To Bathe A Queen


Fiala.jpg L'han.jpg Nenienne.jpg Rocio.jpg

Date: 01 Jan 2011
Location: Eastern Weyr: Lake Shore
Synopsis: Rio gets help bathing Eovarijath from Fiala and Neni. Neni gets some more commissions. Fiala gets the offer of a dragon ride from L'han.
Rating: PG-13
Logger: Nenienne

With the brightest of contrasts, what once was a desolate, dry and empty scoop in the ground is now a full and luscious lake. Water laps against the shoreline in a gentle internal current, while in the very center, it seems almost eerily calm. A small sign hung on the highest bit of twine states 'LAKE HOPELESS' in forcibly fancy script, yet there doesn't seem to be any apparent reason for the title. Maybe one of the residents knows.

The rapid initial growth of Eastern Weyr's first sets of dragonets has finally tapered off, and instead of just having their frames stretched out, the creatures are finally padding those long bones and angles with muscle. Gleaming hides are ever burnished with oil, except when the lot is scrubbed off with sand and rinsed and new oil applied, but the dire need for constant oiling has now been replaced by the near-constant aches from exercise and learning coordination.

Eovarijath remains one of the more muted of either clutch. Not brassy nor metallic even, is she; but more the mystery of wings and limbs of storm-cloud grey, rimmed with hunter green both draw the eye of the curious, until the pale white-gold of her body finally reveals that she is, indeed, a queen. Those of Eastern Weyr no doubt do not see 'gold', or 'not gold', but instead, the familiar Eovarijath, and perhaps the most unusual of this is that the young queen is on the ground, rather than on some high perch, or in her beloved medium of air. Here, on the sands, Rio has dressed in stained clothing, and a veil that has seen better days, as she, with her pants rolled up and still wet, scrubs down the impatient dragon. Eovarijath watches the sky, where a green, not quite fully proddy, teases a bevy of blues and one brown.

It's hot, and drizzling on and off, which makes for a muggy day. Neni, of course, gravitated toward the lake shore when she came outside, and waves to the various Weyrlings out washing their dragons — including Rio.

A soggy Fiala walks through the cavern with the air of someone who has been lost and wandering for a while. SHe is still limping, but seems to be used to the gait. Her eyes are downcast, looking at her feet, but as she comes closer to the lake she looks up and stops. Her eyes go wide, and she rubs at the back of her neck, biting at her lip a little. But she still stares at Eovarijath and a little at the flying dragons above.

"Neni!" Rio calls over, as she straightens and rolls her shoulders to audible popping that does, actually, catch the attention of her lifemate. "Neni, do we owe you a ride yet?" Rio's eyes also alight on Fiala, another potential vict—Helper. "And…Ah… I forgot your name! Miss? I know I don't owe you a ride yet. Care to barter current labor for future promises? I think my arms are going to fall off."

Nenienne calls back, "You don't owe me a ride yet, but Isilna promised me as many as I needed. Still, if that's an invitation to help you bathe her, then I'm all for it. Anything to get out of this heat."

"Fiala. Just Fiala, Weyrwoman. I don't rate a 'miss'." The stablehand shakes her head and then comes closer. "I'd be happy to help… but… you don't need to barter anything with me. The way I figure it, you'll be doing enough for me, flying and protecting, making more dragons to protect everyone… why would I ever ask for anything else of you in return for help?" Fiala's eyes shine, and then she flushes and looks away. "I'll do whatever you like."

"Please. Please. Yes. And Isilna's Orteith is nothing short of magnificent." That's the dragon that Rocio had had her eye on, when Eovarijath nearly ran her over. Rio had that mental bet reversed; she figured the ex-Nearly-Lady-Holder, for a gold and herself for a blue. "I'm just using the finer sand at the edge of the surf, and you really can't hurt her, scrubbing, but it gets to your hands, so there's gloves. I was optimistic." Rio's eyes crinkle behind her veil as she indicates a nearby bucket, with heavy-palmed leather gloves. To Fiala, "Thank you, Fiala." But she actually laughs, "I'm not doing the flying and protecting. That's the colored dragons. She'll be doing the making more dragons. I'm pretty sure my job is cheering her on. Here. Glove up, grab some sand, check for larger rocks and get rid of those, then just rub it like…Like you're currying a horse."

Nenienne takes up a pair of gloves, puts them on, and sifts through until she has a nice handful of sand. "Where should I concentrate, and is there anywhere I should avoid?" she asks in a businesslike tone.

Fiala smiles and puts on a pair of cloves, then gets a handful of sand as well. She picks out a couple of pebbles, and then nods. "Yes, please, what she said," nodding to Nenienne. "And anywhere she's terribly sensitive or ticklish? I'd hate to cause discomfort."

"If you'll do her tail, that'd be lovely, Neni. I try to do the wings, because they're … There's lots of crannies in there. Hard to get to, and hard to get the sand back out. She isn't the water-lover that some of the dragons are."

Nenienne nods and begins rubbing the sand into the gold's tail. "Please let me know if I'm scrubbing too hard, Rio. This is my first time washing a dragon."

"What part would you like me to work on, then?" asks Fiala, stepping closer. "Her chest, legs, belly? I just don't want to do this wrong…" She bites at her lip, looking up at the dragon. "You are beautiful…"

"She thanks you both." Rio's words are accompanied by the dragon's wedge-head tilting at both women, soft meat-breath blowing over them in turn. "And no. Nothing. She hasn't rinsed yet, Fiala, so if you look at where there's already sand, you don't need to do that part. Find sandless part, please."

Then, to Fiala, "How are the reading lessons coming?"

Nenienne continues scrubbing, then, working on getting the dragon's tail completely covered in sand. At Rio's question she cocks her head curiously, glancing at Fiala.

"They're going all right, I s'pose. I'm beginning to think I really *am* stupid. I don't *feel* stupid, and I don't know as I think stupid, but all those letters just make my head spin half the time. Big squiggles, little squiggles…." She begins to sand an un-done patch of the dragon's skin, her hands moving with a deft confidence not normally seen in her eyes, on her face. Her touch is sure as she scrubs, though she trembles slightly.

"Just a few at a time." Rio shrugs at Fiala. "You weren't taught by a roving Harper, wherever you came from?" Then, "Where -did- you come from, Fiala?" Rio seems only too happy to distract herself from the task at hand by quizzing the new person, but she'll also include Neni, "Taking a break from commissions or are you done?"

Nenienne says, "Oh, I haven't even started yet, except for the sketches. Teallan and I need to go to Landing so she can tell me what kind of stones she wants. But I'm taking a break anyway, since my hand is cramped from drawing."

"Well… first a cothold in Keroon, then a cothold at Southern," answers Fiala. "My father raises runnerbeasts. I was more use to him with the animals when I was younger, and then when he had sons being schooled, I was supposed to make sure they behaved. And he mad it clear that me… a girl… being educated was useless. I… believed in what he said, those days. So… so I didn't pay much attention even when my brothers were behaving." She looks over at Nenienne, then back to Rio. "I'm really only good at helping with animals."

"Ah. Well. There's a place for that, here. But I'm surprised your mother didn't insist you were also taught to read. Or is…Your mother not around?" Rio asks of the nervous woman, before looking over at Neni with a nod. "I'm thinking I would like a commission. But I don't know what I want. I just have a … Sense of something."

Nenienne stops coating the tail with sand and nods. "After you graduate, or before?" she asks. "I could probably help tease it out, whatever it ends up being." Then she begins scrubbing in earnest.

"My mother's around," answers Fiala, frowning a little. "She just… thinks I should be marrying myself some man sooner rather than later, and make her some fine grandchildren. And that I should learn cooking and cleaning and sewing and things like that. She… used to be different… but then she had all my brothers." Fiala shrugs. "So…." She stoops for more sand, shifting, wincing a little as she puts more of her weight on her sore leg. "Here I am. Hoping I'm of some use to someone."

After or before? Rio frowns somewhat at Nenienne and blinks, before she shakes her head, "I don't think I understand. Does it matter? I've the funds to pay for it. I just don't know…And —Oh! This isn't for me, Neni. I'd like something for… Well. Two somethings. And I don't know…" She trails off, before turning to study the dragon, whose attention has turned from the sky again, to her lifemate, and whose eyes sparkle now with hints of red, "Used to wear jewelry. Had a lot. I guess I've never thought about that before now." The goldrider pauses then, to look square at Fiala. "And how do you feel about that, Fiala?"

Nenienne ahs and nods. "My first two commissions here were for people other than the commissioners, but my current set are both things for the commissioners themselves." She nods ruefully toward Fiala. "My mother wanted me to do all that stuff too — especially the getting married and having kids part. Then again, she always told me she hoped I had a child just like myself so I'd know what I put her through." The last is said with fond humor, despite her frown.

"What do I think about having lots of jewelry?" Fiala frowns, tilting her head. "I… I guess part of me waqnted to be one of those pretty girls at Gathers, you know, in fancy dresses with pretty sparkles to wear. I used to think my mother would dress me up and that my father would dance with me. But… by the time I was old enough, when we went to Gathers I was either tending the runnerbeasts or left behind to watch my brothers. And I think my brothers are getting her jewelry to give to their wives. I mean, when they're old enough for them. I think I'm a disappointment, somehow." She looks up at the dragon and moves to scrub a new patch. "All I have is my ponies. Not a mark to my name, and no way of earning any, either. So… as long as the Weyr will have me, it's a life."

"No." Mental sigh. "What do you think about what your father and mother want, Fiala?" Rio pauses, "I'm carrying on two conversations at once. Forgive me." Rio eyes the young woman for another moment longer, before turning to Nenienne. "Jaya. I'd like to commission something for her. She's been a marvelous friend to me. But I don't even know what she might like. Something symbolic…?"

Nenienne hmmmms. "Jaya was my first commission here, and it was a necklace for her sister. She may've just been trying to be nice, but she said she wished she could keep it. I still have my drawings from her. Maybe something like what she commissioned?"

"Well…." Fiala sighs softly. She looks at the patch of hide and applies a little more pressure. "I hope that feels good," she murmurs. "I… I admit I don't have a clear plan. All I've ever known is the horses. They understand me. I understand them. More than I understand people. But…" She shakes her head. "But I didn't want what they wanted for me. They wanted to marry me off. In two years, at best. And maybe I am fourteen and maybe my courses have finally started, but I dodn't feel like a woman! If I agreed with them, or… or if they ever had listened to me, I wouldn't be here, that's certain." She looks at Nenienne. "Is there any way I can work for a small little necklace? Something simple?"

"Something like. But…" Rio's eyes squinch, "Different. Better. Practice makes perfect, yes?" Those near-black eyes glint slightly in the bright sun, tilting a quick gaze toward Nenienne, before Rio restores her attention to her work. "When you have time, lets get together and look at the drawings and talk prices." And then, maybe, Rio might talk about another commission. At Fiala's words, Rio listens, then nods slightly. "Well. What are your goals then? And how do you intend to accomplish them?"

Nenienne nods at Rio. "That sounds good. Unless I'm off for lessons at Landing you should be able to find me pretty easily." To Fiala, she says, "If you're here for long enough, you'll end up with some sixteenth marks of your own, at least. I would be happy to make something simple for you if you'll tell anyone who admires it that I made it. What kinds of colors do you like?" Then, as an afterthought, she mentions to Rio, "Maybe find out Jaya's favorite color. It might not be blue like she commissioned since it was for her sister."

"Goals? I don't have any yet." Fiala shakes her head. "I just want to be… to be free to be the Fiala *I* want to be, instead of the Fiala *they* want me to be. And it's nice, working in the stables. Though… Ev.. ah.. your dragon smells nice. I like the smell of the stables, most times. When they're clean, 'specially. But…" Shed smiles and scrubs some more, turning to look over at Nenienne. "Really? Oh, wonderful. I… I don't know. I've never had anything. Something that won't clash with my hair, something that won't look stupid with my clothes. I haven't a thing fancy to wear for jewelry."

Eovarijath has evidently returned her attention to the sky. The green has given up playing tag, and she and her suitors sit on various spires on the edge of the bowl, like a children's statues placed and ready to be played with. Now the gold swivels her head to spy a distant wing's practice maneuvers. A quiver runs through her, nose to tail-tip; she tires of this grooming, when there's flying to be done!

Rio taps the gold on a wingbone, to gather her attention back to the here-and-now, "Don't move. Eovarijath" That's said aloud, for the benefit of the others, before she attends Neni's words with a nod. To Fiala, Rio chuckles, "You're there, then. You've left them. So be the Fiala you want you to be. The past… Has …" Her voice softens, "Only the hold you let it, have on you, Fiala." The junior weyrwoman is quiet for the duration of a few heartbeats. "Take from it, that which you want, to make you stronger, and step past the rest, or it will hold you back. I think… At this Weyr, self-sufficiency and an attitude of who you -will- be, counts much more than who or what you were."

Nenienne has finally finished with the tail and scoops another handful of sand, shaking out the pebbles before she looks for some uncleaned hide. She nods in agreement with Rio's statement, not making one of her own.

Fiala goes down on her knees to reach the lower dragonly extremities. She winces, shifts her knee off a pebble. "I'll try to remember that," she answers, rubbing and scrubbing away. "I'm strong, I'm patient… maybe I can learn healing. Not on people… but… runnerbeasts? Herdbeasts? Maybe even dragons. I don't know yet."

"There." Rio murmurs with some triumph. "That's the talk you should be speaking, Fiala. 'I will learn to read'. 'I am strong.' 'I am good with ponies and herdbeasts'. 'I would like to learn to heal dragons'." Each phrase is parsed out with emphasis on the pronoun and verb. "I really don't want to hear you using language that degrades yourself. It's something that… I try not to do with myself. My history is … Less than sterling. So is Jaya's. So is that of so many of us here. We all came here to escape something bad. But together, we try to make something good, and part of that is… Not dwelling on what was bad, about the past. Does that make sense? —I mean… Sometimes we all have bad days, or something comes along," or someone, "That throws into sharp relief, that which… Did not go right, and the consequences. But you can choose to live under that onus or to create a new future here." The dragon shifts herself so that she can splay her toes. Between dragon toes are always itchy. Rio turns to Nenienne, "When can I stop by and see you, then? Sometime this evening?"

Nenienne pauses long enough to glance at Fiala. "I bet you would make a great herdbeast healer, seeing how well you cared for those ones which lost their mother. You might want to talk to a Beastcrafter or even a Healer to see if they can help you figure out which you want to do, if either." Once she's plugged the crafting life, she nods to Rio. "No lesson today, so that sounds wonderful. And it'll give me time to dig up those pictures."

"I think I would. I don't know. I will see how… how things go." Fiala smiles, then drops some of the sand on the dragon's foot. "I don't know the proper… etiquette…" the stablehand says. "Should I ask her direct to lift her foot, or ask you to ask her? At any rate, if she would, I can get her toes all scrubbed up and massaged too. If that isn't overstepping bounds. We had a dog once, and he used to get burrs all up his paws. I'd massage oil into them. That and numbweed." She shakes her head. "Thanks… for being so encouraging."

Rio corrects, "'I would like to learn the proper etiquette.' — Do you see the difference, Fiala? What you said, 'I don't know', is negative. What I said, 'I would like to learn—' is positive." Rio's black eyes study the girl again, intently. "Do you hear the difference? Do you understand the difference in how you are presenting yourself to others? The first implies that you cannot. The second tells a listener that you can." Her alto is soft, but earnest, perhaps edged with a hint of frustration. Then the next question relaxes the goldrider a touch, "Eovarijath, please lift your foot?" A nod to Fiala, "That was a good question, because some riders, and some dragons, prefer that the question be directed to the riders, and some don't care." Then, at the girl's last, Rio inclines her head, perhaps another smile is hidden behind the veil. "Thank you for listening." To Neni, Rio nods. "I think we're running this evening, so if I do not show up, understand it's exhaustion. I'll try to make it."

Nenienne says, "Oh yes, I've seen the way they run you. Makes digging the lake seem like a pleasant day's rest in comparison." Finishing the spot she was working on, she refreshes her sand supply and moves on. She hmmms at what Fiala says about the burrs and the dog, before finally asking, "What exactly are burrs?"

"Burrs are round parts of a plant that usually contain seeds and they have prickles on them too, so that they stick to things. Hair, clothes, sometimes skin. They're very painful. Anyway, they hang on and travel and when they come off, new place for to grow, you see." Fiala smiles, murmuring a thanks to the dragon before she begins to lavish scrubbing and massage on the foot. "But I don't know. How is truth negative or positive?" Fiala shakes her head. "But I will try to understand."

"The truth itself isn't. The meaning. The way you present it is positive or negative and affects how folks see you. If you want people to feel sorry for you, then you present yourself as an 'I cannot' person. If you want folks to befriend you, you present yourself as a 'I can' person." Rio looks to Nenienne, to see if the Smith might be able to add any advice.

Nenienne ahs. "So *that's* what those are called. Learn something new every day," says Neni, before coming under Rio's scrutiny. She adds, rather weakly, "One of the Masters at the hall always said that you should never answer "I don't know" without adding, "But I'll find out?" It ends up as more of a question than a statement.

Fiala nods her head. "I… I think… that makes sense, yes." She bends her head over the gold's foot, humming a little. "There's a lot I don't know… there's a lot I have to learn. A lot I *will* learn." She smiles, rubbing. "I bet it's nice, getting the itchies out of there. Itchy toes are terrible."

Those toes twitch and Eovarijath turns her head around to eye the woman messing with her feet. She shifts the rest of her weight oh-so-carefully, hide tensing across subtly-moving muscles. "Yes. Good." Rio intones, and nods with another quick look at Nenienne, "Right. But you'll find out. I like that. When I was working with the two apprentices, in glow tending, there was one I regularly wanted to choke, because he was the 'I can't' variety, and the other, the 'I will look it up' variety. Had I been able to give either a raise, it would have been Mr. I Can."

Nenienne looks relieved that her example was a good one. Then she abruptly changes the subject, asking, "How do you do this without helpers, Rio? And how often do you have to bathe her?"

"Less now that she's not growing so much, but … I try," Rio's eyes crinkle, "Shamelessly, to recruit helpers. I hear that back when, they had firelizards to help. I find myself wishing for the sudden appearance of hordes of firelizards, for the express purpose of scrubbing my dragon." Rio does, finally, switch to her other wing, and Eovarijath moves her tail, slowly, so that Neni's position is adjusted and Rio can still see and chat with her, as well.

Nenienne sidesteps the tail and begins looking for other places to scrub. She murmurs, "I think I'll leave her feet to Fiala." She can't find any spots low enough for her to reach, so she stretches, removes the gloves and puts them back in the basket, then says "Thank you for the excuse to get wet. I need to go dry off and look for those hides." She also nods politely to Fiala and notes, "If you do decide to approach the Healers, I recommend Cheusia over Jonavan. The latter can be… unpleasant at times."

"Thank you," Fiala says to Nenienne, nodding her head. "I hope you find those hides. Let me know if I can help." She then laughs softly. "I wouldn't mind hordes of firelizards. Not a pet… more like a partner. So I wouldn't be alone…" She shakes herself and settles Eovarijath's foot down. "Might I have the other forefoot?" She grins upwards. "If you ever do need help, and I'm not swamped with stable-duties, I'd be happy to help. She's nice. Even if I can't pronounce her name. Could you teach me?"

"My deepest appreciation, Nenienne. Thank you. Thank you. Eovarijath adds her thanks as well. I'll try to drop by later, yes." The gold dragon shifts herself, then, at Fiala's words and yields her other foot. She may well like this strange woman's way of cleaning toes! "Thank you, Fiala. And I wouldn't say that she's … Nice. She's insanely jealous, single-minded, focused, and obsessive. But she's not too hard to get along with, other than that. Her name… I say Eee-oh-vari-jath. Four syllables."

"Isn't that… five?" Fiala tilts her head. "Eeyah- varee-jath." She starts to scrub the other foot, paying special attention to the toes. "Well, for someone who is jealous, single-minded, focused, and obsessive, she's very nice." She splays the toes apart and smiles. "She's patient with me, at least."

With a laugh, Rio nods. "You're right. Five." And then there's another glance toward Fiala, "Wouldn't you be nice to someone who was rubbing your toes? I love backrubs. I think there was a time when any stranger on the street could have walked up and given me a backrub."

"I've never been pampered, so I wouldn't know," answers Fiala with a laugh. "I think it would be nice. I think it would be really nice. Yeah, I might be nice to someone pampering me. I… I do know how to give backrubs, by the way."

There's a chuckle to that. "You might make a human healer yet, then, Fiala." Rio continues to work on the wings, but now she's mostly spot-checking her own work. Eovarijath stretches both wings out, and quivers, so that the vibrations of movement are sent down her frame. Yet, the gold does not compromise her balance. "What else do you like to do, Fiala?"

"Like to do? I…" Fiala tilts her head. "I like to ride. That's fun. Bareback, especially. I like to ride with the wind in my hair and clinging to the mane, to have this warm body under me, my skin and her skin, touching. But almost like we're one mind too. One creature. Pony and rider. That's fun. Other than that…" She shrugs. "I've never had much time to myself to know. I used to like to walk and gather plants." SHe shudders.

"Healer again, there. Both. Healers have to ride out. Healers have to know their herbology." She indicates the gold, as Eovarijath extricts her foot gently from Fiala's grasp, and steps lightly away, to the lake. "She has a scent and a sound, when she touches my mind and talks to me, of runnerbeasts. Kind of dusty and thundery. "

"Well… I'd rather work with non-human patients, actually," murmurs Fiala. "But…" She shakes her head. "I was in charge of all the ponies, you see. They made father money, because a lot of people found them more useful, and sometimes he used them for his breeding program with the larger runners. But… they had the far pasture, the hilly one. They had a stone shelter for when Thread came. Came I was ten turns, I was to get them into the shelter when there was Thread coming. Sometimes I had help. Usually it was just me and Thunder. Thunder was the dog. Come on two turns ago, now, we had a new pony. Stallion my father bought. I don't know why. He wasn't much. Scrub thing. He hadn't time to trust me. Bolted… kicked me, trampled Thunder. Ran out. And a stray Thread got through." The girl shudders. "Sometimes, when I'm out riding… it's like I'm back there. And Thunder died too."

"That's quiet something," Rio murmurs, as she turns to watch the gold head into the water for a well-deserved swim, to knock that sand off of her. Rio readies the oil buckets and stretches, then, with pops audible to those nearby. "That you were in charge of all of the ponies. Responsibility. Teaches a lot." To the traumatic events, Rio nods. "I've been told… All things break. All creatures die. We have the choice to cherish what and who we have, while we have them. And remember them fondly when they're gone." Her eyes remain at some distant point, even with the dragon submerged fully now.

"I do. Remember him fondly." Then Fiala snorts, shaking the sand off of herself. "I did learn a lot. And when I came home, I learned a lot more. My father didn't want to pay a herd-boy when he could get the labor out of me for free, after all. I s'pose it would have hurt him to admit that no herd-boy could have kept the trust of a herd of ponies like me. But…" She shrugs. "I'm still trying to teach myself not to run for cover every time the sun gets clouded over or the light goes odd." Another shrug. "Were… things hard for you, too… before you came here?"

Rio is quiet for a moment, before she responds, "Yes." It's the sort of the monosyllable that doesn't exactly invite comment. "And no. Things went swimmingly for me, until I made a bad choice. Then the world crashed down. But I'm here now, and … Better for it, I hope." She'll draw in a deeper breath and look over at Fiala with a quirk of a smile in her gaze, "You have a fine set of marketable skills."

"I'm glad things are… better for you," answers Fiala. "And I hope they get better and better." She tilts her head. "And… erm… what do you mean by 'marketable skills"? I'm not sure I understand that." She settles down on the ground, hikes up her skirts, and wriggles her feet out of her shoes. "How warm is that water, anyway?"

"It's pretty warm. And skills that someone might pay you for. To earn marks. There's a few ranches around here, Fiala. If you tire of the Weyr, you might hire yourself out to manage a ranch, then you'll be making the marks you probably would want to. Keep Nenienne in commissions for turns." Rio settles herself down on a rock, not wanting to get wet before oiling, and she waits, while Eovarijath relaxes, under the water's surface.

"Is it… I mean, do people swim in there too?" Fiala eyes the water, then looks back over at Rio. "Oh. I see. That's an idea, if I do decide to leave. Right now… I like it here. It's the first time in… a long time I've felt cared for. So… I think I'll stay for now. My father… he used to say terrible things go on in the weyr. I don't know what he means." She leans back and sighs. "I'll help you oil her too, if you like."

"Oh yes. It's not too deep. Deep enough for dragons, and deep enough to drown in, I suppose." Rio nods, "But I've swam in there before. Go ahead." Then, "Your father might be right, from his perspective. Things are looser here. In terms of… Dragonriders don't marry, but they still…Make babies."

"Ohhhh…" Fiala flushes, and she looks down, wiggles her toes. "I… oh. I…" She tilts her head. "So they… all right, they make babies. And… do they not marry because… because of the dragons? And… what's so bad with making babies? I don't quite get it. I don't really… know much about these things. Runnerbeasts, sure, but people…"

"Right. Because dragons mate and when the dragons mate, they don't always pick their mates as the dragons of their lifemate's mates. That is, the dragons mate with whomever they want to, or whomever catches them, and the riders… Then mate. And sometimes riders have non-rider weyrmates and that complicates things and then there's … Well. Some holders get pretty worked up about this." As an ex-holder, Rio's pretty worked up about it, but she's worked up about it quietly.

Nenienne strolls back into view and says, "Oh good, you're still here. I found the drawings for Jaya." Then, she adds, "I didn't bring it with me here, of course, but I just wanted to tell you."

"Oh! Nenienne!" Rio turns at the familiar voice, returned, and sends her a slight toss of her head, in quick warm acknowledgement. "Thank you. Thank you. We're waiting for Her Highness to bathe, so we can oil her. And I was thinking… Do you have any colors of rocks that match any part of Eovarijath's hide? That might be appropriate."

"They mate with…. whoever they prefer, then. And…" Fiala nods her head. "I know…. the last time the ponies mated… it made me feel… odd inside. All hot and… And I suppose with dragons it is worse. Or better, maybe. Let's call it better. And how can it be wrong, really. No. Just different. Just different." She taps her leg with her fingers, thoughtful. A wave to Nenienne, and then she looks at the lake.

Nenienne hmmmmms, looking at the area where the dragon is submerged. "I would have to look at her more closely, but I imagine we can find something appropriate. And she used a cabochon, so the settings will work nicely."

"If it's your dragon, or a gold… They say you get caught up in it." Rio doesn't know about either, because she scrupulously avoided being around the Weyr when either of the resident golds went up. This time, tied to a Weyrling dragon, she may not be so lucky when one of the adults rises. And she certainly won't get loose of it, when it's her own lifemate's turn. To Nenienne, perhaps as a distraction to her own thoughts, Rio asks, "What's a 'cabochon'?"

"I'll make sure to be scarce, then," murmurs Fiala. She closes her eyes a moment, then looks up, up, to where the other dragons are perched. "Like them, then, hrmm?" SHe looks back at Rio, and she offers a smile. "Does it scare you, then? The thought of it? And… ah… yeah. WHat's a cabochon?"

Nenienne says, "A cabochon is a polished stone which is not clear like one which is faceted. Moonstones, opals, and star sapphires, for instance, are cabochons. Rubies, emeralds, and sapphires are usually faceted."

The youngest of the Weyr's golds comes out of the depths of the water, then, and after some splashing that catches her rider's attention, she will finally wade out on the far end of the lake, and launch, to fly up and around, before she'll land not far away in a display of overlarge grey wings and a equine-like shake of her head. Gleaming blue eyes attest to the joy of flight, before Eovarijath settles again, for her oiling. Rio, silently laughing, passes an oilcloth to Fiala, "Here. Dip this in the oil and spread it around. Doesn't matter if it drips, just catch those and rub them, too." To Nenienne, Rio nods. "Well. For a gold, Eo isn't too glittery. She isn't … Faceted." Just her eyes.

"But everything gold doesn't have to glitter, does it?" asks Fiala. She smiles. "The best gold is the sun, and that's wonderful even if it's greyed over with clouds. Sometimes better. You know the sun in the fog? You can look at it then." She takes the oil-cloth and dips it. They should just have a lake of oil, hrm? I suppose that would be too much like a cook-pot though. No…"

Nenienne walks around the not-so-young-any-more gold. "A yellow-tinged moonstone would do, I think. Vanadian would be too golden unless I found a really pale one." She's mostly talking to herself at this point. "Hmmmm. I don't know how well that would go with silver."

Rio asks, "What other options are there? To silver?" She knows little about metals, just used to wear the jewelry. Rio puts herself to work as well, swiping oil on with practiced easy movements, on the opposite side of Fiala, "No cook pots for dragons, no. And there's not that much oil, I think."

"Bronze," Fiala murmurs softly, grinning a little. She rubs the oil tentatively at first, though she watches Rio and nods. "I just know 'pretty stone' and 'other pretty stone', mostly, or I'd make suggestions." She reaches up, swishing the cloth in even strokes and doing her best to catch the drips. "I can see where this… gets tiring."

Nenienne says, "Gold, although it's expensive. Brass might work. Copper is pretty, but it turns the skin green when it oxidixes. Although, given how pale she is, silver might work after all." Then she explains, "I was using silver as a baseline because that's what Jaya used for her commission."

"Ah. I think it's more fun when you're oiling your own dragon, Fiala, because they enjoy it, and they … Transmit that enjoyment to you, and so you're enjoying it. It's kind of like giving yourself a massage, but sometimes on places that you don't even have, so it's odd. But, then… The whole connection, the whole bond, is mind-bending." Rio confirms, figuring Fiala has heard that before. The oil is messy, getting about everywhere. On Rio's veil, on the cloth that drapes down in front of her, on her pants and what one might see of her shirt under the veils. To Nenienne, "Bronze? Is that possible?" Then, "Brass would be neat. Or copper. I love copper."

Nenienne nods. "Bronze is possible, definitely. Almost any metal is, in theory. It's just that some are easier to work with. Gold and silver are relatively soft, which is why they are easier to work with, and more common in jewelry." She watches the oiling for a bit, then adds, "If it's made out of copper, though, you'd want Jaya not to wear it against her skin."

"So… you're getting pleasure out of my work?" Fiala laughs. "That doesn't quite seem fair." She winks, though, and swipes some more oil on, rubbing it over the gold's hide. "Silver's pretty. It's like starlight on water. Really pretty." She shrugs, flushing.

"Ah. Well. You're the expert. Pick something that looks good with the stone, the design, and that she can wear." Rio directs, quietly, before peering around to Fiala with raised brows. "Well. Yes. She has an itch up there more toward her shoulder, if you would, please." Affirming rumble from the dragon, to Rio's words.

Nenienne nods, then says "We can more about it when we have the sketches in front of us."

"Of course." Fiala nods and she reaches where directed, tending to the itchy place, first scratching with the cloth between the skin and her nails, then rubbing the oil into the spot. "Is this it, then? The spot? Can you let me know when she's stopped itching?" She bows her head, shifting her weight, and starts rubbing a little harder.

It'll be a few moments before Rio confirms, "All better. Thank you." And another quick look around the neck of the dragon, to the young pony manager. "Thank you." Rio and Fiala are oiling a freshly-scrubbed Eovarijath, while Nenienne studies the gold dragon for her color, and converses with the two. Eo is crouched on the beach, so all her parts are available for oiling. "And I hope to be able to see those sketches tonight. I do. How long does it take for something like that, Nenienne, once you start it?"

Nenienne says, "A lot will depend on finding the proper gemstone and getting to use the facilities at Landing. Luckily L'han is willing to give me rides to Landing, but I never know when someone else will be using the facilities. And I can't just kick Master Jarvys off of the workbench."

"Are there no places here in the Weyr to make pretty jewelry?" asks Fiala, nodding. She moves on to a new patch, getting new oil, swiping it on once more. "And you're welcome. Both of you. It's my pleasure." She shifs again, and there is a flicker of discomfort across her face. "I think… it would be nice to have someone do this to me. Mmmm…"

Above the lake an echoing boom announces the arrival of a dragon from between which is also followed by a scream from said dragon's back. "Oh quit it you baby! It isen't that bad and we have to do this for the rest of our lives." The green backwings to a landing near the women near Eovarijath whereapon a terrified Smith apprentice almost jumps from the green's back before heaving the contents of his stomach up on the ground nearby. L'han for his part, shakes his head at the poor boy before he looks to the women and the gold. "His first trip through between. Scary ride for him." The rider shrugs before he climbs down and looks over to those present, giving a respectful nod and smile to Rio and Neni, although the new girl with them he doesn't place.

Endless gold who is maybe only half grown, requires a good bit of oiling. She seems to be nearly asleep until Escaeth arrives, and the gold swivels her head to greet the green with a trilling soprano call, while Rio interrupts her own oiling to look up. Some sympathy might be evident for the new Smith, before Rio nods and glances to Nenienne. "You -could- try to kick him off his bench. But here's the ride, anyway. To ask." To L'han, Rio salutes with an oily rag. "Sir. Afternoon."

Nenienne also nods politely to L'han and says, "Ah, Watchrider. Just the person we were talking about. How are you and Escaeth?" Almost without taking a breath she continues, "I've gotten some four commissions in the past sevenday, so I'll need to ask you for a few rides. And on one of them, Teallan would like to come as well."

Fiala jumps at the scream, and she dives to the ground, curling into a protective ball. When nothing happens to her, though, she un-curls a little and looks up. She relaxes as the watchrider explains, and she scrambles to her feet again. "Sorry, sorry. Hello, sir. I'm Fiala. And… I'm not asking… for a ride."

L'han glances at Fiala as she crumples into a ball with some concern touching his features, but when she jumps to her feet it disappears. When Neni talks about needing rides, he nods to her again, "Certainly Nenienne and Teallan is quite welcome too." The green behind him trumpets her approval before she lies down on the ground. He looks over to Rio and gives an appraising glance over Eovarijath as he walks towards the gold dragonet. "Every visit the dragonets always look bigger. How is training going, Rio?" And since Fiala is also there he smiles to her and says, "I'm L'han, rider to green Escaeth. Nice to meet you, Fiala. And if you need a ride in future, don't hesitate to ask."

"She's growing. And loving flying, sir. She is strong and steady and stubborn. I'm told these are all good traits in a queen, so I'm guessing we're doing alright." An inclination of Rio's veiled features to the greenrider, at his question, and her answer. "She doesn't sleep enough. I have so little time to think." Privately. But Rio glances over at Fiala, to see how she introduces herself, and nods to Nenienne, a 'thank you' for including her commission in the count.

Nenienne answers Fiala, "Not really. Not yet, at least. I could string beads here easily enough, provided I have the beads handy. But working with metals is right out, and we don't just randomly keep gemstones around here either." She almost smiles at L'han, saying "Thank you to you both, in advance." And she nods in reply to Rio's, even as she listens to the Weyrling ticking off dragon qualities.

"Ah. I understand, then," Fiala says to Nenienne. "Mostly, anyway. The blacksmith always had to set up outside, and it made a terrible heat regardless." She shakes her head, then looks to the greenrider. "I'm a stablehand here, sir. "I can't think of any reason I'd *need* a ride, but than you for the offer." The girl looks up, and a shy smile crosses her lips. "Though… if I dared, I think I'd ask anyway. It looks wonderful."

L'han nods again to Neni. "You're welcome, and that is from her too." Rio gets a glance and L'han looks over Eovarijath. "Hmm, she seems to be in quite good health for not sleeping as much as you say. Quite the energetic queen I'd reckon." A glance back to Fiala with a grin and he asks, "Have you ever been flying on a dragon, Fiala? It's really quite wonderful. Me and Escaeth could fly you around the Weyr quick-like if you want to see it? Don't worry, I promise you won't throw up at the end." A reference to the apprentice who has since recovered and was retrieving his bag from the green's straps and moved on to whatever he came to Eastern for.

"Try it, Fiala." Rio encourages the new gal with a nod. "I'm almost done with my side, can finish up that side quickly. Indeed, her pace at oiling quickens and she ignores the gold's look; Eovarijath seems to think that she should have lots of attendants, including her rider.

Nenienne nods to Fiala. "It is exhilarating. Especially on Escaeth." Then she says to Rio, "I could also try my hand at oiling her."

"I…" Fiala flushes and ducks her head for a moment. "I've not been in the Weyr that long, and today's honestly the first day I've been near a dragon up-close, much less flying." Her voice is soft, squeaking a little. Though her cheeks are flaming, there is no mistaking the longing in her eyes. "And oh, I would love to, love to… Escaeth seems absolutely wonderful. But… I made a promise to help oil, and I… Oh, I don't want to offend Eovari… jath…" Still such a long name! "By neglecting her. Nor offend Escaeth or you by turning the offer down." She bites at her lip, torn, then looks down at her thoroughly sanded and oiled clothes. "And I'll make the both of you a mess…." Her voice trails off, and her hand stills on the dragonet's hide.

"Nenienne, thank you. See, Fiala. She'll spell you, but really, I'm nearly done. Won't take much longer and I have to get back fairly soon, or I'm running extra laps." Rio waves the girl away from the gold. "Go. L'han is a man of his word. Enjoy. Remember, be the 'I can' person." Rio might even wink at the gal, as she tries to shoo her away. Then the gold perks up, hearing some silent call, and she'll rise to her feet. "And that's our summons. Good afternoon, ladies. Gentleman." She'll collect her rags and her oil and trot off toward the barracks.

L'han smiles at Fiala and says, "I'll tell you what, go get cleaned up and meet me over by the feeding pens when you're done. She needs to eat anyways. The oil wouldn't hurt her or me, but I understand how messy the stuff is." He smiles, letting Fiala head on off to get cleaned up. He glances over to Nenienne and says, "Oh, when you need that ride, just ask any rider to call us, we'll come here to get you."

Nenienne nods. "Thank you, I'll do so. Enjoy the ride, Fiala — I should go get ready to meet Rio about the jewelry piece."

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