Xanadu Wilds - Cleft
Leading deep into the interior of the island, the cleft nearly splits the island in two lengthwise, rising in elevation as you follow it into the interior of the island. Deep in shadow unless Rukbat is directly overhead, it is roughly 20 to 30 feet deep, vines and ferns clinging to the vertical sides and ferns choking the bottom of the passageway.
The surf is but a whisper here, funneled down the natural corridor while simultaneously muting the sounds from the island's surface above. All around you are tiny stirrings and burblings; the drip of water on stone, the miniscule scratch of claw on stone while the air is scented of damp rock, fresh earth, moss and the pungency of freshly-crushed fern. Passing under moss-blanketed logs that in turns past have fallen and lodged across the chasm, you may see an occasional orchid or mushroom.

The chilly wind is slightly lessened in the cleft, this area protected by the moss and vines and branches which choke it in a thick, damp green blanket. In his jacket and warm boots, Muir is here, carefully picking his way down towards the beach. A stick in one hand, he lifts a fern leaf and peers beneath, crowing in excitement as he plucks a small mushroom from the shadow in which it grew. Examining it closely, he then carefully places it into the wooden bowl he's carved for himself from a bit of driftwood. The bowl is about the width of a man's hands cupped together, and very roughly shaped. But it holds things, including liquid, and that's the important thing.

Today is a double-sweater day for Soriana, under her jacket. Also, three pairs of socks. She's made her way out from the camp by the waterfall, now heading along the cleft with her hands tucked in her pockets. The sound of excitement from Muir may well be what draws her attention to him in the dim light here, and she heads toward him, looking down at his prize and the rough carved bowl before glancing up to him. "Hey."

Muir turns around and grins at Soriana, his smile wide and his face a little smudged. But happy! "Hey, look!" A mushroom! "Can you keep a secret?" he asks next, though his crooked grin suggests that he already knows the answer to that. He's just itching to tell someone.

Soriana can't help but return that smile. It's infectious or something! She also can't help but ask, "You know which ones are safe to eat, right?" Because she worries about these things, and she knows she certainly doesn't know anywhere near well enough to trust her own foraging for mushrooms. As for his question to her, she hehs. "Course I can." He knows. She knows. But sometimes, you've just got to confirm what everyone already knows.

Muir grins, nodding. "Yeah, I do. Those," and he points to a little patch of innocent looking mushrooms, "are not to be touched. Won't kill you, but you'll wish you hadn't eaten them." Gently poking his stick around another fern, he lifts the leaves to find…nothing. Sadness. "I want to make Mikal soup tonight. Only using stuff from here." Since he's decided he's going to truly rough it, and not use any of the supplies they were given. "All I've got to cook in is this little bowl, so it'll be one bowl of soup all for him. I'll get some fish, and I've got some wood ready, and I'm finding some mushrooms…and whatever else I can scrounge up. There's not much here." And that has him frowning slightly. The boy eats like, well, a teenage boy. One wonders if he'll be able to tough it out on such lean rations for the full ten days.

"Noted," Soriana says as she peers at the Not So Good mushrooms. They look… remarkably like mushrooms. She is so definitely not qualified to do this herself. Berries, medical herbs, those she can recognize… if only there were any growing around here. She gives her head a rueful shake before returning her attention to Muir. "Soup, huh?" She ponders on that a moment. "Seems interesting." Muir is given a looking-over, as if to check whether he's started looking starved yet. Fish and mushrooms… is indeed not much of a diet for a teenaged boy. "But… yeah. There's not much here. Garawan was trying to pound pinecones for something to eat… but most of us have been having the rations." Including herself, but her tone isn't a scolding one. She glances away from Muir, looking out along the cleft. "I've heard you can eat bugs. Maybe those'd be okay in soup?"

Zahleizjah has found a little bit of peace through the first night and morning out here and is just now wandering back from sunrise and low tide. After spending a good deal of the night awake, clutched to her bow and her mini-viewer, Zahl ultimately decided there's nothing to be afraid of and went out for an early jaunt on the beach. "Hey Sori! Muir!" She'll say with a smile, the few hours of restful shut-eye and morning ceremony apparently helping to refresh the formerly anxiety ridden Starcrafter somewhat. "There's something about the stars and darkness, listening to the sounds of a new area and ultimately facing a fear that needed to be faced. Reminded me of Briana talking about the opposite of living so close to the Weyr.. How're your adventures so far?"

Muir doesn't look starved. He has all the water he needs, which makes all the difference. "Yeah, he loves soup. I thought it'd be funny." And nice. But mostly funny. "Pinecones? There might be pine nuts in those…but I'm not sure if there are this time of turn. I'm trying to get Kenpo to take down one of those little songbirds, but so far he hasn't had any luck. But if he gets one, we could add that too." Surf and…not turf. Surf and air? "You think he'd eat it if there were bugs in it? Maybe if we didn't tell him…" He pokes his stick gently through more foliage, revealing another Good Mushroom that he plucks and tucks tenderly into his bowl. Amazing the appreciation you get for food when you're finding it yourself. Turning his head, he stiffens slightly and then relaxes when he sees it's Zahleizjah, shooting Soriana a look. Can they trust her?

Elsie comes swooping through first, alighting somewhere with a cheerful chitter to those below. Soon after follows Mikal. He's napped a bit so he's looking a bit more rested as he's out and about doing some exploring. Elidor rests inside his hood as normal, unsure he likes it out here!

Mostly funny, yeah. Soriana grins, and nods her agreement. "He really does love the stuff. I'm not sure why. I mean, it can be tasty and all, but…" Seriously, Mikal. "Toral's been catching bugs. Between that and fish guts, he and Haruhi are doing okay for themselves." Unlike some of the other flying stomachs around the camp. Soriana likes firelizards. She's getting awfully tired of the constant begging from the ones that seem convinced they're half-starved. As for bugs in the soup, "Yeah, better not tell him. But I mean… a beetle is sort of like a spiderclaw, right? And those are tasty…" Right? Her tone is only somewhat dubious about her own line of reasoning. Soriana looks up at the sound of Zahleizjah's voice, and offers her a wave. "Heya," she says, then smiles. "Yeah? You and the stars must be good company by now." She gives Muir a look back, and her expression is uncertain. The hesitation lasts long enough that she sees Elsie coming in, and that decides her. If Elsie's here, Mikal may not be far behind! So. "Oh, just exploring. Have you tried going fishing yet?"

Zahleizjah thinks she seems pretty un-alarming at this point, compared to her panic ridden self yesterday. She blushes and nods, admitting with embarrassment to Soriana "It was pretty difficult t'fall asleep at first, every chirp and rustle followed in an attempt to discern what might be lurking." Theres a shrug and a chuckle "After categorizing for hours I realized it's just us, this moss, our supplies, firelizards and some bugs." She'll look down towards the mushrooms and mention "It's really cool you know about all this stuff Muir.. without some supplies.. I unno.. even still, guess I could end up eatin' bugs towards the end if I run out. Stay away from the bright ones right?" On fishing she'll ask "Did either of you have any luck out there? Went out before dinner on the expedition to the top yesterday, caught a nice pair of fish with some grubs that proved to be tasty for dinner. I had t'trade one to another Candidate for cleaning both of them, but we fried em up with a few strips of left over bacon, eggs and a root tubers. Fruit for breakfast.. maybe I'm not the worst camper on Pern. I think it'll all turn out ok and probably be something to reflect fondly on." Virikas is cuddled as she croons to Mikal and Co, a smile and wave in greeting "Hey Mikal. How's your day?"

Muir glances once more at Soriana and gives a subtle nod of his head as he pokes about under another fern. Nothing. "I'll bet the stars are amazing out here, with no light to cloud your view," he says, finally giving Zahleizjah a smile and some words of greeting. "And hey, Mikal. How's things? And yeah, Zah, I've caught a few fish already. But my dad taught me." Therefore, he is awesome at it. "I'm having fun, that's for sure."

If asked it would be explained why soup is indeed the perfect food. It's like a meal and a drink all in one! Chunky food to eat and soup to slurp? Soemthing like that. However Mikal knows nothing of a soup conversation. He gives a short whistles, eyes scanning around for Elsie. There she is! With that settled on where she is he approaches the small group. "Hey!" he greets. "Good once I woke up a bit. No where to go running at really." he says with a small shrug. "Never did catch any fish. There a special knack to that?" asks the fish less soup eating candidate. "You stay up all night watching the stars?" he teases Zahl.

"Hey, you never know about that moss," Soriana says with a smirk to Zahleizjah. "Might come rising up in the middle of the night and come after all of us." She takes a step toward the others - or, really, just away from Muir. Not that he (or his boots) smell or anything, but she doesn't want anyone, "Hi Mikal," paying too close attention to what he's doing. "Fishing's mostly about patience," she says. "I mean… there's all sorts of fancy stuff. Twitching the lines and stuff. But if you wait long enough, you'll generally catch something." A pause, a grin, and she adds, "And the grosser the thing you put on the hook, the less long you've got to wait."

Zahleizjah smiles Muir's direction with a shy-ish nod. "Quite stunning across skies with absolutely no light pollution. You're welcome t'borrow my viewer tonight for awhile if you'd like." Another chuckle escapes "Took me quite some time t'catch those two, but if I get better I learned how t'make a stringer so that'll be helpful. Maybe we can go out bug huntin' and fishing again once the tide goes down Mikal?" She might not quite call this fun yet, it is still a stretch for the girl who's spent most her life in a Hold, but survival of the most survival-y? She'll even ask Soriana "Moss monsters? How about moss patties? Think we could smash up some pinenuts coat em and fry em?" For the moments she'd presented herself anew, the teasing by Mikal turns cheeks five shades of rose "Yeah.. watching t'stars.. you?" Note is taken of the words of wisdom Muir does choose to share, but she definitely doesn't pry.

Muir nods, "Yeah, there is a knack to it but it's something you've gotta feel." So he can't teach it. He's holding a carved wooden bowl, about the width of a grown man's cupped hands, and it has a few mushrooms in it. With a happy sound, he adds another that he plucks from beneath a fern. For all anyone (except Soriana) knows, he's foraging for himself! Grinning at Sori, he looks at Zah, surprised for a moment before he grins. "I would love that actually, thanks! That's real nice of you. And yeah, you can eat some of this moss," he asks, picking some with his finger and thumb and popping it into his mouth. And you'll excuse him if he chews for about a year now.

Mikal nudges Zahl playfully. "Nothing wrong with looking at the stars. Especially since I bet you can see them best out here. Maybe if we do the fishing at the right time you can also teach me some of the names of the stars and stuff. He gives Muir a crazy eyed look but…he's simply accepted that no matter what he says the other boy is determined to live off the land and not the meager rations found within their packs. His own back is empty all his stuff save for the normal belt pouch around his waist. Kneeling down he tightens up his bright orange laces. Luckily the paint is all gone from his hands finally. "Did you see the painting w…that was done on the wall?" he asks Zahl, an impish smile appearing briefly. "Very um…brightly colored wasn't it?" at the idea of eating moss the boy simply cringes.

This is just like playing around in the gully when Soriana was a little kid. Except, of course, for the bit where she's not going to go home tonight and have a tray of dinner and a hot bath. Still, she's no stranger to clambering around on dirty rocks, even if her recent turns have been more occupied with scrubbing surgical instruments to sterile. She hehs to Muir about fishing, and nods. "Just gotta practice," she agrees. Not that she herself is going to be mistaken for a Seacrafter anytime soon. Or a Starcrafter, that's Zah. "I wonder why they don't put an Observatory out somewhere like this," she ponders, then shrugs, looking back to that moss. "Pine sap, too." Speaking of things you can chew on for-e-ver. "So, we'll be fine." …okay, yes, these things have negligible nutritional value, but at least it'll keep their mouths busy. Her gaze goes back to Mikal as he mentions that painting, and Sori smirks. "I saw that one. I think I could have seen that one from dragonback without landing."

Zahleizjah has had her hair tied back for days for a reason. Nope! Nothing to be seen in there. Kiddie paint comes of skin pretty easily, but it's not supposed to go in the hair, especially thick, raven colored hair. A sly smile does not give in to the redness so easily provoked on her cheeks and she says "I've only heard about it.. quite the scene I take it? And a huge puddled mess all over the floor?" Zahl plays dumb and bounces right back to the topic of stars and moss, watching Muir chew, and chew, and chew nothing she should probably cut it up small and cook it well. "Definitely.." she says to him, then noting to Mikal as well "There's sure to be some impressive constellations out the next few nights.." A nod considers Soriana's Observatory observation and she says "Good question, with the Barracks on one side and the stage on the other, then again it's usually lights out when the best things are to be seen. Pine sap eh? Hafta add that to the moss patties!" a crinkle of the nose pairs with laughter and it's hard to tell how serious she is about that.

Muir gulps down the moss and then winks at Mikal, nodding. "I did see that. Do you know who did it? I was sad I wasn't there to help! I think my style would've been appreciated." Glancing at Soriana, he pokes about in the dirt and comes up with a wiggling worm. With a quick pinch, he's stilled the critter and slips it quietly into the bowl. "That's a great question actually," he says, looking skyward. "This would be the perfect place for an observatory…and that's true, Zah, but really…this would be amazing. I'm looking forward to using your farviewer tonight!" Scraping up a bit of moss, he adds it to the bowl as well. Doot doot doot.

Mikal eyes the bowl a bit warily as Muir slips a…worm? into it. The expression that crosses his face is plain enough to read as 'thank the shell I aint the one eating that'. "I think I'll stick to my rations." to which he'll gladly partake of dry meat and whatnot compared to moss patties. "I'm not sure even Elsie would eat moss patties with pine sap." though who knows? "No idea who did it." he said a little too quickly to Muir. That said he ducks his head to rummage through his pouch around his waist and pulls out a pair of gloves. "Didja see the glove Marel made me?"

"Moss patties with pine sap." Soriana pauses for a moment, letting that sink in. It sinks like a rock. "It's… like pancakes with syrup." Except for the part where it is, in fact, almost nothing like that. Dinner tonight will be fabulous for sure. And, hey, for those special diners who get to partake, Muir's soup promises to be an explosion of flavor! That's what worms do when cooked, right? Explode? Soriana… is not certain. Soriana does not think she actually wants to be certain. Mmmm, moss patties. "Oh, it was probably just some weyrbrats or something," Soriana says of the painting, with a glance to Mikal as she does. "Can't imagine anyone with real art skills could have been involved." And, yep, there's a faint smirk. "Anyway, stargazing's fun. Wonder what the best spot here'd be for it…" She hmms, then glances over to take a look at Mikal's new gloves. "Nice."

Zahleizjah nonchalantly says "I haven't heard of any names mentioned.." Moving right along.. not too much info, not too little info, under the radar, right? A nod quickly agrees "It sure would be, no doubts there. An Observatory in a place like this would be absolutely amazing. N'I should definitely be around the dinner fire t'help cook n'such, we can meet up then and y'can have it all night if y'like. I think I'll probably catch up on some rest." Not much mind is paid to the fixin's in Muir's bowl, he seems to have a.. recipe in mind?? A smirk and shrug are shared with Mikal "I guess it depends on how many people eat through their rations too quickly I guess? Virikas.." who's tromping around bug hunting nearby "..prolly wouldn't eat them either, maybe if we put some meat chunks in em and make them anything except moss-like." Sori's a genius "Yeah like pancakes!" Ground moss maybe? She's glad worm explosion thoughts are not shared. No soup for Zahl! "I'd think up on the pinnacle.." she says to the DragonHealing Candidate"But that tide is a tricky thing I learned. Y'can easily get stuck out there and it'll test your swimming skills t'get back unless y'wait it out by 'patiently' fishing."

Muir catches Mikal's expression and flashes him a crooked grin, but when his friend's back is turned, Muir dumps the worm back into the foliage. Here, worm, sorry I killed you. Fertilize some plants in your death. "Marel made those? She's always had skills," he says, leaning forward to peer at them. "Those are awesome! She should make me some." Poke, poke, prod. And then he finds a broad, thick leaf, and studies it for a long moment before he pulls a few off that plant. Folding them carefully, he sticks them into his pocket. Glancing at Soriana, he laughs. "I'll have to try to get some sap. Maybe I can make tea with it or something…hey, if you have a wooden bowl filled with water, on the fire, it won't burn, right? Because it's wet?" He eyes his precious bowl critically. "I don't want to try and make tea and end up with ashes." He would CRY. Waving towards Zah as she leaves, he resumes his hunt for mushrooms. Some he takes, but others he leaves - and not all of the ones he leaves are poisonous. With nine days left, he has to conserve.

Mikal finishes showing off the gloves. "They're pretty neat." he says simply. "We're going to work on something together too for the baby shower." one assumes it can be chatted about fairly freely here with not many people to overhear. "Hope she doesn't have that kid while we're gone."

Moss pancakes with meat-chunks. Uhh… maybe Soriana doesn't actually need to eat? Her face is uncertain as she considers that. Or maybe she can just go with fish-on-a-stick roasted over the fire. At least until they run out of firewood… at which point, she's got crackers and jerky, and if she runs out of those… hello, sashimi. "Mmmh," she says, then blinks back to paying attention. "Huh?" she says to Zah, then nods. "Oh. Yeah. You should tell the other starcrafters that." She gives a lopsided grin before looking to Muir and his bowl. "I… don't think it will? It's like green firewood." Certain her tone is not. "You'd better soak it first, so it's wet all through. And keep an eye on it." Back to Mikal, and she gives his gloves another look before nodding. "Shards, I hope not," she says of Briana. "I just got Ocelara to agree. And I've… everyone's done so much for it."

Muir snaps his fingers. "Oh shards, I totally forgot about that. We've got so much going on. The shower, the play thing, all this…" He shakes his head and then grins. "And, oh yeah, the hatching. Are they trying to stress us out or what?" He nods at Soriana's suggestions. "Good ideas, thanks. And don't be so modest. You've done just about everything for this party. I can't even /remember/ it, let alone do something to help."

Zahleizjah takes a look at the gloves and agrees with admiration "They're definitely some fine work! Perfect for this trip too.." Virikas has had more than her fair share of bugs and hops back over to crawl up her human-pet to shoulder perch. There's chitters as if she's sharing instructions and at the sight of Sori's face she'd ease "Not the sweet ones y'know? I bet some of those crackers crunched up and they could be like dinner patties or something.." Ok, maybe she's is uncertain too, but a chuckle and shrug has an idle hand scritching the green on shoulder. "It'd be quite the undertaking I'm sure, but a fun project for the Starcraft." is said to Sori before she makes for an exit "Welp.. I should get back t'camp. Mebbe we can go out fishing when the tide is low again.." She avoids the stress told, waving before she wanders "See y'guys later."

"Well the hatching's presumably a ways away. At least a month I'd imagine. After all they wouldn't take us so far away for this long if the eggs were closer, would they?" asks Mikal. "I'll have to finish my drawing when we get back but I finally got it started. "Yeah, you've done great with organizing this party and stuff Sori. The play too I suppose. We /are/ doing something cool for the play, right?" a wave is given to Zahl's departing back.

"Watch, after this… the hatching'll be a pleasant afternoon around lunchtime. We'll all just stroll in, and they'll have practiced rousing us in the middle of the night for nothing." Because of course that's what the wakeup call for this trip was all about. The weyrlingmasters wanted to practice rousing candidates in case the hatching happened in the middle of the night. Soriana smirks, then nods to Mikal. "Well, we have got riders here. And it's not like they can lose us, really." It's not that big a rock. "They could have us back pretty quick." She waves to Zah, and as the two boys compliment her party planning, she gives them a lopsided grin. "Thanks. I still haven't managed to put together a present, though." Just… arranged all the other party circumstances. Details. "Anyway… I hope it'll work out." If not, there's certainly not much she can do about it from here! "Of course we're doing something cool for the play. We're going to have man-eating plant firelizards, plenty of tragic death, and a cruel, heartless shopkeeper." Not based on a certain Weyrleader. Nope. Also, there's a romance subplot, but she's talking to the boys. Better leave that part out. "You wanna be the shopkeeper, Muir? He's a bad guy. And he gets eaten alive."

Muir shakes his head at Mikal. "I'd assume not…but you never know? Might be why they've left some dragons here with us." And their riders. Watching. And taking /notes/. Does that creep anyone else out? Because Muir's creeped out. At Soriana, Muir laughs. "Yeah, sometime in the afternoon. After a nice light lunch. And we can take iced drinks out there with us, lounge around as the hatchlings stroll among us to change our lives forever. "No present? Too bad there's nothing we…" He trails off, looking around, and then grins. "Maybe we could make, like, something out of wood here. I mean we've got nothing but time while we're stuck here, right? Maybe we can find some wood and carve something. Like…blocks. Or something. Something easy?" Then he perks up. "The cruel shopkeeper? I guess I can pretend to be a bad guy." Grin. "Oh yeah? /Awesome/. I'm in. So you didn't like Kale's and my idea?"

"Muir as cruel and heartless?" Mikal takes a moment to peer over to his friend to see if he can act that out. "I think I need a small singing part." very small. "Or maybe just a simple talking part. I can humm thiugh. Can we humm our way through the parts? What are you going to be Soriana?" immediately followed by. "What was yours and Kale's idea?"

Blocks should definitely be easy. Squares! How hard can it be? And you vaguely scratch letters in them. Soriana grins to Muir. "That's a great idea," she says. "Something to do while we wait for the fish to bite." And maybe, by the time they get out of here, they'll have made something that's sufficiently worthwhile it doesn't become kindling. She grins more as he agrees to villainy, and nods. "Exactly. You gotta glare. And grump." Sooo kinda like D'had? Maybe having seen his father around is part of why Soriana's suggesting Muir for the part. Regardless, her attention turns to Mikal, and she nods. "Maybe you can be one of the customers? They're supposed to like… sing a song together, about the stuff they want." And if they're very, very lucky, at least half of them will be on-key. "I dunno what I'm gonna be yet. Maybe lead, if we can't get Idrissa to do it. Or else I can be the narrator." Back to Muir. "Was that the one with Bush and Tree's longing romance across the road? Or the one with attacking the holders and pulling off the poisoned leaves?" Or did she miss one?

Muir nods, "Yeah! There's plenty of wood around that we could use. If we pull down some branches now, or gather some wood, we can set it up to dry on top of the rocks, so we can work with it. Pine is nice and soft. Does Kale carve? And yeah, I can do that." He's not doing it now, but trust him. He can be moody. Then he grins. "Yeah, that one. Kale and I were evil trees or something, capturing a Holder's daughter and holding her captive with our poison leaves until we get killed. But I can be the bad guy."

Mikal considers that. "I bet I could make a good customer." and really isn't singing on key a little too over rated. I mean everyone /expects/ that when they go to a play. So they can present the unexpected. It'll be great! "Well this one has evil plants so it's kinda the same."

"Yeah, it is," Soriana agrees about the pine. Nice and soft! Perfect for teething on and getting splinters. "I'll find some sticks today." And hope it doesn't rain. As for Kale and carving… "Probably. At least good enough to make blocks." Or, at least, to try to make blocks. Back to the play! She grins to Muir, and nods. "Yeah, there's still an evil plant," Soriana says. "Only it's got like… mind controlled plantlings, those're what the firelizards are playing, and it's going to send those to eat everyone." She grins. "Maybe it'll like… escape at the end. Because that makes it spookier."

Muir tilts his head a little bit. "So I'm the shopkeeper and the plant is my…pet? Or…are we co-villians? Is someone playing the plant? And yeah! I like that idea. Maybe we have the firelizards fly at the audience or something, with some evil…plant…do plants laugh? Could the plant laugh evily?"

"That'll be interesting." he reaches up to scritch the resident brown inside his hood. Mikal falls quiet to listen to Muir's questions and waits for Soriana's reply.

"It's… maybe it's a pet, yeah. I mean, it's gotta eat you, but it could be your pet." Soriana hmms. This merits more thinking-about. "Yeah, someone'd better play the plant." Soriana pauses, but not for very long. "Maybe Hotaru." She grins wide at the idea of having the firelizards fly at the audience, and nods vigorously. "…the plant can totally laugh." No, plants don't ordinarily do that, but this time, Soriana is more than willing to make an exception, because that would be awesome.

Muir blinks. "So…at the end…Hotaru…eats me?" He looks a bit uncomfortable with that, clearing his throat. "Maybe we throw leaves at the audience too. Or the firelizards drop leaves. Something like that, to scare them a bit. Maybe we can - OH!" Idea! "What if the leaves touching is how the plant takes control of something else? So at the beginning a firelizard lands on the plant, and gets…taken over or whatever. And whoever touches it, is taken over, and at the end the firelizards drop a bunch of leaves on the audience!"

Mikal lets those two plan and he simply nods his head here and there at the appropriate places!

"Or whoever's playing the plant," Soriana says to Muir, then pauses. Hmm. He seems… okay, quick revision time. "Maybe it's not like… eating, eating. The plant could just, like… drain the life out of them using its firelizards. So… Kenpo flies to you and you scream and fall down and pretend you're dead." No actual touching of Hotaru required! As for throwing leaves, she nods consideringly at first, then starts to grin. "Maybe it like… takes over some people and drains others. And so… all the firelizards fly to their people," because shell no is she trying to train all those firelizards to do fancy tricks, "-and the people pretend to be dead or brainwashed and give them the leaves for when they fly out over the audience."

Muir glances at Mikal and grins, to see how he's liking these ideas. "Yeah, alright. I get drained and I die a horrible, convulsing death." AWESOME. "Sure, that'll work." Picking up his stick again, he resumes poking about for mushrooms, touching a hand to his pocket to make sure the leaves are still there. "When are we doing this?"

"Be sure to make it /dramatic/." offers Mikal as his only suggestion. Cause really they seem to got this covered pretty well. "Seems like a good play to me. Hopefully not too long though!" he adds. "I'm sure I can get my two dressed up but not sure for how long."

Horrible convulsing deaths! YAY! Soriana grins, nodding as Muir approves of the revised plan. Now, to integrate it into the… script is an awfully ambitious word. But, hey. They can aspire. "Oh, yeah," she agrees to Mikal. "We'd better make it dramatic. And short." She nods about those firelizards. "I can get Haruhi to help keep everyone behaving, but… not for long." So, once they've got this script… they'd better cut out half of it and throw it away until it fits a firelizard's attention span. "I dunno when," she says to Muir. "I guess Ocelara or Thea are gonna tell us?" But if they have… Soriana doesn't remember.

Muir grins, "Oh, I will. People will be /cheering/ for my death." Picking another mushroom, he nods. "Alright. Well just let me know what my lines are or whatever. Or if I just make it up as I go. I'm going to go make some salt, you guys want to come with?"
Mikal furrows his brow. "Make some salt?" he is curious as to how /that/ is done. "Naw, I think I'm gonna go fish a bit for the fire lizards. If I can catch anything."

"Course they will," Soriana agrees with Muir. Of course, whether that's because it's a dramatic death, because he's playing the bad guy, or because it means he's done on-stage and they won't be subjected to any more of his acting… ah, well, time will tell. "Yeah. Maybe we can get a rehearsal in while we're here." And, hey, if they do it on the beach, the tides will make certain they keep it short enough! Buuuut before that, they need an actual script. So. She looks pondery, then smiles to Muir. "Sure, I'll come." She can scratch out notes in the sand. "Good luck, Mikal!"

Muir nods to Mikal, tossing up a wave. "See you around, then." They're never far from each other. At least there aren't any bitter rivalries between anyone in this group? Grinning to Soriana, he shifts his bowl to one hand and courteously offers her his arm. "Then shall we adjourn to the beach? Tide's out."

"Let's," Soriana says, putting her arm in Muir's to head along to the little beach. For one brief moment, you might even mistake her for ladylike. "Maybe we can find some food there, too. I had this dried seaweed stuff once that was pretty good…" Probably mostly because of the spices it was flavored with, but hey, it can't be worse than moss patties with pine sap.

Muir grins, "Sure, we can hunt around for food. I was thinking of digging for siderclaws or shellfish. Don't know if there are any here, but maybe?" Down to the beach, he lets her hand go and carefully sets his bowl down, pulling out the leaves and glancing skyward. "You think Mikal suspects anything?" he asks, moving into the warm (ish) sunlight and crouching down in the damp sand, beginning to scoop shallow holes.

Xanadu Wilds - Island Beach
A narrow band of pink sand is revealed by the ebb tide that forms a ring around the base of the high cliffs towering above it. Shaded by those same cliffs above on the west in the mornings, and on the east in the afternoons, the beach is perfect for fishing and swimming. From here it is possible to walk all the way around the island, but there is no way to get back to the top save for through the cleft. One must still be cautious not to get caught on the other side of the island when the tide comes in or they risk having to swim back to gain entry to the island cleft.

"It can't hurt to try," Soriana says of the beach life. "I mean, they're practically bugs, and there's plenty of those around here." Spiderclaws are just tastier bugs than most. Poor wormy. Sori's gaze wanders along the beach, looking for the suspicious holes that often mean something's been burrowing around, and she strolls a few steps to take a look at one of them. "Nah," she says to Muir's question, shaking her head. "I don't think so. I mean, seriously, if he thought there'd be soup, he'd never be able to keep quiet about it." She grins.

Muir laughs, flashing a wide grin at Soriana. "Yeah, that's true." One depression scooped, he places a leaf into it so the leaf forms a little cup, and rocks back on his heels to admire his handiwork. Satisfied, he begins another. "So how are you doing?" he asks, suddenly serious and soft spoken. "With all this. Candidacy and all. Are you excited?"

Soriana leans down to give one of the holes in the sand a poke. Unfortunately (fortunately?) nothing tries to snap at her finger, and she frowns as she straightens up again. At Muir's question, she turns to look at him, and the frown disappears, replaced by an expression that's mostly just… thoughtful. Serious, as she gives the question the consideration it deserves. "Kinda?" she says, and one side of her mouth quirks up, only half a smile. "It's… I'm glad we're so busy, because when I'm not busy, I start to think about what I'm doing here. Why I'm here. Y'know? It's… some of the eggs, it's like… they wanted to sweep me away, to change everything, and I dunno that I want… that. I like having me/ be the one in charge of me."

Muir nods as he listens, laying out the leaves in their individual depressions. Then he looks up at her, brows lifting a bit. "You too, huh?" he asks quietly. "I've…I'm having the same thing, sorta. Some of the eggs just were so…demanding. Pushy? Rude. And I know Impression changes everything but…do they have to be such jerks about it?"

"Heh," Soriana says as Muir admits to the same experience. There's a flicker of amusement, but only a brief one, and then she sighs and nods. "Yeah. And… I dunno if it changes everything or not. I mean, everyone's heard the stories about whatever weird things E'gin's dragon is making him do this sevenday… and I love Yumeth, but sometimes she gets an idea into her head and nothing my mom can say will make her budge." She frowns. "It's like… I imagine if I had Haruhi, only… she was the one who was stronger. It's… kinda scary."

Muir nods, "Yeah, but…my mom can control Seryth. I think it's all about training. Just like the firelizards. Least that's what I've always thought. And everyone knows how weird E'gin is. I'm not surprised his lifemate is the boss. But…" he adds, thinking aloud as he goes to carry a palmful of sea water to the leaves in their little holes, dripping the water in and smearing it up along the leaf so it's all damp with a little pool in the middle. "Maybe it's compromise, too? Like…sometimes Marel gets me to do things, and sometimes I get her to do things."

"Yeah. You're right, that's… how it's supposed to work." Soriana half-smiles. It's only half, because she's still thinking about all the times when it doesn't actually work that way. Even with firelizards… it's not like she always manages to get Haruhi to behave, though Faranth knows she tries. "I guess I can be pretty stubborn too." Sori gives the sand a little kick, watching it for spiderclaws scurrying away. "It's just… I've always sort of pictured myself as a rider, you know? And now that it's getting close… suddenly I'm not sure I want it. But it's like… I've always wanted it. But…"

Muir glances at her again, his brown eyes searching her face. "Me too," he admits, quietly, as if it's some big secret or revelation. "All my life I wanted to be a bluerider. But now, it's like…it's." Breath. "Scary," he mutters. "What if I do impress? And don't like it? What if I don't? What if Marel does and I don't? What if I do and /she/ doesn't?" The boy is beginning to fret again, carrying palmfuls of water back and forth from ocean to leaf, until they're all wet with that little pool in the bottom. Then he crouches to stare at them. Watching water evaporate. How fun. "And the worst part is? We can't really /do/ anything about it. There's nothing we can do to make ourselves impress. And if we turned our knots in, we'd always wonder…"

Soriana looks back to Muir, her brown eyes meeting his and her gaze steady. She nods to the revelation, seeming to understand the seriousness of it. It's not the secret itself. It's the admitting to it. "Yeah," she says quietly. "It is." She wanders up to the edge of that hole, watching wet leaves. Truly enthralling. "…and… if I did. Would I suddenly be happy about it? Like… would I not care that I wasn't in control anymore?" Soriana frowns, biting at her lower lip for a moment. "I keep telling everyone we'll still be friends no matter what happens, but… I dunno. Impressing changes people. I remember Jessi back when she was Jeniosa, and Iforian, and… they're not the same. I think they're happier now. But they're not the same." She frowns, and settles down onto the sand. If they both stare at the leaves, they'll dry faster, right? "Yeah. We can't do a thing. It's the dragon's choice." That's a familiar phrase in her mouth, though it's not usually said nearly so unhappily. She nods about how they'd always wonder. "I don't want to give up."

Muir nods, "Yeah. From what I've heard, you wouldn't care. You'd be happy. Really happy. And…you'd be complete. But I don't feel broken now. I don't feel like I /need/ fixing. I don't even know where a dragon'd /fit/," he admits, tapping his temple with a finger. "It does change people," he murmurs, shaking his head. "That's why I'm worried…I like things how they are now. And change…" He runs his fingers through his hair, tugging on a snarl before it gives way. "I don't want to lose things," he murmurs. "No, I don't want to give up either. But. I'm ready for it to be over. Are you worried…things'll change between you and Kale? And Idrissa?"

Soriana would be happy. But would she still be Soriana? Or would she be… Niora or someone. She frowns, and nods. "I don't feel broken either. I mean… I'm happy." Even if, right now, she's not smiling. "Things are good. It's just…" She sighs at the mention of Kale and Idrissa, lifting her gaze from the water in the dip to look out at the water in the sea. "I… I love Kale. And I told him that, and I told him… maybe someday I'd love someone else, too, but I love him. And that's true, but… it's not like I'm worried about flights or anything. Those happen." She waves a hand with the dismissiveness of a weyrbrat. "I think Kale and I will be okay." There's a faint smile as she adds, "We're both stubborn enough." The smile doesn't last for long, though. "I… kinda worry about Idrissa."

Muir continues to stare at the water, checking each leaf to make sure none of them have leaks and they're holding steady in their own little depressions. He nods, glancing up at her. "Love someone else? Like your dragon?" he asks, curious but not wanting to pry too much into his friends' romance. Because…yeah. No. "Idrissa? She's…very sweet," he says. But the way he says it it's more of a 'she's not stubborn' way.

"Or another guy," Soriana says, and her tone becomes more matter of fact for this part of the conversation. She returns Muir's gaze unabashedly. "I'm not, like, looking. But I'm not going to say I won't." A shrug, and then she shifts her position, leaning back onto her hands and returning to the subject of Idrissa. "Yeah. She is." Soriana sighs. "I mean… she so doesn't want to be leading lady in the play. But she will, if we tell her to, and… we're not even inside her head."

Muir blinks at her, and when he finds himself blushing he looks away. Oh look. Water evaporating. Biting on his lower lip, he exhales softly, realization dawning. "Oh," he says. "Yeah. I hadn't thought of it like that…but. Maybe she's stronger than we give her credit for?" Hopefully? "I think…I think she'd be a good rider, if she knew it'd be best for her lifemate to be the one in control? Know it's best if she's tough?" It's all speculation though, as he runs fingers through his hair again.

If Soriana notices that blush, she at least doesn't comment on it. She's quiet for a moment, considering on what Muir says about Idrissa, then nods. "Maybe. Yeah. I mean… I hope so." But hope's all she really has… and besides, she can't even decide about her own life. How's she supposed to decide about Idrissa's? Her gaze settles back on Muir. "At least Marel… she's strong. I don't think you have to worry about her, however things go. She'll make it through."

Muir nods, "Oh, I know she will," he says, poking at the sand with the end of his long stick, so the top of it waves well above his head. "I'm not worried about /her/." He's worried about himself. That's clear in his tone, and the guilty look he suddenly has. Poke, poke, DAMN YOU SAND.

To that, Soriana simply nods. She's quiet for a moment, her expression a sympathetic one, but she doesn't reach for any of the usual comforting noises as the sand is stabbed and the waves wash against the shore… just sits there, with a thoughtful sort of frown, until eventually she speaks. "When… that renegade came here, I started taking fighting lessons with the guard. Because… I wanted to be ready." She looks slightly embarassed for a moment, and shakes her head. "Anyway. One of the things they teach you is how to stand balanced. Like, really balanced, so nobody can push you over. Maybe it's the same thing. Going to the eggs… you're reaching out to them. You get off balance. On the sands… maybe if you've got your mind balanced, they can't push you over. Not unless you let them."

Muir glances up at her as she speaks, though it's fleeting. "Maybe," he says quietly. "But…how can you get balanced with so much change? I feel like the last…turn or so has been me floundering, trying to figure out what's going on in my own life." Frustration creeps into his voice and he stabs the sand again with his stick. "I just want to know," he says, softly, when the spell has passed. "But maybe you're right. Maybe that's how we can prepare. To just be balanced. And hope. Hope it turns out good for all of us. Because I don't want to lose these friendships either…"

Soriana's gaze turns to Muir, then drifts away - not staring at him, mostly not even looking at him, but staying aware of him, keeping him a part of her perceptions as she watches sea and sky around them. Her lips twist for a moment as he stabs the sand, but that's all the comment on it she makes, her gaze staying deliberately away until his temper recedes and he speaks again. "Maybe it is. I don't know." Her brown eyes are steady on him now. "I… don't know what all happened up north, either. I don't need to." And she's not asking. "But… I was glad when you and Marel came back." She smiles slightly, even if her thoughts are too heavy for much of one right now. "And yeah. I hope it turns out good. More than that. I'm going to make it turn out good, with or without a dragon. I just… I don't know which, yet." And won't. Not until those eggs crack.

Muir nods, and when he senses she's looking at him he turns his head to look back at her. "I was glad too," he admits quietly, touched by her words, his smile lifting a little bit. "I guess that's all we can do, huh. Make it turn out good. It's not like we become…" and here he grins, "mindless plant drones, if we impress. We're still in charge of our lives. We can still keep these friendships going if we really want to. If they're important. Dragon or not." He hesitates, his hand shifting a bit, before it rests on the sand again. Awkward.

As Muir returns her smile, Soriana's own increases, and she nods… then outright laughs. Nothing like mindless plant drones to take away a somber mood. "We'd better not, anyways." She grins. "If we do… they've been awful good at keeping it a secret." The grin itself doesn't last, but there's a lingering smile. "We will. I'm glad you're my friend, Muir." Her own hand reaches out, less hesitant than his, intending a friendly gesture. A pat to his knee, probably. It's the closest body part.

Muir grins when she laughs, glad his joke worked and didn't fall flat. When she reaches towards his knee he tries to catch her hand in his, so he can give it a squeeze. "I'm glad you're my friend too, Soriana. And we'll keep it, no matter what happens on the sands."

Soriana's hand is easily caught, and she smiles as she squeezes Muir's hand back. That's a friendly gesture too. It works just as well. Possibly better. "Yeah. We will. They can't change us if we don't let them. We're not little kids anymore."

Muir nods, and he holds her hand a moment longer before loosening his grip so she can take her hand back if she wants. "Exactly," he says, peering into the leaves. "I think that's good enough. I'm going to cook the fish in these leaves. Steamed, if I can manage it. And that'll season it, so when I add it to the soup it will be salty. Think maybe I should use some sea water as part of the base, too? I don't want his soup to be bland…"

Soriana does take her hand back, but it's not with any particular hurry to the motion. Just, sometime in between awkwardly short and awkwardly long. She leans forward, peering at the leaves, and hmms. Cooking is not her forte, her experience with a klahpot aside, but… "I dunno, you don't want to make it too salty. Better a little bland than… well, like seawater." A glance out to those waves. "Maybe you can roast the mushrooms on a stick? Stuff tastes better when it's gone brown." But not black. Roasted black is a roast too far.

Muir nods, "That's a good idea," he says. "So I'll get fresh water, add a little bit of sea water, and boil it, and then steam the fish, and roast the mushrooms, and then put them all in the bowl together and let it simmer for a bit, and then we'll have soup?" That's how you make soup, right? He looks at her, because she would know. She's a girl. Girls know that stuff.

Of course Soriana knows how to make soup. You go to the kitchens and say, 'Pretty please may we have soup today?' And then they give you soup. Or, sometimes you have to stea- borrow it. The closest thing she makes to soup is boiling and straining redwort. But, nevertheless, she hmmms, thinking about this proposal. "That… sounds like it'd work." She considers another moment, then nods. "I mean, that's basically what soup is, right? Stuff in liquid. Hard to go wrong."

Muir shrugs, "Yeah, hard to mess it up but this is soup for /Mikal/. He's like…the soup Lord." Lord of Soup Hold? "Hopefully it works," he says, carefully stacking the leaves and lifting them so none of their precious salty dampness goes away. "Could you put a little bit of water in the bowl? It's all I've got to carry things in."

"Sure, but look at it this way," Soriana says with a grin. "He hasn't had soup in, what, two whole days? He'll be desperate for it. You'll be like… a hero to him, just for managing it." She gets the bowl and carefully adds some seawater from the part without the weird tendrily sea-plant (or maybe animal? she's not sure) before bringing it back to Muir.

Muir looks into the bowl and grins. "Yeah, you could be right. Thanks for your help. We should head back before the tide comes in," he says, eying the approaching waves with apprehension. "They're…coming up faster than I thought they would."

"Sure," Soriana says with a smile. "I'm always glad to help a good soup." Not to mention a talk along the way… which she isn't mentioning. She can, after all, keep a secret. Her own gaze goes back to the waves, and she nods. "Yeah. It's too cold to go swimming. Let's go." Brisk is the word for her pace. Also for the day… and the rise of the tide.

Muir hurries after her, but not so fast as to ruin his entire day's work. "I'll get the soup started and you want to try and find him? Or…everyone? I dunno, is it awkward to have everyone there to watch him eat soup?" YES.

And Soriana tries not to be so brisk that she leaves Muir behind. She just… doesn't want to be so non-brisk that she gets wet. It's a matter of staying balanced between these two things! "Yeah, I'll do that. He's probably out along the cliff somewhere. Shouldn't be hard to find." This rock isn't all that big. "Better stick with just him. Otherwise, people might demand he share… could get awkward. You know Mikal and soup."

Muir nods, "Okay, true. Good point," he says, hastening up the cleft behind her. "Alright, so yeah. I'll be at camp when you find him." And he gives her (the back of her head) a smile. "Thanks, Sori." For everything.

"Anytime," Soriana says, turning her head to give a flash of a smile back to Muir, and then she's scrambling her way up along the cleft and heading out to make a circuit of the island. There's a Mikal to be found! And… hopefully… soup for him.

Xanadu Wilds - 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.

Idrissa blinks as she watches and lifts her head to peer at the bird that is flopping about within the water. "Oh no…" She feels well, bad that it i happening like that, poor bird! Of course she would feel badly over that.

It might be more that Hotaru is just lazy, and doesn't want to run down there and have to murder the dying duck. But she doesn't want to leave Mikal alone to fight the duck either. She she gets up and waves to Rissa. "Come on, let's go help!" She runs off after Mikal, down towards the pool. She doesn't look too happy about having to get into the water, but such was life! She tries to grab for the duck so she can hold it still.

Mikal splashes his way towards the bird. He may not be the best at hunting or roughing it but he's a natural born swimmer. Makes sense because he was born at Ista Weyr. They are on a giant island. "RAWRA!" what a sigh Soriana will see and hear as she comes closer. He grabs at the bird but it tries to escape and he's left with a handful of feathers.

Heeeeere, Mikal-Mikal-Mikal. Heeeeere Mikal. Soriana is hunting high and low for a certain candidate. Actually, at the moment, having finished low, she's more hunting high, making her way through the forest and looking… a-ha! That's not actually a Mikal she hears, but it is a voice. Perhaps even a voice that knows how to find a Mikal? Perhaps. So she jogs off in that direction, only to hear… is… that Mikal? What? And… what is he… her steps slow, and then she resumes her jog.

Idrissa is up and following after Hotaru towards where the birds are, she feels, rather badly still over the thought of not possibily causing a bird to suffer. She is quick to follow along, heading towards the pool and right into the water, not minding that while she goes to grab at the bird to see where it was hit with the arrow.

Hotaru strips out of some of her clothes. She doesn't want to get them all wet. Her shoes, too. She puts her knife into her teeth and gets into the water after Mikal and Idrissa. There's some garbled words from her, and finally she swims around the other side to force the bird to escape towards the shore. "Nrgrpher rietf!" That is.. grab it! Hopefully someone does. The duck's been shot through the wing and has lost a lot of blood. At least it's starting to slow down.

Mikal didn't strip out of his clothes and eventually he realizes that he shouldn't be getting his boots /this/ soaked. So he lunges again with more determination than before to catch the bird. All he gets for his troubles though is a mouthful of water. Spluttering he stands and wades back towards shore, soaked to the bone.

Soriana has found Mikal! Victory. She's also found a duck hunt, though she doesn't realize that bit at first, probably because the three candidates splashing around distracts her. "Mikal! There you are. I- what the shard?" The duck, herded toward shore by their efforts, attempts to launch into the air. With that injured wing, of course, it doesn't succeed. What it does succeed in doing is tumbling over and thumping against Soriana's legs, making her stumble back.

Idrissa isn't able to grab hold of it, well not at first at least and she makes anothe grab for the bird. It takes her a few moments before she is finally able to get hold of the bird which she makes a face over the fact. "Oh dear…" Is about all she can get out, hopfully Hotaru will come over and perhaps finsh this poor bird off!

Poor Mikal. Hotaru didn't really mean for him to jump in the water. Especially not in all his clothes. Poor Idrissa, too. She was always close to the slaughtering it seems! Soriana hasn't even been noticed yet by Hotaru. They're in the middle of a fight! Once Idrissa has caught the bird, Hotaru runs over, grabbing the knife out of her teeth. She grabs hold of the duck's head and makes short work of it now that's it's not flopping and flapping. She's panting now and out of breath. "Shards… Oh, hi Sori… Mikal… you better go back to camp and change…" Catching a cold out here could be fatal.

Mikal wasn't aware he was lost! Or perhaps he's always been lost just a tiny bit. Soriana's presence barely registers before he's ducking the duck as it goes right over his head. "Aermgbp" is garbled as he hits the deck. Great, now he's soaked /and/ sandy. One hopes he can lay this stuff out when the sun is up fully so it dries. Standing he casts a sheepish grin to Soriana. "Hey there Soriana. What's up?" he asks curiously before adding quickly, since she did get thumped by a waterfowl. "You okay?"

"Yes! Yes you should," Soriana agrees with Hotaru promptly. "Come on, Mikal. Let's get you back to camp." This is not suspicious at all. Nope. Not in the slightest. After this entirely unsuspicious agreement, she waves to the other two girls. "Hi. Oh, what? I'm fine. Come on. Back to camp." Nothing suspicious here.

Idrissa peers over as she finally hears Soriana and eyes the other a moment before she glances to Mikal. A glance is sent to Hotaru wondering it seems. "Did we miss something?" Suspicious things, no, not at all!

Mikal doesn't find it suspicious much. He is, after all, soaking wet. "Huh? yeah sure." he shrugs a bit, unsure why Soriana would want to go back to camp when she just got here. "I should get into something dry." so he's ready to follow her back. "See ya two hunters later." he waves as he departs.

"Nope," says Soriana to Idrissa. "Nothing to miss. You can come along if you want. But there's nothing suspicious. It's just important to change out of those wet clothes. Before you catch a cold or something. That's all." Isn't she so trustworthy? She's just got a trustable face. To the camp with them!

Xanadu Wilds - Bowl Falls
The soft music of water dancing upon rock greets you as the narrow declivity gradually opens to a bowl with gently-curved, sides carpeted in emerald-colored moss. Here you may ascend to the rim and access the untamed forest on the surface of the Island.
In one spot a wide section of water pours over the bowl's lip, forming a single sheet that tinkles pleasantly upon rocks at the bottom, a narrow groove providing the runoff to drain out of the bowl and into a crack. Mist rises, but the moisture dissipates, leaving this place a dry and comfortable spot to rest or camp in, the soft carpet providing a natural cushion. Though there are no trees growing down here in the bowl, the trees overhead from the forest on the topside shelter from the sun and rain.

Off to the side of the main camp is Muir's little 'I'm Roughing It' camp. He's built his own little fire, ringed with rocks that are shimmering with heat. Simmering in a bowl nestled among the coals, carefully tended by Muir, is…soup. SOUP. It simmers and gives off the aroma of fish and mushrooms, steam rising towards the sky while Muir lovingly tends to it, keeping the fire at a good heat and making sure nothing boils over and not one precious speck of soup is wasted. Tasting it, he thinks for a moment and dribbles in a touch more sea water from a nearby leaf. There. Perfect.

Mikal is coming along towards the camp with Soriana. He's…dripping wet. Soaked to the bone actually.

Soriana has found a Mikal! A… wet Mikal, yes, but that provided a convenient excuse to drag him back to camp, if not to explain why she's now nudging him toward Muir's Survivalist Extra Hard Mode camp insted of the main one.

You know what you need when you're soaking wet? SOUP. Looking up, Muir beams and carefully extracts the bowl from the coals, using two thick leaves as pot holders. "Mikal! I made you soup!" And he looks SO proud of himself, too, positively beaming and just /waiting/ for his friend's reaction. Maybe the lack of food is getting to him a tad.

Mikal could actually use some dry clothes but….maybe a fire? And soup? Apparently he needs soup. "Wha..?" he rubs knuckles into his eyes as if unsure what he's seeing as he's so helpfully nudged away from the main camp to Muir's littler one. He takes a moment then casts a quick, but wary, grin at the announcement of soup. " smells good."

Yes, soup. Soup is definitely what Mikal needs. Soriana's got a grin as she herds him in that direction, one that starts small and then gets bigger as she gets closer. Mmm. It does certainly smell like soup. She hangs back a bit, just… watching. Go on, Mikal. It's soup time. She'll just watch. It won't be weird, promise.

Muir grins. "It'd better, I've been working on it all day. No bugs, either. It's fish and mushrooms and some salt, and some smoky flavor from roasting the mushrooms. That was Sori's idea. Taste it!" He even offers a crudely wooden spoon. "Don't get a splinter." Ow. And he just…waits. Almost vibrating. Taste itttttttt.

Mikal completely trusts his friend. Really he does! But perhaps it's the taste of the ingredients listed he's a tad worried about. His steps are halting as he goes over to take the bowl and the..spoon? The spoon gets inspected closely as a splinter in the mouth or on the tongue would be very bad indeed. " bugs?" he asks again, the spoon going into the soup. He's not tasted it yet but he's closer!

"No bugs," Soriana assures. Oh, yeah, she's still here watching. Soup-ervising. Don't mind her.

Muir draws back a little bit, looking hurt. "No bugs. You…you don't have to taste it if you don't want to." Clearly this was not the reaction he was expecting. "It's just fresh fish and mushrooms…" Did he mention he worked on this ALL day?

Mikal shakes his head quickly, clearly not wanting to hurt Muir's feelings. "No no! I'm…" well, he's drenched. Maybe shivering a little. He puts on his best game face and quickly moves to take a bite of the food that's made from who knows what! "I just never expected to get soup out here!" he adds before the spoon reaches his mouth. Adter all, soup is the best food ever. So…he takes his first spoonful!

Awww, come on Mikal. Taste Muir's soup. Do it. Doooo iiiit. Soriana's giving him a look. A soup-compelling look, if she can manage it, because while Muir may have been working on this all day, she was watching him work on it for at least half of the day, and she's maybe gotten a little invested. Also, she took a duck to the legs while fetching Mikal, so the least he can do is appreciate this soup! There. That's better. He's having the soup!

Muir nods, "I know! That's why I made you some." It's fish and mushrooms! And a little bit of sea salt. Promise! No bugs, no moss, nothing weird.

It's kind of nice here. Scenery-wise. The falls and what foliage there is. The surrounding sea. The 'away from it all' feel. ka-el would be enjoying it more if it wasn't for the temperature. It's cold. Even chilly to him is cold, and late autumn and winter is when he turns into a hermit, preferring indoor warmth and forging heat to blustering winds and snow. But here? There is no inside! And as the days drag on and things obviously aren't getting any warmer, his spirited mood is finally beginning to wilt. He stays mere feet, or is that a foot?, away from the fire of the main campsite, huddled in his jacket with his tarp wrapped around him. The fire is kept going due to his vigilance, about the only thing that's keeping him content.

And….Mikal gives a big grin. "Hey…this is good!" he quickly takes another bite. "You really made this for me?" he asks with some awe in his tone. "Out of stuff from out here?" he could really learn to appreciate this roughing it stuff. And if Kale thinks he is cold, he should try being in Mikal's boots. He's still soaked but he's by Muir's fire and the soup /is/ warming his belly nicely.

Okay, now Mikal's had soup. He's officially tasted it, and so Soriana can leave off staring at him and actually go and fetch his pack, on the off chance that maybe he did want to put on some dry clothing before he catches pneumonia and dies out here. But, hey. At least he'd have soup as he shivered and coughed his lungs out. Soup's good for when you're sick. She grins and waves to Kale as she goes by, then returns to Soup Hold.

Idrissa is making her way back towards camp with Hotaru, a curious glance is sent over the area as she catches sight of the others. Her bow rests within a hand, along with an arrow thta was at one point in time within a duck. "Hey guys." Is called out to the others. She also looks a bit wet, as if she was tromping around in a pool of water or some such. a glance is set towards the ones trying to get Muir to eat some soup? Though her attention is over there on Kale once she catches sight of him, and she wanders that'a way. "Hey." This said with a smile once near the fire.

Muir starts off with a slow grin, and then it turns into a beaming smile. "Yup! All stuff from here." Even the bowl and the spoon. "Wish I could've made enough for everyone, but I do have some extra steamed fish and roasted mushrooms. Just…didn't have a bowl to make soup in. Sori? Want some?" he offers, before he turns a bit. "Kale! Hot food?"

Hotaru makes her way back from their little hunting expedition. She's got her jacket on but… no pants or shoes. She's carrying those. Along with a sack and her own bow. She gives everyone a wave and heads over to her cot and her stuff to find a towel, setting the sack down for the time being. After dying off she gets dressed fully. Then she slides over to sit down near the fire, bringing her sack with her and a knife. "Soup?"

Mikal is totally impressed as he continues to eat the soup with slow, careful bits. He's mindful of splinters as told. His pack will most definitely have dry clothes in it as he was told to pack clothes for 10 days! So he's at least got one change of clothing in there! "This is great Muir. Really." once he's assured that he's not tasting bugs. Of course one supposes he could be but what one doesn't know…right? He spares a glance over his shoulder as the hunting girls return. "You guys bring back the bird?" asks the hunting dog…lookout. Hunting lookout.

"Sure," says Soriana to Muir's offer. She saw the gathering process! She knows it's not actually bugs and moss in disguise, or at least that if it is, it's got a good disguise. Mikal's bag is set down near him, and then she glances back over to wave to Idrissa and Hotaru, unsuspiciously. "Soup! Muir made it." For Mikal. Aww?

"Mnh." That was probably a 'Hey!' in another language, and also what Kale replies to the friendly greetings with. But he does turn his head, eyeing that separate fire over there, settling eyes on Muir. "Not hungry," he says, to which his stomach calls bullshit. FEED ME! "Thanks though." He glances to his pot (or kettle!) over the fire, then to the wet Mikal questioningly, though no questions are asked. ome things are better left that way, yes? And then a pantsless, shoeless Hotaru .. which again, gains no questions though his expression turns confused. And then to Idrissa. "Hey."

Muir continues to grin, waving to the others as they return. And…pantless Hotaru? He looks away. Quickly. "Bird? You guys get a bird?" he asks, sounding impressed. "Hey, you're all wet," he adds belatedly to Mikal. So he was a bit obsessed with the soup. "I made Mikal soup, but I have some extra fish and mushrooms if anyone wants any." He does, as he takes a few bites from the leaves upon which the rest of the food rests. "I'm glad you like it," he adds to Mikal, smile warm. He frowns a bit at Kale though, pushing to his feet and picking up a bit of fish. "Hey," he says, walking over to the larger fire to stand beside his friend. "What's wrong?" he asks in a low voice, trying to offer the fish. "Have some hot food, you okay?"

Idrissa peers at Kale and looks amused a few moments. "Lier.." This said with a soft tone and she moves to poke at Kale's side a moment. She is about to ask the same thing that Muir does but well he beats her to the question so, she just waits and listens curiously. At the talk of the food she waves a hand to show that she will have some later it seems.

Since Mikal and Soriana and Idrissa saw the little hunting game Hotaru wouldn't expect them to be surprised about her lack of clothing. It's no different than being the barracks! It's just out here it's more rugged. And they're not being watched as carefully… or are they? At least such showing of skin is over quickly. "Both birds." Hotaru says to Mikal. Hotaru tilts her head at Kale. He wasn't accepting food? "Sticky is sick! Someone call a rider!" Hotaru dumps the two dead waterfowl from the bag. One looks rather mangled, and she starts pulling the feathers from it and stuffing them into the sack.

Sticky is sicky? Mikal doesn't seem too surprised at the lack of pants though she had them on when he left! However now that his soup is done he's reminded he has squishy socks. He sets the homemade bowl and spoon down near the fire. So…he grabs his pack that Soriana brought to him and goes somewhere that he can change without prying eyes. It'll take several minutes to get out of soaking wet clothing.
Poor grumpy Kalebeast. Soriana nibbles some of the non-souped ingredients, then wanders back over toward the main fire and Kale. She saw the hunting, all right, and so she's not surprised to see pantsless Hotaru, either. At least with Kale distracting everyone, Mikal will have a chance to put on those dry clothes without anyone staring at him. Soriana reaches out to pat Kale's shoulder through his protective tarp.

"Is Mikal ill?" asks Kale to the fire, though he obviously isn't expecting an answer from the flames. His attention shifts to Muir as he joins him with the offer of fish, which his eyes linger on longer than intended. Even fish eyes are looking like a delicacy. "Give it to Mikal. I've got nuts." Somewhere in his bag unless he ate them all in his sleep. Which is not too unlikely! Why he's denying himself a free meal is unknown even to him. Maybe Hotaru has it right. Someone check his temperature! But with more and more eyes and words directed to him, the sourer his expression seems. Thus, time to pass the buck. Hotaru and her waterfowl seem like the best bet, as he hasn't noticed (possibly naked!) Mikal. "You shot those?"

Muir looks curiously at the birds Hotaru is plucking, whistling softly in appreciation. "Very nice. Good shooting." He's assuming they were shot anyway. Though with everyone soaked…maybe they challenged the birds to a winner take all swimming contest. "No, he's not sick," he says to Kale, "I just made him soup because…he needs soup to continue existing." Or something. And it's not fish eyes, it's a beautifully steamed fresh fillet. Which Muir is still holding out, looking a little hurt. "Why is everyone suspicious of my cooking? I /know/ how to make fish."

Idrissa glances over to Muri at this talk of soup finally gets her full attention. "You made Mikal soup?" Well that does seem a little strange to her. Though she doesn't go pushing the matter as she looks back to Kale. "Kale, what's wrong?" If he won't answer the question then she'll just have to ask. As for the birds she doesn't comment on them.

"S'true. He does," Soriana says in defense of Muir's cooking. Of course, once they see what she may or may not have instigated Zahleizjah to do, they may not trust her opinion on anything related to cookery anymore. They may or may not be correct in doing so. Soriana's hand moves up from Kale's shoulder to tousle his hair lightly, but she doesn't actually make demands he start talking or answer the (admittedly pertinent) questions. Besides, the one to Hotaru is kinda intriguing her as well.

Hotaru watches Mikal slink away to change. She was surprised to see him eating soup, but maybe they were making soup for anyone who was starving? There's a bit of a giggle as Kale announces that he has nuts. What? She can't help it. She does look a bit worried though that he's not eating food offered to him. She nods. "Rissa and I did. I think Rissa's arrow stuck better though. There should be enough meat for a good stew. Did anyone manage to find a pot or something?" She chuckles at Muir. "Because no one sees you eating, I think."

It's true. Soup is something Mikal seems to eat at least once a sevenday. More often when there's snow and sleet and ice and other icky stuff he doesn't much care for. However the person in question isn't currently in hearing range of the group as he's ducked somewhere that…might give him privacy. If there's no privacy then he's at least put some distance between them all so he can change in peace. So! Clothes are finally swapped out for dry clothes and now he returns, though he's shoeless as his boots are quite wet. Not surprising considering he jumped into the water with them on. He ambles over to where his bedroll is at. His own bit of ground that he's claimed as his own. The wet clothes are looked at briefly. Huh. What to do with them. In the end he merely steps over to somewhere that no one has bedrolls claiming the space and lays them out to eventually dry in the sun. His pack gets tossed onto his bedroll and he pads over to where the others are evidently gathered around Kale to ensure the poor teenage boy isn't ill or something worse than ill.

Aw, no fish eyes? XD Well! Regardless, Kale still isn't touching the admittedly yummy looking fillet. Muir has done a grand job! And he'd tell him that, usually, as that's what friends do. But today The Grouch has claimed jolly ol' Kale and grouchiness does not leave room for compliments, however worthy they may be. Idrissa's question has him flicking a wood chip in the fire before he looks at her. "Nothing." See? He gives her a hopefully convincing grin that stays in place through Sori's tousling, though seems relieved as Hotaru speaks. Nearly relieved. The hope that her words will shift attention is good, but their content has him shifting his eyes again, brows furrowing in a look that seems to be thought. "Did you ask V'dim?" he asks, glancing to Mikal as he joins them, looking notably less wet.

Muir blinks at Idrissa, looking confused. "Yes. I made Mikal soup. Because he loves soup." And Muir thought it'd be nice. "Thank you," he says to Soriana, giving her a smile around Kale's huddled form. Frowning in concern at his friend, Muir looks like he's about to say something and then he just shrugs, eating the fillet himself (and pointedly looking at Hotaru - SEE? He's eating his own food! Not poison). Then he moves away from the main fire, back to his own to gather up his hand carved bowl and spoon. "I'm going to go wash these and then find Zah, so I can use her far viewer tonight," he says quietly, putting out his own little fire and then slipping into the darkness.

Mikal is dry now, though his spiky red hair is surely still damp since he didn't take any time to run anything through that to dry. As he watches Muir's form head off he briefly considers going after to help him find Zahl. In the end though he stays but he moves to sprawl out on his bedroll. Mmm, soup makes one sleepy. Or at least content with a warm belly.

Worse than ill? Like, say… a case of the grumps? Soriana nods to Muir, giving him a cheerful smile back - because, while grumps are contagious, she can be stubborn and resist them. "Seeya," she says as he heads off, giving a wave before looking over to Hotaru. "I dunno, I wasn't looking." She had to bring Mikal to his soup! His… carefully made not in a pot… soup.

Idrissa seems a bit confused. "Wait.. why would I ask V'dim?" There is pause and she ons, right another conversation! She eyes Kale and seems to not believe the 'nothing's wrong bit and heads on over too where Hotaru is.

The grouchmonster has attacked the Kale! Though being out in the cold with no place soft to sleep and no warm bed to curl up in was rough. Also being hungry on top of it. "Ask V'dim what? How he got so gnarly-looking? Why he's bald? I didn't think he'd forbade hunting and eating. Oh, you mean for the pot. Not yet. I haven't seen him." Muir is eating! Which means later she'll eat the food he's cooked. Hotaru works at cleaning the birds. "It'd be cool if we had enough feathers for a pillow…"

"I was talking to Hotaru," says Kale to Idrissa, eyes not on her. It's relief that's felt when whatever magnetism attracted his friends to him wears off and they begin to disperse. Muir first, though his quiet words touch at something beneath his inner gloom, and he watches him go with a bit of a frown. Is he alright? .. Oh. Concern. That's what it is, and possibly what they had for him. Then off goes Idrissa towards Hotaru and her kills. And Hotaru. Oh Hotaru. She nearly brought out a grin. A real one this time, but there's only a slight wiggle of the edges of his lips at her banter regarding V'dim, who hopefully isn't within earshot. Not that his ears could possibly still be keen. "Could roast them," he suggests in an attempt at being helpful and not just the Eeyore of the group.

Hah. It's not V'dim's hearing you have to worry about. It's his tendency to pop up at just the wrong moment. …fortunately, this appears to not be that moment. Soriana fails to abandon Kale, just sitting down on the ground next to him. Sure, it's cold. And hard. But, hey, at least it's not High Reaches. So how bad can it be? She smirks as she listens over to Hotaru, then glances to Kale. "Better make a down comforter while you're at it. So, uh… y'might need to get a few more ducks. One or two, at least."

Perhaps even the sociable Kale has run out of social steam. That's probably why Hotaru disappears for long stretches to go off by herself. One can already tell Hotaru is going to be a handful for V'dim if she impresses. The best way to cure someone from the grouchies sometimes is to let them be. Or just sit by them but not try to suck them into conversation. Or ask them 'what's wrong' five thousand times. V'dim is absent right now, so she is safe for the time being. "Mm. We'll have to roast them if we can't find anything else to cook them in." It would be sad not to have a pot. Hotaru was really looking forward to some nice duck stew. And being able to share it. She chuckles at Sori. "I don't think there are enough ducks on the island for that." Hotaru pawns off the other duck to Idrissa. "I have to go to the hole. I'll be back later."

Kale can tolerate Soriana's presence as Soriana isn't prodding him for answers. He's thankful for that, even though such words of thanks aren't forthcoming. He shifts his tarp and pulls up the hood of his hoodie, which provides a bit more protection from the cold, though not by much. People continue to trickle. Idrissa, busy with cleaning her kill. Hotaru's off to … take a dump? Maybe, if that's what she meant by hole. That does inspire at least one snicker, for how can one not laugh a little at the mentioning of bodily functions? Just like her with his "nuts". This group is oh so mature. He looks at the fire again, the moment fizzling as quickly as it came. Aware that there's at least one person still near him, he turns his head a bit to peer at Soriana. "I'm not much company. You don' have to stay here."

"Probably not," Soriana acknowledges to Hotaru. Ah, well. No down comforters for them! She can't help but smirk as the other girl reveals her destination. "Good luck!" Don't fall in. Because… just don't. "Nah, it's okay," she says to Kale. "I'm done running around for today." And grouchy not-much-company is better than none? Maybe. She takes a moment to just watch the fire.

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