Sneaking Suspicions

This is a continuation from the Observation Level RP of Seryth's Clutching, Jan 16, 2010.


Xanadu Weyr - Clearing

A wide clearing stretches from east to west, the ground packed hard although grass grows across most of it. Trees are strictly forbidden in this space, their danger to the constant draconic traffic reason enough to banish them to the forest that creates a this and sharp border to the north. Where the ground is less trampled, tiny flowers poke their delicate heads out from their shaded hiding places with upturned petals to wave to whoever may be looking.

The cliff looms imposingly on three sides, stretching upwards all the way up the side of the mountain where, high above, Xanadu's Star Stones and the ever present watchdragon sit on a lonely peak. Directly south is a massive tunnel, fully wide enough for even the largest dragon to fly down. Southeast are wide steps leading up to the Caverns and eastwards is the large entrance to the Infirmary. Somewhat north of the Infirmary is a human sized archway that has a frequent quantity of traffic — it leads to the Tavern. Southwest lies the low ledges currently belonging to Xanadu's queens while north and west a broad path cut by the side of the cliff leads to the Feeding Grounds and due north is the spacious trail that leads to the rest of the Weyr.

As the two healers leave the more crowded areas, Tenebrous' posture relaxes slightly, grows more fluid. There's a bit of slouch as he moves, his motion more feral, and as the two of them angle towards the part of the clearing leading towards the treeline, his pace quickens just a little. Overhead, the green and bronze flits can be seen spiraling just over the treetops, waiting, but the gold is nowhere for the moment. "Alright," he rumbles. "Out with it. I can practically smell the questions on you."

And the small gold on Phylicia's shoulder is not the one that took off from the hatching sands, but rather the one that's been dozing off a meal the entire time. There are two more mature firelizards with the bronze and green overhead. Her own blue and brown. The healer-woman's pace quickens with her partner's. "What was going on in that head of yours in there, Tenebrous?" Comes the first, and most general question.

Hard to find places to hide in the clearing. But Rio's trying, anyway. It's not that he's being nosy, really. He's just…concerned for Phylicia's health, since Tenebrous is acting so weird. He doesn't want the other man to try anything with Phylicia and her be there all on her own to have to deal with him. If Tenebrous /is/ losing his mind, she'll probably need some help in dealing with him.

"I was so worried that a part of me had died, like some kind of passive twin that leads to chimerism, and it turns out, he was just waiting," Tenebrous murmurs to her, urging her towards the treeline as the two of them talk. "It was one thing to have bits of overripe fruit falling from the tree in my mind, as it were, but seeing … the eggs…" He shakes his head. "All of those little voices…" He sounds wistful, regretful even. "You would have never gotten me to go to one of those a turn and a half ago, and certainly not THAT one, not after the incident in the Clutch, and everything that followed it…" Then he chuckles a little. "I'm sorry, I don't mean to be so…disjointed, I've just…got a lot on my mind right now."

"Obviously!" Is Phylicia's tart remark just as they hit the treeline. Poor, trailing Rio misses the look that crosses her face, plainly saying 'sorry' for her tartness as she gets herself back under control, and thinking. "You talk of him. Your old self." And bits and pieces of this trail back through the beginnings of the forest as the healer pair keep moving, oblivious to the person not-stalking them. "How much just came flooding back to you?"


Xanadu Weyr - Forest
In sharp contrast to the treeless, carefully manicured look of the main clearing, the forest is full of trees, and maintains most of its natural look. Wild flowers grow in their seasons, bordering the road leading from the main clearing as weaves its way between the stands of trees - wide enough for traffic of all types, even draconic. Leading off are several smaller, less worn trails, which branch outwards, making their way to private residences and other attractions - the theater for example. The road, though, continues on eastward, to the feeding grounds and the mine, and beyond that, to the coastal road out of Xanadu's territory.
Amongst the normal weyrs scattered amongst the trees, there is one that is undergoing construction. A large, four-sided structure is protruding, supported by thick wood beams, bearing a ledge, and four large clock faces. It towers over the trees, creating quite a sight for arriving riders.

Rio has managed to somehow get near the treeline, without being seen. He's now listening quite intently to the conversation, trying to determine if Phylicia's in any immediate danger. Even if he hears it, it's likely he didn't understand a word of what Tenebrous has said. He doesn't know what happened to him in his past, so he has no frame of reference. He can only follow the pair as they head into the forest. Now that he has more available hiding places, he chances getting a little nearer to them, so better hear and see what's going on.

Something in Tenebrous' eyes changes for a moment as the two of them under the full cover of the woods, and he smiles slightly. "Yes, little one, I know. For some time now. Thank you." Then Tenebrous' footsteps slow, and finally stop near a large tree. "These fine…things you're wearing, my once apprentice, they do you no justice. Or favors, for that matter. How am I supposed to drag you deeper into the haunt, dressed like this?" Then he raises his voice, just a little. "All of it. That's the answer to your question, though it scarcely conveys what's going on in there right now, but all of it." Then he tilts his head. "Tell me something." One of his hands reaches into the satchel at his side, fist closing around three objects. "Are you…nervous right now?"

Phylicia's head twitches back every now and then as she hears something snap, but not being in her normal outfit for running through the forest, she has to pay a bit more attention to where she's putting her feet, and is unable to really take a good look behind them. As they stop Rio might notice neither of them is winded. One of her eyebrows quirks upwards as first she looks at the trunk of the tree, checking for growths before using it to lean against. "Mmm, might I suggest over your shoulder and carefully?" Her voice is low enough where Rio probably didn't hear that until she raises her voice naturally, biting her lower lip. "Am I nervous?" It takes a moment of thought, but she nods. "A little." And she might even look a touch apprehensive. "It doesn't change anything, does it? You remembering?"

Rio frowns at the lightning fast change in Tenebrous's apparent manner. It was so strange. And he draws a little nearer, trying to stay out of their line of sight for the time being. At least until such time as it becomes necessary to intervene. He's no fighter, but he'll try if it means helping someone. He tenses as Tenebrous reaches into a satchel. He could be going for a weapon! But he keeps himself still for the time being. No, he didn't hear Phylicia's warning to Tenebrous. But he's still there, trying to keep still as possible, not wanting to be noticed unless it becomes necessary. And if it doesn't? Well, he'll just sneak away. So he plans, anyway. But not just yet….

Tenebrous slowly pulls his hand out of that satchel, closed in a loose fist around some object. "You know, one of the first things that the Master taught me…when I started coming out here into this place…was that if I ever decided to follow a wild animal around through the underbrush, I should be very careful until…I knew exactly what I was following." He raises his free hand, slowly wrapping his fingers around her arm. Then he raises his other hand to show her the contents. "I admit, I never thought I'd want to use this on a potential innocent…" He clenches his fist suddenly, and opens it a moment later to avoid the explosion of fire. Right there, in his hand, is a golden, blazing ball of fire, and for some reason, it's not burning him in the least. "But over the turns, if it's one thing that I've found I really dislike, it's being followed into my own home without a very, very good reason." He turns slowly. "So I ask you," he calls loudly. "Do you have…a very, very good reason? Or should I make an educated guess, based on where my fire lizard is telling me you are, and throw this?"

Confusion is certainly fond of Phylicia tonight, for again the emotion is written across her face as Tenebrous starts on his speech, in a context that makes very little sense to her. It's all about mis-communication, because as Tenebrous wraps his fingers around her arm and shows her what's in his hand she freezes, going as still as a statue, her eyes on his face. She's just as happy she has her back to the tree trunk at this moment. But to all intents and purposes, the scene might look as devious as Rio probably thinks it is, when in all reality it's Rio putting the pair of them on edge. "Ten…?" Comes tentatively from her.

Shaffit! Shards, shards, shards, shards, shards! Yes, Rio is cursing rather frequently. At least mentally. He keeps his mouth shut for the time being, and considers his options. Stay there and possibly be fried? Run away and possibly leave Phylicia alone with a man who could very well have tubers for brains? Or come out and face the music…and possibly be fried anyway? None are really great options…but at least if he comes out and faces up to it, he's not being a coward or leaving Phylicia here alone. That being the case, he heaves a sigh, and slowly, SLOWLY walks out from behind the tree he's been hiding behind. Especially since it looks like Phylicia's just as scared of Tenebrous as it looks like she should be. For a moment he doesn't speak. But he's definitely tense, ready to spring if it looks like Tenebrous is going to hurt Phylicia. "I was…concerned. That's all," is what he offers in explanation.

Tenebrous rolls his eyes, and closes his fist around the flame. For a moment, the fire blazes brightly within his fingers, and then nothing…just a bit of smoke, and the scent of warm hide gloves. His hand tucks back into his satchel for a moment. When he withdraws it, it's empty, and he holds it out into the air. "Truth," he calls loudly, and a moment later, the trees above his head explode into motion, a vibrantly green flit swooping down onto his wrist. "Take your sister and check for stragglers. It's bad enough that goldriders run around out in the Deeps without their brains, now this…" His other hand drops from Phylicia's arm, and he turns to regard her. "Is he yours, or something? You said you had lunch together." He smirks. "What in the world did you feed him that he's following you into the green?"

Two pairs of whirling yellow eyes are found on a branch just above Phylicia's head all a sudden, though the hue of their rapidly swirling eyes doesn't change nearly as quick as their human's emotions seem to. Phy's weight suddenly sags against the tree as she stares at Rio in some sort of dumbfounded shock. "Concerned?" She finally manages to sputter, as she turns to meet Tenebrous' gaze as he questions her. This is apparently enough to make her start laughing, one hand wrapped around her waist as the other cups her face. "He's not 'mine', Ten. I didn't even feed him anything, he ate his own food!" She protests around her laughing. A good way to ease the tension that had been building before she looks to Rio. "Rio, wasn't it?" She asks, pausing for a confirmation or denial, but plowing ahead afterwards. "What in Faranth's name were you concerned about?" It's not accusitory by any means, merely questioning.

"It's just me along out here," Rio calls out. If Truth finds someone else hiding about, it won't be one of his. He's staying as far away from this apparently crazy man as possible. But then there's Phylicia to consider, too. Should he try to get nearer? It might spook the crazy man, and he might hurt her. His foremost concern is her safety. The laughing does a little to ease his fears, and he doesn't even care that he's essentially the one being laughed at. It gives him the courage to continue, "Truth be told? He was looking crazy at the clutching, and I wanted to make sure he wasn't about to do something horrible to you. With you out here alone, you might not have been able to fight him off and get away."

It's Tenebrous' turn to laugh, something he rarely ever does at full volume, but here it is, great and booming amidst the boughs above. He turns his back to the two of them then, raising a gloved hand to his face. "Stones below…" He turns back then, eyeing Phylicia. "Were you wearing your swimming suit or something, I…" He laughs a little more, and points a finger at Rio. "Is that normal? Have I been living out at Stormhaven for so long that…" He glances over at the younger man. "Your name was…Rio?" He glances back to the other healer. "Is this normal?!"

"I was wearing /this/!" Phylicia protests, her laughter finally starting to subside, though the sound of Tenebrous laughing brings about a set of giggles and a wide smile. It's a sound she definitely enjoys. "No. No it's not normal." She's giggling again as she pushes herself off the tree, and just to make her point clear, wraps one arm around Tenebrous's waist while slinking under one of his arms. A person afraid would never do just that, putting themselves in such a position. Rio gets a portion of that wide smile. "Crazy is pretty normal for him, Rio." She explains, her tone affectionate. "And crazy as he might be, I know he'd never hurt me. He has my trust." She looks up for a brief moment to catch Tenebrous' reaction before looking back to Rio, still grinning since the situation is rather amusing to her. "There's very little I'd not want him to do to me, Rio." It's a frank and honest statement. A proof of time spent in her former mentor, and current companion's company. "You really don't have to worry."

Rio blinks, listening to the fast changing of Tenebrous's mood, and the half-sentences he's speaking. He doesn't understand him at all. And it doesn't really make him feel all that great about the situation. But then Phylicia's trusting way of sidling up next to Tenebrous puts him more at ease. His oh-so intelligent reply? "Oh." Well, he'd rather be wrong and look stupid than be right and not have acted on it for fear of looking stupid. "Sorry, I didn't know." He raises a hand and scratches sheepishly at the back of his head.

Tenebrous gives Phylicia a hug, shaking his head a little. "And that's really what sums this whole little adventure up. Three little words, four, if you insist on omitting the contraction: I. Did. Not. Know." And his mirth fades, just like that. "You don't know who I am. You don't really know who she is, or how our pasts might be involved…you have no idea what time of day it is, or else you wouldn't have just gone wandering off into the woods…and I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt on that one. And you have no idea what kind of weed you're standing in the middle of right now." He lets his arm slip from around Phylicia's body before starting over towards Rio, his footsteps silent, despite the undergrowth beneath him. Someone has spent a wee bit of time in the woods. "But I tell you what, young sir, if you ever see some strange, crazy-looking individual taking that woman over there off someplace potentially dangerous…" And when he's close enough, he holds his gloved hand out to him to shake. "You go right ahead and follow them. Anyone who gets irritated about concern over someone's well-being can suck on the south end of a north-bound bovine. I happen to care about this particular woman a great deal…and as fantastically stupid as it was for you to charge into the forest near nightfall…I appreciate it."

Phylicia's eyes immediately jump to Rio's feet to see exactly which plant Rio is standing in currently, knowing she herself avoided anything of the dangerous variety. There's no gasp of alarm or anything, but instead a sort of half-solemn continued silence. Along with Tenebrous' amusement went a fair portion of her own, though she holds onto her smile easier, still a little flabbergasted by the whole situation. "Be nice…" Is the only light and warm-hearted warning that Tenebrous gets as she continues to listen, apparently expecting something else than what was said, since as she catches wind of it, her cheeks turn a very deep shade of pink. Right. She's just going to stand.. over here… and blush. Good enough. She's not entirely needed in this conversation at the moment.

Rio jumps away from the weed in question as Tenebrous points it out, hoping he hasn't touched it. Bah, forests and their malicious weeds all over the place. He makes a face at the plant, and looks up, just in time to see Tenebrous approaching him. He tenses a little bit. But not a lot. And he listens to the man speak, a smile slowly starting on his face as he listens. And he returns the handshake, too. No hard feelings out of Rio, nope. He gives a grin. Then he looks at Phylicia and admits, "Really. I do feel quite silly now, if it makes you feel any better."

Tenebrous shrugs quietly, pumping the man's hand once. "And you should. There are all manner of things that some would argue that you should be feeling right now. You shouldn't be feeling bad. Not about this." He glances up a little as Truth, that vibrant green flit ghosts onto a branch overhead, and nods to something that's communicated to him. "Thank you, little one," he calls up to her. "Stay here for a moment?" For her part, the green merely trills happily, ruffling her wings. Tenebrous turns a little, eyeing Phylicia then. He sighs heavily, a noise filled with unspoken words. Then he turns back to Rio. "Come. You're fortunate, young sir. The woman you see before you is one of the Healer Hall's most promising botanists, and a student of the forest. I imagine that if you ask her nicely enough, she'll help you back to the Weyr, even in the dark."

Phylicia gives Rio a friendly smile, even though her cheeks are still burning. "I should be thanking you too, instead of laughing at you." She sort-of apologizes to him, her eyes grinning. "It's just… sort of… embarrassing too." Thus the blush across her cheeks. She watches Truth with a certain amount of curiosity and she looks to Tenebrous and cants her head slightly. "You're not going to steal me off to keep me from tomorrow's duties?" There's a bit of teasing, forlorn note to her voice, though she does take a few careful steps towards the two men.

Rio chuckles a bit at Tenebrous's words. "I do feel all manner of things right now, in fact," he replies with a laugh. But hey…a laugh at his own expense is still a laugh. "I'm young and reckless, though…we fellows who qualify for both tend do do silly things like that." A pause as Tenebrous steps back and volunteers Phylicia for walking back to the Weyr with him. Her statement draws a smile. "Well…it's all right. Really, it /was/ kind of silly of me. But like he said, I just didn't know otherwise." He looks between the two, and hedges, "I wouldn't mind the help, I admit. But I don't want to interrupt anything you two might have planned…." Because a couple doesn't go into the woods together unless they have something planned, right? Something that requires alone time?

Tenebrous chuckles. "Oh, Phylicia, the healers probably wouldn't care for it much if the strange Fetch from the woods came and stole you again." Above, Truth trills again, this time a bit more nervously, and Tenebrous looks around. "Dusk is nearly upon us," he calls back to Phylicia quietly. "You should take him back to the Weyr, young miss. I'll accompany you to the edge of the trees, but we should go now. Even the little ones have trouble seeing in that light."

Phylicia holds out her arm after a moment, in a silent call for her other two to come join her. Ciaran gets his usual shoulder perch, forcing Estevan to try and share her other shoulder with the growing queen. The brown gets a disgusted look from Phy, which sends him scuttling down her arm, to the crook of her elbow, held against her body. "You apparently have something that needs to be taken care of." She says, shaking her head. "I'll see you in a few days." And that one sounds more like a promise even as she starts to move forward, carefully picking a path to put her heading in the right direction back towards the Weyr, free of any harmful plants. "Just make sure to follow my steps, alright?" And she's looking to Tenebrous then, waiting to see if he'll accompany them anyways, or if he'll leave to whatever Truth is trying to tell him about.

Rio keeps quiet as Tenebrous and Phylicia speak about whether or not she should go back to the Weyr. Though it seems the decision is made, and Rio nods. He isn't stupid enough to look a gift Runner in the mouth. Especially where getting home in the dark is concerned. His own firelizards are hidden in the underbrush, and finally come out of hiding, the brown creeling loudly, as if scared. Said brown flies directly into Rio's arms and tries to hide. "Oh jays, Riot…" he mutters. "I'm already looking stupid here, don't add to it." However, he nods as Phylicia cautions him to follow her steps. "I will. Thank you both." Another firelizard, a blue, latches onto his shirt. A very 'interesting-looking' green perches on his shoulder. He too looks back to the other man, wondering if he's planning on following.

Tenebrous nods once to Rio's thanks. "Don't worry about it." Then he turns to Phylicia as they begin moving. "I'll be around. You know the drill. We'll talk again at the edge of the treeline." Then he turns and starts off into the underbrush, stone silent, and after a moment, simply vanishes, bleeding into nothingness against the dark greens and browns of the forest backdrop, an arboreal wraith, at home in his haunt. On that branch above, Truth bugles once to Rio's arriving flits, urging them to silence in her own way, than churrs once to Phylicia, and takes off again, flying low amidst the branches, and out ahead of them.

Phylicia watches Truth fly out ahead of them, moments after Tenebrous finishes bleeding into the scenery of the forest. Way too used to that fact she nods to Rio as she starts moving, picking up her feet with exagurated care for his benefit, and a slight portion for herself, since her current shoes rather suck for trekking through the forest. "I don't know what set them off, but let's just be quiet until we get back to the Weyr?" Her tone is quiet already and she moves almost with the same silence that Tenebrous did earlier. Noooo, she really wasn't his apprentice at all. But either way she's moving, and making sure that Rio is still following while minding her own footsteps. "He was just playing with you about the weed, so you know. It was nothing harmful." Mmm. Deja vu, that. Sort of.

Rio waves to Tenebrous as he starts to walk away. "Thanks for understanding!" he calls out, comforting Riot, who is still whining. At least Jetta's not being a complete wuss about it, bah. However, he follows Phylicia as carefully as he can, picking his way out of the forest behind her. Her assurance about the weed not being harmful has him breathing a sigh of relief. "Oh, that's good. Granted, it might not have been too smart of me to come out here…but I was worried. I'm sorry, I didn't know he was your friend. He just seemed really crazy, and…." He trailed off. "Well, you know."

It's only when the edge of the woods is in sight that a quiet voice murmurs, "Oh, we're all quite mad here in the green, young sir…" Several feet in front of them both, Tenebrous bleeds into vision again on silent feet, the gold fire lizard resting on his shoulder with a calm expression. "You get used to it." When Phy's footsteps bring her within range, he raises a gloved fist in her direction, a silent 'Well done' offered for her work. "It's probably best that we come back this way anyway. I've still a few things I need to get from my room at the Weyr anyway, so I might as well pick them up now." This, directed more to Phylicia, a shared message, perhaps. Then he nods to them both.

The only thing that keeps Phylicia from screeching like the girl she is, is the fact that she's spent the last turn and a half -roughly- with Tenebrous pulling stuff like this with her. The most reaction he gets from her is a bit of a startled jerk. But Phylicia looks back to Rio and shakes her head, obviously still amused, even in the dimming light of the day. "It spreads, too." She warns him. After all, she can't be completely sane, volentarily spending time with the Fetch. "You might want to be careful how much time you spend with us." She jokes, offering the weaver apprentice a grin. As Tenebrous mentions picking something up, she turns to Rio and she holds out her hand to him. "Do me a favor and just wash that one-" She points to Riot, "-well. He was playing in the brush." No clue what he got into. And if it wasn't for the fact that he's been holding the 'lizard, she would offer him a hand. "It was… nice to meet you again, Rio."

Rio gives a startled 'ack' when Tenebrous makes his appearance, and jumps back a little, away from where the man has suddenly reappeared in front of him. "Shards!" he breathes, and Riot starts to whine again. "Shh," Rio tries, petting the brown's little head. Which he continued while Phylicia speaks to him about craziness. Until Phylicia points out that Riot was in the underbrush. "Gah! Thank you for pointing that out, miss," he offers, looking to the little brown with a frown. Then he raised his head, looking to Phylicia again. "Good to see you again, too. Though I hope the hesitation wasn't because you were forcing yourself to be nice." He grins. Then he looks to Tenebrous. "And it was nice to meet you too, mister crazy person." It's only half in jest, he never caught the man's name, if it was thrown. "Thanks for helping me back out of the forest, both of you." He seems generally happy.

Tenebrous laughs a little at the interplay between the two younger weyrfolk. He's apparantly said his piece, however, and without another word, he turns towrds the part of the weyr that contains the housing area and starts off at a lope, his passage marked only by the occasional rustle of his satchel. The gold on his shoulder lifts into the air almost automatically, and even as he fades into the distance, the green and bronze come shooting out of the trees overhead to watch his back.

Phylicia turns a mock glare to Tenebrous' fleeing form as even Rio starts to call her 'miss'. "Phylicia, not 'miss'!" She corrects the pair of them with exasperation and a chuckle, pitching her voice to carry. But she shakes her head at Rio. "Nothing was forcing me to be nice." She chuckles again. "I could've been as ornery as an old hag, with you interrupting like that." But she waves a hand in the air, dismissing it. "If you call him 'Fetch', he'll answer." She notes for Rio's future benefit before waving, and starting off towards some undisclosed location with a friendly wave. "I'm sure I'll see you around sometime!" She calls in way parting, seeming to have something to do.

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