Post by Ghost of Fire (Fëanáro) on Jul 25, 2012 13:23:24 GMT -8
Crimson Atanek was, had he but known it, a occasional source of no small amount of stress to His. As it happened though, the Crimson flitt had not yet worked out why His got distressed when hanging out around new people. The little Crimson loved new people, and exploring of course, but that was a given. It was therefore with un-tempered delight in a new face that Atanek swooped over to say hello to the white-haired lady that had just left one of the personal weyrs.
“Atanek,” Tamaruk whined quietly. Naturally, the Crimson flitt ignored him and preceded to hover in front of the lady’s face in greeting. The boy sighed. It wasn’t that he wasn’t curious about the lady, he was, for he couldn’t recall having seen her before, it was just that he wasn’t yet nerved up to the approaching her. Beside him, Sinok started wagging his tail, and Guyaky crooned quietly from his customary perch on Tamaruk’s shoulder.
Tamaruk glanced around, hoping to see someone approaching who he already knew so that they could handle the talking, but the area was deserted. No help for it, he was going to have to talk. Cautiously, he stepped out into sight. He was taller than the lady by almost a half-foot or so, he noticed with a feeling of awkwardness as he stepped a little closer. He’d gotten a lot better at interacting with others since his arrival, but new people still made him a little nervous.
“Lady,” he began. His voice was a compromise between diffidence and maintaining normal conversation volume, which Rallin and Gillian had made him practice. “I’m sorry about Atanek; he hasn’t learned to be polite yet.” In Tamaruk’s opinion (though he didn’t consciously think about it) this was a perfectly correct statement, since politeness had for most of his life meant staying out of the way and unseen.
"Atanek is his name?" Nickta tilted her head to the side and smiled at the Crimson flitt in front of her. "Oh, I've met much more impolite Firelizards than him. He's just curious."
She glanced up at the boy, whose shyness interested her far more than the Firelizard; he reminded her of herself at that age. A Candidate, no doubt. Perhaps it was because he had been raised that way or because he was naturally that way.
Either way, Nickta's shyness had faded with age and rank. Politeness was another matter.
Post by Ghost of Fire (Fëanáro) on Jul 26, 2012 16:14:49 GMT -8
Tamaruk wasn’t sure if the Lady’s first question should be answered or not. He thought it was what Gillian referred to as a “rhetorical question”, but he wasn’t sure. His throat felt rather constricted, a physical reflection of his mental uncertainty, so he decided to risk a nod of confirmation, just in case. She didn’t seem upset about Atanek, at least.
She looked over at him as she finished speaking, and he instinctively pulled his shoulders forward as though shielding himself. He had a brief argument with himself at her question: old instinct said to answer and then retreat to safety; new experience said to answer and stick around. Choosing the latter, he self-consciously straightened and swallowed before replying.
“I’m Tamaruk,” he answered, again in a voice that sat on the quiet side of conversational, though it was slightly steadier than his first words. Again he hesitated, and again new experience won out — he settled his eyes on a point near the lady’s right cheekbone, rather than looking at the ground, and continued: “The Aurora’s Guyaky, and Sinok’s the canine.” Guyaky crooned a careful greeting, but he didn’t leave his place on Tamaruk’s shoulder.
Tamaruk’s nerve faltered then, for consistently behaving in this manner, as though he had every right to be where he was and to be doing as he did, was taxing on his will. He was trying to rewrite his entire behavior guideline, and doing so is never easy. His eyes slid to the ground, but he still managed to continue with what he’d been told (about a month and a half after reaching the Weyr) was the correct response.
Nickta was becoming increasingly interested in his backstory. A good thing, as she hadn't been interested in anything in quite some time.
She shifted her gaze over to the canine and up to Guyaky. The boy clearly had an affinity with animals, so regardless of his silence, he wasn't completely shut off from his emotions or inner self or whatever it was that made people people.
Lifting a hand, she absently ruffled her hair, placing the other hand on her hip as she looked back up at him. "A pleasure to meet you, Tamruk. I'm Nickta. Rider of Gold-Silver Liakyrith."
And then years of questions prompted the next sentence. "And no, she's not Gold with Silver shine; she's literally a Gold-Silver. Her wings are smaller than the rest of her. And Silver."
Post by Ghost of Fire (Fëanáro) on Jul 27, 2012 21:30:50 GMT -8
Tamaruk had learned much about dragons in the six months that he’d been living at the Weyr; they were everywhere, and it had taken very little effort for the curious little boy to learn a lot about them. However, his unwillingness to ask questions meant he was still sketchy on several things, and that included knowledge of those Queen colors not at Ice Stone. He knew that Silvers and Golds were both Queens, but that didn’t tell him why Liakyrith’s wings, being Silver, should be smaller than the rest of her, presumably Gold, body.
He was still puzzling over that when the Lady, Nickta, shifted the topic to a much less comfortable subject, namely him. He literally froze at her question. It wasn’t even an uncommon question, nearly everyone he met asked him that eventually, it was just that he still felt nervous answering it. He didn’t want to sound as though he were correcting the person asking; that led to bad things in his experience, but he’d also been told to tell people the truth when they asked him, so…
“Well, not officially,” he said, his tone slipping a little further into the range of quiet diffidence. “I might be for the next Hatching, but for this one I’m still going to be a little young. Harper Gillian says… er… that is, I’m only twelve Turns now.”
Done saying hello, Atanek hovered closer to the stranger for a second more, then flew back over to His. Seeing that elder-Guyaky had His’s shoulders monopolized, settled on the back of the warm-black-furry-thing.
Without thinking about it, Tamaruk reached over and rubbed Atanek’s closest eyeridge, smiling slightly at the flitt’s crooning response. He didn’t realize it, of course, but often the only reason he was capable of interacting with strangers was that Atanek had unwittingly paved the way, approaching strangers over and over, each time coming away unharmed. Had he but known it, that had been the reasoning that Gillian had used in obtaining the flitt for him.
Eager to get the conversation back on safer ground, Tamaruk forced himself to raise his eyes again and asked: “Are Silvers normally smaller than Golds, then?”
"I forgot. Too many years at Rainbow Mists. I'm always assuming you know our colors and now that I've been here I always assume visitors know yours." She offered a small smile as she met his eyes before politely resting her gaze on Atanek and the dog. There was no reason to make the boy seem more shy than he already was, and asking questions was good.
"Silvers are significantly smaller than Golds -- not so much when they're standing next to each other, but enough that their wingspans aren't quite the same. Lia's all Gold with Silver wings. First of her kind. And hopefully the last. Took her a long time to figure out how to be two things at once."
In her sleep, Lia twitched her tail and sent an absentminded wave of love towards Nickta. She always knew when she was being talked about.
Nickta looked back up at the shy boy in front of her, blue eye twinkling. "Do you want to Impress one day, Tamaruk?"
Post by Ghost of Fire (Fëanáro) on Jul 29, 2012 20:56:16 GMT -8
Tamaruk breathed a silent sigh as Nickta’s eyes slid away from his. He still wasn’t comfortable with maintaining eye contact; he’d gotten beaten for it too many times in the past. He filed away the information that Silvers were smaller, in wingspan at least, than Golds, then the lady asked him if he wanted to Impress.
Tamaruk hesitated. Like most children and young adults, his hidden desire was for a dragon to accept him. To be forever free, able to go where he wanted, do what he pleased. No one would dare to hurt him then! There was only one problem with that idea. “I’m not sure I could,” he murmured, unwilling to say that it was his secret dream. “There’s not much to recommend me to a dragon.” After all, if he’d been the kind of person to become a dragonrider, surely he wouldn’t have been a drudge for the first twelve Turns of his life. No one made dragonriders do things like that.
Nickta's head shot back up, her gaze resting steadily on him - not meeting his eyes, but skimming him, giving him a once-over. He reminded her a lot of herself at that age: lacking confidence, shy, loving animals, possibly even abused.
She had had a dream of going to the Weyr to keep her going through that.
She supposed he did, too.
"I somehow doubt that. The firelizards love you. I like you, even though I don't know you very well. And you're curious to learn. From five minutes of meeting with you, I'd say there's plenty of reason that a dragon would choose you."
Post by Ghost of Fire (Fëanáro) on Jul 30, 2012 15:50:03 GMT -8
Tamaruk stepped back, the sudden question rattling him. Of course he thought that, what else was there to think? Before he could even begin to format a reply, Nickta was talking again, this time listing reasons why he would be acceptable to a dragon. Her words danced through his mind; she’d called being curious a good thing! Of course, everyone here had answered his questions, but… everything was just so different here! He didn’t know what to think any more.
He sniffed, fighting the tears that had filled his eyes. He didn’t understand that either; he was happy, so why was he scared? He was safe, so why was he so convinced of danger? He never cried, not really, so why were his eyes moist? The current of his emotions was too strong, too wild, for him to analyze or even begin to understand.
He raised his eyes again, unsure of when he’d lowered them. He heard Nickta’s question, saw it echoed in her eyes, but he couldn’t speak his answer. There was no fixed reason, and his mind, even now, shied away from the worst of what it had seen and felt, shied away from the buried memories that wanted to surface. All he could do was stand there in silence, his eyes tearing, his mouth incapable of forming the words needed to answer, incapable of putting to words what had been beaten into his mind.
Lia, wake up. No. Good. You're about to have a visitor. You were like him before you were Mine? Yes. But I had M'kio. The memory of her long-since passed cousin brought a momentary pang of hurt to her heart. I do not believe he had anybody until he came here. You want him to meet me? It couldn't hurt.
Part of her wanted to just reach out and hug the crying boy, but when she was his age, her own pride would have shoved her away -- she was all she had and, her emotions or not, she wouldn't have wanted anybody else interfering.
So Nickta reached forward and scratched the firelizard on Tamruk's shoulder on its eyeridges, giving the boy a moment to compose himself before quietly speaking.
Post by Ghost of Fire (Fëanáro) on Jul 30, 2012 17:23:17 GMT -8
Tamaruk swallowed a couple times, his gaze having dropped again. All his will-power was focused on not crying, none left over to force his eyes to meet those of another. In some distant part of his mind, he was aware of, and grateful for, the fact that Nickta was allowing him at least the illusion of privacy. He was also aware of Guyaky’s crooning, but not truly conscious of it.
It took a few moments for her question to penetrate, even though he was mostly composed by the time she asked it. When it did though, it provided the final piece in shoving down all the memories. Meet a dragon! He’d been at the Weyr for almost six months, but he’d only met a couple dragons.
“I’d love to!” he exclaimed, meeting Nickta’s eyes with a smile, excitement forcing his voice into a normal conversational range at last. As soon as the words left his mouth he drew back, horrified. What had he done? Talking like that, not even a please, he was going to be in trouble. Hurriedly, he tried to correct his mistake.
“Ah, that is, if it’s not too much trouble, please,” his tone had returned to its habitual diffidence, and he looked over to the side.
As Tamaruk met her eyes, Nickta felt a wave of pleasure at the sudden enthusiasm.
But it left as quickly as it had come.
She had always been observant. His reigning in his pleasure at the idea of meeting Lia hadn't gone unnoticed by her -- though his enthusiasm had made up for it.
"Between you and me, I like your enthusiasm much better than your politeness."
She flashed him a smile, even if he couldn't see it. Dropping her hand from the firelizard, she turned back towards where Lia lay. "There's no need to pretend with me. If you feel like yelling about how the world sucks, or about how the world is fantastic, or you can just be quiet and not do anything at all, if that's what you want."
She glanced over her shoulder. "Lia's this way. She's sleepy, so she's refusing to come out and meet us halfway."
I am cozy. Lia's voice drifted into her mind and, she knew, Tamaruk's. Her mouth twitched upwards at her dragon's willingness to talk to the boy. You can join me in being cozy. It will be nice.
Post by Ghost of Fire (Fëanáro) on Jul 30, 2012 20:33:16 GMT -8
Tamaruk’s mouth dropped open. He’d only ever heard one other dragon in his time at the Weyr, and Temperanth’s voice had not been nearly so friendly seeming as this one. It wasn’t a truly fair comparison, for Tamaruk’s confidence had increased by leaps and bounds since his much earlier conversation with Hedara and Temperanth, and that doubtless had an effect on the way he perceived the mind-voice. In fact, he’d been so surprised by the sound of the dragon’s voice that he completely forgot, consciously at least, about Nickta’s comment regarding enthusiasm versus politeness.
He managed to refrain from darting towards the dragon, but it was a close thing. Indeed he was practically bouncing in place as he followed Nickta to meet Liakyrith. Picking up on the boy’s excitement, Sinok perked his ears up. The new human-lady was friendly, all was well.
As they entered her room, Liakyrith lifted her head and looked at her Mine and the boy behind her.
Nickta motioned absentmindedly towards one of the several chairs strewn about the small room, moving towards the fire that still lit the room. "I'm making klah. Do you want any?"
Why would he want klah? It smells. "You don't like anything that isn't meat." I am a dragon. "You're a Queen, that's what you are. Think you only get the best." That, replied Liakyrith calmly. Is because I do. "Klah, Tamaruk?"