Skipping Along


Indira.jpg Gaelene.jpg Hope.jpg

Date: 2011.05.05
Location: Landing, Main Square
Synopsis: Indira heads down to Landing with Hope in tow with a basket for the old washerwoman, Sancka and comes across Gaelene who teaches the toddler how to skip.
Rating: PG
Logger: Indira

It's a little before dinner, but before classes have let out for the day, at Landing. It's been threatening rain all day, but not yet actually done so. As such, Gaelene is out playing with the other children at Landing, doing something which looks a lot like some variant of hop-Scotch.

From out of the grey skies drops a blue which is careful to land a decent distance away from the children at play so as not to accidentally squish one of them. A blonde woman dismounts and then reaches up for the toddler being handed down to her that’s chatting ten to the dozen in a babble of baby language and partially intelligible words. “No darlin’, you can’t keep Borth.” Another comment in soft childish tones and the little one sends her minder a scowl as she edges closer to the blue, his rider watching on in open amusement. “Because he’s a little too big to fit in my quarters,” Indira explains patiently and then bending she deftly scoops up both toddler and the basket V’rat has just handed down to her.

Gaelene notices the dragon's arrival and, once her turn is over, heads over. "You're not L'han," she observes, in a Captain Obvious sort of way. She also looks curiously at the passenger and her charge, giggling as she overhears the part about the dragon being too large to fit in her quarters.

Vrat’s amusement extends down to Gaelene, “Sorry little one, not L’han.” He confirms and then Borth starts to edge sideways in order to be able to lift off without knocking those around him down. “Back in an hour, Ma’am?” this from the bluerider to Indira. “Aye, an hour should be fine. Just a quick visit to see how the old girl’s doing.” The toddler with the dark mop of curls twists in her arms, sets her little hand to rosy lips and…blows the departing blue dragon a kiss, then she’s squirming to get down when she hears Gaelene giggle.

Gaelene says brightly, "I'm Gaelene, but most people call me Gael!" She returns the little one's interest, studying the toddler even more than she scrutinized the rider and dragon. She ends up waving cheerfully to both, then to Hope. "What's your name?" she asks.

Having set Hope down, Indira puts a brow lifted look of amusement onto the forthright child, “Well met, Gael. I’m Headwoman Indira from Eastern Weyr, and this is Hope.” Who has apparently suddenly gone shy and is now peeping out at Gaelene from behind Indira’s legs. She does however manage a lisping, “H’llo,” for the older child.

Gaelene says politely, "Hello, Headwoman. Welcome to Landing. Please let me know if you need help finding anything." Then she turns her attention back to Hope, waving again and saying "Hi!" in a sing-song tone.

Of course, Indira’s been to Landing a good few times before but she’s not about to let on given the polite welcome that Gaelene extends. And so she gives a gracious dip of head along with a warm smile, “Thank you, you are most kind. Actually, there is something you could maybe help me with. I’m look for an elderly woman, she’s got a really bad cough and uses a walking stick to get around?” Sancka had of course not given her name the day they’d met on the lakeshore.

It’s the sing-song tone of voice that Gaelene employs that has the two turn old creeping out from behind the Headwoman’s legs and with her fist against her mouth in shy pose she whispers, “Hi,” in echo of the older girl’s greeting and then sets her with a curious look.

Gaelene nods knowingly. "That would be Sancka, Headwoman. She works in the laundry." She crouches down to be more at eye-level with Hope then. "You're a cutie," she says conversationally.

“Sancka?” Indira queries, wishing to be sure she has the name right. “Would you happen to know where she is at the moment?” As Gaelene drops down to Hope’s eye level, the Headwoman can’t help the warm smile that appears. Hope gives a little giggle and takes a hesitant step forward, her other hand reaching out to touch at the older girl’s hair if she can, “P’itty.”

Gaelene looks up but doesn't stand up. "Today's her rest day, ma'am. Given how cloudy it is, my guess is that she would be in the dining hall." she smiles encouragingly as Hope reaches out to touch her, but does request, "Don't pull it, please."

“Ah yes, I’d expect she’d need to take her rest where she can,” Indira nods, for the washerwoman and seemed really old and creaky despite her chutzpah. And then she glances down and catches the toddler about to tug at Galene’s hair. “Hope,” warning evident in both her tone and expression. To which the little girl sets her minder with a look and lisps as she shakes her head with the picture of innocence now in place, “No, pullin’.” Back to Gael another smile curls her rosy little mouth and she’ll attempt reaching for the older girl’s hand and if she’s successful will give it a tug, “Come…walk.”

Gaelene stands up, jumping a few times to wake up her legs, and then lets the child grasp her hand. She smiles fondly and says, "As long as your mother says yes." She looks up at Indira as she says this, as if for permission.

The jumping sets Hope to giggling and she tries the same, “More!” Because jumping is far more fun than walking. Amusement still warming what can otherwise be an austere visage, Indira gives a regretful shake of head to Gael. “Not the pair of you off on your own. It’s not safe,” for her son has made her aware of the two thugs recently seen in the area, “but you can walk with me to find Sancka if you like?”

Gaelene, not one to set a good example, jumps a few more times as well. She stops long enough to nod politely to Indira, then skips off toward the dining hall. "This way, Headwoman," she calls over her shoulder.

There are several ideas on what a good example is, Gaelene’s obviously being one that both Indira and Hope approve of for when the little one imitates the older girl once again and hopss up and down, the Headwoman chuckles. “Lead the way, young lady,” she says to Gael and with a fond smile in place follows along behind the two girls. Hope tries the skipping thing too but only manages one or two every here and then her legs get confused and she finds herself simply running on the spot instead. Eventually frustrated, she plonks herself down and folds her arms crossly over her little chest. “Can’t,” she pouts.

Gaelene continues to skip, but senses she's losing her followers. She turns around and heads back when she hears Hope. "I'm sorry," she offers. "Maybe you're too young yet. Want to walk with me?" She holds out her hand invitingly.

With a sigh Indira halts at Hope’s side, she about to offer the toddler a hand when Gaelene turns back and beats her to it, “Come on, love. Up you get,” patience and encouragement set into a weary tone. “No!” Hope huffs and gives a bounce of crossed arms over her chest, “Want to ‘kip.” She’s heard the word used by other children and bright as she is, knows to what it applies, even if she’s not quite got the hang of it herself yet.

"I can go slower to help you learn," offers Gael, still holding out her hand. "Come on, grab my hand and you'll see," she coaxes.

The weariness and strain of the past few months with most of the responsibility for running the workings of an entire Weyr herself, along with now having a toddler in tow whilst doing so, is starting to tell on Indira. And so it is that she flashes a grateful smile to Gaelene, “Thank you, Gael. That’s very sweet of you.” Hope eyes the hand offered to her for a moment or two and then slowly gets to her feet, the butt of the dungarees she wears now dusty and places her hand in Gael’s, looking up at her with expectant eyes and a small smile starting to peak out.

Gaelene smiles back to Indira, then turns her smile down to Hope. "Ok. To start out, try this." She hops on one foot.

Standing to one side, the basket now held in front of her, Indira watches on with maternal warmth as Gaelene takes Hope in hand. The toddler watches carefully what it is that the older girl does and tries the same, wobbling a little on one leg, her smaller hand tightening about Gael’s and then beaming up at her, “I do it!”

Gaelene giggles and says, "You did! Now, let's try it again." She accordingly takes another hop on the same foot.

Soft giggles join Gael’s and then Hope’s face patterns about deep concentration as the gears turn in her little head for when you are only two turns old, this skipping stuff is serious business! And she gives another hop on the same foot as directed but over-balances and ends up having to set her other foot down. Which she does with a bit of frustrated stamp. A big sigh spills and she mutters something unintelligible to herself and then tries again. Clinging to Gael’s hand, two consecutive hops are successfully executed and then she’s looking back up at the older girl for more instructions.

"Very good!" Gaelene encourages, taking a half-step back. "Here's where it gets a bit complicated," she continues. "Now, hop on one foot, and take a step with your other." She demonstrates with a less exhuberant hop and skip than before, so as not to tug the little girl when she moves.

Dark eyes exactly like her father’s zero in on Gael’s feet as she demonstrates, Hope’s face creased in concentration and then sticking the tip of her tongue out she attempts the same. The first time she gets her feet tangled up and almost falls flat on her face but quickly recovers and turns a sheepish grin onto the older girl. “I fall,” she states the obvious and then tries again. Success! “I do it!” she announces proudly and turns to Indira, “’Amma, I do it!” – “You did too! Clever girl,” Indira gives with an indulgent smile and then realizing that time is marching along she flicks a look between the two girls and the dining hall, indecision written across her features, not wanting to leave them alone but also not wanting to interrupt their play.

Gaelene holds her breath when Hope falls, but gives a sigh of relief when she bounces back. The little girl is rewarded with a smile when she manages a one-step skip, and Gael notes, "Now, you do the same, but with your other foot." She lets go of Hope's hand to demonstrate, doing a double skip.

The double skip is a little tougher and it takes several attempts before Hope gets the hang of it with more than a few mutterings and mumblings to herself but eventually she does and soon she’s skipped a good way ahead. Then she stops, turns and goes running back to Gael as fast as her little legs will carry her and tries to grab the older girl’s hand and tug her forward, “With me.” Soft laughter comes from Indira and she gives a short round of applause both for Hope’s achievement and Gael’s patience that has paid off. As she starts to move off with the two girls, Hope singing happily off-key with nonsensical words attached as she skips along, she turns a warm smile to Gaelene, “You were very good with her. Thank you. You know…” and she pauses as the idea forms, “I could really do with a break sometimes. So I was thinking that maybe, you could visit the Weyr sometime and come and play with Hope?” Not too sure of what the girl’s setup might be at Landing.

Gaelene giggles and joins with the little girl, careful to keep pace. She beams at indira's compliment and confides, "I've always wanted a little sister or brother." She considers the offer for a few skips, then says, "I'd have to ask my parents, but maybe if I stop asking them for one, they'll let me play with her."

Laughter greets Gaelene’s last, “You’re a shrewd one, you are. But yes, best you check with your parents first.” Just then Indira catches the head laundress, a woman she has met a few times before, heading in the same direction as they are and with time starting to run short before V’rat and Borth return to take them back to the Weyr she calls out to them woman. Leaving the two little girls to play together she quickly crosses over and exchanges a few words before handing the basket containing a cough syrup from the Weyr infirmary, a warm shawl and a pair of fleece lined slippers, over to the head laundress. With promise given to see that Sancka receives it, the Headwoman returns once again and with a fond though regretful smile turns her attention to Hope, “Say goodbye to Gael, love. Borth will be here soon to fetch us.” Hope turns large sad eyes up to her grandmother and then letting go of Gael’s hand with a heavy sigh, drops her head and whispers quietly, “Bye, Gael.”

Gaelene aws, but then brightens. "Goodbye. And maybe I'll get to see you soon. And get to ride a dragon!" She remembers her manners, adding, "Thank you, Headwoman. I'll be sure to ask. Should I tell Watchrider L'han to tell you when my parents say whether I can or not?"

Indira puts a curious look down onto Gael and then smiles, “You’ve not been a-dragonback before? Well then, we’ll certainly have to fix that.” Expression and tone determined. “Yes, please do,” she says on a message being sent with L’han, right as a rush of wings overhead signals the arrival of the returning blue pair. “And I’ll be sure to come down myself and meet your parents so that they know who you’re going to be with.” Spoken as a mother who herself would want such reassurances.

Gaelene skips up to the side of the dragon with Hope, then says "Goodbye," again, adding, "Thank you for letting me play with Hope. And enjoy skipping, Hope!" She also nods happily at Indira's mention of returning. "Thank you, Headwoman. I'll go ask them right now!"

Hope, completely fearless of the blue that dwarfs her, to the point that the casual observer would think she’s grown about dragons suddenly turns and tries to wrap her arms about Gael in a hug, little hand patting at her back if she’s been successful and then allows herself to be lifted by V’rat and settled in behind him. Indira gives Gaelen a warm smile, “You’re most welcome, Gael. Thank you for teaching her how to skip.” And then she too is climbs up onto the blue’s back and sets about ensuring she and Hope are properly secured, amusement following after the girl as she skips off to speak with her parents.

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