Turnips And Those Who Love Them


Ahnika.jpg Balkrith Jhath L'ron.jpg

Date: 9/13/10
Location: EW: Weyrling Barracks
Synopsis: L'ron and Ahnika have a heart-to-heart that includes relationship concerns and concerns over fighting Thread and how dragon and weyrling might be able to handle each.
Rating: PG-13 — probably more PG than PG-13, but it's borderline enough to conservatively give it the latter.
Logger: Ahnika

Eastern Weyr: Weyrling Barracks

Set back into the northeast corner of the Upper Bowl, this cavern is huge. With a doorway wide enough to admit a very large brown or a small gold, it balloons out into an almost round room. Along the walls are couches carved out of the rock, some bigger and some smaller. Next to those couches are small, utilitarian cots. In the center are rows and rows and rows of similar cots, only a wide aisle seperating them from the couch-cots. Space is at a premium here, for both Candidates and Weyrlings must share space until another barracks can be dug.

This being later in the evening, most of the weyrlings and their lifemates have returned from dinner and bathing, dragon and human alike, and are settling in for the night, but not yet sleeping (in most cases). So, there’s a good bit of movement and even some companionable chatter between weyrlings and those who have made friends or entire circles of friends since Impressing, where they may have only been acquaintances during Candidacy. Ahnika, for her part, is abed early (for her) tonight, hair damp from her recent bath and already braided and nightshift already on, looking over a folded piece of paper in her lap on her cot while Jhath, content to rest though not tired enough to sleep, lounges on her couch beside her lifemate and watches the rest of the weyrling barracks and all those within it with attentive blue-swirling eyes. The larger green dragonet is positioned so that she can see as much of the activity as possible, as if she were a platoon leader watching over “her” soldiers to make sure no one shorts anyone else’s bedsheets as they settle in. With a hint of a frown tugging at her lips, Ahnika looks up from the paper in her hands and scans the large room for someone in particular, and that turnip-loving blue dragonet of his.

As usual, this particular blue pair is amongst the last to drag themselves back into the barracks after dinner and bathing. Not because they have any objection to being there, just thatwell it takes a long time when there is firstly a dragonet that will insist on rolling a turnip all the way from the living caverns entrance to the barracks and secondly, when his lifemate stops every few paces to tip his head back and simply stare up at the stars. First the bruised looking turnip and then Balkrith comes into view, the dragonet with his nose to the ground as he carefully steers his tuber root along toward his wallow. L'ron is but a few steps behind, hands to pockets and scuffing along in boots that trail untied laces, a faraway look on his face. So much so that the blue weyrling almost doesn't see his dragonet stop abruptly when he comes abreast the much bigger Jhath, and almost stumbles over the tail left in the way, "Jays Bal, a heads up would be nice." Though there is no malice of ill feeling in his tone.

It is Jhath who notices Balkrith first, being that her multi-faceted eyes are working to keep attentive observation over most of the barracks as her position on her couch allows, while Ahni was simply directing her attention in the area she knew L’ron and Balkrith to have taken up “residence” so to speak. And so it is only after a moment of Jhath’s internal pointing out of the blue dragonet that Ahni turns her head in that direction now, too, and starting to fold the paper back up again. When Balkrith stops with L’ron right behind him, Ahni was just about to uncurl from her cross-legged position and get up off her cot, and so she simply holds the folded slip of paper in her hand and leans back on it on the mattress. “L’ron,” Ahni greets with a warm, thoughtful smile, “Just the man I was looking for.” Ahnika then turns her grey eyes on the turnip-pushing blue dragonet and smiles at Balkrith, “And you, as well, Balkrith. Looking fine as ever.” Jhath merely turns her attention from the barracks at large to the blue weyrling pair in front of their cot and couch, where Ahni now has her own attention. “How are you both doing?” Ahni asks with a lean forward a bit to pat the edge of her cot as an invitation for L’ron to sit while they talk. Uh-oh.

Dragon> To Balkrith, Jhath offers the warmth of a hearth fire, and the potent scent of incense, « Good evening, Battle Brother. I trust all is well by your accounting? »

For long few moments Balkrith simply sits there, hind legs sprawling out from his sides a little as he stares up at Jhath and then eventually he dips his head and nudges the turnip forward. If L'ron notices the piece of paper being folded up, he's polite enough to make no mention of it, instead his brain pulls away from Faraway Land and he turns a smile onto the green weyrling, "Hi Ahn…" he doesn't quite get the rest of her name out for he's blinking next at her having been looking for him. Raising his hands in the air, his smile turns crooked, "Whatever it is, I didn't do it." And then he's gaze goes distant before adding, "Balkrith says it wasn't him either." That out of the way, the blue weyrling's expression turns a little cautious for the invitation to take up a place on the cot next to her, but he does so regardless, shrugging a little as his weight dips the mattress down a little when he settles himself a respectful distance away from Ahnika, "We're doing okay. Yourselves?" eyes casting over toward the dignified looking green.

Dragon> To Jhath, Balkrith mentally inhales the enticing warmth and heady incense before sending out the earthy blend of mud and dust, « Evening mi'lady. Fresh turnips came in today. » This being his accounting of things being well. « Did you see them? »

Invitation made, Ahnika straightens back up from her lean forward, and settles her hands in her lap, the cherished folded paper nestled there. She smirks and shakes her head, “No, no. Nothing like that. Besides, we’re not Ciara and Suosith or Rio and Eovarijath here or anyone with any real authority,” a pause, “yet.” Watch out Pern. She clears her throat and continues on, “I have a question for you. Well, probably more than one. I did some time in the stables as a candidate like everyone else here did, but you, you were there all the time before you were Searched. I mean, you worked for Max, officially. Right? So, you saw the whole thing. Everything that went on there, not just bits and pieces.” Jhath swings her attention from L’ron and Ahni on her cot to Balkrith as he noses the turnip forward, and the tall and stocky green dragonet rises from her crouch and stretches a little before closing the distance with the blue dragonet and his prized turnip.

Dragon> To Balkrith, Jhath mentally sort of chokes a moment. It could have been the mud and dust, or the fact that Balkrith brings up fresh turnips that stalls the green weyrling. After a moment, fresh incense is added to the censor, and her mind returns with the sweetly billowing tendril of scent, while the heart grows warmer with interest, flames licking upward, « This must be of good cheer to you, which is good for the rest of us. » She approaches with interest. « What are you doing to that one? »

There comes but the barest hint of something else to L'ron's grin with those names mentioned but it's so brief, it's barely there. A short chuckle starts to spill out at the 'yet' bit but clips off mid-way as Ahnika continues to talk with the blue weyrling wearing a not oft seen vestige of a frown. "Yeah?" he answers carefully, a little wary of where this all might be going but not offering anything further. He might be a weyrling now, but he still has a healthy respect for his former employer. As Jhath rises and comes closer, Balkrith despite the small dip of head in respect for the much bigger green surreptitiously closes a paw over the top of his turnip

Dragon> To Jhath, Balkrith being a little obtuse when it comes to nuances, misses the mental choke, sending a cheerful clanging of pots and pans in return as he replies, « It is indeed good for all of us. More turnips, means less Thread. » Of that he seems pretty sure. « I'm preparing it. » he notes quite solemnly of the one currently held under his paw, « and testing it to make sure it is of the proper quality. »

Jhath comes to a halt just a few feet from Balkrith and his turnip and sits up in that dignified, almost regal, position that is often seen when she is merely seated beside Ahnika, front legs locked and straight, wings and back legs and tucked in, and tail curled around one side. Her olive and mud and smoke hued hide glistening with a recent oiling. Even her wedge-head looks straight and dignified, though it is tucked in against her neck and looking down at Balkrith and his paw covering the turnip. She remains still and watching, perhaps waiting for the turnip to pop out between talons and pounce or on her or Ahni or something just as devious and dastardly. Ahnika eyes the two dragonets curiously a moment before returning her attention to L’ron, slightly blinkingly. If she noticed any of that something else to L’ron’s grin, she does a fair job of not commenting on it or showing it. “Right,” she says, then pauses looks away, chewing on her lip before looking back at him and releasing it. With a little breath she asks, “So, what would he complain about the most? What was his biggest problem? Not having enough tack? Fences breaking? What seemed to be the thing he was always griping about while you were working for him?” Her grey eyes fix on the former stablehand intently, prepared to absorb any and all information he might share.

Quite the odd pair Jhath and Balkrith must make right now. She with her noble and regal posture, and he with his sprawled back legs and tail still left lying in the way of anyone passing down the aisle. He must have been recently oiled himself but unlike the green, the blue dragonet has a healthy coating of fresh dust sticking to him, as if he'd taken a roll in the sand much like a canine would. His wings however are in contrast to the rest of him with those still somehow pristine and neatly tucked in against his sides. The turnip is slowly being rolled back and forth under his paw as if to suggest he were trying to soften it. A touch too much pressure on a backward roll and the tuber root does indeed go shooting out from under his paw like a small missile at an angle and beans L'ron on the back of his head. "Ow!" the blue weyrling turns a dirty look onto his bonded, "Stop mucking out about, Balkrith!" And Balkrith? He doesn't seem too perturbed by the reaction and is more intent on trying to find his turnip again as he flattens himself down on the ground and tries inching in under the empty cot where it's landed. L'ron hand rubbing at the back of his head turns his attention back to Ahnika, a grin initially casting out for her questions on what might the beast manager's biggest gripe might have been, "Me?" All too aware of his own shortcomings. And then with a wrinkle of nose and shrug, "Max only griped about work not getting done proper, or feed merchants trying to swindle on the price. Or if something went wrong with the runners. Why?" just that openly asked. "Oh. And there was that one time when someone stole a satchel out of his office. Other than that…" brown eyes turning apologetic for not being able to be more helpful there.

Dragon> To Jhath, Balkrith goes quiet for a bit, the clanging of pots replaced by a more subdued scrubbing of floors. Having turned the questions over in his mind for a while he returns with the soft sounds of a canine panting in the background, « Enceth says that Thread might be… » trying to remember the word and getting it a little wrong « …llergic to turnips. I'm checking to see if this one is good enough to be part of the test. » The blue leans curiously into the heat of her flames a little and then withdraws with a splash of dishwater. « We're not allowed to flame yet. » Hence the use of turnips.

Ahnika first blinks and does a little reflexive duck of the head as she sees the blur of turnip-turned-projectile incoming, and then winces as it impacts with the back of L’ron’s head. Since the blue-bonded weyrling seems no worse for wear however, she simply grins a bit at him and then smiles at Balkrith, who is nudging his way under (and possibly through?) the cot. Her grin turns rueful for L’ron as he mentions how frustrated Max could get with him working for him, and then leans over the side of the cot putting her arm down there to feel around for said turnip in an attempt to keep Balkrith from possibly turning the cot (and L’ron and Ahni) over looking for the tuber prize. But she’s listening, multi-tasker that she is, as she responds to L’ron distractedly, “Satchel? Oh. Hmm.” She pauses a moment and then says, “I want to get something for him or do something that will help.” It might seem an odd thing to want to do to anyone who doesn’t know about herself and Max, but Ahnika doesn’t even bother with such pretense around L’ron, or some of the other weyrlings she’s gotten to know. “Of course, he tells me not to bother, but still.” She looks back at L’ron over her shoulder as she continues to search for said turnip, nearly blindly, “Any suggestions?” Jhath doesn’t so much help with the searching actively. There’s already a dragonet nudging around under there and her Ahni is sweeping around it with her hand. But Jhath does lower herself down more to peer under the cot and tries helpfully with directions at least, to wherever it is.

Dragon> To Balkrith, Jhath offers stronger warmth and higher flames at the clanging of pots and pans, which sound not entirely unlike swords drawn and clashing, and then it fades as do the sounds of his pots and pans and the soft whispered rush of fire complimenting his scrubbing and panting, « Lergic? » She repeats, as if tasting the word. « Lergic. » There is a moment of withdrawn and then the warmth returns. « Mine says, 'AH-lergic'. And she doesn't think she's ever heard of Thread being allergic to turnips, but says if it can be proven true, it'd be a great boon for the weyr. » Warmth and incense added for encouragement. « Not yet. » On flaming. « But soon. » And here she punctuates it with the sweet and spicy scent of a huge, fat porcine on a spit.

Balkrith can smell it! It's under there somewhere, he just knows it! The turnip is a mere inch or so to the right of where Ahnika's hand casts about for it which hopefully she'll find sometime soon considering that the blue appears to now be a little stuck having managed to squish himself at least halfway under the cot. L'ron for his part has ducked his head down between his knees to peer under the cot but from that angle isn't able to see much, "Bal, just leave it, I'll get you another one in the morning." That serves to do little but draw a sad little croon that muffles out from the blue. A soft sound of frustration and then he drops to his knees and crawls halfway in under the cot so that in effect, Ahnika is now talking to his butt. The blue weyrling does however carry on the conversation as if this were nothing unusual at all, "From what I seen, he don't need much." Not finding this urge of the green weyrling's strange at all, in fact he's well aware of the connection between her and the beast manager. Heck, half the stablehands knew about it. Still squinting under the cot for the lost turnip, "A runner came in once from Southern Hold. One of the stewards from up there, I think. He had this like blanket thing, only more like a sheet? Had the Hold's emblem on it and the runner's name and all. He insisted it get put on the runner every night." He's really just prattling at this point, "Those padded saddle blankets are real nice too. You know the ones that go under the saddles to keep the runners comfy?" Balkrith seeing his lifemate under there too suddenly shoves his nose toward L'ron which has the effect of startling the weyrling to the point of bumping his head under the cot, "I give up! It's gone. Now get out from under there."

Dragon> To Jhath, Balkrith greets the sound of drawn swords with the clang-clang-clang of lids against pots in marching rhythm. See? He can do this battle thing too! « Ah-ler-gic » the blue carefully sounds it out, « Yes. That one. » His mindvoice swells with the happy chatter and bustle of vast kitchens for the encouragement given, « You will join us in this test? » The scent of fresh mud rises up and then falls back with a little plop of dismay for his next « Mine says if I can't figure out which of stomachs to use, I won't get another turnip. » Which would be why he's so desperate to get the one that's gone into hiding.

All this might very well be attracting the attention of other weyrlings, as now both L’ron and Ahni are helping Balkrith look for his turnip, with Jhath lying next to the cot and looking under it, encouraging all three on with a deep, throaty rumble that vibrates the very stone floor, at least close by. “So … padded … embroidered … runner blankets?” Ahnika asks as her hand finally lands on it with Jhath’s mental directions and she straightens up with a breath and grins, “Got it!” but hangs onto it just until Balkrith and L’ron have come out from under her cot. No sense in tossing it to the blue if he’s not paying attention and it will just bounce away and get lost somewhere else. “What about something to help motivate the stablehands? You said he got upset when something didn’t get done. What if …” the unapprenticed baker considers, “what if I were to bake sweetcakes and have them delivered in the morning? And those who got what they were supposed to get done the day before can eat them?” Because to Ahni, sweetcakes are a great motivator, at least. When the blue dragonet finally shows himself, she carefully tosses the turnip to him with a smile while Jhath gives a louder than necessary trumpet of triumph for the successful deed.

Dragon> To Balkrith, Jhath billows with more flame and warmth in her response, « Aye. If I can lend aid in any way, my Blue Battle Brother, my oath that you shall have't. How do you mean to conduct this test? Will you stake the turnips out for Threadfall to see what comes of them? » More encouragement in the form of sweeter herbs to the censor. « It takes practice, but you are a truehearted dragon, and all dragons learn in time. We can practice together tomorrow, if you wish? Mine says I must be careful not to practice too much, but we practice a little every day as the Weyrwoman instructed. No more. No less. We will be prepared to flame Thread the moment it dares invade our skies! »

L’ron is first to emerge from under the cot at Ahnika’s pronouncement of having found the lost turnip and it is thus at his prodding, that Balkrith starts to slowly back out from under there too with just one of two bumps to the cot frame as he does so. Whirling eyes settle intently onto the green weyrling’s hand, or more precisely his turnip in it. Once it gets tossed, he bounds happily after it with a triumphant little bugle. L’ron doesn’t however seat himself back on the cot, but remains standing, arms folded across his chest and casting an amused look the blue’s way before turning his attention back to Ahnika. Quiet for a moment as he ponders on the suggestion of providing sweetcake incentive to the stablehands before wrinkling his nose, “It might work with the younger ones but those like Waine and Yaron couldn’t care. Besides, anyone that doesn’t get their duties done, gets put on feeding pen clean-up.” Which in itself is incentive enough. Suddenly snapping his fingers, “Maybe a good bottle of booze to the one that keeps his nose clean for an entire seven?” and then shrugging, “I dunno, Ahnika. He’s pretty much got everything sorted down there,” with a smile meant to be encouraging, “You could just write him, or send down a warm blanket or something?”

Dragon> To Jhath, Balkrith sends a happy puff of dust « Indeed, this is what we shall do and Thread shall be drawn to the turnips instead of other more harmful places. » See? He’s got it all figured out. The dust diminishes and settles as the blue considers the encouragement given before sending with a firm beat of a rug, « Tomorrow then. » he agrees to extra practice with the big green. On the matter of Thread and flaming it, he’s not quite as gung-ho about it as Jhath seems to be, merely accepting this as a part of his future at some point. Though one can be sure he’ll battle alongside his fellow wingmates with the all the gusto his brave little heart will muster.

Ahnika grins and watches the blue bound off after the turnip while Jhath straightens back to her noble pose there and watches Balkrith a moment before turning and climbing back onto her couch. She is very efficient about settling in there, once more, to be able to watch the as much of the barracks as possible from her position. With a glance from Jhath back to L’ron, Ahni smiles up at him, but it is an uncertain smile as she contemplates the blue weyrling’s advice. She’s not sure offering the stablemen a bottle of booze for doing all their work isn’t really counter-productive, but she’s definitely not going to boo down one of his suggestions outright. Ahni can be entirely mean and spiteful and brutish, just ask anyone who has felt her ear-pinch, but usually only when she thinks someone else is being mean and hurtful or unfair. Certainly not moments like these. She nods along with that smile for L’ron and seems in agreement, either to the booze suggestion or the warm blanket and letter or all three. Studying L’ron in that moment, Ahnika seems to realize something and she says quietly, “You seem … different, you know.” She quickly adds, “But in a good way. Like … older somehow. Like the way you just gave me advice just now … “ The redhead tilts her head a little to the side, and at the same time Jhath tilts hers and focuses her own attention on L’ron. “A little more grown up than you used to be. Balkrith’s been good for you,” Ahni decides with a slow nod, as if Impressing could ever be bad for anyone. Not really knowing about any other changes that may or may not have come over the young man in recent days.

Dragon> To Balkrith, Jhath blends the dust with more of her fragrant incense, not countering it as she is in complete agreement with his cunning plan, even if she is not entirely certain it will work. Jhath appreciates “tried and true” tactics, but also doesn’t believe anything can be accomplished without progressive innovation, either. So for now she will remain cautiously optimistic until the test proves otherwise. « Tomorrow. » She confirms with another mental sway of the censor on its chains, as if nodding.

Once he quite literally has his claws about the turnip, Balkrith sets back onto his earlier path of steadily rolling it toward his own wallow, stopping just briefly to dip his head Jhath’s way before continuing on. It doesn’t seem to bother L’ron much as to whether or not his advice gets taken, simply adding on the matter of offering booze to the stablehands, “They go down the bar most nights anyway, just figured if one of them had a bottle all to himself,” not being much of a drinker himself, he simply ends off with a shrug. Under Ahnika’s intent study, the tops of his ears redden a little and he drops a self-conscious glance down over himself. Nope, all seems well. Save maybe for the untied boots. The words that follow have the blue weyrling turning a vaguely surprised look onto the redhead and he drops his gaze a little, brown eyes tracking out to land first on his dragonet and then skipping off and briefly lingering over where one of the gold pairs’ cot and couch are. Once his attention returns, there’s a slightly shy smile that touches his expression before attempting a reply, “A lot…has changed,” something she’ll probably understand, “and Bal’s…he’s like a big kid,” not intending to disparage his dragon there but perhaps trying to offer explanation that he’s really been left with no choice but to be the ‘adult’ in this pairing.

Dragon> To Jhath, Balkrith, once he has possession of the turnip once again, dips his head the green’s way as he passes on by, « Tomorrow » he confirms the soft sound of floors being thoroughly scrubbed rising up. « But for tonight, this turnip needs its rest. » So that one might have a hard time deciding if he is literally meaning the tuber root, himself, or both. « Good evening, mi’lady. » those his last words before he thwhumps down into his own couch in an untidy sprawl.

Ahnika grins at L’ron, perhaps noticing the reddened ears. And then some of the brilliance fades out of it, though it doesn’t turn sour so much as just sobering. She nods, agreeing, “A lot has. For all of us.” With this, she looks out to the rest of the weyrlings in the barracks as they settle in for the night, feeling the weight of their purpose perhaps for the first time in all seriousness. Then she looks back to the direction Balkrith had nudged his turnip along, following the little blue with her eyes as much as she could see of him threading through other weyrlings and dragonets and cots alike. Returning her attention to L’ron, she nods, “And like a big kid, he’s got a lot of energy and creative imagination. Both valuable, I think, when … you know.” When they are up there flaming Thread, in other words, finding ways to navigate the currents of air to best attend to the dangerous task set before all dragonriders. Her thumb strokes the folded paper in her hand with the thought. Then she grins a little more at L’ron, “Not sure about Thread being allergic to turnips, but … it’s clever thinking. Creative.” She says again.

Dragon> To Balkrith, Jhath observes with a dwindling presence of incense and warmth of hearth fire, « Fair Thee Well, Battle Brother. »

L’ron shifts a little uncomfortably in his folded arm stance when Ahnika brings up the topic of Thread without saying as much. A rarely seen frown forming, “Yeah…Thread.” He says it, even if she doesn’t. And while he doesn’t look to be wearing too much of a nerve wracked expression, it’s certainly a solemn one that slips into place as a sigh lets out. “Never really gave what the dragonriders do a thought you know? I mean I did. We all know what they do. But now that it’s going to be us up there?” The whole picture changes. His smile once again slips into place for what Ahnika says of his blue, slightly wry at its edges, “You try telling him that. It seems once he’s set his mind to something there’s no changing it.” Brown eyes drop over to the noble green in dignified repose, “She’s looking to be quite the battle commander, she is. Big too. Wouldn’t surprise me to see her leading a wing one day.” Even given the formations they’ve been drilling in and the place in it that greens occupy. Arms unfold and he casts a half glance behind them as a hand comes up to scratch awkwardly at the back of his head, “Spoken to Ci lately?” Which might sound like an odd question but since that one particular weyrling lesson and lecture, the blue weyrling has been trying to keep his distance.

“Yeah … Thread,” Ahnika repeats on an exhale with just as solemn an expression, and then reaches behind her with her free hand to grab her pillow and just holds it in her lap, wrapping her arms around it, wishing there was someone in particular there she could hold instead, especially with such unpleasant conversation going on. She will draw some small comfort from the pillow in the meantime, as poor a substitute it is. She nods slowly to his comments about the reality of Threadfighting changing now that they are in here how it is now a much more real possibility, and then adds, “I think I’m less afraid of me or Jhath getting hurt or …” she leaves the rest of that unfinished and licks her lips a bit as she continues, “I mean, we could, not saying we’re going to be perfect at it.” Jhath trumpets her dissent at that view and Ahni grins at her and then looks back at L’ron, her grin fading, “I think I’m more afraid of seeing others get hurt or … worse. I don’t know if I’m ready for that.” To the compliments, Jhath doesn’t seem to show any pleasure taken from them, but she does straighten up a little more and seems a little taller for them where she is lying on her couch. And then, just when it looks like she wouldn’t respond to them at all, she bows her head to L’ron as a dignified ‘thank you’ of sorts. Ahni, herself, is a little more girlish about the praise, brightening and beaming at Jhath proudly before looking back at L’ron, “Thank you. She’s really clever, and so big for a green. I bet she could last nearly an entire Fall, really. So maybe, one day,” she nods, her tone not so much gloating as it is simple agreement of the observation and assessment. Then she looks back at L’ron, nodding, “Every day. Well, some days more than others.” If she finds the question odd, she doesn’t show it. Most know she and Ciara have a close friendship. With this, she turns to scan the room for the said gold weyrling, “Why?” Equally conversational, as if wondering if he wanted her to tell Ciara something for him.

Frowning a little once again when Ahnika expresses her fears, L’ron gingerly seats himself back on the cot beside her, not quite sure what to say or do given that these are concerns he himself carries. Until eventually, in soft spoken tone he glances sideways to her, “We’ll just have to be sure to drill extra hard and have each other’s backs then.” Just as simple as that. The dip of head coming from Jhath in acknowledgement of his words draws that grin right back onto his face again and he dips his own in return, “You’re welcome, Jhath.” His grin broadening as the green weyrling rightfully gushes about her lifemate, “Bal seems pretty happy to take her lead so…” a small shrug there, quite happy to remain in the back of the pack of a fighting wing. Or wherever it is they might eventually be assigned. A little awkward for the question asked after the gold weyrling, he simply smiles, looking a bit bashful before stating, “Yeah, she…” catching his lower lip a second as he tries to decide how or what to say, “Could you tell her something for me? Tell her…” oh look, a slight blush is starting to form now, “tell her I saw some wildflowers the other day when I was jogging, so to be on the lookout for wet boots?” Which might sound –really- strange. But this is L’ron after all.

While Ahni continues to gently hold her pillow to her chest, she does seem to like L’ron’s response to her concerns, smiling for them and brightening a little, though not completely. She nods once, a firm nod of agreement, “Yes, everyone giving each other a helping hand through training and drills and beyond, when we’re up there for the real thing, we’ll be alright then.” She sounds ninety percent hopeful for that, and ten percent skeptic. Is it possible to go through an entire Fall without anyone getting hurt at all? Ahnika doesn’t know, really, this being her first time faced with it so intimately. She smiles in Balkrith’s direction fondly as L’ron states the blue seems happy to follow Jhath’s lead, and comments, “If it comes to be, we’ll do our best not to let either of you two down,” assuming they end up in the same wing. This causes Ahni to worry her lower lip a moment before looking back at Jhath and then at L’ron once more, blinking a little as L’ron speaks on Ciara and talks of wild flowers and … wet boots? A sly smile forms on Ahnika’s lips, “I’ll tell her for you,” and then she chuckles, “That’s wonderful,” whatever ‘that’ is, and then she adds in a conspiratorial tone, leaning forward slightly so her whisper will carry, “I think you two will be good for each other. I was thinking that back when you two first met … just something about …” she waves her hand vaguely to explain the “vibe” she had gotten when the two of them first met. Then a pause and she adds, “But if you break her heart, I break off your … ear.” Cue more cheerful smile, all of which is observed by the large green dragonet with swirling blue eyes and a slightly bored expression, in as much as a dragon can look bored. Then Ahnika nods, “Wild flowers. Good choice.” And then with a glance for the folded letter between in her hand, she adds with more genuine warmth and earnestness, “If you would like me as safe a go between to pass letters to one another, L’ron, I will. You can trust me with that. I’d be only happy to help, really.”

L’ron, without thinking, reaches out and pats a light but awkwardly executed pat-pat to Ahnika’s shoulder, meant as reassurance to the inevitable battle with Thread and having each other’s backs. “With dragons like we got here, Thread’s gonna wish it never messed with us,” stoutly said as if the silvery menace might have some kind of conscience. A firm nod ends that, going as response to Jhath and her potential too. Brown eyes blink owlishly in near mirror of the green weyrling’s for that sly smile that appears and then the skin across his cheeks is darkening with color as she decodes his obviously not so cryptic message for the gold weyrling. Clearing his throat a little, hands fidgeting with the ends of his shirt, another bashful smile appears when Ahnika appears to give her blessing. An outright chuckle rises up however for her threat to breaking off his ear, and then a little shrug, “Told Bal she’s a good turnip. So he’s not asking questions. But that was before F’min said…” his voice trails and he looks a little uncertain and perhaps a touch forlorn over that lecture given, not knowing quite how it does or doesn’t apply to him. The offer to pass letters between himself and Ciara has the blue weyrling looking a little uncomfortable before admitting somewhat shamefacedly, “I’m not so good with the letters.” Interpreted to mean he just plain out sucks at spelling. “Just…tell her what I said.” He’s hoping that and whatever ensuing gesture will convey what he’s reluctant to in written form.

It’s Jhath who reacts to L’ron’s comment on Thread first, trumpeting her agreement and approval for L’ron’s obvious courage in the face of danger. The sound is, as usual, louder than necessary and carries across the barracks, but more than likely most are so used to it being Jhath, it probably only earns a few casual looks in the direction of L’ron and Ahni. The green-bonded weyrling, herself, just grins and nods to L’ron in thanks for the morale boost there and with Jhath’s response just laughs softly. That laughter turns into more chuckling as he does, too, though for different reasons, and Ahni gives him a wink, murmuring, “Not to worry. I’d never want do anything to hurt, Ci, either. She’s been my closest friend since I got here. So, your secret is safe with me, and I’ll tell her what you said.” With his forlorn look, it’s Ahni’s turn to reach out and rest a hand on his shoulder now, and she gives it a little squeeze, adding in an encouraged tone, “Hey, you know what I think? I think no one knows our lifemates and what they can and cannot handle better than we do.” Jhath tilts her head curiously in observation, but remains settled in on her couch for the time being. “No two people are alike, and all anyone has to do is take a look around these barracks to know that no two dragons are alike. So, how can they assume they’ll react the same? They can’t. The way I see it, what F’min said was for the sake of caution. It’s better that we’re all informed of the risks before our minds travel down the roads that our dragons can’t handle.” She holds up the letter from Max in one hand, dropping her voice, “Max and I write letters and we see each other at the lake or elsewhere on occasion and it’s impossibly hard, but we’re able to do it. We stay focused on our love and not on … more physical things.” And wouldn’t Max just love to know Ahni was using his name in the same sentence with “our love” around L’ron of all people. But this is Ahni and Ahni rarely guards her tongue at all. She lowers the letter and goes back to holding the pillow, “All I’m saying is that you can’t keep …” she searches for an appropriate analogy, “… you can’t keep Balkrith from his turnips. It’d break his sweet little heart, make him distracted and flustered and you and he would be no good for training, would you? He can’t eat his turnip. He knows this, right? It’s why he doesn’t do that. But he cherishes it, and it’s his … beacon. Sort of.” Ahni’s expression shows she’s really not sure this was the right analogy to start down, but she’s already committed to it, so she continues, “So, as long as you avoid doing anything you would know would cross the line for Balkrith, don’t keep yourself from your … turnip. You can keep it and cherish it and hold onto it. Just, you know, don’t eat it.” The latter said with a completely innocent expression.

L’ron seems quite comfortable with the squeeze to his shoulder and simply sits staring down at his hands, glancing up at Ahnika every now and then as she speaks. Brown eyes drop to the letter held up and brows lift upward as high amusement plays through his expression never having put the beast manager down for being the type to write mushy love letters. Yet still he remains silent until she brings forth the analogy that she does, that being something he’s able to relate to with ease and a smile starts to form as the blue weyrling nods slowly and then with more purpose. He completely misses the double entendre at the end which is just as well given his capacity to turn the color of a beetroot at times. “Yeah, that’s kinda how I figured it all too. But you know,” shoulders broadening and starting to fill in nicely with muscle thanks to the physical aspects of weyrlinghood, lift and fall in a shrug, “thought maybe I was seeing things the way I wanted to rather than…the way they are, you know?” And by the manner in which he lets out an exhale of air, it’s clear to see the relief for having this particular conundrum of his solved to at least some point of workability. His gaze flickers back down toward that particular cot and couch and a warm smile appears which he then turns onto the green weyrling, “Thanks Ahnika. I can see why Max likes you. You’re smart.” Balkrith, with his turnip in the protective well formed by his forepaws, is sound asleep. Just a few odd little snoring sounds and twitch of tail here and there any indication that the dragonet is even still alive.

Releasing his shoulder casually as the bluerider weyrling shrugs, Ahnika returns to holding her pillow in her lap, though she stares a moment at the braided bracelet around her wrist that she always wears. It’s as she lifts her gaze back to L’ron with his exhaled relief, one hand begins to toy a little with the bracelet on the other hand, while that hand still holds the letter. She smiles, shaking her head a little, “Your instincts were good.” Then she lapses quiet as he looks off, grinning as he turns that warm smile onto her again, and finally blushing with his last comment, as Jhath sits up a little taller on her couch and puffs her chest out a little more for that Ahni-is-smart comment. Chuckling, Ahni replies, “Every mount to climb is just an adventure in problem-solving,” as a humble response to the smart comment. “Now Jhath here, she seems to get some things about tactics better than I do.” And Jhath puffs her chest out a little more, though dips her head down in that noble-bearing she has of hers. Then Ahni turns back to L’ron, “And don’t fault the Weyrlingmasters, either. They’re only trying to help us help protect our dragons. It’s better for them to be overly cautious or strict when they have such a mixture of ages and backgrounds among us than too loose and a dragonet or weyrling or even both get hurt and set back further in training, you know? I think that’s why they do it and say it. They’re all dragonriders themselves and know that we know our dragons’ abilities better than they do, but some of us are simply not grown up enough yet ourselves to deal with it. I know some thirteen-turn-olds who can barely look after themselves let alone a baby or a dragonet. It’s just better to be safe than sorry, I think, is what they are going for. Put Balkrith first, as I know you already do, and don’t cross that line with him in your thoughts for her, wherever it is, and you know what it is, and then go ahead and pick those flowers for her and see what good things come of it.” She grins and winks, squeezing her pillow a moment and closing her eyes with that grin turning into a thoughtful smile, before reopening her grey eyes and turning them on him again.

“Mountains –are- the adventure. Worth the climb to see the view,” L’ron states with a grin, his gaze bouncing down briefly to the braided bracelet she toys with, “Max give you that?” Not intending to be rude, he’s just that open and guileless himself. Shaking his head he’s quick to answer on the Weyrlingmasters, “Oh no, I don’t. Which is why I’ve kinda been…” now looking a little sheepish, “avoiding Ci passed saying good morning and stuff. Figured the Weyrlingmasters knew best,” and trying to actually do the right thing in all that. Nodding a little as his one boot starts to scuff back and forth in an idle swing, “But you’re right, every dragon, just like us all, is different.” His nose wrinkles into a self-effacing grimace on the topic of some thirteen turn olds that can’t look after themselves, “Most people think that about me. But,” and here he holds up a finger with a somewhat triumphant look, “I made it all the way from Craggy Flats up in Northern, down to here on my own.” Well not entirely the last part of the trip being as how he’d been with Indira’s bunch but the idea is there. For once he doesn’t blush when Ahnika brings up picking flowers, merely offers a somewhat goofy grin in return and then turns the conversation back onto her, “So you decided what to get him yet?” The beast manager over which this whole chit-chat had initially started out on.

Brightening a little more with mutual understanding and agreement to the mountain statement, Ahni nods, “Experience and live the world; don’t let it live you. My foster da used to say that.” Jhath punctuates the statement with another trumpet of her throaty alto voice, which gets a pillow tossed at Ahni, who just laughs and tosses it back, not seeming to care. If it were the middle of the night, that’d be another thing, but as everyone is mostly still working on getting settled, she isn’t the sort to censor her fiery green any sooner than she would censor herself. Then she grins up at L’ron and then back down to her bracelet, caressing it with her fingers, fidgeting with the fraying edges in a hopeless attempt to fix them, “Yes, he did. And a lot more. Part of why I want to give him something. I mean, I can touch this and look at this and the other things and it helps, you know? It helps while we’re apart like we are. He doesn’t have anything like this from me.” She sighs, her shoulders slump a little, “He tells me he doesn’t need it. Doesn’t need anything but me. But …” Ahni shrugs, looking happily hopeless, and chuckles, “It’s important to me knowing he has something. You know? Helps me worry less about him. About us. That probably sounds foolish, but …” her voice trails off and then she clears it softly to respond, nodding, “Every dragon is, yes.” She looks at her attentive larger green and smiles at her, “Jhath is so confident and bold and completely unthreatened with the notion of Max being my ‘other Champion’ as she calls him.” Jhath jerks her head up and tucks it back in once, as if in non-verbal agreement. “She has such a reasoning, problem-solving mind and knows she can’t be everywhere I am at all times, and where she can’t go because of size, he’ll be able to. So it solves that ‘problem’ for her. Now, would another dragon see it that way? Probably not. But Jhath is different from all other dragons, just like all other dragons are unique from each other, even if all our purposes are the same.” That would be of fighting Thread. Grinning Ahni nods again, “Oh right! I think I remember that. You and I came into Indira’s group not too far apart, I think. Me from the pokey end of Fort’s sweep, though. It’s not easy, not when you don’t have many marks to your name and you’re on foot for much of it,” the last said in agreement for travelling down this way on their own before she considers his last question thoughtfully and says, “I was thinking about that bit about the bed idea, or a blanket. I’d have a smith make him a bed, but it’s going to be kind of pointless when he moves into our weyr after we graduate, so maybe a blanket and pillow set, embroidered in some way, but not so … feminine-like.” She grins, knowing anything with flowers or lace will likely not work well to Max’s tastes, and then adds, “What do you think of that?”

“Clever man your da,” L’ron gives with approval, ducking away from the incoming pillow as he chuckles for Jhath’s two marks worth. The blue weyrling goes quiet, giving Ahnika the space to get what she needs to off her chest, a small smile hovering on his mouth. “He’s got your letters,” he points out quietly, “And for someone like Max…” his voice trails as he gives thought to his next words, less squeaks and breaks in it these days, “maybe that’s all he needs?” not too sure there and then going quiet as his gaze wanders off to Faraway Land. A warm smile appears as he breaks out of wherever his mind had gone to, “I don’t think it’s foolish. Me? I only got to look over there and…” there Ciara is, so he completely understands. Amusement plays out for the green’s assessment of Max, “That’s what she calls him?” a short chuckle and then lapsing into silence a moment as he recalls his unfortunate first meeting with the beast manager out on the roads of the Northern continent, “He’s changed you know. Since coming here. Since you. Used to be a real dick.” Which coming from an amiable person such as L’ron is quite the telling insult. With a vaguely rueful smile attaching, “It’s not so bad if you know how to work the taverns and the card tables,” giving small hint at how he kept body and soul together before meeting up with Indira’s band. Brown eyes widen and he’s soon sending an incredulous side long glance over to the redhead, “He’s…you two are going to…” eventually ending with a somewhat amazed, “Now there’s a thing for you!” The beast manager hooking up into some kind of formal arrangement with the redhead. He is therefore a little slow in giving his opinion of what she intends doing for his former employer, “Oh. Uuuhh…yeah. That should work I guess,” sounding a little unsure and then brightening as he adds, “You could put like runner shoes on it or something.”

“Foster da,” Ahni corrects quietly, but with a smile, because somehow that piece has always been important to her, despite how well she was treated there, and will probably remain important to her until she gets over some of that old emotional baggage. “And yes, he is.” And then she’s already shifting gears, not missing a beat as she glances back at Max’s letter in her hand, smiling fondly, “I suppose,” though she doesn’t sound too convinced, but as she listens to him continue, a blush crosses her cheeks and her smile turns into a grin, “He has changed, yeah. I mean, I remember how he was to Asura,” she says the name slowly, as if she is trying to remember if she got it right, and her grin fades a little with the memory of a different Max, and she doesn’t seem put off by the insult, really, since L’ron is talking about Max in the past tense. And she continues, “But I don’t think it has anything to do with me. He was still … that way when we met, after all.” She’s not about to tell L’ron what she believes helped Max change, but it’s a struggle to guard the thought of Max’s daughter against Jhath who is awake and sitting right there and Ahnika frowns with the effort, swallowing a moment and closing her eyes before she lets out an exhale and distractedly blinking her eyes opened to L’ron’s incredulous look about Max moving in, which has her wondering and replaying in her head what she had said that was so astonishing in having Max move in with her. It just seems the practical thing to do, in Ahni’s mind. Less walking and fewer interruptions from stablehands. Ahem. She smiles at the suggestion, however and nods, “Runner shoes, now that seems like a perfect idea.” Not exactly sure how one goes about embroidering runner shoes, but will definitely give it a try. "Thanks, L'ron."

If L’ron finds the correction that Ahnika makes, odd, he doesn’t say anything to it, merely nodding his head. He does however cast a curious glance over the redhead for the way in which she goes silent and closes her eyes, frowning as she does. “You okay, Ahnika?” this as he glances over at Jhath, who seems fine by his estimation and then back to the green weyrling again as he states quietly more to himself than her, “Oh, I’ve said something wrong.” However it’s not long before his smile creeps back into place and he’s stifling a yawn, brown eyes casting out over the barracks becoming quieter as weyrling pairs settle down for the night, “I guess we should turn in too, it’s been a long day.” With quite a few more of those stacked up and ready for the upcoming months ahead.

Instead of answering his question, Ahnika merely shakes her head a little at his second statement, but still seems a little distracted, and then when he suggests they turn in, Ahnika nods a bit. Then his stifled yawn is catching and she yawns as well, chuckling a little and adds, “I’m glad we got to talk though.” Her grin brightens a little more conspiratorially, and she adds, “Really glad. Thanks for the help,” a little wag of Max’s letter in her hand to indicate what she means, and she adds, “And even if you’re not the letter-writing type, you and Ci have my help, too. Just say the word.” And with that, she takes the pillow she had been holding and sets it behind her on the cot, “Goodnight, L’ron.” Khath dips her head toward L’ron in a little bow, and then lowers it all the way to her couch, while Ahni murmurs aloud, “Yes, Nobleheart, I promise I’ll read it to you again. Just let me get situated here,” and she’s fluffing said pillow.

He doesn’t push on whatever it is that has Ahnika still distracted and instead stands to his feet, stretching and smothering another yawn, his gaze swinging to where Balkrith has been out for the count for quite a while already. Smiling as his attention returns to the redhead, “Me too,” for their having gotten a chance to talk. As to any help he might have given, a small nod and warming of his smile, “Hope it works out for you,” and then adding with a softer smile to her help offered in return, “Thank you.” Then L’ron is stepping away, almost tripping as he treads on one of the untied bootlaces. Recovering himself a self-effacing grin flashes out, “Night Ahnika.” And then he’s ambled on over to his own cot and barely has those boots off before he’s flopping face down onto it and is out like a light.

Closing Credits Theme Music: Jewel - "Hands"

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