Winter Wonderings

Xanadu Weyr - Meadow Ridge
The meadow continues its gentle rolls and dips, grass tall and short waving in the slightest of breezes. Each hill seems to grow a bit higher, a bit steeper, as eventually, the meadow works up to a large ridge, the top flattening out at its new elevation.
From the top of the ridge, the view is certainly something to be admired - higher than the majority of the trees, one can look out over the rest of Xanadu Weyr proper. The houses in the lower meadow - each roof a different color - and the clock tower peeking upwards from the its forest surroundings are all visible, as is the cliff that houses the Weyr Caverns themselves. And yet, the ridge also holds an amazing view of the night sky - horizon to horizon - unaffected by the light pollution of the more heavily traveled regions.

Settled upon the ridge is a rather distinctive looking building - nearing three stories tall, circular grey walls have carefully been erected, and a large dome is settled upon this solid foundation. Large panels make up the roof, aside from one section which remains open, and from which the telescope the struction houses peeks out. Sitting adjacent to the tower is a long, low building, meant to serve as offices, record rooms and dorms for those who man the observatory, as well as providing a handy platform for those who seek to use smaller, hand-held 'scopes.

For winter, it's a fairly warm day, which is to say, it's cold but not freezingly so. Which is probably why Soriana's outside. Okay, so really, she's outside pretty often, but today she's decided - for some reason, maybe it's the relative lack of cold, maybe not - that she should not only be outside, but doing things there. Important things! Like… uh… sitting up on the meadow ridge, on a boulder with the snow brushed off, and looking out over the Weyr. This is important sitting out in the cold! Because, uh… because it is. Sothere. At least she's bundled up suitably for the season as she sits there.

Alloy is a happy lizard indeed. He has been set with a task! And boy, does he love tasks! Why, you might ask? Because tasks makes him feel important. No other firelizard gets tasks, he’s sure of it! And what is this task, you might ask? Well, it’s an important one, and he’s doing it now. The bronze lizard is hunting for food (which may or may not be that very important thing he’s been tasked with) towards the bottom of the ridge and has found himself a crunchy little something to munch on. Some beetlely looking thing that came out, perhaps confused by the not-freezing-cold day. Chomp-crunch! Perk? Swirling eyes blink once as he glances up, up, up the ridge, a twitching insect leg hanging out of his mouth. Hmm. Crunch! He swallows the last of it and pops Between. .. *pop!* He blinks into existence at the top, popping in right next to that boulder of Sori’s with a soft flurry of wings. Chirp-chaar!

No other firelizard could possibly have tasks! Not like Alloy does. And even if they did, they surely wouldn't do them nearly so well as Alloy. Because he's a WeyrLizard! They don't come much more important than that. People should be looking at him and marveling. They… aren't, really. Not as such. Not during his mighty demonstration of hunting skill, at least, but when he does pop out from between, he gets at least one set of eyes on him. Soriana's eyes! And they're looking at Alloy the Bronze WeyrLizard… or at least at a generic bronze firelizard that… no, wait, that's "Alloy." A slight smile from the Junior Weyrwoman. "Hey." Not that… he's thinky like a dragon or a human. But he's bound to know his name! Canines can learn their names, an important task-doing firelizard can too.

Alloy definitely does know his name! And upon hearing it, he twists his head to one side and stares at her. She knows him! And maybe…somewhere in his magnificent WeyrLizard brain, he recognizes her as someone more than Random Human. She. Is. Familiar. …… (stare stare)….(more staring)…..Does this dude ever blink?…. Eureka! A blink! Plus, a flash of something in his mind that travels across space and time to a mind linked with his own. Ka'el isn’t looking for Soriana. He doesn’t have to! That’s what Alloy is for. The firelizard spy who is only sometimes reliable at completing these tasks that are given to him. He’s successful today though, and that’s what’s important! Ka’el has been alerted, and thus Ka’el will come here. In a moment. Not that Sori knows that through any message from Alloy, who is now snuffling at her jacket. Got food in there, missy? Snufflesnuffle, nip!

Human number… uh… can Alloy even count that high? But this is most definitely a human, not a beetle-bug scuttling along. Nope! Human, female, sitting on a rock, kinda familiar… oh, and also, she knows how to reach out and scritch at suitable parts of a firelizard-skull for affection (as such a dutiful and task-achieving firelizard deserves). Which is a point in her favor, even if she seems to have unaccountably forgotten to provide any suitable lizardsnacks. Soriana must have left them in her other jacket, and her laugh is for how foolish she was to neglect such an important part of her wardrobe.

What! No snacks? How dare she! Alloy likely would complain through chirps and other firelizardly sounds of disdain if he weren’t so busy being happily scratched and rubbed in just in right places. Ahhh! It’s almost as good as getting snacks! … Emphasis on almost mind you. He’ll hit her up later for some. He knows where she lives! For now though, Soriana has gained herself a new bronze best buddy, for Alloy is making himself at home on her lap. And he squirms and prrowlchirps and eventually rolls onto his back for bellyrubs. Keep it coming, he has earned this! It’s not too long later that Ka’el works his way up the ridge. Quick as the snapshot to the brain was, it was recognizable enough to lead him here. “Stealin’ my firelizard?” asks the coated Weyrleader upon arrival, brow quirking at the rather comfortable looking Alloy.

Soriana will probably be demoted at least three levels for Failure To Provide Snacks. She'll be human number… whatever it is… minus twelve. Which is worse! So really, it's no wonder she's trying to make up for it in the form of scritches and pets. She doesn't want to sink even further, to the ranks of the humans that don't even have individual numbers. The ones doomed only to be noticed as purveyors of snacks! As distinct from… uh… the ones that are purveyors of scritches. …Alloy is a highly pragmatic firelizard, sometimes. Also a deserving one, and Soriana seems inclined to keep up the attention-giving, looking up as Ka'el approaches to give him a crooked smile. "Well, yeah. Figured as how you weren't using him. Besides, the mantel's been looking a bit empty lately." …so she's going to take Alloy home, not that… he doesn't already live there. Details!

“Alloy, do you have no sense of loyalty, man?” laments Ka’el who only gets a lazy, upside down look from his alleged firelizard lifemate. His so-called friend! Rolling his eyes, Ka’el approaches the duo, chin lifting a bit in a pompous look. “You can have him,” he retorts. “He’ll eat you out’ve house and home, bombard your head with thoughts of trundlebugs and meat bits, and don’t get me started on what you’ll put up with when he’s around a glowin’ green..” He grins fondly, an equally fond look given to the bronze who doesn’t seem to have found any reason to roll over again. Nope! He’ll stay right where he is, thank you. Belly up and happy. Ka’el pauses by her boulder. “Mind if I join you?”

Can loyalty be traded in for more meat-bits and scritches? Is there like… a punch-card that Alloy can get filled so he can get something tasty? Because if so, the firelizard might be far more interested. As it is, Soriana has hands that stroke over firelizard-belly and knuckle in at the bits near his legs that get tired from his busy lifestyle of keeping the whole entire Weyr in order. Which is totally what he does, in case anyone hadn't realized that yet. He's an important firelizard! Soriana laughs at Ka'el's list of firelizard flaws. "Romantic trundlebug arrangements and sensual oilings?" A recipe for firelizard flirtation! …ooooor maybe not. "I'm sure there's a bright side to him somewhere." Actually, both sides, because… bronze! So he's a shiny sort of fellow. Soriana glances to him, back to Ka'el again, and smiles. "Sure." She tilts her head to the rock. "Careful your butt doesn't freeze to it."

Alloy is actually pretty gald that his human is here! One can tell by the faint wiggle of his body now that Ka’el is close. Or possibly that’s just due to Soriana’s skillful hands. This is the life! This is how he should be treated every day! This is…hey! Poor Alloy soon feels another hand to his body, thoug this one is not a scritchy one but a pushy one. “Margh!” Plop! He’s nudged off of Soriana’s lap and lands on his feet in a feline-like sort of way. “Move it..” smirks Ka’el before he plops down on the cold rock next to Soriana, snickering as Alloy gives his body a brisk shake. How rude! “I’ll take my chances with butt freezing,” he says to Sori. “Besides, it’s almost tempting to sit here long enough to try to let it happen. It’ll be worth the arse-rubbing you’ll have to give me once we’ve pried my poor cheeks off.” A grin follows, and a peck to the cheek follows that. “How are you feelin’?”

It's important to pay attention to those subtle signs. Otherwise, one might miss the clues of how to make Alloy the happiest of firelizards, and that would just be tragic… at least according to him. Pushing him off Soriana's lap is definitely not on the list of things what make the bronze happy, but Ka'el doesn't seem to care about that. Actually… neither does Soriana, because while she's not the one pushing him away, neither does she attempt to fend off Weyrleader so WeyrLizard can take back his spot. Instead, she puts her arm around Ka'el, shifting her position a bit to lean in against him. Hopefully her butt isn't frozen yet… how long has she been sitting here? She'll find out when she tries to get up, but she's not there yet. "I'd pour hot water on it." Ka'el's butt, that is. "Straight from the tea-kettle." You can trust her! She's a real healer. …of dragons. Not humans. Details! You can still trust her, really you can. How is she? Well, aside from the probably-frozen butt… "I'm okay." She says it with a smile, even. "What about you?"

Wait a minute. Hot water from a kettle? “Somehow, that doesn’t comfort me. At all…” says Ka’el, giving her a narrow-eyed look. She’s trying to burn his ass off! What’d he ever do to her to deserve such harsh punishment, huh? “And you know, I was going to be nice and save your ass from freezing and offer my lap to you, but no more!” he says, turning his head dramatically to one side, though all that lasts a good four seconds before he grins and returns his attention to her. She’s okay. Okay with a smile, at that. He’ll take it. “I’m alright,” he answers as he loops an arm around her lower back, hugging her against his side. Alloy is not alright. Nope! He’s offended! How dare they push him off and leave him down there in the cold! He’ll show them! *pop!* Off he goes, likely for warmer places than this. His butt won’t freeze! “I think we both have a bad habit of hangin’ out in the cold by ourselves. People will start to think we’ve lost our minds.” To winteritis, most likely.

"Better that than hot soup," Soriana says with a seemingly serious face. "At least with the hot water, you don't have any firelizards coming to eat you afterward." Because that's a real risk! Alloy and his ilk would totally gnaw on an actual person who just happened to be on the wrong side of a soup-pot. In fact, that's probably where the bronze is off to now, following firelizard-gossip about hot soup… or maybe just a nice warm beach, soup not required. Soriana pays little heed to his departure, instead leaning in against Ka'el's side. He's alright? She nods slightly. That's… pretty alright. At least, once you account for the fact that they're sitting out here in the cold, which… "Heh. But if we were someplace warm, there'd be other people." Sometimes the alone is the point! And the cold is just the price paid for that solitude. "…not that I mind having you here." Her arm gives a light squeeze around him as she leans close.

Other people, which would definitely defeat the purpose of finding a place for solitude. Yup. Solitude! Ka’el could leave her so that she could have it, but…like Sori said, she doesn’t mind him here, and he’s glad because he really doesn’t want to leave after just arriving and getting comfortable. .. Well, as comfortable as one can get while sitting on a cold, hard rock. “Eh, even if you did, I wouldn’t just leave you out here. Getting rid of me is never that easy,” he replies with a smirk and light lifting of his brows. He grins a little, her weight against him, his against hers, and his eyes turn out to the expanse of Xanadu that they can see from up here. Trees and weyrs and wide open spaces. “This is a good place to live.” They have a good home. And this is a good time. No murderers running rampant. No kidnappers. No major, inhibiting quarrels with other Weyrs. .. A good place for a family, right? “Do you have to see the healers again sometime soon?”

Solitude! Soriana had so much of it, up until Alloy came squeaking by… and brought Ka'el after him. Now there's no firelizard, but there's an entire Ka'el here disrupting her alone-time. "I could kick you off the rock." Because… hers! And vengeance for the fallen Alloy. "But I won't." It's as though maybe possibly she likes Ka'el. That, and Alloy's not here to see the vengeance, so why bother? Instead, she just leans against Ka'el, her gaze wandering over to look at his shoes, then up to gaze out over the Weyr. There's a good view from here. Maybe that's why she picked it for her solitude. "Yeah," she says. "I guess it is." She looks away from it - she already knows the view - and back to Ka'el. Of course, she already knows what he looks like, too, but… maybe she wants a reminder. Though not the reminder he actually provides, given the face she makes. "Probably." It's a petulant tone more than a deeply unhappy one. Like any kid (or… mother of a kid) who doesn't want to go see the doctor. "I don't know why. I mean… what are they going to do?" Besides remind her of all the things she's supposed to avoid.

“I dunno. … Make sure everybody’s good to go?” Ka’el assumes. He’s not entirely sure what healers do when they see people with child. Pft, why would he know! He could guess there’s some poking and prodding and…stuff done. And maybe medicine given. Or maybe a magic potion of some sort. Heck if he knows. But ‘seeing a healer’ seems to be the thing to do when someone is growing another someone inside of themselves. .. It’s such a weird thought! A person within another person! And just by looking at her, no one would tell the difference. She looks just like a normal person! Not like a host to a hidden creature inside of her. Little Leechiana. “I was talking to Kiena the other day,” he says, seemingly at random, eyes blinking to her, “and…through talkin’ with her, it came up that… well. I never thought to ask you if you wanted.. to do this.”

Good to go. Uh. "…whatever that means." Soriana gives her head a small shake, and sighs. If there's a magic potion, they haven't given it to her yet. Maybe that's a second-trimester thing. "Mostly they just lecture me. Kinda makes me miss V'dim telling us weyrlings what not to do." Because at least he let her have klah. Sigh. Soriana pillows her head against Ka'el's shoulder, resting against him. He talked to Kiena? Yeah, he does that. Random that he's bringing it up now, but Soriana both assumes he's going with it and isn't in any particular hurry for him to get there. Her butt's not frozen yet. So… talking to Kiena. Something came up. And… uh. She lifts her head from his shoulder and gives him a slightly puzzled look. Did she want to sit out in the cold? Obviously, or she wouldn't be here. "…what do you mean?"

Ka’el would be happy to sit out here in the cold with her and just be. It’s better than sitting out in the cold by himself and staring at the sky. He’s learned that most places and activities tend to be better with her in the picture, even I things are difficult or unclear. Like this conversation that he’s fumbling his way through. But really, there’s no graceful way to bring up what was brought up in that mentioned conversation with the Weyrsecond … which, now that he thinks of it, is perhaps why she spoke so bluntly at the time. His eyes turn to Sori’s when the press of her head is removed from his shoulder, his arm still securely around her. “The baby,” he answers, voice quiet. “I never asked if you wanted.. Eh, I know you don’t want but..” He wrinkles his nose, shaking his head a bit. Fail. “She said there were ways..if you didn’t want to have it… to not have it.” He pauses there, his expression, while still technically the same, dimming somewhat. “I didn’t think to ask you if you did not want to have it.”

Soriana's turned her head to look at Ka'el, but she's not pulling away from him. Not moving out from that arm, just moving enough so that she can see him and try to make sense of what he's saying. What he's asking her - or, well, telling her he didn't ask her, which is sort of like asking - if she wanted. The baby. Okay, so this isn't a change of topic. It didn't sound like one, but… she wasn't sure, and she nods to acknowledge it, still listening. If she wanted it? Her lips pull to the side, a wry sort of smile, and then a slow exhalation. There's not wanting - because she certainly didn't go looking for it - and not wanting, where… "Oh." Soriana turns her head, looking away from Ka'el and out across the Weyr again. "That." Not having it. She's quiet another moment. He didn't ask. Is he asking now? Maybe, sort of. "That's one of the lists the healers have." She looks back to him. "Of stuff not to do. There's stuff that'll… do harm… and there's stuff that'll… end it." She used the words. She's heard the list from the healers. She… could have not even told him, couldn't she? But… "I dunno. I…" Her lips curve in a smile. "I've never liked running away." She's stubborn. "And maybe I… sort of want to know what everyone else is on about." Her lips curve a little further, and then a brief laugh. A single hah. "They're stupid reasons."

He’s asking now. Sort of. It’s the closest thing she’ll get to a question from him though, so it’s a lucky thing that she’s taking it as such. Yeah. That. Her eyes look away, but Ka’el’s linger on hers a few ticks longer before doing the same, looking out across the Weyr once more. There’s a list of things to not do? Hm. Healers are always prepared. They know everything about medical stuff, so it’s unsurprising they’d know what’d be harmful and warn against it. Accidental endings. Or not so accidental ones. His hands, too far apart to fiddle with themselves, fiddle with other things instead. The one around her squeezes at random intervals. The other idly fusses with a clasp of his jacket. She has the tools and have had them for…well, since she went to the healers. And she doesn’t use them .. because she is stubborn. Her single laugh brings a half smirk to his face. Stupid reasons, she says. But still…reasons. Not the poetic ones thought of by Kiena and secretly hoped for by him. But still..again, reasons that will keep the fledgling life in place. “They’re reasons enough,” he answers, looking at her. “I don’t want you to feel trapped in this if there’s a way out that you want to take. If you want to take it, I.. I’ll understand. If you don’t.. I’m glad.”

Accidental endings or purposeful avoidings… because those happen. There's the women who decide that it's the wrong time or the wrong place or the wrong partner for them; who take a hop between and make a problem go away. Soriana knows that. She's thought about it. But… even if all she's got are stupid reasons… they're still reasons, and Soriana nods to that. Reasons enough that she's going to healer appointments and not drinking klah. "It's…" she turns her head, looks to Ka'el "…sorta terrifying. I mean… even if we foster, it's still… we'd be responsible." Because it's their choice where to send the kid. Up to them to pick a good place, and while there's surely someone on whom they could foist things off entirely… that'd be their choice to do it. Their responsibility, even if they delegate. "And I mean, we're… Weyrleader. Weyrwoman." They should have a clue what it's like to be in charge! "But… this is different." Somehow. She's not sure how to explain it, but it is. "Besides." A wry smile. "Even if we're awful, there's bound to be someone worse."

Terrifying. It’s a good word to use. Fitting to describe some of those feelings that the both of them probably feel. It’s a scary thing, this … whole idea of being parents, even if they do foster their child to someone else. She’s right, they’re still responsible. But they should have a handle on responsibility, eh? They run the entire Weyr! They’re in charge of hundreds of lives! But none of those lives is a life they brought into this world. A life created by the two of them. A little life that will be their lives, in a way, no matter which route they take. Ka’el is … relieved? If he’s hearing her correctly, it doesn’t sound as if she’ll be Betweening anytime soon. And he is glad. Still terrified. Worried. Clueless. But…glad. He squeezes her again, his lips finding their way to her cheek to rpess and hold there for a while before he eventually pulls back. “What are you talking about? We’re going to be amazing. We’re two shardin’ amazing people and we’ve done amazing things. This’ll just be another thing to add to the list of amazingness.” Remember silly Ka’el? He’s making a reappearance. But through the joke, there’s seriousness to be found. If they don’t believe in themselves, who will? And now that the initial shock has passed and the worst has been thought of and, perhaps bypassed, Ka’el .. is hesitantly beginning to believe.

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