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 First Night (open/all)

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weyrwolf



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PostSubject: First Night (open/all)   Sat Apr 04, 2015 11:01 pm

A fair amount of food had been wrangled - Sidran didn't have to rely on her mother's Headwoman training to know it wouldn't last - the fire was large, there was possible space for bathing and for eggs, and they would all have a place to sleep.

There were also people living in the canyon walls, somewhere. At least one wher. A big man who appeared and disappeared in the shadows as though he'd lived here his entire life. Bloody shards.

Gaveth paced in the darkness beyond the fire, between them and the river, and she trusted to his usual demeanor to keep anyone from thinking it spoke at all to her state of mind.

Sidran tilted her head back to study the moons and bright swathe of stars staining the velvet-dark sky above, and smiled with a sort of wry determination. It was their sky now - she felt it with all of Gaveth's intensity - and these other riders were the only ones under it she owed anything to.

Someone was singing, and there was a fair amount of conversation, but just as many sat on their own or in the small pockets of their various classes or loyalties or... She dropped her gaze from the stars and turned her smile toward Br'son. They'd have to do something about all of it, before long. He'd held it together more than well this day, and warmth was the least he could expect from her in answer to that.
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PostSubject: Re: First Night (open/all)   Mon Apr 06, 2015 12:05 am

Br'son caught the smile and jumped a little before recalling himself. He'd been sort of surreptitiously watching Sidran all night. The young titanrider admired the way she moved with such calm assurance. As if she were perfectly confident that everything would turn out all right. As if she'd never come anywhere near the gnawing uncertainty that seemed to be his constant companion.

Well. Except for when Yllaveth was awake to chase it away. His Titan queen seemed to have the same kind of confidence, and Br'son had leaned on it pretty much constantly since they'd arrived at the canyon. But Yllaveth was tired, and needed her rest for the sake of the clutch she carried. So Br'son sat quietly, trying to keep the anxiety at bay and distracting himself with thoughts of the lithe cobalt rider who'd smiled at him!

He smiled back, trying to make it seem easy and confident, but not really succeeding. It's possible he looked somewhat ill.

Someone said something to him, and he caught just the edge of it.

"Oh! Hmm? I'm sorry," Br'son said, turning back to his dinner companion. "What did you say? Something... distracted me."
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PostSubject: Re: First Night (open/all)   Sun Apr 12, 2015 5:37 pm

H'den had considered joining in on the singing, and admired the ones who had it in them to make the attempt. There was a time he'd be out there pushing the mood, trying to get folks to relax as best they could, find some method of fun even in this particular setting.

Though he tried to lounge by the fire, it wasn't working. So instead he stood, circled around, taking in the attitudes that he could discern, brooding in turn. Nimath could and would have been a distraction if she weren't blissfully sleeping in the wallow she'd formed and claimed in the ruin of some uprooted trees.

"Food any good?" he asked the next person he passed, before his brood got any worse.
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PostSubject: Re: First Night (open/all)   Mon Apr 13, 2015 8:14 pm

Avidian watched the dragonriders through a glass for a while before approaching. Sure enough, they fed themselves, then tended to all the usual chores associated with camping out after eating. Interestingly enough, though they all spoke the young queenrider with respect, they seemed to actually defer to one of two women when it came time to make decisions. They seemed to be pretty evenly split, too. Vid pursed his lips as he thought about the ramifications of a possible schism within the group. It could be either an asset to him or a liability. There was no way to tell. Too many variables as yet.

So, time to eliminate some variables.

Vid pocketed his glass and stepped out onto the rough path that led down the side of the canyon in steep switchbacks.

"Dividia, bring your beast, and anyone else who wants to come. Let's go talk to these dragonriders," Avidian said.

***

A few moments later, the rather bulky figure of the smugglers' leader cast a looming shadow against the rock of the canyon wall as he approached the dragonriders' fire.

"Dragonriders," he said. "My name is Avidian. I'm master of the still here. Welcome to White Lightning Canyon. Shall we be allies?"
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PostSubject: Re: First Night (open/all)   Wed Apr 29, 2015 10:51 pm

Dragons.

There were dragons in the Canyon.

It had taken all of Teagan's willpower to not run out and greet the giant beasts immediately. The people with said dragons barely registered to her... her green eyes had trained immediately on the winged creatures that she had only heard of.

When the moment she'd been waiting for, for Avidian to lead a group across to meet the newcomers, finally came, she ducked under and around others to be as close to the front as possible. Being so small had it's advantages at times: slipping away from Nashien and staying under Avidian's radar were two of those.

Avidian was speaking to... someone. The people were of no concern to her. Only the dragons interested her. She looked around surreptitiously before quietly slipping from the pack of people and heading towards the dragons.

They were decidedly more... monolithic up close. She stared up at them, all the colors... it was too hard to decide. "Hello," she said in a shy voice, turning her head around to look at as many as she could at once. "I'm Teagan. Welcome to our home... it's pretty isn't it?"
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PostSubject: Re: First Night (open/all)   Wed Apr 29, 2015 11:04 pm

Br'son glanced around the various groups, and then came unsteadily to his feet. "It's, ah, a pleasure to meet you, Stillmaster Avidian. I am Br'son of Titanium Yllaveth, and we are grateful for your welcome."

The young man threw a rather desperate look over at Sidran and Casriel. Surely one of the cobaltriders was far better suited to this man than he! Young as he was, even Br'son could see that this Avidian was a hard, dangerous man, and the very open ended question the Stillmaster had asked rung in the ensuing silence.

"As to an alliance..." Br'son said, looking around again, hoping for help like a drowning man hopes for a stray log floating by. "Ah... I suppose we might, at that. But. Um. We should probably decide what that means."

Avidian smiled at the boy, his eyes shuttered. Young, he thought. Young and out of his depth. And for some reason, all the rest of the dragonriders were letting the whelp take the lead. Must be a dragonrider thing. The young man had identified himself as a Titanium rider. Did that make him the leader by default? Vid had always respected dragonriders as a distant thing, but he'd heard that they let their beasts pick their leaders for them. That had never seemed to be the best method to him, but it wasn't his business.

Hadn't been, that is.

Still, the boy hadn't hidden. That was something.

"Well, for now let's say it means we won't run you out of our canyon, and you won't let your beasts eat us. May we join your fire?"

Br'son jumped and gestured toward the blazes as he realized more than just Avidian had approached. There was Dividia, and the large, glowing eyes of her wher shone in the darkness next to her. "Yes, please!" he said. "Join us. We don't have much, but we're happy to share," he said, ignoring the almost silent sighs from those around him. Destitute they might be, and outcast, but they were dragonriders, shard it all! They would be polite!

"We'll share, too," Vid said. More and more figures emerged from the darkness, holding out flasks and bottles and plates of food. "One bit of advice," he said softly to the young man. "Tell your people to go easy on the juice. We make it strong here in White Lightning."

Avidian had no idea why he said that, other than that it made sense to establish as much of a rapport as possible. Dragonriders brought all sorts of possibilities with them. He moved with the young man to a seat beside one of the fires and handed Br'son his own flask. A jerk of his head invited Dividia to join them, and he noticed that Br'son waved two women over as well.

When they were settled, Avidian dove right in. "Dividia tells me that your queen needs a place to clutch, and that you like our spring cavern. We're willing to make that work. If you're willing to let our people Stand for Impression."



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PostSubject: Re: First Night (open/all)   Thu Apr 30, 2015 12:21 am

Lolath turned her head to look at the small person who spoke to her.  

This one looks different, she said to her rider.  Her hair is so light in color.  It reflects the firelight almost as well as my hide. This last was said with a bit of pride.  Lolath was rather fond of the way the light reflected subtle colors off of her pale hide.  In the darkness of the canyon night, she and the other quartzes nearly glowed.  Come and talk to this one.  Yllaveth's rider and Gaveth's and Maraxith's will handle the older ones.  Come see this small one.  She wants so badly to talk to me.  It would be nice to make her smile.  

Siona finally turned her head away from the momentous conversation going on closer to Br'son's fire and looked where her quartz indicated.  Sure enough, there was a light-haired child there with a wonder-filled look on her face.  Well, Siona teased her dragon, Why don't you talk to her, then?

Do not be silly.  You are my rider.  But she is sweet.  You may tell her I said so.  

Siona laughed and took a step toward the pair of them: dragon and child.  

"Hello, little one," Siona said.  "I'm Siona, and that's Lolath. She says to tell you that you're sweet.  What's your name?"
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PostSubject: Re: First Night (open/all)   Thu Apr 30, 2015 12:43 am

Teagan spun around, eyes huge in surprise. She had forgotten that there were people to meet as well, she had been so in awe of the dragons.

"I'm Teagan," she said without hesitation, her smile brightening. This was no shy, wilting flower. "It's very nice to meet you." Manners, always, though the words were a little rushed in her excitement. "Her name is Lolath?" she repeated, her eyes going right to the quartz. They sparkled with barely suppressed giddiness. "Thank you, Lolath. You're very beautiful."

Her gaze darted back to the rider, rather impressed to be in the presence of not only dragons but their riders now that she was connecting the two. "Are you going to be staying with us?" she asked with the simple logic of a child. She had no idea of the Weyr politics, or concept of the different colors. To her they were simply the protectors of Pern, just like in the teaching songs she was still learning.
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PostSubject: Re: First Night (open/all)   Thu Apr 30, 2015 7:17 pm

A great many things happened at once. Gaveth, feeling the approach of a wher - which for some reason he took as a great insult - immediately ceased his pacing, went pinpoint still for what felt like a long moment but certainly was not, and then charged.

Sidran stood hastily and turned away from the fire, and used nearly every bit of will she had to stop him before he had moved too far - no one else seemed to have noticed overmuch, but then they hadn't felt the pure fury of protectiveness in his mind.

They haven't hurt or threatened us, she said, forcing calm along their bond. We will not be the ones to start anything.

The wher is too close to you, he said, unwilling to let it go so easily.

He is not, and he won't do anything this close to you. It was not quite a scold; there was so much they didn't know, and it wouldn't hurt to be wary. If not aggressive.

It took longer than she would have liked, getting him settled enough that she could turn her attention back to the big man and his suddenly appearing group, but when she did Br'son was there, and Casriel wasn't, and that was enough to be getting on with.

She walked up with a smile - a slight one, not overly gregarious and certainly not false - and touched her hand lightly to Br'son's elbow as she sat beside him. "I like that you speak frankly," she said, and that was genuine as well. "We are in need of a safe place for Yllaveth's clutch, and candidates besides. We'll need to discuss what makes for a good candidate, and work with you in how to train them before the eggs hatch, much as I'm sure you'll want to tell us certain things about how life will be in the canyon."

Dividia leaned back, comfortably, just enough out of the firelight that her eyes were shadowed, and Divisk sat close behind her, glowing eyes fixed on the riders ahead. She listened for now, looking perfectly relaxed, giving no indication of the fact that Divisk rather wanted to both chase them all off like intruding wherries and also get closer to the intriguing titanium who had spoken to him earlier.
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PostSubject: Re: First Night (open/all)   Thu Apr 30, 2015 8:21 pm

Avidian looked from Br'son to Sidran and back again "That is a fact," he said, his tone agreeable. "There are certain things we will need to discuss, if you're planning to stay here. Things I cannot budge on... as, I imagine, is the case with all of you." His eyes flicked between the unsure young man and the calm, self-assured woman.

"But first, tell me. How does this work? I know that dragonriders are led by Weyrleaders and Weyrwomen... would that be the two of you? I just want to know with whom I'm dealing."

***

"She is, isn't she?" Siona said with a fond smile at her preening quartz. "As for staying... I think so. I mean, I think we mean to do so. But we didn't know that anyone lived here when we were... sent here." Her voice hardened slightly at the thought of their humiliating exile. "We should have known. I don't think anyone wants to displace you and your ... family?" She made the last word a question, wondering who this intrepid little Teagan was, especially in company with the hard-faced adults of the group.

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PostSubject: Re: First Night (open/all)   Thu Apr 30, 2015 9:44 pm

"Br'son is our Weyrsenior," Sidran replied, interested in what those 'certain things' were but willing to hold off from pushing. "And my Gaveth flew Yllaveth." It wasn't an answer, but they'd hardly figured out what the leadership structure would need to look like themselves, never mind for the surprise people they'd found in their exile. She gave the slightest of shrugs, to indicate she wasn't withholding.
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PostSubject: Re: First Night (open/all)   Fri May 01, 2015 3:35 pm

"And Yllaveth is the queen," Avidian finished, nodding. "Weyrsenior, hmm? Fair enough. Wouldn't do to call you Weyrwoman, after all," he said with a small, quick flash of a grin to Br'son. "And so you're the Weyrleader. Or near enough. Well, Weyrleader, Weyrsenior. It appears to me that we've a grand opportunity dropped right in our laps tonight. You see, we have something you need. We have the canyon, and we have people. We have a community, and we'd be most happy to include you as part of it. But nothing comes for free, does it? So there's gotta be some trade. And I'm not talking goods, necessarily."

He looked around the group, taking in the sprawling dragons who nevertheless watched his people very closely. Smart dragons, he thought with an inward chuckle. "It seems to me that, being outcasts yourselves, you might have a bit of sympathy for those in a similar situation. You see, my people and I... we've never had much use for high-handed rules forced upon us by those who think they're in a position to decide who's 'worthy' and who isn't."
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PostSubject: Re: First Night (open/all)   Fri May 01, 2015 9:56 pm

@Sevillalost wrote:
"She is, isn't she?" Siona said with a fond smile at her preening quartz.  "As for staying... I think so.  I mean, I think we mean to do so.  But we didn't know that anyone lived here when we were... sent here."  Her voice hardened slightly at the thought of their humiliating exile.  "We should have known.  I don't think anyone wants to displace you and your ... family?"  She made the last word a question, wondering who this intrepid little Teagan was, especially in company with the hard-faced adults of the group.  

Any subtext in Siona's words went right over Teagan's head. Even if she had understood it she wouldn't have noticed: she was far too busy memorizing every single detail of the beautiful dragon who seemed to be posing for her.

Before answering the next questions, she stopped and looked over at where Avidian was speaking to the others. He'd introduced himself, so she could offer that much information up at least. "Avidian is a nice man," she said, smile not wavering. "And yah, we're a family," she added with a happy chirp, turning her eyes once again to the dragon. "Nashien takes care of me a lot, he's over there," she said with a wave of her hand at the group that was slowly spreading out among the weyrfolk.

She quietly hoped Avidian would let the dragons and their riders stay. He looked relaxed and like he had a plan, one that didn't involve the scary things she occasionally heard whispered by the older kids. Maybe things would work out.
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PostSubject: Re: First Night (open/all)   Fri May 01, 2015 10:46 pm

"I have a fair amount of understanding for such things," Sidran said, not quite wryly, and then glanced back over her shoulder at the rest of who had so quickly become her people. Or always had been, since Gaveth's strange hide had glistened in Eastern's hatching grounds. "We all do. And high-handed probably isn't a word anyone would use to describe us. All the things you have to offer sound like exactly the sort of things we both need and want. So what is it you do here, and what is it you need?"
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PostSubject: Re: First Night (open/all)   Wed May 06, 2015 7:54 pm

Casriel and Maraxith both watched, her eyes cold water and his whirling pools of pale green. He was content....for the moment. Casriel less so, still smarting from Eastern's banishment.

"Protection." Casriel said, peeling off from her cobalt dragon's side and walking decisively up to join Sidran and Br'son.

"As you said, you have a community and people. I would be very surprised to hear you produce all the food you need by your own hands. You must do some trading and likely, you have rivals for goods, trade routes or contacts. Dragon riders make for a formidable show of martial support and even if you did not need the escorts or the means of quick transportation, there is Thread to consider. No threat to the hard stone of your canyon but if even one strand gets established in a field or hollow with even one patch of grass in it, you're ruined."

"Protection need not even be aggressive. Our simply presence here draws attention off of you and onto us. Makes hiding in plain sight easier for you and your business."
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PostSubject: Re: First Night (open/all)   Wed May 06, 2015 10:39 pm

Avidian's eyes flicked to the blonde woman, and he included her in his smile. "As I suspected. We are all thinking along very similar lines. I had had the same thoughts regarding protection, Cobaltrider," he said, nodding in Casriel's direction. "And then some. Occasionally, my people will do certain work. Said work would often be easier, and far less dangerous to my people, if some of your people were involved."

Br'son pursed his lips. "You want us to help you be criminals?"

Avidian spread his hands, his small smile firm on his face and said nothing.

Br'son glanced at the two women flanking him, but then took a deep breath. "Fine," he said. "They want to paint us as unworthy misfits, we will show them unworthy misfits. But I must insist that we minimize the risk of danger to dragons and riders. If we're to survive, we cannot let our dragons be threatened. In return, Avidian, I would like to invite you and your people to become a part of our Weyr. Or what will be our Weyr, anyway. A Weyr isn't just dragons and riders. It's, as you said, a community. Become our weyrfolk. Let us integrate our communities into one big, happy family of unworthy misfits."

Avidian's smile grew, and he held out his hand to the boy. "What shall we name this Weyr of ours, then, Titanrider?"

Br'son took it, shook it firmly. "What do you call your business?"

Vid laughed. "I don't talk about the business, as a rule. But when it's unavoidable, I suppose the heart of the business is the White Lightning we distill."

"White Lightning Weyr it is, then."
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PostSubject: Re: First Night (open/all)   Thu May 07, 2015 7:31 pm


'White Lightning Weyr.' Casriel thought to herself, reaching back through the warm pathway of her mind to where it linked with Maraxith. There in the center was a still, attentive gravity that in her mind's eyes seemed to swirl midnight plum chased in shadow.

A name is a good starting place, especially for those of us who are just starting out. Yllaveth's is young but he has her strength at his back and with you, my lovely, at his side....less so right now but more to come....he cannot do anything other than thrive. Maraxith's voice filled her like cool, crisp water did a glass. She breathed a little easier and nodded.

"A good name." she told Br'son, her voice smooth and approving. Sidran be damned if she didn't like it. Yllaveth was flown, almost clutched and after the Hatching, she would rise again. Casriel would throw her all into improving Maraxith's chance for catching her.
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PostSubject: Re: First Night (open/all)   Thu May 07, 2015 7:49 pm

Sidran's smile changed very subtly in those few moments. Faintly indulgent for Casriel's helpful addition to the conversation, considering for Avidian's reply, and agreement with Br'son's decisiveness.

For the final knowledge of what, exactly, the group did - liquor, and one she'd heard of - it tipped much more obviously into appreciation.

"I look forward to discussing the details," she said in turn, meeting Avidian's eyes, then Br'son's, and glancing at Casriel before looking back to the group behind them. "Maybe now would be a good time to announce to everyone, toast and welcome each other to White Lightning."

They had the basics, and it was more than she could have hoped for. The path forward suddenly became far more sharply realized, and promising to boot.
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PostSubject: Re: First Night (open/all)   Thu May 07, 2015 8:22 pm

Avidian nodded, and turned to look expectantly at the boy.  Young man.  Queenrider.  Whatever.  

Br'son actually gulped, then nodded and turned so that he could see the majority of the people and dragons clustered around the various fires.  

Yllaveth let out a trilling sound, and reached out to the minds of her fellows.  My rider has an announcement, my friends, the queen said.  

"Ah, well.  It's... ah.  Been an interesting day," he said, to the accompaniment of a soft rush of laughter.  This brought a grin to the young Weyrsenior's face, and he went on with a bit more confidence.  "But it's been a good day, overall.  I just want to say... I just want to say that we're, that is, Yllaveth and I are, proud of all of you.  If we had to be exiled from my home, there's no other group of people and dragons we'd rather be exiled with."  

That brought a bit more laughter, some of it quite dry.  Br'son waited a moment before continuing on.  

"It looks like most of you have discovered that this canyon wasn't, in fact, uninhabited after all.  Looks like Eastern Weyr got another thing wrong.  But their mistake is our advantage.  I'd like to introduce Avidian, who is the leader of these people here.  These people, who are welcoming us into their home and world.  These people, who from this moment on, are our people.  You can't have a Weyr without weyrfolk, after all.  And Yllaveth and I don't mean to simply survive, we mean to thrive!  So, here we all are.  Dragons and riders and weyrfolk old and new.  And this canyon, these people, this is our Weyr.  You, each one of you, is now a member of White Lightning Weyr!  We're a family, and we'll move on together, as a family."
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PostSubject: Re: First Night (open/all)   Thu May 07, 2015 8:30 pm

Sidran smiled again, nodding along. She snagged a drink - they had a knack for appearing - glanced to make sure the people around her had or were getting one, and put her free hand briefly on Br'son's back.

Then, raising her mug, she said only, "To White Lightning Weyr," in a clear and carrying voice.

Their home. Theirs.
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PostSubject: Re: First Night (open/all)   Thu May 07, 2015 8:44 pm

"To White Lightning Weyr!" Ashrah called and from her perch atop a crag, Hesriath's eyes whirled bright water blue against ruby red hide. The Scarlet dragon bugled happily and from his place on the warm sand, Maraxith rumbled in accordance. A trill from Itzelbith sounded and was lost out in the shadows. Hesriah mantled her wings, which had been half flared and settled down. After pouring herself a small glass of the pale liquid, the scarlet rider climbed up to where her dragon lain, sitting herself in the crook of Hesriath's forearms.

Casriel instead turned to look at Avidian. She closed the distance between them, her attitude casual. Only her eyes seemed to speak and she looked knowing, watchful and confidant.

"I am Casriel and that plum chased Cobalt you see watching us is Maraxith. When is your next delivery meant to leave?" she asked, friendly enough but straight to the business.
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PostSubject: Re: First Night (open/all)   Thu May 07, 2015 8:46 pm

Vid's eyes sharpened. "The night after tomorrow," he said. "Not a large delivery, but an important one. What are you thinking?"
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PostSubject: Re: First Night (open/all)   Thu May 07, 2015 8:54 pm

"I will send a small group of my fellows out, a Sweeps drill of the land. My man will see to it that they are nice and obvious. Maraxith and I can shadow your men if they need escort or make a showy presence for intimation, whichever is more convenient. " Casriel said. New relationships needed tending and attention. If she was going to cultivate trust between her faction and his, care would need to be shown in reference to the bargain struck.
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PostSubject: Re: First Night (open/all)   Thu May 07, 2015 8:56 pm

"A quartz would be less obvious, and we have some who would do a better job," Sidran said, turning back from the continued toasting with another indulgent smile. "And why business is better handled once we've all had a chance to settle in. It's been a long day." Concern touched her tone, her voice low for Casriel alone, if only she weren't standing so close to Avidian. 'You would have known better with some rest,' that tone implied.
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PostSubject: Re: First Night (open/all)   Thu May 07, 2015 9:07 pm

Siona had listened to Br'son's speech and cheered with the rest. When Sidran raised her glass in a toast, the quartzrider found her own drink and joined in. Then she turned to the young girl with a smile.

"Wow," she said. "So I guess that makes us family now, too, hmm? What do you think of that, little one?"

***

Br'son had beamed when his little speech was well received. He'd really wanted to join in the toasting and the revelry that was beginning to break out, especially since Sidran touched him, and he was really inclined to see if she'd dance with him. Surely someone would start playing music soon...

A tune broke out and he turned to Gaveth's rider with a smile, only to hear the conversation between his two cobaltriders and Avidian. Even as he opened his mouth, Sidran was saying that it was late, and business should happen tomorrow. Br'son felt a stab of disappointment, for it seemed as if his Weyrleader, or whatever she was, was not in the mood to play.
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