Good Morning, Xanadu!

Xanadu Weyr - Caverns
A massive cavern in it's own right, this one has been skillfully adapted for human habitation. The high ceilings have been painted a light, soft ivory, as are the walls where numerous tapestries hang to provide brilliant color and insulation from the stone. The floor has been left in its natural state, pale pink granite speckled through with glittering mica and dark flecks of basalt, leveled carefully but kept sufficiently rough to avoid slips.
The cavern itself is loosely divided into areas, each one set up to be suitable for some segment of the Weyr's population. The most frequently occupied area, however, is the one near the Kitchens where tables of varying sizes provide a place to sit down and eat or chat and a buffet of consumables is almost always kept stocked. Its plain that on most days, this area wouldn't accommodate anywhere near the full population of the Weyr and equally plain that on such occasions when a formal meal is laid out, tables are appropriated from all the other areas.
A big fireplace is set into the wall near the Kitchens as well, several comfortable chairs nearby providing haunts for elderly residents or riders who like a good view of all that happens. Rugs cover the floor in strategic spots, all of them abstract or geometric in design and most in the softly neutral colors of undyed wool.

Good morning, Xanadu! The sun is up - barely - and so is Soriana. It's that time of year when these things are starting to get close together, and soon enough she'll be waking up by glows. Well, more than she already does. Skyler sees to it that she still gets up in the middle of night more often than not, though he's getting better at sleeping. It's a skill, and… babies don't start knowing it. They learn! At the moment, though, he's awake, carried by Soriana as she comes into the caverns. It's breakfast time! Which is to say, ten-minutes-before-work time! …which is to say, Skyler goes to the nursery time! But, he's awake, Soriana's awake, Ka'el's awake, tunnelcats are awake and have already had breakfast, various firelizards are awake and begging for scraps or hunting… and Luraoth's… asleep. Very deeply asleep. But why should anyone worry about that? Everyone else is awake and ready to start another busy day!

Breakfast time! The calm before the storm, right? Because days are like whirlwinds of activity. Usually. Either that or they are boring, boring hours of paperwork and sitting and writing and planning. But not yet! Right now, it's breakfast time! And Soriana is here and she has Skyler, and other weyrfolk and riders mill around to get their plates. And Carolin is trying to wave down Ka'el to tell him of some new thing to add to his schedule for the day because she just got a new report in from one of the holds, but he knows that 'added workload' look and is avoiding her. "I have minutes left, don't I? Minutes til the day officially starts," he says, trying to duck behind Soriana and Skyler, who'll need his usual goodbye before being shuffled off to the nannies. "She can wait a few minutes, right? So that I can finish my eggs and sausage? And my breakfast biscuit? And did someone say there were waffles?" Kanekith is already on duty, up on the starstones. And… by on duty, we really mean lounging up high and looking important while the watchdragon does his thing.

Soriana's probably got one of those boring days coming. She's got a stack of reports to go through, a set of accounts to balance, a meeting to listen to the representative from Hannista explain things about the quality of their wood… so dull! Better avoid it as long as she can. She laughs to Ka'el. "Sure you do. Besides, she can talk while you eat, right?" Weyrleaders don't need manners! Not if they want actual breakfasts, anyway. "Oh! Did we remember his green blanket? The one with the hood and the frog paws?" Are they even called paws? Soriana doesn't know, but she's not about to let a little thing like that stop her. "I could probably run back and get it…" Just a quick morning jog before her klah. Why not? And it would let her avoid the boring work for a few minutes longer… though it would take her away from Ka'el, too. Oh well, she never said it was a perfect plan.

No eye contact. That's the key to avoiding a fellow Quasar member! If he can't see her, then he's definitely invisible to her eyes. That's how it works right? … Suuure, let's go with that! Ka'el takes a peek out from behing Soriana only to be met with Impatient Face from their former clutchmate. Uh oh! "A breakfast briefing, sure," he nods to Soriana. "Let her do all the talking so she can stop with the glaring and I can start with the eating. Perfect plan! I'll .. mime that to her." Which he does, with a series of pointing and mouthing and gesturing to a table and forking invisible food into his mouth. She .. gets the gist. Grinning, he exhales a breath and… huh? Frog blanket? He pauses to think, face faintly scrunched. "I think so. It's either in his bag, or on our bed with every intention of having meant to be put in the bag this morning." Insert sheepish grin here. "I'm … eighty-seven percent sure that I put it in there though. … Eighty-four percent sure." Uh oh, the odds are decreasing! "We should train the tunnelcats to fetch things for us for times like these."

In a few turns, Ka'el can teach Skyler how to play hide and seek. Step one, don't make eye contact! It'll be great. He'll never ever get caught! But, oh, maybe it's not quite a perfect plan, because Carolin's not taking the hint that her Weyrleader has things he'd rather be doing. Responsibility is a pain like that! And all because… ooh, mime. Skyler watches that, eager to learn the ways of making strange gestures. For all he knows, they're just as common a means of communication as words! …shards, some days they kind of are. Some days are like that. Just like some days, they have a froggy blanket, and some days… Soriana frowns. It's not like the nursery doesn't have perfectly acceptable blankets. They're just not Skyler's blanket with the frog. Does he care? Probably not. Does Soriana care? Obviously, or she wouldn't have mentioned it. Does she care enough? …maybe. "The tunnel… it's bigger than they are!" Soriana laughs, though, so it can't be all that big of a deal. Not a crisis! Today can proceed on to a whirlwind of plans and meetings and boring documents, but first Soriana and Ka'el can proceed to breakfast. Just a little further through the crowd. Mmm, that sausage smells good. Hot and meaty, sizzling on a frying pan. "…might have three," Soriana says. It's the missing percents! They've turned into sausages. Soriana… oh, she's hungry. She's so hungry. She didn't realize how hungry she was until she smelled the food. … wait. No. That's not it. It's part of it - the food does smell good - but Soriana wasn't this hungry until Luraoth woke up. Because Luraoth just did that, and Luraoth is ravenous. She wants all the percents. No, more than that. She wants everything; a universe to be hers, a mental landscape that reaches out to encompass the Weyr and sings a song of dancing bells as she flies toward the feeding pens. Sausage? Maybe blood sausage. No. Never mind the sausage. Blood.

"Well, there are two of them," insists Ka'el of the tunnelcats. "The both of them can work together. Teamwork. It'll be a good experience for the both of them to work towards the same goal.." Or something. Oh well, it sounded good at least! And the blanket crisis has been averted. It wasn't so much of a crisis at all ….. even though Ka'el himself is now wondering if he did remember to roll it up and stuff it in Skyler's day bag. It's his favorite blanket! Or so his parents would like to think. But now it's on to breakfast before the three of them have to part ways. And mmmmm that sausage smells delicious! The sounds of frying and serving makes his mouth water as they get closer towards the food itself. "I wonder what it is they do. No matter what, when I try to fry breakfast…" he begins, likely to go on to compare how much better the kitchen food tastes in comparison to when he tries his hand at the same simple stuff, like fried sausage. But he doesn't get that far. His words don't abruptly stop, per say. They more so…fade… As if distraction is gently tugging his mind in another direction, like the gentle press of a lover's fingertips to the chin to draw the eyes elsewhere. Kanekith is suddenly alert, no longer the lounging bronze he once was. He calls out a deep, trumpeting bellow that's echoed by the watchdragon at his side. Bronze wings snap open and Kanekith dismounts, launching himself into the open sky, following the tinkling of bells.

Teamwork. Has Ka'el been watching those tunnelcats? First Joy will try to eat Dusty's tail, then Dusty will get distracted and chase after a bug, and… Soriana doesn't manage much more counterargument than a smirk, because this morning her attention span is closer to a tunnelcat's than usual. At least she has the energy to go with it! They may not have the blanket - they may already have Carolin, zeroing in on them to deliver important news - but at least they… have… Luraoth flies straight, gaining altitude above the feeding grounds before she strikes with a hard dive down, pinning a bull beneath her talons. The bones crunch underfoot, and Luraoth lifts her head to call out, a single voice - to human ears. It's echoed by the laughter of her bells, a challenge called out to all the world and all the dragons. Are you ready to follow? Because she's ready to fly - but first, oh, first! First she eats. Her head descends to the carcass, biting - but no, no. She's hungry, but the beat of bronze wings reminds her that she's not just hungry for meat. Her urges reach for more than that, encompass more than that - so she tears the carcass and leaves the meat untouched, instead drinking deeply of the bull's rich blood. Back in the caverns… Soriana's not seeing the caverns. She's maybe still smelling the sausage, but she's lost the word for it. She's lost all her words except for "…good." It's a throaty sort of sound. Pleased. It tastes good. It is good. What's it? Come and find out!

The flight from starstones to feeding grounds is a fast one, though whether it's fast due to speed or due to the mind being so zeroed in on those bells is anyone's guess, if anyone were to guess at such things. Kanekith isn't the type to wonder about trivial things like distance and time. The bells are ringing in his mind, and he's answering the challenging call with a bellow of his own. He is here! He shall be the one! His voice is boastful. Bragging. Thick with confidence of dominance no matter how many other dragons may heed the call as well, just as confidently as he. He descends in a sudden dive, landing heavily on a bovine, crushing the poor beast beneath his weight as talons sink in from above, staining his claws red. The ground thuds with the impact, and immediately does his head lower to sever the blood-veins of the throat, licking the warm blood that gushes from the wound. Ka'el has paused, as have some others beneath the sound of Luraoth's call, loud even here in the caverns. Could it be what they've been poised for? Xanadu has been teetering on uncertainty. Moving forward, yes, but without a Senior to guide them. But now…someone is calling. Which queen is it? Who will rise? Who … is rising? Skyler, poor Skyler. Skyler's being shifted away in Ka'el's mind. Along with a great many other things. Thoughts of breakfast and Carolin. Meetings. Work. Eating. They're all being shuffling back, back, back into the far reaches of his mind. With every gulp of blood, the less important those things seem. Mentally, he grasps for Skyler, knowing…that he is important…but losing importance as his mouth fills with the coppery taste of an animal's blood. Definitely not the breakfast that he was hoping for, yet .. it's a strangely exciting thing. His eyes turn to Soriana, confused almost, as he watches her. Listens to her. Is drawn towards her as Kanekith coos a lustful sound. People are beginning to move and shift around them. Riders. Non. Nannies! One is zeroing in on them, but unlike Ka'el, her attention is on the baby. "Come now, dearie.. Off to the nursery with you!" says the auntie, too old to not know what's happening. Too old to succumb to the effects as largely as younger folk do, when that time comes. She attempts to pry the child away from the Weyrwoman Junior, all the while watching them both with just a vague hint of wariness in her eyes. "I've got him, Weyrwoman. Me and little man will be just fine."

Distance? That's measured between Luraoth and the bronzes. Nothing else matters. They come to her now - that's the only time she needs. Now is when the bronzes gather. Kanekith, boastful and bold. Niorluoth, a veteran of more chases - but is age setting in for the longtime Galaxy dragon? Perhaps Salrith's youth will win the day - or maybe Zinieth, only a brown but brash enough to land among the bronzes and blood with them. Luraoth calls her suitors, drinks deep and then pounces to the next prey with her wings curled tight against her back. She's not flying yet. Not now. Now they gather, because Luraoth… oh, she demands all her suitors. Here. Now. The urge to blood is upon her, and as she sates it, another urge rises - as inescapable as her summons, broadcasting her desires. Desire. An urge as primal as hunger. As deeply-rooted as a mother's… as a mother's… Soriana's got Skyler in her arms. She's not… thinking about that, but her body knows what to do with him; knows how to hold him, even as her mind is overpowered by Luraoth's, by the rising urge to… wait. Someone's here. Someone's reaching for Skyler, and Soriana's attention snaps back to the caverns. The sound in her throat now is a protest. Don't you dare take her- but this is a nanny, this is someone she's… given Skyler to before, someone who has nursery rhymes and blankets (without frog feet) and… Soriana's eyes flicker back and forth, uncomprehending of what should be familiar. Her baby. The auntie. Skyler. Out in the feeding grounds, Luraoth has no such hesitation. She knows what she's doing - what time it is - and with a cry, a pulse of emotion, she launches herself to the sky. Blooding's over. Now. Flight begins. Soriana moans, a shudder, and she forces her eyes to focus on the nanny. Yes. Skyler can go to… the sands where the- no, to the nursery. He'll be safe there, and she… she… for a moment, Soriana stares, looking after Skyler in the arms of the retreating auntie, and then she turns abruptly. Luraoth rises, and Soriana pushes her way through the crowd, searching for the open air. It's time to fly. Golden wings beat back the ground beneath her, test the winds while rising through them. The bronzes pursue Luraoth, following her to the heavens and wherever she may go. The Weyr needs a leader; a queen rises.

Competitors. The competition arrives around him. Kanekith sizes them up, these bronzes. They dare try? Ha! A waste of time for them, doubly so for the lone brown, but let them play their silly game. Let them make their feeble attempts, for any attempt to snatch his golden prize away from him will be laughable, at best. Another beast is taken down swiftly, thoughtlessly. He waits. Waits for the firing gun that'd start the beginning of this race. One that already has Luraoth in the lead. The auntie has taken Skyler, thankfully with little resistance from Soriana. Though others may be wondering just which gold is causing the ruckus in the weyr, to this old woman, it's clear. Their new Senior … shall be so young. Can she lead them? Will she be able to fill the shoes left behind? Time will tell. Time will tell if Xanadu receives a new Weyrwoman and Weyrleader, but for now, Skyler is her only worry and she ushers him off to the safety of the nursery. Away from his parents who, at this moment, are no longer his parents. Ka'el, no longer a protective father. Instead, he's a lustful predator with a taste for something far more than blood. It's seeping into his veins like an injection of something hot. Just simmering below the boiling point. Faces blur. Carolin pops in and out of view. A shaggy haired someone. And then… He grits his teeth as Kanekith launches into the sky, the sound of many pairs of skin-bound wings snapping and flapping echoing in his ears. The call of the bronzes and single brown. Soriana's motion is the only clear thing in Ka'el's mind, and like his bronze lifemate, he pursues her, roughly pushing past now faceless others to follow her, as does K'asin, bacon dribbling from his mouth. Above, Kanekith's wings cup the air, pushes, and pulls, bringing himself higher into the sky. He lashes out with a snap of teeth to another dragon who's alighted too near him, the seasoned Niorluoth, but his attention is severed from Luraoth for only that one split second. « They belittle you with their clumsy flight. Feel me as I follow you to the ends! I soar with a skill that masks theirs in shadow.. » Kanekith's mindvoice, usually a rich and charming bass, is, while still retaining its richness, is peppered with flame. An edge of excitement that flickers on every word, like a freshly lighted spark.

A race? Oh no, this isn't a race. It's a game, a dance, and Luraoth's leading… she will be, won't she? Her and Soriana and… oh, that is the question, but it's not one Luraoth's asking yet. She knows the bronzes are following her - of course they're following her - but she's hardly ready to make her choice. Not yet! Not hardly. First, she's going to fly, to lead them through the air, to dance with them in the winds above the Weyr. Up she rises, like Rukbat rises in the sky; up through the scattered clouds, until finally she banks and looks back to her chasers. Some are already straggling, left behind from this dance, but many… oh, too many yet for her to pick a partner. She trumpets her call to them, her laugh of joy as her desire reverberates through them - through the entire Weyr - and her wings beat, carrying her further, continuing the dance. The energy of her kills sustains her, carries her higher. Firelizards swirl in their own small dances or scavenge the kills left behind by those blooding dragons. People… some of them are confused, but that confusion is becoming the less pressing of their concerns. There are other things for them to think about, things that it's hard to think of anything but. Luraoth rises. Her laughter comes to Kanekith, the jingle of her bells as she flies on out of reach. « How shall we fly but our best? » Her wings snap, a sharp motion that trades a little height for speed, a fraction of a dive before she resumes forward flight. « We shall all of us soar! » Even that bronze who dove in his enthusiasm and struggles to rejoin the pack? Oh yes. Even him, though Luraoth doesn't dally to wait for him. He's all but lost this flight, that bronze, but he still soars. On the ground, Soriana stops in the clearing. Was she going somewhere? She can't remember now, but she laughs, extending her arms as she spins in a circle - like children playing at dragons, except she is the dragon. Luraoth, flying high, soaring through the sky and drawing her retinue behind.

Their best is not enough. Will not be enough! Kanekith will show her. His actions shall speak louder than any words that he could utter, and there are a great many things he could say. But not now. Now, his powerful body will be the thing that does the talking. An artist in the sky, he weaves with the currents, wings shifting in minute ways to adjust for the ever-shifting currents that are invisible to even the draconic eye. But he can feel them. His bronze body and webbing of his wings react with acute automaticity. An adjustment here, a slight turn there. He's an acrobat. A backup dancer who's hell-bent on climbing his way into the spotlight with her. There are dragons behind him. Dragons near him in a way that'd claim them to be neck-in-neck with him. But in front of him there is only Luraoth, her golden hide a beacon of light that draws him closer. But he's not getting any closer. The light is fleeing and he is chasing, dancing, swerving (but not twerking) through the Xanadu sky. Below them, the world passes but is largely ignored by the bronze, who proves to be a bully in the air. A dragon has been left behind. The brown may be losing his stamina. Kanekith still has his, but so do others. Others who hope to steal away what he so wants as his own. Past flights have been won by stealth. Last minute sneak-in-and-grabs. This one? He aims to win by brute force, using the girth of his body to knock himself into a rival bronze, scrabbling and clawing to push him off course. Ka'el shoves his way past K'asin, barking a curse as he shoves his way through the door in front of him and out into the clearing. The other bronzer is hot on his heels, ill-tempered yet still in pursuit. And there in the clearing is the one that the both of them want. Soriana, spinning in glee. Ka'el licks his lips. Hungry. Ravenous, suddenly. He slows, rubbing a hand hard against his eyes, but if he had any hopes that that action would clear the hazy veil over his gaze, he's sadly mistaken. He's still rapacious. Scowling a near growled sound to K'asin, who lingers nearby with a flushed face and glazed vision. Both men eye her as their dragons battle for dominance in the sky, wanting that vacant position as dance partner. Their riders, meanwhile, circle her greedily. Grinning sloppily, drunkenly at her. Waiting for the moment to strike. Nearly. K'asin's patience is nonexistent, and her playful twirling inspires a wide grin, and he pounces forward to try to grasp at her hands. "Let me fly with you!" Whether his words are his or his dragon's is difficult to tell. In either case, the tone is…wheeee!

Luraoth calls her suitors on, dances in a spotlight that brings her more distant from the ground… but then, anyone who needs to watch this chase (instead of just feeling it thrum through every nerve) has a dragon's-eye view. The bronzers - the bronzes - shove and fight. Will Kanekith's brawling help him? Some fall back because of it, but perhaps another will dash past as he contends with his rivals. Will strength win the day? Will cunning? Luraoth leads them on, challenge and prize alike. She's been caught before by stealth, the unexpected pounce… but she's wary to that now, keeping an eye on her suitors even as she lets a little of the distance close, lets them come a little closer… or perhaps she's beginning to tire, just a little? It's hard to tell, for there's still a sprightly nature to the beat of her wings, a grace to her dance through the air. Perhaps they're the ones who're tiring - Zinieth certainly is, for all he struggles against lagging behind - and Luraoth's merely coming closer to encourage them, to draw them onward in this flight. Don't give up, bright-shining bronzes! Win or lose, there's still a chance to soar… but only one of them will catch her. Only one will tangle with her and fall from these heights to which they've risen together. Only one. Will it be K'asin who catches her? Salrith who flies the queen? He's eager in the air - eager on the ground, dragon and rider sharing one mind, one urge. Luraoth still flies ahead, but the distances on the ground are shorter, Soriana closer to hand. She - but she soars! - blinks in confusion as K'asin grabs at her hands, a bronzer intruding on her, joining the dance - the dance, and she grasps him back, spins with him - hard, fast, and then she lets go abruptly (in the air, Luraoth flicks her tail and banks) and sends him stumbling off to the side. Nice try, nice try, but she's not done yet! "Then catch me!" she says, and laughs as she turns again, runs toward the forest's edge as Luraoth flies over it, leading the chase. Catch her - "If you can!"

The skirmishes in the air has a price of energy. Every push and strike of a claw saps Kanekith little by little of the blood energy he fed upon earlier. But he's not out yet, unlike a smaller bronze who bows and dips downward suddenly to drop from the chase after receiving a hefty blow to the muzzle. He growls indignantly, the noise a far cry from the undertones of his mindvoice, but the younger bronze is soon dismissed and forgotten. He's gotten closer. Closer! Luraoth's gold hide is like a beacon that he must follow, does follow, to the ends of Pern. In this case, the end will come with distance has been swallowed. Then, he will catch her, claim her as his during that glorious fall back down to earth. He banks with her, only a fraction of a second after she does. Another bronze is left in their dust as he's left to regain the speed he lost by that unexpected turn. Kanekith stays on her, determination and lust burning in his eyes. Closer, he's closer, he can now tell. His wings ache, but not so much that they're any slower with beating. He wants to lunge. Needs to lunge at her and try to grab! But he's not close enough. Not yet. He can't yet putter out and give up like some have. He's far too boastful for that. Ka'el's body has teetered past 'warm' and intruded into the territory of 'hot'. Kanekith's growing excitement grows in him as well, making it increasingly difficult for him to form complete thoughts. But … who needs to think? The urges decide for him, his brain can take a siesta. Instinct can take over. The instinct to curse at the man who dances with her. The instinct to shove at him as he's tossed. And, greatest of all instincts, is the one to doggishly run after Soriana as she flees. Towards the forest. Into the trees. "I'll catch. .. I'll… It'll be me! Me!"

The forest is a dangerous place, overhanging branches that whip at running bodies, rustling leaves that hide roots and burrows. Soriana runs through it, not seeming to give any heed to that danger - laughing as she flees, as she pauses atop a fallen log to grin back at her chasers, bounds off again as free as Luraoth in the skies… oh, but those are dangerous as well. Dragons push themselves to further heights, strive in flight and pursuit. They contend against each other with claws and shoves. They contend against themselves, against their own limits. Do the dragons know what this flight means? What distinguishes it from any other goldflight? Is there a sense of a senior gold in their minds, some knowledge that this - this flight - is for more than simply eggs? If there is, it's unspoken, overwhelmed beneath the flood of desire that rises. Luraoth rises, high in the sky, and the bronzes… there are fewer of them, now. Some have lacked the strength to keep up. Others have lacked the strength to fight back, to contend with the other bronzes… for only one can win the day, the golden prize. Only one will be strong enough, fast enough, persistent enough to catch Luraoth. She encourages them all to fly as high as they can, but… only one will fly high enough for her. Only one - and so she keeps flying, drawing him on. A streak of metal across the sky, a challenge that's always reaching for something greater. He chases Luraoth, and she leads him on as the others fall away, until the challenge is made and accepted and the moment is … now.

Is it a forest, or is it a maze? A maze of twists and turns and obstacles that grasp at Ka'el and pulls at his clothing. These hands try to pull him back. Try to stop him. The hands of other riders, he's sure. His rivals! The sound that rises from his throat is barely human. What would've been a curse is tangled up with the hot fuel of emotion that pulsates through his body, making words near impossible to form. So instead there is this snarled, barkish sound as he swipes a fisted hand towards one of those imagined people who tug against him. His fist comes in contact with the rough fingers of a branch instead of the hand of an assumed challenger, glancing off. A tree? He doesn't turn to investigate. What he wants..what he needs is in front of him, not behind. Through this tangled maze that leads them further into the woods. He half falls onto the log that she was perched upon just seconds before, and with a heavy grunt, he clambers over it and runs on. He's so close, he can almost smell her. Or maybe that's Kanekith, whose senses are operating at full throttle. Sight. Scent. Sound. Everything has been turned up. Luraoth's golden hide is blazingly bright beneath the sun, which only urges Kanekith on in his steady pursuit. The tiring pursuit. But no! He can't tire, for though there are bronzes who have fallen back and continue to fall further behind, they still chase. There is no option to break in his resolve or rest aching wings. He must fly higher, higher! His jaws part and he calls a throaty sound to her. He is still here! From the beginning to the end, Kanekith remains! His rider chases. He chases. Neither of them can lose, for .. there is a will. This flight is different than others that have been flown. This is … important ina way that neither Kanekith nor Ka'el acknowledges now, but at least one of them will in the hours to come. The will of the weyr. Is that what this sudden surge is? The voices of the people that Ka'el has served for turns? Do they want him, still? Maybe. Possibly.. Yes. Kanekith is not tired. Not in this moment as he propels himself towards the risen queen, his acceleration sudden, like the last sprint to the finish line. She's there. He's here. The airspace between them has grown so slight. Does she want him as much as he wants her? Is it he that she choses? Is it Ka'el that the weyr has chosen? He dives for her, the both of them. Claws and hands. Heated bodies, thrust forward.

The whole world, and yet it's turned into just… Four bodies. Two minds. One urge, uniting them. Soriana turns back from her flight, ducks a hand reaching toward her. Not you. She has someone else in mind. In heart. In soul. Whichever of those it is that actually matters, that holds the will of the Weyr or the will of Luraoth. Are they the same? … in this moment, how could they not be? There's only one urge in all the world. One desire. One decision. Luraoth's wings cup the air, turn her with a grace that admits nothing of weariness to twine with… Kanekith. Weyrleader before, Ka'el remains Weyrleader now as a new queen makes her choice, the Weyr's choice. High in the sky they join, fatigue banished by the adrenaline surge of victory, of triumph, of lust ready to be sated. Soriana dives back through the pack of chasing suitors, flings herself to Ka'el. Weyrleader. Weyrwoman. They will be so, once dragons fall to earth and the Weyr wakes from this flight-caused haze. For now, they are Kanekith, Luraoth, the press of lips an urgent one, open-mouthed as Soriana's arms reach around Ka'el, her hands slip down to pull up his shirt, to tear clothing away. The other bronzers stumble on, but Soriana's oblivious to them. The choice is made. Their chance is past. The moment has come to consummate this flight, this catch, in the sky and… in the forest.

She turns, this golden star of the sky. Luraoth turns, and she is his in one graceful movment of wings and bodies. Kanekith swoops in to her, bronze wings enveloping around her as they twine high above the air, their passion evident to all who reside below. Caught. He is caught. She is caught. Together, they become one dragon as they prepare for a descent back down to Pern, gold and bronze. Ka'el pursues. Oh, how he pursues! He'll chase until his legs tire, and when they do, he'll case until they give out on him. And if they do, then he'll drag himself after her with arms alone, for he's chasing something…someone that he's desperate for. And that someone…suddenly is heading right at him! Dodging tired men. Avoiding hands to dive into his arms. She has him. He has her! The impact of her body to his is like an explosion of everything in his mind. Thoughts, emotions, feelings. It's a loud jumble of too much at once, and his heart squeezes hard in his chest as he clings to her, kissing her furiously. And then suddenly, there is no confusion. The tug of his shirt that is removed with a hasty lift of his arms, and the heat of their kiss is enough to focus him on the one thing that matters now: His ravenous desire. Kanekith mates. Ka'el needs to mate. With her. Now. Here in this forest as other riders mourn their missed opportunity and stagger off with red, hot faces. Here, upon a bed of grass and earth and rocks and foliage with the only roof being the branches of trees that filter beams of light through. Now, as strong hands grab and pull at her clothing, careless of buttons and zippers and little things like that hope to deter him. No, he's ready now, and clothes are a sacrfice made in his urgency. There should be a weyr. They should've been in the feeding grounds where a weyr has been built and stands ready. But…heh, oh well. He presses his body against her, hard, with a heavy and eager groan to match the pressure. There will be no weyr. The time is now.

The time is now. The place is… here. If Soriana stopped to think - but she doesn't. She's not. The losers, the ones who didn't catch - they stop. They stumble away, return to their weyrs, to solitude or those who seek to console them. Soriana and Ka'el… they don't stop. She writhes, arching against Ka'el's hands, pulling at clothing, snapping buttons. They'll never find some of them ever again. Not that one from her shirt that goes flying behind a rock… and that zipper may still be attached to the pants, but it's not aligned anymore. Will never be aligned again. Soriana doesn't care, not now. Later… but there is no later. There's hands and mouths and bodies, there's dragons in the sky and tumbling to the ground between tree branches, writhing away from that one rock that wants to stab into her back, ignoring another that's not painful enough to interfere with the desire that drives them. They have no need for clothes. Not now, and now is the only time that matters. Now, when dragons mate. Now, when Ka'el and Soriana join them, echo their desires and act out their own. The dragons fall slowly through the sky, stars to lead the way to the future. Xanadu's future. Their future. The world awaits, the world is theirs, and here amidst the tangle of vegetation, Soriana moans, she presses to Ka'el. The dragons fall. Their riders… tumble. They're not doing it at the feeding grounds, in the weyr meant for that purpose. They'll be the ones leading Xanadu, and this - in the forest, surrounded by rocks and vines, in a wild place that isn't where they should be - is how that begins.

There is more to this, isn't there? This important flight and this important catch. It isn't all about the lust. The urge to satisfy urges. Some flights, really, that's all there is. Dragons fly. Dragons catch. Riders bed each other, wake up the next day, and perhaps with the parting gift of an awkward conversation, leave. Back to their lives. Back to whatever routine they have. The urge was satisfied, and Pern rolls on. But this? This elegant fall of twined metallic bodies is so much more than a simple moment of satisfaction. There will be a tomorrow, but not a tomorrow of settling back into their old routine. Routine…ha. One of them can kiss the novelty of that sometimeish thing goodbye. This flight is none like either of them have had, and the aftermath of it? Well … that's for the day to find out, hours later, when they wake from their haze beneath their canopy of branches upon a most uncomfortable bed. But in this moment, Ka'el is mindless of the ground, which at some point they've found themselves on. Clothes torn carelessly from their bodies. Bodies pressed upon bare earth as they - yes, that's a good word - tumble. Him upon her, writhing, thrusting. Pinning her down. Grasping. Grinding. Grunting. Rolling. Something hard presses against the small of his back. That same rock she missed grates against his skin. He doesn't care. He doesn't care about that rock, or the smaller versions thereof, or the rough feel of fallen limbs and broken twigs that may scrape and poke the skin as they take turns in dominance as their dragons spiral down. Pain doesn't register in his drunken mind. Their hard kiss, registers. The frantic, desperate feeling rising inside, registers. This moment is theirs, here in Xanadu's woods in which the heavy sounds of them dominate. The calm will come after this frantic storm … Or, when eyes pry open and they greet the later light of day, will calm be the furthest thing from their minds?

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