Black Against Black

Xanadu Weyr - Forest
This broad path that leads from the main clearing into the forest has been designed in such a manner so as to be not only wide enough for wagons to travel through, but also providing ample space for dragons. The path appears only worn in the center though, as most of the traffic moving through this area is that of the two-legged kind. Flowers sprout up and speckle the lush grass with bright saffron and cheeky rose, creeping all the way up to the bases of the trees that rise upward in their aged magnificence, gargantuan limbs casting often welcome shade, the general atmosphere and scent of the path is one of freshness and wild abandon.

The path winds its way leisurely through the trees, deeper into the forest and a number of less traveled paths branch away from it. Southwest leads to the forest's edge near the base of the tumbled rocks that mark the wilder areas of the forest and the mountains that rise behind Xanadu. West leads to the Firelizard Theater, northeastward the path leads to the feeding grounds and beyond that the gravel road that bisects the paddocks leading to the bovine complex. East leads to the meadow where it joins both the road that crosses the bridge over the river leading to the clearing and the the coastal road that leads out of Xanadu bypassing the beach and the Caspian Lake. Here there are secluded spots where one might picnic.

Dragons have been fed, or at least his has, and Ka'el and Kanekith have tried their skill at the obstacle course again today. After an hour or so of some success, and still much banging up to be had, the dragon and weryling pair have headed back to the barracks. But…a detour has been made. Getting away is rejuvenating, and Kanekith's curiosity has piqued with every new thing he sees. The people. The weyrs. The shop faces. And so it's an unplanned field trip to the forest now, Ka'el leading the way. Apparently on good terms again, the fishnet incident behind them, the two wander the naked forest fringes, Kanekith's eyes swirling a placid color of green as he peers up, up to the branches. It is still winter, though here and there the beginnings of buds can be seen. Dragon imprints are left in the snow as the bronze slowly moves, craning his neck. « It looks different » A suave voice curls through Ka'el's brain, and he smirks a bit as he leans against a cold tree trunk. "Than what? Than what you see? Because I'm thinking of summer, and things are different then. Everything here won't be the same. The light, the branches, the leaves.." « Leaves? » Curious! Curious…

Mur'dah and Kalsuoth have been spending more time on their own lately, especially with more freedom granted. And the pair particularly enjoy the forests. Which is why Mur'dah is walking through the trees towards the clearing, with Kalsuoth hopping along behind. The brown moves as he always has, the lurching wobble gait only switching to something less natural and more even when he senses his sibling nearby. "Ka'el?" Mur'dah calls, peering through the trees ahead. Kalsuoth quests out with his mind, with this new game of hide and seek (kind of) in the woods, though it's sure to be an easy find. « Brother? »

It is green that Kanekith's mind is flooded with. The green of a summer forest alive with sounds and smells and sights now dormant. These are Ka'el's memories, and he's ravenous for more. Leaves and foliage and birds and people. He races through them all, causing them to blur together and Ka'el is reminded suddenly of an egg touch. "Woah.." he urges the eager brown, pulling back mentally. « But I wish to see .. » which causes a smirk from the weyrling who is poised to reply, but Kanekith's attention swiftly turns, sensing a clutchmate, and that too turns Ka'el's eyes. The dragon lowly warbles, glancing here and there. « Kalsuoth. » He turns now and moves, spying the brown. Dragon hide and seek…needs boulders! Ka'el watches the bronze, a bit of his easygoingness shifting to caution as he realizes who is here. « You worry too much » is sent his way, bringing back that smirk. "Hey Mur'dah," he greets his fellow weyrling, lifting a hand a bit. "You escapin' too, huh?"

Kalsuoth's mind is a continuation of the forest around them - but in several hundred turns in the future. The trees are taller, wider, older and gnarled, and the undergrowth is large and fragrant. And it is spring, too, with the warmth of the sun beating down into his mind. The dark brown hobbles around a tree to 'hide', though it's really impossible for a dragon of his size, even though he's still rather small. Dark wings whisper through the trees of his mind, perching in the high branches to watch. Mur'dah pauses for a moment and then shakes his head firmly, approaching with his hands in his pockets. "Yeah," he replies. "So glad to be able to get out and just…walk, you know? You two?" He glances at Kanekith, slightly wary, and then back to Ka'el.

And in that forest, Kanekith stays grounded, seeking the shadow of the undergrowth to hide himself in. Hide? No, that isn't right. He is the predator! Not the prey. But even predators hide and lie in wait for their prey. Shrouding themselves in shadow as he does now. Watching. Being watched. The bronze's wings spread, stretching..almost. The forest can be restrictive, even when a dragon is young, and his wings retract as they graze a low hanging branch. « This winter. Mine grows bored with it. His mind is on things warm. Hot. » Orange and red. A burning flame. .. So far so good. Ka'el keeps one lobe of his brain zeroed in on Kanekith, anticipating trouble, though his eyes remain on Mur'dah. "Yeah, I know what you mean. It's great and all, what we're doing, but … kinda felt like I was losing my mind there for a while." He grins a bit, though the look falters when he looks Kalsuoth's way. "Hey.." said off-handedly. "Sorry about the other day. Kanekith didn't mean to make you upset."

The forest of Kalsuoth's mind shifts into twilight, where the lengthening shadows offer plenty of places to hide. The shadows above coalesce and form into a black feathered bird, large and sleek and motionless. For the moment. It watches, as it's being watched, Kalsuoth's mental focus peering out from the creature's eyes even as he creates the world that they play in. Or stalk in. Whatever they're doing. Then, below, that flame begins in the undergrowth, smoldering up not far from where Kanekith has decided to rest. Flickerings of lightning are amused from Kalsuoth's mind, playful as he plays with fire. « Then let's make things hot? Though when mine thinks of hot, he thinks of other things. » "Yeah, that," Mur'dah says with a little nod. "Hard to know who I am anymore, sometimes…" Then he clears his throat and nods, taking a slow breath. "Yeah, I know. Just…I shouldn't have gotten upset. I'm just…I'm too sensitive about it. But. It's hard, having him…you know." Broken.

Ka'el's eyes travel to his own bronze after Mur'dah speaks. His own, perfect in comparison, at least in physical ways. He could fill in that blank easily. Crippled. Handicapped. … Broken. If Kanekith had a limp, some sort of defunct, how would he feel? Ka'el knows the answer. The same as Mur'dah, likely. Worried and angry. Gypped? "I get it," he assures, looking back at him now. "Thinking of Kanekith bein' that way…" He trails off, a vague frown forming. "Sorry." Sorry at sounding negative? For pitying your dragon? That you're in the situation in the first place? He doesn't clarify. Sorry could mean so many things. "But hey, if it was really serious, they've have him hold up in the annex right now, right? He's alright. Maybe, y'know, it'll be fixed when he's grown? You do all those stretches.." Some things one can't hide when living in such close quarters. "They've got to be helping, right?" Kanekith revels in the darkness, eyes glowing brighter in his mind as his other self slinks along, giving only glimpses of a gold bronze body beneath a pale moonlight he conjures. Stalking what is out of reach til the fire dances up and pauses him. Not startled but captivated by the dancing licks of light that he feeds with his mind. Fatter. Bigger! Hotter. « This is fire. » He all but purrs. « There is nothing hotter. Yours knows not what hot is if his thoughts are things that are not this. »

Perfect bronze, crippled brown. Mur'dah looks between them and shoves his hands a bit deeper into his pockets. "Yeah," he grunts softly with a little shrug, and he just nods at the apology. He'll take it however he wants to, really. "He's alright," he murmurs. "The stretches help a bit, but…he still walks funny. I don't want…the other dragons teasin' him, you know?" he murmurs softly, as if his dragon can't hear. "He doesn't really know he's different." Or so Mur'dah thinks. Maybe Kalsuoth is just way more adjusted than his rider. "Don't want him hurting. But at least it's just his leg. Not like Luraoth's wing…" And he shudders at the thought. "But I'm sure she'll be fine. They'll fly, both of them. All of them." And then he stops rambling, hunching his shoulders a bit against the cold. In Kalsuoth's mind, the flames are greedy when they lick at the undergrowth. The temporary things live, and they die in the fire, but the trees persist. They give up some bark, some leaves, but they will survive as the heat does not penetrate to their core, and their roots dig deeper into the soil. All this is sensed, felt, without being spoken or shown. The flames develop orange and blue, white at their very base, and the image of a dancing woman is briefly visible in the flames. Faceless, she is nothing but a body undulating in the fire. But not in pain. She is a part of the fire, within it, shimmering and captivating.

And Kanekith. He too persists. No, he resists! The fire. This flame. These flames. They eat everything! Nearly everything.. The trees do not burn and turn to black, smoldering ash that curls up and gets lost in the inky sky above, and neither does he. He absorbs it all, yellow eyes eerily reflecting the hot light while his body is engulfed in it, allowing the fire the envelop him while he resists becoming a casualty. It is his to manipulate. His to control. His to become. But that thing there? A figure within his realm… it is unwelcomed. Whatever it is..whoever she is, she must go. Away with you! His voice is a roar. A snarl. Black claws slash out with a crack of thunder that startles Ka'el, for even as he divided his attention between dragon and weyrling, the intensity of the sound was unexpected. "Kane.." The rumble that is heard is real this time, low and slow, near apologetic in sound. Ka'el lightly rakes his fingers through his hair. What was that about it being difficult to know oneself? "Think the only dragon you've got to worry about teasin' is mine," he replies to Mur'dah after a quiet bit. "I'm…we're workin' on that." Luraoth's wing indeed is frown-worthy, and the downward pull of his lips is evident. "Yeah… But lucky thing we're here and not somewhere else. Xanadu's got the beast dragonhealers, right? And with Sori bein' a healer herself, everything that could be done is gonna get done to get that gold up." He smirks a bit. "That's the lesson I can't wait to have. Flying."

Kalsuoth relinquishes control of the fire to Kanekith without resistance, giving it as one would pass the salt at dinner. Still he watches, only taking to wing when the flames lick at his own tree. Soaring overhead through the smoke, it does not seem to bother him even when the ash dusts his feathers a powdery color of grey. The bronze's lashing out at the figure has him a little surprised as well, but mostly intrigued. « You do not like her? » he asks, creating her in the rising smoke where she swirls and dances, rising slowly upward out of the bronze's reach. Mur'dah glances at Kalsuoth and rubs a hand over his face, before focusing on Ka'ne again. "It's hard not to get sucked in to his mind," he murmurs, "and it's hard to be on the outside just looking in. All I see is a forest and fire. Don't know what they're doing though…and yeah, it seems that he's the only one…but." He shrugs. "I dunno." He can't really criticize his friend's dragon. "Yeah, we are. So it'll be okay." He'll make it okay. And then he grins, sudden and crooked, and he looks like his old self again. "Shards, me neither. Can you imagine? I can't wait."

The figure is gone from his flames, and thus Kanekith celebrates with a sudden flare. But ah, it is short-lived, for there it is again, an ashen silhouette. .. Like a shadow. His shadows. An easily ignited temper sparks again, and he runs towards her, paws ablaze and eyes enraged as he barrels through her as if she were nothing at all. A snarl and a rumble of thunder. « What is there to like? » This faceless creature to him has a face. One he has seen too many times. One that owns too many memories and thoughts, both active and idle, of what is his. His Ka'el. And through his eyes, that face manifests itself. Strong brows. A broad nose. Kanekith's head is given a brisk shake, and a snort escapes from his jaws and nose. Ka'el nods in agreement with Mur'dah, trying to assess his bronze, but sensing only heat .. and the kind of heat that eludes to trouble. What does he see? What is he thinking? He's irritably shut out. "I want to know how to do that," he murmurs wistfully. "Keepin' my thoughts to myself sometimes? I'd pay a hundred marks for that lesson." He shakes his head, though his grin returns at the thought of flying. "I can imagine, yeah, but I bet it's not even close to the real thing. It'll be different than on a transport dragon, I bet."

Kalsuoth does not persist with the female form, fluttering down to land on another branch as he lets the flames do what they will. « What is there not to like? » he asks, genuinely curious as he hops closer, branch to branch, hardly using his wings. "I don't think I can ever shut him out. He can shut me out, but it doesn't seem to work the other way. Hardly seems fair," he says, but it's with a little grin. "I'm sure it's different on /your/ dragon. Everyone says so."

« Much » rumbles Kanekith whose flames begin to fade while he slinks back, this time seemingly within the ashes. The shadow of a creature protecting itself and his own, curling around Ka'el's mind possessively. "Maybe..when they're older…" But even as he begins that phrase, Ka'el knows it sounds absurd! When they're older, it'll only get worse! He snickers, head shaking. "We're doomed then, huh? Guess we can only hope that they keep whatever they find to themselves." When they're older. Right now? Ka'el will be lucky to escape weyrlinghood unscathed! His brows raise a little after a bit. "Hey, you've talked to Marel lately, right?" he asks, starting to grin. "Will you give her a message for me the next time you see her? I swear her lesson schedule has to be opposite mine. I hardly have any with her."

Kalsuoth is still curious, but the brown doesn't pry. Instead he takes to wing again and circles overhead, the ash tumbling off his wings to be replaced by moon and starlight, shimmering in blues and silvers over his silky feathers. « Join me? » he offers to his brother, with the temptation and allure of the sky. Mur'dah snorts softly. "When they're older, yeah. I think we are doomed. Though Kalsuoth hasn't really embarrassed me. Yet. I mean I've had thoughts but he hasn't broadcast them to the whole weyr like you hear some weyrlings doing." Still, he's a teenage boy. Everyone likely already knows what he's thinking about. Then he nods. "Yeah, I do. We don't get to talk much," which has him frowning, "but yeah. Sure, what's up?"

Kanekith is hesitant…still clutching to Ka'el as if what he holds were something precious, too valuable to be left alone, unprotected. Lonely. His embrace turns warm and reassuring, causing Ka'el to softly smile unbeknownst to himself. But oh… the sky. He looks upward, one flaming eyes now reflective of the cool colors of the night. Swirling a blue of longing. Gradually, his grip begins to loosen. Talon by talon, he lets his precious go and he lifts off, a swirl of black mist, an inky shadow that forms a liquid-like dragon that flies along with his feathered kin. Ka'el exhales a slow breath and nods to himself, though whether it's in answer to Mur'dah's first words or to himself is difficult to tell. But, wait. "Potentially embarrassing thoughts?" he says with a nosy grin. "About?" Oh, he can guess! "Jnelle?" Well … she is good looking, as was already agreed upon on The Rock. Snickering, he continues, "Tell Marel that Ka'el is on the verge of havin' a very good read. She'll know that means, and hopefully it'll make her sweat."

Kalsuoth circles, endlessly patient, and lightning flickers in the distance in pleasure when Kanekith comes up to join him. Smaller than his bronze shadow-dragon brother, the shadow-form bird swoops down and then soars upwards, wings pushing towards the visible moon, a delicate crescent in the sky. He does not seem to mind leaving his alone down below. Mur'dah snorts, shaking his head. "You know. Dreams at night, and when you wake up in the morning." /Right/ when you wake up in the morning. "Jnelle? Ugh. No. Just. No one /specific/." And then he turns to give his friend a curious look. "On the verge…a good read? What's that mean? I'm not delivering a message I don't understand." So nyah.

Oh. Those types of thoughts. Ka'el nods understandably, giving his friend a clap on the shoulder. "Well, when the day comes that all that is broadcast to everyone very loudy…I'll do my best not to laugh." He so solemnly swears! Though..without such a solemn face, even though tried to keep one up. He snickers, then laughs as he draws his hand away. The request of an explanation is given easily enough, still looking amused. "Oh, one morning she was goin' on about a diary and I told her that I've heard that they're rather good reads and I intended to find hers. … Well, I haven't," he admits, "but! she doesn't know that." Above them, in some other world, Kanekith flies, his blackened wings spread wide, engulfing the breeze that carries him. But still, Ka'el is watched as he gets further and further away… but oh, to fly! Wings pump, bringing him higher, trailing the tail feathers of his brother as midnight jaws slacken to release a call of delight.

Mur'dah snorts, "Right, and when Kanekith has a fit you're paying attention to someone other than him, I'll try not to laugh either." Though it's a good natured tease as the teen returns the shoulder clap. "Ah, yeah," he says, nodding and looking a bit evasive. "I'll tell her, then," he says, a coy grin slipping over his lips. "But if I get punched, I'm going to pass it on to you." In their shared thoughts, Kalsuoth caws his joy at the flight, twisting and turning, feeling the wind over his feathers as he imagines it will be.

But…oh well, yes. That is a very real possibility. Ka'el roll his eyes in reply, though the look has a grin to go with it. "Yeah, yeah…" he says dismissively, playfully shrugging off his hand. "C'mon, Marel wouldn't punch…." He squints his eyes in exaggerated though. "Well. On second thought, she may do so to you. But once she gets wind you sent it on my way, she'll only punch you again for hasslin' her friend, Ka'el." Snickering, he presses his back against the nearest tree trunk, settling into familiar conversation and banter while time allows. And oh, they have precious little to call their own! He's glad to not spend it worrying over Kanekith's attitude towards Kalsuoth…which for now, seems placid. Shadowbeast and raven continue to soar, Kanekith's mood perhaps affected by Ka'el's good one. Whatever the reason, the brothers seem to … for once, get along, and the night sky is their playground. Black against black.

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