Forest Pool
Formed by ancient volcanic activity and composed of mostly of a single solid rock, the uneven surface of this island contains little dirt. Tree roots delve into cracks and grip tenaciously while the thin layer of humus provides nourishment for the moss, ferns and sparse plant life of this park-like woodland and cushions the forest floor underfoot. Shafts of golden sunshine slant between the trunks, creating emerald puddles of light upon the moss, encouraging flowers to bloom where insects flitter.

That crack where the bowls falls had drained here opens to a deep, still pool cradled in cliffs of stone, the depths of jade waters therein probed by fingers of light filtering through the leaves overhead. Large enough for a dozen people to swim comfortably in, the rise of rock shelf above provides a thrill for those daring to cliff-dive or a perfect spot to sunbathe upon.

If there's anyone who understands having things they don't want to talk about it, F'yr would probably think that person is Rhodelia. The most explanation he gave to anyone as he went from quiet to quieter, from outward to inward and more inward is that something bad was happening back at the farm, that everything had been done and it still wasn't good. That wasn't until he couldn't avoid giving some explanation for his sudden and intense focus on his training, his lifemate. The whole thing started over six months ago and in the last two sevens, something has changed. Where F'yr was silent tension with just enough interactions (usually as much other-person or work focused) with his friends to assure that he wasn't withdrawing from them, so much as simply… putting one foot in front of the other in a situation that was plainly making him quietly overwhelmed, in the last two sevens he's been seen with red-rimmed eyes, escaping to quiet places, usually on his own at frequent intervals. The one silver lining is that with all the focused attention (read: management) of Glorioth, the bronze has improved (slightly) and can, evidently, be trusted at this time to go flying on a FOE-SPOTTING mission that is definitely not designed to tire the dragon out with only Inasyth for company. It is unusual by this point for F'yr to seek to be alone with any of the other weyrlings for much time at all when it wasn't about work. The excuse for this trip to this place was visualization exercises, and yet the pack F'yr has on his back for the trek to the cliff-diving spot is one that decidedly has a picnic blanket attached and no doubt some vittles within. He's even dressed for swimming, so this has a distinctly more personal edge than invitations to study etiquette books around the campfire or in the candidate barracks or elsewhere that would have been more routine in the past months. Still, the big bronzerider is largely silent for most of the trek out and it isn't until the picnic blanket is set up and things are settled that he really makes any noise. It proves to be a clearing of his throat, but he's looking at Rhody in a way that might mean she should RUN. It's that… 'I have an important thing to say and it's hard' look. Either that or she acquired something on her face during the walk and he's just trying to figure out how to break it to her gently.

That assumption would be one hundred and ten percent accurate and with loads of evidence to back it up. Ain't nobody avoiding troublesome talks quite like Rhodelia avoids them! She's received a letter or two of her own during the time that has been hastily crumbled up and shoved out of sight in the past few months, but there's only so much hiding one can do after burning down the barracks and having to go live in a tent with a bunch of others. While Glorioth might be under better management now, Inasyth's also been honing her own skills, and while she's still all about the FUN maybe she can keep both of them out of trouble long enough. Or only fall into the right sort of trouble. Rhody is quiet enough on the walk through the forest. It's a good excuse to stretch one's legs after all even as she occasional touches random plants along the pathway just because she can. When that cough finally comes, this is one time she doesn't actually run and meets that with just a single upraised eyebrow. The words might not be actually coming out of her mouth but between the raised brow and the scrunch of her mouth the dare of 'Are you finally going to say it' should be clear enough.

Weyrlings still getting used to riding on their dragons, for all that it's been weeks (already!) can use all the time stretching sore limbs that they can get, really. Nevermind that F'yr takes just about every opportunity to be exceptionally physical with his physically adept lifemate. It doesn't leave any head scratching to be done over why they crash so hard when they crash (still irregularly, but slightly more manageably), although it may arouse questions for some as to why all the push to do, do, do. And yet, F'yr stops short of overworking himself and his lifemate… most days. If he's overworking today, it's in brainpower. This probably gets easier each time he works the words free of his lips. Lips pressed tight come apart in a gust of air, a press of eyes closed and there it is, the explanation: "My brother got sick. And then he died." The words don't come without the hiccup of air in the word 'died.' That word that can't help but be final. His eyes are moist when they open again, but he manages not to overflow eyes that briefly go to the sky and then back to Rhody, breath wavering to unsteady and then back. NEVER FEAR, INASYTH, GLORIOTH IS FINE AND 100 FOCUSED ON THE TASK AT HAND. IS THAT A FOE YONDER? No? A fence post, is it? Oh well, maybe the next thing he sees will be a REAL LIVE FOE.

Whatever Rhodelia had been expecting, that was clearly not it. The challenge in her features instantly dissolves and out pops the first words that come to mind. "Which brother?" Followed immediately by a wince. "Shit… I'm sorry. Do you want to…" Her head tilts towards the cliff and whether he wants to or not, Rhody will lead by example and sit herself on the ledge with her feet dangling. Inasyth is definitely eavesdropping BUT ITS FOR EVERYBODY'S OWN GOOD. « DOES HE NEED A HUG? » While she might not fit herself in that particular place, the gold will happily offer Rhody-hugs if needed. « Glorioth, I think that cloud over there looks mighty suspicious. LETS CATCH IT! »

It's not really Rhody's fault that the question prompts those threatened tears to come and escape. F'yr's eyes pinch closed briefly in what is not a wince but nearly, though his lips hold a small, sad smile. A hand comes up immediately to swipe the tears from his cheeks before they can beat a path toward his chin. It's not until F'yr has joined her on the ledge, after shucking his boots that he answers the question. There's a hard swallow before the words will come. "Daro. My… He was my best friend. Taught me almost everything I know." It was that brother. That important one out of the horde of relations back on the farm from whence this man came. His hand goes through blond hair grown too long in recent months. "I couldn't… I couldn't talk about it before." He shrugs his helplessness. "I'm trying now, so, I just… wanted to explain." Why he's been the way he's been for as long as he's been that way. "Sorry." For whatever he needs to be sorry for from the last six months. For Inasyth, there is a really long pause. « NOBLE OF YOU, INASYTH, TO WISH TO COMFORT A THING OF SUCH UNIMPORTANCE. » F'yr? Unimportant? But, no. « I AM SURE THE FENCE POST WOULD BE CRUSHED BY THE MIGHT OF YOUR LOVE. » Some people get radiance of valor. Inasyth obviously has the inexplicable and repugnant power of love on her side. He doesn't really approve of course, but nor does he really spare Inasyth that much thought generally. (Nothing personal, Ina; no one is as fun to think about to Glorioth as Glorioth himself.) Obviously, the bronze is not eavesdropping. F'yr and Rhody aren't as exciting as thinking about Glorioth. OR as exciting as chasing that, « INDEED, YES, WELL SIGHTED, MY BUXOM BEHEMOTH, » suspicious cloud.

« Oh, don't you know it! I'll crush that fence post with my snuggles so the Weyr has to invest on ones that can withstand the POWER OF LOVE!!! » And that's how Inasyth gets started on a misguided crusade for Weyr Improvements, but first! « FASTER, BROTHER! WE NEED TO CATCH IT WHILE THE CLOUD IS NAPPING OR IT MIGHT RAIN ON US!!! » Nevermind the yelling wouldn't help the whole stealth thing if clouds actually were sentiment. On the ground, Rhodelia might as well be a statue as she listens. Her own response is really more than a whisper. "And you couldn't even go visit when he was sick." Cause she can do the math of sudden onset of weird(er) behavior and dragon ages to figure out about when that happened. "Shards…" She had been toying with a small stone she had picked up, but a flick of her wrist sends it flying down to the water below. It doesn't really skip, but does make a somewhat satisfying plunk noise. "Do you want to punch something?" It would at least be a distraction.

« I DO NOT FEAR THE RAIN. AHAHAHAAHAH! ONWAAAAAaaaaAAAAAaaaaRRD! » Okay, listen. Glorioth only improved SLIGHTLY. And he's still very much still Glorioth. So off he goes, to break apart that cloud formation with the mightiest of the mighty gusts his wings can produce. It will probably partially work, too, and also make him tired. Win-win. F'yr's blue eyes stray from the water below over to Rhody as she does the math and his lips tick into another of those sad smiles. This is an improvement over the extreme rareness that any smiles had become in the last few months. "And I couldn't visit. Couldn't go to the memorial. My da thought I'd—" He swallows. "Well. They don't understand about baby dragons. Even people who understand about baby dragons didn't really understand about Glorioth." Glorioth is sort an EXPERIENCE that has to be had to be believed, really. He chews his lower lip a moment, carefully controlling those breaths, shoulders tight and finally he shrugs. "I get to hit Ila sometimes," in the advanced self-defense lessons, since F'yr is one of the only advanced students given all the time he put in during candidacy. "Mostly I want to stop feeling guilty for knowing I'd make the same choices again. There's nothing I could have done differently." That makes him grimace. "Nothing that could have happened differently on any end, short of him being brought here, but then he'd have been away from everyone and everything he knew, except me and I wouldn't have been available to him anyway." So that was another bad choice. He clears his throat and shakes his head after a beat. "Sorry. Been spending so much time in my own head running the circles around and around, now that I'm… trying to speak any of it, I get caught up in the loops all over again, sometimes." He clears his throat again, "How are you?"

"You're not a healer," Rhodelia gives a shrug even if that very logical statement might still ring a bit hollow if F'yr still wants to blame himself. "If you had been able to go and you were a healer, you probably still wouldn't have been able to prevent it and would have found new Would Ofs or Could Ofs to blame yourself for." She attempts to force a smile of her own and her elbow gentle nudges his own as she scooches just a little closer. "Me?" There's a hint of surprise at the sudden question before she takes a deep breath. "Well, I seem to still have all my relatives in tact. As my father's reminded me several times now. In letters. That I haven't responded to yet. I was kind of hoping I'd have sorted out how to tell them about…" She waves a hand at the whole surroundings. "Everything. Before they found out. But my sister's a harper…" And so trying to expect that news of her Impressing wouldn't have traveled was WAY too much to ask for. "At least my family mess is all something I made myself?"

"No, I know." F'yr really knows. "I asked the healers to send someone. They did." He swallows. "Repeatedly. They were very kind." Nevermind that F'yr's family farm being in the Xanadu region is part of the posted Healers' area of responsibility. "There wasn't…" Anything to be done. He shrugs and clears his throat again, staring out this time instead of down while he gets those pesky tears held back this time. He turns his eyes to Rhodelia as she speaks of her family and as with the past months, latching his attention into things outside of himself helps ground him, even if he hasn't been asking much that's personal lately unless he's redirecting away from his own personal business. He's asked ''enough'', just not quite without distraction. There's no distraction now, not really, no shoe dangling above, waiting to drop. He does reward her humor with a small smile. "I still stand by what I said that time. You don't have to deal with them. Weyr's wine supply be flamed." That even has a touch of his wry humor, but just a touch. "Maybe just… let Ina do the talking? I mean, visit them after we start betweening. I could go with you. Look intimidating so they treat you as nicely as they should." He might not be kidding but he does let his smile widen just a little like he might be.

Words for tough emotional problems have never really been Rhodelia's forte, but she's still here and not running, so that should count for something, F'yr. She cares. If this were poor Louci spilling her guts about some family stuff, she would have bolted down the first forest path her feet could find. As it is, Rhody avoids adding any of those hard to find words and sticks to distractions and deflection with a snort. "You really think I can keep Inasyth from wanting to go visit Benden and SNIFF AT ALL THE AROMAS OF THE WINE as soon as we can? Even if I've told her countless times the wine is all kept in cellars she absolutely can't fit in or smell to?" She's probably had this discussion with the gold about as many times as Inasyth has flooded everybody with cascades of sparkling bubbles which is constantly. Rhodelia ends with yet another shrug. "It's not like they've ever been cruel or anything. Intimidation isn't really a need… it's just… there's always been a gap between me and my father? I've never known how to really bridge it and whenever I thought I could I seemed to make it worse and let him down and now I think it might be permanent." There's absolutely no way she'll be following in the family business after all, but at least her brother's got that covered.

It's F'yr's turn to bump his elbow into Rhody, gently, his head ducking down a little, the blond locks falling in front of his eyes as he does so. "I can't really help hulking wherever I go, you know. I really just meant I could… be there. If you wanted." But he doesn't have to. He hasn't been the one to run from hard emotional things and Rhody's is no different, although as with almost always, he doesn't push it. "Going to Benden sounds safer than taking Glorioth some places. Although I think his behavior…" F'yr seems to realize he's about to jinx himself in the worst way and he just stops, pinching his lips and eyes shut in silent amusement. "Nevermind." Don't put that juju in the air, F'yr! "In any case, if you're letting him down, it's because he has the wrong expectations." Obviously. He nudges the goldrider again, managing a smile that's less sad, more reminiscent of F'yr from more than six months ago. Perhaps they don't need to talk about his tough emotional stuff at all anymore. A person can dream.

Rhody's laughter is sudden and swift, but at least it's genuine. "Wrong expectation, geeze. At least the dragonrider bit he can't really argue about dropping status now, but just imagining his face trying to process that I actually ran off to be a bartender instead of face my journeyman exams again and Inasyth wasn't really something I could plan for." She shakes her head as stiffles one last chuckle. There's plenty of vicious clouds to chase and defeat so they're probably safe from dragon-sized jinxes for the moment. Probably. Back to distractions though, Rhodelia has a few more. "We are almost to the point though, where we'll be betweening. Any place you can't wait to visit. Outside of Xanadu territory." It's her game and she'll make up the rules and try to do so while avoiding the word Home or Family.

F'yr squints down at the water, his brow wrinkling in doubt. It's definitely the influence of one to two to three people whose names all happen to begin with the letter 'R' that F'y'r's next words are, "Do… you really have to tell him all that? I mean, let it be a delightful surprise that your gossipy sister brings home." Harpers are gossipy by default, right? "I'd really like to see him try to explain to Inasyth that she wasn't your destiny all along." That thought sparks a genuine smile from the bronzerider. "Maybe Ina will just dazzle them all and you won't have to do any talking at all." It's not an unreasonable dream. F'yr looks down at his feet. "Mm… I don't know. I've… never been outside Xanadu." It's not a surprise after their long acquaintanceship. "Where do you think I should make a point to see?"

R-squad is like that sometimes, all avoiding problems and what not. Or at least their own problems. Rhodelia lets another stone drop down into the pool below them. "I don't know. I was thinking just spring it all on him at once and then disappear when the healers are busy trying to revive him from whatever feint of shock will happen." It's kind of her modus operandi after all, the disappearing. "Inasyth is dazzling, and will probably be larger than they could even imagine." A master vintner might get dragonriders more than many non-riders, but being up close and personal with golds is a different story. And that's not even counting the larger than life mental voice of her lifemate! As for where to send F'yr to… that gets some serious contemplation with Rhody's face turning towards the sky and what direction she at least thinks is northward. "As much as I'd love to see you in Bitra I'd say for your first free trip outside… probably somewhere like Fort? It's got all that history, you know? And Harper Hall's probably got a pretty good library. And in winter, they actually get snow. Like real snow, but not as much as Telgar or High Reaches."

Maybe it's more of that R-squad avoidance rubbing off that has F'yr doing little more than smiling over Rhody's alternate tactic for handling the issue of familial explanations and focusing on her response about where to go instead. But then one large hand is clapping (not painfully hard, but soundly) against Rhodelia's thigh close to her knee, in a hold the flamethrower, that ain't Thread move as soon as she's done speaking. He levels on her one of his severest looks, overdone far enough that it's an encouraging sign that F'yr will come back from his months of quiet pain and pre-grief and now actual grief. "Rhodelia. This is more serious than I thought." SHE NEEDS A HEALER. "My first shot at freedom and you want to send me somewhere with good paperwork and a functional filing system??" Since the library at Harper Hall almost definitely has both of those things in abundance. "That's it. We clearly both need an injection of fun." They're in the perfect spot for it, really. And it's avoiding everything, including the topic of scary betweening, too! He grabs her hand and half-hauls her up with him as he gets to his feet, letting go so he can pull off his shirt and, my yes, all that physical work into weyrlinghood has only improved what farmerly muscles were there to begin with. The shirt is tossed hastily in the direction of the blanket before he turns back to the goldrider, putting out his hand and lifting his brows (with a slight wiggle) in invitation. Ready to leap, Rhody?

"Hey, my first idea was to send you into the well known hive of debauchery I could think of!" Rhodelia will correct, even if it is true that she self-corrected that idea into exactly the good suggestion he's claiming she offered. She doesn't need much encouragement to get up to her feet and start stripping down to her own swimsuit that she'd thought far enough ahead to already be wearing. "Last one in's a rotten wherry egg!" The challenge is issued even as she's still in the process of wiggling out of her shorts so she may have handicapped herself there having more garments to shed, but either way, nothing says distraction quite like a friendly afternoon of cliff diving and a picnic, right?

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