Wood met wood. The sound was immediately covered by quick steps against stone before it rang out again, this time closer to D’ziel. His eyes widened only slightly, though his mouth was already pressed together in concentration. He deflected, stepped back and lunged.
He knew it was coming.
A deft motion and he lost his grip on the sword and it fell away, his opponent holding it to his chest. After a moment there was a short laugh and D’ziel mimicked it, though with a breathy tiredness.
“Still need to practice that. But not too bad.” There was a little bit of mirth from his opponent but if D’ziel wasn’t so easygoing he might have taken offense. He’d been getting his butt handed to him day after day. It wasn’t just this man either. No wondered he handed out swords to the new riders at Ice Stone. It felt like every rider knew how to use them. More samples of the ‘Southerner’ differences. But he was still getting better.
“I’ll get you tomorrow.” D’ziel’s words were pleasant, if light, what with him being out of breath. There was a laugh, and D’ziel left. Out, around a corner and he collapsed against a wall, catching his breath. He leaned against the wall, breathing in the cooler air. Then Pounce jumped on his lap. D’ziel tried to push her away.
“Come on, you are too warm” He complained as she maneuvered right back to her lap. He was too tired to do more than chuckle and lean back against the wall again. Felines. Always the winners in the fight between annoyance and compliance.
Libby was delivering water that afternoon. It was a hard job, heavy work. It reminded her of her days on the ship. She was behind on her route, there had been a spill earlier. Despite the burden on her arms and the ache in her grip, she enjoyed deliveries. The twists and circles, the rings of the Weyr were her personal paths. She was in the know about its secrets and shortcuts, narrow nooks and drafty spots.
"Ya need a drink," she said. She was taking this to the sparring room. "Help me with it, you get first sip," she laughed, setting her load down for a moment. If only he refused too. Then she'd get in a good laugh at him.
D’ziel was still catching his breath when the girl with the bucket stopped in front of him. He looked up as she spoke and let his mouth twitch up with amusement. He should help her out. However, the problem with sitting down right after exercise was getting up was hard. Not physically (well maybe a little) but it was just so comfortable, and there was Pounce on his lap…
“Let’s see what I can do for you. There is a puddle on my lap you see.” Pounce looked unperturbed by the human’s conversing. This was HER lap. D’ziel tried to move her again, and she just turned into a limp feline. Just when it looked like he could lift her free, it became clear that she had hooked her claws onto his pants. Lovely. He started his careful untangling of the stubborn feline and his clothing, all the while the silver creature purred. Of course she thought this was fun. She would. Finally Pounce was free and the rider tossed her gently to the side, and she landed perfectly to the side. Then she pounced back toward his lap. Out of necessity D’ziel rolled out of the way, then with his hands pushed himself up quickly before she could do more of her namesake.
He wasn’t sure which was more difficult, getting Pounce off of him, or getting up. He reaaaaaaly wanted to sit back down.
“Sorry about that. So you needed a hand?” He held out his right hand. Part joke, part serious. An open invitation to put something heavy in it.
The open hand soon had a bucket in it. Her own hands unoccupied, Libby crouched to offer Pounce a pet. She seemed a friendly enough feline. She was a pretty silvery color, kind of like her Iron flitt Anchor. Cat attended to, Libby continued her walk to the sparring room, blissfully bucket-free. She offered a casual wave to the instructor upon entering, and then a pleased smile that she'd outsourced her work to someone else. "Right here," she pointed at the water spot. "Thanks for helping out. As promised, take a drink." She'd wait until he had a moment to refresh before asking:
"We've met before?" She didn't really remember if they had, but he seemed vaguely familiar. But when you worked in kitchens and delivery, almost everyone did.
Gah, arms, dying. He kept a firm hold on the water though. He didn’t pay attention to Pounce, who was perfectly content to be pet. As Libby pulled away she walked by her, rubbing on her legs. And now this human was also hers. She was getting quite the collection. She stepped lightly after D’ziel who was doing his best to not look distressed. He made it back in and to the right location in any event. He placed it down and his reward was in sight. He didn’t need more encouragement, he took a drink for himself right quick. She waited until he had taken a drink to ask her question, which was nice of her. He wracked his brain for a moment, trying to place the face with a name. He came up empty on names.
“I remember your face but I don’t know if I know your name? So I’m not sure.” She didn’t sound too sure either, so he decided that introductions were in order anyhow. “Well, I’ll introduce myself anyway to make sure. I’m D’ziel of Moonlight Hocteth, and that’s Pounce.” He pointed at the feline, who was making herself known by rubbing against his pant leg. This one was more certainly hers, but she could never be too careful.
"Libby Beckle," she echoed. "I'm in the kitchens and deliveries so that probably 'splains why you've seen my face." She took a sip of the water and encouraged the instructor to come take a drink, waving them over. "Your feline is nice. Reminds me of my firelizard. I have an Iron, Anchor. Present from an ol' LifeWing Rider -- you met Kyuuki your time here? She's fair as can be, skin and hair, you can't miss her."
“Nice to meet you Libby.” He watched instructor get water and listened to Libby before speaking slowly. ”I’ve seen her, but I don’t think I’ve ever made her acquaintance personally. Heard the name though. An Iron’s a good color, I’d love to meet him. Is she your relative?” He didn’t think so, but he wouldn’t put it part them being some or of great something relation. That made most sense to him as to how she got a flitter as a gift.
“You know, if you ever need for Anchor to get a run around, Pounce is a pretty active Feline. She likes playing with firelizards too, if you ever wanted to do a playdate for our gray friends.” He could use it, Pounce caught into more trouble when she wasn’t properly run around.
"Likewise D'ziel." She thought that at one of these meetings they'd have to run into Moonlight Hocteth, if only to have an idea of which great flying thing coming and going was his. "She's something of a chosen family, if she'd let me say that. We don't have much in the way of relations ourselves, so we started off fighting and became family-like in short order." Libby explained. It felt a little personal, but it was honest, which was also a little uncomfortable. Still, after these Turns in the Weyr.
"Anchor!" Libby called, hands cupped. A grey blur winked into the room. He alighted on her shoulder and she gave him a good long scratch under the chin. The two of them smiled, affection felt through their bond. "He's a good 'un. Say hi to D'ziel." The Iron chirped. He usually wasn't summoned during the workday. This was exciting.