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 spring midmorning.
Elehu is here.

Jet black hair falls shiny and straight just to her chin, a fringe of shorter hair in front just brushing delicate brows. Her skin is creamy-pale, with just a faint blush on high cheekbones and full lips. Wide-set emerald eyes are tipped up slightly at the outside corners and framed with thick black lashes, giving her a vaguely feline appearance. Neither overly tall nor overly short, Reiko stands straight-shouldered with quiet confidence and moves with an easy, quiet grace.
It's a uniform. Royal blue shirt, just a bit too big and left open at the throat, neatly tucked into black trousers that almost fit... being just a /little/ too snug. Worn black boots cover her legs to mid-calf, trouser legs stuffed inside so as not to drag on the ground until she has time to hem them.
Two cords, royal blue and black, intertwine in a single loop on her shoulder. The small tail and two tassels tell any who look that Reiko is Wingleader for the Wildfire Wing at High Reaches Weyr... and the brilliant turquoise ribbon weaving around and about the cords proudly signifies her lifemate, blue Cerdith.
Reiko is 20 Turns, 11 months, and 14 days old.

Elehu has grown into womanhood with quite a bit of success. She has curves in most of the right places, though her body is still a bit on the thin side. Her slender five and a half foot build has a faint gleam of golden bronze, the visage or a traveler. Her rich brown, shoulder-length hair contains streaks of gold, bleached by the sun, that seem to make her hazel-brown eyes shine with an inner fire. Her hands are small, but her fingers are slender and nimble, well built for her walk of life.
Soft leather pants cover Elehu's legs from hips to heels, the materiel well tanned to a supple texture, taking on the light shade of milky klah. Black, carefully spaced stitching lines the hems, keeping the leather formfitting, and yet leaving them pleasantly loose. Peeking out at the cuffs is a hint of downy soft lining, meant for keeping her nice and warm. An almost flowing blouse of creamy lavender has been tucked into the trousers and opens about a quarter's length down, sleeves neatly buttoned at the wrists but easy enough to roll to the elbows when needed. Over that there is a sturdy black vest made of oiled leather that falls just above her waist, a dark brown belt matching her boots encircles her waist, and a slender sheathed dagger, about six inches in length, hangs at her right hip, with a small wherhide pouch at her left.
Elehu is 21 Turns and 4 days old.

Reiko slips off Cerdith's shoulder to land with a thud in the packed sand of the beach, smiling a slightly twisted greeting at the healer. "Morning," she calls genially, a few long strides taking her near enough for conversation. "Bit cool for a swim yet, isn't it?" Not that Elehu is dressed for swimming... but Reiko's apparently not imaginative enough to come up with a lot of alternative reasons to be hanging out at the lake.

Elehu is huddled on one of the numerous slabs of rock along the beach, knees curled up against herself. "Unfortunately, yes," she answer, grinning a little as she nods to Reiko, looking past her for a moment to watch Cerdith. "I kind of like it in the morning though, when there's still a thin layer of ice alone the edges..." With a light laugh she shrugs her shoulders a bit, glancing up at the nice spring sky above them. "So, what brings you down here?"

Reiko smirks lightly. "Cerdith never seems to think it's too cold for a swim," she remarks drily. "Sometimes I can get him to swim at some of the warmer beaches, but when he discovered the lake had thawed, there was just no convincing him." Emerald gaze slides sidelong to regard the blue fondly, and she silently reminds him to wait for her to take the straps off before he goes soaking them. After a moment or two, her eyes return to Elehu with a frankly appraising glance. "You don't look very warm," she observes mildly. "Why don't you come back to the weyr with me? There's a fire in the hearth, and the view from the ledge is pretty spectacular during the day." Did Reiko actually say spectacular?

"Well... it was rather dark last time," Elehu replies quickly, a brow arching ponderously. "Ah shells... I never gave you your weyrwarming gift, either," she adds as she uncurls her body slowly, hands idly tugging at her boots. "But that can wait, I suppose. It's kind of the wrong season now anyway. But didn't you say Cerdith wanted to swim? I'd hate to be a nuisance." Though she hasn't said 'no' either.

Reiko smirks lightly, a bit of a sparkle lighting her emerald eyes. "He can certainly wait long enough to hop us up to the ledge," she says lightly, a negligent wave of one hand in the general direction. "It's practically visible from here." Without complaint, Cerdith ambles over, whuffling Elehu lightly. "See? He doesn't mind." She rests a hand on the blue's shoulder, waiting for the healer to mount up.

Elehu laughs softly, giving Cerdith a quick wink. "Well, if you insist," she replies quite cheerfully, making quick work of getting up to the blue's shoulders. "You're looking fantastic this fine morning, Cerdith," she adds in a cheery aside while strapping in loosely. Perhaps she just has a fear of drowning.

With the help of a handy strap and a gracefully extended forelimb, Elehu swings up onto Cerdith's neck and settles in comfortably.

With the help of a handy strap and a gracefully extended forelimb, you swing up onto Cerdith's neck and settle in comfortably.

Cerdith [Beach]
Vibrant versatility trumpets its fanfare of sapphire and aquamarine to herald this dragon: a wiry grace made flesh with the lithe, efficient lines of a dancer. Brighter blue illuminates the well-formed headknobs: a spotlight for the scherzo of aqua that tumbles the length of his slender neck and back and masques his wedge-shaped head. Turquoise elegance plucks the cobalt that strings his glassy 'sails and echoes darker in the strokes of midnight that chime along graceful spars and talon tips. His starlit tail is no curtain call, however, but an encore that continues life's dance.
Brand new leather straps grace his slender neck. Multiple dye baths have rendered them a lovely variegated blue that almost... but not /quite/... duplicates the hues of his hide.
Safely ensconced in the shimmering aqua ridges of Cerdith's slender neck is Elehu.

Kicking up sand, you leap into flight.

You soar in for a landing on Cerdith's ledge.

Cerdith's Ledge
Broad and spacious, this ledge might be fit for a queen except for a couple of disadvantages that become obvious only on closer inspection. The ledge itself is relatively shallow, probably really comfortable only for smaller dragons, although several could easily lounge abreast. Additionally, the opening of the weyr itself appears so small that even a good-sized blue would have trouble squeezing in -- an illusion caused by the shadow of a large outcropping of stone, actually, but daunting nonetheless.
It is a spring midmorning.

Cerdith extends a graceful forelimb as you dismount, easing your way safely to solid ground.

Cerdith extends a graceful forelimb as Elehu dismounts, easing her way safely to solid ground.

Cerdith backwings to a graceful landing on the ledge with hardly a bump, and Reiko slips off his shoulder in one fluid movement. As soon as Elehu is safely on the ledge, she begins loosening straps, letting the mass of leather slip to the ground in a jumbled heap. With a warbling croon, Cerdith vaults back off the ledge, heading for the lake in a lazy spiral. And Reiko smiles. "There," she says lightly. "It's warmer inside, of course." But the view's not as nice.

You remove Cerdith's straps.

Cerdith takes off.

Cerdith> Too inviting to be ignored, you tuck in your wings and dive towards the lake.

Elehu slides to the ledge and steps away quickly as Reiko tends to Cerdith, backing all the way up against the weyr wall. "Oh, this /is/ lovely, Reiko. I didn't get a very good look last time. A tiny bit on the windy side, but not nearly what I thought it would be." And she'll just stop talking for a moment, arms wrapping around herself loosely. "Though... we /could/ go inside. The view won't go anywhere," she adds with a laugh. "I seem to have problems remembering my coat."

Reiko chuckles, low in her throat. "Bad habit," she remarks mildly, without adding that it's one she herself was guilty of... before she got the lovely oiled leather jacket she's rarely seen without, of course. With a twisted little smirk, she ducks under the overhang to lead the way into the weyr. It's not really necessary to duck... but that's a pretty powerful illusion.

Cerdith's weyr
An outcropping of rock shelters this cavern from the worst of the winds off the lake, leaving an opening that some larger dragons would be hard-pressed to squeeze through. The weyr itself, however, is surprisingly spacious, vaulting upwards into mysterious shadowy recesses. A well-worn stone couch dominates the north wall; to the south, a worn tapestry shelters a small alcove where a modest cot stands, piled high with fresh rushes and warm sleeping furs. A bit deeper into the cavern, a small hearth interrupts the smooth planes of the south wall. Attempts have apparently been made recently to make the place a bit more homelike -- the hearth is well-tended now, adding warmth and light, and a large, comfortable-looking sofa sits in front of it.

Elehu quietly walks in from the Cerdith's Ledge.

Elehu smiles warmly as she ducks in right behind Reiko. "It is indeed. I get distracted so easily though." She gives the weyr a quick glance before grinning at Reiko. "Looks a lot like how I remember it.. And it certainly feels better in here. So, it feels like home now I suppose..."

Reiko curls up in a corner of the sofa, glancing up at the Healer with a twisted halfsmile. "This is new," she remarks lightly, waving Elehu to sit down. "But you're right... I haven't done much with it. Maybe I'll paint, when it's a bit warmer... if Cerdith hasn't forgotten he wanted to." She can always hope, if only because she's not looking forward to crawling over that vaulting expanse of wall to paint it.

"Well, I kind of like it like this, actually," Elehu comments, shoulders shrugging slightly as she takes a seat on the sofa, turning a little to face Reiko more. "But I was almost more fond of natural looks... but that's just me, of course." She glances around one last time before her gaze settles on the weyrling for a long moment. "You seem to be doing very well with yourself, Reiko. That's good to see."

Reiko fixes that same twisted smile on Elehu, her expression almost thoughtful. "Thanks," she says lightly, letting the subject of painting drift away completely. "I didn't realize you were keeping track." She curls idly into the corner of the sofa.

Elehu laughs lightly as she shrugs, hands falling to her lap. "Well... yeah, I mean, it's what I do. I meant, as a Healer of course. To... yeah." She frowns slightly, starting as if to say more, then shakes her head. "Never mind, you know what I mean, right? But, you /are/ doing well, right? I don't hear a whole lot, and we haven't spoken in... a long time. And the little I do hear is never very informative. Or reliable. Just infirmary patients chattering on. You know how they can get." She finally stops talking long enough to give another shrug, laughing again.

Reiko arches a brow, trying to sort out what Elehu is saying... and not saying. "How interesting to hear I'm the subject of gossip among infirmary patients," she says at last, fixing a twisted smirk on the Healer. "I don't remember the conversation being nearly so interesting when I was there all the time." We won't get into why. "But I'm fine."

Elehu nods slowly, a small smile forming as she shakes her head a little. "Well, not that exactly. They just talk. And talk. And talk... and sometimes they actually say something." She grins, for surely this makes all the sense in the world. "Anyway, no need to worry about it. You have much more important things to spend your time on." She nods once more, smiles again, and shrugs.

Reiko doesn't bother to ask, for surely if Elehu had wanted to share what she'd heard, she would have done so already. "Indeed," she says mildly. "Still, it must break up the monotony." At least, Reiko remembers it as being monotonous. And perhaps even healers find their day-to-day duties to be tiresome from time to time. She slips off the sofa then to add another couple of logs to the fire, settling down on the hearthstones to poke at the embers.

"Well, not really," Elehu replies, watching Reiko for a moment before glancing away, bouncing a little on the sofa as she settles in a little more comfortably. "Well... all right, I didn't hear anything. Just forget I said it. I just meant... I don't see much of you. That's all," she finally blurts out, smile turning somewhat apologetic. "I just..." She ends in a quiet sigh, shoulders moving in a tiny shrug. "But you're doing well. That's good." In case she hadn't mentioned that.

Reiko glances over her shoulder in time to catch the apologetic smile and shrug, but gives no outward appearance of having noticed either. She pushes herself to her feet, brushing off her trousers and her hands before glancing up at Elehu again. "I thought you didn't want to see me, actually," she remarks lightly, as if the matter were of no consequence. "And you've certainly had plenty of company." That's just judging from Hiza's outburst in the caverns this morning.

Elehu frowns slowly, mouth opening for a moment as if to reply, but instead she just fiddles with the cuff of her sleeve for a moment, quietly watching the weyrling. "It didn't have anything to do with what I wanted," She finally replies, voice softly, and smile warming again. "But... that explains things. A little." She folds her hands tightly for a moment, glancing down as if they were so very important. "I /am/ sorry though. Shells. It's Turns ago now, isn't it," she comments, glancing up at Reiko once more. "Seems like just the other day."

"Or a lifetime." A lot has changed for Reiko, after all. Not just her address. Brushing off her hands again, unnecessarily, she paces in front of the sofa, tucking a chunk of hair behind one ear. "What's to explain, really?" she adds, her tone light... if a bit forced. "As you said. Turns." She stops pacing abruptly, staring into the fire, her hands clasped behind her back.

Elehu pauses, almost frozen in fact, watching Reiko for a very long moment before she slowly gets to her feet. A puzzled, worried, and rather hesitant look flits across her features quickly. "Reiko... Is everything all right?" she asks, voice quiet and certainly unsure. "What can I do? Say?... Anything."

Reiko turns to look at Elehu then, her expression unreadable. "I'm fine," she says evenly, leveling an unblinking gaze on the Healer. "You can't change what's happened. I wouldn't go back to life without Cerdith for anything in the world. Did you get what you wanted?"

"I'd never even imagine you doing that," Elehu replies quietly, the look on her own face slowly shifting, neutralizing in way, until she finally just smiles a little, eyes soft as she gives a wry little laugh. "No. But you're fine, as you said. Happy, I think. I hope. So... I'll just have to be happy with that," she offers uncertainly.

Reiko takes a step closer to Elehu, nearly close enough to touch, but the set of her jaw could almost be described as defiant. "What was it you did want?" she asks quietly, emerald gaze still fixed on the Healer's face.

Elehu doesn't take a step back, though for a wavering moment it seems as though she would have liked to. Instead she simply stands, tall as she can which isn't much, the smile and even hint of a laugh from before disappearing, replaced by an odd mixture of uncertainty and regret, not often found there. After a moment or two, however, her own gaze loses its intensity. "You, Reiko," she answers in a whisper, eyes blinking quickly as she makes a valient effort at keeping that stony exterior others seem to find so easy.

Reiko's hand lifts, almost of its own accord, to brush a few stray strands of hair back from Elehu's face, gently tucking it behind her ear. "You had a funny way of showing it," she murmurs, still unwilling to admit to the hurt that one moment caused her.

"I didn't want to," Elehu replies quietly, a softly warm and almost sad smile returning as she reaches up to grasp Reiko's hand tenderly. She takes a slow breath and smiles a little more as she finally gives up the small battle within, eyes welling up slightly as she shakes her head. "I am sorry I hurt you, Reiko. That... was never my intention. The hours I've spent wishing I could take that one small moment back..." She laughs quickly, her other hand reaching out as if to embrace the weyrling.

Reiko draws Elehu into her arms then, emerald eyes closing as she holds the Healer close and slowly inhales the scent of her hair. "Stay tonight," she whispers, willing to forget the hurt... and several other things, as well. "Can you?"

Elehu holds Reiko tightly, her own eyes closed against the happy little smile that suddenly flashes across her face. "I'll stay," she replies, softly, for once not bothering to speak more than necessary.