugh at the snack comment, and Aludra exaggerates relief. "That's good to know," she says, still amused. "At least I know I'm safe when I meet him." She listens about the jungle, the insects and D'son's talk of his weyrs. "I've never visited any other weyr, but I've heard stories about how cold it can get up in the mountains. Keroon isn't exactly tropical, but our weather's nice enough. Spring is particularly lovely with all the flowers blooming on the plains." She sets the bridle down, apparently relaxing a little more as the conversation continues. "An entire cottage. All that space must be very nice. Perhaps, someday, I'll earn a room of my own." She sighs softly. "I don't have a craft, though, so it's doubtful." It looks almost like Aludra gives herself a mental shake. "Ah, well that's nice to hear. Please convey my appreciation, and let him know I have hopes to stand again for one of his clutches. So, just grab me whenever you want to ride."

"Uhh … depends on your definition of uh, safe," D'son says with another laugh and reaches for his mug, takes a couple of hasty sips. "Telgar's really cold. That was tough. I was up there at the Smith hall with my grandparents for a bit. And we get snow here sometimes, but it doesn't last long." One hand props up his chin as he listens about Keroon. "Yeah, I've seen it. All that grass going on forever, it's pretty." Again his gaze goes a little distant then he refocuses. "He says thank you, he'll have to try double hard to sire another one, which uh — well he doesn't really short himself in that department." Dels blows out a breath, considers. "Could always go in with someone on building a space, I guess, if there's room."

"Safe as in … not getting eaten safe?" Aludra ventures, tone a little uncertain, now. "Safe from those teeth and talons." Her laugh is warm, and her eyes are twinkling. "I've heard Telgar's cold, too. I don't think I'd enjoy living up there — or in High Reaches. Snow's pretty, but I don't want to be in a blizzard. It's pleasant enough here." When he mentions having seen Keroon, she perks up. "It's easy to get lost if you're not on a marked trail. All that grass looks alike after awhile. Not many landmarks on the prairie." As for Inimeth's trying doubly hard to sire another clutch, Aludra smiles and ducks her head again. "Tell him I'm sure he'll have no difficulty in catching," she says, eyes alight with amusement. "I suppose I could, but it's really not a big deal. I have my little cave corner, and that's nice. Just gets a little noisy with everyone talking — or snoring!" She rolls her eyes.

"Oh! You meant Inimeth …" D'son says with a sudden flaming of color in his cheeks. "Right, right." Hand to face and he peeks out between his fingers at her sheepishly. "It's /really/ cold at Telgar in the winter. Colder than the Reaches. Shells, colder than just about anything except the actual snowy wastes." His hand drops, mug retrieved. "I'll bet it does, the grass." Laughing, Dels shrugs. "He's got a pretty good track record for flights, yeah." Pause. "Do you ever just grab a hammock and go sleep outside if the noise gets too bad?"

Aludra cocks her head to one side, studying D'son's reaction to her definition of "safe." Obviously, she's not getting the message there, but apparently shrugs it off. At least mentally. "That kind of cold I can do without," Aludra agrees, giving a visible shiver. "I'll stick to more temperate zones, thank you. I've no desire to be a frozen treat for some dangerous predator." A pause. "Not that I know of any dangerous predators up in the frozen wastes. I was just … well, you know." She chuckles at herself, dismissing the topic. "We've had to rescue a few people now and then. They wandered off the tracks and just got lost. None the worse for wear, but just a little off course." She smiles at mention of Inimeth's "track record," saying, "Well, I'll be rooting for him next flight." It's the mention of sleeping outside that catches her attention. "Never slept in a hammock, but I have camped out on the plains. It's beautiful with all the stars out. I should try that here, I guess. If the noise gets too much."

And D'son is not going to backtrack to enlighten her either. "Yeah, I don't really want to go back to where it's that cold for so long either. Here's nice, all four seasons, but without the extremes," the bronzerider says. "Oh yeah? You've got experience rescuing people? I used to lead the search and rescue wing at Ista, it's kind of … well it's one of the other things I'm still into," Dels explains laughingly then gets a bit more color to him once again. "He says thank you. About the flights. And you should try it sometime if you like sleeping out. It's pretty. Just hook up between two trees and there's the stars overhead so long as it's not foggy."

"I was one of the best riders in the hold, so whenever someone was overdue, I'd get to ride out and help find them," Aludra explains. "Not quite the same as Search & Rescue with a dragon, I imagine, but we'd take them food and water, and help them get back on the trail. Sometimes it was just kids daring each other, and that's when Grandmother would get very angry. She said the plains were no place to fool around, and she was probably right." Aludra pauses, watching D'son. "I'd imagine in Ista you'd have to rescue people from the water a lot. That must've been exciting." Another pause. "Oh, not that I think people in trouble is good, just … it sounds more important than what I did." A nod is given regarding Inimeth's response, but nothing is said. "I might do that, though I'd probably fall out of the hammock. Maybe a bedroll on the ground — though is it safe to sleep alone outside? No predators around?"

"Well sure, it's different flying, but it's still- that, finding people, helping them out," D'son says with a couple of nods. "And yeah, water rescues were pretty common there. Righting capsized boats, that kind of thing." Breath out. "I think that for anyone in trouble, it doesn't really matter who does the rescuing, it's getting rescued that matters." He smiles at her for a moment, then lifts his mug, finishes off its contents and leans back in his seat. "Safe enough these days. Wouldn't have said the same a few turns back. Not creatures … human predators."

"Human predators?" Aludra echoes, brow knitting. "Like renegades?" Her expression is cautious. "There are stories…" she begins, then pauses. "Some of the traders coming through the hold told stories of running into raiders. When we were able to slip out and sit with them around their campfire, they'd tell these scary stories." Another pause. "It gave Ramua nightmares, once. She's my cousin, and she was only eight turns old then. We got in trouble for slipping out." She looks a little abashed at this confession. "But it's safe now? The human predators aren't around any longer?" Aludra hasn't, after all, lived in the weyr all that long. "Helping people is always satisfying. It felt good to see them smiling when we showed up. I liked to help rescue folks. Maybe I could get involved with that here? — or do you /have/ to have a dragon for that?"

"Yeah … it's a long story. Kefai's people," D'son says quietly with a deep frown marring his forehead. "One of them impressed one of our golds even. She pops up now and then when she rises …" the bronzerider falls silent, fidgeting with his mug. "But they haven't been around here for a long while." He looks up as ALudra shifts back to s&r. "Actually, you could probably help out with that with a runner for some spots in our coverage area," he says slowly, thoughtfully. "Be worth talking to someone about at any rate."

Aludra takes in everything D'son tells her about the "predators," nodding seriously. "Sounds like they're good people to avoid," she says, her own demeanor serious. "A /gold/?" This seems particularly surprising to her, and her eyes widen at the implications. "That must be very … awkward. I can't imagine - " But she falls silent, studying D'son. Her lips purse, and it's easy to see where her thoughts are leading. However, instead of pursuing the subject, she does like D'son and goes back to S&R. "I could probably do that, yes," she says, thoughtful. "I can see how a runner might be able to get someplace where a dragon can't. I'd be very interested in helping with that. If nothing else, I could teach folks how to ride." A pause. "If there's interest, of course."

"For sure. I'd run hard and fast if any of them ever turned up again and didn't have someone to back me up, or a dragon," D'son says earnestly. "Yes. A gold. She'll surface, without her rider … shells, must be loopy for the rider whose dragon wins …" he trails off, lifts his shoulders. "Anyway. Yeah. If shady characters turn up around here, run and hide is my advice." He nods a couple of times about the runner riding. "Yeah, dragon are so big, they can get people to a place, but sometimes you need to be able to say, get in under tree cover and all."

"Don't worry," Aludra assures the bronzerider, "if those kind of people show up, I'll run as fast and far as I can. If even half the stories those traders told were true -" She shudders for real, this time. "But, at least they don't come around any more, that's something, right?" Hopeful, those words. Begging for assurance, probably. "Without a rider! Oh, the poor rider! - both of them! I can't imagine what that would be like. I was warned about how gold flights affect people. I hide in my niche until it's over." She blushes at the admission, but doesn't seem ashamed. "Still and all, I'd like to rescue people in trouble. I'm pretty good at reading maps, and I'd like to think I have some common sense. Who would I talk to about it?" she asks, looking earnest in her desire to help.

"Good," D'son says simply at Aludra's avowal about running. "And no, they don't," he continues then clears his throat, looks down at the table for a moment. "Yeah. I'll bet that you know, they go looking. For someone." Deadpan that and he looks up again. "Doesn't it affect you?" he asks curiously. "Um, the search and rescue wingleader and the Weyrleader probably, for helping out."

The blush on her cheeks is bright red. "Yes, it … I … I feel it," she stammers. "It's kind of hard /not/ to be affected, but I hide, like I said. I just … try not to think about what's going on." She turns her head to the side, studying the hearth. "It's not easy to resist, but … I don't want … flight sex." Her explanation didn't come out very well, which is likely why she's looking away. "I've heard some of the other women discussing it, and it doesn't sound very pleasant. Not how I'd want — " Enough of that. She takes a deep breath, exhaling slowly to compose herself. "I'll have to seek them out, then. I do a few things around the weyr — helping in the kitchens and at the stable — but I'd like to do something more, y'know? Something to really help."

"Oh — uh —" D'son politely looks away too, throat clearing again, but then he nods. "Yeah. Can't blame you," the bronzerider provides a maybe out for that then leaves the topic well enough alone. "Definitely ask, it's always you know, well nice to have more to do than just the usual."

Since the conversation has turned slightly awkward, Aludra remains silent a moment, just nodding at what D'son says. The topic of helping and doing more, however, seems a much safer subject, and she latches onto it. "I don't mind the work," she says. "Even the drudgery stuff like mucking stalls or fixing bridles. Those are things which just sort of come naturally with being around runners." She smiles. "Just like oiling and fixing riding straps comes with being a dragonrider. It just comes with the territory, so to speak. It's nice to know you're doing all that stuff for a reason, and that it'll help someone else in the end. I know if I were lost, I'd feel better knowing there's someone around to come looking."

"Heh, yeah it does come with the job, all the strap repair, whether you want it to or not," D'son says with a laugh as they navigate back towards safer conversation. "Yeah, I think it helps really energetic dragons to have something that's closer to fighting Thread than say, transports."

There's a thoughtful expression in Aludra's eyes, now. "Do you ever wonder what it must've been like during the days of Threadfighting?" she asks D'son. "It's hard to imagine how awful it must've been. All the injuries and having to stay indoors all the time. I don't think I'd've enjoyed living back then. Our poor ancestors." She shakes her head. "I agree with you. Rescuing people certainly does take time and energy, and dragons are perfect for it. Just their strength and stamina alone must been a great help."

"Yeah, I do, actually," Dels says slowly. "And how it was fought and all that. I thought about it a lot while I was Weyrleader, not as much now," the bronzerider confesses, the expression on his face a little bit … odd. "Mm. It's good to just be able to walk without being afraid of the sky. Can you imagine being afraid of the sky?"

"No, I can't. The sky is — " Aludra stops, thinks. " — beautiful. Too beautiful for people to be afraid of it. I've tried to imagine what they must've felt, our ancestors, but I can't …" She shakes her head. "I can see where that would be on your mind as weyrleader. I know the job is difficult enough today, but can you just think of what the Weyrleader had to do back then? Charting threadfall, being responsible for holds in your region, keeping the riders safe - so different from problems today, I guess." She studies D'son, smiling at him. "I much prefer today where you can walk outside and see the sky. Especially the night sky. I really love watching the stars." She pauses. "Do you like star gazing?"

"Well, what's tough about it now is politics. In some ways, it might've been simpler, to have that focus on just one thing," D'son says thoughtfully and picks up his mug, starts to push his chair back. "A little, mostly I like to set off fireworks at night," he answers with a laugh and gets to his feet. "Inimeth's wanting a wash and oil. Want to come meet him quick-like before we head off to take care of that?" His hand reaches for his jacket, plucks it up off the back of the chair.

"Politics." The way she says it makes the word sound obscene. "I'd rather not think of politics. There were enough at the hold, what with talk of arranged marriages and alliances and all that." Aludra mutters all that almost under her breath, but loud enough to hear. "Politics are nasty. Avoid them if you can." She watches D'son rise, and smiles. "I'd love to meet him," she says, nodding. "And if you'd like help washing and oiling, I don't mind that, either. We had to do a bit of that as Candidates, to familiarize us with just how big lifemates can get. Rubbing down a runner is a lot less trouble, let me tell you." She laughs, picking up the bridle, stuffing it and the tools into a leather satchel that's been sitting on the floor. Swinging it over her shoulder, she picks up her dirty dishes. "Lead on, D'son," she quips.

"You can't when you're a leader," D'son says with another little shrug and tosses his jacket over his shoulder, held there by one hand. "He's just out in the clearing, came over closer," the bronzerider explains, then shakes his head at the offer for help with the wash-and-oil "That's okay, but thanks for the offer." His cup is taken over to the dish bin and left there as he heads outside.

Likewise, Aludra pauses to deposit her own dirty dishes. "I suppose not," she remarks, "but at least Weyrleaders aren't offered to the highest bidder, so to speak. Hold marriages can be much like auctions." But now she's moving alongside D'son, easily keeping up with him. "You're quite welcome. It must be quite a job washing and oiling a dragon the size of Inimeth. I look forward to meeting him." She walks beside the bronzerider as he heads outside.

"I know," D'son says quietly and rolls his shoulders. His turn to be uncomfortable but then he grins about Inimeth. "Yep, it's a work out all right." And then he ducks out of the caverns and into the sunlight where Inimeth waits.

Xanadu Weyr - 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 this and sharp 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 three sides, stretching upwards all the way up the side of the mountain where, high above, Xanadu's Star Stones and the ever present watchdragon sit on a lonely peak. Directly south is a massive tunnel, fully wide enough for even the largest dragon to fly down. Southeast are wide steps leading up to the Caverns and eastwards is the large entrance to the Infirmary. Somewhat north of the Infirmary is a human sized archway that has a frequent quantity of traffic — it leads to the Tavern. Southwest lies the low ledges currently belonging to Xanadu's queens while north and west a broad path cut by the side of the cliff leads to the Feeding Grounds and due north is the spacious trail that leads to the rest of the Weyr.

Aludra trails after D'son, a little bounce in her steps. She certainly appears eager to meet the bronze dragon. Blinking as they emerge, she lets her eyes adjust, and smiles. "He certainly is a handsome fellow," she comments. She doesn't instantly approach the dragon, but allows D'son to lead the way. She might be eager, but she's not rude and not stupid. "Do you suppose he'd let me touch him? I know dragons like to be scratched sometimes."

Ambling on over, D'son comes to a halt within easy reaching distance of the bronze who ducks his head down and warbles brightly. "He's pleased to meet you," he translates while the dragon nudges his nose towards Aludra's hand. "Annd like I said, he's outgoing," Dels says with a laugh.

Aludra seems enchanted with the huge bronze, smiling and nodding toward him. "A pleasure, Inimeth," she says, tentatively reaching her hand toward the dragon's neck. When she touches the bronze, her smile widens, and she immediately begins to stroke the massive jaw. "You /are/ a handsome lad, yes. No wonder you have so much luck in flights." There's a lilt to her voice, and she seems to be totally fascinated by the feel of dragon hide beneath her fingers. "He certainly is out-going," she tells D'son, grinning at the rider. "You two make a good pair."

D'son lifts a hand to the back of his neck again and clears his throat. "Uh, dunno if it's his looks or his smarts that counts, but you know, whatever he's got … he's got it," the bronzerider claims with a bemused little look. His gaze lifts, trails along the shape of the dragon's neckridges, then he turns back towards the young woman. "Thanks. He's … he helped me a lot," is what D'son says quietly, then he reaches out to give Inimeth a fond pat, before stepping in close and mounting up. "It was good talking to you, Aludra. Good luck with setting something up with the search and rescue. I'll see you around." Inimeth nudges his muzzle close for a moment longer, then he backs up a couple of paces. "He's going to lift off," Dels relates and waves in friendly fashion, waiting a moment longer for Aludra to step away before Inimeth takes off, large wings beating a few times, then settling into the long slow glide that will take him home.

Taking note of the dragon's imminent departure, Aludra backs away, smiling up at D'son. "It was nice talking with you, as well," she says, giving the dragon a final stroke. "Just let me know when you'd like the riding lesson," she adds. "I think you'll enjoy it." A couple more steps back and she's out of the way completely. "Take care!" is called to dragon and rider as those huge wings carry the pair aloft. Were anyone watching Aludra, it might be noted there's a hint of wistfulness in her expression. When rider and dragon disappear, she turns and slowly makes her way to the stables.

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