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.
The light is soft, dappled through the branches of trees that have lost some but not all of their leaves. The ground is… less so. It's sometime in the indeterminant part of the day, once Rukbat's well up in the sky and before it's begun to set. It's hard to tell exactly when, given the indirect lighting, but it's definitely not a usual sort of time for waking. Then again, this isn't a usual sort of place for waking, either. Soriana groans, but this time, it's a half-awake noise of pain. What position is she even in? Do her arms bend like that? …apparently. Did they bend like that before today? That, she's not so sure of. She mutters something, an incoherent complaint. "…gedda new…" Grumble. Mutter. She's not nearly comfortable enough to sleep anymore, and so she flails her way up toward awake.
Ka'el is an expert sleeper. He's learned to sleep through a lot of things, though his ears has learned to be especially attuned to Skyler's cries, which rouses him from his slumber every time (whether it's his turn to soothe him or not). And so, he sleeps now, dead to the world and his surroundings. Which are .. odd surroundings for a slumbering setting. He should be in bed. Their bed. On his side or intruding on her side with his arm curled around her and body pressed close. As consciousness slowly begins to rouse him, he becomes…vaguely aware that… he doesn't have her body against his. Hm. Strange. But maybe she's left for work early. Or maybe he's fallen asleep on the couch in the office. It happens! No big deal. He'll…hm. Something doesn't quite feel right. Something's poking against his back..hard. Uncomfortably. …Ow… Ow that hurts! Little by little his brain is waking, trudging through a heavy haze of confusion. He mutters something incomprehensible, and his face distorts with a squint as he lifts an arm to drape it over his closed eyes. Shudder. It's chilly. The breeze against bare skin causes him to shiv-..wait. The breeze? "..Left…window open…." *murglemutter*
…really, the turns are kind of less about who wakes up (because they both do) and more about who has to crawl out of bed and actually do something about it. But this time… Skyler isn't crying. Actually, he might be, but he's far enough away that they can't hear him. Someone else is making sure he's fed/changed/played with. Soriana… isn't. She's not really sleeping anymore, either. There's a busted spring in this mattress! …actually… they're all busted. Every single one of them. So very busted that they're not actually a mattress at all, but instead a pile of leaves with assorted rocks and branches. As springs go? Pretty terrible. Also, it's not spring. The chill in the air makes that clear as a breeze blows against her skin. Her bare skin. Where's her blanket? For that matter, where's her pillow? Soriana makes a grumbly noise. Even Luraoth's purring-warm comfort in the back of her head is not enough to keep her sedated, and so… she opens her eyes! "Wha." This is definitely not her ceiling, because thing one, it's not actually a ceiling. It's not even Skyler's blue-painted ceiling. It's an actual sky with trees over it, and it remains so even after she blinks an entire three or four times. "Why…" she begins, then trails off. Luraoth's contentment. Her own feelings, untangled from those of her dragon. Soriana closes her eyes again, more deliberately. Breathe in, breathe out, and she opens her eyes again, turning to look and see not why but… who.
Something is not quite right. Ka'el can't put a finger on it at this exact moment, but…there's something off. Something. The chill is a clue. The uncomfortable feeling of things poking and prodding .,.and crawling on him is another. Meh. HE just wants to sleep, but that's becoming increasingly more difficult to do even with his arm draped to shield away the light of day. Ugh. Just how long has he been asleep? And why was he asleep? He vaguely remembers something about breakfast, but … Meh (again). He's finding it difficult to shift through his thoughts with Kanekith's rumbling reverberating through his mind, annoying obtrusive. Ka'el scowls beneath his arm. His dragonmate knows better. Throughout the turns, they've learned to share the space of his mind, and this low tenor? This insistent bass of a noise is the sort of sound he makes when he's smugly glad about something. When he's accomplished something. Mostly heard after he's… Wait. Ka'el's whole body freezes for a second at the realization. "Shit…" This hasn't happened in…he hasn't chased since He pulls his arm from his face and looks up at the sky, eyes widening as a swift feeling of panic zips through his body, tingling every nerve. Breathe. Breathe! Maybe whoever it is///Maybe it's not so bad. Thea was okay, from what she allowed him to see of her. Maybe… "Why're we outside?" He doesn't know who he's speaking to. Green rider. Gold rider. Faranth forbid…Sorrin? He takes a breath, swallows. Might as well rip off the bandage quick, right? He turns his head to look around for..whoever it may be. Whoever may be laying around in their wild environment, possibly fearful, or worried, or hurt, or.. "…Sori??" That tangled mess over there is her, right?
Why. Who. Good questions, both of them. What… no, that one's pretty clear - as clear as it ever is in the first few minutes after waking from the flight-exhaustion that follows flight-lust. Clear enough that it's not one of the important questions right now, that trying to remember (or repress) details can come later. Where. That one's arguable. The 'outside' part is obvious, but that's vague. There's a good question to be had about exactly where they are, but it's not really the most important one just yet. They'll get to it later. When. That one's not important. Oh, sure, they'll find it out sooner or later, because they'll encounter a clock, but in the grand scheme of things the only part that matters is that it's been long enough that Soriana's hungry… and that's not exactly her highest priority, either. How. That one is sort of like what, but it's harder to figure out because it's all about those details. How did the flight go? How did they end up here? How many bruises will Soriana have? All these questions and more await answers, but they haven't been asked - not yet. So far, there's Why and Who. The voice that asks Why is a familiar one. The face that looks for hers… also familiar. The body lying in the leaves is… yeah, that's familiar, up to and including the naked part. Kale. Her mouth shapes it silently, feeling out the word before she gives a sharp nod to her name. "Yeah." That's her, now that Luraoth's receded enough to give her back that identity. "Why are we…" Outside? But Ka'el already asked that, he's not going to have an answer. Soriana sits up - well, she starts to, and then she winces and settles for rolling onto her side, elbow beneath her as she faces Ka'el. "Shards if I know." The sharpness to her tone is from the sharp of a rock that (she now discovers) jabbed into her back at some indeterminant point. Or maybe from sleeping on the ground - not that she hasn't done it before, they all did have camping trips as candidates and weyrlings, but… Soriana looks over Ka'el, frowns. Her voice softens a bit. "…you okay?" That's an important question too, even if it's not a single word beginning in W.
Cut and bruised. Is he? Is she? How much of it is from the elements? For even now, merely shifting an arm has Ka'el scraping his skin against something rough and hard. How much of it is from himself? The memory rushes to his brain like a flash flood, engulfing his senses with a suffocating swiftness. Their first and only flight together. The tangle of sheets. The ransacked room. Her bruised and battered body… The look on her face. That .. look. The look of hurt. Of anger. Of accusation. Distrust. He did that. That unleashed and barbaric part of himself that is a piece of himself whether or not he likes the fact of that. He did that to her then, and he suffered the consequences none too quietly. And now? This afternoon..or morning..or early evening… whatever time of day it is, will he be faced with the same thing? A sordid deja vu that, this time around, is destined to be far more punishing than before? He swallows down a feeling and taste. A tightness. An acidic flavor of fear. It was a flight. That is clear. A flight in which…they were outside, too far from the pens maybe? Maybe. The details are fuzzy. Blurred. Smeared. He sits up, slowly, his skin peeling away from the hard things that seem to have embedded themselves within him after hours of laying atop them. He winces, sucking in a breath between gritted teeth, but not allowing himself further announcement of discomfort other than that. He hurts. She may be far worse. .. He pushes away the flood of thoughts, focusing his eyes on her, naked there. Are there bruises? Injury due to his hands? "I'm alright," he answers, honestly. He can speak. He can breathe. He can feel various abrasions and sore spots and a huge crick in his neck but..he's okay, on whatever scale of 'okayness' that he's using. He swallows again, eyes narrowing. "Did I hurt you?" he asks as he continues to ease his way up into something close to a sitting position. Awkward it is, being nude and in the middle of the forest as he is, but somehow, both of those facts have taken a seat on the backburner.
Bruises? Yeah, there are definitely some of those. From Ka'el's hands? It's hard to tell. There were rocks involved. Wood… and not just in the euphemistic sense. Soriana's not going to try sitting up again just yet, though she watches Ka'el as he does. …hey, she's actually watching him, that's different than last time, isn't it? Just watching, not with a glare or a haunted look in her eyes. Not entirely happy, mind you, but it's more concern than pain or disgust. There's a bit of a frown, one that deepens as she looks over Ka'el. Is that a pebble still embedded in his shoulder? …that's gotta hurt. Her fingers twitch, but she doesn't actually reach for it. He's alright? So he claims. One corner of her mouth twitches toward up, a wry expression that doesn't quite make it. Did he hurt her? "Not really." She's using the same scale as he is, which is why when she shrugs a shoulder to try to dismiss the question, she winces instead of completing the motion. The corner of her mouth tugs back down toward a frown, and she exhales a sigh before she tries - again - to sit up. This time she's ready for it. This time she makes it to an upright position. Go her? It's such a small motion, after running and chasing and soaring through the sky with Luraoth, but right now, it's still an achievement… and besides. She can't really remember that flying. Not clearly. She was… something. And now she's here.
Now they're both here together. Not really okay, though only one of them is willing to admit that. Un-okay. Uncool. Not good. … Yeah. That's a reasonable thing to be after waking up as they have just now. Disorientation still lingers. From the flight, mostly, though also a disorientation of their location. Though, that's also due to the flight so could possibly fall into the same category. Ka'el is frowning. Frowning for her not-okayness. Frowning because he can see a piece of clothing not too far away. Some piece of undergarment that wouldn't cover much of anything in its current state. And the rest of their clothing? Around here somewhere…probably. Strewn across the wilderness somewhere in the immediate area to be gathered .. at some point. They are on no path. That's .. probably good. No unfortunate person out on a daytime walk will happen across them .. Hopefully. Ka'el curses beneath his breath and slides a hand slowly across his face, cursing again at the gritty feeling of dirt that's accumulated there. He moves now, swallowing down futher curses to get to her, shifting across the ground at first, which doesn't feel too nice on certain parts of him. Insert another curse as he stops. He'll get up.. soon. Just allow him to gather himself. "Lur..aoth rose." Duh. The result of which is slow to dawn. "We - .. Shit. Skyler." Eyes dart suddenly, as if expecting to see the child tossed about somewhere, flailing. "Did we have him? Where were we before?" he asks, frantically searching his brain which is slow to respond.
Who even goes for walks, though? What sort of person would go out in the woods? They're dangerous! You might run into naked people. Worse: naked Weyrleaders and… Sorianas. Let's not think about that part - though actually, maybe they should. There's a lot to think about, important things like… "Skyler?" That's what Ka'el said. Soriana repeats it. Luraoth, well, she knows her dragon is fine. The warm glow of contentment she's getting from that direction (whichever one it actually is, through these woods) tells her so. Her son, on the other hand… "We… uh…" Soriana lifts her hand, rubs it across her face. They were… somewhere. Out in the woods? No, that came later. "There was a meeting." Some kind of important meeting. She remembers Carolin's face, the face of news that just couldn't wait. They were in a meeting… "Right?" Soriana's not sure if it is. She remembers… soaring through the clouds, spinning and laughing and… no, that's not… helpful. It's true. "Luroath was…" She trails off, shakes her head. Luraoth rose, she knows that part. She wouldn't be here without that part, at the end of a trail of strewn clothing like blaze-marks for a new path. "Someone must have…" Been responsible? Acted like a reasonable person instead of a sex-crazed lunatic running off into the woods? Soriana can't even say it. Not sitting here in the woods, with leaves in her hair and a view of Ka'el's shirt hung like a flag on a nearby tree. "We'd hear him. If he were here. He's… got good lungs." Enough to wake them up at night, sure. But… enough to rouse them from flight-lust?
Someone was responsible. Heh. Sure! Someone kept their head while others were lusting after the first person their eyes set on. And instead that one person took their child into the safety of their weyr or office or .. someplace to wait it out. One can hope. Ka'el … sure has to, as the alternative is that their child has been abandoned somewhere on the floor or in a field or, Faranth forbid, in the woods to fend for himself! The kid is barely mobile…having just mastered rolling onto his stomach. Not much good when faced with a wild feline. Ka'el is looking more and more unconcerned about his nakedness and discomfort and more and more concerned about his son's welfare. Where is he? He frowns, reaching out to his dragon, who is far too concerned with schmoozing Luraoth with nuzzles and suavely spoken words to care too much about the small one. Why is his rider bothering him now? Why is he so worried? Relax! All is soooo very good. "Shardit Kanekith…" He lifts a hand to rake his fingers roughly through his hair, scowling both at the discomfort that causes and the situation itself. They'd hear him. If he were here. If he's… not been turned into feline food. "Shit, why did we…" His words are strangled incomprehensible with yet another curse as he forces himself to get up. Sitting on the cold hard ground is getting him nowhere…no matter how much his body would love to stay immobile. Adam…er, Ka'el that is, plucks away an embedded rock that's housed itself into his butt check. He doesn't even want to think about the places on which he has bug bites. "We have to get up. Get out of here. Go back. Find him." Why are his words so clipped? He rakes his brain. Were they in a meeting? .. Maybe. If so, maybe someone has him. A member of kitchen staff, or a Galaxy rider, or someone…who found him somewhere, abandoned. "Get up, c'mon." He extends a scratched hand.
Maybe the wild felines will adopt him. Skyler will become a wild boy, raised by the beasts. He'll be the lord of the jungle, when he grows up. If he grows up, which… but no, surely someone was responsible about this. When Xanadu folk find a random baby on the ground, they pick it up. They're like sixteenth marks, it's lucky. (For the baby, if nothing else.) Someone was responsible. Someone was mature (not like that) and sensible. There's got to be measures in place, right? Skyler's not the only baby in this Weyr. There are other children, incomprehending of what flights mean. Somebody has to watch them, usher them into the nursery and barricade the doors. Someone. Somewhere. Soriana frowns too, because while she's saying these things to Ka'el, it's easy to believe the other version too. The version where things don't go as they should. Shells, that version's obviously at least partly true. They're here in the woods, not tucked away in bed in the guest weyr. Something went wro- different. Not how it should. Why? Her frown deepens. It's like one of those questions that comes in dragonhealer reports. Where the patient doesn't know why she zigged instead of zagged, why he dove that far before spreading his wings (why she betweened into a blizzard). Soriana nods to Ka'el. Get up, get out… "Get dressed." If they can even find their clothes, or something like their clothes. Those bugbites are places she doesn't want to show the rest of the Weyr. So are some of the bruises, but never mind that. She reaches for Ka'el's hand, winces as she pulls herself up… but this time, she doesn't let that stop her. There's her feet. She's on them. It's a good start. Next step… she takes a step, reaches for one of the scattered bits of clothing. Her hand closes on the fabric, and then she stops. "Shit. Luraoth rose." Oh yes she did. That wasn't in any doubt, not with how the sun shines in her mental landscape, how her thoughts turn in to drift there with Kanekith. Soriana'd report it, but the thing is - the thing she's just realized - is that she doesn't have anybody to report it to. Not this time. Not anymore.
Skyler, the wild child! … Maybe. At least he'll be alive and loved by his new feral parents who, although prone to wander off and mate in animalistic ways, at least will know where they left their new furless cub. Animals are better fathers than Ka'el! … Well, not counting those animals that are prone to eating their own young. Moving on! Ka'el is up and he's helping Soriana to her feet miraculously without falling down himself. His back feels as if it's been trampled on by ten dragons. Stiff, achy, and battered. What he needs is time to recover, preferably with Soriana at his side, pain meds at the ready, and Skyler safe and accounted for! No such luck. Soriana's hand is released once she is up and steady, though he touches at her hip to further steady her, whether or not she needs it. And now she's moving, slowly but ..somewhat surely, to those scattered clothes. Good call. Strolling out of the woods stark naked is probably not the best thing a Weyrleader could do, and thus, with worry lines still creasing his face, he heads towards his pants, which he sees half caught within the branches of a bush. Soriana's next words confuse him. Luraoth rose? Uh…yes. Haven't they already established that? So, he slows to give her a look of question. "Unless the both've us got drunk off our asses earlier today, I don't see any other reason why we'd be out he-.." Wait. Luraoth rose. It dawns now what she means, and when his words cut off, his eyes grow wide. "..The first…after Seryth.."
And now they're both standing up. Small victories. Soriana doesn't wobble against that hand of Ka'el's - or pull away from it, either. There's scrapes and bruises, but nothing seems to be broken or all that torn. Well, except some of the clothes. Still. Once they get some pain meds, maybe a soak in the hot springs… but first things first. Skyler is missing! And now that his parents are conscious again, they need to find him - because no, Luraoth, he's not safely tucked away in a bundle on the beach. That's dragon-eggs. But they can look for him, retrace their steps by… what, the trail of clothing? It only goes so far, Soriana can see that now. They didn't start tearing off their clothing until they got here… wherever here is. She's starting to get an idea of that, too. Not so much recognizing it as recognizing a few things that might be landmarks. They didn't run that far into the woods. There's that hill over there. And the sun's coming through the trees from thataway. And her shirt is… well, she'll get to that soon. First she gives Ka'el a dubious look, a tilt of her head and a 'really?' expression. It wasn't that bad a meeting. (Was it a meeting at all? …it doesn't matter.) And then it hits him, and Soriana looks away as Ka'el's eyes widen, back to that shirt of hers. "Yeah." Luraoth rose. A queen's flight - the third for her, but the first after Seryth. Soriana reaches for the fabric again, tugs it over her head with an abrupt motion. Doing is easier than thinking, but after she's done it, she has to stop to think what to do next… and so she stops again, staring at the bush. "…and it's tradition."
Ka'el was reaching for .. his shirt? Or pants? He can't remember. Some article of clothing that'd decrease his nakedness by half, but…his thought processing has hit a hiccup. Luraoth rose (which yes, they've established but..) but now it's more significant. Now, the cobwebs of the mind have cleared enough to let conscious thoughts through, and those conscious thoughts have brought big news with them: Tradition. He blinks at the word. So many things that have dictated their lives have been tradition. His Weyrleadership. Her…Senior Weyrwomanship, which is only hours old now. New enough to be shocking. He reaches for his clothes, trousers, and pulls them on wordlessly. It is tradition. Xanadu needs a senior, and … here she is. The dragons have decided. Fate has had its way. He closes in on her once his pants are secured on his hips. Skyler must be okay, for if he wasn't…wouldn't they know? Wouldn't their dragons or firelizards have been alarmed enough to let them know that something wasn't right with their treasured son? Maybe. Ka'el has to believe so as his arm hooks around Soriana's middle. Are congratulations in order? He himself wasn't in much of a celebratory mood after Seryth.. "If you weren't ready for this, Luraoth wouldn't've been the first to rise," he says. "You're the best choice, in my opinion…and in the Weyr's opinion. Leadership is .. two parts dragon, one part theWeyr's will." Or so he'd like to believe.
Luraoth rose. It's really very simple. When a dragon gets the urge to love someone very much… … …okay, so it's not actually that simple. It is, but it also… isn't. Soriana, half-naked (she's got her shirt on now) drifts toward the next article. Pants. With the two of those, she'll be… maybe not completely dressed, but close enough. Half and a half make mostly. That's math. A Weyrleader and a Weyrwoman make… leadership. Two parts dragon, one part the Weyr's will, mix thoroughly and… one Senior Weyrwoman with a side of Weyrleader. Or maybe it's the other way around. Either way, it's the two of them. Lost in the woods and supposed to lead out Xanadu from the metaphorical ones. Soriana starts to pull those pants toward her, steps into… one leg, then the other. Two halves of a half, just like the two of them are two halves of… leadership. The people with the clue, who don't have a clue where Skyler is. But… surely someone does. Alloy is a very responsible firelizard when he's not being distracted by bugs. Toral has taken care of baby tunnelcats, and baby humans are vaguely similar. It's… probably okay. More to the point, if it's not okay, it's been like that for long enough that it's not going to make a difference whether they run or walk. Soriana stops for a moment as Ka'el's arm slips around her, then exhales as she finishes drawing up her pants and fastens them in place. "Hah." She gives her head a shake. "Yumeth's never been reliable." Is she even still young enough to rise anymore? But Soriana doesn't think of that, doesn't want to think of that. And that's just Yumeth, just Sorrin's dragon. There's two others. Sonyxaeth, Kairoikyriath… Soriana doesn't even suggest them. The best choice? Her mouth curls up on one side in a wry sort of smile. Best in the field… "Might just mean there's not a better one." But there isn't, is there? It's… her and Luraoth. "…more like two dragons." Luraoth and Kanekith. The leaders of the Weyr, the one who led the chase and the one who kept up with her. Soriana shakes her head. "You really think anyone's willing anything during… that?"
"Maybe," Ka'el answers, undeterred. "I've got to believe it's something more than just luck or chance, Soriana. Because leaving something like who'll lead an entire Weyr up to pure luck is stupid, and I can't be okay with the thought that our ancestors would be so stupid or we would be so stupid to keep up the tradition if it was just that. So … yeah," he nods, "I think the will is there. Maybe not exactly durin' that exact moment in time, but in the moments that led up to it. The days and months and turns you've been a resident and Junior Weyrwoman. People know you. They trust you. They've seen you work with their problems, an' so.. they probably trust you. That's the will. Maybe dragons can sense that and something in them tells them that it's their time.." Or something. She's the dragonhealer in this relationship! But even healers of the dragon variety don't know all that there is to know about dragons, do they? Won't there always be that air of mystery, secrets kept for only dragons to understand? Ka'el doesn't know the answer to that either, though he knows what he'd like to believe is true. The hold of his arm can be felt loosening around her til it eventually falls away, enabling him to move to stand in front of her. "Bab-..ow!" He curses as his bootless foot finds a particularly sharp rock. Scowling, he kicks it away, sets his foot carefully down, and tries again. "Baby, if you weren't right for Xanadu, you wouldn't be here right now. Luraoth wouldn't've risen, and you and I would be in the middle of some meeting. But, it didn't happen that way. You are here, and that has to mean that you're ready for this. Shell, I've always known you were a natural-born leader. If it wasn't for you kickin' me in the right direction, I'd probably still be a Weyrling to this day. You've been handlin' Skyler and your duties .. You've got what it takes. I can't think of anyone else I'd trust more to be our Senior than you, in or out of Xanadu."
"Mmh." It would be stupid to leave something like that up to chance. There's stories about inept Weyrwomen, told as… extended jokes or examples of what not to do, Soriana's never quite been sure which. But the dragons… they have to know something, right? They choose people for a reason, she's said that herself. Even if it's sometimes hard to see… there's a reason, and… a will? Soriana's mouth tugs to the side, a questioning sort of expression. Not an argument, exactly, but a thinking look, one that's worrying away at Ka'el's words and trying to see if they hold together well enough or if that chain of logic will just fall apart. Maybe it'll hold. She's listening. In the chaos of flight… maybe not, but before then? A gold doesn't just rise out of nowhere. Okay, so Luraoth sometimes seems to, but dragonhealer that she is, Soriana knows that's not true. There's a slow build of it. And dragons affect each other, everyone knows that. It's obvious just looking at how they all mourned Seryth's passing, how messages spread like wildfire among them. The queens could affect each other; other dragons, the queens. Whether that's to push one forward - or to drag others back - it's plausible enough. It's something that the dragonhealers can't disprove with science and that tradition says is true. …even if it's got nothing to do with why Luraoth actually rose, what Ka'el says is still true. Soriana's been here for those turns. She's worked with people. They do trust her, or at least they have… no, do. She nods a little, not convinced but still agreeing. Her head turns to track Ka'el as he comes around her, a frown as she glances down to see that rock. This is why not to go running around in the woods barefoot. An important life lesson, to be remembered except when the rising ride of dragons and flight-lust make remembering impossible. Soriana's eyes rise back up along Ka'el as he tries again. Xanadu. Luraoth. Dragons choose people for a reason, right? Ready or not, Luraoth chose her, and ready or not… Luraoth rose, with all that means. If she hadn't, they'd be in that meeting about… something or other. Soriana's lips quirk, but she's not even going to try to figure out what the meeting was. It doesn't matter, or if it does, someone will remind them. Ready? …no, but would she ever be? She wasn't ready for Skyler, either. And Ka'el trusts her? Well, of course he does, he's the one who weyrmated her. He'd sharding well better trust her… but still, Soriana's smile gets a bit less lopsided. "Wouldn't be a leader if people didn't keep following me." It's kind of one of those circular statements, but there's still some truth to it. That's what a senior needs, isn't it? The ability to make people follow them. To believe in them. All the rest… that's why there's a weyrstaff and not just her. Soriana reaches out, puts her arm against Ka'el's side with the fingers curved around him. "…seems like there should be something more… impressive." The smile turns wry. "Something more than just waking up in the woods with a sore back and an overpleased dragon."
"I'd follow you to the world's edge, Soriana. Not because you're my weyrmate." Perhaps partially because she's his weyrmate, but not only that. Ka'el thinks on that for a second then smirks as his arms slip around her waist, looping with hands clasping behind her. "Alright. Not only because you're my weyrmate," he relents with a small quirk of a grin. "You are the most incredible person that I've met … and I'm not sayin' that just because I'm your weyrmate," he adds, grin softly playful. "You shardin' ..amaze me sometimes with how you handle things and people and situations that'd make me want to tear my own hair out, y'know? From the day you an' Luraoth came together, I don't think there was a doubt in anybody's mind that you were a perfect candidate to become a Junior Weyrwoman. Thea always believed in you, an' I think she valued your opinion more than she let on." A slow breath is inhaled and exhaled here with his pause, bare chest lifting and rising, eyes watching her face and expression. "You aren't in this alone. You have me. Your ma. The other Juniors. Xanadu needed a Weyrwoman, and people will be happy to have one again. It feels .. unnatural not to." And he's not even weyr-born! He's quiet for a few beats of the heart, smirking at something, likely a thought that comes with her later words. Something more impressive? "Careful what you wish for. I could always arrange a ceremony. Send word to the riders. Have someone from Comet search far and wide for a knot of pure gold for your knotting ceremony, which would be a grandest party Xanadu's ever seen. Formal-wear required. Holders and Weyrwomen and Weyrleaders from far and wide will come through to bow in your presence and wish goodwill to Xanadu and her Queens. I can have it all situated in a matter of days, probably. Jus' say the word and it's yours." His grins broadens as his fingers unclasp to press and massage at the small of that aforementioned sore back. "For what it's worth," he says in a quieter tone, smirk still evident, "wakin' up to a naked you, leaves, twigs and all, was pretty impressive to me."
Not just, no. It's probably relevant. Okay, certainly relevant, but it might go the other way around. Incredible, therefore weyrmate. Incredible, therefore… Weyrwoman? Yeah, maybe. There's an answering smirk from Soriana, and then… Thea. That smirk fades, and Soriana looks down. "She asked me why juniors had those duties." Soriana smiles again, wry and crooked. "…and if I should do them." The smile fades again as she sighs, and her expression is serious as she nods to Ka'el. She's not alone. "Hah. I've got an entire Weyr." Which is also true, but… she's also got help with it. Ka'el. The other juniors… no, her juniors. Like they were Thea's, except now… they're hers. "Shards, it's weird to…" Wait. What. What nonsense is Ka'el spouting now? Soriana's stare starts with disbelieving and goes from there. "…so what do I have to do for less help?" Or does she get to pick and choose what the help's applied to? Please? The smirk's back for long enough to turn into a laugh, and she leans in against Ka'el as her arms slip a bit further around him and his… do something about that back. "…we're lucky wild felines didn't eat us." As if they'd dare!
"What, you don't want the grand ceremony?" says Ka'el with a mock look of surprise, brows lifting and eyes going incredulously big. Shock! "But it was sounding so good. I was even going to have the cooks hand-feed you in celebration. Who wouldn't want to be hand-fed?" Heh. He could name one newly awakened Senior Weyrwoman, for one. Smirking, he falls quiet, happy to have her against him. Happy to feel her fingers against his back. Except for .. right there, *wince* where something cut the skin and the touch of fingers irriate the broken flesh. Too hard of a roll over rocks and sticks, probably? Likely. But that's okay. He doesn't complain because she needs him, in this moment, for reassurance, as he needed her, long moments ago, for reassurances when it was his turn to be at a loss upon the realization that the heavy knot of responsibility was his. "Wild felines took one look at us and ran for cover. They knew better," he answers within a chuckle, unhooking one arm to smoothe her hair, brushing it away from cheeks and eyes…plucking out an embedded leaf or two in the process. "We should go find our boy," he says as fingertips tease her jawline. Skyler, who most certainly is not mauled in the woods or laid abandoned ona bed of leaves (right?), may be in need of comforting right about now, wherever he is. And who better to do so than their parents? Parents who may need comfort in the knowledge that their boy is, in fact, okay. "Then..we take a shardin' long soak in the springs. We'll stay til our bodies are numb and our fingers are wrinkled, and then we'll stay a candlemark more. And after all of that, we'll figure out what to do next." When was the last time Xanadu gota new Senior? Is there a protocol? Some dusty book that's been on a shelf for…who knows how long? Maybe. Ka'el leans to press his lips fondly against her temple. "Sound good?"
Soriana gives Ka'el a look back. Hers isn't of surprise, fake or otherwise. Hers is really more of a, 'Really?' sort of look. "Maybe… maybe if they have some of those little cherry cakes." Which, heh, she could order them to make every day for dinner, but she won't. Because something-something-responsibility. She shakes her head, trailing off for the moment before Ka'el's wince - felt, even if he doesn't say anything about it - makes her frown. She doesn't say anything either, but her fingers skip over it. It's probably not a claw-mark from a wild feline. Even if it is, it's likely nothing that can't be fixed with some redwort and numbweed. Just like Soriana's practiced on dragons, and it'll be her practice for when Skyler… "Yeah." They should find him. Wherever he is, which is - probably - tucked in with pillows and a fluffy blanket. There's - likely - someone watching him… but the blanket is not a froggy one, and that someone is not his parents, and right now they could all - Soriana, Ka'el, Skyler, the Weyr - use a bit of normalcy. Skyler's turned into part of normal. This will too… eventually. First? "Yeah," Soriana agrees. They'll soak their worries away… or at least that's the plan. Depending on how long they take in finding Skyler, the hot springs might still be closed for repairs - but, hey. Adapting to changing circumstances is all part of being a Senior Weyrwoman and Weyrleader. "We don't have to do anything about it today." There's an official decision. It may not be the one in that official book of protocol, but… hah, part of being Werywoman (or Weyrleader) is being able to toss protocol aside. "…and we're ordering a new knot." Soriana may be filling Thea's shoes, but there are limits to how far she's willing to go. Her hand slides around to Ka'el's shoulder and down his arm, curling fingers around his. "Let's find Skyler." Baby steps.
Decision, made. They can worry about what the proper steps are tomorrow. After a gold's flight, people need time to recuperate anyway. People other than themselves. Consider it a necessary rest-day for all involved…especially those involved. So Ka'el is all too happy to nod in agreement with her decree, the burning sensation of his aggravated scratch receding and leaving room for other aches and pains to battle for dominance. But they'll be taken care of, and soon at that. Today. Unlike those other things which will be left for tomorrow. Tomorrowwhen things will be faced and people informed and summoned and..whatever else. His eyes shift to her shoulder on which her Senior's knot will be placed .. sometime. Not a recycled not. He nods. "I think that was an unofficial tradition too.." he muses. "My knot was new. I think every Weyrleaderat least, Thea's, had a new on of their own." Some traditions are more reasonable than others. He nods in agreement with her desire to order a new Senior's knot. "Her desk…" He begins, but it goes unfinished, lips pausing and pressing together as he gives his head a subtle shake. Unimportant. It can wait for tomorrow. His fingers have curled with hers and he gives her a smile before lifting her hand to press her knuckles to his lips. Skyler is what's important now. Their family needs to be together, even if a member or two of them is shirtless. Or shoeless. Or both. They may come across these articles along the way. "I call not it on changing him if he needs it," he says as they head back through the woods, retracing their drunken steps from hours before. There are many changes that life can throw that one can't hope to dodge. Changes in leadership. Changes in season. Changes in mindset. But changes in diapers? Heh, more often than not..Ka'el will try to dodge.