Singing for Supper

Half Moon Bay Weyr - Lagoon
A sandy beach running along the edge of the lagoon, between the sparkling waters and the bowl. Given the weyr's tropical climate, riders and dragons can be seen playing in the water nearby or a dolphin can be seen cavorting nearly turn-round. 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.

It's evening, some days after the porcines were originally buried in their ember-filled pits. Zaqalekhth has been standing guard as often as he's able, his still, bronze shape looming over food that he is not allowed to dig up for his own, nefarious purposes. M'gaal and Malaakh are there, too, of course, and Aglaia's eventual arrival with a smattering of Candidates is the cue to get things done. The big bronze uses clever talons to dig up one well-wrapped porcine, while the rider and son see to the other. And of the girl? She's carrying baskets full of rolls and bottles of sauce, while Korovian's been employed to get various other tools to help make the process, well, less messy. A large fire has been set nearby to serve as illumination, and a few blankets have been strewn about in lieu of proper seating.

Having brought a few bottles of fresh water to drink and a large bowl of fruit, Briari has already set up the contents about the blankets on the sand, and is now strumming away on a guitar as she was lost in thought for a few minutes. Her nose gives a twitch at the air at times, breathing in the scent of the fire. "This was a pretty good idea, Aggy." She drawls out a bit with a smile on her face. "I've always loved bonfires back at home in Monaco."

Once the baskets and tools of the trade are laid out on a table for M'gaal and Malaakh, the first of the porcines is unwrapped to release the aroma of exquisitely - and somewhat exotically - slow-cooked meat. The pair set about carving great chunks from the carcass to drop into large bowls that are then covered in sauce, while a few bones are flung skyward for Zaqalekhth to catch and devour like the greedy beast he is.

Aglaia tilts a grin at Briari and nods a little, "Yeah, I thought it'd be nice for the lot of us to have a nice, relaxed dinner without all the chaos of the caverns." Granted, most of the others are probably stuck at chores and the like, but so be it. "So, hey, what songs do you know?" That's asked with a tip of her head toward the guitar, brows lifted just a touch in inquiry. She's still loitering near the meat - ready to help if needed - but not yet moving to tend to anything just yet.

"Well, I write a lot of my own music, but I suppose I know a lot of the old classics." Briari says as she strums along the strings of her instrument. "We ere talking about having a party tomorrow night, something a bit upbeat and festive as well. Really, just any chance to get out of sitting about in the barracks." Leaning backwards a bit, her head tilts upwards to watch the stars in the sky. "If you want, I can sing something for you. I wouldn't mind."

"Really?" Color Aglaia both surprised and amazed. "-How- do you do that? It seems like… a lot to do." Kind of a lame observation, to be fair, but it's the best she can manage at the moment. She glances briefly back to check the food-making progress, then looks back at Briari with a thoughtful quirking of her mouth. "If you feel up to it, that would be great. I haven't heard a lot of original music, to be totally honest; it's always the old stuff, over and over again."

"They're -classic- songs for a reason, Aggie," is M'gaal's helpful commentary.

"Do what? Write music? I don't know.. most of it I just write in the moment, depending on my mood." Briari says with a small smile on her face. "I've been playing since I was really young. Fell in love with the guitar when I got to watch my Aunt Farris play many turns ago. I can play some of my more favorite songs if you want. I don't know if you'll like them. I get mixed receptions when I play. Some say I'm too risky with the music and it's not traditional enough, some tell me they love it."

"Right, that. I mean, do you just write lyrics? Or do you do the music itself? Or- I mean, how does that all work?" Aglaia, bewildered. She shakes her head a little as if to clear it, then takes a step aside once the sandwiches - loads of meat and sauce on fresh buns - start to be assembled. Some Candidates are quick to get theirs, while a few others look on dubiously. As for her, she's edging toward the bounty of pork, though not before she asks, "Oh, hey, how many of these do you want?" Back to the conversation at hand, she continues with, "Go for it. If I like it, I'll let you know - but, honestly? I'm sure it's all pretty amazing. A lot of people have bad taste - even if they don't think they do."

"Yes, I write the lyrics and the music. Some of my bandmates help me as well. Johanna helps me with the lyrics too at times. The music is the harder part. You have to know what the song sounds like in your head and the pacing of it. So, after I write the lyrics, I sing them out loud and try to find a good pace, then I work one instrument in, then another, and another, until it all sounds good. A lot of trial and error go into it." Briari says as she continues to play, picking up into a familiar tune of hers as her head bobs. "But, sure, I'll sing for the group, but if they start throwing meat at me, I'll probably start crying." She grins.

"That sounds… really hard," Aggie concludes. All the same, she flashes Briari a smile and goes to retrieve a couple of plates with sandwiches on them. When she returns, she reassures, "If they start throwing meat, Zaq will eat them for being wasteful." It's unclear just how much of a joke that phrase is, given both the bronze's looming presence and Aglaia's hushed tone. "Go ahead. Play. And if they don't like it, they can go indoors." She finds a spot on the blanket nearby and settles in, balancing her plate on a knee while setting another next to Briari.

Giving her another smile, Briari takes in a deep breath and starts to play as she rises upwards to her feet. The guitar hangs at her hip and her fingers play a lovely melody of strings. Her foot lightly taps the ground to form a beat as well. Thump. Tha-Thump. Thump. Tha-Thump. "If I were a ship - I'd sail to your shore. Just to see my true love - the one I adore. I would part all these provinces in my paper boat. And I'd kiss you and kiss you and kiss you.. until we both just float." Closing her eyes, she sings out louder, her voice so beautiful and clear. "If I were a bird, I'd sing out your name - perched high on my branch in hope that you'd came. I'd spread both of my wings and take to the sky - I would beg all the wind and the rain just to be by your side. If I were a song - I'd be in just the right key. I'd be all the best instruments - in sweet harmony. Oh I'd play oh-so-loudly in hopes that you'd heard - because music is love.. in search of the words." As she sings that last line, her voice drops to a soft whisper before the guitar leaps to life again, growing stronger as she lets out a loud 'hey!'. Her hips rock side to side as she plays, moving along with the tune.

Once the beat is set, Aglaia keeps it - if only for her own sake. Fingers tap the tune out on her thighs, while she tips her head back a little to keep watching Briari as she stands and plays. Though she doesn't know the words, she's still plenty able to hum along and that's precisely what she does with half-lidded eyes. Even the sandwich-serving duo take a bit of a break; the only one unmoved is the bronze, but that's no grand surprise. As the song winds down - or seems to - Aglaia starts to applaud, only to be cut short by the unexpected 'hey!' out of nowhere. She laughs, but it's clearly at her startled state and not at the singing, not by a long shot!

Giggling a bit as the song winds down, Briari's fingers give a final few strums along the neck of the guitar. Her foot continues to tap as she sways herself side to side, as if searching for the next song in her mind to play.

For her part, Aglaia's entranced - but, then, she's likely more caught up in the 'hows' and 'whys' of musical creation than anything else. Her sandwich is, for now, forgotten on her plate and she leans forward just a little as if that might somehow help Briari find the next song to play. And, in the background, another log or two is added to the fire while a handful of firelizards swirl around the upwelling of smoke, adding their own songs to the mix.

As she finally mentally picks one out, Briari's fingers return to the guitar again as she plays a different melody. "I've lost my head - I've lost my way.. Trying to find what I can't replace. Three little words.. I heard you say.." As she moves into the chorus, her voice is emotional as it seems this may be a personal one. "I'm not looking for new love - you were all I needed - thought you said this was true love - but now you won't repeat it.. I'm not looking for new love.. you were all I needed." As she continues to move slowly back and forth in the song, her eyes closes and she breathes out softly the lyrics. "Now that you've left - I feel the same. My empty bed calls out your name. How could you forget? How could you chaaaa-aaange?" Tap dum dum! She pours through the chorus again, putting emphasis on each word powerfully.

As the singing starts anew, Aglaia picks up on the beat as before and begins to hum along. Her fingers tap out the tune and she's as wrapped up into it as she possibly can be. Once again, her eyes go half-lidded, once again, she's swaying just a little in place. By the time the chorus comes 'round again, she's able to half-sing the words to herself, though the tune is - unfortunately - not nearly as well-carried on her tongue as it seems to be on Briari's.

Giggling as she puts a close to the song, Briari gives her friend a smile. "Not bad. You have to really sing from our gut sometimes, don't be afraid to let them just leap out." Plopping herself down in the sand again, she slips the guitar off and looks to hand it over to her. "I'll show you how to play something simple if you want. Just three easy chords."

Aglaia laughs and shakes her head in that odd way of hers - left, right, center - before saying, "I really can't sing all that well. The only song I know is one my Mother taught me," and, even then, the words are said with a bit of a wince. "It'd probably be a waste of your time, you know? Like teaching firelizards how to write or… something." But, that's not stopping her from taking the guitar as it's offered, after moving her meal to one side. She settles the instrument in position, mimicking Briari's earlier posture. "Like this?"

"Yes, like that. And, I'd like to hear your mother's song. I'm a harper, I can appreciate all music, even if sung badly." Briari says as she scoots closer to her, then reaches out to lay her hands over hers. "Alright, so the notes are these three." She says as she helps guide her fingers along each one. "In that order. Up, down, up. Strum, strum, strum. Go ahead and practice it a few times, then I want to hear you sing."

At least something's going right! Aglaia holds still while Briari goes into teacher-mode, mindful to keep everything still while the motions are being taught. Her features screw up a bit with concentration and, once she's free to start strumming, she does so with predictable beginner's clumsiness. Plink, plink, nope. Strum, nope, nope. And, after a good handful of attempts, she seems to get it, at least well enough to pull off those notes for a few more plucks. "I'll- just give me a moment to remember, okay?"

Briari nods her head with a grin on her face. "Just keep it nice and easy as you play, and pick up the pace a bit as you feel comfortable. It will sound right, promise. First three notes I ever learned." Pulling her knees against her chest as she leans against them, she closes her eyes and listens to the clumsy playing with a warm smile on her face.

There's a shallow nod from Aglaia and she continues to play, at least for a few more rounds of awkward strumming, before her fingers slide from the guitar. The instrument ends up being cradled in her lap while her eyes shut and silence is allowed to unspool for the span of a heartbeat or two. Then, a slow, haunting melody emerges:

"Why do you stand, swaying
Oh slender birch tree
With your head bent
To your very stem?

"But across the road
Across a wide river
Similarly lonely
Stands a tall oak tree.

"How can I, birch tree,
Clamber over to the oak tree?
I wouldn't bend and sway then as I do now,
I wouldn't bend and sway then as I do now,

"With my slender branches,
I would lean against him
And with his foliage
I would whisper day and night."

As she listens to the song, Briari leans back to plant her hands behind her with eyes closed. She lightly hums along under her breath so not to distract her. She smiles, enjoying the lyrics for their simplicity.

"That's… it, really," Aglaia says a few long moments after the song is done. She shifts uncomfortably on the blanket and, ultimately, offers the guitar back to Briari. She's smiling, but her brow is knotted up with a troubled expression that's not liable to shake itself free any time soon. "It's weird, the things that you remember from childhood." One corner of her mouth twists a little higher than the other before the whole attempt at smiling collapses and she distracts herself with a hasty bite of sandwich. "Thank you," is said when it's quickly choked down, with a nod toward the guitar - and the other girl - to indicate what she means.

"It was really lovely." Briari assures her with a grin. "And your playing of the guitar was alright as well. You should try it more often. I can teach! I haven't had a student in awhile, and you do have a nice voice. It just needs some confidence and a bit more falsetto."

"I'm a decent student, to be fair, but-" Aglaia's shoulders rise and fall. "Like I said, it'd be like teaching a firelizard to write. Especially now, with the eggs so close to hatching." A glance is skewed toward the bowl, in the direction of the distant sands. "Let's see how things go out there, first - then we can talk lessons. I can teach you to cook, you can teach me to sing…" Her grin emerges, lopsided as ever. "What a pair we'd make, hey?"

"Yes, what a pair. I know how to cook a little bit, enough to survive on my own if I was lost in the woods, but it wouldn't taste real good." Briari giggles as she strums the instrument again a few times. "I'm trying not to get too excited about the hatching. I've been through this before once. Broke my heart the first time. But, now I'm more.. uh.. emotionally prepared for the let down."

"I can cook really well, just don't believe what Cassara or those cooks say." That's a whole other thing, really, and Aglaia's not about to knuckle into it. She settles back and munches away on her sandwich, expression turned thoughtful while she listens. "I'm… not sure how I feel about it, to be totally honest." She sucks on her fingertips to clear the sauce from them. "But I don't think I'll be hurt if I'm left standing. It might just be a relief." Her voice is pitched low, purely for Briari's ears. "What was it like out there the first time? Is it really as chaotic as they say?"

Giving her head a shake, Briari says, "No, not as chaotic as some say. Though I suppose it varies from hatch to hatch. It was more nervous watching each candidate head off with their lifemate with tears and smiles on their faces, and then scary knowing you were one of the last few left standing. But, at least I was left with Kyra and Chrystyne, my two best friends. It made the pain dull a bit knowing we went through it together."

"It probably does vary a bit," she concedes with a shallow nod, but then Aglaia's silent and listening, settled into a state of stillness. Eventually, she nods again and offers a small smile to Briari. "That's not so bad, then. At least, if I'm left standing, I won't feel quite as alone. I'm sure yours is out there; the first ones just didn't know what they were missing out on." She finishes her sandwich off and cleans herself up with a napkin she'd picked up somewhere. "I just wish we knew -when- it was going to happen. This not-knowing is so… aggravating."

"Thank you for the compliment, but.. I'm sure they're not missing anything seeing how they chose their partners. I hope my lifemate is out there, somewhere. If not, I guess I will have to live with it. I come from a rider family and now that my brother impressed, I'm the last one. So.. I'm keeping my fingers and toes crossed. They all tell me it's special." Briari strums again a few more times. "You're really nice, Aggy. I'd like to stay in touch and stay friends with you after all of this. No matter what happens."

"Those ones, maybe not - but I don't think dragons have the same sense of regret that we do." Aglaia shrugs and settles back, head tipped to let her look at the stars. "It's supposed to be something that defies words," she adds, her mouth drawn to one side. "My Mother's a rider. Dad is, too," and the tilt of her head indicates the bronzerider that's rattling around, stripping porcine carcasses for meat. "If I am or I'm not- it probably isn't as big of a deal as it seems to be for your family." Her nose wrinkles a bit, but the thought passes and leaves a ghost of a smile in place. "You're pretty nice, too, Briari. I'm sure we'll stay in touch at the very least; I don't think I'll be going anywhere for a while after, no matter what. Are you staying here after this? Or are you going back home?"

"My mother is a gold rider junior in Telgar. She used to practically run Monaco. My father was their Weyrsecond for many turns. Bronze rider. Geez, maybe thirty, thirty-five turns." Briari says as she tilts her head up to stare at the stars. "Now they retired to Telgar to live out the rest of their lives and I finally got out from under their micromanaging thumb." She says with a smirk. "But, I guess it is important to them. I would like to impress but if I don't, I'll live." At the rest of the question, she shrugs. "I'll head back home to Monaco I believe. It's where my home is, all of my stuff. I may stick around for a bit to tie up some loose ends."

A thoughtful noise escapes Aglaia while she listens. "Dad's… always been a cook for as long as I've known him. Turns and turns. Mother-" she leaves it there with a contortion of her mouth. "That part doesn't matter, I guess. I think she's more disappointed that I didn't go to the Healer Hall like she did. But I- I just couldn't do it. This, cooking and doing the books for Dad, that's what I like doing." There's a slight nod for Briari's explanation, a barely there bob of her head that brings the other Candidate into view for a scant second or two. "That's probably a good idea," she reasons in the end. "I'll stay here, but only because I'd like to open a little barbecue shack of my own. Could be nice. And I think Dad might transfer out of Ierne to help. At least the novelty of porcine cooked in the ground hasn't totally worn off here."

Briari scoots in a bit closer and wraps an arm around her friend's shoulders. "I got mother issues also. Mine is nuts and was born in the wrong time line. She was born to fight threadfall, as is my father." Her lips tug upwards. "But, I followed her into the Harper hall, though she does politics and history, I do music and literature." Closing her eyes a bit, she says, "I'll make sure to stop by your shack quite often for the food. I love the smell of the porcine. It's delicious. Father is also really big on Bar-B-Que so I'll send him your way."

Aglaia might lean into the offered arm, but there's a subtle tension coiled through her shoulders and back. The gesture is short-lived; the young woman ultimately pulls away and pushes to her feet to get a bit of a stretch in before cleaning up her bit of mess. Best not to touch the topic of Mothers and Crafts and, instead, move on to: "I hope so. One day, it'd be nice to get some kind of… I don't know, delivery business going for the stuff." Her smile tilts. "I just need a whole gaggle of firelizards to make it happen. Anyway. I think there's plenty left if you want any. I should probably help them get the rest of that meat in to the kitchens so they can do something with it."

Meanwhile, the mostly stripped carcasses are hauled further out onto the sand for Zaqalekhth to take care of - which he does, with gusto.

"It's hard to ship through the Between though because of how cold it is, so you'd have to find a way to really wrap it so that it won't get ruined during the trip." Briari pushes herself upwards as well, slipping the instrument behind her on her strap. "I'll take one for the road on my way back. Thank you for spending time with me. It really meant a lot to talk to someone who… uh.. isn't going to judge me." She admits with a rub of her hand along the back of her neck.

"Ye-eah, there's a lot to go into it yet, but… I think it can be done." Maybe. Aglaia's holding onto that hope, at least! She offers a hug to Briari after the other girl rises and the instrument is settled. "I'm in no place -to- judge," she replies simply enough. "Least of all someone like you. If you want to talk, just hunt me down. Granted, I'm a better listener than a talker but… sometimes, that's just what people need." She grins a bit. "It was good talking to you, too. It's just sad that we don't have more time to, well. Talk."

Returning the hug, Briari says, "We have the rest of our lives to talk." She says as she presses her forehead to hers for a moment before leaning back. "I'll catch you later before lights out. Maybe I'll write a song about tonight." Giggling, she turns and starts to saunter off back through the sand, letting out a yawn. She does, snag a sandwich for the road as well. Yum!

Add a New Comment
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License