Fort Weyr - Lake Shore
This lake shares many features common to mountain lakes — a brilliant blue jewel nestled amongst the rocks. The waters are crystal clear, and the north shore slopes gently before abruptly falling away into the depths. The water itself is usually chilly — invigorating is the term the residents use.
This lake does have one significant differentiating feature, however. The south shore of the lake is a tumbled mass of rubble, rock and earth of an ancient rockslide smoothed only by the elements in the intervening years. This rubble, as well as the rather sheer east and west faces, makes for the north shore to be the only one easily accessible.

Winter has definitely arrived, adding a bite to the wind and an extra crunch to the ground, but it hasn't kept Siobhan from getting out to work her canines… it just means she's not going as far out of the weyr as she might, ordinarily. Looking slightly bulkier than usual in a dark, heavy coat, the beastcrafter is accompanied by one of the weyr's hunters, and she seems to be teaching the boy a series of hand-signals and whistles that directs the floppy-eared brown hunting canine snuffling about the lake shore. "Don't lose this. It ties about your neck with a string, but it's easy to misplace and hard to /re/place," the apprentice is cautioning, handing over a carved wooden whistle. A second canine rests at her feet, this one black and tan and looking highly unimpressed, if his doggy expression is anything to go by.

It's been some time since a certain blue was last seen sporting those striking crimson straps, and today the dragon most definitely has them, though they're not laden with cargo or even spare ropes and buckles. The work being done by the lakeside is given a momentarily curious look by a pair of whirling faceted eyes, pale blue as the hide of the dragon they belong to. Avideth is wandering over from the bowl, alongside his rider, the latter finally without a sling about his arm, and bundled up against the cold. His clothing remains drab, in various shades of grey, darker today with a scarf that is, at least, decorated with light blue polkadots. B'ky slows as he approaches the activity, hands in pockets, shoulders a little hunched from the occasional biting wind. He's currently using Avideth as a shield, though the dragon seems more eager to get to the water, utterly unbothered by the temperature, wings rustling impatiently as his lifemate moves to unbuckle those straps, the rider in far less of a hurry to remove the. He steps back once Avi's straps have been removed, coiling them and setting them down well away from the water while the dragon gives a bugle and all but leaps into the lake. There's a soft smile, very briefly, on the bluerider's face, though it's soon gone as he gently shakes his head, wandering a little closer and idly observing the canines and their handlers. Inclining his head to the two, the man offers a polite, "Hello," in greeting, head tilting to the side to watch for a moment.

The bugle more than distracts the pair of humans and their canines, four sets of eyes swiveling to watch Avideth take a leap into the cold waters of the lake. Siobhan snorts gracelessly, a fierce grin splitting her features while she watches the dragon go, and even Jex perks up at her heels, as if half-tempted to follow the blue out there. "No big ideas," the beastcrafter says with a point at the canine, earning a whine and a slump back to the ground. While her companion offers B'ky a nod in return to his greeting before sidling off to practice the commands he'd been taught, Sio seems much more inclined to greet the rider with a cheerful wave. "Good afternoon," she says, giving that curious pile of crimson over yonder a good, long, very amused look. "Nice straps. I wouldn't've pegged you for the flashy type." Little does she know! But alas, she hasn't seen B'ky in his crimson and purple leathers yet, so she shrugs and jerks her head to where the boy is guiding his new hunting canine through the steps of heeling and creeping forwards on his belly in a manner that can only be defined as creeping. "It's always amusing to watch them try things out for the first time by themselves. I don't know who ends up more confused at the end of the day, them or the mutt." It's easy to see who has the last laugh, though, judging from Sio's scrunch-eyed expression.

Avideth splashes about in the water, wings wide to send water flying, though he at least heads further out to keep from sending droplets at anyone who might be close on the shore. Eyes whirling a little faster, the blue submerges, disappearing for a moment or two and then re-surfacing with a WHOOSH some distance nearer the center of the lake. B'ky can't help the slight tug upward at the corners of his mouth, though there's a bit more amusement for Siobhan's canine there. "It seems very well trained," he comments quietly, indicating the creature with a brief tilt of his head. A thin brow rises slightly, "Ah.. you wouldn't?" The wingleader does appear somewhat surprised, even giving his current attire a momentary glance, though lately, with the bound arm and all, he has been sporting exceptionally plain clothing. And the greys today are hardly flashy. Brushing a hand through his hair, the man looks a little sheepish, only murmuring a soft, "Mm, Avideth is rather fond of bright colors," in explanation for the straps. His gaze travels to the lad and the canine over there, watching with some interest, chuckling at Siobhan's remark. "How long does it take to get them to understand?" he asks, "I've a.. friend with a young canine. I'm not certain how well it's trained." From his tone, he might just be dreading that it isn't.

Siobhan definitely marks Avideth's progress out into the water, openly laughing at the blue's splashing antics. "Is he always like that?," she asks with a jerk of her chin towards the dragon, giving him another moment of her time before another whine from Jex snaps her back to the present conversation. "Hmm? Oh, thanks. This one's mine. His name's Jex." Stooping to ruffle the fur between the canine's ears, Siobhan gives the dog an encouraging touch and points at B'ky. "Say hi. Be gentle." Glad to have the opportunity to actually /do/ something, the black and tan canine pads over to the bluerider. "Shake, Jex. Shake!" Obediently, one paw raises to wave in the air around his face, clearly expecting B'ky to be a good human and obey his request for a paw shake. B'ky's surprise is marked, however, with a brow-raise. "Nah, you seem to dress… normally," she decides after a pause, accepting the fact that Avideth likes bright colors with a soft 'ah!' of understanding. Following the wingleader's gaze, Sio makes a face and shrugs. "Depends on how stupid the human is." Smirk. "To get the canines to understand the commands? A turn is usually recommended. To teach those commands to a person? A couple hours. But then they have to develop a bond with one another. Just like you wouldn't hop on the back of a strange dragon and tell it to take you to, say, Telgar, you can't just take a canine and expect it to work fluidly in the field." There's a beat, and a quiet sigh. "They'll do well together, though. He's been visiting the canine over the past sevenday, getting to know him, so." She shrugs, implying that now, it was all up to them. "How young's the canine, do you know? You'd usually start from the time they're four months old, but if it's a /pet/, you can probably get away with something older, and much less training time."

B'ky smiles softly, "Mm, usually around water. He can be rather, ah.. enthusiastic." Head shaking gently, the bluerider murmurs, "He still acts like a weyrling sometimes," voice accompanied by a touch of unmistakable fondness, "…even after some twenty turns or so." The dragon is hardly young.. nor is B'ky, the man appearing in his mid to late thirties, and perhaps looking it somewhat more these days. There are certainly smile lines around his eyes, though at least no worry lines mar his brow. For the moment, anyway. Jex's approach is given a quiet look, though even as Siobhan marks the blue's progress in the water, the dragon curves his neck around to peer at the girl and canine. The animal approaching his rider earns a loud whuff, and an abrupt shoreward movement, B'ky pausing halfway to removing a hand from his pocket, and glancing sharply at his quickly approaching lifemate. He completely misses the girl's smirking and comment on his clothes, though he does murmur, somewhat distractedly, "A turn? Hmm.." The blue wanders out of the water, dripping a bit, head tilted to eye the critter down his long, violet-touched snout. Er. B'ky clears his throat softly, taking a very slight step back from the dog and turning to nod faintly at Siobhan, "Ah.. I'm uncertain how old my..friend's canine is. I'll.. have to ask. "It's a pet.." he mumbles, though he's glancing between Jex and Avideth with a vague sort of crease upon his brow.

"Enthusiastic indeed," Siobhan agrees, though she does sweep a perplexed look over the blue, and then his rider, perhaps only then realizing that they were far older than she expected. Leave it to her to be inobservant about that, really. "That's good, though, that he still has a verve for the little things in life. I wish more /people/ were like that." Sio doesn't miss the bluerider's fond tone, but she is rather distracted from the moment by Avideth's sharp about-face. It doesn't alarm her, really, until B'ky's glancing in the blue's direction, too. "Uh, yeah… Yeah, a turn. Basic training at four to six months, field training at eight to ten months, and… Jex." The inflection she uses when speaking the canine's name is just as much of a command as anything else. If the approach of Avideth wasn't enough, his human's tone is reason enough to back up a step or two and sit, not quiet at Sio's side, but definitely close to the girl. An equally head-tilted look is aimed up at the blue through wide, unconcerned doggy eyes, but it's the beastcrafter that looks chagrined. "Sorry. I guess I should have asked first. He's friendly, I promise." Whether that's aimed at B'ky or Avideth is up to anyone's guess, because she glances at them both before her lips flicker up at the corners. "Let me know, perhaps. If the canine's got a lick of sense, it'll be able to pick up the easy things at least. Enough to make it manageable."

Avideth staares down his snout at the canine, moving right up to B'ky and placing his forelegs on either side of the man, head low in an obviously possessive gesture, wings even flaring slightly. ..And totally dripping water all over poor B'ky. "/Avideth/.." the bluerider grimaces faintly, raising an arm to try vainly to ward off the impromptu, smi-shower he's getting. Really. Sometimes the blue can be a /pain/. There's a low rumble from Avi, the man giving his lifemate a vaguely irritated look for that, and muttering in slight exasperation, "Faranth's sake.." Steping /away/ from the dragon, B'ky sighs, sending Siobhan a vaguely apologetic look. Bringing a hand up to rub the back of his neck, he smiles a thin, "Ah.. it's fine. He's just.. a little protective lately," sidelong glance at the still-hunkered-down blue. Over-protective might be more like it. There's a certain amount of embarrassment in the bluerider's face for his dragon's bit of overreaction there, B'ky keeping himself between the dragon and the canine (and girl) as he says quietly, "I'm, ah.. sure he is," about Jex being friendly, "Certainly better behaved than many animals I've seen. Mm, even some of the firelizards at Fort would be.. far worse to encounter," from the glances he's sending his lifemate, it's possible he's speaking more to the dragon, than the girl. That last part, though, has B'ky turning back to Siobhan, asking in a more thoughtful tone, "Ah, do you offer lessons for them? Or.. know anyone who does?" In the meanwhile, while his rider hs his back to him, Avideth is idle going to streeetch his neck again over the man's head, this time at the girl and dog. Peeer.

Siobhan tries hard to appear thoroughly cowed by the blue, she really /does/, but the fact that he's dripping a miniature deluge of water down on his lifemate makes the girl fight a losing battle to keep a smile off her face. Jex, on the other hand, seems completely put off by the nearby splatters. It's one thing to go swimming, to the canine, and quite another to /get wet/. So much for the blue being interesting, his posture seems to imply as he gets up and goes back to his previous position, stretched out on the ground and head between his paws, choosing to watch the other canine over there instead. "A little?" Sio finally gives up and chuckles at that, looking up (and up) at the looming blue in a cheeky manner. She waves away the apologetic glances, though, tension sinking away now that her canine was safely behind her, and B'ky between them and Avideth. Partner safe, that's all she was worried about. "He's the one that hunts with the Gryphhawks, so we had to make sure of it," she explains just the same, even if B'ky /was/ speaking mostly to his dragon. "I need to meet some of these more… quirky firelizards, however. I hear so many stories." There's a mischievous twinkle back in her eyes, but she nods to the question about lessons. "We do. Who runs the training depends on the person assigned to the duty, but if your friend stops by the canine pens out near the stables, there's usually a 'crafter there that'll be glad to sign them up." Better a trained canine, after all, than one that could run amok and create a bad name. Craning her head back to look at Avideth when the dragon moves to peer at them again, Sio hesitates a moment before slowly raising her hand to waggle her fingers in greeting. "Hi there?" Beam.

Drip. Drip. Driipitty-drip. B'ky almost cringes as water starts spattering atop his head. Again. Some even trickles down his collar, though luckily that polkadotted scarf helps a bit. "Avi.." he mutters softly, letting out a half-exasperated sigh, though the blue seems quite intent on.. staring. "Ah.. perhaps more than a little," is the sheepish reply, the bluerider running a hand through his now-damp hair and glancing upward briefly, brows creasing again. He ahs with something of a nod about the dog, "I imagine that must take some time.. he's a hunting canine, then?" still talking about the animal despite Avideth's slightly possessive stance. A very faint upward tug at the corner of his mouth is the response to Siobhan's need to meet some of those firelizards, B'ky commenting quietly, "Mm, I'm unsure if..quirky is quite the word for them. Some have seemed rather badly trained. Although.. I imagine that may be more the fault of their owners," shaking his head and then sidestepping so he's not getting quite so wet. He nods about the canine training, murmuring a thoughtful, "I'll.. speak to my friend. It occurs to me it.. might be a good idea. Not, ah, that I imagine the canine needs much more training. Just.. it might be something interesting." He looks vaguely distracted again, thin brows drawing together, though it's Avideth who's lowering his head, attention on the girl now that she seems to be greeting him. Why hello there BIG BLUE NOSTRILS. Ahem. WHUFFLE. It.. might be a greeting?

"Definitely more than a little," Siobhan murmurs, an honest grin hopefully dispelling B'ky's sheepishness even as she watches the mock-rainfall coming down on the poor bluerider's head. A casual shrug is offered on the part of Jex's training, as if that were no big thing, "It does, but like all good things that take time, it's worth it in the end." A proud glance is flickered back towards the beast in question, who is either fighting off sleep or becoming very good at ignoring them, before firelizard talk draws her back. "'Terror' seems to be the most frequent descriptive term, actually, but I was trying to be nice," Siobhan admits with a smirk. "I've been debating that myself, though. How much of it is bad training, or no training at all, and how much of it is just the inherent nature of the firelizard itself?" She shrugs, unknowing herself. "It is an interesting process, though. Strangely gratifying, if… uh, if nothing else." That last bit is drawn out when Avideth lowers his head, the girl's eyes growing wide as saucers. It's a minor miracle she doesn't step back and away. "Uhm. Uh. You have a very… pretty nose?" All the better to whuffle with, apparently, and Sio /definitely/ squeaks when the blue does so, hair fluffing out over her shoulders. Inhale, girl, inhale! "Well!"

B'ky is still looking rather distracted, though the man blinks, when the girl squeaks, snapping an exasperated, "Avideth!" at his lifemate. The blue does not back off, however, eyes whirling a little faster. The rider takes a bit of a longer look at Siobhan, then. "Hmm?" and then repeating, "Like all good things that take time.. is it truly worth it in the end? Do you honestly believe so?" with a brief glance back at Avideth, before he turns to regard the beastcrafter a longer moment, "He'd like to know." Well, the dragon might like to know a bit more than that, attempting to nose the girl, as if searching her pockets for cookies. With his big wet snout. Fun. There's a thin smile for Sio's mention of 'terror' though B'ky can only remark, "I've wondered that myself. Although.. I've none of my own.." and finally losing patience with his dragon, the bluerider sighs and steps forward, attempting to /shove/ the dragon's head out of the way with an even more exasperated, "/Alright/, Avi- Yes I /know/." B'ky throws Siobhan an apologetic look.

Siobhan jumps when B'ky snaps at his lifemate, half expecting the blue to have been thinking of eating her or something silly like that, but when he makes no motion to open his maw and devour her in one gulp, she relaxes. Or… well, tries to. "Of course it is." Sio's gaze flickers over to B'ky with a nod before she looks back at Avideth, aiming to peer up into the nearest of the blue's faceted eyes. "It takes months to train the canines, and you have to do everything under the eye of a mentor that's not going to give you an inch to budge if you do it wrong, because it's not just your life on the line, but theirs, too… but when you get to the end, and you have a partner that does just as much for the weyr as you do because /you/ trained it… that's exciting." It'd been her purpose most of her life, now, after all, but before she can say anymore earnest words, the blue is nosing about her person, and Sio can't help but giggle and attempt to push his wet snout away. "Eek, you're cold! And I don't have anything, just whistles and my glove and jesses, and I don't think you want those." Wriggling, the girl sends a laughing but rather helpless look B'ky's way, clearly questioning what this was all about with her eyes. "Uhm, hee, I don't have any firelizards either. Erp! I just never saw the point, when I had Jex. I'm curious about 'em now, of course, but…" Grateful that B'ky's at least attempting to push his lifemate away, Sio returns the apologetic look with a grin and a shrug of her shoulders, evidently unsure what to say.

The blue stills, bringing one faceted eye lower to regard the girl, tilting his if actually listening to her answer. B'ky sighs, and manages to shove Avideth's head away from poor Siobhan there, though it's likely more because the dragon appears to have decided to settle back, rather than any action on his rider's part. And there is another, quite definite.. WHUFFLE. B'ky just ahs, shaking his head with a /look/ at his lifemate, before turning back to the girl. "And.. he'd like to know…if you'd ever consider a different sort of..partner. Perhaps. Canines are /lovely/, however.." and he's totally rummaging in a pocket. A white knot is produced after a pause, and held up to Siobhan, "I do apologize about him. Ah.. however, he believes you would be well-suited to stand for the clutch currently hardening on the sands of Fort Weyr." There's an odd note of formality in his voice, at the end there, the bluerider smiling somewhat, "It would take dedication, and hard work, I imagine. If you'll accept?" The blue whuffles, more softly this time, though his gaze is on Siobhan. No pressure, right?

Siobhan will never admit it, but she definitely sags a bit with relief when B'ky succeeds in pushing Avideth's face away from her person, releasing breath she had forgotten she was holding. Not that she didn't trust the blue, or she would've run in the first place, but having his singular attention was… well, unnerving! As it is, she offers a wary, crooked smile for the dragon's second hard wuffle before shifting her eyes to meet B'ky's gaze. "A different sort of partner?" The girl's eyes flicker back towards Jex with a frown, clearly misinterpreting the man's meaning, for when she turns back around and spies that white knot, Sio about jumps out of her skin. Mark this day /down/ because for the first time in a long time, the beastcrafter has been rendered speechless, hand extending to accept the knot as though her body was at a bit of a disconnect with her brain. "Canines are lovely," she parrots in absent agreement before giving herself a mental shake, finally finding her voice and her ability to nod, which she does with fervor. "Dedication and hard work I can handle. I'd be honored to stand as your candidate." Well, she /attempted/ to match his formality, but it's quite possible that the high-strung, excited pitch coloring some of her words rather ruins the effect. No pressure indeed! "T-thank you. Both of you." She can't forget the whuffling blue, after all! Beam!

The blue, at least, appears to be done with the nosing, though he continues to eye the girl for a long, long moment. B'y waits more patiently for the girl's answer, and once she takes the knot, Avideth lets out a low, gentle crooon. B'ky smiles warmly at Siobhan, clearly approving of her words, though there miight just be a hint of mirth in those pale eyes as he nods toward her. "You may not be thanking us once you've had a, ah, taste of candidacy. But it is worth it, if you impress." And if not, well, he's just not mentioning that. Instead, the bluerider tilts his head, glancing across the bowl, "It's certainly an experience. Ah, I imagine the weyrlingmasters or headwoman's assistants will give you a proper explanation of the rules. However," gaze returning to Siobhan, "you will be representing the weyr, your actions reflecting on Fort as a whole. There is no improper behavior, no sex, no excessive drinking." He smiles slightly, "Not that I believe you would be prone to such." From what little he's seen of her, at least. "Respect all ranking weyrfolk, ah.. keep yourself looking respectable. I suspect there are more, but those are the basics. Move your things into the barracks as soon as possible, and.." here that smile warms even those grey eyes, the man offering a quiet, "Congratulations. And good luck." He might sound as if he's sending her off to war, than simply searching her. Though the formality is soon giving way to some hunched-shouldered shifting. Cold wing plus wet hair and clothes are.. not a good mix. Avideth rumbles softly, moving back to the lake now, but giving Sio a whiffle in passing. B'ky inclines his head to her, brushing a hand through his hair and murmuring, "And, ah, I had better find a decent change of clothing. If you'll excuse me." He begins to move in the opposite direction of the blue, expression faintly sheepish once again.

B'ky's mirth is something of a reality check for Siobhan, fetching away that wide-eyed dreamy expression and replacing it with something far more impish. "Perhaps not, but I will at least be thanking you for the chance, no matter how bad it is," she drawls, recalling the stories she's heard of candidacies, some great and some… well, terrible, but that's to be expected. "I don't know what you're talking about, I am undeniably the reason weyrs have a reputation for being the breeding grounds for drunkards and debauchery," the girl says without meaning a word from it, head ducking in a respectful nod. "I kid. I will do my best to represent Fort to the best of my ability." The congratulations are received with an equally warm grin, shoulders bracing in that way that indicates her inner pride has been put on display. "Thank you for the luck, too. I'll see that my stuff is moved in as soon as I speak to Master Takk." She at least looks sympathetic for the bluerider's plight when the cold and wetness catches up to him, and it's with an understanding bob of her head that she waves her hand, bidding him farewell. "Yes, we definitely don't want you to get sick, being out here like this. Goodbye, B'ky, Avideth." Sio shifts from foot to foot, waiting for the rider and his dragon to get out of sight before she throws herself onto the mountain of fur that is Jex and squeals like the girl she, knot clenched in her hand. "I'm so dead but it's going to be so worth it!" Squee!