Who: Nala, D’soto, Jynth, Ingyth
When: Month 9, 204 AT
Where: North Bowl, Fort Weyr
What: Of choices and similarities.
The bruising to face and arms has faded, leaving the worst of the damage hidden beneath clothing and betrayed by a tentativeness of step and wariness of the nearness of others, but the mutterings at Fort have yet to die down, especially when Nala’s lifemate occupies the space on Inaskashath’s ledge that others would say should be claimed by a bronze and no other. It’s from this spot that Jynth presently observes the dismissal of weyrlings from their most recent lesson, while Nala sits at the bottom of the steps that lead up that ledge, her rather biased focus picking out those young dragons that she knows her blue has sired. A soul of few words, when Jynth reaches out towards Ingyth with the low warmth of a humming engine it’s mostly his rider’s voice, in truth, but sometimes there is little knowing which is which. << You are undoubtedly one of mine. >>
Ingyth bounds fast-slow-fast within the weyrling crowd, Ingyth with his flicker-gusts of attention– /claws/, may be overheard, though really it’s an image-feeling of mud wedged into his talons, and of how he scrapes them against stray rocks (none too effectively since he refuses to /stop/)– and then on the next breath out. It’s not stopping; it’s scanning. << Why? >> comes the rush of his attention, before he’s so much as found the older blue with his bright gaze. Somewhat reluctantly, as though he’s been made to clarify his endless questions but doesn’t see the need to be pinned down, << Why yours. >> D’soto is out there somewhere, in the group of human weyrlings much as his dragon had been, but with hands thrust into his pockets and ambling. He kicks a rock, too.
Nala’s focus lingers on D’soto, though Jynth’s stays firmly with Ingyth, as if they might most effectively track the whole unit between them if they keep to their respective components. << There is a physical resemblance, >> he remarks, folding one large paw over the other. << Though Malynth is also mine. That is apparently less to do with physical… resemblance. >> Something grates there, metal twisting in a screeching note of condemnation of that observation, only to ease back to smoother runnings given a moment or two to process. It prompts Nala to finally find her voice and call, “Are you intent on being perceived as sulking or are you actually sulking?” across to D’soto.
Perhaps it’s that focus that enables Ingyth to track him back, his own head lifted high, his nostrils flickering. He doesn’t so much abandon the rocks as set them aside, in favor of mincing towards Jynth with each forepaw crossing the next. << Is there! >> Especially now? When he tries doing the same with his hindpaws, and when there’s that /screech/, he lurches but doesn’t stop for more than a moment. << That hurt, >> he does tell the older blue, half in surprise and half as information: surely Jynth hadn’t done that on purpose! It takes Das longer to get it, or start to get it, slowing with a look over his shoulder. “Huh?” He’d missed a step with his lifemate’s lurch, but recovered himself automatically. One of the other weyrlings punches him on that shoulder, passing him by.
<< You will face worse pains than that in your life, >> is so matter of fact that the words have to be Nala’s, yet Jynth manages to colour them with enough warmth to keep them from sounding like a cold-hearted dismissal. He sets his head down on his paws, the better to peer the short distance down to Ingyth, his heavy wings tucked tight to his back. << Best not announce it when you encounter them. >> That’s more gentle, no matter the origin of the thought, his girl’s gaze fixed on D’soto. “I wondered if you had been reprimanded or whether hands-in-pockets, could-be-sulking is your default mode,” Nala drawls, propping her good elbow atop a knee so that she might then prop her chin on her hand.
Ingyth’s, << Why? >> doesn’t argue that he will, just– /why/, sharing some of that warmth into a humid curiosity. He has his neck crooked back, the better to see Jynth with, his wings tucked likewise in a half-conscious mirror; Jynth might as well be all the world, and never mind Nala there. Or D’soto, seemingly– though ”he” has to mind ”her”, sort of; he’s automatically drawing his hands from said pockets, only catching himself just in time before his knuckles clear cloth. “Sewn, ma’am,” he says like it’s a perfectly valid explanation. “Sewn in.” His shoulders shrug even as his hands work back in deep: what can he do.
Jynth considers for a moment, lifting his head enough to peer over at Nala and D’soto, though ultimately he drops his head back down and leans right over the edge of the ledge, his paws curled at its edge and forearms braced to prevent a fall, meaning to touch his nose to Ingyth’s. << If people know how to hurt you, they know how to manipulate you. >> If the nose-bump is Jynth’s, the opinion must be Nala’s. The bluerider lifts a brow and declares, “The weyrlingmasters here are… interesting in their choices of teaching methods, but I doubt even they would sew you into your clothes.” A breath, followed by a faint adjustment to the angle of her ribs, then she finally asks, “What is your name?”
He leans down– and Ingyth spurts to his haunches and reaches /up/ to meet Jynth just as quickly as he can, never mind that it risks a bump turning into a bonk. He still manages to reply, though his mental voice’s scattered in all the excitement, << 'Manipulate'? >> D’soto wrinkles his brow and a bare moment later Ingyth attempts the translation, << 'Make do what they want'? Except not by telling? Why not just tell? /We/ are supposed to know that stepping on wings is bad so we /don't/ step on wings. >> His rider’s brow-wrinkle is followed by another shrug, one that doesn’t argue Nala’s point, even agrees as to the /interesting/. But he doesn’t take his hands out of his pockets. “Das–” it’s been months now, but still, “D’soto.” He peers up at Nala, at her ribs, but not high on her ribs. To her face and its lack of bruising, he offers, “You’re not looking so blue these days,” the way some might contribute a pleasantry about the weather.
Jynth’s rumble of amusement masks a few seconds of thought, before he supposes, << Upset, >> is a good substitute for what he means. << If people know how to upset you, then there are some who will do it just to make you upset. >> The huff of not-quite laughter is from his rider. “Literally or metaphorically?” leaves Nala’s mouth before she can stop it, the long overdue attempt at any form of humour one that registers with her a moment later and tugs one corner of her lips the slightest bit upward. “I am told I will be an excellent addition to any wing that needs to know when it is going to rain. Still, I cannot recommend breaking bones to acquire such a skill.” Accepting that Jynth has done the proverbial shaking of hands for them both, she tells D’soto, “Nice to meet you,” as a matter of further manners. “It will not be long before you are free to do as you please.”
<< Oh. /I/ do /that/, >> doesn’t take even /a/ second, chased by his fond hours-old memory of how his nicely-timed bugle scattered a brown brother away from the pick– or at least /his/ pick– of the herd. Ingyth adds, so Jynth may know just what a prize that was, << This one was the one with the lop-ears, do you recall it? And layers of flesh /just so/, and its joint popped when I grabbed its wing... >> /So/ tasty, and Ingyth kindly shares that sense-flavor-juiciness too. It’s enough to make D’soto swallow hard, and wipe his mouth with the back of his hand; at least he’d gotten out, “Yes?” in nearly-as-immediate reply to Nala first, with a not-quite-snicker. Now, not missing more than that beat, “I’ll make note of that too. Ma’am. Nice to meet you too.” While he’s at it, after a quick look down the length of the bowl, “Got any recommendations?”
There’s another low note from Jynth, the sound soft enough that it must be further amusement and not anything so unkind as mockery. << You will make your rider drool, >> he warns, though it’s a half-hearted thing, as if he’d quite like to see it. “Recommendations for wings or freedom?” Nala scrubs a hand through her hair and regards D’soto anew, her head tilting slightly. “It has been a while since Fort was my home in a capacity in which I served in a wing,” she has to admit, “but you should consider Ingyth’s skills as well as your own before agreeing to fly for any particular Wingleader.” Freedom is easier, another glance given Jynth as she says, “Go and see all the places you have ever wanted to and decide whether it is here that will make you happy. Insofar as you can be happy. If it is not here, then start putting in place what will enable you to be where you need to be.”
D’soto glances sideways, over at Jynth, then back to his rider. “How do you mean?” he asks, taking a step closer, and naturally that’s when Ingyth announces, << That's what his shirt is for. >> The littler blue’s tail switches as, with his own look at Jynth to make /sure/ the older blue is looking, he settles back to his sturdy haunches and stares at D’soto. He works his jaw. He licks his chops. D’soto’s “How much do we get to de… cide?” becomes a sharp, “/Stop/ that. It’s gross.” Again he swallows hard, looking back at Nala, and has to lick his lips. “Sorry. Where…” /another/ swallow. D’soto keeps his wrist in front of his mouth this time, muffling, “Put into place? Decide for real?”
The weight of Nala’s dark gaze shifts from D’soto, to Ingyth and then to Jynth, who unfurls his wings slightly in a motion that makes her shift her own shoulders. “You are not supposed to encourage that,” is meant for her lifemate, who looks not the least bit chastised by words that it may well have been unnecessary to verbalise. “What I mean is that you can go anywhere you wish, provided they will have you. Fort has a tendency to attempt to retain their riders by having you believe otherwise.” That’s for D’soto, the boy studied more closely now than he was a moment ago. “From the looks of things, you will have to learn to put more distance between yourself and Ingyth, particularly before he starts chasing. Having difficulty separating yourselves from each other will make them all the more difficult – for you more than for him.”
D’soto takes a deeper breath when she looks away, but when she looks at her dragon, he looks at his. Then she speaks and, getting to listen in for once, he smiles just a little, if the slight crinkles of eyes and lift of cheeks are to be believed; if Jynth doesn’t look chastised, neither will Ingyth. Finally Das turns aside to clear his throat and spit on the ground, an oddly polite gesture with his hand cupped over his mouth, as though Nala couldn’t see its fall perfectly well should she look that way. Ingyth warbles, low– sort of low, anyway, reverberant with something like satisfaction– and shuffles closer to the ledge to get on his haunches and see just how far up to its edge he can stretch. D’soto takes another of those deeper breaths, his hands now fallen to his sides, empty. “Don’t think I haven’t tried,” he says without much inflection. But then, swiftly returning to the prior subject, “How do you even do that? ‘Hey, can I move in?’ What would you even look for?”
“Decent food and hot running water?” It’s a vaguely flippant response, prompted primarily by some almost visible jolt of pain as Nala straightens and forces her shoulders back to their usual rigidity. She sighs, that it’s audible all the apology that it seems D’soto is going to get, before elaborating, “When you are a fully-trained rider, you will have skills most Weyrs will be willing to exchange room and board for, unless you earn yourself a reputation as someone who is more trouble than they are worth.” Her lips quirk into what’s not quite a smirk, irony acknowledged. “If you could earn enough to support yourself independently, that would also be an option. That, I have never tried, but I know there is enough demand even for slinging cargo to make a living wage.” Behind her, Jynth leans over the edge of the ledge to boop Ingyth on the nose again, only this time he lets his weight carry him until he might slide straight off, wings flaring at the last instant to save him and keep him from flattening his son. The scratchy rumble he gives is way too close to snickering for it to be coincidental.
The weyrling coughs, not quite a laugh, a sound that breaks off when that wince finally sinks in. He remains quiet then, just a twitch of his own mouth at /reputation/. “Slinging cargo,” though– for that he makes a face. “Ugh. I’d rather go back to carpentry.” He glances over at his dragon, at their dragons– booping! Ingyth is clearly thrilled, with a dramatic flailing of /his/ wings that doesn’t take him anywhere at all, and he attempts to bound up towards his sire’s belly as the older dragon passes overhead. D’soto sighs. Just sighs. “So this training we’re getting, you’re saying now we’re going to get skills. Or what someone will think they are, anyway.” He waits with brows up, leaving room for her to laugh.
“You could go back to carpentry.” Nala states so as Jynth lands and she abruptly shoves herself to her feet more forcefully than she may have intended to, as if another is pulling her proverbial strings. “What I am saying is that you have choices and it is not something that you ought to forget when you live in a world that is full of people who would have you believe otherwise. There are Weyrs and there are Weyrholds and there are riders who support themselves. You will need to be useful to someone, if only to yourself, but otherwise… there is a good deal of scope for how you can live your life.” The first steps she takes are awkward ones, whether owing to muscles seizing or impulses not entirely her own, the latter more likely in the glare she shoots at Jynth. The blue folds his heavy wings and regards Ingyth with whirling facets of vivid green as he begins to pad across the bowl and towards the caverns. << Work hard, >> is his parting advice, his rider’s tones overpowering his own as he draws her after him. Nala’s, “I am informed I should see the Healers,” could not be more plainly disgruntled, but she goes, willingly or otherwise.
/Choices/. D’soto shakes his head, or maybe nods, something more ambiguous than up and down /or/ sideways; he slouches through those awkward steps, not looking exactly at her nor away. That last look of Jynth’s, though– it finds bright green-and-blue eyes in return, and Ingyth’s not above batting at the older dragon’s tail once he turns away. Just once, though; what was that? A firelizard? He snaps his jaws at it. D’soto: “Good luck.” Thanks. “Ma’am.” And then he goes off to… well, not-work. Not yet.