No Bathing Strings Attached ((JP Ked'son, Virian))


IC Date Ref: - Set approximately two sevendays after the events of Greenflight: Strangers in the Night.

(( Where are you? )) Elloryth asked plaintively for what felt like the twentieth time to Virian. (( You're late and I'm so dirty, I need your help. What good are you if you can't bathe me? ))

When Virian didn't immediately answer, Elloryth knew her rider was busy. Nagging comments were a surefire way to get the woman's attention, and even a negative response would have been *something* better than silence. The green sat at the lakeside half a candlemark after the last lessons should have ended for the day, waiting as patiently as could be expected for a dragon of her color. She let the surf wash over her forepaws, tail swishing in the air like an agitated feline. 

{{ I'm sorry, dear heart. Just a little longer, I'll be done soon. }} Virian told her after a few minutes had passed.

Elloryth received the news with an angry lime-green swirl of her eyes, throwing herself down in the muddied surf with a great huff. Waiting was her least favorite thing! Well, second only to Thread, perhaps, but waiting was definitely top two in her limited imagination. Lowering her head in defeat, the green dipped her snout into the water and blew out a sigh that surfaced as bubbles. The itches would never end at this rate!

Faranth be blessed, it was a rest day. And he had spent the majority of it indulging in much needed relaxation. The reality was, Foreth’s eggs were going to be making an appearance soon and Ked’son knew that once that happened, it would be all hands on deck getting everything prepped for the next class that was just around the corner. He had enjoyed the first lie-in since he had forgotten when, a lazy breakfast and had spent the day merely just pottering around his weyr sorting out a few bits and pieces. Thaath wanted to be bathed as well but Ked’son wanted to get past the hottest part of the day first. The heat had been unbearable of late, combined with ridiculous rain that had turned the Weyr into a muggy monstrosity. No, he was going to wait.

Eventually though, he was wandering down to the Lake, brushes and buckets in hand. But Thaath was already distracted, having spotted Elloryth before he had even landed and had bugled sweetly at the green. The memory of having caught her was still fresh enough that the blue’s pride inflated at his own prowess and he chuntered in greeting as he settled nearby, wallowing in the shallows to wet his hide.

(( Dearest Elloryth, you seem so terribly vexed, )) he crooned, rolling to his side. (( Where is Yours to soothe you? ))

Elloryth's triangular head rose dripping from the water at Thaath's intrusion, tilted to peer at him with the hints of a hopeful color in her faceted eyes. (( Neglecting me! )) She lamented, slapping the water aside for emphasis. (( Mine promised to bathe me now, but she is not here. I shall languish itchy and alone for the rest of my days! )) The green had given up hope of ever seeing the hidebrush again, despite the fact that she had been bathed only a few days prior. Her coat wasn’t in a wretched state, but did show telltale signs of grime in need of removal. Far from an exception to the green rule, Elloryth was a tad high-maintenance. 

Seeing that Thaath entered the water made her realize that he, too, might be at the lake for the same purpose. She sidled toward him, slinking to join him in the shallows. (( Thaath, I have need of you. )) Elloryth trilled sweetly, appealingly. (( There are itches and I cannot reach them! I suffer without your aid. )) Bending her neck down in a graceful arc, the green presented her neckridges for his attention. That he might refuse did not even occur to her. 

Thaath hummed softly at the green, immediately dipping his muzzle to nibble along the slim line of Elloryth’s neck as he shuffled closer to her. (( Neglecting you! )) he gasped, his mind-voice filled with shock as though the idea was absolutely unknown to him. (( I shall remain by your side until you are itch free! Until the end of time until I have to! ))

Ked’son caught the tail-end of the conversation as he came over the dunes. He didn’t recognise Elloryth at first, not until he caught sight of the distinctive scarring and felt a wry grin pull at his features. Ah, still following her about then. Pulling his shirt over his head, Ked’son stripped down to a pair of shorts before he called over his shoulder. “Everything all right, fella?”

Thaath’s attentions were distracted as his Rider approached, crooning happily at the sight of him. (( It is most terrible, Mine, )) he bespoke Ked’son with the utmost solemnity. 

(( Elloryth’s has not come to bathe her. And she promised she would! And she is so very, TERRIBLY itchy! ))

Stopping at the water to inspect the green, Ked’son could see the glimpses of telltale grubbiness. He didn’t hold it against Virian, he knew just how busy the Barracks was juggling the two classes and doing everything else in between. He didn’t know her schedule but going by the time, knew there had been classes running. All it took was one worried weyrling to come up and ask to “talk for a minute” and you were there another two candlemarks listening to their worries. His head cocked to one side as he considered this before calling over to the green. “That right, sweetheart? You’ve been waiting for Yours to come bathe you?”

Elloryth added her own harmonious hum to the atmosphere, clearly delighted by the blue's services. (( Thank you, that feels much-- ooh, down a little. That's the spot. )) She praised in tones of relief, eyes lidded in momentary satisfaction. Thaath was special, only the second dragon to have ever caught her. She was a bit of an oddity in her choosiness, attached to her clutchmate and no other for over a decade. That streak had been broken now. Elloryth wasn't an especially flirtatious dragon until the sevenday before a Flight, but a lingering attachment to the blue that had won her still remained. She would let him attend her for now, but the future was anyone's guess. 

So entranced by Thaath's ministrations, she didn't notice the rider's approach until he spoke directly to her. Elloryth squirmed beside Thaath to ensure he had access to the most important itchies and rolled her head back toward the shore. (( Oh, yes, I have been waiting for so long! )) She had no reservations about speaking to others, broadcasting openly so that Ked'son could hear her whining. (( The weather is so sticky and I am very dirty! Mine said she would be here, but I am so alone. And so ITCHY! Mine will not answer me when I call and now I will surely itch forever! )) A creature could not sound more pitiful. 

Thaath was more than happy to oblige, teeth delicately nibbling at the soft hide at Elloryth’s instructions. He rumbled happily, but then all it took was anything remotely female shaped, no matter the species, and Thaath was always more than willing to bend over backwards to keep them happy. Elloryth was the first green he had caught in quite some time and for now, he was only too happy to answer her beck and call.

“Can’t disagree with you there, darlin’, sticky enough to  make you want to turn your skin inside out.” There was a twinkle of humour in Ked’son’s blue eyes, suspecting that a degree of the green’s piteousness was definitely enhanced with a healthy dose of theatrics. He seemed to be weighing something up, as though determining how best to lay his thoughts on the table.

“Thaath, what do you say we start tending to this poor abandoned lady first? Providing she doesn’t protest. Don’t know about you but we can’t have a poor abandoned green waiting until Faranth only knows when to get rid of itchy hide.” For all he knew, she wouldn’t want a single person touching her. Some dragons were like that and that was fine with him. But he had time to kill. Wasn’t as though he didn’t know how to clean a dragon, after all. 

(( You should! It would be positively ungentleman-like for me to lie here and be bathed whilst poor Elloryth wallows in her own discomfort! Absolutely unfathomable! ))

Elloryth could not have agreed more with their assessments, giving a gentle snort in her enthusiasm. (( Yes! I do not want to turn inside-out, that sounds awful and not fun at all! I must get the sticky off at once! )) She declared, side-stepping a couple of bounces in the shallows to make room for bathing. Despite all the blithering in desperation, the green laid herself down in the water daintily and without rush. Her wings she unfurled into the water relaxed, though her head remained high and forked tail swish-swished in the air behind her. (( I promise to hold very still. )) Her eyes whirled a steady verdant shade. 

It would be a solid candlemark before Virian could drag herself away, but the apologies she sent her dragon’s way were answered with silence. Even as she walked out from the Barracks, Elloryth was ignoring her entirely. This wasn’t unusual, the fussy green had a tendency to cold-shoulder her rider as a means of communicating her displeasure, but after all the pestering she had been subjected to, the void of conversation twisted Virian’s stomach with worry. Had all that drama been a signal of something serious? Could something have happened by the lake? Surely if Elloryth were hurt, she would have felt it. Someone would have alerted her. The dragons would be keening if she were dead. These thoughts racing through her mind inspired a fresh wave of anxiety and she picked her pace up to a jog toward the water.

Dragons were always clustered around the lakeside any given time of day; it took Virian several panicked minutes of searching before she found the familiar hide. She raced toward them. “Elloryth!” She barked sharply like a parent addressing an errant child, relief instantly giving way to anger. “What is wrong with you?! I was worried sick!” 

Ked’son, with the help of Thaath, had worked on the green easily. After all, she was probably a third of the size of Thaath’s bulk. He had just been finishing up rinsing Elloryth’s leg when he heard the familiar voice and his head popped around the side of the green’s flank. Thaath had been entertaining Ellloryth the entire time, pampering her ridiculously with small fish that he snatched out of the water for her and presenting them like grand trophies.

Initially Ked’son’s expression was one of confusion, presuming that the verbal barrage was directed at himself. Had he overstepped? Elloryth had been the one to consent after all but he knew some Riders took it as a personal insult if someone even so much as offered to help them bathe their dragon. Shaking out the brush, he stepped up through the shallows. “Nowt wrong that I know of. Elloryth wanted bathing, Thaath and me were here. So we asked if she’d like us to take care of it for her.”

Virian realized that Ked'son was there only belatedly, gaze darting to him as soon as he spoke. For the briefest of moments, she felt a flicker of embarrassment to be caught off-guard by his presence, to have been worried for the green. Thaath she recognized only after seeing his rider, and suddenly the smug delight from Elloryth in her mind made sense. "You giant wherry!" She tore dark eyes from Ked'son to address her green first. "You went and begged someone else for help! After all that whinging, couldn't even wait a candlemark!" Setting aside the fact that Elloryth had been waiting all day prior, Virian steamrolled ahead. "I worked as quickly as I could, and it's just never fast enough for you!"

(( Yes, but I am clean now. )) Her dragon didn't have the grace to sound apologetic, tossing one of the tiny fish Thaath had procured for her upward with a flourish before teeth snapped closed around it. (( You were too slow, I was going to turn inside out. ))

Virian stared at Elloryth in a mixture of confusion and fury, propping her hands on the widest part of her hips. "I don't-- you can't turn inside out, dummy! ...And YOU!" Tired after the day's work and surprised with a rollercoaster of emotions, Virian's favorite way to take back the feeling of control was to channel her anger and frustration. She quickly pinned Ked'son with a fiery stare, finding in him a ready - albeit undeserving - target. 

"Don't you have your own dragon to look after? Mind your business!" She snapped, further abashed to be airing dirty laundry in his presence.

The sudden onslaught made Ked’son blink in surprise. With a nonchalant shrug he picked up the brush at his feet, slinging it casually over his shoulder. “Aye, I do. But ladies first and all that.” The intensity of the annoyance directed at the green was clearly something that was commonplace given Elloryth’s decided lack of reaction. Greenriders, couldn’t live with them, couldn’t be civil after a roll in the furs with them. Thaath rumbled in mild annoyance, surprised at what he had taken to be a polite gesture of common courtesy being flung back at them. His however, seemed to only feel mild bemusement at the whole situation.

“C’mon lad, get yourself in the shallows and I’ll give you that scrubbing too.” And just casually, just as lazily as he had come, Ked’son was sauntering down the Lake’s shoreline, Thaath’s bulky shape in tow as eagerly as a lost puppy as the blue submerged himself into the sun warmed waters. He would take his time with his blue, as he always did, enjoying the rare time together. By the time they were done, Virian would have left in as heated a blaze in which she had arrived and Ked’son would leave a now freshly washed and oiled Thaath to bask in the last of the day’s sun. He on the other hand, would sigh and amble back to his weyr. He wasn’t sure he had been expecting much of anything - but maybe at least, a thank you.

= End =

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