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Trees, Greens and Grasslands.

Linara escapes from the lunch-time crowd. Luckily there's someone around to bring her something to eat. Some embarrassment ensues.

---| Northern Bowl |-----------------------------------------| Ierne Weyr |---
     North of the lake in the middle of Ierne Weyr's bowl, trees dot a series of small rolling hills created by volcanic folding of the rock beneath. Huge, ancient 'trees' spread broad limbs to the sky, shading large areas in summer with their leaves. Between the clumps of trees are large meadows, their dirt floors covered with thick waves of knee-high grass, interspersed with bright flowers (and more than the occasional weed). The gentle slope of the land keeps water from standing on it, instead sending the rain runoff into the crystalline waters of the lake to the south. At the top of a gentle rise is the Weyr proper, with its weathered stone walls and its inviting doorways marking the entrances to many of the Weyr's main areas. Notable among these destinations are the weyrling barracks, the council room, the queens' ledges, the crafters' cavern, and the dragon infirmary.
      The hot summer afternoon passes below a sky covered in drowsy clouds of cotton wool white.
People:      Linara         
Dragons:     Tejeth          Nuremeth       
Obvious exits:
Crafters' Cavern  Council Room  Dragon Infirmary  Ground Weyr  Lake  Queens' Ledges  Southern Bowl  Weyrling Barracks

It's just after the whole lunch rush at the caverns, with people thronging to complain about the heat, consume copious amounts of cool liquids and complain some more. Linara long ago decided to escape to the leafy coolness of the northern bowl's trees, and is currently stretched out, python-lazy, on one of the bigger branches in one of the bigger trees. There's not much of her visible but a single foot dangling in full view, small and at least partly covered in one of her favourite beaded sandals. The toes are flexing gently, in time with some beat that only they can discern.

It is out of that insane rush that Molen finally departs, blessings and cautions given by the old biddies of the kitchens, which he waves off with a jaunty smile. A long morning has left him tired, but in good spirits, even as his neverending stomach of a green fire-lizard appears from /between/ to settle on his shoulder. He relishes the feel the cool green tail around his neck, but with a tut untangles Pantomime from her perch and lifts her into the air before his face. "I want you to find someone, okay?" Ever-silent, the flit tilts her head to one side, listening. "Find Linara. You know Linara, yes? Find. Linara." With a flip of her wings, the patchwork green disappears, returning seconds later with the wrong face in mind. A second encouragement is given, and this time Linara could probably feel the puff of cold air near her face as the little being appears from /between/. She gives an excited jitter of limbs before /between/ing back to Molen. Minutes pass and then Pantomime's back, zooming up from Linara's tree and back down to the ground below. Finally, a voice calls up, "I'd quote the old wives' tale and ask you to "let down your long hair," but you don't have any."

Linara opens her eyes just in time to see a small green butt with wings disappear, and when it carols its way up in the tree for the second time in a few minutes she's not above opening her eyes and giving Pantomime a beady look before she disappears back downstairs, as it were. She's just about gotten her eyes closed again when the voice drifts up into her leafy perch and, unseen to those below, a lazy smile curls into being on her mouth. "How do you know the girl up here doesn't have scads of hair?" she calls down, voice lazy and possessed of a teasing edge. "With such a bad line, she's not even going to show you, so you'll just have to climb up the tree and see." There's a little shifting rustle and a few shivering leaves to show her position, and the leg-and-sandle retracts. She clears her throat and, eyes still half-open, asks, "What is it with men and long hair anyway?"

"My fire-lizard might not be the brightest, but she's not stupid, Linara." Molen's voice is teasing, but just brash enough that Pantomime whips her tail in agreement rather than bite him on the ear for insult. "And it's not my fault that I'm not suave. I don't hang out with S'et, you know." This time he's all admonishment as he swings himself up the first couple of branches in an impromptu, monkey-like manner. Whatever a monkey is. "No idea, though. I don't really care one way or another, myself." With a multitude of rustles and more than one uncomfortable grunt, Molen's head finally appears from the leafy green-ness, a brilliant smile blooming across his features. "Ha! Found you." He scrambles for a branch roughly parallel to hers and perches astride it, looking quite pleased with himself. Uh oh.

Linara is still on her branch being lazy when he shows up, eyeing the smile and hopefully doing a good job of ignoring the floppiness in her stomach at the sight of it. "I'm /so/ sorry, oh Molen, for impugning your green," she mumbles laughingly as she slowly gets to a more vertical position, one mirroring his to a certain extent. "Well, I'll agree to the fact that you found me, if you're telling me why you're looking like a feline that just spotted a bowl of cream." She deals with branch-messy hair, fingers flicking quickly through the short locks.

Feigning a supreme holier-than-though look, Molen tilts his jaw to eye Linara from an imperious angle. "You'd better be! You wouldn't want to mess with the combined wrath of Molen and Pantomime!" The fire-lizard gives a quiet sneeze of agreement, causing a grin to jerk across the boy's face again. "Since, you know, a lanky boy and a mute 'lizard are soooo scary." With a coy glance he reaches into the pouch slung about his waist, drawing out what looks like a blotched piece of cloth wrapped around a lumpy... lump. His nose scrunches a little, but he peels the cloth back to reveal a pile of doughy blobs liberally covered in melted sweetener. "They look much better when fresh out, but... here, catch." He refolds it and tosses the mess to Linara, hoping she has sure hands. "Try one. I promise they're good. I made them."

Linara has very sure hands, and snatches the packet out of the air with little difficulty. "You made these?" she questions quietly as she unfolds the cloth form the blobs. Her eyes widen slightly at the amount of sweetener on them, and she hesitantly takes one to bite into it slowly. She blinks at the first taste, swallows, licks the sticky sweetener off her mouth and takes another, making a low noise deep in her throat, something between a groan of pure pleasure and an incredulous, happy moan. The last bite in her fingers goes the way of the first, and she licks them off as delicately as a feline might, then reaches for the next one. No speech yet, though.

The little boy in Molen (or, rather, what Molen's little boy should have been) radiates through his eager smile, head bobbing as he excitedly explains. "Yeah, without help either! Kay was real good about leaving me be this time. She said I probably used too much sweetener, but-" he gives a judicious toss of his shoulders "- I like it myself, and we're due to get more from the Hold soon, so I don't feel too bad about including an extra dash or five. Still, I know it's not a hard recipe - far from it! - and we do more complicated things when we work together but... but I see you aren't listening to a word I'm staying." His face is in a pout, but his eyes are laughing, amused by Linara's rather attractive reaction to the sweet. "Shall I leave you two alone?"

Linara makes another noise deep in her throat, one that might pass for don't-move with a little interpretation. She eats the second cookie a little more slowly, and wraps the rest to tuck into her pocket before fingertips surreptitiously check for crumbs on her lips. Finding none, or missing them, she gives a happy sigh. "Who knew a little runt like you could get things to taste that nice? The sweetener was perfect, I /like/ sweet things, and you're not getting any of them back, so don't even try." Possessive harpy. "What prompted this extraordinary grace on your side though?" she questions, resting her hands on the branch and leaning a little forward. "An errand of mercy?"

Molen smirks, watching Linara's every move with that sharp raptor's gaze as he settles back against the tree's trunk. "Well, I wasn't about to be an errand boy forever, you know. I had to develop /some/ skill." He raises his hands into the air, expressing that he would make no moves on her treats, before shrugging again. "No reason. I just wanted to bake an extra batch to prove to Kaelyn that I could, but by then, the most of the lunch group was gone, so I was able to scrounge a few." He pauses, eyebrows lowering in concern. "Why? Am I in trouble already?"

One foot swings, then the other, as Linara eyes him. "You haven't done anything you should be in trouble for, have you? Like... not hugging people when they ask you for a hug, but kissing them instead? You don't look like the kind of person that would do such a thing, so..." She trails off, grinning. "Would you tell Kaelyn that I said thanks for letting you experiment? Truth, they're really very good, and now I know who I can come and filch sweet things from."

Molen groans, tossing his head to one side dramatically, shoulders slouching. "Are you still on about that? I told you it was spur of the moment. I'm not going to take it back." A smile curls the right side of his mouth as he straightens himself up, putting his arms behind his head as a cushion. "I will, though she'll warn me not to get a big head about it. 'Specially since she /might/ let me be a baker's assistant. Not that... we really have a posted baker right now - she never came back after the damned ban - but... so long as I get to play with sweets, I don't care what they call me. I'll be sure to save you a slice of one of the bubblies next time we get so ambitious, if you'd like."

Linara reaches out to nudge his calf with her sandal's toe, gently but insistently. "You're forgiven, of course. What else can you make? Cookies, and bubblies, and turnovers? Pastries?" Her eyelids bat in her (admittedly skewed) brainless-bimbo impersonation. "Can I be your beeeeeest friend? I'm very friendly when it comes to pastries and things. And it shouldn't matter what they call you, just as long as you're happy with what you're doing, right? Being a baker's assistant is dragonlengths more impressive than being a scribe. Sweetener on the fingers is considerably nicer than cuttlefish ink, too."

"I am? Good." Molen nods smugly to each of her suggestions of sweets, smile growing wider with each one. "All of the above. Maybe not by myself yet - I'm not so great at memorizing recipes and it's hard to keep consulting a little slip of paper - but I've made all of those before." His nose wrinkles at her buddy-buddy act, however, eyes rolling up into his head. "So long as you never do that again, I'll give you whatever you want. You're right though, it doesn't matter, because I enjoy baking. It's... simple, but complex." He snorts. "Oh, please, Linara. I agree about the sweetener thing, but it's certainly not more impressive. You get to work with things like records, which have been around forever. Sweets and breads are only around long enough for people to eat them." Grin.

Linara's grin is much more genuine as she espies that eye-roll. "You're scared by my immense acting talent, yes? Good, good. It took a lot of practice," she teases. "As for records... well, do you have any idea how dull they are? Turns and turns and /turns/ of nothing but records of where the Weyr got what, or from whom. Most of it is just copying the older one, and let me assure you, the ratio of boring to interesting is quite high. If you want though... if you have a rest day sometime, I'll show you? If you're really that interested, though I shouldn't think so. Making people are much more interesting."

"I bet," Molen mumbles, taking his turn to nudge her leg with his toe. "You sure you aren't destined for the Crafthall? Being a Harper and all that?" A wink accompanies the dig. "Oh, I imagine they're boring, but they're /impressive/, Linara. And you handle them, make them! That's something to be proud of, wherryhead." He pauses to consider the offer, lips pursing in thought. Bask in the sun, look at records with Linara. Choices. "Alright, but only if you want. No sense making you spend your rest day at work."

"You know," Linara murmurs reminiscently. "Aunty Vana always used to call me Linara when she was especially mad at me, or had a bug in her bonnet about something. It almost feels as if you're going to start scolding me at any moment about something. Hair, or not sitting up straight enough or something." She laughs at the nudge to her own calf, and reaches down to poke at a toe. "I'll come and torture you with hides the next time that we're both free then. If you're sure /you/ won't mind." There's a glance down at his hands, and she reaches for one to examine it, should he let her. "Personally," she suggests lightly, "I think you should run for the hills first. Have you ever been out to the grasslands here?"

"So I like your name," he shrugs, a wide smile stretched across his face. "Though if it bothers you that much, Linara, I'll be sure Linara to use it more often, Linara." Toes wriggle in response to her poke, shifting his own sandal to the point of almost falling off. "I won't mind if you're there, Linara." A pause. "What, you reading the future from my palm or something? Give that back." He tugs against her grip, but feebly, not really wanting to lose the contact now that he had it. "Not really. Kinda lost the fervor to adventure a while back. Why? ... Linara."

Linara colours. "No, I'm not reading the future from your palm. /Honestly/, some guys." Somewhat embarrassed, the gentle tug convinces her to let go, and she twists her head to look off to the side. "I just thought you would enjoy it. There's lots of tall grass and the occasional stream. You could lie there in the sun all day and when the sun sets, still feel the earth radiating heat below you." She's dreamy now, as if the sense-memories are flocking thickly around her and she's lost to their thrall. "You can hear the wind rustle, and smell the grass. It's spicy, you know, and sweet all at the same time."

The tone she uses causes a frown to crease Molen's brow. He's afraid he's done wrong, and it shows, but as she describes the grasslands, the expression fades into gentle amusement. Moving carefully, he jumps the meager distance between his branch and hers, taking a moment to balance himself with a handful of foliage before dropping into a sit again, this time facing Linara. "So it's like us, you mean." He cocks his head to one side. "Would you rather do that than huddle over records? It sounds like it would be nice."

Linara tenses as the branch trembles beneath her, but turns to face him fully as she relaxes, shifting a little closer. "You'll love it," she breathes. "It's like a sea of gold as far as you can see, and you could lie on your back and watch the clouds scud over it, or dance gently past your line of sight, and the sky is /so blue/!" She blinks back to herself at the offer, and tilts her head as she considers him. "It could be very nice, and stacks better than records, yes."

Molen, who hadn't felt himself lean in as she described the vast plains, pulls back with a jerk as Pantomime settles on his shoulder, back from having a snack judging by the way she's licking at her little green paws. "It's a deal then." Scritching the little mute under the chin, he smiles conspiratorially over at Linara, plans already formulating themself in his mind. "What's your favorite snack? I'll work some extra hours with Kay and see if I can't butter her up enough to let me play around again."

Linara blinks too, looking at the little green with a start as she swallows. "Um. Well, what you just gave me is very nice?" she hazards. "They make those bubblies, you know? Not the ones with the dark blue berries in them, but with the black ones? I like those a /lot/, and that crispbread they make as well with the cinnamon and sugar." She leans closer herself, hands balancing on the branch between them, but it's Pantomime that she looks at, not the lanky almost-man. "Is she going to chaperone, then? Scipio'll likely come with as well, though we've trained each other fairly well."

Molen's lips purse thoughtfully, his nod slow. "Yeah, I know which ones you mean. Hm. I'll see what I can do." He nods again, gold eyes holding their distance until Pantomime shuffles up close to his cheek, tail tightening uncomfortably around his neck. "Oh, re/lax/, you! She's just looking." He sends her a soothing feeling, which calms the fire-lizard, but it's obvious she's had enough human attention for one day, thank you, and with a leap she's gone. "Crazy as a wherry, that one. She'll probably tag along, if bribed appropriately. She's... trained, but she's had no qualms about keeping her own agenda lately, yanno? Is Scipio ever like that?"

"I have that effect on kids as well," Linara sighs, slumping a little. "Oh well. Scipio's like that as well, yeah. I can normally get him to come when I want him to, but when I don't he's either somewhere sleeping his hide off, or off acting all imperious at whatever's on the beach. I swear, if I didn't know better I'd think him a Weyr guard, here to drill all of us into some semblance of regimented order." She leans sideways to look at the sky, then sighs. "I'm almost due back at the records room again," she mutters, not sounding as if she's in the least in the mood to go.

"Kids are just as crazy any flitt or wherry. I wouldn't worry about it." The corners of his lips hike up in a reassuring smile, one hand reaching out to playfully ruffle her hair, if she'll have it. He seems extraordinarily relieved, however. "Bless Faranth. I was starting to worry that she was getting proddy. She hasn't yet, you know, and it's been an awful long time since she hatched. I should probably worry, but... I'm not, you know... complaining." His lips twitch into a brief grimace as he glances to where she's disappeared. "Yeah..." Reluctance seeps into his own form, feet kicking to and fro. "I should probably go back and start building up favors with Kaelyn, too. How soon would you want to go? This rest day? The next?"

"Quickest one I can find," Linara replies as she suffers the ruffling with a grin. "So this rest day, yes. And oh, I think I feel Master Scribe about to start bellowing." She gives him a squinty-eyed smile and leans sideways, swinging around the branch and landing on her feet, only to set off on a run. "Byyyyee!" comes her dopplering yell.




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