Who: Echo, Emily, Melody, Hanath, Kahotaith
Where: Southern Weyr
What: Hanath has a gift for Melody.
Hanath reaches her mind out for one she does not know, but has a sense of, as flickers of stars dance upon her mindscape much like the swath of stars that are beginning to blink into existence over Fort. << Kahotaith >> she calls, a flare of fire crackling in a hearth, << I was wondering if I may come and visit the little girl. Melody. I have a surprise for her. >> Her excitement sends the fire bursting upwards. << Do not tell her. It is small and fluffy and cute. >>
While Echo deals with a dispute within her wing, Kahotaith has been left, as he often he, to watch over Melody, and currently sits at the front of the building that serves as a weyr for his family, keeping an eye on the girl who’s perched on the steps of the front porch with a book open in her lap. << It would be advisable to wait for her mother, but she will return soon, >> is his measured response to Hanath, ice and steel meeting flames. << You may visit if you wish. I have her in my care. >>
Though she should heed Kahotaith’s advice, Hanath chooses to visit prior to Echo’s return. She’s quick to appear over Southern, where she slowly circles the bowl in search of Kahotaith’s home. << Oh, there you are >> she announces as she banks herself towards his home. She lands primly, leaving Emily to remove her flight gear to tuck on Hanath’s straps. She moves down from her gold and seems to have a small pouch that’s wiggling being held in her arms. “Oh,” she comments as she looks to Melody. “Is your mother home?”
Melody looks up as the beating of wings disturbs the nearby trees, directly a glance towards Kahotaith in silent enquiry before she closes her book and gets to her feet, heading down the steps to stand at his side, just beside his left forearm, as Hanath lands. That she recognises the queen is plain enough, for she smiles up at her, but her recollection of Emily is a sleepy haze at best. “There was an argument that she had to go and make better,” she tells her with a faint dip of a curtsey. “She—“ Footsteps are dull against the packed earth underfoot, but footsteps they are. “She told them to stop being terrible people and accept they’re stuck with each other, and sent them to go hunt tonight’s dinner together,” Echo announces striding to her daughter’s side. “Hi.”
Hanath lowers her head down so she can angle her eye towards Melody, offering herself up for a pat should the child wish it. << I have brought her something small and fluffy >> she tells Kahotaith. << For everyone loves the small and fluffy things. >> Emily suddenly feels less sure of herself now that she’s there in Echo and her daughter’s presence. “Sorry to interrupt,” she says to Echo and offers a smile towards Melody. The pouch continues to wriggle. “You can tell her no,” she directs herself towards Echo. “But Hanath got it into her head that the latest kittens that she’s been minding were ready for new homes.” She pulls the pouch open and reaches in to take out an orange tabby. “He’s probably going to want to sleep more than hunt. He’s the laziest of the litter.” She draws the kitten towards her chest and waits to see the reaction of the two people in front of her.
Melody’s eyes light up at the sight of the kitten, but she must have been taught enough manners that she knows that to simply reach for him would be rude, so she clamps her hands behind her back and looks up at her mother instead, her lips pressed tightly shut so that she doesn’t give in to the urge to plead. << It is time that she had something to take care of, >> Kahotaith opines, peering down at the girl, then to Hanath. << She has no firelizards and will surely someday be a rider. Preparation should be made. >> Echo shakes her head, not to deny her daughter the kitten, but to say, “You’re not interrupting. People need to learn to get along better, is all.” Her bright blue gaze darts from Emily, to Hanath, down to Melody and then back up to Kahotaith. “What d’you think?” she asks him theatrically. After a moment’s silence, she gives a nod towards the kitten. “Go on, then,” she tells Melody. “Say thank you to Hanath and Emily.” It takes no more for her daughter to obediently chirp, “Thank you!” and step forward to set her palms on Hanath’s nose before turning to her rider.
Hanath’s croon is loud enough to stir the kitten, who mewls at her in answer. << You are right to think to prepare her. But it is still good to be young and play. This little kitten is very cuddly. He will make her feel warm and happy. >> She watches as Emily hands over the kitten to Melody, careful to transfer him in a manner that’ll encourage him to settle more readily into his new owner’s arms. “We had not named him,” she tells Melody, treating her as she would any adult. “So it is for you to decide what he is called.” She glances up at Echo and takes herself back a bit towards the earlier comment. “What were they disagreeing on? If they still need your attention, now that the kitten is delivered, Hanath and I can go.” Hanath huffs at that and moves to nudge Emily’s back. “Well, she now wants to stay and see the kitten is settled. Still, we don’t have to linger.” She clasps her hands briefly in front of her and looks up at Hanath with the tiniest sign of reproach in her gaze.
Melody smoothes her fingers over the kitten’s head as he mews, carefully watching him to try and make sure he doesn’t scrabble free and clamber away. “I’ll think of something good,” she promises Emily, sparing a look between the goldrider and her mother before she announces, “I should get him inside.” She gives Hanath another, gentle, pat and a ‘thank you’, then excuses herself to give the kitten a safe space in which to scamper about. “Oh, there was a flight yesterday and one of them says he’s ‘seeing’ the green’s rider, but she didn’t close the flight to him, and his friend’s blue won.” Echo rolls her eyes. “They have to work together, regardless. I suggested maybe the three of them ought to work something out, if she actually likes both of them.” She smirks and leans against Kahotaith. “You know you’re apologising again, right?”
Emily watches Melody take the kitten inside with a fond smile. “Hanath’s going to end up making every friend of hers have a kitten at the rate she’s going. There’s always a litter at the Weyr, so it’s easy enough for her to find and claim them.” She looks back to Echo and blushes at the reminder of her apologizing. “It’s a habit,” she says with a small shrug. “I’m stopping myself, though I’ll let you know I’m very tempted to apologize for apologizing.” She doesn’t know what to say about the romantic troubles in Echo’s wing so she withholds her own comment. Likely the smattering of pink along her chest and cheeks isn’t from the over apologizing. “At least Hanath doesn’t fly as often as a green,” she murmurs and then looks to Kahotaith and then to Hanath. “Since the kitten is settled, we can really go,” she asides to Echo, smiling briefly. “Or, if you don’t mind the company, we can stay.” She doesn’t seem to realize she’s repeating herself.
“The next time Hanath does, maybe you should find someone you like and lock yourself away,” Echo suggests. “I hear that’s what Honshu’s former Weyrwoman did. And it doesn’t sound like you had much of a good time last she flew.” She shrugs and waves a hand in a vaguely dismissive manner. “None of my business, anyway. Kahotaith used to chase a lot when he was young – used to catch quite a bit too – and I thought half the fun was not getting out of bed for the rest of the day. Not that he really chases anyone anymore.” She looks sidelong at her brown, who clearly provides her with explanation or excuse, for he reacts not in the slightest. “Hey, you’re here now. You and me can go walk on the beach while Melody gets used to the reality that the kitten is a living thing she needs to take care of. Kahotaith will keep watch.” She elbows him. “You’d think he was her dragon more than mine.”
Emily shakes her head at the mention of locking herself away. “No, no. That’s… I don’t even know. That sounds horrible. To be locked in my room by myself during all of that.” The fact that she wouldn’t have to be alone isn’t something she realizes. She looks up at Hanath and then smiles before she looks to Echo. “She says that Melody is lucky to have a dragon babysitter. She will stay and keep him company if he wants it.” She brushes her fingers against the wisps of hair that have fallen out of her bun, pushing them behind her ears. “I’d like to walk on the beach. I’ve not visited many,” she admits with a rueful twist to her lips. “There was no occasion to visit them when I was younger and after Hanath was shelled I’ve been more focused on my duty to Fort. Than going and visiting beaches. I know some people love to travel as soon as they can go Between,” her hands flicks about as she talks, “I always had other things to do. Though, I suppose of late, we are traveling a lot.”
“Who said you’d be by yourself?” is as far as Echo goes in challenging that particular assumption, just as she gives Kahotaith a pat and starts to move off in the direction of Southern’s weyrhall and towards the beach. “I’m sure he’ll enjoy her company. And then very politely fending off the gossip when he inevitably gets asked why he was keeping company with a queen.” She extends an arm, at first, it seems, only to gesture before her in the direction they’re headed, but then it become apparent that her intention is to loop her arm through Emily’s. “I guess it’s different to most Weyrs here. We don’t have the same caverns or weyrs to live in, though the one proper cavern we have is the hatching grounds. The beach is nice because there’s the sea and it’s not just a big lake, but there’s still almost always someone there.” As they head past the weyrhall, she asks, “How many juniors are there at Fort? I always hear conflicting reports about it being just you and there being another.”
“I don’t rightly know who I’d lock in with me?” Emily upswings into a question rather than stating the fact. She seems more easy once they start moving, though when her arm is looped with Echo earns a glance before Emily dips her face down and smiles at the gesture. She lifts her head so she can take in the view as they make their way through Southern’s areas, her eyes lighting up as the beach and the ocean becomes clearer the further they walk. “Fort’s lake is nice but it gets awfully cold. Washing Hanath in the colder weather can really give one a chill. She doesn’t like the warmer pools. She claims the cold water does a better job getting her clean.” She glances at Echo at her question about juniors. “Well, there’s mostly me, I guess. I trained Priska and she’s at Honshu now. Safiye is young and may not stay permanently at Fort. She’s a junior in her own right,” she reasons, brows furrowing, “though some may debate her right to that title. I imagine when the next gold egg is on the Sands, I’ll train them too and we’ll have another junior.” She can’t help her curiosity as she asks, “Is it typical for Southern to have more than one junior?”
“Oh, well, maybe that’s why I keep hearing different things,” Echo supposes, shrugging one shoulder. “They say that the other gold is small and hasn’t ever risen. Igen hatched a tiny gold a few years back, but she grew quickly and caught up to the others. We have a couple of juniors and our senior queen, and three seems to work for us. At least, they don’t cause each other trouble and we’ve not had a gold egg in a while now.” As they pass the hatching cavern and start their way down to the beach, she tightens her hold on Emily a little and murmurs, “Careful, this path’s not always steady.” She allows a few steps in silence before asking, “Did they sort out all that stuff at Honshu yet? I haven’t heard anything. Then, I guess anyone I know isn’t really up for hanging out with the kind of rider is sounds like S’ven is.”
Emily lets Echo have her comments but does nothing to supply more details on Fort’s other goldrider than was already provided. Unless she’s pressed, it’s unlikely she’ll share any further information with the brownrider. “Igen may do better if they were to have another gold on the Sands. I’ve heard one of their juniors would like an opportunity to be a Senior somewhere. It’s hard for those women, to stay a junior. I don’t really have an eye for leadership, myself.” All she has is a shake of her head on the question about Honshu. “I figure Priska will let me know if she has a need to tell me things. I try not to pry.” As Echo has cautioned her, she does take her steps slowly only to have part of her footing slip in the sand. “Oh!” she exclaims as she clutches for Echo and finds herself still tripping and tipping backwards. In her seeking of balance on Echo, all she’s managed to do is take the brownrider down to the ground with her. She’s laughing as soon as she falls on her rear. “I’m so sorry,” she giggles again and shakes her head as she looks to the tangle of her skirts. “I can’t believe I fell.” She doesn’t move to stand up right away.
“My mother wanted me to Impress a queen, but I’m happier with Kahotaith than I would have been with anyone else, I know for sure, and I’ve no real intent to do anything more than lead my wing. I’m useful there. He didn’t chase your friend’s gold by design; it was just because we were there and he was too dazzled to leave when it happened.” Echo lets her focus drift towards the horizon as she remarks, “Though I don’t think he’d make a bad leader for a Weyr, Kahotaith, see—“ That she isn’t concentrating on her feet makes her all the more easy to pull down, where she does her best not to fall onto Emily with a flailing of arms that leaves her planting an arm down across her waist. “You crash into people and you fall over,” she drawls around a smirk. “I’m beginning to see why the apologising may well be compulsive. It’s required in advance.” It’s automatic when she starts looking along Emily’s skirts for scuffs or tears, though perhaps less so when she nudges her nose against her jaw and asks, “You okay?”
“I don’t usually crash into people, honest,” Emily’s answer is quick and her laughter dies as she tries to rule out whether or not Echo might be upset with the fact she’s taken her down into the sand. The arm that ends up around her middle gives Emily another reason to blush. “Oh, don’t worry about my skirts,” she says, her voice hitched a little as she moves to try and rearrange them so Echo doesn’t have to worry over them. The nose to her jaw freezes Emily entirely and she remains hunched forward, looking at her skirts, wide-eyed and cheeks as scarlet as they are likely to go. “I’m fine,” she manages to say as she presses a hand over her heart. “Hearts racing,” she adds, taking a moment to simply breathe and process the entire situation. She manages to draw herself out enough to look to Echo and reach to rest a hand on her leg. “Are you hurt? I should’ve asked sooner,” she shakes her head and adds, “I’m not usually this flustered around. I’m sorry.”
“I might start fining you every time you apologise,” Echo declares, starting to look herself over. “I’m fine, there’s noth—“ she starts to say, only to lift her arm from over Emily and draw her hand up out of the sandy earth to reveal a bloodied slice running diagonally across her palm where she must have set her hand down on a rock beneath the surface. “Oh. Well, not quite nothing, but I’m sure I’ll survive.” She watches her palm for a moment, then swings it clear of letting any blood drop down onto Emily’s skirts and drags it against her thigh a couple of times to try and clean it off. “Leave me here, I can’t go on!” she cries in a deliberately overdramatic voice, casting her other hand across her forehead. “Tell people I never met a cake I didn’t like and that that firelizard counting song was the bane of my existence!”
“You’re bleeding!” Emily exclaims, moving to grab her hand to look at the cut. She doesn’t quite reach it before Echo begins her dramatics and those earn her a startled laugh. “You should’ve been a Harper,” she teases and then moves to a fold within her skirts where a pocket has been sewn. She pulls out a handkerchief. “Give me your hand,” she instructs, suddenly serious as she holds out her hand and waits for the bloodied one to be in her care. She carefully turns the palm to gauge the extent of the injury before she swiftly ties the handkerchief around her palm. “Once the bleeding stops you’ll want to have that cleaned out properly. We can go back now and get it looked at,” she reasons, looking over her shoulder back where they came from. “I’m so–,” she cuts herself off before she apologizes and gives Echo an amused half-smile. “Or we can sit here and you can tease me some more.”
Echo surrenders her hand and lets Emily start to tie the handkerchief around it, though she murmurs, “That’s going to be ruined,” in the only moment of quiet protest that she offers. “Thank you,” she tells her as she finishes tying it, giving an experimental flex of her fingers. “I’ll get you another one, I promise.” It takes her longer than it usually might for her to get to her feet, but she holds a hand out for Emily once she’s upright, intending to pull her after her. “If I sit here and tease you, we’re going to get trampled. This,” she waves her injured hand, “can wait. We can still go on our walk and maybe I’ll even the score by pushing you into the sea or something.” Her smirk softens into a smile as she amends, “I wouldn’t,” in a gentle promise. She holds out her good hand. “Come on. You need to see the sea properly and I’m going to tell anyone we see that I got beaten up by a pretty girl.”
“You don’t need to worry about replacing it,” Emily replies as she takes the offered hand and hoists herself to her feet. She takes a moment to shake out her skirts, though she does not fuss overly at the acquired sand. “If you push me in, I’m afraid you’ll find out I am not a good swimmer and may end up having to rescue me from another predicament.” She shakes her head and smiles shyly at Echo at the mention of her being pretty. She doesn’t try to deny the compliment, rather she tucks it away to think about later. “It would be nice if people looked at me and felt I //could// beat you up. No one would believe me.” She strides forward, this time more cautious as she looks at her feet as they make their way to the beach. “Do people spend a lot of time in the sea?” she asks as they approach it. Her hair gets blown by the breeze and freed from its neat bun, leaving her hair to fly around. She doesn’t bother to fix it as she takes in the sight of the waters before her.
“Well, mostly when bathing dragons, really,” Echo replies, though she glances down at her feet, then the edge of the water and the dry sand a little way away. “And you and me are going to paddle. It’s quite flat for a longer way out still and I think I’d struggle to drown anyone here, if I’m honest. But it really would be remiss of me to get you down here without making you put your feet in it.” She lets go of Emily’s hand for long enough to bend down to unlace her boots and pull them off, along with her socks, and settle the lot on some of the dry sand the water hasn’t reached yet. With that done, she rolls up the cuffs off her trousers and wanders a little way into the sea, reaching a hand back for Emily. “Quickly now, before I faint from blood loss!” Though that seems awfully unlikely, it isn’t her fainting into the sea the eventually cuts their time short, but Kahotaith reaching out to inform her that the kitten is hungry and beginning to protest rather loudly.