Old Swimming Hole
A creek comes to an abrupt end in a copse of trees, forming a natural swimming hole of the likes that one might only hear about in stories. Sunlight filters through lush foliage to cast the area in diffused and dreamlike light, gold broken on green to gently illuminate the water without being blinding. Great old trees surround it, low-hanging branches just meant to be climbed on and hung from, while some intrepid spirit has rigged up a rope swing of sorts for the particularly adventurous to put to use.
Thick grass — laced with the odd patch of wildflowers here and there — surrounds the pool of water, with only a thin shore of pebbles and mud to separate the two. Here, the world smells cool and wet and green, alive with subtle energy of its own sort. And, all around, the sounds of nature are at work, from the hum of insects to the chirping of avians or the occasional, mischevious call of firelizards to one another.

After a morning of sweeps Abigail and a few other riders are taking a break down next to the Swimming Hole, and why not? It is a rather nice day after all! Niumdreoth is settled actually in the water, just his head perking out from it at the moment while he just lounges. His straps are off and settled on shore while Abbey tucks them away nice and neat. "Bloody dragon." Is grumbled out a touch. The other two riders are off with their lifemates in the water getting cooled off it seems.

It's probably only these sweeps that keep Hazelon from going stir crazy this close to the hatching. It keeps him from regreting too much allowing Th'ero to talk him into keeping the candidate knot. He sits on a rock right at the edge of the swimming hole, with socks and shoes peeled off and set aside for the moment. Abbey's swearing gets the candidate turning to look back at her. "hum?"

Abigail glances over to Hazelon and waves a hand a moment. "Just Num, he could have waited a bit more for a dip. Now I just hope he won't be wet for the rest of the sweep." The large brown could careless about that!

Hazelon turns his gaze back to the browd dragon out there in the middle of the water. "Ain't this a swimmin' hole though? Hot enough for a dip." Which is why Hazelon is putting his feet into the water.

Abigail nods at that while she moves along to sit down next to him upon a rock while glancing out over the rock. "Well, that is true." She chuckles a touch. "I can't often keep him from the water honestly. He sees it and he has to jump in it."

"All dragons be like that?" Something floaty drifts int he water and Hazelon bends down to pluck it from the water. It's a stick, about the size of Hazelon's open palm. When he spins it between his fingers drops of water flip off, all in different directions.

Abigail shakes her head slightly at that. "Naw, not all of them. They are different like people are different really." She says while glances on over to him. "Some people like water, and some people not so much. Goes with anything and everything."

"Huh. Guess I never figured." Wasn't that covered at some point in all thoses lessons the Candidates were required to go through? He stops flipping the stick and grips it in his hand. Pulling backwards he tosses that stick, aiming OVER Niumdreoth's head.

Abigail smiles and nods at that while she looks off to the water a few moments. There is a pause as she catches sight of the stick and it smacks Niumdreoth upon his head. She blinks and peers back over at Haze with a raised brow and she looks a touch amused. "So… Upset with him?" This questioned curiously. Niumdreoth shifts and gives his head a shake before turning to look around and is eyeing Hazelon a few moments.

At least Hazelon has the balls to look guilty about it. "Didn't mean to be hitting you Niumdreoth, my apologies." He stands up in the water and rolls up the pants of his legs till they're tucked above his knees and begins to wade closer to the dragon offering a hand as part of that apology.

Niumdreoth tilts his head and curiously watches Hazelon, there is a soft rumble and he soon lowers his head to lean out and nose against Haze's chest. Abigail smiles softly as she watches. "He know that ye did not mean to do that. He didn't feel it, so he says." She offers with a slight nod of her head.

Hazelon pets the brown, smoothing a hand along the scales. Beside his preoccupation with wanting to murder someone slowly he's actually come to really like the brown dragon. (It's progress at least.)

Abigail smiles as she watches the pair, a slight nod is seen. "Scratch across his headknobs, he likes that the most." Niumdreoth does indeed lower his head, a soft rumble escaping him while his head tilts to press more against Hazelon, seeming to say 'scratch here'!

Hazelon reaches up to scratch where Abigail has indicated, only, he has to shift his feet to do that. And Niumdreoth is pushing his head against Hazelons's chest and well… yeah. Haze flails slightly as his foot catches on a rock and goes down in a splash of water.

A soft croon esacpes Niumdreoth while he leans into that bit of attention and then shifts curiously eyeing the fallen boy. A soft bugle escapes him and he lowers his head to try and lift the boy back up onto his feet with a soft nudge of his head. Abbey chuckles softly. "Are ye alright Hazelon?"

Hazelon lifts his soaking arms from the water, and eyes the lack of dry that his clothing has suddenly become. "Well." He cuts of, and uses Niumdreoth's help to stand back up, water cascading off him and back into the water. "Right." Out he will go, stripping off that shirt of his as he goes.

Abigail chuckles sfotly, a soft smile seen. "I'm sorry Hazelon." She offers with an amused tone while she stands moving over to the straps and looks around in a pack before pulling out a towel. "Here, at least help get ye a bit dryed off." Niumdreoth warbles and seems rather happy with himself and even looks it for a few moments.

Without that shirt on, Hazelon's body tells a very different story then it does with it on. His back bears the marks of abuse, crossed with scars that will likely never fade, and a chest with smaller scars that look like old burns. Overlaid on them are large bruises which are yellowed and at the start of begining to fade again. He turns towards Abigail and reaches for that towel.

Abigail is quiet for a moment as she catches sight of thos scars aand burns, a slight frown seen while she glances to him a moment. "Did Usttr do this?" She questions with a soft tone.

"What?" He follows her gaze down to his chest, and glances at his back. "No. Just the bruises." The towel is taken and he rubs it across that chest of his, soaking up the moisture.

Abigail hums faintly and lifts her head a touch. "Then… May I ask what happened to ye?" Niumdreoth is moving out of the water and is settling on dry land to watch the pair curious like.

"Was in Laris' camp for a long time." He reaches to point at one of the longer scars. "Complained about havin' to go so far afield to be gettin' the wood. Turns out I'm a good example." There's still bitterness in his voice over it, but a tired sort.

Abigail is quiet as she watches and listens to Hazelon, a slight frown seen at his answer. "I'm sorry… No one should be treated like that." She's always done her best to try and help people, try to protect them, everything with Laris caused such issues and his affects are still linger and felt.

Hazelon shrugs again, glancing at those scars on his back again before turning resolutely forward. The towel rubs vigorously over his arms, soaking up the water from his dunking. "Ain't nothin' what can be done 'bout it now. It's why I was lookin' so hard to be hidin' afore all this." And he waves a hand vaguely in the air.

Abigail takes in a soft breath and nods a touch at that before she glances off a moment. "That is true. I can see why ye was trying to hide so much now. How long were ye with the camps?"

Long distance to Nyalle: Hazelon sits upon. About ICly, how long were Laris' camps around from when Laris started gathering followers to the end?

Hazelon thinks for a moment, pausing in his drying off. "About four turns. Mayhap a tad longer, mayhap a tad shorter. Remember at least three summers." He glances backwards for a moment with just the slightest of smiles. "Keepin' track of days wasn't all that important."

Abigail glances back to him as she hears that, a slight frown seen and she soon nods a moment. "What happened after Laris was dealt with?" She's never been one to not ask questions, and this is just one of those moments.

Hazelon finally stops drying himself and turns to Abigail. "These ain't questions what've been asked to me afore." There had been those louder, more willing to talk. The young Hazelon hadn't needed to say anything, and after enough time, he had faded from memory enough that no one ever did question. For a long moment he considers allowing that trend to continue- to tell Abigail that the past was best in the past. But this is Abigail, who even after he had attacked her had believed him not guilty of harming Rayathess. So, "Was brought to the weyr. Stayed away durin' the trials. My parents was both gone, so I ended up workin' in the lower caverns and just never left."

Abigail watches Hazelon for a few moments. "Aye… I figure not." She does not comment that he doesn't need to answer them though, she is curious if he will continue or not it seems. Abbey is rather good at reading people, call it a skill she has perhaps thanks to her training as a guard, or perhaps something she just picked up over time either way her time with Hazelon lef her with a good feeling that he did not harm Raysthess for one reason or another. "Yer parents. They was taken to isolation, aye?"

"Asked just a bit after. Never heard nothin' about the man what was half of birthin' me," he pointedly avoids saying the word father, "so I figure he's probably dead. The other, aye. Isolation." He attempts a shrug of his shoulders again, and lays out the towel on a nearby branch and looks down at his soaking pants. There's not much that can be done about that, seeing as he's not about to strip in front of Abigail.

Abigail nods at that and turns moving back to her rock where she sits back down upon. A few small rocks are picked up and she tosses it a few times. "I was one of the riders that took the people out there." She was asked, not told too, she agreed because someone needed to help though she didn't want to do it once it was done. One of the rocks is tossed so it skips across the water a few times and then goes under the water.

There is no quick response form Hazelon when Abigial makes that admission. Rather, he'll watch the back of her head for a moment, and disect the colour of her words. Leaving that towel to dry out he paces over to the rock where she sits, and joins her, though this time he keeps his feet out of the water. "They deserved worse than what they got."

Abigail takes another rock and sends it flying so it skips across the water once more. "Perhaps. Some of them though I'm not sure." She tilts her head slightly to send a glance towards Hazelon, watching him a moment. "Do ye still plan to go after Usstr?"

"Was you there for the trials?" Perhaps Hazelon isn't the be person to talk to if there is guilt- he carries his own (though it has dulled greatly in the past turn). "First, don't think I understood exactly what was happenin', then after?" After it didn't matter. Her question brings a stillness, and he looks down at his hands which have curled into fists. "Aye. I've got my kit together, as soon as them eggs hatch."

Abigail lifts a brow slightly. "I did not go to many of hem, heard plenty on it though." She offers before a slight shrug is seen and she ponders that. "Honestly… Do ye think that is such a good idea?"

"You'll have to be takin' my word for it. Ain't no one what got sent to isolation what wasn't deservin' it." He reaches downwards to retrieve a rock, a flat one, and flicks it on his fingers like a mark. Her question doesn't draw his gaze back to him. "No. It probably ain't a good idea. But I'm done livin' in fear."

Abigail lets another rock go flying across the water, watching it skip along the surface before she goes about brushing her hands off. "Perhaps so." She offers softly. "Will ye let me come with ye then?"

The offer catches Hazelon utterly by surprise. He shifts on that rock to look at Abigail, examining the face of the wingleader. "Ain't you got responsibilities at the weyr?" And daring, he'll reach out to flick that knot on her shoulder.

Abigail lets her arms fold before her while she watches Hazelon. "I can ask for some time off." She offers with a slight shrug. "Ye shouldn't go on yer own."

"I ain't interested in puttin you," and he shifts his gaze past Abigail, to look at the brown beyond her. "or him in danger." He flips that rock in his hand again, then abruptly throws it deep into the swimming hole where it sinks with a dull plonk.

Abigail chuckles a bit at that before she smiles a moment. "True… But We put ourself in danger plenty of times." This said with a soft tone while she watches Hazelon. "The offer stands though never the less."

The silence will last between them for quite a while. "Abigail." Her name, not wingleader, "There ain't no one what I'd be wantin' to watch my back." He'll leave that there.

Abigail is clearly a bit surprized at the fact that he used her name instead of wingleader and she is left watching him for a few moments longer. "I'm glad ta hear ye say that Hazelon." A slight smile seen for a few moments.

"You'd have to be tellin' the weyrleader though. Wouldn't you?" A glance this time, over at Abigail.

Abigail nods slightly at this while she sends a glance his way. "Aye, that I would. I could not ask for time off without a reason why after all."

"He would be tryin' to get in the way." A statement of fact. Perhaps Hazelon has misjudged the weyrleader, but that doesn't stop him from making the judgement.

"Depends on the situation." Abigail offers softly. "Th'ero understands how ye feel more then ye think Hazelon. I don't think he would wish ye to go along either." This said with a slight nod of her head at the thought.

"Would he be willin' to let us go without tryin' to get in?" He arches an eyebrow upwards, challenging Abigail to discount how utterly interfering the weyrleader is. "He be aweful protective of his riders."

Abigail lifts a brow at that and is curious as she watches the other pondering that thought. "I'm honestly not that sure if he would or not truthfully. Aye, yes I know that is he is. Th'ero is a very good Weyrleader for worrying over us so."

Hazelon doesn't think much of Th'ero. But he's come a long way in a few months, so he'll at least respect that others have a different opinion of the weyrleader and not say anything to the wingleader. "Ustrr might be too much for us."

Abigail ponders that comment while watching Hazelon. "Then." There is a faint pause. "Perhaps we should ask Th'ero for help with the matter?" It is a thought..

"I want to be the one to kill him." Hazelon's voice loses any hint of emotion, dropping down dark again.

Abigail is a touch taken back by this comment and she watches him a few moments before a soft breath escapes her. "Hazelon… Will ye agree to let Th'ero and I help then?"

Hazelon shifts turning so he's facing Abigail rather than turned away. "Why be you two carin'?"

Abigail blinks at that and lifts a brow as she watches him once more before she takes in a slight breath. "Because Hazelon, ye are me friend." This said softly. "As for Th'ero, he has his own reasons. He cares more then it seems I can promise ye that."

Hazelon's gaze is guarded, and a slight frown sits upon his lips. "Th'ero be twisty. Ain't no tellin' which way he'll be turnin." It's just the slightest scratch of the opinion Hazelon has formed of the weyrleader. Even when that arrow had plunged into his shoulder, Hazelon cannot help but suspect the man's motives. "Chancin' gettin' hurt be a bit of a step for friendship." An observation.

"Why do ye say that?" Abigail questions curiously on the matter, no angery caught just she is simply curious is all. "Perhaps it is, aye. Though I do that for me friends, some do such things honestly."

"He got his own agenda." It's an abrupt answer, because Hazelon is already moving back to that second statement. "I ain't never met them. People ain't kind just to be kind. There always be a reason. Somethin' for them to be gettin' for themselves."

Abigail frowns a touch at that while shaking her head. "I want nothing from ye Hazelon." This said while she stands up, a soft sigh escapes her. "I don't ask people for anything."

There isn't much that will change Hazelon's suspicious nature, at least not for a while. But he had trusted Abigail, and never questioned her before. As she stands he follows suit. She stands an inch taller than him but that doesn't keep him from searching out her gaze again. "Mayhap you ought to. What you do for yourself?"

Abigail is quiet at the question and sends a slight glance back to his, watching him a few moments. "Not a lot." Is said softly and she shakes her head a touch at the thought once more. "I keep myself busy with work." So true there. Her gaze turns to look out over the forest. "When not there Niumdreoth an I come out here."

It's not dry, but it will have to do. Hazelon takes his feet towards the tree and pulls the shirt off of the branches. Over his head he pulls it, grimicing slightly at the chill of the water in the garment. "Why be riskin' that then? For someone what you didn't know from dirt less than a turn ago. Abigail, I ain't one what to be a friend with."

Abigail shrugs slightly at the question as she moves on over to pick up the straps. "Because I wish to." This said softly at the idea of such things. "Why do ye say such things as that? Everyone deserves a friend Hazelon."

"Ain't never had someone waht is thinkin' they be one of mine." Which is a really weird way of saying that Hazelon considers Abigail a friend too. "But it ain't gonna get you nothin' but heartache."

Abigail carries the straps over to Niumdreoth whom warbles out and stays put to allow them on. She frowns hearing Hazelon's comment on heartache and shrugs while undoing buckles. "I'm use to heartache Hazelon." She lives on it really, anything good that happens never lasts for long she's learned over the last few turns.

Hazelon folds the towel, and walks silently up behind Abigail, reaching out he'll try to grab one of her arms in a gentle hold, to get her to turn around and look at him.

Abigail works on seting the straps out before she feels that touch. There is a pause and she sends a slight glance to him. She's not to sure what to say for the moment so instead she is just quiet while watching him.

Hazelon's dark eyes seek out Abigail's ice blue, and he lets his hand fall. "You ain't needin' to take this heartache."

Abigail lets her pale gaze setle upon his and she is quiet for a few moments. "Things happen for a reason Hazelon. So if I am to be needing this heartache then so be it." A soft smile is seen though. "Honestly… I don't see ye being such things."

Hazelon's brows draw together. "If things be needin' to happen for a reason, then I shardin' well would like to be knowin' why. You don't see me bein' what?"

Abigail shrugs slightly while she moves to get the straps back upon the large brown. "I don't see ye being heartache Hazelon." She offers after a moment.

Hazelon falls silent. This conversation has drifted much further than he had intended it to, and walked into territory that the teen simply doesn't discuss. "Back to the weyr?" A change of conversation there.

Abigail watches him as she notices that he has gotten quiet. "Yer about as quiet as I am on certain things ye know?" This questioned with a soft yet slightly amused tone. "At some point in time, if ye wish to speak on it I don't mind listening." There is a pause. "Though I suppose it is a two way street in that idea hum?"

"Mayhap that be why you adon't bug me like some of the others." A regular person would say 'and that's why we can be friends', but this is Hazelon. He quirks a smile at her question. "Tell you what, if one of them eggs make the poor choice to be chooin' me, I'll be tradin' you listenin."

Abigail smiles softly at that. "I'm glad ta know that I don't bug ye then." She offers with a soft chuckle heard before she reaches out to give his arm a soft pat. "It would not be a poor choice Hazelon. Niumdreoth knows ye are of good heart or he would have never given ye the option of having that knot."

The smile foesn't fade. "Well, I'll just have to be takin' your word for that ma'am."

Niumdreoth turns and leans his nose bump into Hazelon's back with a low rumble escaping him. Abigail chuckles softly. "He is counting on ye to impress by the way." This said as she finshes putting the straps on and pulls out her gloves from a pocket.

"Professional pride aye?" Hazelon pushes back on the dragon's nose, though without enough effort as to actually be trying to push him away. "No one'd be trustin' your searchin?"

Abigail shakes her head slightly. "Naw, no would questions a dragon when someone is searched." She smiles as she looks back to him and notices how they are leaning upon one another. "An aye, it is Professional Pride."

"Then I'll be tryin' not to disappoint." That's a lie, he doesn't want to impress. For all the lightness of this conversation, Hazelon's heart has frozen solid, and isn't showing signs of thawing. He pushes at the brown head again and steps back. "I'm gonna be gettin' you wet." Because Hazelon is still wet. Damp wet rather than dripping, but wet.

Abigail chuckles softly and nods before she peers at him curiously for a few moments. "Perhaps? Though I don't see an issue with it. I've flown in rain before." She points out with an amused tone before she moves to step up on the brown's leg and then move up onto his shoulders with help from the straps. Who knows, perhaps Hazelon will impress and that will help with his heart in the thawing out bit.

Hazelon allows himself to be helped onto the brown's back, silence falling between the pair. After the last several sevens getting to ride along sweeps with Thunderbird, he's learned at least how to secure his straps himself properly.

Niumdreoth waits until they are settled before he is once more leaping up into the air and carrying them high over the forest tree tops. The sweep doesn't last much longer, evening is slowly being picked up on the horizon and the stars are starting to slowly form across the sky. A soft rumble of a tune like escapes the brown, his heartbeat almost heard to go along with it like the sound of drums echoing with the tune. As for the flight back Abigail will speak at times, though she does not mind the quiet, instead pointing out things to Hazelon while they are flying. In the end it is a rather peaceful evening, and the return back to the Weyr will be uneventful while the stars slowly shine down like little glittering lights.