Training Grounds (#1547DJ)
The grounds here is vivid testimony to the hundreds of thousands of young dragons who have trained here with their riders. Thousands of scuffs and scrapes from dragons' claws have worn the grounds down, as new weyrlings try their wings in first flights. This wide open ground has seen many young riders hard at work, bagging firestone, doing ground drills, and caring for their young dragons.
It is a spring afternoon. Raging torrents and insane winds ravage the island in the fiercest of spring thunderstorms. Water sheets down to cut through the thickest cloak like icy knives; even visibility is limited, obscured by the ferocity of the rain.
You see Atsuth and Kaijuth here.
Ai'den is here.
Central Bowl Barracks Waterfall
It's an hour or so after the weyrlings' daily lesson and at the moment, it's free time. Most of them are at the beach, in the barracks, or off doing something else productive. In fact, Kaijuth's the only dragon on the training grounds, and at the moment he's laying sprawled out comfortably while Ai'den checks over his riding straps. Yes, checks them over again. In fact, its an activity he does regularly, and for good reason. The man's dressed in riding clothes, but his jacket is slung over the bronze's neck, keeping it off the ground in lue of having somewhere else to hang it.
Jeneeva wanders on to the training grounds, as she's in between chores and lessons. She stops as she enters the grounds and takes a good look around, taking in the various details and filing them away for later. As she's taking in those details she notes that the grounds are clear with the exception of Ai'den and Kaijuth. She walks up to the pair and once within speaking distance she says "Hello Ai'den and Kaijuth, how are you both today?" Noting Ai'den's work she adds, "Working on your straps? Or just checking them for wear Ai'den?"
"Checking for wear." Ai'den says distractedly without looking up upon Jeneeva's response, his fingers running meticulously over the leather, a small, distant frown across his lips. Kaijuth acknowledges her foremost, lifting his head from the ground and twisting it about to regard the candidate, his eyes whirling a lazy blue that grows a little faster for the sight of her, and his rider mumbles, "Yes. You did." This to the beast. Finally, Ai'den sighs and draws his eyes away from his work, studying Jeneeva. The straight-arrow'd man's frown deepens a little more, as though there's something about her that he doesn't like or approve of. "You make me question some things. Jeneeva, right?"
Jeneeva considers the reply for a moment, "Yeah I would think you'd want to check them constantly. You wouldn't want a worn one to snap in flight." Shesmiles at the great bronze head that has turned her way, giving a slight bow to Kaijuth before turning back to the Rider, "Yessir, I'm Jeneeva, Jan doesn't leave her workroom much these days." A quizzical look moves to cover her face at Ai'den's frown, and she asks, "I make you question things? Is there something I've done Sir, to make you question things?"
"There are precautions taken should one piece snap, but sometimes that doesn't matter." Ai'den says, as dryly as quoting from a text book. For her last question, he shakes his head slightly and looks away, only so he can bend down and resituate the straps, which are curled into a pile on one side, and pulled out mostly straight on the other. The lengths to match the size of a dragon are incredible really. "No. But you make me question the reality of women on dragons. Well, fighting dragons at least." Which would be what the majority of riding women in the Weyr were, with only a few golds to count.
Jeneeva nods in answer to his textbook response, "Yeah, I figure it's better safe than sorry." She watches him for a moment as he resituates the straps and she considers his questioning, "Sir, I will gladly go up and fight Thread if a dragon sees fit to choose me as it's lifemate. I know I may lack confidence and be a bit timid at times, but those are things I'm trying to work on. If I didn't think I could handle the responsibilities that come with a dragon I wouldn't have put this knot on in the first place. If you don't think I have what it takes to ride a fighting dragon then I will certainly do my best to prove otherwise."
Ai'den listens quietly to her reply, the sum total of it drawing a small smirk to his lips that doesn't quite reach his eyes. "Relax candidate. I understand your willingness to get yourself into something you don't quite understand. Your eagerness to throw yourself into the flame. Never tell a woman that she can't compete with a man." Because it'd rise their hackles and give them something to prove. From his crouched down position, he absently trails his fingers along the soft leather. He looks back up to her, studying her again before saying, "You're a very pretty, young girl, Jeneeva. You're good at your craft and you have a healthy future ahead of you. Why are you doing this? And don't tell me because its your responsibility. It wasn't your responsibility until a few months ago when Kaijuth thought to open his big mouth." It isn't one of those 'why do you want to be a rider' questions. His tone is more along the lines of, why is she giving up everything in exchange for a hard, dangerous life.
Jeneeva blushes and looks at the ground for a moment, "I can do anything a man can, and I think Jordan would agree with me on that. But it's more than just that I want to be able to help." She sighs at the compliments and blushes once more, "Looks aren't everything and while I may be a promising composer I'm merely an average Harper at best. I have various reasons for doing this Sir. I love Orin and I wasnt to be able to share this with him, I want to know what it's like to have a lifemate too. But I think the main reason is... when my mom died it pretty much destroyed my life. Dad started drinking and became even more abusive than normal without her there to stop him. That's why I ran away from home to become a Harper, life was just becoming too hard at home. I don't want anyone else to have to suffer through that."
"Jordan would disagree with me if I told her the sky was blue and she didn't want to hear it." Ai'den remarks, though that thought brings a real smile to his lips. "You're an apprentice. I don't think they're expecting perfection from you yet. And being lousy at your job there won't get you killed." His nose wrinkles a little for her words about sharing this with Orin. "Orin is your guy, yes? You do realize that most loves.. they don't last forever. You base your life around him, you'll miss out on too much. Especially if you decide to go your seperate ways." For her next words though, this is something he seems to give real thought. His words are a little less gruff or stoic. "Riding a dragon won't protect those that suffer. Harpers do more then play music. They participate in politics. Often enough, they help mediate justice to those that need it and those that are innocent. You're sure you really want this, Jeneeva? A dragon means you give up that old life and the possibilities that could have come from it." He lifts his head a little, looking over his shoulder towards Kaijuth, who is watching the pair diligently, as though he values the answer too. Big, dumb beast that he is. Ai'den smiles. "The positives are innumerable. How much would you give for it though?"
Jeneeva manages a chuckle, "Jordan is tough and I think she likes to prove everyone wrong when she can, but I like that about her. I know that our love may not last forever but I want to at least try and if our lifemates change us or one of us doesn't Impress well then at least I know we tried." She shakes her head, "I've promised I won't stop composing even if I Impress, and the music is the only reason I wanted to become a Harper. I'm no good at politcs and worse at diplomacy so I might just be better off riding a dragon. I want this. I want to know if I'm good enough if some dragon out there wants me. Because unlike my love with Orin, dragons see you as you really are and they choose you for that, or so I'm told. I may be giving up possibilities, but I'm gaining some new ones as well, a chance to become more than just a pretty little Harper who's only real skill is writing songs. I would give up a lot for it and I just might be. You know Janessa is my twin, well that bond is stronger than any other type of bond I know of and by Impressing I may lose that bond with her and quite possibly alienate her. You have no idea how hard that made this choice." Her eyes leaver the Rider for a moment and stray to Kaijuth.
Ai'den remains again silent, truly seeming to take in everything Jeneeva says, keeping his judgements to himself as he clasps his hands together in that crouched position. Whatever his own personal response and feelings towards what she has to say, he actively keeps hidden, and come the end of her words, as she looks off to Kaijuth, the man stands up. The dragon himself continues to regard the young girl, uncharacteristically quiet, and the only sound is that of Disaster, somewhere off on top of the dragon and unseen from the humans' ground point. Its obvious she's there, because she never stops that gentle, chatty chattering that she loves to do. Ai'den himself reaches to his side, withdrawing a dagger kept there, a sign of his past and his current ability to protect himself as much as it is simply there for utility. He regards it for a moment before holding it out to Jeneeva, hilt first. "Cut your hair off. Cut it short." No explanation given, he only waits to see if she'd comply.
Jeneeva just waits for his response at first, her eyes on Kaijuth who seems to be eerily quiet as he regards her. The only sound is the chatty Disaster and eventually the quiet gets to her and she regards Ai'den again. She turns in time to see him withdraw the dagger, regard it and offer it to her. She gazes at that dagger for a moment before taking it and just looking at it in her hand for a moment, "I've been growing my hair out for as long as I can remember, my mom always said Jan and I looked pretty with long hair." Then her eyes get that determined look that so seldom shows up there and with a nod she pulls her hair into a runner's tail and reaches back with the knife to begin sawing off her hair about an inch or two from her scalp, "I'm probably going to have to even this out."
Ai'den doesn't respond initially, only keeps that dagger held out. As she does as requested, he reaches out to take his weapon back and if given, puts it into the sheath at his side. "The first rule of being a weyrling, or a rider in general, is obedience to your commanding rider. Whatever they say, no matter how rediculous it seems." His faint smile shows that she did well with that, having not questioned it or refused. "We never require a rider to cut their hair too short, as it can usually be bound up. With your hair though.. it was a hazard." The sheer length of it. He actually does smile at her now and beckons her closer with a hand as he crouches back down. "As far as latrine scrubbing and tuber peeling can teach you about being a rider.. let me show you some of the more practical skills. There's a few strains in this leather, things that need to be repaired. I'll show you how to spot them. After that, you can help me put his straps on. He's.. a bit ticklish sometimes." As a warning for just how fun -that- would be.
Jeneeva offers Ai'den his dagger back and once he's taken it and put it away she nods. "Yessir, obediance is important, especially when you're learning. I'm perfectly willing to take orders from those with more experience than me." She holds the cut-off hair in her hand and regards it, "I can see how it would be, it could easily get in the way or get caught while I'm doing something dangerous. The former Harper nods, returning the smile and crouches down to learn something more useful than peeling tubers or scrubbing latrines. She watches his hands on the leather and waits for him to point out those strained spots, answering with a simple, "Yessir." She smiles over at Kaijuth and nods once more, "I'll try to be careful Sir." She certainly doesn't want to be endangered by a rolling dragon in the midst of a giggle fit, as funny as picturing Kaijuth that way might be.
As Ai'den goes about showing her the weak spots in the leather, and how exactly to spot them (a rather vague art that'd probably take a good deal of time to get down pact), he pauses at some point and glances up towards her. "If you do impress one day, you won't lose your sister through whatever happens. You might have to work a little harder to convince her of that though. No one says a rider has to give up -everything-." He says, perhaps hoping to aleviate some of her fear. "And I think you're a lot stronger then many are going to give you credit for. Don't give up trying." Back to the leather instruction, which would go on for at least half an hour. Simply because.. there's just so much strap to go over.
Jeneeva watches him and takes mental notes of what the strained leather looks like. She gives him a weak smile as he glances up and tries to reassure her, "That's what I told Jan, she was a bit worried about it once I decided to Stand. I tell her that and I still worry about it. I want to try to have my lifemate get to know her as well since she's a part of me, but we'll see how it goes, I might not even Impress." She blushes and smiles at the compliments, "I always try Sir, even when it doesn't seem like I succeed much." Then she's back to watching him work with the leather and taking mental notes on it's quality and the care of it.