Confusing Time

Xanadu Weyr Region - Wooded Clearing

While the trees may not be overly thick the undergrowth certainly is, and there is a large open clearing settled away from the coast and the stream. Trees with large, knotted and in some places split, trunks ring the grassy clearing, large canopies casting everything into shadow. Shrubs grow up around the bottoms of the trees - some with flowers and others with large, leafy fronds. It is these shrubs that give away the presence of a few narrow path cutting back to the coast, as well as one meandering down towards the stream, as the leaves are bent awkwardly halfway up their length.

In the center of the clearing, oddly enough, is a campfire ring, marked out with the smooth, flat rocks from the nearby stream. While its not a perfect circle, it does its job, for settled amidst it is a neatly built fire. What is, perhaps, even odder is that the fire hasn't been lit, despite the circle of large rocks settled around it in a half circle.

It is during the Flight of Avaeth, or it seems that way and Thea has taken Seryth away from the Weyr to avoid any conflict. In fact, all of Xanadu's queens have fled for the time being. In the clearing here, the hide of a golden dragon can be seen curled up, her hide speckled with sun and shadow. Thea cannot be seen, but oddly Seryth has one wing swept forward and draped tent-like around something that her neck is curled around. Once in awhile she gives a distressed croon. Other than those sounds, there is silence.

The silence is shattered by the rumble of runner hooves, an easy loping trot nonetheless a disturbance as hoof hits packed dirt. The path might be narrow but if a person is seeking solitude it beckons, so up off the beach and into the trees this rider has gone. When the grey mare and her rider break into the clearing where Seryth dominates the landscape, a rough, "Whoa girl," is muttered and the hoofbeats abruptly stop. "Seryth?" Enkavir calls uncertainly though it's so obviously her. He swings down off of the mare with more grace than he's ever managed on a dragon, absently untying a lead rope from the saddle and looping it around a tree to keep her from running off. "Where's Thea?"

There is no movement from Seryth other than her eyes, slow-whirling with the yellow of distress, which follow the movements of Enkavir and his mount, yet although this dragon has developed a taste for runners, there is no interest in the one he is riding today. Her croon takes on an odd note, likely one Enkvair has not yet heard in a dragon. It is somewhere between desperation and relief. She lifts her wing slightly to reveal her rider curled within the crossed forlegs. Thea, dressed for riding, has her head buried in her arms with her dark hair tumbled about her face. She has heard the hoofbeats, and likely Seryth has told her who has come, but Thea does not respond to the call of her name.

Enkavir is already walking across the clearing though his expression is puzzled rather than concerned, but when he catches that glint of yellow in Seryth's eyes a frown claims his brow and his pace picks up. "Seryth?" The croon almost makes his steps falter, that odd sound bringing a tightness to his chest and the line of his jaw as well. He's trotting by the time she lifts her wing and he keeps that pace until he gets to where Thea lies. "Thea…" obviously she's alive or Seryth would be gone, so he forces himself to breathe, then reaches to move her hair out of her face with a gentle touch. "Darling, please tell me you're alright."

Thea flinches away from the hand, she's trembling just a bit, her voice shaky. "Kav? I-" She lifts her head and in the pale green of her eyes a shadow of confusion vies with stark fear. There are tears in her eyes and streaks on her face and it must be clearly evident she's upset for she's got a large cloth in her hands, clutching it with a white-knuckled grip. She doesn't really answer his question, though, "What…" her mouth works, "time is it?" She doesn't look at the sky, just can't seem to look anywhere but Enkavir's face.

Enkavir's hand stalls right where it is, lifts a bit away from her face as she flinches. It hovers there for a second, then he settles back to kneel beside her, letting his hands rest in his lap. "I'm here, love." His voice is soft, concern blatant in his eyes and in the set of his mouth. "Are you-" he breaks off, reaching for her but wincing and putting his hand firmly back where it started, he doesn't want to make this any worse. "It's… I don't know, afternoon. Late afternoon I guess, I started riding a little after lunch." He glances at the sky to verify, but it's a quick flick of eyes that then latch back on hers.

"Late…afternoon." Thea repeats after Enkavir. She looks a little relieved, "Who…won Zevida's flight, do you know?" Her lower lip trembles and she bites it gently, swallowing as her eyes dart to one side and her brow wrinkles in concern, "Did the other queens return yet?" Her eyes swing back towards him and in hers there is an urgency - she must know! "You did hear, before you left?" One hand reaches out for him in appeal.

Enkavir nods, confirming her repetition but before he can add anything else she asks the question. He blinks, confusion crinkling his brow as he shakes his head. "Zevida's flight? She hasn't… I mean, she didn't rise before I left anyhow. I wasn't getting the impression that it was imminent either. I saw Solarith was hunting when we were on our way out." Hazel eyes dark with concern flit to Seryth then back. "If she rose while I was riding I suppose I might not know…" he trails off, perplexed, not sure how to comfort her but taking that outreaching hand.

This isn't the news Thea is hoping for, clearly. She is baffled, "Whole Weyr feels the-" Her eyes sharpen on him and her hand tightens, "You weren't feeling am-" She frowns, changing her question, "What time did you say you left? After lunch? That's not ri-" Her lips clamp shut on that thought, and this goldrider looks mighty worried for a moment. Seryth croons in a whistled pitch, echoes of her rider's mood. This seems to snap the rider out of whatever she is thinking. "I must get back to morn- to the Weyr." And she's uncurling from her spot in Seryth's forearms to try and stand, reaching for Enkavir to help her.

Enkavir tries to follow her, he really does. He keeps opening his mouth to reply but then she goes on and his puzzled frown just deepens. "I left after lunch, yes and I didn't feel any of the things that a goldflight usually entails, no. And I'm sure. Trust me." He attempts a wan smile but it's a pale thing and quick to die. He looks up at the dragon then back down at the rider, slowly helping her up as he also stands. "Thea, hon, you're really freaking me out here. I'm not sure what's going on with you but I'm not sure you're safe to fly anywhere. I have water and meatrolls in my saddlebags, will you sit and have some with me for a few minutes?" If she gets stubborn he'll never sway her, and his gentle questions seem to allow for that.

Thea is straining to move past Enkavir once she's on her feet, batting at his hands gently until the words 'not safe to fly' sink into her brain. She becomes very still, her hands rest upon his arms, then tighten as she refocuses on is face, "You…didn't?" She flickers a quick look at the sky with a frown then shifts to a careful calm, "All right, lunch." Slowly her hands release their grip, "I'll just sit over under that tree." She still has that cloth in one hand as she turns and steps towards Seryth to lean against her for a moment, patting her hide, then moves over to a patch of grass in the shade. Seryth rumbles quietly, her eyes mostly green now.

Enkavir may be gentle in his suggestions but he's not that easy to move out of her path. He returns her squeeze for squeeze as his eyes try to catch and hold hers. "I didn't." He confirms it softly, hazel meeting pale green as he searches her eyes. "If you can't tell me what's going on that's fine, but I'm not going to let you act like this without telling you I'm noticing. /Something/ is wrong, and…well, if you decide to talk about it I'm here." He'll leave it at that, especially after looking up at Seryth and seeing green beginning to dominate her whirling eyes. He too lays a light hand on her hide, taking a deep breath before he goes to fetch water and meatrolls from the mare's pack. "I'm sorry I don't have anything else, I didn't know I'd be sharing." The quantity is sufficient, but the fare is pretty dull. He drops down into the grass close beside her, uncaps the wineskin and hands it to her. "Drink."

Thea eyes the skin suspiciously, “Just water, right? Wine’s probably not the wisest-” She darts a sharp glance at Enkavir, then seems to capitulate suddenly as she relaxes against him, her hands helping to steady the skin. She drinks obediently, quenching her thirst before handing him the skin, careful eyes watching his for any hint of suspicion and wipes her mouth with the back of her hand. “Thanks.” She makes no move to reach for the meatrolls he’s got. Instead she just remains there as if to gather strength, her weight light against his side. Finally she drops her head allowing her tumbled hair to cloak her face as she says in a dull voice, “I went to Ista.” Four expressionless words that are left hanging in the air of this still, quiet afternoon. Minutes pass and she adds, “I saw Ysa.” Her voice cracks on the last syllable of her friend’s name. It’s evident that the weyrwoman is fighting hard for control for her body tenses and the cloth is once more clenched between her hands.

The lightest of chuckles, barely more than an exhaled breath, escapes Enkavir at her suspicion. "Yes, Thea, /I/ am out here planning to snack on meatrolls and wine. That sounds exactly like me." He shakes his head, vaguely amused though it's just a glaze over the deeper concern taht remains. "You are welcome," he murmurs as he takes the skin back and then holds out the cloth-wrapped packet of meatrolls. He's not pushing her, just offering it while he watches her with keen, still eyes. "Ista." The single word is repeated flatly, and his eyes slide closed as she reveals just why she was there. "Oh, sweetheart." It's nearly a whisper and he reaches to slide an arm around her, seeks to gather her up against him. "I'm sorry."

Thea allows Enkavir to pull her into his arms, her head remains down, buried in his shoulder. "She- she blames -me- for booting her out!" There's a note of absolute disbelief in her tone and the words, once she has spoken them aloud, seem to crack the tight rein she has managed up until now. Her arms wrap around him and the storm comes, two turns and more in the making. When she is spent, she leans back just a bit, lifts the cloth she'd been holding and makes use of it, all still within the haven of her dark, tangled hair. "I meant to spare you this." It comes out a tired whisper. "S'why I came out here." At least this is her given explanation for being out here. "You seem to have a knack of catching me at my worst."

Enkavir rolls his eyes at what Ysa thinks - it's obviously just ridiculous. Lucky for him Thea's head is buried so she can't take it the wrong way, as some judgment of her or the way she's taking it. "Well that is just crazy. You're not the one in charge, and I'm sure you defended her." That was all before his time of course, but it's not hard to imagine how it went down. He sighs softly, wrapping his arms tight around her and just stroking her back as she cries. He releases her easily when she straightens, but lays a hand gently on her leg, patting as she sniffles. "Never spare me anything. I love you, I want to be the one you tell things. I /want/ to be here for you. I'm glad I decided to ride this way." He reaches tentative fingers to brush her hair form her face, tipping his head to try and catch her eyes. "You don't have a worst."

Thea peeks back between strands of hair, not avoiding the fingers that brush them aside, her lips twist in a wry smile, a half-attempt at humor, "Oh I do so, silly." It fades rather quickly as she adds, "She wouldn't listen to reason that Niva didn't give us a chance to object and Zevida was sending me 'keep your mouth closed looks'." She gives a small headshake, one hand lifts palm up, releasing the decision made by others, "I tried to make things right. It's up to her now." But then there's another comment he's made that takes awhile to sink in and her eyes refocus on him, "You… do?" Her lips curve, it's a rather sad smile today, but it doesn't detract from the pleased tone in her voice, "You've never said." Well, likely she knows he -does- but…

"Do not," Enkavir retorts in typically contrary tones. He gives a stray chunk of her hair a playful little tug before gently tucking it behind her ear. "As for Ysa, you've done what you can do. I'm sure she's hurt and now she's built up defenses so she can move on, and it's up to her to bring them down enough to let you back in. You can't force it." He nods as she seems to understand that, then blinks at her, confused for a moment. "I do…?" It dawns on him, the words he said, and he shakes his head, raking fingers through his own mussed hair. "Shells. I was going to say it in some terribly romantic fashion… I am not doing too well with firsts with you I'm afraid. Sorry you ended up with such a bumbler." Chagrined, he leans forward to drop a kiss on a tear-dampened cheek, tipping his head to murmur into her ear, "Yes. I do. Love you."

Thea has been listening, refraining from arguing about her bad side, apparently agreeing with the rest of Enkavir's thoughts for she's nodding, her eyes slide past him to take on a faraway look. She sighs, "I had hoped Ysa would…" She shrugs. It's not that she doesn't care, it's more of an acknowledgment. The words in her ear bring her back to the present and when she tips her head to see his eyes, the shadows have lifted somewhat, the clear green of hers catching some of the dappled light of the clearing, "Hmm, genuine, honest, kind-hearted bumbler or insincere smoothly-practiced flatterer?" She appears to weigh the choices and her eyes begin to dance, "Don't suppose I could get a do-over?" She sobers enough to make her point, leans so she can look right into his eyes, "I much prefer the way you've done it."

Enkavir tsks softly, shaking his head at the words regarding Ysa. "I'm surprised she didn't," he admits. "Maybe with time." He straightens when she seeks his eyes, a soft smile curving his lips and his gaze level and warm. "I can be a smoothly-practiced flatterer as well when the situation warrants. You, my dear, just seem to tie my tongue and leave me without any smoothness at all." He wraps that arm back around her waist and gives her a light squeeze. "What if I just tell you every day until I do it the perfect way? It may take years of dedicated practice you know."

Thea shakes her head, "You already have. But you're welcome to say it as often as you like. I won't complain." Her arms return his squeeze, although there's a tiny tremor in hers as she does so. She quips airily, "Take the rest of my life if you want to, it's yours." She appears about to say more, but the playful light dies along with the smile on her lips as odd expression flickers over her face. "I'm… really tired all sudden-like." She gently pulls away, her brow puckered in a vague frown, "I should go back…" There's a bit of a drained look to her face, a pallor there. Perhaps the emotion has tired her? Seryth however is sound asleep when Thea looks over to her and the weyrwoman looks indecisive, confused for a moment. "Maybe a nap is not a bad idea…"

Enkavir's eyes widen as she offers the rest of her life, and for once he gets a hint that all too typical panicked-male expression, mouth a bit slack and eyes searching hers. Then she's airy again and he swallows, schooling his features and brushing it off as something to talk about another day. "If you're tired the best thing to do is probably sleep. Do you want me to stay here with you or give you some privacy?" He's offering but not making any move to stand or leave her side. "I'd like to stay and watch over you if you don't object." He frowns as the color drains from her face, brushing the back of his knuckles over her pale skin. "Are you sure you're alright? Not ill?"

Thea shakes her head, smiles faintly. See? She's fine, really. She misses any shocked looks, schooled looks whatsoever to her offer. "No, no. Not sick. I'm-" She raises a hand to stifle a yawn, "Just really sleepy. Was up really early this morning. Best not to go *Between* half asleep. Would get lost there." Too tired to soften the horror of that comment, she is already leaning back to stretch out on her back in the grass, her lids drooping. One hand reaches for him, "Stay!" She modulates the sudden panic of the word, eyes that have flared wide open resume their half-lidded state. "Please. Don't let me sleep longer than," a hand points towards the edge of the clearing, "it takes the shadows to reach that spot." She drops her hand to rest it on her stomach, the other remains with him, if he has taken it. Eyes close, and she murmurs, "I love you too, Kav." Said almost inaudibly as she drifts to sleep.

There's a flicker of relief when Thea doesn't have a come apart about that shocked expression, but luckily the goldrider is half way to sleep by that time and probably doesn't see that either. "Well then sleep is likely a good idea. No going *between* for you until you look more… normal. I can't lose you." He's already moving to lay beside her when she panics and commands him to stay, making his brows lift. "I will, love. I'll be right here." He stretches out on his side in the grass, holding that hand lightly and watching her, watching the shadows, generally keeping watch as she sleeps.

The shadows lengthen towards evening. Golden sunlight has deepened to russet, the brilliant blue of the sky has paled to a tawny yellow at the horizon, where Rukabat hangs low in the sky. Thea stirs, her eyes blinking open and for a long moment she doesn't move. In her eyes there's a confused light, until a croon from Seryth reaches her, and she's muttering an oath under her breath, turning her head quickly towards Enkavir, "Why didn't you wake me sooner?" She's scrambling to get up, "I have to go back! I need to be there bef-" She hastily changes to," I'm late!" She's bending to grab goggles and gloves, smoothing her hair all at the same time. Seryth no longer reclines, but crouches awaiting her, the young gold's neck curved and watching her rider.

Enkavir is half-dozing though not exactly asleep, just watching Thea's even breathing and the way the shifting light hits her relaxed features. Then all too abruptly she's awakening and springing up and he leans back away from her frantic grabbing and cursing. "Shells Thea, I didn't think it was so urgent. Late for what?" He tries to help her gather her things but she's too quick, and by the time he pushes himself to his drowsy feet she's over with Seryth. "Are you sure you're alright to fly, to go *between*? It'll take me a while to get back but can I come check on you?"

Thea is stuffing her shaking hands into her gloves, grabbing for the flight lines, her goggles dangling from her hands. Enkavir's words reach her and she becomes very still, her head drops and she’s absorbed on some inner argument. Seryth rumbles anxiously as the moments pass and her rider does not move, but remains there gripping those straps. “Just….Late.” She finally mutters evasively from under her hair. And she can look up then at him, there is worry in her eyes and for all the haste, she now seems almost reluctant to go. She asks him an odd question, “What… did we have for breakfast this morning?” Her eyes are intent on his.

Enkavir is stone still, standing there, watching her as if any movement on his part might mean he misses some keen detail. He's looking up at her, head down, eyes as intent as they can be. "Late." It's a flat word, he doesn't believe her and the very lightest hints of anger are starting to seep into his eyes. What could it be that she would not tell him? Her question causes that irritation to flee and he blinks, lifts his head. "Scrambled eggs, toast, berries. I showed you my sketch of Ruin perched like a gargoyle on your roof. You don't remember?"

The wary, confused expression leaves Thea's eyes as she hears the answer. It is replaced by an almost exultant look. "I do! I just needed to know that it was -this- morning." She nods vigorously to assure Enkavir, but it's then she's noticing that glint of anger in his eyes. She drops the lines and runs to him, breathless with the scrambling about she's been doing. "I can't tell you. Please just trust me?"

This is utter nonsense as far as Enkavir is concerned. He has no idea what Thea's talking about, and the dubious, nay, baffled expression on his face says it all. But then she's running to him and he can't do anything but pull her into his arms. He takes a deep breath, his chest lifting against her and the tension in his whole body palpable, but when he exhales it slips away with the air. "I trust you. As long as you are sure you are OK, and you know that if you need me… whatever it is… I'm here." He reaches to tip her head up, looks her deep in the eye with his mouth a firm, serious line. "Whatever it is. I don't care if you killed someone, I'm serious. I am here."

Any other time Thea would laugh and say she would never kill anyone but maybe the Weyrsecond. Instead she is pulled into Enkavir's arms, his eyes intent on hers and she can only search his face as he speaks. "I will try to explain later?" It comes out weakly and by the look on her face, she knows it sounds flimsy. She hurries on, "But right now I need to get back." She slides her arms up pulls his head down to her, presses a fierce kiss to his lips. Her eyes plead for patience as she pulls away, runs to Seryth and scrambles up her side. "I will see you this morn- er, tomorrow morning!" The clips of the harness clink loudly in the silence and the queen launches herself, rising into the twilight, circles overhead once and Thea lifts her arm in farewell. Her head is still turned towards the clearing where Enkavir is standing as the pair wink out *Between*.

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