Rider's Up! - Weyrling Mounted Lesson

Characters Kate, N'sir, Oddisa, R'sner
Synopsis First mounted lesson for the weyrlings
Out-of-Character Date March 12, 2020

Igen Weyr - South Bowl
The orange hued sandstone layers comprising the bowl walls curve gently, but ever presently in your view. Fine sand shifts underfoot, a slightly paler version of what is found upon the walls. It gives way along the eastern edge to a section of contrasting green grass where a series of cleverly engineered pipes provide water to the fenced off area of the feeding grounds, and keeps the shimmer of the shallow lake beyond from disappearing during the driest periods of the turn. A distinctly squared entrance farther south is the tunnel leading out to the lands beyond. Traders and tithes arrive here at regular intervals and it is not uncommon for part of the bowl to be set up with a series of tents and wagons as wares are displayed and sold. To the west, the bowl wall has been eroded by the desert winds into strange shapes. At their base are found the weyrling barracks and training fields.

Autumn - Month 10 of Turn 2724

It seems like only yesterday the weyrlings were learning how to make their own straps. MY how time flies! This time, it's early morning, the sun just peeking over the rim of the Weyr and flooding the bowl with warm, golden light, when R'sner calls the weyrlings out. Those that have managed to finish a set of straps are asked to put them on the dragons for inspection, while anyone who might be lagging in that area are issued a standard set of weyrling straps that are "on loan" for the duration of the lesson, so that they don't fall too far behind.

N'sir emerges from the office with a basket over one arm filled with snacks like nuts, cookies, cheese, fruit and fresh veggies. Making his way to R'sner, he flashes a warm smile, setting the basket on one of the table before folding his arms over his chest. "Seems to go faster and faster every cycle," he murmurs as he sweeps his gaze toward the barracks.

Making straps for a growing dragon, whose hide expands every night, is a difficult task. Oddisa overestimated how quickly Oriapeth was growing, to the point that early this morning, she was up putting three new holes in to tighten up loose sections around the gold's neck. Emerging from the barracks, Ori flounces forward, graceful with an exaggerated raise of front limbs and swing to the neck and shoulders. Odi follows beside, setting her face in a stern, confident lift of the chin and eye with one hand on the flaxen shoulder of her mount and the other planted on her hip. Once outside there's a wuffle of a greeting from the queen to N'sir and R'sner, reaching out to Toith and Elianneth with a twirl of bright gold dust that twists through unending darkness, formal and joyful «Hello pretties, what a striking occasion we find ourselves in together.» A playful giggle pressed into her thoughts.

Lots of practice, lots of reworking to get things right and while almost complete Kate's set isn't quite ready enough to be used today. Give a day, maybe two, more they might be ready but at least there are those to be borrowed for today's lesson. So on their arrival to the lesson, Kate and Xinieth, its a borrowed set that the blonde works to put on the green when that instruction comes. A salute is given the weyrling staff along with a "Good Morning" echoed by the green.

« Good morning, Oriapeth, Xinieth » Elianneth offers in a low husky drawl that always seems to be accompanied by the omnious roll of drums. « There will be a lot of strain on muscles today, so keep yours informed of any aches or pains that might arise. » Glancing over his shoulder at Elianneth, N'sir slants her a grin before gesturing toward the table. "Eat something before we get started. We'll be starting mounted drills this morning, so have your lifemates start stretching, now. All of them, regardless of their complaints," he adds as he looks at each weyrling in turn. "The last thing you want is to fall behind because your dragon pulls a muscle. Once you've eaten, we'll be checking your straps for placement and construction."

As Xinieth comes into view Oriapeth bugles a greeting, extending a wingtip to poke her sister gently, eyes whirling fast blue and green «We finally get to drive them somewhere for once.» All excitement in her mind voice coming with whispers of starshine through fields of blackness. Oddisa nods to N'sir, raising a hand and scuttling back so that Oriapeth can begin stretching out. Finding her own space, Ori extends her wings and reaches her forelimbs forward in front of her while stretching her neck far out in a feline type way. «Get out all the knots my darling, it's gonna be a grand show.» To Xinieth and Elianneth, her enthusiasm evident in the wiggle of her whole body while she preps. Grabbing a piece of bread, Odi also takes a cookie and nibbles with an eye raise for Kate, "Yu ready? I think my runner riding lessons coulda helped yu." A wry smile and impish wiggle to her body, a bit like Ori's. Once the cookie is partially consumed, there's a content sigh, "These are good sir, thank yu."

"You heard him," Kate comments to Xinieth as she double checks those straps. Xinieth warbles a return greeting to her sister, her own excitement for something new finding its way into her melody as well. « Finally. It will be wonderful! » She sets to her stretches and maybe a playful flick of sand towards Oriapeth in the process. Oops, that totally wasn't on purpose except that it probably was. "Thank you," Kate says with a smile to N'sir picking up a piece of bread and cheese for herself. A shake of her head following in response to Odissa, "Maybe," she'll give that much, "But they aren't runners."

N'sir inclines his head at the thanks, his weight shifting as he leans a hip against the table while watching to make sure all the dragons are stretching. "You are welcome," he assures in the wake of pushing his braid over one shoulder. "But be careful, while there are some similiarities to riding runners, you are not going to be controlling your mounts in the same fashion, at all." They are definately not runners. "You'll have to adjust your ingrained habits, Oddisa." Glancing over as R'sner consults with one of the assistants, he rolls his shoulders in a slow stretch that oddly mimics what the dragons are doing. "Next time we'll play blindfolded tag with your lifemates. You," he adds. "Wear the blindfolds while your lifemate guides you toward the other candidates."

Swallowing the rest of the cookie, Oddisa nods in recognition of N'sir and strides over towards Oriapeth, nearly picking up the jog in her haste. Ori lifts herself up high, arching her flaxen neck playfully over the top of her sister « Boo. » Is said playfully, staring down at the water-loving green, mouth open and breathing on her heavily so that her breath pushes across her neck. Every bit the 'I'm not touching you, but I'm super close', ah siblings. Walking around her dragon Odi looks up at N'sir, having to raise her voice a bit due to distance, "I understand… I think." Glancing up at the sky in thought, because she's still not totally sure how this works. "Blindfolds sound fun!" Odi totally in on any game, nodding several times to Kate as if she's trying to drag the older blonde into her plan. "Do we blindfold the dragons too? Or jus' us?" Needing all the specifics, because this sounds fun.

A bite or two sustenance, Kate's attention is more towards Xinieth than anything else. A glance back towards N'sir at the mention of next time. "Blindfolds?" in that she doesn't sound nearly as excited as Odissa. Xinieth can play that game too Oriapeth, even if she can't get as high, she can 'attack' from below no touching though, Kate just shaking her head whether for the green or Odissa… Either way she's on her way back to Xinieth's side as she finished off her food. "Fun isn't the word I'd pick."

"You're not flying today," comes as R'sner returns and catches Oddisa looking at the sky. It's a gentle reminder that's offered with a ghost of a grin, lest she mistake it for true chastisement. "And no, the dragons do not get blindfolded. How would they direct your movements if they couldn't see, either?" He doesn't roll his eyes — because R'sner does not roll his eyes, period — but there's definitely an arched eyebrow in silent question there. Like. Really? But perhaps thankfully, he moves on, heading to the table to rummage in the baskets for a snack of his own. "Carry on," comes with a glance and a nod of his head toward N'sir. He's doing just fine, so Res isn't about to step in and take over.

"Just you," N'sir notes with a wry smile. "Your lifemates will be showing you where to go. It is quite the experience, seeing the world through their eyes." And he fully expects that more then a few of the weyrlings will throw up in the course of the 'game'. Course, he's echoing R'sner and cannot help but smile for the fact. Slipping off the table as R'sner draws closer, he dips his chin in a nod, dark eyes sweeping the table to assess where the girls are in eating. "When you are finished eating go and stand by your lifemates. Do not mount. I, or one of the other assistants will be by to check your straps. Once you are allowed to mount, you must keep your dragons still. Do not move until you are instructed to do so and then /only/ as instructed to do so. Failure to obey this very important rule will result in you being left out of mounted drills until you can follow orders. Clear?" As he speaks, he steps over to Oriapeth and Oddisa, glancing up at the gold before looking to her rider. "Ask her if she is fine with my touching her, please."

"Excitement is waitin' for us a Kate, soon enough, we'll be waayyy up there." Oddisa pointing off over the lip of the bowl and high in the sky, exhaling delightedly with all the glee of a child about to get a fantastic turn day present. R'sner derails that train of thought, Odi nodding sagely in a way that barely avoids mocking because she's really trying to seem less ecstatic then she is, "I was jus' thinkin' we could take turns, I'd be blindfolded, then her. She's game." Truthfully the growing queen is 'game' for just about anything. Twisting around to N'sir, the tiny teen makes a full circle and looks up at Oriapeth, while Ori gives a last little playful hiss at Xinieth, dodging her muzzle back and forth to dodge and snort before paying attention to the assistant. Oriapeth snorts, mouth opening in a rumble that's not far from a chuckle and Oddisa smile broadly shaking her head, "Sir, she said. Well, yes, you can touch her." Ori, unhappy with the editing job done by her rider, turns towards Elianneth « Let yours know what I said was, "I thought you'd never ask darling." » Absolutely all flirt, her mind a cluttered mess of planets and moving in different directions as the blackness is overcrowded by giant celestial bodies, and there's overflowing laughter in every word. Confident, playful, and thoroughly enjoying her own whit. Ducking her chestnut self down, the gold hugs the ground with her body to allow inspection

Kate isn't so sure about the blindfold, but that's for another day. "Yes sir," she replies with a slight nod, acknowledging those instructions and their clarity as she waits her turn aside Xinieth. A hand rests lightly on the green's shoulder foreleg as she talks quietly to her. Xinieth could retaliate in that game, but she's behaving herself for the time being. It's lessons and she's paying attention for this part.

While N'sir heads to Orianneth, R'sner heads to Xinieth, a ghost of a smile and a nod of his head offered to Kate. "Hello Xinieth," comes with a second nod for the green before he addresses Kate with, "Does she mind if I touch her?" And once he's given permission to do so, he goes about the business of checking those straps to ensure they're fitted and properly tight. A few minor adjustments are made, along with explanation to Kate about why he's adjusting them, and he steps back once again. "Go ahead and mount up, get settled and figure out where it's comfortable to sit. But wait for N'sir to give you the go-ahead to start walking. Do you have any questions?" A hint of a frown and he asks a bit quieter, "Are you alright?" Because it never hurts to ask, right?

N'sir exhales a snorting laugh as Elianneth passes along the message, his braid swaying behind his hips as he steps up and goes about the business of inspecting every inch of Oriapeth's straps. Each joining is tugged, twisted and turned before being adjusted to rest in their proper place before being securely cinched. As he works, however, he speaks calmly to Oriapeth. "Once Oddisa is mounted, you are going to walk. Walk, not jog, or sashsay or slink, to the posts at your left and wait for the others." Pausing a beat, he glances up at the gold to make sure she is paying attention before continuing. "When everyone is ready, you will walk to the opposite end of the bowl, turn around and walk back. There will be no skipping, no jumping, no hopping, no wing flairing. Am I clear," is added as he glances between Oddisa and Oriapeth. And, assuming that he is clear? And they are in accord, he steps back and gestures for Oddisa to mount. He does not, however, move on to the next Weyrling until the pair are exactly where he told them to go.

SO EXCITING. Oddisa is nodding with too much gusto, the kind of nodding where it's not totally clear she's really listening because all of her energy is going into moving her head up and down. Oriapeth shimmies slightly at N'sir's touch, crooning delightedly once they have the all-clear and pressing down onto the ground, ready for action but staying still until N'sir finishes speaking. "Yur clear sir, yes sir." It's possible she'd agree to anything to get on this dragon, the amount of bounce in her thighs giving away the overall good mood of the pair. Oriapeth flicks a thought towards Elianneth, « Let him know we will be sure to move at a speed that gives ample warning to even the crawlers of our arrival. We might get across the bowl by lunch, Oddisa better pack a snack. » All sarcasm, even if she agrees to the terms. Placing a hand up high on her mount's neck, Odi runs a hand along the length in a loving fashion. "Alright Ori, let's get this show movin'." Planting her foot in the crevice between the foreleg and chest, it still takes a firm pull and hop to get her up on the dragon. Once in place, there's an ingrained search of tiny feet for stirrups, finding none it's clear she's uncomfortable for a breath. "Gimme a sec darlin'." Hands wrapping instinctively around straps, to hold herself on. Oriapeth gives her rider time, willing to stay stark still while the new situation is explored.

Kate offers a half smile in return to R'sner. "Not at all," she assures for Xinieth's feelings on the matter of him touching her to check those straps. Kate shifts to watch closely, nodding for the explanations provided her. "A little overwhelmed maybe," she admits to her being alright, but with so many new things of late its not exactly unexpected. "Sure I'll get the hang of it." That's what practice is for after all. Right? She hasn't ridden much and has always had an extra hand mounting, but at Xinieth isn't full grown so that helps it be a little easier to manage on her own and without too much effort Kate is astride, shifting until she finds the right placement.

"If you ever need to talk," assures R'sner. "Both myself and N'sir are available." Even if it's just to talk about feeling overwhelmed. A little nod and he gives them space to allow Kate to climb aboard, waiting until she's settled before turning and reclaiming a spot at a picnic bench. "Once you're comfortable, follow along with Oriapeth walking to the fence post. You'll find a rhythm in her stride. But don't be surprised if you're sore tonight." That is an announcement for all of them, even those experienced with riding runners. Because while it might be similar, the size-difference alone is sure to make new muscles ache.

When Oddisa is settled, N'sir steps back, nodding his head before moving on to help the girls and check their straps. One by one, they mount and move into line, some excited, some nervous, some out ride scared. "Go ahead, Oriapeth," he calls. "Xinieth and Kate will be right behind you. So mind that tail!" With the permission, and warning, given, he steps back to the picnic table, his lips twitching in a wry smile as he pulls a muffin from the basket and settles next to R'sner. "So far, so good," is murmured as he tears the muffin in half and hands it to his mate.

Oriapeth gets to her feet with extreme care, raising herself up to full height and taking a few steps with such care it's as if she's hovered from one place to another. Settling back on her sit bones, lifting up and flexing her thighs and calves in reflexively. Resisting the urge to kick, Odi pats Ori's neck and rubs small circles. Several deep breaths later, the gold is tiptoeing forward with ease. Reaching the first post, there's a triumphant laugh, "Alrigh' no trottin' or we'll need a new toothbrush." Looking behind her, it's clear she can't really see anyone back there, but Oriapeth knows XInieth is behind her and raises her tail forks to dance around her sisters head « This is easy, most straightforward thing I've done all day. » It's clear she wants to move MORE, but isn't Oddisa clucking her tongue "Alrigh, let's make a turn." the gold oozes around the post, crooning to her sisters and struggling mightily with keeping her feet on the ground. THIS IS FUN.

"Thank you," Kate returns in such a way that implies perhaps later. Now isn't exactly the best time for a conversation mid-lesson, but maybe she'll be up for talking another time. The offer appreciated however. A moment or two to find the right placement for herself and once Oriapeth and Oddisa are underway she gives Xinieth the okay. "Alright, lets go," she does say it aloud and the green follows towards that post at the other end. Not too slow or too fast, walking is easy, the movement doesn't take long to grow accustomed to together.

They haven't made it to the post yet before Amee's little Pyseth seems to lose her way. Possibly because both rider and dragon have gotten distracted by a butterfly. There's a squeak and a sudden change in direction, and two bounces away from the group before R'sner can even think to sight and rub his forehead. And maybe he's has gotten accustomed to the daydreaming duo well enough to know that no one is gonna die since he's not taking off or shouting at them. He will shoot a look at his weyrmate and issue a dry, "Go handle that?" because really? N'sir might adore her, but Amee drives R'sner crazy. "Doing well," he calls for those still managing to stay on track (and really, except for Amee, he had little doubt they'd make it). "Keep it at a walk. You don't want to lose your rider," is offered just in case anyone felt like getting a little skippy. "Once you're back around, we'll end for the morning. Dragons will be checked-out by the dragonhealers and if they're approved, we'll go again this evening."

N'sir winks at his weyrmate, slipping off the table and heading toward Amee and Pyseth with an easy smile. "Alright, my darlings, you're veering off course. And yes, Pyseth, I know the butterfly is lovely…" Course, the pair stop at his approach, Amee pointing to the butterfly as Pyseth stretches her neck out toward it to whuffle lightly. Eventually, they will all get back on course— but first, butterfly gazing commences.

On the way back the other direction, it's clear that trying not to 'saunter, or sashay' is nearly impossible for Oriapeth. Sauntering, striding forward with a long cocky stride is her way, the natural movement has to be dampened to follow orders, and near the end, both rider and dragon are comfortable enough that the speed gets CLOSE to breaking the rules. Oddisa is grinning from ear to ear, though every time they start to veer to one side, it's clear she's attempting to use an inside rein, still not comfortable using her words even if her dragon responds to these signals because they share a mental space. "What are the dragonhealers lookin' for sir?" Is asked once they reach where they started, content to remain on her dragon until explicitly told to dismount. Leaning back, it's clear she's at home; she's never going to leave this perch if she can help it. Oriapeth flicks her thoughts towards Xinieth, « They're not heavy at all, she's lighter than half my meals. Flying them will be cake. »

Down, around the post and back. Xinieth's glide in her natural movement and once back where they started Kate carefully slides down. Oddisa might be at home sitting astride Oriapeth, but ending is ending and she's happy enough to be back on the ground (until next time). "Yes," she ask curiously repeating the younger girl's question. "What are they looking for?"

R'sner's gaze is sharp on the weyrlings within his purview. While Oriapeth might toe the line of breaking the rules, so long as she doesn't, he'll say nothing about it. "Any sort of potential for injury. Muscle or join strain and soreness. They may be large, but they are still babies, and can easily sustain an injury." And he's taking no chances. "It's better to be cautious and put off another ride, than risk injury." But hopefully they will all get an 'all clear' and be free to ride again that night. A glance up and, as the last green in line comes to a halt, there's a firm, "Dismount. Go ahead and remove the straps. If they are your own, please check them over for wear and tear — this is a good habit to get into early, regardless of how long or short the use of the straps was. Then make sure you check your dragon for spots of irritation where the straps might have rubbed, wash and oil if necessary. Otherwise, you are dismissed for the morning."

The last person off her dragon, Oddisa slides down and suddenly realizes she's FAR from the ground. Grabbing at the straps, Oriapeth is momentarily alarmed, ducking around to see what's going on and presses Odi up against her side to slow her descent. Not pretty, but effective. "I.. she's sorta far up, ain't she?" A wry smile of mischief, the momentary excitement exactly the kind of thing she enjoys. It's clear by the self-satisfied grin that she's not considering the lousy dismount a failure. Taking the straps off, it takes her a bit because she's dwarfed by the gold more so than even most people. As they're off, she's running her hands over the hide, scratching with a fingernail and finding a flakey patch behind the inner elbow of the foreleg "Any chance she won't get much bigger? This size is perfect." Considering she's the size of a small brown, she's nowhere near fully grown yet. Oddisa waves towards Kate with a jump, "How was it?!"

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