'The World of Pern(tm)' and 'The Dragonriders of Pern(r)' are copyright to Anne McCaffrey (c) l967, 2000. This is a recorded online session, by permission of the author but generated on PernWorld MUSH for the benefit of people unable to attend.

Emerald Isle - Maiona cothold

Pristine sugar white sands are lapped by turquoise waters in the quiet cove that forms the lower end of this hold. The ruins of what was once a dock, lies bleaching in the sun. Lush tropical growth shades the beach, while the waters, clear-shot with sunbeams, shimmers beyond with an array of rainbow-hued fish. Just at the center of the curve of the cove a stone wall made with blocks of grey lavastone opens in an arched gateway to a crushed coral path that winds through yellowfruit and palm until it tops a windswept, lonely hill, thigh-high grasses rippling in the tradewinds. There is nothing there to show people once lived in this spot save a foundation in blocks cut from the same lavastone.

The blue dragon and rider, clearly pleased to earn the marks Edani has offered, has obligingly taken the trio from Fort Weyr to sweep the Emerald Islands of the Western Sea, stopping at several holdings so Edani could speak with the residents there and leave his harpers sketches of two young girls and himself. Afternoon shadows lengthen when the Candidate/beastcrafter, leans forward and makes a final request afterwhich the blue turns on a wingtip, giving them a breath-taking panorama of the archipelago dotting the teal waters below them, gliding down to one of the smaller ones and lands with a flourish on the shore of that cove. Edani is down first, his carrysac over one shoulder, offering a hand to help Inyri and Ezra down. "Welcome to my home," he says simply.

Ezra was nervous at first, not that it showed (okay, /that/ much) when they mounted the dragons. He'd only ridden dragonback once before, after all, and that trip was hardly a joyous occasion. This one has been more exciting, with visions of finding the lost girls and reuniting Edani's family together running rampant in the young boy's fertile imagination. As the day wore on however, and it settled into the routine of handing out sketches and flying to the next place, Ezra's mood diminished somewhat, becoming more withdrawn and thoughtful, spending much of his time gazing skyward or into the wilderness. Politely, Ezra waits for Inyri to dismount first, and then he follows, just needing Edani's help with the last little bit before he's down, stretching and looking around. "It's pretty," he says quietly, scanning the area with an intense gaze. "Or it was."

Inyri's experience with riding dragons hasn't been much more than Ezra's; she's been dragonback approximately three times before now, seeing as how one was a one-way trip. It's still disconcerting to her, though she continued to force herself into acting like she was completely calm and fine. Because if she's doing this candidacy thing, she has to actually cover the actual riding of the dragon part, yes? "It's still pretty," she agrees, making a point to get a good look. "Sometimes the emptiness just makes a place more attractive."

It was fairly monotonous, wasn't it? But Edani had remained upbeat throughout, pointing out to them places of interest, fishing fleets and schools of dolphin. He's both pleased to be in his home, determined to resume his painstaking search and excited to share this place with them. The rider doesn't go far; only to the far end of the cove to slip off the riding straps and allow his dragon to plunge into the water while his rider settles in the shade on the sand to catch a nap. "It is pretty. And empty," Edani agrees with them both, his expression unreadable save for a bare hint of haunted expression quickly doused by an impish glint in his brown eyes. "Come on," he says with a grin to them and heads for that coral path. Ducking through that archway in the wall, there's a small lean-to on the far side with rope hammocks on hooks and nothing more than rolled netting awaiting the dusk unfurling for their protection. "This is where we'll sleep tonight. You can leave your stuff here. Bring your swim things." And when they're ready, he leads them up the hill, past the foundation, over the crest and down the other side, the way down much steeper and the beach they eventually wind up on much wilder with large breakers curling in towards the island. It's then that he turns to them and asks, "How brave are you guys?"

Ezra shakes his head a little, pushing some hair away from his face so he can see the area better. "The emptiness makes it sad," he says, soft but blunt, as he darts a glance to Edani and then looks back at the ocean. Perking up a bit at Edani's beckoning, the boy trails after, watching the path beneath his feet, apparently captivated by the crunch and texture. Though his gaze keeps being drawn to the ocean. He sets his stuff down with only a brief hesitation, digging out his swim trunks before he's hastening after. He is, again, captivated by the sea, staring at it and licking his lips. He's never seen the ocean before today, and so naturally he is drawn to it. "I'm brave," he says hastily - almost too hastily - as he then starts to look a bit nervous.

"Sadness can be beautiful." Leave that to the girl of the group to say, maybe; but Inyri does actually say it and as a bonus she believes it, too. "And I'm probably too brave for my own good," is tacked on, as she scrambles after Edani, having swung a swimming costume over her shoulder just in case she does actually end up going in the water in it instead of just jumping in in her clothes. "What are we doing that calls for bravery? Also, I'm not sure it looks so sad out here — the open water is pretty much always empty. And, simultaneously, not so — there's fish and stuff."

Edani has, of course, noticed Ezra's fixation with the ocean and plans to give him some memorable experiences on it. Inyri's comment earns a long, thoughtful look. "I've never heard anyone ever say that before, but I tend to agree. Sadness is in its own way, oddly beautiful." He clears his throat, eyes shifting to the where the waters on the horizon darken from teal to azure and it's a few moments before he answers mysteriously, "Wave-walking." The serious expression is split by a dare-ya grin and then he points to the undergrowth of thick, wide-leafed bushes, "There's a small bathhouse just in there you can change in. I'm used to the forest. Back in a moment." When they re-emerge they'll find him already in his trunks and hauling a white-painted longboard from a rock cave. It's a good fifteen feet long – long enough for the three of them easily. Two buoyant flotation vests, are offered to them with a chuckled, "It's best if I don't drown you on your first visit, yeah?" And with that he wades out to about waist deep, beckoning for them to join him. "Ezra in front, Inyri hop on behind him. Just sit astride it like you do a runner."

Ezra is quick to change and emerge, his lanky and skinny body causing him to need to tighten his swim trunks very securely. Despite all that he eats, he's still thin, though at least his ribs don't show unless he sucks in his tummy. "What's that?" he asks, both of wave-walking and of the…thing that Edani drags out. "Is it safe?" he blurts before he can stop himself, taking the flotation vest and staring at it. "What's this?" Clueless, clueless boy. He grew up in the mountains, tunnels and caves. He can barely swim, and that's just because he's paddled around in the bathing pool. Still, he trusts Edani so he glances at Inyri (bathing suit!) and then hesitantly walks out to sit on the thing.

"I think," because Inyri is actually guessing, grasping the vest in her hand before figuring out how she's best meant to apply it, "that it's something that stops you from drowning. Which is not in my life plan, so I do really appreciate it!" And yes, she is wearing a bathing suit — it is definitely not a bikini, but it also doesn't really cover her legs. Her toenails are kept as perfect as her fingernails, even if at this point in their trip her hair is a complete mess. Clearly, it's not as important to her as the nails. "Especially since wave walking? Sounds rather like trying to drown. It also sounds fun, I'll admit, but it — sounds a little bit like a death wish, too. Seeing as how humans can't walk on water, unless you're about to show us otherwise?" Edani gets a grin, Inyri's left eyebrow quirked upward.

"It's what we call riding this board," Edani says easily checking the impulse to ruffle the pre-teen's hair and instead squinting at him critically before deftly re-adjusting the boy's flotation vest. "You're getting taller," he says casually, lengthening a few ties and tightening others. "There." Safe? "Well, let's just say it's safer when you're just beginning," he tells them both. Because people who are seasoned then take risks flirting with those waves. Though he'll be doubly cautious with them today! Oh, he's definitely noticed those pretty legs and toenails, giving them a frank approval without staring, just a small pleased smile curling his mouth as he waits until Inyri is settled behind Ezra. He positions himself at the very end and, still in the water, pushes the board out further until he's soon swimming with strong kicks to get them where they need to be. The water foams white as it sizzles past them with each wave until they get beyond where they're breaking and then they ride the gentle swells. The water here is very deep - it's over 20 feet down and yet, the white sand bottom, undulating with diamond-pattern dancing sunlight, is clearly seen. This is where he joins them on the board, pushing up to kneel at the back. For the time being he lets them feel the ocean's pulsebeat, allowing the biggest swells to pass them by as they ascend and drop gently.

Ezra glances down at himself, brows knitting a bit. "I am?" It's as if the concept of growing has never really occurred to him. And might explain why his clothes are always a little too small - until Elara or one of the aunties fetches him different ones from the store caverns. He can't keep his pale green eyes away from Inyri's legs, though he tries very gallantly. But…he just can't, and keeps glancing back at her. Even going so far as to twist around on the board to stare at her thighs, and then glance sharply up at her face, blush, and turn sharply around again. And shift a bit on the board, leaning forward to peer into the water. It's pretty, but scary too, and he clutches the board tightly.

At least Inyri, who settles on the board with only the /slightest/ of uncertain looks, is handling it gracefully. Extremely so; she's not smirking, she's not making funny expressions or rolling her eyes. She's taking the entire thing with the sort of aplomb that calls for not actually saying anything or seeming to really notice either way. "You've been growing as long as I've known you," she points out, and /that/ is when Ezra gets a quick grin — though it doesn't linger and isn't acknowledging the blushing. "And — this is really incredible," she adds, for the more they float out the wider her eyes get. "I've never seen anything like it. I mean really, nothing. Maybe a painting?"

Edani remains impassive on the surface, no smirking from his either, though he certainly notices where some of Ezra's interest is directed. He's been there, done that growing-from-boy-to-man thing. "You should see it at sunset," he says lowly, leaning and reaching as though to tuck a stray strand of Inyri's hair behind her ear, catching himself at the last moment and then instead pointing to a dark shape in the water below them. The creature gleams silver in the sunlight and is nearly as long as the board they're sitting on. "Ezra, look! We'll catch us one of those fish before we leave." He watches it until the shadows of the depths swallow it from sight with a hunger that has nothing to do with filling his belly. The sun, the gentle movement, the far off hiss of waves rushing to shore all seek to work their island magic on them. "When you guys are ready to wave-walk, keep a-hold of the board, but draw your legs up under you until you are kneel-sitting on your legs and lean slightly forward." And he waits until they're ready before taking one of the waves.

Ezra is going to learn pretty quick what the term 'third wheel' means, poor kid. He glances back over his shoulder at Inyri with a flickering little smile, and shrugging a little bit. Attention grabbed by the fish, he gasps but grips the board tighter, fear (the exciting kind) gripping him for a moment. "Wow," is all he can really say, pale eyes wide. "Stonehaven is nothing compared to this," he whispers, though it's doubtful anyone else hears him. Looking back at Edani, the boy nods a bit and very, very slowly pushes himself up into position, his grip so tight his knuckles are white and his jaw is clenched.

The worst part of it is, Inyri isn't even trying. She's at the point of not even trying to get attention where she's not entirely even /registering/ said attention; she is much more focused on the fish herself. "This is absolutely nothing like the fishing I'm used to," she admits with a little giggle; not, of course, that they haven't established that nothing of it is anything like Breakwater. "And it's so /warm/ here — I can imagine why you wouldn't want to ever leave. /I/ don't want to ever leave, and I'm an outrageous homebody." There's a bright smile on her face, a little bit of an excited edge, as she follows Edani's instructions and makes herself as comfortable as possible in that position. "Except I still don't want to drown," she notes, just in case the water interprets her comment wrong!

It's exactly that naturalness of just being, that honest, unpretentiousness that is such an attractive quality to Edani and makes him so pleased to have both of them as his friends. The last time he went surfing it was with his sister, which might be why he's forgotten himself momentarily. The way the sun gilded the long hair in front of him… Yanked back to the present just in time to keep from embarrassing himself (thank you Fish), he tilts a curious look to Ezra as he catches the movement of his lips. He doesn't say anything, but shifts to paddle smoothly with his arms, his focus to seemingly outrun the wave looming behind them. "I won't let you drown," he says firmly. And though he doesn't take the largest of breakers, this one is still a good-sized one, especially for someone who's never ridden them before. Angled across the wave, they're lifted, then the board drops into the trough with a rush of mist. Speeding up as the board is caught, Edani pushes to hands and feet then to standing in one motion, arms relaxed. Over the roar of the water, he calls, "Hang on!" and they're flying now, only it is with the wave singing under the board as it carries them back towards the beach.

Ezra, well…there's no manly way to say this. The boy shrieks. Loudly. And long. And gets a mouthful of sea water spray, spits it out, and shrieks some more. It starts off as terrifying, but then the thrill and the not-drowning catches up with him, and it turns into a jubilant yell of pure adrenaline and thrill. He's addicted, thanks, Edani.

Inyri isn't really shrieking, but she is definitely screaming — and yelping — and /giggling/ a lot, as she tosses her head about, flailing a bit and trying to get water out of her eyes. Mouth. Hair. Oh, forget the hair, it's already a disaster — the yelp-giggling morphs into straight-up laughter along with gasping for breath. Words become rather irrelevant, because she's way too busy focusing on staying attached to the board and resisting the urge to toss one hand in the air. At least she hasn't swallowed water? And it's impossible to discern who's having more fun: her or Ezra.

Edani flat out laughs, adding his whoop to their cries. It's one of pure joy for both being back in his element and tasting it with them. His knees are flexed, he guides the board with barely-there shifts of his weight, leeching out the last bit of energy from that wave. As the board slows in the ebb, the wave dies, spent on the beach beyond them. He drops off into the water and turns it back sea-ward, "Want to try it again?" The somber heaviness he normally wears is completely lifted, his features almost boyish as he peers up at the two with shining eyes while he steadies the board.

"Yes!" Ezra shouts, before Edani has even finished his sentence. "Yes yes yes yes yes." Ezra, too, is boyish and free, showing a glimpse of what he must have looked like - been like - before. "That was SO FUN," he adds, looking back at Inyri and beaming. "Wasn't that the best thing EVER?!"

If it hadn't been incredible amounts of fun, Inyri would have been saying yes anyway, just for another chance at the look on Ezra's face. She's grinning back at him, and actually streeeetches to be able to fluff his hair a little bit. "It was absolutely phenomenal," she agrees, both brows raised at this point — in thrill, not in irritation. "We can do it a thousand times if you guys want. Are we sure we can't run away from the whole candidacy thing and stay forever? Have our own private paradise cothold." But Inyri, you like snow. She doesn't remember.

Chuckling for that enthusiasm, but obviously pleased the boy likes it so much, Edani has to agree that it’s the ‘best thing ever’ with the clarification, "It's certainly one of them, yeah." As for remaining in paradise, "We could, but I'm pretty sure you'd want more clothes eventually," Edani says with a snicker as he guides the board back out and through the white water. "Fish go only so far in trade around these parts." Then he adds with a wolfish grin, "I'd be the last one to complain about what the sun and salt air does to them though!" He kicks strongly, every now and then sending a glance to that glowing face Ezra wears. If he could have known to do this weeks earlier, oh would he ever have done so! He keeps them 'wave-walking' until the sun nears the horizon, carefully choosing the mid-sized waves, helping them try to stand if they feel ready for it and there will be sure to be some spills if they do, but there are life-vests for that. Eventually he'll tire, the waves taking back from his body the power he's borrowed from them and he allows the board to whisper to shore. "We should get a fire going. And eat. I'm starved and you two must be also, yeah?"

Ezra loves the wave-walking. He absolutely loves it, and he opens up as they do it, chattering up a storm. He shares stories that he has likely buried so deep as to almost forget them, gasping for breath as he tells about the time his little sister got stuck in a trunk (that he might've lured her into with some candy), and the time his brother fell out of a tree because he accidentally started a fire. The time his father's wagon broke a wheel just as it was leaving the courtyard, and when his mother threw a rag at him that was covered in cold bacon grease, and he smelled so delicious all the dogs followed him around. All these stories are shared - not in sadness - but in joy and in healing. At the mention of food though he clutches his stomach and groans, and bolts for his pile of clothes. Hauling out his jacket, he dives into the pockets and comes up with some stale biscuits from who knows when. "I've got these?" he offers, very generously offering out some of his hoard of food to the others.

"I can always eat," is the honest truth of being Inyri, "though I tend to forget to unless regularly reminded — which at least tends to happen, working in a tavern or living surrounded by other people on a schedule or, you know." Right then, apparently: she rolls her shoulders back and watches the men, thoughtful. "I can probably help cook. And there must be interesting fruit around here, yeah? Drink experimenting, has to happen. I can do some amazing things without alcohol content. Ezra can vouch, yeah?" Inyri shoots him a hopeful look. She's kept mum on her own stories, so far, though there are likely to be family tales coming out over dinner; Breakwater people are storytelling people.

And Edani is spellbound, not only by the stories, which in and of themselves are totally entertaining but the lighthearted chatter of the normally somber boy is a real treasure. He makes a sensitive comment now and then, seeking to draw him out further, genuinely interested. He stows the board and vests, keeping the bundle of his clothing under his arm so he can drip-dry in the warm air on the return trip. "Those would be perfect!" he says of those stale biscuits. "Hang onto those and we'll add to dinner as we walk." Because there are abundant herbs, fruits and wild vegetables (every boy's favorite, right?) to be had on the island, not to mention things from the abandoned family garden. In an aside to Inyri he asks in feigned worry, "Can you cook?" He knows she can mix drinks. Food, he's not so sure. But oh, drink-making. This reminds him. "There, ah… is my da's cellar liquor cabinet, which if no one has discovered and ransacked it we can pilfer from…" Which might give her some fun experimentation, not that they could do more than taste. The rider with them, however, might be grateful.

Ezra tucks the biscuits back into his pockets with a little nod. Knowing him, he probably has herbs stashed in there too, but they're probably crushed to powder. He pulls on his jacket and his boots, but nothing else, making him look rather odd in his bare chest and swim trunks. "Yeah, you're real good," he says brightly. Then he glances to Edani, tilting his head a bit. "Have you not been back here?" he asks, looking around. Also, Ezra loves veggies. He loves /food/, period. Not in a connoisseur sort of way, but in a 'remembers what it's like to be starving' sort of hyperfocused way. He looks around then, bouncing a bit on the balls of his feet. "Where is it?"

The rider with them also might end up drunk, depending on what Inyri decides to put together and what she's not familiar with. Some fruits can really do a number on certain drinks, especially if they're old — fermented oranges, anyone? Cooking, though — Inyri's first comment is, "Yeah, assume the woman can cook, you go ahead and do that," with a laugh, before she manages to reassure them, "I can cook. I can cook fish and that's about it, but I have a feeling we're not going to have trouble coming up with fish? Once that's done, we'll see what we can do with an old liquor cabinet." Her eyes are metaphorically dancing with excitement again, of course.

Crushed-to-crumbs would totally work for those biscuits too. Edani is thinking breadcrumb coating, stuffing or even a thickener for seafood chowder. "Oh I have been here several times," he assures the younger boy. Which would be why the detritus and debris has been cleared from the homesite up on the hill. "It's in the cellar of that foundation up younder, but I haven't… opened it. Booze is for enjoying with friends. The garden is up there too." He chuckles at Inyri's insinuation. "Nono, I wasn't. I can cook. But I may not be able to make it as good as-" Yeah, he's just digging his hole deeper, isn't he? "Shellfish and spiderclaws tonight, since the tide is out and the fish won't be biting until it turns," he clarifies. "Tubers, hard squash, onions, garlic… all good roasted in coals." So if they haven't collected bivalves and snagged the crawly-pinching critters before, they're in for a scrambling good time on slippery-seaweed-covered rocks. Woot?