Bonding In Action

Characters Alexa Tejra
Synopsis Alexa and Tejra bond and definitely don't die.
Out-of-Character Date March 18, 2020

Xanadu Weyr - Forest Pool
Formed by ancient volcanic activity and composed of mostly of a single solid rock, the uneven surface of this island contains little dirt. Tree roots delve into cracks and grip tenaciously while the thin layer of humus provides nourishment for the moss, ferns and sparse plant life of this park-like woodland and cushions the forest floor underfoot. Shafts of golden sunshine slant between the trunks, creating emerald puddles of light upon the moss, encouraging flowers to bloom where insects flitter.

Summer in the South - Month 11 of Turn 2724

It's a glorious day in early summer in Xanadu. Sure, the timezones are weird compared to Igen which means this trip has necessitated a day off (OH WOE~) for the journeywoman. No, don't tell her superiors that since Igen is actually finding dawn long after Xanadu that she didn't really need to take the whole day or that technically she's not showing a visiting weyrwoman around the area on official business. Who needs to know? The point is that when Alexa arrives in Xanadu, Tej has a backpack and a mischievous grin. At /least/ she told Alexa to bring a swim suit if she wanted one. At least that. But other than that, the hike into the Xanadoan wilderness is a mystery. There's been the exchanged pleasantries involving 'ugh, back at Xanadu, but at least it's not Igen' and 'did you spawn alright?' with all the sensitivity the redhead could muster (listen, not much, but she tried, alright?) and now they come to this place. It's not been a rigorous hike nor a particularly far one, but here is the pool and there is Tej with a grin as her arms throw wide to welcome the Igenite to this small slice of paradise. "Told you it would be worth it."

Alexa's certainly not going to go spilling secrets. And she *is* a visiting weyrwoman, and Tejra *is* showing her things. So technically what she said was true. And who knows? Maybe Tejra needed that early morning to plan the visit? Just like Alexa totally needed to come to Xanadu for Very Important Business and not at all because she was going half-mad in the desert. Raaneth has been left to sunbathe, leather jacket shoved in some saddlebag, leaving the blond free to drink in the sunshine (because she doesn't get enough of that at Igen? >.>). And she did spawn alright, thank-you-for-asking. A little girl with lungs like a lion who has been happily passed off to doting caretakers while Alexa makes her great escape. And maybe it's postpartum sleep deprivation (because babies) that has Alexa hiking through the forest, and follow Tejra into the wilds of the wilderness without asking those important questions like 'where are you taking me?' and 'what are we doing there?'. There's only a little skepticism and side-eyeing on the way. There probably should have been more. But at least Alexa's "Wow," is genuine, green eyes dancing for all the other green around them. And water! "It's beautiful!"

"Yes," Tej offers with all the false cheer of a tour guide. "It's true that Xanadu's forest are filled with wonders, and also wildlife, so do watch your step, but there's lots that can be discovered with a little legwork." Of course, that's also about the time she swings in to try to grab one (if not both) of Alexa's hands and puuuuull her back toward the path that climbs to the overhanging rock. "You haven't even seen the half of it yet," is a delighted, impish promise. Her hands mean to drop away once they're moving, up and up and up. "And of course," she dares probably because she means to talk about it on the way up, "We'll have to get back down somehow. Jumping works well here." Her pale gaze comes casting back over one shoulder, letting one judgmental brow jump, "Unless you're scared."

"I stare at sandstone walls and rocks for most of my day," drawls Alexa. "I'm allowed to be excited over green things and water." At least, that's her argument and she's sticking to it! It's as she's being pulled away that the wariness returns, though really… she probably knew what she was getting into. Or at least, she knew it wasn't gonna be tame. It's the climbing up and up and up that has her looking less and less convinced this was a good idea, though resigned acceptance will see her to the top. "Uhh…" And for a moment, just a moment, she totally considers backing out of it. Because responsibilities and adulthood or something. But maybe it's both of those things that have those green eyes narrowed and a suspiciously mischievous smirk pulling at her lips as she summons enough bravado to declare, "I ride a queen. I'm not scared of shit." (Except maybe spinners, which absolutely require someone other than her to squish them).

There's a little wrinkle to Tejra's nose in distaste. The look is entirely at odds with the words that are offered in a tone that should come with a hair flip, "Well, rocks are very pretty." But not as pretty as forests and the journeywoman flashes a grin back at Alexa because surely they both know it. "Riding a queen makes you immune to fear, is that how it works?" Tej casts back at the goldrider, her usually melodic voice pitching more toward a purr. There's something feline and predatory in the way the question is asked - like a cat just sighting the tail end of a ball of yarn. "Is it some kind of magic? The gold just rubs off on you and there's a pretty varnish over anything that ought to terrify you?" There's challenge to the question, but for Alexa who is, yes, they're definitely becoming friends, something still playful about the way she poses the question, like she's lofting the birdie toward a friend's racket for a friendly game.

"Uh huh." Rocks. Pretty. "Next time I'll bring you some." And they will all look exactly the same. Because Igen. (And also, because Alexa cannot be bothered to find unique things on the desert floor). "Riding a queen means I've already had to face my fears so… sure. Fearless. That's me!" Or not. But hey, who's gonna say she's wrong? She's climbing this dang mountain and already said she'd jump off it so… "I think it's less magic and more repression. Just, you know. Shove down those feelings of terror until you learn to ignore them." Totally healthy. "There's only so many times you can face your fears before it becomes a little boring." SO, LISTEN. Her fears are things like Public Speaking and Strange Holders Flirting With Her (which clearly needs to be capitalized for Emphasis). And she's definitely had to face both of those. "Like now. I mean. Should I be terrified of leaping to my death? Yeah. Probably. Am I gonna do it?" The loft of a pale brow and the curl of a confident smirk says yes. Yes she is. Just ignore the slightly manic look in those green eyes. "Damn right I am."

"You're too kind!" Tejra trills that reply like the gracious lady she is not. "It so happens that I've great needs for rocks in my life. To throw at all the stupid people I encounter." She wouldn't. It's just a figure of speech. Nevertheless, she mimes tossing rocks underhand in the direction of invisible figments of idiocy. "Which ones?" The harper who did study catalogues and ledgers for some time herself wouldn't just let the goldrider's remark about having already faced her fears go without some elucidation. Of course, the harper (might have to remind herself now and again that she) is also the goldrider's would-be friend so the blonde probably has the option to not answer without being needled (too much). Or at least, which would Alexa choose to share? "That, I can relate to. Fear does have a way of becoming quite dull or excessively invigorating. It has to be really scary to get to me, these days." If we don't care fears like, caring about people beyond the surface. Ahem. A sidelong glance goes to Alexa just before Tej comes to the top of the trail and onto the flat rock where she starts making short work of her pack. She could help alleviate Alexa's fears about the safety of this endeavor given that this is a popular place for the activity, so safe even the candidates were allowed a trip out here, but she's apparently not that (good) kind of friend. "Damn right you are." She supports with a grin as the doffing of pack leads naturally into the removal of clothes to reveal the green swimsuit and skin that is no longer constantly just a little crispy (THANK YOU, IGEN), but still has no tan to speak of. (And never will. Sob.)

Alexa is totally going to use the excuse of climbing a mountain to just pretend she didn't hear that question. SO STRENUOUS! SO MUCH WORK! Clearly, she should get out more or something. Funny she isn't winded or anything. But at the top, and possibly looking down, might have a bit of that bravado crack. She's still totally gonna jump. She's just not gonna look nearly as excited about it as she did a moment ago. Gulp. "People actually do this for fun?" She maybe doesn't see the appeal yet. But hey. In for a penny (mark?), in for a pound. There might just be a little stubborn chin-jut toward the jumping point, as if it might have feelings and be trying to intimidate her. And then there's the wiggling out of clothes and the reveal of bathing attire, because she at least took that memo to heart. Crispy-skin is definitely something Alexa battles on the regular, but perhaps she's currently winning the war as it's only her nose and the tops of her shoulders that look to be a bit pinker than they ought. "You're jumping first, right?" It's not really a question.

Uh huh. Everyone believes Alexa. Especially Tej. Especially Tej who just gives her the slightly smug look of someone TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY BUYING IT. "People do this for fun all the time. How better to prove you're still alive than to make yourself feel the haunt of your mortality right over your head?" She casts a wild smile toward the goldrider as she stretches a little - not a bad idea after the hike, before a leap into cooler water. "I could jump first," the redhead allows as if they were negotiating now on some very important clause of a peace treaty (and maybe they are?), "but how could I be sure I won't have to walk all the way back up here to push you off if I do?" SHE WOULDN'T, honestly, who do you take Tej for? A MONSTER? Okay, tunnelsnake, maybe, but not that bad! "We could jump together," she suggests. "And if it helps, this isn't the scariest thing I've done even this seven. Probably isn't the scariest thing you've done this seven. And after you do it the first time, you'll either want to do it again or sunbathe while I do." A beat. "I brought berries and tarts in my pack for when we're finished. "And booze. You're allowed to have that now, right?" TEJ IS, since there's no current clutch for her to stand for just this hot minute, despite the fact that she definitely still has her white knot somewhere.

"Uh huh. Makes total sense. How better to feel alive than putting yourself into a totally optional life-threatening situation." She's not leaving so… Can't be that bad. But there's a squinty glance toward the water. And then a squinty glance toward the Harper, which ends with a snort and the assertive declaration that, "S'not like I'd wait around for you to come push me! If you jumped and I didn't, I'd total just climb down and run away, too." Cause if she's gonna chicken out, she might as well go all the way with it. But no. She's going nowhere. Even if she might be questioning her sanity. "Mm. True. I did push out a baby. And that was pretty scary," agrees Alexa. Perspective. "But if I'm going down, I'm definitely taking you with me." Ominous. "Definitely jumping together." A snort and a smirk, but now there's a fire in her eyes for the thrill of danger. Or at least, the thrill of doing something unexpected and somewhat crazy. "Yup. Totally allowed." She'll at least spare Tej the details about wetnurses and such. "But no need to bribe me. I'm totally gonna jump." But she's also totally gonna hold Tejra's hand on the way down.

"Run away?" Tej muses, "Into the woods?" Cue the feral smile that has her looking more inhuman for all that she very much is. "How are you on land navigation, Aly? Could you find your way back if you went running off? I mean, I'm sure Raaneth would meet you when you found a convenient clearing large enough. But could you? Find your way back?" The trail was traveled but not especially well marked to get to this place. "Besides, you'd miss the berries and the tarts." And who would want to do that? There's a sense with the first set of questions, that the redhead actually does have some measure of personal concern, or at least point of information - how much of Tej's perhaps routine fun and games might the goldrider be able to handle without Tej having to worry she'll end up on the wrong side of an angry queen in search of her rider? These are valid questions, but not so pressing as the immediate need for air on every side, the feeling of falling to give that rush before cool waters will claim them. One hand extends to the goldrider now that Tej is ready. "We run and jump as far as we can go. Let go before we hit the water," it's the better way to be safe with a drop from this height, at least according to Tej.

"Decent." Terrible. "I could probably find my way back." She'd be dead-lost in two steps. "Or I could climb a tree or something. To get a lay of the land." HA. HAHAHAHA. Even Alexa can't keep a straight face when she says that one. "It's fine," she decides, literally hand-waving away the questions. "I'm not gonna run away. At least not into the woods. So." Moot point? A little shrug and a grin (and maybe she ought to be more worried about all the feral looks on her Harper-friend, but perhaps freedom from Igen has gone to her head, or Alexa's brain has been suitably fried by the desert, because there's not an ounce of discernable concern). "Let's do this!" she agrees, taking that hand and turning to face that fear challenge with jutted chin and too-bright eyes. "Run. Jump. Let go. Splash. Got it."

"Right." Tej allows Alexa her lies, but the look in her eyes doesn't. "I'm extremely convinced." Okay, maybe she won't, but nor will she fight about them here and now. "I'll teach you to climb trees." Cough. "But first, jumping through the air and hopefully not dying. Ready? GOOD!" And off they go whether Alexa was, in fact, ready to run to the edge of the cliff or not. Whether the blonde does in fact end up going over, the redhead does, looking to release that hand upon leaping (or whenever after) with a carefree WHOOP released into the universe, so much happier than the last time they yelled where no one could care and down, down, down, SPLASH! It takes Tej very little time to surface, and she looks immediately for her partner in crime thrill-seeking.

Alexa was definitely ready. If nothing else, when she decides to do something she does the thing. So there is running, and leaping, and a release of Tejra's hand and screaming at top of their lungs and even if Alexa might be half-screaming in fear and half-screaming in delight, it's all the same in the end. The splash into the water is satisfying, and while Igen might not boast the best swimming spots, Alexa makes it to the surface. She might not be a natural, but she can tread water and doggy-paddle like a champ. Wet hair plastered to her head, there's still a grin that speaks volumes even if (once she's gulped a bit of air) her first words are, "That was fun I suppose. If you like that sort of thing." But really, it's not meant to convince anyone. "Shame we have to climb all the way back up."

"Yes," Tej lets her voice slide toward stuffy, agreeable. "A most pleasant way to exercise in the afternoon. If you like that kind of thing." There's a drawn out beat before the redhead splashes at the blonde and her faux calm. Tej won't let her drown, but apparently the goldrider is not getting out of this without a little friendly dunking and splashing, as if they had each cut ten turns off their not-even-very-old ages. For Tej, there's brilliant smiles and wicked grins for her new friend, and after a while, there's the obligatory issue of challenge, "Last one up and back down is a wherry egg." And zoooooom off she heads for the trail amidst laughter and with sunshine to light the day in the ways that the mood doesn't. They can talk another day. Today is for bonding in action.

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