Distractions
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Xanadu Weyr - Shore of Lake Caspian
The cliffs that run along the shore come and go, various weyrs nestled along the tops of them or dug into the walls, but eventually they recede enough to expose a beach. The white sand echoes the rise and fall of the cliffs with a multitude of sandy dunes, endlessly creating tiny valleys that are constantly demolished and rebuilt by the frequent arrival or departure of dragons. The dunes smooth out as the gentle slope approaches the edge of the deep blue water. The sand darkens, and a shell here and there stands out for children to collect.

The beach narrows to the southwest, leaving a path barely wide enough for dragons in single file before cutting in to a smaller, more sheltered cove. The sands are the same white, the waters the same blue, but they're calmer and more tranquil, more protected from the winds that ruffle Lake Caspian and the currents that tug beneath the surface.

Rough, wide stairs lead up to the meadow above and the road that runs along the top of the cliffs, passing through the fields and heading for the river mouth that can be just barely seen from here. The largest of the staircases up the cliff is located near the docks that jut out onto the peaceful blue waters.


There are lots of reasons why weyrlings just aren't the best kind of friend to have much of the time, but over the last six months, F'yr has become one of the worst kind of weyrling friends: the dedicated to training kind. He hasn't been vanished, exactly, but he's been distracted during passing encounters and he hasn't (sorry) sought out more social occasions. On those few times when paths have crossed in a place like the craft complex (weyrling with training book and notes spread on a table, no doubt) and there's been the possibility of conversation, he's turned the talk largely to Katailea. If he's had to say anything about the increasing quietly brooding mood that motivates him to be more involved in things inward than outward, it's been simply that something bad is going on at home, that everything's been done that can be done, and it's still bad. He won't talk about it more than that, but the subtext of his subdued demeanor and the push of himself into near-constant company of his dragon and as many training exercises he can cram in without hitting the point of 'just too much' is that F'yr is a man overwhelmed by something and just putting one foot in front of the next. Over the last two sevens, if there's been glancing encounters, it's not rare to see the traces of red-rimmed eyes (though it would surely be more apparent to those living in close proximity than those not). And yet, despite having been, let's face it, kind of a shitty friend but at least not a totally gone friend, today, he has, unusually, sought Katailea out at the docks just before lunchtime and invited her to walk with him on the beach. His hair is grown too long, his physique all the more impressive from the dedicated physical exertions, but his eyes do have that red-rimmed tinge to them, the blue color made a little brighter by contrast. His hands are tucked in the pockets of his shorts and F'yr has been largely silent since they left the docks, his brows drawn in some deep thought, but he can't plan to keep quiet the whole walk, can he? OR CAN HE? It might have been known to happen for him to communicate in little more than monosyllables or grunts from time to time in recent months. But one can hope that won't be the case now.

For the most part these last months Katailea has left the weyrlings to their training. Certainly there have been conversations and times to catch up now and again when their paths cross, however briefly. From a distance she's still very much her flirtatious self and in those moments everything has been well, she hasn't disappeared (yet) either. Asking after him, the answers given were accepted without pushing for more, perhaps attributing it somewhat at least to the added training and life changes of weyrlinghood in conjunction with the trouble at home. Finding her at the docks shouldn't have been terribly difficult and his request easily agreed to even if their departure towards the beach included a subtle glance over her shoulder towards one of the ships not long in port with a name that might be familiar if noticed, but its a smile for the weyrling whateverelse even if there's a hint of concern behind it. Those red-rimmed eyes haven't been noticed until today, but it remains a matter she's not broaching just yet. Rather the silence, which she doesn't seem to mind, is met with words both question and comment "Evi mentioned you'd be flying soon."

Katailea's words seem to jar F'yr out of whatever thoughts had puckered that brow so profoundly. His blue gaze draws away from the nothing point on the sand in front of him and over to the woman beside him. "Oh." One hand clears his pocket to come up and scrub along his jaw with a finger. "Flying already, actually. Happened before we moved out to the tents. This month is betweening. Haven't done it yet, but a lot of practice of the visuals." He clears his throat. "Time to really go places, pretty soon." There's something about that that makes the Xanadoan former farmer a touch nervous judging from the bit of a rub his lower lip gets against his teeth. "Anywhere you think I should make a point to see?" Maybe they talked about these things once, but if F'yr's forgotten, he probably can't be blamed with the intense change that has come over his life in the last turn and some months since he accepted a candidate's knot. If he noticed the familiar name on the boat, there's no obvious tell, but he's been so distracted lately, that one might well have been another detail lost to him.

"Oh, well then maybe it was Glorioth I saw the other day." If not one of so many others bronzes in the weyr that might have been spotted in the skies. Katailea offers her assurance with a lift of her lips. They wouldn't let them if they weren't ready, that's what everyone says anyway. Right? Where to see though… "Most places are worth seeing once. The Dragon Stones come to mind." There are plenty of places she could list, but she leaves it at that for now green eyes watching the man for a time as they walk.

"Could've been. He's up there now." F'yr gestures toward the sky with one hand. Apparently, the dragon can now be (provisionally) trusted with his own FOE-SEEKING sweeps while his lifemate is otherwise occupied. "That sounds good. The Dragon Stones. I'll have to find a rider who knows the visual and see if I can get Glorioth to learn it. He's a little too excited about venturing out into the world," and there's a fair reason for concern since there's certainly been rumors about the self-proclaimed HERDSLAYER who has been banned from the feeding pens more than once already in his short hunting career, but that probably means that he and F'yr have more excuses to go hunt the wild together which probably suits a dragon like Glorioth just as well. Perhaps these thoughts are what takes F'yr's expression a little distant, though not in a way that suggests he's talking with Glorioth. After a beat, he's shaking his head. "Sorry. Distracted again." He bites his lower lip and then looks down to his walking partner. "How are you?" A beat and then, "I'm sorry I haven't been… a very good friend the last… while." Six months. He does, at least, sound genuinely apologetic about it, even if the apology is vague.

A look upwards spares F'yr further scrutiny, the comment on Glorioth's curiosity for adventuring outside the weyr earning a laugh. "Somehow from what I know if hom that doesn't surprise me a bit," the blonde replies as her eyes turn from sky to the weyrling. "I'm fine," she returns. There might be more to be said, especially given his next comment which is met with a shake of her head. He might not have been, but she hasn't stopped talking to him for it either. "I'm not going to ask, but if you want I can listen," she says, offering a hand, holding it out for a moment. Should he take it fingers curl into his, if not falling back to her side. There is something there, that much she can tell, but she's not going to drag it out of him either.

"Someday I'll figure out an explanation that he'll take for why not every animal is fair game for hunting." F'yr hopes, he dreams, he wishes. It sure would make it easier to go places without the threat of HERDSLAYER going after every beast in his path, and some that are nowhere near his path with no notion that he's doing anything other than accruing greater HONOR through KILLING. This wistful statement does distract the weyrling, but briefly. His blue eyes come back to search Katailea's face in the wake of her answer. Where for so many months 'I'm fine' was taken at a face value that probably wasn't always warranted or should have been pursued, it's not being taken that way now. Still, he doesn't address it immediately. There's that other thing. His gaze drops to her offered hand and he reaches to take it after a breath of hesitation, his throat clearing again. The words never get easier to say, or less affecting, not really. What they do is touch wounds that are older, still tender to be sure, but perhaps no longer bleeding grief into every moment the way they initially were. "My brother got sick. And he died about two sevens ago." Two sevens ago, when F'yr and Glorioth were just learning to fly together; when they couldn't possibly have made it to the farm yet for all that it's within Xanadu sweep. He swallows hard and there's a moment of staring at sand while F'yr masters himself. There's a smaller sound in his throat, another kind of clearing, before he looks back up to the woman. "I'm not fine." Then he's searching her face again. "Are you, really?" Not that he expects her to be not fine in the wake of his news, but perhaps he hopes that his candid admittance will inspire similar candor on her part, if indeed she's not for one reason or another.

Someday F'yr and Glorioth must come to that understanding. Hopefully. That at least finds amusement if nothing more, which is what he'll find on the surface when he looks in her direction. Hand taken, her fingers give his a light squeeze of assurance and perhaps some of whatever distance was hanging in the air melts away with the gesture. "I'm sorry," Katailea offers at the mention of his brother's illness. There's more to it than that however, and its what follows that sees her suddenly stopping to stare. "I-" she starts, but then what does one say to that. Two sevens he kept it to himself. "I'm sorry," the blonde offers again in all sincerity, though to her at least the words don't seem enough. When eyes meet again her answer comes in the form of a slight shake of her head. "If there's anything..?" There's probably not, and she knows that, but it doesn't mean she's not offering to be there how she can.

MUST THEY? STAY TUNED TO THE ONGOING HEROIC SAGA TO FIND OUT. For now, that's neither here nor there. F'yr stops when Katailea does, attached as they are by interlaced fingers and joined hands. His eyes study hers at the words, glancing briefly away and then back. His head shakes in echo of hers. "There was never anything anyone could do, the healers said. I asked them to go, since the farm's in the sweep." He shrugs, a gesture still so helpless because the situation always was - helpless and hopeless. "I'm just… I'm just trying to do what I have to do." Now he's trying to do what he has to do and then a little more - not a lot more, not yet, but a little. "You could distract me, some. Tell me about how you're fine. What's fine? Work? Not work?" He makes move to continue them along on their walk, though not in any great hurry to do so, evidently, just a casual shift toward motion.

Katailea nods silently for F'yr's further explanation of the healers, searching for something more to say but not finding the right ones she simply nods again. Doing what has to be done she can understand. "Distraction," the word falls from a smirk before she turns away, green eyes looking to the water as she complies with the unspoken request to continue their walk, slow and with no real direction. Her distractions don't always come with many words, but he's asked and she'll try to find the right ones. "Work is work. Summer's always busy for the ships coming and going."

"'Work is work,'" F'yr repeats thoughtfully. He glances back the way that they've come. "So none of it has bored you enough to make you want to try something else?" His brows lift, curiosity in his expression, hand idly beginning to swing gently with the roll of his stride, made short to make it easier to keep pace with her. "Do you have favorite kinds of ships to come in?" He wonders, "Or is it all more the same?" There's brief hesitation as though he might ask something else, but then he doesn't. "Summer's good for swimming, for hunting, for cliff-diving. All probably more fun than work. Have you been making time for fun?" He hasn't, but then he's had his reasons.

"It keeps me busy," Katailea returns. Busy enough anyway. "Wouldn't say it bored me into it," but that's not the same as saying she's wanting to try her hand at something else or not. "Don't know that I have favorite kinds really, and I can't say I haven't thought about leaving with one of them." Any of them, the comment slipped in among the rest of the conversation. "Different sorts of the same in some ways I guess." As for fun things, "My aim is getting better, but I don't know that I'm up for hunting yet." N'on was teaching her to shoot a bow. "And swimming, that's a given," she notes flashing a glance his way, hand loosening as she looks back to the waves. She did and does more or less live on the water. "Does the Weyrlingmaster give you lot time for fun?"

"Ones bound for anywhere in particular?" Where once a comment like that could be slipped in without note, F'yr is proving his stagger back toward something resembling normal by picking up on the casual that isn't quite. "Or just anywhere? I imagine there's some repetition to things in any job, in any port. But new things and places are exciting." He ruminates aloud, whether he's on the right track or not. He looks down to Katailea, evidently not stuck on the first thing, even if it may prove to be the most important thing said so far. "Aim is important. Maybe you could ask to go out with some of the Weyr's hunters and see if you're up to it. Couldn't hurt, right?" Or at least not more than the bounty from a single hunt. They've got to be used to training people up at any rate. "I haven't really noticed whether or not there's really free time in our schedules. Glorioth… he's fairly consuming even at the best fo times." That's not an apology, just statement of fact. Talk about high maintenance relationships. "I think he's getting a little better about things." Maybe. Hopefully. The man can always dream and make mistakes. "Senior weyrlinghood is only a few months off, and that's more of being junior members in the different wings to get a taste of things," as he understands it anyway. "So there might be more time then." Glorioth willing.

Katailea shakes her head, "No," she was hoping to get away with mentioning it and moving on, but she does answer the question. "Never mattered where, just away from here," a comment she may not have wanted said but falls from her lips all the same. "There's one leaving in a few days," but she cuts herself off there only to laugh at the idea of going hunting. "I don't think so. Maybe someday, but I'm more for target practice really." That's one of her distractions anyway. If the fact that they were holding hands for more than a few seconds is any indication the statement on Glorioth getting better is bound to be true.

And now it's F'yr's turn to stop. He tugs at the hand he holds, with Glorioth's ignorance probably more than his blessing, and he turns his body on an angle toward her, his brows drawing down into the confused puppy pucker. "'Just away from here,'" is another repeat. Maybe it's a byproduct of keeping so many things inside his head for so many months, maybe it's just a way to process, or buy himself another moment before he asks. "Why?" The hardest question, and it's just left to be answered, or not.

With that tug Katailea turns easily enough to face her companion. Caught. "I didn't mean it like that," she replies perhaps a bit too quick to explain. Except she did, what she didn't mean was to say it at all. A hard question, with an answer that she doesn't have ready. She could pull away. She could come up with some answer. She could shrug and leave him without an answer at all. She could do anything but what she does when she leans up to press lips to his. He did ask for a distraction.

There are only so many things F'yr can do in response to the one thing Katailea chooses to do. There are some people for whom the offered distraction of physicality would be the right balm for the wounds of the heart that life has dealt the big bronzerider. As with so many things, F'yr is not typical in this. Given his 6'3" height compared to her substantially smaller stature, he'd have to choose to meet her for that kiss, by ducking his head, by closing that distance. There's a hesitation where he might, and then he doesn't, rocking back instead, squeezing her hand and releasing it. "I'm sorry, Katailea." He breathes the murmur just above the sound of surf and breeze. "I… can't. It's too complicated." And he means to let go of her hand, to back off a pair of paces. "Don't let this be the reason you get on a boat," it's a quiet plea because maybe it's not a never thing, but he has had a picky bronze, he has had six months of emotional tumult that isn't even really settled now so much as still settling.

Of course F'yr's not typical. Of course the time that she goes and acts without thinking. Its his hesitation that has her dropping back to her feet from her toes, her hand falling back to her side when it's released. A shake of her head accompanies F'yr's apology, he's not the one who should be sorry if anyone's asking her. "I shouldn't have," she offers her own apology in that same quiet breath. The look on her face perhaps betraying the little voice in the back of her mind telling her how stupid it was to have even considered as she glances away, but she doesn't take off. "What's it like to fly with him?" The question follows a moment of silence. Distractions may still be required, along with a change of subject.

For a moment, F'yr looks like he might be the one to go. His hands do find his pockets again, but he rocks on his feet instead of moving on them. His lips press together and his expression is unreadable beyond some variety of torn. After a moment, there's a heavy exhale and he goes with it, the question, even if he doesn't move to presently resume the walk. "Like taking your life in your hands and hoping you'll see tomorrow. Glorioth lives in the moment, every moment. He doesn't usually think past the current step. Or the current quest. He's good at what he does, but it never feels like a sure thing that you'll live the day. It's exhilarating, and it's exhausting. That's for flying, for … everything, really. Living every day like it's your last, or the first of the rest of your life." He shrugs his shoulders a little helplessly before he glances skyward. "He's going to be landing soon. I… should get back." He chews his lip briefly and then shakes his head, thinking better of whatever else he might have said. "I'll… try to be a better friend now that…" That his recent trials are changing. "I'll see you later," is sort of hurried, a little awkward and then the big blond is striding back in the direction of the weyrling training grounds where presumably his lifemate will be landing shortly.

Katailea wouldn't have blamed him for leaving without answering, but when he does speak the explanation finds a hint of a smile. "Sounds like," she agrees at the mention of exhilarating and exhausting. A nod then for his having to go. "You've never been a bad friend, F'yr." Absent at times perhaps, but not a bad one. "I'll see you when I see you," the trader offers after the man, turning to head back the opposite direction, towards the docks they came from.


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