Ancient dunes have been flattened by the endless parade of people and dragons that tramp northwest across the bowl, leaving a mere skiff of sand here along lake's beaten edge. Footprints litter the curve of beach, some left turns ago and caught frozen in the heavy clay earth near the water's edge. As the sun sets, shadows invade, creeping like fingers across the gently sloping ground and darkening the distant ledges on the far side of the lake.
To the north, dust rises from the redolent pens while the flattened disc of the main bowl is just a step to the northwest.
It is a summer afternoon.
Darting here and there are thirteen firelizards.
Brown Zenzorath, blue Wiranth, and green Alymath are here.
You see Atticus, Ye Olde Hatching Rules, and Dry organic waste here.
Lewis is here.
From above, Dsalth takes off from Dsalth's ledge.
Honey-blond tresses, sunstreaked with platinum highlights, tumble heavily to a spot just above her hips, although her hair is generally worn in a single thick plait down her back. Short in stature, girlish in appearance; nonetheless she has a look about her pale blue eyes that's old beyond her Turns. Set in a warmly tanned oval face, they remain her most striking feature, more for the odd gleam that lights them than for color or shape. Full lips are just a fraction too wide, quick to warm her distant expression with a genuine smile or merry laugh.
Linora wears a pale blue two-piece swimsuit with innocent unconcern for the amount of tanned skin left exposed. High-cut trunks are knotted at her hips, and the halter-type top is held in place with little more than thin ribbons, tied off at the back of her neck and between her shoulderblades.
Linora is 19 Turns, 10 months, and 13 days old.
From above, Dsalth drops down towards the beach.
Dsalth clatters down from above.
Dsalth watches with interest as P'rru descends carefully
Standing at 6'2, Lewis is handsome in a dark kind of way. Having no tan at all, his pale, lanky figure is muscled, but not overly so. Black orbs stare out from a square face, with slightly bushy eyebrows accenting the dark colour of them. His nose is not too pointy and is centered between stubbornly set lips and eyes. Black hair always seems to look wet and is cropped close the the young man's scalp, the locks that should be his bangs spiked upwards.
Lewis is clad in completely black, as always, but is dressed far more warmly than usual, for the autumn of High Reaches has arrived and he's, well, not exactly weel insulated. Baggy trousers are kept at his waist by a black wherhide belt with a silver buckle. They hang down to cover the tops of his equally dark boots, which are wrongly cut for his uneven feet and make them hurt. He is wearing his usual black T-shirt, but it is covered by a midnight-coloured wherhide jacket that falls to his midthighs, keeping his warm in frigid weather.
He is awake and looks alert.
Lewis is 16 Turns and 11 months old.
Restrained strands of sorrel and khaki overlap the lithe body of this dragon in a regimental pattern undermined by escaping tendrils of amber. Near enough in shade to blend with the design, they curl against it, flickering against the sharp line of his jaw before escaping down the geometric line of his neckridges. Ancient pale primrose -- the hue of old, forgotten books - curls down his spine in a uniformed march towards the similarly stained wingbones. Heavy ginger drapes, wing membrane made more substantial by its darkness, an abandoned blazer carefully hung from the long length of his wings. Mustard floats over his tail, musty mist lifting towards haunches reinforced by the strength of rusty iron.
Thick straps of leather reach to caress sorrel hide beneath them, casting 'bout to slip about Dsalth's neck. Dark burgundy shines brightly, melding with deep chestnut hide below. Sweep of night colors engulfs new straps in seconds, curve-hugging leather retaining polished navy and slick midnight hues. Large buckles, glinting brightly for the entire world to see, shine of bright rays of sun, spreading thick pale moonbeams to engulf rest of evening tethers, adding last eerie touch to supple riding straps. Neat rows of heavy stitch stretch down full length of leather, ivory white of moon emerging from darkness only to be concealed by clouds once again. Flanking each shoulder is a finely sewn emblem, showing the dragon and rider as belonging to the Mudslide Wing and another decoration just below present the rank of Wingsecond. A pigeon has been fashioned of the finest silver, polished and cleaned,fit to be displayed on a dragon's wing badge.On the front of the mask, near the top, the word 'LaughCraft' is engraved in flowing script. Near the bottom, the words 'LaughCraft Mascot Dsalth' are engraved in the same flowing script.
Dsalth is 27 Turns, 5 months, and 17 days old.
He is 60 feet (20m) long, with a wingspan of 100 feet (33m).
Dsalth seems to be listening.
Dsalth drops, wings billowing with the breeze. It's almost lazy, his descent from his ledge up the wall, and his rider is sitting 'sidesaddle', both arms holding onto the neckridges either side of him. "Nice afternoon, isn't it lughead?" Purr asks his dragon, slipping to the ground, his bare feet wiggling into the soft sand.
Linora drops her pack and a large towel on the beach and picks her way down to the water's edge. The shadow cast by large brown wings makes her turn and look up, shading her eyes against the afternoon sun and squinting a bit as she tries to make out whether this is one of the dragons she's met before. Not until the old rider dismounts does she remember, and a bright smile lights her face. "Hey, P'rru," she calls brightly, remembering him from at least one visit to the StarCraft hall. And perhaps a field trip. She heads purposefully towards him, adding, "I'm Linora, from StarCraft. You prolly don't remember me and stuff." She shrugs a little, since it's not that important to her that an insignificant apprentice is remembered by a brownrider she's only met once or twice.
Yolk suddenly disappears ::between::!
Lewis is resting on a rock, almost dozing off with his cat on his lap. He hears a loud rustle and voices and stirs lightly, and eventually wakes up as he sees a brown dragon right there. "Whoa!" he exclaims, not quite expecting /that/ to wake up to. Embarrassed, he tries to cover. "Oh, hi..." Not too successful...joining in on the introductions, he adds in a "I'm Lewis" and tries to render his obvious suprise latent.
P'rru,in his lack of tshirt (eww old man chest, eww) and bright lime green shorts (don't comment), waves to those who greet him. "Aye..Linora was it? Your face looks familiar, pet, I'm just not good at remembering names" the brownrider notes, squinting his eyes as he checks out the apprentice, and then his gaze slithers towards Lewis. "I'd be P'rru, and this is Dsalth..." Said dragon flares his nostrils, wings snapped back against his sides. "Oh just go in the water, I'll be right along..." Purr replies to a comment from his lifemate almost irritably.
Linora gives Lewis a bright smile as she passes him, pausing at last in front of P'rru--a respectable distance away, of course, since she doesn't know him /that/ well. And she's far too polite to comment on his attire. Anyhow, he's obviously going to swim. She's just glad he's not completely naked. "Yes sir," she replies, the formality in deference to his age and his status as a rider, then flashes a grin at Dsalth. Oh yes, she's definitely seen this dragon before. "Don't the water /ever/ get warm here?" she asks conversationally, wading in to her ankles and trying not to shiver too much.
Lewis nods. "Well met, P'rru...and Dsalth." Taking notice that Keanu had long since fled in Lew's ungraceful moment, Lew looks around to see the feline resting nearby, as far away from the water as possible. He pivots to face Linora again. "Haven't been here that long, but it never meets the Istan temperatures I'm used to." Of course, he wouldn't know for sure, but it's something to talk about, at least. But one thing's for sure...Lew hasn't adapted to High Reaches waters and is going to stay as far away from them as possible.
Lewis goes home.
P'rru wrinkles his nose, coupling it with a shake of his head. "Unfortunately no, it's doesn't. Such a shame because the lake really is quite nice..." Dsalth wades out towards the water, splashing up spray. "Cut it out, 'salth.." Purr reprimands and then flaps a hand at the apprentice "And don't call me sir, makes me feel so very old. Purr will do fine". Ok so people he obviously dislikes have to call him 'sir'. Feel spesh. As Lewis leaves the brownrider's eyes follow him "Strange..." but with one more shrug he's sucking in breaths and entering the water too.
Linora opens her mouth to answer Lewis, only to have him abruptly turn and leave. "Guess he really don't like the water," she murmurs, then shrugs, turning a grin to the brownrider again. "Okay, Purr," she says amiably. And in a moment she's standing alone on the beach, debating whether to get into the water for the swim she /really/ wanted, or to stay in the sun and be warm. Finally she shrugs, steels herself, and splashes out, hoping against hope that it won't feel quite so cold once she's used to it. At least she's a strong swimmer.
Skylark quickly strolls in from the Central Bowl.
P'rru stands shivering in the water that laps just midway to his chest. Dsalth of course has to practically lie down on the bottom, at this shallow depth, just to get the water level hitting his sides at all. "Right, yes, lughead, I'd forgotten you were so desperate to get clean.." sarcastically he answers the dragon. "Oh Linora, would you mind giving me a hand? 4 hands are so much better than 2 when there's this much old, wrinkley hide to cover..." Shuffling, Dsalth inches further out, into deeper water. P'rru follows, he can still stand, yet the water is lapping at his shoulders now. "And if we're scrubbing we might not notice the cold so much?" he calls out to the apprentice. Perhaps it's just wishful thinking.
Linora is much shorter, and finds herself treading water long before she reaches the deeper water where P'rru is standing. "It'd be easier if I could stand," she offers. "Less he don't mind me climbing up on him? You'd hafta hand me the sand, though." Someone has apparently scrubbed dragons before. "He's a lot bigger'n Imbriath," she observes, paddling closer.
P'rru chuckles, swiping water from his face. "Aye, you can climb on...so you know Hyzen do you? Isn't she such a little dear.." he comments, as Dsalth dunks one shoulder down, to aid Linora in climbing up. "I've got a scrubbing brush somewhere..." the brownrider looks back to the shore and groans "On the beach of course..." He gives his dragon a scratch on the muzzle and begins half swimming, half wading back "I'll just fetch it..."
Linora hauls herself up on a neckridge, slipping a bit on the slick wet hide but finally securing a perch on the big brown's shoulders. Well, it is warmer in the sunshine, after all. She nods earnestly at the question. "Yeah, Hyzen's visited lotsa times," she replies brightly. "An' she says Imbriath likes me an' stuff. I only seen her once since I been up here, though." Maybe her friend was a little extra careful since that last proddy episode. Ahem. Lin settles herself a little more comfortably then, watching as P'rru wades out to shore to collect his brush.
Skylark strolls on in, her bright blue eyes rifting across the horizon, the rather strong but warm summer breeze causing her to drape her beach blanket over her head for protection against the whipped sand. It's but a gust of wind but Lark would rather be prepared for the next rather than get a handfull of sand tossed against her. She smiles towards the pair cleaning up Dsalth. "Faranth, Dsalth, a bath in this weather? Isn't the water a tad bit chilly?"
P'rru scrambles on the sand, finding the brush, and lingering a moment, perhaps to warm his skin a little. "Imbriath is one green who Dsalth doesn't mind at all. Such a nice tempered creature..." he compliments, but the old guy is probably biased considering he dumps his children on the greenrider to babysit every now or then. "Skylark! Ah my dear, he wanted to go to Ista, but I really don't have the energy or the time to take him there..." brownrider, sopping wet, explains to his daughter. "But come and help bathe him, won't you?" and then he's wading back out again, brush held over his head, teeth clenching as the cool water envelopes his lanky body.
Linora looks up at the new voice, lifting a hand to wave cheerfully at the young woman who so obviously knows P'rru, although Lin has no idea how. "Imbri's nice," she offers as P'rru gets close enough to hear easily, and then she leans over a bit to reach for the brush.
Skylark has disconnected.
Skylark snuggles down into a sleep with a soft 'Goodnight'...
P'rru holds the brush up to Linora "So why are you here and not at your hall?" he mentions, hooking both hands around his dragon's muzzle, and picking and prodding at the whiskers and nobbles, as if checking them over. "My weyrmate is one of your journeymen, I don't know if you'd know her?" conversation in chilly water involves a lot of pauses for deep breaths of course.
Dsalth shakes his head back and forth.
The housekeeper arrives to cart Skylark off to bed.
Linora takes the brush and begins scrubbing, gently at first, as if unsure how much pressure would be best applied. "I'm workin' on a project," she explains, her eyes on her task, "makin' new charts of the northern skies. Nobody's updated 'em in Turns. My mentor's here too... Keris?" She glances up then, as if to see if the name sparks any recognition in the brownrider. The second statement is turned over in her brain a time or two, and she guesses. "Oh... you mean Kezz? I heard she came up here and stuff..?" Scrub, scrub. Well, he must have been coming to the hall to visit /someone/, so it only makes sense. "I ain't seen her either," she adds conversationally.
P'rru let's Dsalth shake right out of his hands, scowling as he chuyckles. "Fine, don't let me pick.." he murmers before blinking up at the apprentice. "I know Keris by name only, not by sight..." he mentions before a grin plays his jowls "Yes, Kezzra, that's it...she's been busy with our new baby, really, that's probably why you've not run into her yet..I'll pass it along that your here though" Brownrider holds up a finger as if to say 'one moment', takes a long breath and dunks under the water. A moment later he reappears, sludgey sand dribbling in his hands. "Shells, it's cold and it's summer...how ridiculous.." sand is slapped thoroughly against sorrel hide and gently rubbed in circles.
Linora giggles a little, even more glad that she's out in the sun. Climbing around on top of the big brown /is/ just a little awkward, though she manages not to slip as she makes her way along the great spine, taking great care with the brush where the wings attach. "She had /another/ baby?" she blurts out suddenly, pale eyes wide with surprise as the brush stops its gentle circular movements. "Shells, seems like she just had Rasha yesterday." Denial much? Lin knows she's not 15 anymore. Really. "Yeah, tell her I said hey."
P'rru shields his eyes from the sun as he glances up at Linora "Little Rasha has a sister now, we named her Azerra..." It seems to him just yesterday his 22 turn old daughter was born, but that's another rant about age isn't it? Dsalth holds himself steady, tail flickering across the water's surface. "Paw, lughead.." brownrider asks and magically (well not at all) a brown foot is crooked upwards so that Purr can scrub and massage that aswell. "How's his hide look up there? Not flaking at all is it?"
Linora just shakes her head. "Shells, Rasha must be close t'five," she sighs, having taken the time to do the math. Pausing in her scrubbing again, she turns to examine the big brown's hide. "Looks pretty good," she calls down, clambering across the expanse of /back/ to reach his neck again. Then abruptly she loses her footing on the slippery hide, hitting the chilly water with a little shriek and a big *splash*!
P'rru leaps backwards from the splash, Dsalth shifting his weight aswell, large head swung like a hammer towards the motion "You alright, child?" the brownrider clamours, frowns of actual concern crossing his face "Dsalth, you didn't have to knock her off, how do you expect people to get you clean?" Of course the brown wont stand to be reprimanded when he isn't guilty and he rumbles, breathing stale breath right into Purr's face. "Ack, hack cough". That'll learn him.
In your mind, you hear a soft voice say, << Are you all right? I am sorry... >>
Linora splashes to the surface, both hands lifted to wipe water out of her eyes and smooth her soaked hair back from her forehead. She didn't hear the question, of course, since she was underwater, but the brownrider's concerned expression clues her in. "I'm fine," she says quickly, looking just a little chagrined. "I just slipped or something." Still unable to touch the bottom this far from shore, she begins treading water, until she hears the quiet voice. Or thinks she does. She looks hard at P'rru, almost forgetting to paddle. "Did you.. say something?"
P'rru nods at the question, since Dsalth really doesn't inform him when he's speaking to someone else. Yknow, a dragon's gotta have some privacy. "I asked if you were alright.." he continues, offering his arm to the apprentice "Your not hurt?" Dsalth lowers his muzzle, snuffing around Linora. "I'll finish up, and you go back and get some warmth into your skin eh?" he offers, other hand pressed against his dragon's neck as if to suck warmth out through osmosis.
Linora shakes her head quickly, quite sure she'd heard the question twice. "I'm fine," she repeats, taking the offered arm with one hand and tentatively stroking the great brown muzzle with the other as she's snuffled. "You sure you don't need more help?" Because she's okay, really. She fixes wide pale eyes on the old brownrider's face, her expression quite earnest.
P'rru grins and shakes his head "No, I can manage...afterall, the old lug is pretty clean anyway, it shant take me long to scrub his tail and the other feet" Of course it's hinted at that if she wanted to continue helping, it'd be much appeciated. "So, whats this project about?" The brownrider is offered another forepaw, Dsalth swooshing around in the water as he steadies himself again.
Linora releases Purr's arm and takes hold of a wing, paddling herself along to Dsalth's back end, retrieving the brush from where it's bobbing on the water. "I can do it," she says firmly. "Just maybe not up so high this time." Not with nothing to hold onto and that hide so slippery from the water and sand. Settling herself to scrub the great tail, one hand braced against it for balance, she glances up at P'rru. "Just charts," she says with a kind of half shrug. "I spend all night lookin' at the stars an' charting where they are. The sky changes every season, so I'm doin' a whole Turn's worth... prolly got another half-Turn or so t'go." Scrub, scrub. "Been a long time since anyone's done 'em, an' the sky /does/ change." Not very quickly, but it does.
P'rru takes meticulous care of that forepaw "Really? Well it shows you how ignorant I am, althought it's not as if I've ever had much to do with the stars..." Unless you count stealing one of their journeywomen. Yknow. "Seems rather repetitive though?" He makes the comment a question, holding the forepaw out of the water as he glances over at his fellow scrubber. Dsalth rumbles, more contentedly this time, lashings of his tail subsiding to the barest of muscle twitches.
Fortunate that the tail relaxes a bit, as Linora's attempts to scrub it have largely involved her holding on for dear life and bodysurfing back and forth, trying not to giggle. "Maybe a little," she manages to say, once the twitching slows a bit, "but I like lookin' at the stars. It's kinda picky, making all the measurements and stuff t'get the charts right--they gotta be accurate and stuff or they're not worth much--but it ain't so bad."
P'rru grunts his ignorance "Huh? How can you possibly measure?" But then again nothing he ever does in daily life needs meticulous use of maths and stuff to achieve results. Unless it's counting how many days a few of his wingriders have left of double sweeps. "That'll do, Dsalth" he adds, patting his dragon's upper leg as he finishes that task. Sorrel one splashes his paw back under water, neck craning round to watch Linora, and offer little thrumming whuffles at irritating moments. Mwah.
Linora shrugs a little. "Well, there's instruments and stuff," she says, glancing up to give Purr a cheerful smile that absolves the old brownrider of his ignorance. Don't ask her about flaming Thread either. "You ever sat up on the Star Stones an' just looked?" She manages to get the words out around the thrumming whuffles, making the sentence a little disjointed... but still understandable. She's betting he hasn't, though, since she's hardly ever seen another living soul up there on the nights she's been out.
From above, Cerdith appears quite suddenly with a rush of chilled air and a flash of shimmering turquoise.
P'rru chuffs "No, come to think of it, don't think I have. Kezzra was often up there, so I visited the place just to drag her back" he winks and hitches himself a little higher out of the water, probably standing on Dsalth's knee below the surface. "Perhaps I'll stop by one night, and you can show me the stars.." It sounds romantic, but he surely didn't intend it to, burping loudly and not apologising for it. Ok, he's a dude. You get that.
Linora gives up on scrubbing, pushing herself off Dsalth's tail and heading back towards shore in a lazy backstroke, dropping to stand as soon as she's in shallow enough water to touch bottom without swallowing a lot of lakewater. "Sure," she says brightly, obviously not thinking anything romantic. Shells, she's pretty sure the rider's older than her Da, and that's just... weird. "I'm up there almost every night." She slicks her hair back again and wipes her eyes. "I'm gonna go dry off now, though." She takes a quick look at the big brown, almost asking his permission. "Warm up and stuff." She flashes a bright grin at dragon and rider and begins wading toward the shore.
P'rru waves the apprentice off, patting his hands along the length of Dsalth's body slowly, flushing water up as he wades along beside him. "I'll follow you in a minute" he calls out after her before pushing Dsalth's inquiring muzzle away. "Had enough? Don't even -think- of rolling in dirt, I'm not going to bath you again today..." The dragon grunts an argumentative response and pushes himself away from his rider, shaking his neckridges of water. Spray. Fun.
Linora is fortunately well out of range by the time Dsalth shakes, and so misses the worst of the spray as she hauls herself out of the water and scampers up the beach to retrieve her towel. She wraps it around herself, turning her face up to the sun and breathing deeply before returning her eyes to the pair in the water, a little smile lighting her pale eyes as she watches. "Take your time," she calls back brightly, settling herself down to wait. And warm up, of course.
In those few moments it took for apprentice to reach the shore, Dsalth and P'rru have managed to have an argument. "Fine, then don't come asking me to scrub your old wrinkley hide again then!" Purr throws up his hands as he darkly wades from the water. Akin to flipping the rider off, Dsalth whacks his tail on the surface of the water and paddles out deeper. "You know, pet, whoever said impressing was a wonderful thing obviously wasn't me" He semi-explains to Linora, sweeping sheets of water from his arms once he's safely on sand. But there's a husky chuckle to his tone, that probably means he isn't all that angry with Dsalth at all.
Linora blinks a little at the sudden shift in attitude, quite unsure what to say when P'rru settles down beside her with his words of wisdom. But she doesn't miss the warm chuckle in his tone, and she cracks a little grin. "I'll ask a couple other people then," she says teasingly, letting the towel fall off her shoulders so the sun can warm up her tan.
P'rru snorts and grins "Yeah perhaps not old crotchety riders" That could have gone without saying of course. "Another half a turn here though, is that what you said?" he tilts his head, eyes squinting as he tries to recall earlier conversation "That's got to be some willpower then, managing to stay here in the cold, bleaky mountains, so far from nice sunny Gar!"
Linora can't suppress a little sigh at the mention of Gar. "It's only a Turn," she says, as much to reassure herself as in response to the statement. "I wish..." She shrugs abruptly, managing a half-hearted grin. "Well, I'll be home soon enough, I guess. An' I got nice warm clothes now." See, there's a bright side to every situation. "An' if I do a good enough job, I oughtta get promoted." So it's worth it. Really.
P'rru chuckles "I visit Ista a fair bit, to see friends and such. If you ever get some time and you want to go home for a spot, don't hesitate to ask..." Of course then he'd have an official excuse to go for a swim instead of doing wing reports or looking after screaming babies.
Linora forgets to close her mouth for a long couple of moments, then a bright smile lights her entire face. "Honest?" she breathes. "That'd be real nice." It'd be better than real nice, but Lin kind of thinks it wouldn't be exactly the right thing to do to jump up and down and hug the old brownrider. So she's controlling herself just a little bit. "Thanks."
P'rru nods eagerly "Usually on sunny mornings you'll find Dsalth here or in the bowl..he's good at passing along messages to me.." his eyes flicker out to his wallowing dragon "..most of the time. I'd be happy to." That ends his offer as he sprawls out on the sand, tryin to soak up as much sun as possible.
Linora giggles a little as the 'rider seems about to fall asleep... which sort of reminds her that maybe she ought to sleep as well, if she's going to be awake after dark to watch the sky. She scrambles to her feet, checking the angle of the sun as she trots over to retrieve her pack. "Thanks again," she calls over, not sure if Purr is already asleep. "I gotta get going though." And with another wave to the wallowing brown, she starts up the beach, towel about her shoulders.