The marks of thousands of claws give testament to the shuffling of the young dragons that have torn up what little grass once grew in this corner of the bowl. Tucked in between the feeding pens to the south and the curve of the Weyrleader's complex, the training grounds are home to daily exercises and classes, all taking place well out of the way of the hectic bustle of the rest of the bowl. Cut deep into the cliff face, the large, covered openings leading into the extensive weyrling barracks rise high over the heads of any who come near, although the height of the caldera's spindles far above cast their own reaching shadows across the hard packed earth.
It is an autumn afternoon. The sky seems a bit brighter, the high clouds a little whiter, with occasional breaks in the cloud cover. The north wind continues, chilling you.
To the north, you see Yajisarath, Ayamizureth, and Cerdith.
Soaring high overhead are Ghede, Selig, Kamoku, and Miami.
Green Niamhyth, bronze Soquilith, blue Qelketh, and blue Kearneth are here.
Weyrling Barracks Bowl Pens
Cerdith heads out from the Weyrling Barracks.
Reiko is led in by Cerdith.
Above, Xeth glides in from the central bowl.
Above, Xeth drops towards the ground.
Xeth glides in from above.
E'ren slithers down Xeth's narrow shoulder, borne by the flash and fall of her hide's silvered sparks.
Cerdith is making his way around the training grounds, doing his best to imitate a certain dancing brown with somewhat mixed results. Reiko is huddled in the dubious shelter of the doorway of the barracks, her arms wrapped around herself, watching her lifemate intently. "Just once more around," she murmurs, quite unnecessarily since he's too far away to actually hear her voice--but it's habit to speak rather than relying on the mental link. "Then we can swim." She's shuddering at the very thought, but she's actually sincere.
Mindful of practicing young dragons, Xeth wings her way to the ground, E'ren hardly hesitating a moment after she touches down before he slides to the ground. The chilly air doesn't seem to bother him, though he's dressed in full leathers, so it might be he's warding off the wind beforehand. He seems to know exactly where he's going, though, as he strides towards the entrance to the barracks. "Hey there, Reiko. Looks like Cerdith's making quite a bit of progress." He gives a wry smile and nods in the direction of the dancing(?) blue.
Concentrating on Cerdith as she is, Reiko doesn't notice E'ren until he speaks, even though by then he's quite close. A little distractedly, she nods, her eyes still on her lifemate. "He's had his first flight, with Soquilith." She can't suppress a small smile of satisfaction at having seen him actually /fly/. "R'ave said the exercises are even more important now, but he can't fly unsupervised yet." Hence her needing to promise him a swim. At last tearing her eyes away from her dragon to actually /look/ at E'ren, she gives him a twisted smile. "How are you? And Xeth?" Lest she forget her manners like she forgot her jacket. She wraps her arms a bit more tightly around herself, trying to ignore the stiff breeze.
E'ren gives a warm smile, truly seeming excited for the weyrling's sake. "Really? That's wonderful! You're getting closer and closer to being able to galavant around Pern on any whim." Even if that's not what riders do most of the time, it's a pretty good perk. "I'm doing all right. Xeth and I got back from sweeps not too long ago, so we thought we'd look in on you. Oh--" He unfastens his jacket and slips it out, holding it out to her. "You look cold. Please, borrow it. I would've brought you some hot klah too, but, well...." Yes, he knows who still has his insulated bottle.
Reiko takes the jacket with a mildly surprised expression but doesn't comment. "Thanks," she says instead, pleased to discover as she slips into it that it's still quite warm from having been on its owner. "I have a parka, but nothing lighter." Indeed, anyone who has more than a passing acquaintance with Reiko could attest to the fact that she has rarely been seen outside the caverns, even in pleasant weather. And hot klah would have been quite welcome--it takes her a moment or two to work out why he didn't bring it, then she remembers. "Oh! The bottle..." She scowls lightly. "Sorry. I forgot all about it. I think it's inside..."
E'ren hums softly, tucking his hands against his sides under crossed arms--thank goodness it isn't full-on winter. "Well, I'm sure you'll get leathers made for you soon, so that'll do a lot to keep you warm. More practical than a parka, too." Especially in flight. He leans up against a corner of the doorframe, just his shoulderblade against the cold stone. "Ah... well... any time you're ready to give it back. I confess, I didn't expect you to cling onto it so," he teases, appraising her for a moment.
Reiko smirks lightly. "For riding, perhaps. It's certainly adequate for standing around watching him exercise... just seemed like a bit much for this time of Turn." She turns her eyes back to Cerdith then, watching as he circles at the far end of the grounds--step-and-step-and-stretch-/leap!/, starlit tail snaking behind him. "I really wish he didn't feel compelled to imitate-- /what/?" She turns her full attention to E'ren. "Cling is a rather strong word," she remarks coolly, eyeing him right back, somehow without noticing that her comfort has come rather at his expense. "I only forgot to return it. I'll get it right now, if you like?" She half turns to the door.
E'ren gives an amused smile and nods. Why does she seem to be so anxious to get rid of it now that he's mentioned it? An act? "All right. If you return it, I'll be able to bring you hot klah next time I come visit." And he really does enjoy unnerving her with his unexpected generosity (and whatever secret he's amusing himself with regarding the act). "Or if you keep it, you could bring me klah the next time I see you," he suggests half-seriously... perhaps just to see the shock in her expression.
The simple truth is that Reiko didn't give the matter a thought until it was mentioned, and if E'ren wants the bottle back at all, it'd be wise to have her retrieve it now, while she's thinking of it. But she stops at his suggestion, turning back to fix a twisted halfsmile on him. "If I were ever sure when I'd see you, that might work," she admits. "But I make terrible klah." Her tendency to be less-than-particular about the state of the klah she's drinking naturally carries over to not caring about how it's prepared.
The corners of E'ren's lips twitch in amusement. "Well, perhaps we should arrange a time to meet, then. Xeth could help Cerdith with flight practice, and you and I could... talk. And drink klah." It isn't a date, really. Or if it is one techincally, it's one of the most innocent type. "And you should do what I do... just go to the living caverns and fill it from one of the pitchers there. Make sure the one you pick is hot, though."
Reiko considers the offer for a moment or two, but can't really come up with any reason to refuse. She lounges back against the doorframe now, actually comfortably warm in E'ren's jacket, regarding the greenrider thoughtfully. "It would be really helpful if Xeth would fly with Cerdith," she admits, almost reluctantly. "Since he isn't allowed to practice alone." And klah is never a bad idea. If she's a little leery about the 'talking' portion of the bargain, she pushes it away. Surely there will be plenty of non-specific things to talk about. "All right." So she /won't/ go get the bottle. She'll... watch Cerdith exercising. Right. Because he's nearly finished his circuit of the training grounds and is already reminding her of her promise to swim with him. Shudder.
E'ren wouldn't know why Reiko would be nervous about talking... they're talking right now, aren't they? And they've been doing nothing but innocently talking since the Hatching, really. He watches her watch Cerdith for a moment, little worry lines forming on his forehead. "If you don't want to, we don't have to, I suppose. You look like I'm inviting you to play in a torture chamber." It genuinely bothers him when she gets that look about her, like she's just about to bolt and she isn't being honest about what she feels.
It's probably not his fault that Reiko is always waiting for the other shoe to drop. And if E'ren asked her directly why she seems afraid of him she'd deny it without even realizing that she can't really put a finger on the reason anymore. Schooling her expression to something just a bit more neutral than vague surprise, she looks up at him now, arching one brow. "The shudder was for Cerdith," she informs him lightly. "He wants to swim." She hasn't admitted to herself yet that maybe E'ren can read her a bit better than that. "And I'd really appreciate it if Xeth is willing to let Cerdith practice with her." Emerald gaze fixes evenly on his face now, a bit of a defiant set to her chin now that she's made up her mind. "Why wouldn't I want to?"
E'ren chuckles then. "Ah... it is a little chilly for swimming, isn't it? Maybe you could just send Cerdith in to swim alone, and you could wait on the shore for him," he suggests, though that might not be much better, if one is unhappy about standing out in the chilly wind at all. "We'd be happy to practice with you any time you want. Of course you could just have Cerdith inquire with Xeth any time. And we could plan to meet here this time tomorrow?" Ah yes... the date. And his klah. As for why she wouldn't want to hang out and talk with him... he doesn't know, but it almost seems to get worse when he tries to talk about it with her.
Reiko seems to relax a bit as E'ren chuckles, and her smile is maybe a bit less twisted than usual. "He prefers not to swim alone." And she generally gives in to his pleading... but really, the weather just keeps getting cooler. Cerdith has finished his last round by now, and whuffles impatiently at Reiko's midsection... then his head tilts curiously as he takes a long sniff of the jacket she's wearing. "Oh... right." An audible answer to an inaudible question. "I need to return this." Before it ends up with the bottle, wherever that is, and E'ren has to either order a new one or freeze riding sweeps. She shrugs the jacket off and holds it out to him. "Tomorrow is fine," she says, peeking up at him almost cautiously. She said she was willing. And she's really hoping that's good enough, because she isn't really sure herself... and she's surprised to find that she really does want to see him again.
E'ren smiles as he reaches out and takes his jacket back, actually seeming pleased at how this has turned out. "Thanks. I wouldn't've let you run off with this, though." Keeping the jacket is a practical concern. "You and Cerdith keep up the good work, okay? It won't be long before you're both in the air and causing trouble, I'm sure." But then he has a sudden hope that she'll be taken into Inferno wing months from now when the weyrlings graduate, just so he'll be able to take her along with on one of their traditional Benden wine raids. Ahem. "Well, that's that. See you tomorrow." He smiles and then turns toward Xeth.
It takes a moment for Reiko to withdraw her hand after the jacket is removed from it. "Thanks," she murmurs, then a bit louder, "We will. Yes. Tomorrow." The response is almost automatic, her hand dropping to her side as E'ren turns to go. Cerdith whuffles again, and she recovers composure sufficiently to give her lifemate a fond caress and walk with him to the lake. Maybe it won't be as cold as she thinks it will be.
E'ren scampers up Xeth's forelimb in a shower of silvered sparks and is assisted into place between two neckridges.
Xeth coils and then bursts upwards into flight.
Above, Xeth bursts up from the bowl below.
Above, Xeth vanishes ::between::, a distant splash of green heat-lightning.