Goldriders in the Garden

Western Weyr - Roof Garden
This roof garden is being planted with medicinal herbs. Even in its current, unfinished state, patients are often brought up here to get some fresh air and sun.


A letter arrived not long after hatching day - a sevenday later, or so. Written in Nyalle's neat hand, it was on nice stationary but not Fortian branded. Apparently it was her own, of simple tan cotton fiber with a golden edging. Simple and understated.

Rhysanna, Congratulations to your Impression of your beautiful queen. I hope you both are doing well and the shock is wearing off. I remember after my impression I woke up each morning thinking it was a dream, until Kayeth let me know she was hungry, or itched, or something of that nature.
I would very much like to come visit and spend some time talking with you, as I enjoyed our previous conversation. Please let me know when things have settled down and I might pay a visit. Best regards, Nyalle, Kayeth's, Fort Weyr

Time passes, as it always does, and it is finally time for that first meeting to occur. Kayeth arrives in the evening hours, as the sunset streaks across the sky, casting her fiery hide in furnace reds and oranges and golds, shimmering in the fading light. Calling a greeting to the watchdragon, the Senior and the Weyrleader, she alights in the bowl and allows Nyalle to dismount. The Fortian Senior is dressed casually, in long skirts of blue and a simple cream top. No jewelry, her hair pulled back into a braid that hangs down between her shoulder blades. Up she goes, to the pre-arranged meeting place of the roof garden.

Rhysanna's reply to that letter was prompt, though not immediate, and though some of the wording may have been awkward, the sentiment was clear enough: she would be delighted. Now, as Nyalle ascends to the roof garden, Rhysanna sits in wait, having exchanged the standard trousers and shirt of her weyrlinghood for a simple white cotton dress and sandals. The Fortian Weyrwoman's arrival has her hurrying to her feet, clasped hands resting snugly at her middle. "Weyrwoman," she says. "Western's duties to Fort."

Nyalle smiles, lifting one edge of her skirt slightly as she drops into a slight curtsey. "Weyrwoman," she replies with a gentle smile. "Thank you, and Fort's duties to Western. How are you, Rhysanna? Please, sit," she says, fidgeting briefly with her hair before she forces herself to knock it off. "How is Tavehtiath?"

A deep flush instantly suffuses Rhysanna's cheeks and has her lowering her gaze towards her toes, though she's quick to answer Nyalle's curtsey with one of her own, albeit one that ends in the weyrling sitting back upon her bench. "I'm… well," she says, after a long moment's pause. "As well as I can be. Tired. I understand that's normal, of course. She's… she's well, too. Growing. Not sleeping quite so much." The superficiality of her answers has her brow wrinkling; she chances a glance up at the other woman, her smile wry.

Nyalle moves forward and with a soft "May I?", joins Rhysanna on the bench, her hands clasped in her lap. Mental note - snacks next time so they both have something to fidget with. "Oh yes, tired, that I can understand and well remember. It is normal." A smile. "What is she like?"

[DTU/Project] Tavehtiath senses that Kayeth's thoughts reach curiously for the young queen's, gentle and polite, hanging back save for a soft brush of a sea breeze over waving ocean grasses along a sandy shore.

Rhysanna's quick nod answers that question; afterwards, she half turns her head to consider the other woman, her own fingers twisting around and around each other. "She's…" This, too, has her brow wrinkling. "Very private. I think she keeps things even from me. She knows, or thinks she knows, exactly who and what she is, and how things need to be… and how I need to be, and that's a little terrifying. She doesn't seem to be much like the others."

[DTU/Project] Kayeth senses that Tavehtiath's thoughts, in answer, are pure and white and faintly frosty: she's wakeful, but not restless, and shows little curiosity. « Hello, » she greets, in a measured, stiffly polite soprano.

Nyalle ahhs, nodding with a little smile. "I see. Perhaps she does, or…perhaps she's still figuring out the world around her, so being private is how she avoids others seeing her make mistakes." Sound familiar, Nyalle? There's a smile for that. "It is terrifying," she agrees, looking around. "It's a lot to take in at once, any dragon, nevertheless a gold. How does she think you need to be?"

[DTU/Project] Tavehtiath senses that Kayeth touches that frost, but rather than wilt the grasses of her mind, they instead freeze, dancing with crystals and beautiful frost. They no longer wave, now they shift, as the ice and frost spreads from that point to encompass the expanding scene within her mind. « Hello, » she replies, her voice multi-layered and seeming to drift from the sky. And it is friendly.

"She doesn't like making mistakes," allows Rhysanna, with an upwards curve to her mouth. "I mean, none of us do, but… I think she thinks we need to be perfect. That's probably not fair, but… I don't know. I know she believes in me, and that's… incredible. But it's… overwhelming?" The weyrling exhales, finally dropping her hands towards her lap. "And that's before everyone else starts commenting, constantly, on what her color means. Did they do that to you, too? I suppose they must've."

[DTU/Project] Kayeth senses that Tavehtiath is still young enough that she can be curious about this , at least: grasses that freeze? Such power. The frozen fractals of her own mind expand, catching sunlight here and there, reflecting it back in pure white brilliance. « Are you enjoying our skies? » she wants to know. « I hear they are very pleasant. »

Nyalle nods, fidgeting briefly with the hem of her tunic. Stop that. Fingers clasp again. "It's a bit reversed for Kayeth and I," she admits. "I think we need to be perfect. She thinks we need to be…/us/. And yes, it's very overwhelming." Then a shadow crosses her face, a frown pulling at her features as she looks away, silent for a moment. "Yes." There's another pause. "High Reaches is…" Hmm. Diplomacy. "It holds very true to the old ways and old traditions." Can Rhysanna read between the lines there?

[DTU/Project] Tavehtiath senses that Kayeth watches the icy thoughts expand, and lets the ice drift across her ocean, towards a distant island that is still wreathed in sunlight and warmth. Then her focus returns to the young queen. « I am, and they are, » she says brightly, making those grasses sway, clinking softly together. The sensation of flying drifts through her thoughts, extended to the young queen.

Rhysanna must be able to guess enough, because she exhales, just for a moment, and then gives a short little nod. "I see," she says, quietly. "Fort, I hope, is… less difficult for you. I'm sure it's not so bad, here. I'm just… very conscious of it. Between my mother and Tavehtiath, and just… I'd rather just be seen as one of the weyrlings, for now."

[DTU/Project] Kayeth senses that Tavehtiath is pleased by this, though it is only subtly obvious: a faint hint of pink about the edges of her thoughts, a faint hum of wind against icy ornaments. « I am glad to hear of it, » she says, leaning in to this shared sensation. « I too will fly, one day, in these skies. » They will be hers, at least in part.

Nyalle smiles faintly, and then her smile shifts a bit, warming. "Fort is very different. I didn't realize…I didn't know every weyr didn't operate the way High Reaches did. Does." There's a brief frown. Has there been a change of leadership in her original weyr? She admits she does not know. And she should. "Fort is comfortable. Fort does not teach goldriders their place." There's another frown, a shifting of her hands, then she stills once more. "Your mother?"

[DTU/Project] Tavehtiath senses that Kayeth studies the pink, her mind prowling slowly through that icy and frosty beach, leaving soft paw prints in her wake. The wind is noticed, tasted, encouraged. « You will, and you will fly well. Gloriously. You will own these skies and any other skies you grace. » There's a feeling of power, subtle, but there just beneath the surface of the water. A Senior's pride.

"I'm glad," is genuine, and firmly so. Rhysanna's smile is warmer, now, and perhaps a little more sure - her hands have even stilled within her lap. "My… Mother has certain expectations of me. Has, since I was born. I fulfilled her dreams for me, when I Impressed, and it turns out that she now has further ideas. I'm trying not to let it… influence me."

[DTU/Project] Kayeth senses that Tavehtiath's pleasure fades - or, at least, the physical manifestation of it does, leaving only that polite, cool white. « I will, » she confirms, with the certainty of the young and sure - untested, perhaps, but determined. « Tell me of your skies. »

Nyalle frowns slightly. "Is your mother a goldrider?" she asks carefully. "I…I think that when other people have expectations of you, they never end. They just keep building and building until you finally stop and say 'wait, is this what /I/ want?' and then when the answer to that is no, they don't understand and they push." She stops herself, taking a slow breath. "Sorry. I…sorry." Got a bit carried away there.

[DTU/Project] Tavehtiath senses that Kayeth considers for a moment, and then she brings forth images of Fort in winter. Fort, covered in ice and snow, as it was after the recent blizzard. Few things are discernible other than the spire, everything swift and white. The skies though…those are brilliant. Clear, cloudless, the wind barely there to rustle the sails. Cooling but not cold, just enough to give interesting updrafts and tickle against the hide.

Rhysanna and Nyalle are sitting on one of the benches in the garden, talking quietly. Rhysanna exhales in answer to something Fort's Weyrwoman has said, a hint of rueful laughter suggested in it. "Don't apologize," she says, quickly. "You're right. And… I know you're right, but it's easier, so much easier, said than done. It's always been simpler to do what she wants. But no, no, she's not. She's an Assistant Headwoman. But she was a candidate once, and…" She trails off, exhaling again. Sigh.

[DTU/Project] Kayeth senses that Tavehtiath's surprise at this view of Fort - this real-life display of so much of what she, unknowingly, is - is immediately evident. « I shall visit, one day, » she decides. « If you do not object. I should like to see this for myself. »

Nyalle ahhs softly. "She's living…what's the word. It starts with a v. Vi..c…something. She's living her dreams through you." She shakes her head, fidgeting again. "Easier said than done but trust me, when it gets to that breaking point, things…might be…" Awful. Horrible. Damaging. "Worse than you'd thought if you'd just stood up to them earlier and broken away. But I know. It's hard." Fidget.

[DTU/Project] Tavehtiath senses that Kayeth rumbles in pleasure, the shifting grasses moving more as a wind picks up. « It is not always like that, but it was, not long ago. We had a massive storm, and everything was covered and beautiful. » Now it's a mess of mud, mud, and more mud, but. What's the point in showing anything less than the best of your weyr? « We would be honored to have you visit. Mine is fond of yours. »

A tisket, a tasket … Enka has a basket. It's not a very big basket, but it's certainly very prettily woven nonetheless. The weyrwoman has it draped over one arm as she wanders about the garden, plucking a bit of this, and a bit of that and dropping it into the basket, pausing ever now and then to sniff the herbs, a rather thoughtful expression on her face as she does so. It's not hard of course, to overhear the sound of voices, and turning, well, she spots the Weyr's youngest goldrider and a very distinguishable visitor. Dropping the basket from arm to hand is but a momentary movement, and forward she goes. "Think my da used to call it bein' an armchair parent or somethin'," she puts in, having heard the last of Nyalle's comment. "That whole wantin' the kid to do somethin' you'd wanted to do or some sort of nonsense. Hullo." Oh, it's it only now that she's giving a greeting. "'Aint buttin' in on a special talk or anythin' am I?"

"She—" begins Rhysanna, before Enka's arrival has her stopping short, and struggling, hastily, towards her feet. "Weyrwoman. No, no. Fort's Weyrwoman and I have only been… renewing our acquaintance." That she blushes, hastily drawing both hands together behind her back, is probably not to suggest otherwise; she's simply flustered.

[DTU/Project] Kayeth senses that Tavehtiath knows storms, though this, she suspects, is a rather different kind of storm— Western's do not leave the Weyr looking like that ! « I do not know how much time we will have for such things, of course, » she says, her tone having turned cooler and more remote, quite abruptly. « But perhaps. »

Nyalle pushes swiftly to her feet as well, both hands lifting her skirt as she drops into a low curtsey. "Senior Weyrwoman Enka, it is a pleasure. Ah," to the question, she glances at Rhysanna and then back to the Senior, a smile on her lips. "We were just speaking of…things. We…share a similar age. Fort's duties to Western and her queens, as always. I trust you and yours are well?"

[DTU/Project] Tavehtiath senses that Kayeth considers for a moment, thoughtful as she continues to prowl through the frosted grass along her sandy shore. « I have had to remind mine that it is good to make time for such things. Travel feeds the soul, and you are a better leader for the learning and the people you meet. »

"It's more than I have," Enka remarks, rather droll, as she sets the basket down by her feet and inclines her head to both younger women. "Bein' as I've never had the opportunity to really make the pleasure of your acquaintance, Weyrwoman Nyalle, I'd have to take the opportunity to do so now." A pause, gray eyes flickering over both Western junior and Fortian senior, and she waves them down. "Oh, sit, sit. No need to be bobbin' up like tops on my account, hmm? "So you do," she observes. "Wasn't much older than either of you, myself, when I moved here to Western to take over for Rea." Enka smiles wryly. "And Western's duties to Fort and her queens. Mir's on the sands, a nice clutch even if we don't seem to have gold, but then, we have had an excellent one produced recently after all." there's a rather warm sort of smile sent towards Rhysanna. After all, that young woman will be her junior someday. Might as well cultivate a good working relationship now.

Rhysanna hesitates visibly before acknowledging Enka's remark and resuming her seat, hands drawn back into her lap as she does so. It doesn't help that she's flushing gloriously again moments later, though she does manage to bob her head quickly in answer, her smile tentative. "I shall," she puts in, after a moment's hesitation, "remain terribly glad that there will be absolutely no need for me to take over any time soon." Enka and Iris are never allowed to retire. "It does look like a good clutch, Weyrwoman. I… thought Tavehtiath would be more interested than she was, but I know I was glad to see it." She glances sidelong at Nyalle, just for a moment.

[DTU/Project] Kayeth senses that Tavehtiath is too polite to disregard this entirely, though there's a sense, in her thoughts, that she is not convinced; there is distance there, too, built up between them, for all that she is still 'present'. « Perhaps, » she says, neutral rather than in agreement. « We shall see. »

Nyalle's cheeks color slightly. "And you have my apologies for that, Weyrwoman Enka, it seems that each time I visited Western you were busy with other duties. I did not wish to impose upon you for something as simple as an introduction. It was not meant to be a slight, I assure you." There's a pause. "You are also more than welcome to visit Fort." She remains standing though, until Rhysanna sits. Oh no. Now does she stand and make the weyrling goldrider feel silly for sitting? Or does she sit? She sits, hands in her lap. Fidgeting briefly. "The clutch is lovely."

[DTU/Project] Tavehtiath senses that Kayeth considers once more, thoughtful as her mind holds still save for the breeze blowing over the frozen sea. « We shall, » she finally agrees.

Enka makes a sound that probably sounds suspiciously like 'mmm' in response to Nyalle. "And I," she comments, "have had no particular pressing need to visit Fort Weyr recently for us to have been able to chat in such a way. But .." she pauses, tips her shoulders up into a laconic shrug. "Circumstances prevailed, and here you are, and here I am." Meeting by chance, what are the odds of that, really? There's a chair, or a stool or something of a fashion that would allow Enka to sit her backside down and everyone can be seated and not feel awkward or anything of that sort, and it's certainly easier done than said. Settling herself, Enka flashes Rhysanna a wide wide grin. "Isn't it a grand clutch. I'd wager there's at least a bronze or two in there." a chuckle then. "I don't think you'd have anythin' to fear about havin' to take over any time soon, but that doesn't mean I won't train you for that possibility." Just hedging bets, after all.

Being the first seated does not sit well with Rhysanna, though luckily that is rectified quickly, and she can… well, 'relax' may be too strong a word. Sit, at least. "They did very well," she agrees, more firmly this time. And, "I'm relieved to have that confirmed, nonetheless - thank you. Despite the… ideas my Mother and dragon seem to have, I'm not seeking that knot." The frown that's abruptly set upon her face may be dragon related; certainly, the brief unfocusing of her eyes seems to be.

[DTU/Project] Kayeth senses that Tavehtiath may not even be aware of the way the ice around her grows, more rapidly now. Not, that is, until she abruptly cuts off all contact. And, for just a moment… is that fear ?

Nyalle blushes, her cheeks darkening. "Ah, yes, here we are. Well met." There's a pause, then a small smile. "It's good to be prepared," she says, and then she's the first to rise. "Because you never know. But I don't think you've anything to worry about, Rhysanna. Enka and Iris are good, solid goldriders. If you'll both excuse me? I believe the evening is growing late and I should make my way back to Fort. It was a pleasure."

[DTU/Project] Tavehtiath senses that Kayeth manages to get in one moment of concern before the contact is severed. Then she does not push the young gold, keeping her mental distance.

And Enka's the last seated, but then isn't that just part of being a good hostess? Really, she invited the others to sit first, so there's no need to get too flustered, right? "Well, in the end, it's likely to be just pure luck or not," she informs Rhysanna. "Dependin' on how precocious Tavehtiath might be or her timin' as she gets older." Enka can only shrug again, and give Nyalle a wide smile. After all, the Fortian senior is speaking of praise, is she not? "Indeed. I think between Iris and myself, we'll turn out a fine gold pair in due time." She nods. "Safe travels then, Weyrwoman Nyalle. Perhaps we'll meet again soon."

Rhysanna sucks in a breath, the kind that suggests this conversation took a turn she didn't intend, though she manages to keep her expression relatively neutral - and for once, there's no blush. Nyalle's rise has the weyrling standing again, too; it's beginning to look like a game of musical chairs. "Thank you," she says, quickly. "For the visit. It was good to talk to you again, ma'am. I… really do appreciate it." Her smile is genuine, verging on warm.

Nyalle dips into a curtsey once more for Enka, inclining her head. "Thank you, Weyrwoman Enka, and to you as well." Looking at Rhysanna, her smile warms. "It was my pleasure. We will speak again. My best to you and yours." Then she turns and hurries off, but trying not to look like she's hurrying. And likely failing. This is why diplomatic visits almost always have Th'ero as her escort.

Enka reaches for the basket to set in into her lap as Nyalle makes her departure, she would only incline her head in a gesture of respect, one senior to another. "It's good," she remarks to Rhysanna, "havin' other goldriders who can answer questions without seemin' too … well, biased." Neutral parties and all that, right? "But of course, if you had any particular burnin' questions, it's not too hard to find me right now. Just check the galleries, I'd be more than happy to answer questions." She dips her fingers into the basket, coming up with a leaf. "Was pckin' some things for bakin'. Any ideas what I ought to use…" she pauses, bruising the leaf a little and sniffing at the scent wafting from it, "mint for? Would you rather have mint cookies or somethin' else?"

This time, Rhysanna does flush as she sinks back into her seat. "It wasn't—" She pauses, taking in a deep breath before she manages to more effectively clarify: "Weyrwoman Nyalle and I met, briefly, before the hatching. She was kind enough to reach out, in friendship. Not… I don't know that I have questions… but of course, if I do, you will be my first port of call. I'm trying not to think too much about the future, except that everyone does keep reminding me." She seems to register the question only belatedly, and has to hastily add, "Perhaps… mint cookies with something else? Lemon. Or… ginger. Or some kind of tea?"

"Easy now," Enka does laugh — not that she's really laughing at Rhysanna, but there's some amusement to be had at the situation. "If havin' a friend who's similar in age and a goldrider is important to you, I'm not goin' to be the one who says you can't." Really, Enka isn't going to stand in anyone's way — unless that anyone happened to be … well, Liora. Or someone like her. "Faranth knows, I'd have liked to have a friend like that, but …" she shrugs. "At least I haven't turned out too badly for it either way." At the younger goldrider's mention of the future, Enka nods. "I know I didn't have any big plans, except gettin' a nice weyr to all my own," Lower case double yew, mind, not upper case. "Future happens as it happens, but one could always distract themselves from thinkin' too hard about it. Have you got any hobbies?" She thinks, and then nods. "Mint cookies might be nice, could add somethin' else." She surveys the contents of the basket. "Maybe tea too. Nice little treat."

Rhysanna opens her mouth, hesitates, exhales, and then, finally, closes her mouth again, and instead gives Enka a quick nod. "I've never had my own room, so having an actual weyr… I think I'm excited by that prospect, if a little… well. I don't know what I'll do with that much space." Her hands press flat upon her lap, fingertips idly smoothing out the dress she's wearing. "I like to sew, though I don't know if I'm good at it. It hasn't helped me all that much with straps, in any case. You bake, I know." That much is, of course, fairly obvious at this point. "That sounds lovely."

Enka chuckles again. "Shells, I know the feelin'." Oh how Enka can share that kind of experience with recollections of her own. "Growin' up, always had to share a room with someone else, whether it was my brothers at first, or some of the other girls as I got older. And even as a candidate, you're sharin' space, cots so close together, and as a weyrling, havin' to sleep right there with a dragon stuffin' her fat tail into my face," Well, at least that's said with some fondness. "Then we got our weyr, and Faranth… it was like findin' our place in the sun. First thing I did was fill the place with pillows. Lots of pillows." She pauses, and nods. "Well, havin' a hobby helps, somethin' you enjoy doin'. You can cope with life that way, knowin' you have a fun thing to do." A grin. "I'll give it a try then, and bring it by the weyrling barracks for inspection." And hopefully approval.

Rhysanna's mouth twitches with genuine almost-laughter for that description of Miraneith, and admits, "Tavehtiath doesn't do that, but… she had a cold, and she snored, and it was awful. The barracks feel… very full, somehow, even though there were more people in the dorms. I don't know. Even so, the prospect of space is a strange one." She seems to have relaxed somewhat, finally. "That would be… nice. I look forward to seeing how they come out." Now, however, she's rising: "I should get back to Tavehtiath. But… thank you, Weyrwoman."

She has that knack, really, for making people smile — or almost laugh — or something. Enka herself chuckles softly, fingers deftly dipping into the basket of herbs and coming up with a leafy green sprig she regards with interest for a second or two. "Mir was … Mir." It's really hard to descirbe the older gold sometimes, she's just who she is, plump tail and all. "As I'm sure Tavehtiath is who she is, and Shadhavarth is who she is." And even poor Orraeloth is who she is. "They're each and all different, although a snorin' dragon is not somethin' I'd fancy livin' around. Do you need to wear earmuffs?" The goldrider's lips twitch into a smile. "The barracks seem big because of growin' dragons, that's all." A pause, and a nod. "I'm sure you'll like them. Give my regards to Tavehtiath, Mir's wantin' me so I'd better scoot off myself, and then maybe after that, I can see about makin' those cookies." Enka just hops right to her feet, not exactly graceful, but not graceless either. She's just a weyrbrat through and through, no matter what.

"I suppose they must be. That's… just what makes them them. And if they weren't…" Rhysanna doesn't finish that statement, just bobs her head in confirmation of what Enka has to say. "I'll do that. And mine, to Miraneith. She really does have a lovely clutch." And then the weyrling turns to go, not even remotely looking like she's fleeing - progress!


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