Enka doesn't bite. Hard.

Western Weyr - Lagoon Shore
A sandy beach running along the edge of the lagoon, between the sparkling waters and the bowl. Sometimes riders and dragons are seen playing in the water nearby or a dolphin can be seen cavorting. At other times seacraft can be seen coming in under the arch to dock. The lagoon is large enough to fill a quarter of the length of the bowl. A path winds out along a ledge out to the docks to the southwest, the lagoon to the west and the bowl to the east.

As Spring comes into full bloom, Western gets warmer and warmer. Not that it's ever all that cold in Western. But still, now it is proper beach weather. A wonderful thing for Dolphineers, who must be in the water no matter the temperature. Naeda is just finishing her duties for the moment, emerging from the water in her craft-issued wetsuit, looking for a place to take a break.

Proper beach weather means proper bathing time for dragons, and for Miraneith, that's no exception at all. Somehow, Enka managed to coax the gold out of her usual drowsy daytime dormancy with a promise of a good scrub, so here they are. The gold is lounging in the shallows, her stubby fattened tail swishing lazily through the water as Enka scrubs at a spot on her flank, the goldrider murmuring banalities at her — just boring little comments kicked up during the course of the cleaning rather than actual meaningful conversation. Dipping her head, the golddragon noses at the water, snorts and up goes that short neck, the most comical expression on her face which sets her rider into a hearty laugh. "What'd you do, Mir, inhale water?"

It's rather hard to miss a gold dragon on the beach. They have a way of being extremely noticeable. So when Naeda notices that she's wandered dangerously close to a bathing gold, she freezes and practically scrambles to salute dragon and rider, somehow managing to seem caught off guard.

Miraneith is rather like the elephant in the living room in this case — she's big, she's taking up space on the beach, and she's really hard to miss. So when Naeda is scrambling into a nasty salute of a sorts, the gold's still trying to work the water out of her nostrils. Do dragons sneeze? This one does. "Jays, Mir," Enka exlaims, peering around her dragon, "that was loud, you practicin' to be a small hurricane or somethin?" At that point, Enka notices the saluting Dolphineer, and waves cheerily at her. "Aint wearin' a knot," she answers, "don't expect everyone to be bowin' and scrapin' at me." There's a pause, the goldrider taking in the younger woman's garb. "Were you out with the dolphins?"

Naeda relaxes a little at the goldrider's words, though her smile still retains a distinctly nervous quality. It's hard to fully unwind with an authority figure present. Also, with a loudly sneezing gold dragon present. Both alarming, in their own ways. She nods and smiles nervously at the question. "Yes ma'am. Been out with the pod all morning." She confirms.

Enka doesn't bite. Hard. Really, she's a softie most of the time. "Aint goin' to chew you up and spit you out," Enka remarks, trying her best to be reassuring although her choice of words … well, leave something a little for the imagination. Miraneith sneeze again, rubbing at her short nose with a forepaw before she flattens herself into the shallows, resting her chin on the sandy bottom. "I'm just a weyrbrat," Enka comments, leaning back against Miraneith's shoulder and thumping the gold lovingly on her neck. "Unlike /some/ people," —namely, Liora — "I'm just me. With a dragon, that's all." How reassuring and simple, right? Nice try. "Oh, anythin' interestin' happenin' with the pod then?"

Naeda tries to look reassured and casual, but she's still edging away from the sneezing dragon. Whatever she's sneezing up, Naeda does not want to be anywhere near it. "That's, uhm, very nice of you. Really." She tries to act like she believes it, but it's clearly difficult for her. The question about the pod has her brightening up a little. "Oh! Uhm. Yes. One of the females is pregnant. She's very excited." Clearly, Naeda is as well.

Sneezing dragons are definitely something to avoid, but at least there's nothing really coming /out/ of Miraneith's nose because otherwise it'd be just … gross. "I try to be nice," Enka comments to Naeda. "At least I am most of the time, but I guess I have my moments." Which is not now, thankfully. "Oh?" at the mention of the pregnant dolphin, Enka's brows lift upwards in curious thought. "You know, I could tell you all about dragons, how often they rise, how long it takes to clutch, what kind of colors you can likely get, but I know nothin' about dolphins. Tell me more."

Naeda isn't about to take any risks when it comes to sneezing dragons. She keeps her distance, even while trying to be friendly and smiley. The continued questions about her craft make her brighten further, her enthusiasm for the subject obvious. "Oh! Well. I mean. There's so much to tell… but… I mean, where to begin? What do you want to know?"

Enka nibbles at her lower lip for a moment, looking interested and curious. "What I know about dolphins," she replies, "is probably next to nothin'. I know they swim, breathe air and can talk to people and tell them if they're goin' to have a baby, but that's about it. Only stuff I /really/ know about is dragons and bakin'." The two things near and dear to the weyrwoman's heart, other than her kids. "So tell me about this pregnant dolphin. Figure that's as good a place to start. And then you can go until you reach the end and stop." The goldrider's got time to kill, hasn't she? For learning?

Naeda wrings her hands a little, nerves continuing to bubble up to the surface. "Oh, there's so much… well, her name is Ninne. She's one of the younger females in the pod, she just turned nine. This will be her first calf. They generally only have one at a time, like us, rather than having multiples like dragons. Ninne is normally one of the more quiet ones, a little shy. But lately she's been full of energy. It's really great to see."

Enka apparently has an effect on people — or maybe it's just Naeda — but if she has noticed how nervous the Dolphincrafter might seem, she hasn't made any indication of it. Instead, the continues to lean casually against Miraneith, who by now has stopped sneezing, and wallows around in the shallows with some obvious enthusiasm as she swishes her plump tail around in the wavelets. "That's very interestin'," Enka isn't faking her level of interest, that's for sure. "Maybe the thought of havin' a baby is makin' her all perky. With some people, I'd say the opposite, but then I don't know much about dolphins, so who am I to say." She chuckles, and then leans forwards. "So what's it like for baby dolphins right after they're born?"

Naeda laughs a little bit, glancing out at the water and smiling. At least talking about the dolphins seems to be helping her relax. She's speaking a little more normally now. "Well, I think she's pretty excited about it. Which is just great to see. I mean, if only all mothers were so happy to be having a child… but, uhm, let's see…" She stumbles a moment before continuing to inform. "Dolphins are actually mammals, like us. So the mothers produce milk that they use to feed their calves during infancy. For the first few months, a calf is very dependant on their mother."

"I think a lot of mothers are happy to be havin' a kid," Enka says this with some rather wry humor, lips twisting into a quirk of a smile. "Course, it's easy at first to be happy,but after a while, seems like it can be too much and you just want the baby born already." She knows! "I see," there's a brief nod from the goldrider. "Mammals, milk to feed calves, and dependent on the mother. Gotcha. Anythin' else? Can a baby calf eat fish right away?"

"Oh, no." Naeda answers quickly with a shake of her head and a smile. "The pod doesn't start teaching them to hunt until they're at least a turn old. Most continue to nurse until three or four. They'll drink less milk as they start catching more fish for themselves, but it's a slow and gradual process. Newborn dolphins aren't all that different from newborn people." Naeda grins lopsidedly. "Adorable, but pretty helpless for a while."

"Nursin' until they're four?" Enka sounds rather impressed by the willingness of a mother dolphin to continue to feed her calf for /that/ long. "That's dedication. 'Least with dragons, they become the problem of their riders once they've hatched, but dolphins sound like they're mothers and then some." the goldrider casts a quick fond look at her lifemate who's all but dozed off in the shallows of the lagoon. "I like adorable and helpless. Probably not for very long, but it's nice lookin' at somethin' cute and knowin' they need help."

"Well, by the time they're four, they're really not nursing very often. Fish are providing most of their meals by that age. But they still nurse if they need to." Naeda goes on to explain. "And it varies by a turn or two from calf to calf. Some are much quicker and better at hunting than others. They're like us that way. Each of them has things they're better at and more interested in. Dragons are like that too, aren't they?"

Enka nods. "So it's more like a comfort food then," she's starting to get that, really. "Like some toddlers are still suckin' on their thumbs or carryin' a security blanket around. It'sa means of comfort." Like if you're a dolphin and you miss a fish, just go and cozy up to mom for a drink to make yourself feel better. "Mmm, yes," the goldrider nods. "A lot like dragons. Some of 'em are quicker to mature than others, they all start out awfully dependent. Seemed like I couldn't make it through a night without Mir needin' to have her tummy filled. But they grow, and learn. Most are huntin' on their own about halfway through their second turn, and they start flyin' not long before that. Some are better at some things than others, but they do learn. Still need us riders though." That last said with quite a great deal of amusement.

Naeda tilts her head, considering that for a moment. "I'm sure that's part of it. I mean, having that sort of thing available has to be sort of reassuring to a young dolphin. But it also provides them a necessary source of nutrition while they're still growing and not all that good at hunting yet." She grins. "Just don't tell them they're not good at hunting yet. Some of them are a little sensitive." She giggles a bit. "Sounds like being a rider and being a dolphincrafter have a lot in common… and they both probably have a lot in common with being a mother." She looks back at the water and grins. "Alright. My break's over. Time to get back to them. It was lovely talking with you. Hope the rest of your day goes well!" She waves, then returns to the lagoon.

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