Lost Time

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.

A spot to think. The meadow ridge has been a favorite spot of Ka'el's to do so, as has the clock tower. But today, grasses call more to him than stone. He sits upon them, back pressed against the metallic hide of his dragon who rests with him. Kanekith's eyes are languid. Fluidly shifting from dark blue to light, reflecting the fluidly changing thoughts of his rider. Ka'el is dressed for riding. Or rather, he was. His riding jacket rests to one side of him with gloves and goggles tossed on top. Kanekith's leathers have been loosened for comfort, and Ka'el's windswept hair is indication that he likely hasn't been on the ground for very long. But even though his body is grounded, his mind is far, far away. Eyes are set upon the horizon. The sun hovers above it, as if reluctant to begin its descent below and towards another part of their world. And thus, it appears frozen in time, neither rising nor falling.

The sun may appear frozen, but the rest of the world remains in motion. A shadow drifts along the fringes of the meadow ridge and disappears, only to angle back. Seconds later, the grasses sway as a slight breezes is kicked up as cerulean wings sweep back and Ujinath lands as graceful as a blue his size can do. A flick of his wings and they're folded tightly to his side and it's obvious from his lack of straps that he's also riderless. His greeting is typical for his usual behaviour, nothing more then a gruff exhaled rumble to Kanekith and mental "silence". He'll give the impression of a greeting but doesn't say a single word. His posture is tense, but Ujinath is always guarded. Much like Kanekith's eyes, his are blue and thus no alarm is needed. All answers come in the form of his body language and Ujinath's head will turn to look down the meadow ridge and as he settles back on his haunches, there's an air of anticipation and relief. Sure enough, Kiena can be seen approaching, her eyes glancing first to her lifemate, then to where Ka'el sits with Kanekith, her expression equally as questioning for both of them though she never voices them. "Morning… though I suppose it's afternoon, now." she mutters and glances quick to the sky to confirm. She's not in her flight gear, fresh as she is from the office and she's likely come here too to think or simply to "escape".

Kanekith's head slightly shifts as another dragon approaches, watching Ujinath's descent upon the ridge. The very tip of his forked tail is given a vague twitch at the breeze that the blue wings pick up. Ujinath's aloof behavior is hardly abnormal. Neither is Kanekith's dismissal after a snorted breath that could be his version of a greeting. It's enough to bring Ka'el out of his reverie though, and the Weyrleader blinks once to refocus his eyes, shifting them up to his lifemate in question once they are. Ujinath is noted, and not long after that, so is Kiena. He watches her, his wayward mind gradually processing her words. Afternoon? "Closer to evening, I'd say," he drawls with a more focused look to the horizon and the sun poised just above it. "If it isn't, then I've some explaining to do, as that'd mean I've been up here a full day."

Kiena's brows knit. Evening? Her head lifts to glance over her shoulder in an abrupt double-take of the horizon and her frown only deepens. Her eyes lower first, then her head as she turns and her features are shadowed. How'd she muddle something as simple as the time of day? A hand lifts to scrub at her face, then run back through her hair and the Weyrsecond looks, quite simply, exhausted. Despite that, she smirks and snorts. "No explaining necessary. Looks like you're in the right time and I've lost the day to the office… or something like that. Can't even keep track of the shardin' time…" The last is mostly mumbled as she scouts out a comfortable spot on the grass and sinks down, with Ujinath doing the same as he settles himself. He stays if she stays. "Mind some company?" Kiena asks, glancing sidelong to Ka'el, her expression difficult to read even with the faint smile in place.

Ka'el rests the back of his head against his dragon, quiet at he smirks. What would happen if he did lose track of the day and found himself staring off into space as he was for hours and hours? No doubt, Luraoth would question Kanekith. Would Kanekith even reply, with his rider so lost in his own world? Maybe mindhealers would be called in. Maybe he'd be admitted to that small part of the healer's ward designated for mental patients. That strange and unnerving place. A bit of his smile slips now. Not because of the thought of addled patients, but because of the thought of mindhealers. A slow breath is exhaled, and he turns his head her way as she questions him. "I have company," he says, turniing a hand to pat at Kanekith's girth, causing a rumble from the bronze. "But I'm not wholly opposed to the idea of added company, even though I'm not much company myself."

Maybe there would be no questions and both he and Kanekith would be left in peace. Even a Weyrleader needs a day to his thoughts, right? Maybe in a perfect world. Mindhealer is NOT the word to use of late. Kiena's reaction is unpredictable, though of late it usually brings nothing but a stony sort of coldness from the bluerider. Her brother would be pleased! She's effectively (and unknowingly) mastered his technique of shutting down parts of her thoughts or emotions (or both). Useful, as she's required to still function in some degree or another, but potentially damaging. She's no stranger to concealing herself however and Kiena's done exactly that. Still, she chuckles dry and low when Ka'el pats at Kanekith and she nods her head. Point taken. "Don't think any of us are, of late. Not for lack of trying." Like now, for instance. "And I'm certainly not much company either. Guess we're equal in that, huh?"

"Clearly, we're poised on the precipice of a riveting conversation," dryly says Ka'el, smirk crooked as he watches an avian flit by in the distance. Kanekith watches too, though not for avians. His mind spreads like the tendrils of a living shadow, reaching out to various dragons of the Weyr. Checking in. His presence is not ominous or overbearing. It truly isn't one of tender care, either. It's a passing sort of touch, habitual in the wake of turmoil. He's not a gold, nor will he ever have their sort of patience and influence, but this Weyr is his territory. The dragons within it…somewhat his responsibility, as the riders are Ka'el's. Things are returning to normal…have returned to normal, to some degree. But still, Kanekith watches. Ka'el is silent for a time after, in no hurry to break the quiet that stretches between them. What is there to talk about? Heh ..plenty. Plenty more that's already been talked about and talked about and talked about already. Things that feel better when they aren't talked about. Things to disregard. Ka'el inhales and exhales a quiet breath before his eyes return to her. "A visit to the Holds may need to happen soon. Their riders aren't many, and most are the craft sort, but … still, I'd like for us to check in."

"Afraid I was never one for riveting conversations," Kiena drawls back just as dry and with a touch of sarcasm in return to Ka'el, her eyes lingering on him for a beat or two before she turns her head to gaze down over the ridge and to the meadow below. Neither is she in any rush to break the silence, though for her it's awkward and uncomfortable. There's plenty to talk about and if anyone reached out to the bluerider, she would talk. If she wasn't extending so much of her energy to keeping her guards up, she'd likely try to coerce Ka'el into talking, but she balks and the moment passes and she focuses instead on keeping herself still. Not to fidget, not to crack. Perhaps things have been talked about and talked about. It would have been nigh on impossible to escape and ignore the fallout since the tragedy of losing Seryth and Thea. But to disregard? Not quite. "Are you looking to space these visits within a day or over a series of days?" Kiena asks after a moment of pause, voice lowered. If Kanekith were to reach to Ujinath with that passing touch, the blue will flinch from those tendrils of living shadow and then almost like a mental 'shrug' or very light 'smack', brush him away and to deter any further contact (or so he figures) and with the implied sense of 'leave him alone' with that being the polite version of it. The not so polite version has him tagging on 'mind your own business', only a bit more colourful (and so like his rider). The blue is known to be aloof and socially awkward but not to that degree.

"Hannista and Rubicon River first is mapped in my head," Ka'el replies. "Heading north first and knocking those two out within a day. Then .. depending on how long we end up staying, Ressac Sea next, Black Rock last in the same day. If the first two end up long, we'd come back here and head out for the second half the next day. I'd rather not take too long between Hold visits, else one Lord Holder think Xanadu favors one hold over another…" A nose-wrinkle to that. Politics. It's really a game of pettiness. "And I'd rather not be gone overnight or over days if I can help it." It's a plan. A rough one that hasn't been spoken over with any of the Juniors, but still a plan. The Holds should be visited else risk them possibly feeling ignored within a time of crisis. Ka'el's slight intake of breath is an indication that there are more words on the way, but those words are truncated by Kanekith. The blue's brush off is initially met with indifference from Kanekith. He's doing what he believes is his job. No more, no less. Ujinath's shun doesn't bother him. His add on, on the other hand, does. The bronze snorts, turning his head towards the blue with a brief flare of his eyes. Pale blue to hot yellow, then back. Like a blink, but with color, and a heavy toss of his head. Ka'el's head tilts back as much as it can while still pressed against the bronze's body, but he eventually leans away from him with a questioning look. First to his dragon, then to Kiena. "Is something wrong?" With Ujinath, but he leaves the question as that. It sounds absurd coming from his mouth. Of course something is wrong. What isn't wrong these days?

Kiena listens quiet and attentively while Ka'el lays out his plan for the visits to the Holds, her brows knitting together as she mulls over each name thoughtfully and then nods her agreement. "Best way to do it and still keep it balanced, like you said. Last thing we need are Lord Holders breathing down our necks about unfair treatment." She grimaces. Politics, indeed! A tricky thing, a very fickle thing and something the Weyrsecond has learned quick enough is a very delicate thing too. It is a game of pettiness, something of which both baffles and amuses her (in a pitying sort of way). "No… no overnights. I'm sure we can manage with either version you've just laid out." She's confident enough in that. It's a plan and it's a welcomed one to focus on and unseen and unheard, the bluerider is looking forwards to it. Not for the formal talks and meetings and visits but for the chance of some form of escape. Not freedom, far from it, but to be outside of the Weyr for a bit, even on duty. Ujinath's head faces Kanekith and holds there, lowered at an angle that is not threatening but certainly standoffish. The bronze's snort and toss of his head brings no response from the blue, save for the subtle flicker of red lancing through the whirling blue depths of his eyes, flashed and gone. "What?" Kiena's first response to Ka'el's prompt is one of confusion. With her? Her eyes narrow as she regards him, only to then lift her head and turn it to where Ujinath seems frozen in a staring match with Kanekith. Then it dawns on her and she sighs, too tired to even look or act embarrassed for her life mate's behaviour. At least there's some apology in her tone? "He's fine." she states hurriedly. "Just… overly protective of late." Understatement? Kiena will attempt to draw Ujinath's attention to her, rather than so focused on Kanekith and she will succeed after some time, marked by the way the blue's head turns to look at her, then dart back to Kanekith and then very reluctantly he'll lower his head down and keep it there, though one eye is still watching them. ALL of them, as a whole. A lot is wrong these days. It takes time for things to mend and heal and move on and back into a sense of normalcy. "He can be abrasive if he feels protective of me." Kiena goes on to explain, rubbing a hand over her brow in a weary and exhausted gesture, shrugging her shoulders as if it were nothing.

Ka'el's eyes are on his dragon, a non-verbal exchange of words. Kanekith is not hotly angry. The fuse of his temper is perhaps a centimeter in length, true, but with his rider here and unharmed, it'd take more to light it past aggravation. Still, he keeps an eye on the blue even the other's head lowers down. Ka'el himself rises to his feet and moves to the front of his overly large lifemate, encouraging his head down until he can take a hold of his muzzle. "We're all good, bud," he murmurs, rubbing the area between nostrils with a faint smirk. Kanekith puffs out a warm breath against his rider's chest, his eyes still settled in to a blue hue. Everything is good! Playfully does the Weyrleader thump the dragon on the nose with his fingers before he looks to Kiena. Overly protective. "Because of what happened?" he asks as he leans back, resting against Kanekith's chest region while regarding her with vaguely lifted brows.

Kiena will watch the exchange between Ka'el and Kanekith and for a brief moment she looks a touch guilty for having possibly brought on the bronze's temper for whatever reason. She knows Ujinath can be difficult and that most other dragons find him unappealing to converse with. Only one seems to make any headway with him, barring, of course, the queens. "Is… he alright?" she asks after a moment of consideration and a half-apology still slipped into her tone of voice. Kiena hasn't gone to Ujinath's side, though that doesn't seem to be causing any strife between them. She remains seated on the grass and it's there that she starts a bit at Ka'el's prompt and Kiena's eyes hold to his for half a breath before darting away. "Partly, yes, though he doesn't remember the details now. He's just…" Picking up on her brooding over it, like scratching at a scab and unable to leave the wound be to heal. "… protective." she states again and does not elaborate further. Not, at least, for another few breaths and even then her words are slow, as if she's carefully selecting each one. Guarded. Concealed. "A lot has happened and there's a lot on my mind and I guess he's picking up on that."

"Kanekith? Yes, he's alright," remarks Ka'el, smirking. "Would like the straps off though, and I could stand to be without my gear." Not that most of it has been taken off. There's still the standard light-weight stuff, which is only cumbersome when one is trying to sit in a comfortable position for a long period of time. Speaking of stuff, he glances to his discarded gear. The jacket, gloves, goggles… then back to her as she speaks, insisting on the blue's protectiveness, which he nods to. To her quieter words he nods again, once, his brows faintly knitting in a vauge frown of question that he doesn't voice. "I understand," he says instead, picking up his gear. "If you or he is not up for Hold visits, I can ask another member of Quasar to accompany me," he says, the elastic strap of his riding goggles hooked around a finger, allowing the goggles themselves to dangle as he watches her with a different sort of look on his face now. Less question, more doubtful concern. "I don't wish him to be agititated if you're gone visiting with a Holder or if a resident dragon gets too close." A pause. "If you need to take administrative leave, you only need to ask, you know.." he leads. "Time to .. gather yourself?"

Kiena looks relieved when Ka'el assures her that Kanekith is fine, aside from wanting to be free of his straps and likewise his rider free of gear. She can relate to that and she'll watch as he gathers his goggles to start before slowly pushing to her feet and brushing off the back of her pants. Tilting her head, Kiena's eyes linger on him, confusion flickering in their depths and then she blinks, her expression startled as she shakes her head, looking at her lifemate and then back to him. "I— no, it'll be fine. We're fine. I can do this, I can be with you at the Holds!" she assures him and there's a determination to her voice and a thread of something else. "Ujinath will behave! He's always been good outside the Weyr." Kiena will lapse silent when he pauses, her eyes focused on him now even as they widen. "… Administrative leave?" She turns her head and her eyes lower to where her knot rests pinned to her shoulder and her opposite hand reaches across to touch it. For a moment, she is silent again and when she does look back to Ka'el, her jaw has set and there's determination there, mixed with stubbornness and maybe possessiveness as her hand falls away. "No." she states flatly and firmly, eyes narrowing as she stands straighter, head up and shoulders back as she takes a slow breath. "I'm fine. I can still be Weyrsecond." She's not ready to give that up, not any time soon, despite all that has happened, all that is left unsaid and the weight on her shoulders. Oddly, it's likely the only thing keeping her balanced. She's grown into it and continues to do so, even if she had been so reluctant to accept at first. She hasn't regretted it. "I don't need leave of any kind." Which is a flat out lie, but Ka'el's unnerved her and she's already beginning to back away in slow, careful steps. Her head dips, "If you'll excuse me, sir, I should return to my office. Enjoy the rest your evening." Kiena usually is formal with him when the situation calls for it, but not when they're one on one. Only she is now and she'll turn to begin to walk away unless she's stopped.

She wishes to assure him … Ka'el's not positive how reassured he feels. All he has are the facts that he knows of. The fact that she's been lost between once before. The fact that it rattled her. The fact that she again seems rattled. Understandably so, if the cause is Thea. Whatever else that's in her head may also be factors, but he can fix neither one of those truths. He cannot bring Thea back, and he cannot help to mend the unknown. Ujinath is not quite himself, which is another fact. 'Protective' of her for more unknown reasons. Figety. Ka'el can't fix that either, but he can do one thing. He can lower the risk of another accident by assigning someone else her role. A stand-in for diplomatic things, such as visits and presentations. Temporarily. Until her sense of normalcy comes back, hopefully sooner rather than later. He nods at the phrase as it's repeated. Administrative leave. Not fired. But on … vacation, in a sense. But he can see those subtle signs one tends to pick up on another person after working with them for a long period of time. The set jaw. The tensing of shoulders. The overall added height as she straightens. He can already tell her answer before she gives it, but he nods anyway once it's verbalized. "It isn't a bad thing…" he says after a few ticks of silence. She's starting to back away now. Planning her escape, but he still talks. "Time off. Sometimes you don't realize how much you need it until you actually..take it. You come back with fresh eyes and a clearer mind." The edges of his lips just briefly and slightly pull down as she speaks of leaving, tacking on that 'sir' and overall sounding like a scripted person on a stage. He doesn't stop her from going though. He needs to do the same. Eyes stay on her. His, not Kanekith's who has by now rested his head on the ground. "If you change your mind," he says in her wake, "You know where my desk is. Good evening, Kiena." He watches for her a short while, then turns to Kanekith to begin the process of further loosening the satches, brows gently knitted with thought.

Kiena is rattled for many reasons but the biggest among them is simple: she needed a friend to talk to. She can only unburden so much on Mur'dah before she starts to feel ashamed and guilty, since the brownrider is dealing with his own grief and shouldn't have to shoulder the brunt of hers with it. She can't turn to Kera, because… well, the reasons are obvious enough. As for family? Her brother is a Weyrleader of a foreign Weyr. She can't breath a word to him. Maybe of Thea, once the news has spread and been confirmed but of Cyrus and all the fallout from that? Never. She doesn't trust other riders well enough and so the last two who she could turn to who would have an inkling of understanding would be Ka'el and possibly Soriana as well. Yet she hesitates even with them, Ka'el especially, afraid that a request to talk would be viewed as selfish and so hovers, torn and indecisive. They've enough of their own grief and stress, their own lives to piece back together. What right does she have to add to it? She is his Weyrsecond, but she still considers him a friend. Only now she isn't so sure how to reach out, how to ask, without fearing she asks too much. So she keeps herself guarded and when Ka'el brought up talk of 'leave', her mind balked and spooked at the idea of loosing what little she had left of stability. What would she do on leave? Where would she go? Without her work, she can't shut out her thoughts as easily. So much to consider and she chose to shut down and 'run', rather than work it out. Kiena will pause and turn to look over her shoulder at him as some of his words reach her before she is too far away. They reach her and perhaps take hold, as she nods her head again and then resumes her path down to the meadow. Whether she takes it to heart and acts upon it will remain to be seen, but at least the seed is there as she slips back into her office and sits behind that desk, despite the hour of the day. After she has left, Ujinath will quietly push himself to his feet and only sparing Ka'el and Kanekith a brief look, he will launch upwards into the skies, wings dipping as he sweeps around and back to his wallow and the weyr that will likely remain empty for most of the night.

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