Little girls and firelizards

March 20th 2003
Logged by Pyrene

Slight and spindly, her frame is nevertheless held as stubbornly tall as possible, falling only just shy of average height. Curves have in part softened the sharp angles of old, turning scrawny and frail into stocky and trim, while breast and hip testify to her motherhood. Still, there's nothing neat about the lank tendrils of dark brown hair as they escape the skimpy plait that struggles to keep them under control. Plaguing her point-nosed, thin-lipped face, they only serve to emphasise the peakiness of her complexion. Yet if there were any doubts about her vitality, the grey eyes that snap out from beneath dark brows eliminate them as effectively as twin thunderstorms.
Black, blue and sea-washed gold tangle their way over the badge worn by all members of Esprit wing.
She is an adult of about 32.

Thin rather than slight, she's a small child, black hair twining serpentine curls past her bony shoulders and sharply pointed jaw. Belying waifish appearance and pale, pale skin, light ash-grey eyes snap with vitality and the veneer of a child's self-possession - betrayed too in the sometimes sloppy precision of her Igen-accented alto. In her movements and bearings, there's a child's sinewy resilience and assurance of /self/.
Shades of grey on grey: her shirt is rough-woven sisal, warm and sturdy, if not pretty, and her trousers are made of the exact same material in a darker shade. A pair of thick, clunky black boots lace half-way up her calves.
She is a child of about 8.

A figure that will eventually be lanky and slim right now makes Sephne a skinny little child, but she seems to keep the gangliness more or less under control. Dark waves of hair tangle in an unruly halo around her head, sucked into pensive points around a face that is only just beginning to come into its own characteristic shape. The slight pout of her lips sullies the innocence lent by wide eyes - and with good reason, as a spark of conspiracy deep within those grey eyes holds the determination to take life, and everything in it, by surprise.
A baggy tunic nearly swallows a skinny little frame, the sleeves rolled thrice over and then some. The hem of the tunic tucks crookedly into patched and faded trousers sewn with a trail of tiny flowers which make their way around the hem and up the seams into the waistband. Boots of no particular shade shine dully on her feet, almost the right size, but not quite. A gold firelizard is perched on her shoulder.
A tattered knot on her shoulder marks Sephne as a High Reaches Weyrbrat, faded black and blue a testimony to years of hard wear and tear.
She is a child of about 8.

The gray of a winter dusk lurks in those deep-set eyes, placed as they are above fairly prominent cheekbones. The barest snub of a nose leads down to her small, pouty mouth, and a strong chin completes the shape of her face. Tresses of unruly, auburn hair have grown as long as possible and curl their way almost to the small of her back, and spill over her forehead and into her eyes. She stands a bit short for her age, with thin arms and frail legs - one may suspect she's taking after her father's height. However, there is a stubborn strength in her that speaks of a temper, contrasting her physical appearance.
The fabric of her dress is a practical shade of warm brown, useful for hiding various stains of food and dirt. It covers her from shoulders to mid-calves, and seems to be a little too large for her frame. Her feet are stuck into a pair of worn, but sturdy-looking, boots, of an unrecognizable shade of used-to-be-black. Her long hair is tied with a black ribbon and hangs like a llama-tail down her back - except for those few, unruly curls which hang around her forehead in a perpetually annoying fashion. Two firelizards are perched on her shoulders.
On her shoulder sits the knot of a High Reaches Weyrbrat, dirty-black and faded blue witnessing the row of previous owners.
She is a child of about 12.

Living Caverns

Pyrene is cross-legged in a chair, a few hides balanced precariously on one knee while she uses a stylus to prod the blue lizard who's perched half on her arm, half on the chair's arm. At the advent of a group of children, she looks less than enthused. The fact that one is her daughter and another is the daughter of an old friend and former colleague mitigates nothing.

Sephne wanders into the caverns, looking around. She looks just about as unenthusiastic as her mother but gives a small smile and a nod, staying close to the other children rather than making any move toward the goldrider.

Auryn storms into the living caverns and heads right for the table laden with food - not to cease her own hunger, it seems, but rather to soothe the wildly creeling brown 'lizard clinging to her shoulder. "Oh hush, you stupid animal! I'll feed ya soon enough," the girl hisses, not even noticing Pyrene or fellow brats - besides, they're all younger than her, and thus way too immature for this sophisticated twelve turn old.

Elifinn bears many things along with her - among them, a smaller child, a pot of paint, and some blocks of wood - and makes quick steps towards one of the tables, before gravity decides to claim one or more of her burdens.

Poldhu, never one to take a hint, snaps happily at the stylus and then launches into the air with it, swooping gaily away from Pyrene and the now-swatting hides. /He/ greets the brats with a cheerful warble around his mouthful of stylus, but Pyrene simply sighs at them. "What are you lot doing here?" Is this a public room?

Sephne blinks up at her mother once or twice. "Feeding the hatchling," she says casually, a little curious if her mother will notice the little gold on her shoulder. "And myself," she adds, almost as an afterthought.

Auryn stuffs bits of dried wherry into the hungry maw of Little Dru as she grins rather pleasantly at Pyrene. "I'm feedin' /him/. What are /you/ doing here? Boring work?" How redundant - /all/ work is boring. "Hi-ii." Fellow bratlings get a sing-song greeting after all - but only because she's in a good mood. "Oh, you have a /gold/!" Sephne is the receiver of a semi-awed, semi-resentful glance. "/My/ mother says I can't have one yet. S'if I couldn't take care of it." Stupid mothers.

Sephne smiles, a little smug. "I found her. On the beach." She leans in a little closer, eyes darting toward Pyrene and then back to Auryn. She whispers, not very quietly, "My mother didn't know until just now."

Elifinn gives the paintbrush in one hand a speculative look, and the firelizards an even more speculative one. Purple firelizards. Pink firelizards. Possibly even /orange/ firelizards…and then she spots Pyrene, and Pyrene's Shiny Knot, and puts the paintbrush down. "Don't they bite?" she's all innocent, wide-eyed curiosity. "Or confuse your fingers for fingerroots?"

Pyrene notices the baby lizard about a second before Auryn proclaims it to the world. "Who gave you that?" she demands, ignoring the girl's voice. "Tyara shouldn't let you Impress lizards so young. I hope you're taking good care of it. Oh, what's your name… do you have a stylus amongst all that lot?" Her attention turns to Elifinn hopefully. "I'll give you a sweetstick."

Sephne's eyes narrow as she looks up at her mother. "No one gave me her. And of /course/ I take good care of her. If you don't believe me, make Cadgwith check on her." Her eyes glitter at her mother, an odd combination of defiance and anger for such a small little girl, and she whirls around back to the table, snatching a few meatrolls and offering one to the gold, staring stubbornly at her mother all the while.

Auryn looks slightly amused at Pyrene's critisism towards her mother. "Mom says she's fed up with all these impossible children of lusty greenriders, and if she doesn't get quali… qualified assistants soon, she'll quit!" It's said in a dramatic tone of voice as the girl clearly mimics her mother's very words. "Besides, she only treats /me/ like that. Everyone else can just Impress what they want." Sephne, again, receives a glance. "Whatcha paintin'?" Elifinn and her paintbrushes are noticed - brats and paints. A dangerous cocktail.

"A sweetstick?" Elifinn sounds rather doubtful, but she fishes through the boxes of sticky-fingered artstuffs anyway, producing a chewed up piece of wood, a funny looking piece of metal - and finally, a stylus. /Triumph/. "Here ya go, weyrwoman." her gaze slides off sideways again, over to Auryn and Auryn's…thingie. " - I reckon they could take your finger off." she nods, serenely, complacently. "And then you'd probably bleed to death."

Pyrene duly trades one sweetstick for the stylus, casting black glances at her own lizard who's happily chewing on her original stylus. It's Auryn who she addresses though, " 'Everyone else can just Impress what they want.' No wonder the weyr is in the state it's in. Anyway, you should be grateful. A lizard's unlikely to take your finger off, but they can give you a nasty bite, and golds have bigger mouths." Curiosity finally getting the better of her, she asks: "What's her name?" This of Sephne's lizard rather than Elifinn.

The sweetstick disappears into the pockets of immaculate clothes, and Elifinn sits down to oogle and stare and generally /watch/ these interesting people.

Sephne smiles, pleased by the question. "Lily," she says with a grin, holding the gold out in front of her, perched on her arm, gold and girl still munching contentedly on meatrolls as they both look at Pyrene, waiting for her response.

Auryn shrugs noncommitally, making the sated brown on her shoulder burb with indignance. "I'm just sayin' what she said. /Cadge/ is the one laying strange eggs," she remarks cleverly, grinning wickedly at the goldrider. "And Little Dru would /never/ bite anyone." Big Dru might, though, so be careful. "She's pretty," the girl then remarks to Sephne, staring at the little gold for a moment. She's not jealous. Really. After all, /she/ has a brown who's like Druseth. Nyah.

Sephne beams, the first smile to reach her eyes since she walked into the room. "Thank you." She nods, looking happily at the gold. "I think so, too."

"Lily," Pyrene repeats, trying it out. She sniffs lightly. "You'll get tired of that name when you're yelling at her. Hard to put any real oomph into it. But there are worse names out there. Auryn, Cadgwith's eggs turn into what keeps Pern safe, so you show some respect, young lady." She resettles her hides on her lap and traces her stylus along a few lines, making notes (and doodles) in the margins.

Sephne giggles softly, listening to the conversation. Hearing a rather dangerous tone of voice in her mother's voice she turns back to the table, ears perked towards rider and girl as she nods an indignant backup to Pyrene's comment about eggs and Cadge.

"Safe, but not pretty," Auryn retorts with a smug grin, stroking Little Dru's headknobs. "'Sides, Cadge isn't the only queen 'round here." She would add "but she's certainly the ugliest", but Pyrene /is/ weyrwoman after all, and she's not that lacking in respect. "But Lily's a pretty name," girl continues to argue. "Maybe Little Dru'll fly her someday." That thought elicits a giggle - imagine that. The daughters of Pyrene and Tyara… erm, let's not go there.

Sephne grins, turning around. "Maybe so," she says, eyes glowing as she nods assent. "That'd be fun, someday."

Pyrene narrows her eyes at Auryn. "Druseth flew Cadgwith once," she notes. "What did you think of /their/ children? And of course she's not the only queen. Nissionath has yet to prove her breeding skills - she's unlikely to ever match Cadgwith's largest clutches anyway…" The last is said in a kind of fervent I'm-not-going-to-say-what-my-mind-is-picturing manner, as she resolutely ignores the prospect of Lily and Little Dru mating.

Auryn makes a sort of dismissive snort. "They were /scary/." She was very young then. She had nightmares for weeks of scaly, clawed creatures breaking through their egg-shells in the best Stephen King-style. "D'you think Nissionath will grow to be bigger'n Cadge? Cadge is smaller than /her/ dam, isn't she?" She's not mocking anymore; this is a genuine question, accompagnied by a puzzled frown as she tries to figure out dragon genetics.

Sephne grabs two last meatrolls and moves toward the chairs, clambering up into a chair near her mother and curling up in comfortably, waiting for the answer to the question. "It's a good question," she remarks thoughtfully to Auryn, eyes still fixed on Pyrene.

Pyrene sighs happily and puts down her hides with the contented air of all riders asked to talk about their dragon (and compare it favourably against another's). "Well, Tiareth clutched both Nissionath and Cadge, of course, so it's not surprising they're of a similar size. Tiareth's our largest queen - she hatched right around the time the pass started, so that's not too surprising. Cadgwith is the second largest, although I think Nissionath is probably of a length with her. Cadge is sturdier though - and that's not a euphemism for fat. She's in good health, I've had Thesy's word on it." Cadge is no lissom creature though, anyway you look at it.

Auryn looks pleased as her curiosity is praised, and by Pyrene-spawn at that. Following Sephne's example, she, too, settles into a chair, making sure Little Dru is comfortable before stretching out her legs and slumping into the seat. As Pyrene talks, she listens with genuine interest. "And dragons get smaller during passes, right? So if we hadn't been in pass, Cadge would've been smaller? That's kinda interesting," she remarks, even though a little shaken at the thought of Druseth not being the big, manly brown he is today. "Do firelizards get bigger'n smaller too, Pyrene?" Treasure the moment, oh goldrider, for you are all-knowing right now.

Sephne nods, listening. "That means Cadge is the best," she remarks proudly, matter-of-factly, before getting distracted by Auryn's question. "How big do you think Lily will be?" she asks Pyrene eagerly, cradling the little gold quite happily.

Pyrene savours the moment indeed, becoming magnanimous in the attention bestowed on her. "You take good care of her and feed her properly - but not too much - and I'm sure she'll become a fine size. But hope she doesn't get too heavy, or you'll end up having back problems from her on your shoulder or the time. I don't know if firelizards get any bigger or smaller… perhaps you should try measuring firelizards of different ages." There are worse things for brats to be doing. "Cadge was around the middle of the pass yes, so she's a good size. Vaelyth's done well - I was surprised 'Reth laid another gold to start with, mind. Chayath's very small, but she's an exception so she doesn't count." Yeah.

Sephne nods slowly, thinking it through. She looks up at Pyrene, asking solemnly, "So Cadge is the best, right?" She clearly thinks this is true no matter what anyone happens to say, her mother included.

Auryn frowns again. "Why /is/ Chayath so small? That's weird. My browns are almost the same size, but they're all hatched round the same time, too. How old's your oldest 'lizard, Pyrene? Is it the blue? I don't have a blue, though, and of course browns are bigger'n him…" Sephne's remark gets a slight grin, but she doesn't comment on it. Let Cadge be the best of the show for the moment being.

"Of /course/ Cadge is the best," Pyrene agrees whole-heartedly, omitting the disclaimer that she may just be biased. "And I don't know about Chayath. Just freak chance maybe, although her parents are Ysbryth and Cairhoth who were clutchmates themselves. Dragons aren't /supposed/ to be susceptible to inbreeding though, and Chayath's healthy enough." She frowns at the hides. "She's always had small clutches, of course."

Sephne nods, thinking out loud. "Maybe I should have named Lily Little Cadge." She grins a little, baiting Pyrene shamelessly. "That's much easier to yell, don't you think?" she says to her mother, asking the question with an almost perfectly straight face.

Auryn bites her lip as she ponders something. "Didn't Druseth fly his own dam once, too, though? 'Least I think so…" It's not like she's keeping a track record. Really! "Maybe it's 'cause she's small - small dragon, small clutch. Maybe?" She flips another grin at Sephne, though her eyes are berating. "I named Little Dru becuse he /looks/ like Druseth. A lot, really." At least in her eyes he does. "Lily doesn't look that much like Cadge. She's so pretty." The comment escapes her mouth before she can think about it, and a quick glance is shot at Pyrene to see if the goldrider noticed.

Pyrene studies Sephne a touch defensively, her eyes flicking brief daggers at Auryn. "Naming lizards after dragons is very unoriginal. Let her have her own name," she decrees at length. "And yes, Druseth sired Chayath's clutch a few turns back."

Sephne nods agreement, refusing to respond the the 'unoriginal' comment. She cocks her head at the information about Druseth, looking surprised. "Druseth sired Chayath's clutch? Wouldn't riders get in trouble for that kind of thing?" She doesn't quite understand the double standard here. I mean, if dragons can, then why can't riders?

Auryn stares at Sephne. "Why would they get in trouble? The dragons decide," she replies with the arrogance of one obviously weyrbred and proud of knowing everything - at least thinking she knows everything. "/I/ don't understand why Lylia has a weyrmate when Druseth flies so many dragons anyway." Weyrbrats - no morals or ethics whatsoever.

Pyrene tips her head at Sephne. "Do you mean like if a rider having a child with his mother? No, dragons are better built than we are. We can't handle inbreeding. Besides… who would want to? Do you want to weyrmate your father? Or Pidge?" Pyrene generally does take the direct approach, although those last visions make her nose wrinkle.

Sephne blinks, wrinkling her nose. "Um. I think I get it," she says with a frown, shaking her head. She may not be able to envision that kind of thing quite as accurately as Pyrene, but the idea still doesn't rest well with her. "Blech," she says, giving a mock shudder.

Auryn wrinkles her nose. "All boys are icky. I'm never going to weyrmate anyone!" she declares in that pre-adolescent sincerity. "Why aren't you weyrmated, Pyrene? Don't you like anyone? Or is Cadge picky?" She giggles, obviously entertained by the notion of the dragon deciding the rider's romantic life.

Sephne puts her hands on her hips, looking at Auryn. "You'll have to have a dragon before you have to worry about a weyrmate." Her eyes flash with a haughty, hah, i knew something the older girl didn't, look.

Pyrene raises her nose skywards now. "You don't have to weyrmate somebody, you know. There aren't rules. My weyrmate is Cadge. If I want anything more than that, well I can find all kinds of companionship among the weyrfolk here." Ahem. "But a dragon means you don't /need/ a permanent committment with another." Her tone is just as haughty as Sephne's, even if her words all but contradict her daughter's.

Auryn shakes her head dismissively at Sephne. "I'm going to ride a brown just like Druseth one day," she states matter-of-factly, so certain of the fact that she doesn't even arue vehemently. "But don't you /want/ a weyrmate?" she asks of Pyrene, frowning. Just because she herself doesn't want one doesn't mean Pyrene shouldn't. She's, after all, an adult and thus insensible when it comes to boys.

Sephne flops in her chair, as if bored with the discussion. She stares at Lily, scritching the gold's eyeridges as she lets the conversation continue around her without her input…yet.

Pyrene eyes at Auryn. "What makes that any of your business?" she asks with apparently sincere curiosity.

Auryn looks a little taken aback - and here she thought Pyrene was willing to share anything with her. "Uh, I don't know," she finally replies, due to lack of a better reason. "I'm jus' curious, that's all." Large gray eyes peer at the werywoman, wondering if that means end of conversation.

Apparently it does. "Curiosity killed the brat," Pyrene informs her and Sephne both (lectures and morals should never be spared). She rises, gathering her hides, and rolling Elifinn's stylus over to her. "Now you two go make yourselves useful, like me." Whether she's going to be useful is debatable, but she needs to go somewhere quieter if she's going to get her work done.

Sephne rolls her eyes, sighing softly, and nods.

Auryn sticks out her tongue after the departing Pyrene. "I'm always useful!" At least when it comes to annoying goldriders, it seems.

Sephne grins at Auryn's response, shrugging. "It's no good. She doesn't care."

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