Xanadu Weyr - Weyrling Barracks
A long and roughly oblong cavern, about a third of the space is open, used for classes or chores as required. The rest of the space is filled with couches of varying sizes, all with plenty of space between them. Some couches are obviously intended for the very young weyrlings while the largest ones at the back are for the older weyrlings.
Baby dragons eat a lot. Like, a lot… and Soriana's pretty sure Luraoth is eating more every day. It's that whole pesky 'growing' thing, where she's turning herdbeast muscle into her own muscle. At least the gold is relatively small for her color! …yeah, it doesn't actually help that much. Soriana's just finished hurriedly gulping her own lunch, and now it's time for her to prepare dragon meals. Here's the herdbeast. It's dead, she knows because of the vacant look in its eyes. It's otherwise just the same as when it was roaming the fields, but Soriana has herself a cleaver to fix that little problem and turn it into DragonSnax.
Ka'el doesn't really know where Kanekith puts it all, but the alleged shortage of herdbeast is no longer a mystery to him. He knows exactly what happened to them. The dragons ate them all! If month-old dragons can put this much away, he can only imagine what a full grown bronze could do in a day. And so, like many other weyrlings, Ka'el has come to the butchery to … well, butcher some meat. This is definitely one thing he never imagined himself doing! But after a little over a month of this, it's commonplace. And so, looking very butcherlike with an apron over his clothes, he claims a butcherknife for himself, pausing to examine the blade. Once a smith, always a smith! Then, he moves over to the deadbeasts, and right to Soriana. Too bad he notes this only after he's in her space, and not before speaking. "Blades are getting dull. Not bad yet, but after a few mo-.." And now he notices just who he's talking to. Blink. "Hey!" Nope. Too loud. "Heh, hey." Better!
Admittedly, herdbeasts are kind of known for having vacant looks, what with being perhaps not the brightest of creatures, but this one isn't moving, either… not even to chew its cud. So, it really truly must be dead. Even herdbeasts would move at the sight of a cleaver-wielding Soriana. As would all right-thinking creatures! "…hey, Ka'el." Soriana looks away from him, back to the carcass. …nope, actually, back to Ka'el. "Hey." She smiles, a somewhat lopsided expression. "Probably nobody's sharpened them." These weyrlings: not always the sharpest knives in the drawer. As, for instance, the fact that Sori isn't moving away. "Should do that." Sharpen the knives, that is.
"I don't think I'd even remember how to," replies Ka'el with a grin that's just as lopsided as her smirk. Crooked. Boyish. "This is the closest I've been to metal since …. hatching day?" Look away! He does. Eventually. But not before giving his eyes the luxury of roaming her face, then neck … then carcass! Blood and…well, not so much blood yet. It's not hacked into. But still! Deadmeat. Much less appealing than live flesh of a near seventeen year old girl. A weapon-weilding one at that. A brow cocks. "You're sure you know how to use that thing properly?"
"Hah. Metal's in your blood, isn't it?" Soriana retorts. Teasing. Playful. "It'll take more than that to make you forget." Metal? Or the look of her? She certainly hasn't forgotten the look of him, though she still takes a few moments to reacquaint herself and make sure he hasn't changed. After all, this new Ka'el may require some detailed inspection. …which she can't do to her satisfaction, yet. Sigh. …and then she looks back to him, and grins. "Course I do. I've still got all my fingers, don't I?" She reaches for… the herdbeast leg, drawing it away from the body and raising her cleaver. Chop chop!
"Iron. Copper. Zinc… To name a few," quips Kale on her tease of blood, giving the literal answer with the accompanyment of an easy going grin. This he can do. The playful banter and teasing, but it's a little more difficult than before. Still doable… Just with the added challenge of keeping hands to himself. Which, in this case, may be easy to accomplish considering both of them are weilding knives! He exaggeratedly backs off as her cleaver is raised. "How'm I to know those fingers are real? I wouldn't put it past the healers to make you a fake set!" He moves then, looking humored, to the opposite end of the same carcass, claiming a foreleg. "Was it just me, or did y'feel a bit like a madman the first time you did this?"
"See?" Soriana grins at the list of metals. That much still comes easily. It's always been easier to keep their hands off each other when they have something to do. Something to occupy them, so that their mouths can only share words. It's just, well… now, that's the limit. Lucky them that they've got knives; it may be letting them be just about the closest they've been since… well. Hatching. It's good, except for the bit after when Soriana will realize that's all she gets… but that realization is shoved aside for now. No thinking about that, there's butchery to do. "Nah. I carved 'em myself," she says with a wiggle of those fingers. "They're nearly as good as the real thing, but I gotta replace 'em monthly or they start to smell." What was that about madmen? "The first time?" she asks, and smirks. "I feel kinda like that every time." Thwack. Thunk. Crack. Flesh rends, with the heavy whacks of the cleaver that make the carcass shudder.
Ka'el faintly lifts his brows while peering at those gripping fingers of hers. "Oh, that's your craftsmanship there? I hadn't known you'd partnered with … what, plastics? And I suppose a bit of artistic skill is needed to make them look so natural. So a bit of harper's work too, eh? All that and weyrlinghood?" He clicks his tongue. "S'a wonder you're not collapsed somewhere, dead to the world." He pauses, his chopping knife poised. "Or…" he says, a brow slowly arching up, "all of this here is nothin' but a dream, and in truth you're holed up with Luraoth somewhere, lost, and too worn to wake up." He gives her a pitying look that's ruined a few seconds later by an emerging grin just before his knife is brought down heavily. Madman indeed. "Maybe I'm sadistic and have gotten too used to it to feel that way anymore." And as if to prove that point to be true, it's only a few more heavy swings needed to sever that foreleg. Uh, gross.
"M'kal's a pretty good artist," Soriana says with a smirk. "As it happens." Y'know. Just saying. Collaborative project and all! "…y'know, maybe that's not so bad. I mean… has Kanekith started letting you sleep through the night yet? Luraoth does sometimes." And she sounds oh so happy about that fact. Imagine it, actually being more or less rested! She dreams (in her sparse sleep) that some day soon, she'll get to actually do it instead of just imagine it. From that perspective, it becomes rather less plausible that those are still her original fingers. They're pretty good fakes, though. They keep hold of the knife as she severs that leg and everything. "Aww. I guess your first time only comes once." First time chopping a carcass, that is! Chop, chop, she starts hacking that limb into pieces.
"By 'through the night' you mean closing my eyes in the evening and opening them again at sunrise?" Ka'el asks, giving her a questioning look. " ….. No." A smirk. "He's up there all the time." His eyes are flicked up a bit in apparent gesture to his brain before he refocuss his gaze on meat. Bloody, choppy, meat. "The minute I'm getting to that good sleep…y'know, the one where you don't hear anything anymore and it all goes blank? He has something. He's wondering something, or saw something he wants me to see, or thought of somethin' he meant to ask hours ago, or wants to do something he knows we can't do, and he'll bug me about it til he gets tired of me sayin' no." He shakes his head, though there's a fond look on his face as he speaks of the headstrong, stubborn, short-tempered, prideful bronze. Meat is stripped and chopped and set aside, the smell of raw meat and blood pungent. He latter words has him looking at her sidelong. "If at all," he comments, a vague, albeit slightly rueful smirk following his words.
Yes, that would be what those words mean. And…? "Heh." Soriana's amused, in that way of 'at least it's not just me', and she nods as Ka'el explains. "Luraoth's just… she likes bedtime stories. She'll ask me about what I did. What I thought, of… everyone. And it's like… when she's starting to drift off, she gets these dreams and… they're kind of awesome… but then I realize I'm dreaming and then I'm awake again." Pause. "That, or she gets hungry in the middle of the night. The amount she eats!" And which Soriana is chopping. Chop, chop… the cleaver pauses, and Soriana looks up to Ka'el, her expression questioning for a moment. What? …oh. Her own expression turns rueful, and then adds a fraction of smirk. "Yeah, I know. But…" Whack. Chop. "…yeah."
Yeah. Chop. Chop! They're pretty good at this, and Ka'el doesn't interrupt the silence that falls as their macabre work continues, falling into a near rhythm. Almost a rhythm. His blade does need to be sharpened. Holding back his words is strategic though. It keeps him from saying anything further that would … complicate things. This has been the longest interaction they've had in over a month, and the closest they've been to one another in the same amount of time. Why ruin it? "Kanekith dreams too," he finally says, reverting to a safer topic. "But he doesn't for long. He likes mine more." His head shakes. "I don't ever remember the ones he talks about. He says he sees colors. I don't know what that means, or if he really means he sees literal colors."
Talking about it is… dangerous. So is thinking about it. Soriana's trying not to do either. She's failing, of course, but her gaze only lingers on Ka'el for a few moments before she returns to chopping, and the silence (save for the thunk and whack of knives rending flesh) isn't one that she breaks. Being this close to Ka'el is good. Of course, it'd be better if… but, not thinking about that. Dreams. Dragon-dreams. Yes. How about those. "Luraoth… she and I share dreams. We go… wandering together. It's… it doesn't always make sense." She shrugs. Dream-logic. "He probably means it literally. Luraoth… thinks in colors, sometimes. I'm… sort of figuring out what they mean. It's like… a whole nother conversation, on top of her words." Her gaze lifts up, regarding Ka'el for a moment. Her lips twitch, rueful, and then she lowers her gaze to the meat again. It's like a whole nother conversation, on top of words.
"It'll take turns for me to understand Kanekith. He doesn't tell me everything … but I don't tell him everything, either," Ka'el admits thoughtfully. "There isn't much I can keep to myself, but if I try…there are some things that are mine and just mine." Very, very few things, and these are the things that Kanekith is too young to decipher. Not enough experience. Not enough background knowledge. He pulls at the meaty flesh of the carcass, dropping meat into its proper place for the dragons. His own and hers. His eyes turn to hers a mere moment after hers turn away, stealing a lingering look as his chopping efforts pause. ".. Hey," he says, voice lowering a little in volume. "Do me a favor. Say my name."
"I don't understand Luraoth either. I mean… she's part of me, now. I'm part of her." Soriana can't deny that, not when she feels it. "I'm still me, but she's… there. Always." Soriana's gaze lifts again, and this time, it lingers on Ka'el. Here he is. There. Always? He may not be in her mind, but in her heart… yeah. He's there. Her cleaver goes still, her eyes meeting his. Oh. Hey. There he is. At the request… she hesitates, a moment. Not from unwillingness, but… she doesn't quite understand. But then, she doesn't need to understand. She wants to… but she doesn't need to. So she says it, her voice with the same quiet as his. The moment seems to call for it, even if she doesn't understand. "Ka'el." It makes two syllables where there used to be one. A near inversion of the vowel sound and a stretching of it. The sound was unfamiliar to her mouth, once, but now it comes readily. Why shouldn't it? It's the name she listens for, nearly as much as she listens for her own.
Eye to eye contact. Familiar pools of brown that don't swirl or change so drastically with mood, though they needn't for him to read them. Sometimes fiery. Sometimes calm. Most times glinting with inspiration or an idea. Intelligent and sharp. He's missed these eyes, having only caught fleeting glances of them. It hasn't been enough. And then she speaks the name that's become familiar with continued use, in a voice that's as familiar to him as his own. But .. no. His head is given a vague shake. Just a slight turn to the right and back again. It isn't what he seeks. "Say my name, Soriana. I want to hear it from you."
Ah. Soriana understands. That's clear, in her gaze; in the brightening of her eyes (though they're still the same brown as before) and the slight quirk of her lips. Her fingers tense around the knife, resisting the urge to release it and reach for him, carcass-gunked as they both are. They resist. Her eyes don't leave his, because she can only resist so much. "Kale." One syllable. One word. One boy. Her boy. Her… "Kale." It's softer, that time, and more urgent. They're not truly alone, though there's nobody in earshot, but for that moment, for her gaze, they might as well be. Just Soriana and her Kale. Kanekith's Ka'el. Her Kale.
There. Such a simple thing, his name. A mere four letters. Equal vowels and consonants. But when it's uttered from her mouth, it may as well be ten page dictation. A weyrleader's speech. It is profound, at least to him, to hear who he really is. It is maddening, again to him, to see how easily others strip themselves of their given name and eagerly adopt another, disregarding their first as if it never existed. Is that the same thing as disregarding who he was before? The memories and experiences that forged him to who he is today, dismissed to make room for this new self? But was it not Kale that Kanekith chose? Kale's memories that were touched. Kale's past explored. Kale, simply. Hearing it spoken has a slow smile curving his lips and a soft exhale follows, as if relieved that it hasn't been forgotten. He shifts forward, just a step, bringing him just a foot nearer so that his voice can drop lower and still be heard. "To you, I'm always Kale. I'll always be Kale. When it's just and me, call me that. Please?" A soft smile betrays a look of longing, for normally it's here he would caress her face or graze her hair. Claim a hand. But he does none of that now. He can do none of that, but the desire to is difficult to hide. The increasing feeling of gnawing in his chest is his cue to retract that step, eyes drifting with a single chuckle. This whole thing is madness. "I miss you." It's all he'll allow himself to admit, voice quiet, distant almost as he adjusts the grip on his butcher's knife. Then, in a regular tone, "They'll need more than this … I'll start on a new one." And he moves off without waiting for a reply, to another carcass away from hers to work.
Kale's voice may be soft, but Soriana will listen for it. If it's too quiet to hear, she'll read his lips - but she's glad it isn't, because that would mean she has to move her eyes away from his. "I will," she replies, the words soft. "You're my Kale." Hers. Only… her fingers tighten again, echoing the tight feeling of can't… no, shouldn't. Perhaps it's for the best that she didn't have to read lips, for looking at them, could she resist the urge of press her own to them? She doesn't find out. Not this time. He speaks one truth. She speaks another. "I love you." The words are quiet, because they don't need to be loud. They could be a whisper and still bridge that distance as easily as a dragon's thought. As the look in her eyes, the one that doesn't care about herdbeast gunk or what V'dim would say or- oh, but it does care about Luraoth. It's a different emotion, that bond of dragon and rider, but it's strong enough to keep her hand from lifting, to keep her lips from anything more than words. For the moment, at least. For this moment. She understands why Kale moves away, and so she simply nods. She knows his love, and so she doesn't need it said aloud. It's there in his eyes. It's hard enough to say it. If she has to hear it… maybe she won't be able to let him go. She does, though. Soriana lets her Kale go, to chop the meat that both their dragons need. She turns back to the carcass they started together, and she continues working.