Camping Trip

Lost Island - Sugar Beach

Palm trees shade the fine-grained, pristine white sand, making them cool to the touch even when Rukbat is at its peak. Gentle waves from the sheltered bay lap the sand at water's edge. Crystal clear at the shoreline, the waters deepen to aqua then a rich azure in the cove's center. Further out, rolling billows break with a muted roar upon a reef of smooth volcanic rock that protects the cove, keeping the waters of the cove tranquil.

On either side the sand stretches to curve out of sight, flanked on one side by thick jungle, the other by the sea. Someone has tied a woven rope hammock wide enough for two in the shade of the palm trees and just a few steps from a rock fire pit. Nearby there is a path that disappears into the undergrowth.

Weyrsecond and Weyrwoman have managed to get some time off - just a few days - and it's no contest that escaping the Weyr is of utmost importance to the pair. Arrangements have been made with the nannies to care for the twins, still too young for overnighters in the wild place they so often frequent. This time it's to be a camp out at the tropical island paradise that D'had had found turns ago and with that in mind, supplies - hammocks, blankets, food and such have been packed and strapped to willing dragons. The difference on this trip is they've invited N'shen to come along. Well, D'had has likely done the asking, but it's clear Thea's happy about it.

Popping out of *Between* at a higher level than usual, the sea shimmers in pinks, peaches fraught with silver, the sea is glassy-calm for once as it surrounds the emerald isle. The tide is at ebb, so the waves lapping the white sands are small, rather tame out on the coral reefs as well. There's a circling of the whole thing, then a smooth descent - at least for Seryth (Siebith may have a few tricks up his sleeve tonight) to skim the waves before she touches down on the beach.

Taozyuth bursts in from *between*, immediately sweeping his wings forward to slow his entrance to a crawl, nearly hovering in midair. He and his rider survey the area, and the bronze swings in a broad circle, spiralling lazily down to the beach, giving the pair plenty of time to study their surroundings. Backwinging, he lands neatly on the sand, chuffing with pleasure at gold and blue as his toes dig into the sand.

Siebith dives towards the water almost in the same second as he pops out from between. He for one seems to have little interest in taking in their surroundings from the air. He does, however, pull up from that dive just before he hits the water, likely after a word from D'had about not wanting to get wet just yet given the abruptness of it, but then this is Siebith so it's hard to say. In the end, he settles onto the sand with the other two.

Lips quirk in amusement at Siebith's plunge. Thea is so not surprised by that. Seryth's rains dance to the other two dragons, sending a picture of a blue oil slick undulating on top of the sea and a mental eyeroll, fondly indulgent for her friend's antics. Thea's taken in the scenery but briefly, her main focus on the boy's reaction although she's trying not to be too obvious about the glances sent his way as they circle the island. Once landed, she doesn't even wait to dismount before stripping jacket, goggles and gloves, shaking out her hair, bundling the lot into one of the bags, the rest of which are then unclipped and dropped to the sand one by one. It's then that she grasps the flightline, kicks a leg over the top of the queen and swings out and around to land on the sand with a hop to keep from sprawling face-first. "Welcome to…" glance sent D'had's way. "What did you name this place?"

D'had blinks, looking up from where he's fighting with a buckle on Siebith's straps. "Name?" he asks. He was supposed to name it? Maybe someone should have told him that sooner. "Um..," he thinks for a moment and finally just shrugs. "Dunn have a name. Just is." He knows where it is, that's what matters more than a name. Right?

N'shen slides from Taozyuth's neck, tugging the straps with him so they hang loose. He tugs off his helmet and gloves, followed by his jacket, and bundles them together, stuffing them into the bag hanging from the bronze's straps. That, too, is pulled free and tossed carelessly towards Thea's. "Wherever it is, it's certainly peaceful." There's a deep approval in the young man's voice that can only be the bronze offering his own opinion via his rider.

Someone -did- tell him sooner, but then D'had had other things on his mind their first night here on the nameless island when she mentioned it. Gathering Seryth's straps over her shoulder as Thea unbuckles them, she pronounces over her shoulder, "We should give it a name, Donn. What do you think, N'shen?" Backing away from Seryth she nods towards the bag the boy has tossed, "Oh, you don't want to leave those there. Tide'll be higher if the wind picks up." She totes hers to the treeline and hangs them on a branch that's obviously been used before for this purpose. Returning to shoulder her bags, she sends a questioning look towards D'had. "Camp out on the beach or are we going to the falls?"

D'had hmms as he bundles up his straps, shouldering his own bag before heading up the beach a short ways to hang them beside Thea's. "I'll let you two do the honors," he replies as to the naming. It might be the easy way out, but hey, he's not the type to name the place. It just is for him. He turns a glance up the path that leads to the falls and then back to Thea and N'shen. "Could go either way."

N'shen eyes Thea curiously, glancing towards the bag he tossed. "Well, I didn't plan to leave it there," he offers dryly. "I planned to take it with us, wherever we're going." Right now, he wants to make sure his bronze is comfortable, and does so by carefully unbuckling the straps and tugging them off, grunting with the weight. Big Tao means lots of straps. Heavy ones. "Couldn't you have been smaller?" he asks the bronze tartly, then snorts as the beast turns his head, giving his rider a beatific expression. "Of course." Turning, he pads towards the riders, carefully placing his feet on the shifting sand.

Thea should know better than to ask D'had questions like these, really she should. Teasing him a little, "You picked the twins names, did just fine with them." She doesn't push it, however as she waits for N'shen to finish. The boy's comment about the bag draws a little oh of understanding that's followed by approval in the pale green of her eyes. Seryth gives a pleased chuff as soon as she's free of her straps, the angle of her head includes both dragons in her invitation to join her for a swim in the crystalline waters of the cove. She'll wait for the decision it seems. So she's not the 'take charge' type unless she has to be. She includes her comments to the both of them, "Nice view of the stars on the beach, shade from the rising sun and fresh water at the falls. What do you prefer?"

Yes, but people… they're supposed to have names. Islands… well it’s not something he's put terribly much thought into. "Up to you," D'had says, turning to N'shen. He already told them it was their choice. "I'm good with either. You two wanna go for a swim I can get things setup here…" or wherever they decide to camp. It’s an offer anyway.

"Well. The beach is nothing new, but the falls sounds interesting," Nash notes as he adjusts the straps in his arm, eventually managing to get them draped over his shoulders, taking much of the strain off his forearms. "Honestly, wherever you want is fine by me, I'm just along for the ride." He offers Thea a rakish grin, slightly spoiled by the hints of exhertion on his face, then grunts softly. "Wherever it is, I'd like to get there, 'cause these straps are heavy and yon is no help." Yon being the bronze, already making his way towards the water.

It's comical, that manful attempt the young Rider is making with those straps, but Thea manages not to laugh, although her lips do twitch with her attempt to contain it. "You don't want to haul the straps all the way to the falls, do you? It's uphill and there's nowhere for Taozyuth to land there. Siebith might manage it, but he'd be in the middle of the pool." She gestures with her chin to the broad-leafed trees at the edge of the beach. "Could stow them there, if you want." She readjusts the straps of her bags, tossing a twinkling look at D'had. "A swim in the pool sounds good, but after we help set up camp." Where's the fun if he doesn't join them? Seryth is already out in the water deep enough to roll on her back and send a spume of mist high with a snort; she wants to play and is waaaaaaaiting for the boys to join her.

D'had chuckles. "What she said," he replies, "Just toss 'em 'bove the tide line they'll be fine." It’s not like anyone else is around to steal them or anything, and besides, who'd want a set of straps? Siebith is more than ready to get out in that water and when he finally gets the "Go on," from his rider he's off and diving. "More room ta spread out down here," Donn notes, though while that's said it’s by no means a definitive choice on where to put camp.

N'shen suits action to suggestion, and deposits the bronze's straps above the high water line, kicking them once for good measure. "I coulda Impressed a green, you know. A small, dainty lady with a quarter of the straps fat boy over there has." That comment elicits one of Taozyuth's rare broadcast responses in the form of « I'm not fat. I'm jolly. There's a difference. » Manfully hiding his laughter, he carefully doesn't look towards the injured-sounding dragon, instead turning too-bright eyes on Thea and D'had, waiting to see what the adults finally decide on.

Thea rolls her eyes at D'had's 'spread out' comment, shifting her feet with the ill-concealed wish to just make a decision already. Her opinion is given mildly enough, "I vote falls too. Plenty of trees to tie the hammocks onto." As they've been standing de-strapping and talking the sun has begun to dip into the sea, the pink skies turning a dusky lavender. It will soon be dark. This time she does toss a smirk at N'shen, "Less straps with a dainty green maybe, but hey there would be the chance she'd be caught by-" Her eyes slide towards Siebith and she leaves the rest unsaid. Not going there. Instead she flashes a look at D'had with a silent 'Well?' Out in the cove, Seryth is busy plunging her head under to follow Siebith's progress, planning her intercept.

D'had just stares back at Thea. Yeah, don't go there is right. "Maybe less straps, but…" The weyrsecond is apparently happy with what the boy did end up with, even if he doesn't say he's proud of him aloud it’s hinted at. "Well then…" he starts, shifting to pick his pack off the sand and heft the strap back over his shoulder. "Falls it is."

"Maybe a blue," Nash murmurs softly. "Then there wouldn't be the other situation you and I have noted." His eyes meet Thea's briefly, then slide away, dark cheeks growing darker. Yeah. A green might mean Siebith catching - but a bronze offers just as sticky a possibility. "Falls then," he states decisively, latching onto Thea's words and taking them as statement, confirmed by D'had. Leaving the straps where they lay, he shoulders his own bag, glancing to the other two riders to lead the way.


Lost Island - Jungle Path

Thickly-growing palms cast this gravel path in perpetual gloom as it winds through verdant tropical growth, passing under massive vine-shrouded tree trunks and twisting between huge moss-covered boulders.

As you move deeper into the island's interior, the brightness of the beach dims, the calls of birds and the hum of insects replace the sound of the surf. Rukbat's light reaches the jungle floor only in isolated golden shafts that pierce the dense foliage above. Jasmine, frangipani and orchids bloom in the near twilight perfuming the vegetation-redolent air with a sweet, heady scent.

Thea blinks back at D'had with innocence just shy of a smirk. What? She said nothing! But then immediately winces when N'shen notes the obvious. Yep. She had to open her mouth, didn't she? She drops her eyes to kick at a rock at the entrance to the trail, sending it bouncing with muted crashing of leaf and bark into the underbrush. Her discomfiture is such that it has Seryth out there in the cove lifting her submerged head and turning it their way with a questioning croon. Thea says nothing, but tilts a beseeching look from under dark lashes at her weyrmate. They need to talk about that one of these days. As to the trail, she'll defer to D'had to lead the way, stepping aside so he can.

D'had turns a subtle smirk back on Thea. Yeah, she did didn't she. But for now it's onward and upward. The trail that is. "It's not too far," he notes, stepping up to lead the way down the narrow trail that threads through the jungle. It’s far enough, especially considering it's all up hill, but it’s pleasant enough.

N'shen veers to walk next to Thea, alerted by Seryth's reaction and Taozyuth's tart comment to his mistake. "Mama Thea, I can't make no promises," he murmurs softly to her as they trudge after D'had, "but I wouldn't let it get to me. What happens, happens, an' we'll do our best to make sure it don't, right?" Shifting his step slightly, he nudges against her, lips curving in a shy smile. "Don't let it get ya down. We're supposed to be enjoying family here, right?"

The dusk deepens, the sound of the incoming tide's waves muting as they step into the jungle. Thea bumps a shoulder hard against D'had's - not like she could hurt him or anything - and gives him a little 'thanks for nothing' look, a little hurt with his lack of empathy. Silence save for the crunching of the gravel path underfoot after N'shen speaks. "I'll be fine!" She cuts the discussion off, sounding like she's either trying not to laugh or cry; hard to tell in the gathering dusk made all the darker for the shadowy jungle surrounding them. On the heels of that too-sharply spoken assurance, her laughter is wobbly, "Look there," and she points at the thick vines hanging from the canopy above them. "Be fun to swing on those into the waterfall pool." No, she's not herself, but she's trying! Give her a few minutes.

D'had shoots a glance towards Thea following that bump to his shoulder. What was that for exactly? A hand reaches back, as he turns slightly, searching for her hand to give it an assuring squeeze. "Course you'll be fine," he replies. Of course it’s hard to tell if he knows what the other two were talking about that brought that comment up in the first place. "It’s just up here. We'll think about those vines in the morning though, hmm?" When there's more light and they don't need it to setup camp.

N'shen sighs softly and drops back a step, trailing in Thea's wake. He's good at riling her, that's for certain. Above his head, Mikado and Chanteuse pop in, chirping curiously as they look about their new surroundings. "Vines sound fun," he says softly, with no real enthusiasm, but eager enough to veer to a conversation that just might cheer his goldriding step-mother up. "This is a lovely island."

Thea returns D'had's look coolly, her chin tilted just a bit, but she doesn't resist that hand he offers. With a muted sigh she gives it up, letting her anxiety roll off her as she leans to whisper in his ear the two words that will make it clear to him. She squeezes his hand back before turning a reassuring smile over her shoulder at N'shen. "It'll be alright." Somehow. "And it is nice. Wait until you see it all." Somehow she manages to make the lad feel badly all too often and she's aware of it. Her laugh this time is genuine, directed at the both of them, "No in-the-dark swim? What's the fun of that? A little daring…" At least there's no rocks in the middle of the pool to land on. Ahead there is a musical splash of rushing water over stone and the scent of wet rock.

"It'll be alright," are exactly the words that D'had whispers back to the goldrider, said with another light squeeze of her hand. "Just up here," he says louder, including N'shen in the conversation, though his voice is still low. No need to shout after all. "We'll get things setup and see how it goes. Hmm?"

"Night swim?" N'shen sounds intregued as he trots along behind the adults, head tilting to the side curiously. "Sounds interesting." Certainly not something he'd ever have indulged in before. With his two firelizards diping and wheeling above his head, he looks around with more interest now, shaken out of his funk by the beauty of his surroundings. "So no one lives here?"


Lost Island - Misty Falls

The jungle opens to a wide clearing that reveals a high, broad lip of rock over which water cascades in a thin sheet falling into a clear, wide pool that appears deep enough for swimming. The sound of the drops hitting the surface of the pool is musical and soothing to the ears. Almost level banks are thickly-carpeted with rich emerald moss shaded by giant ferns that cluster in graceful arcs, perpetually be-jeweled with beads from the mist given off by the falls.

Behind the falls there appears to be a ledge that allows one to pass behind the sheet of water and remain dry. The path skirts the clearing and continues on up towards the peak.

There's another quick, under-the-lash glance sent D'had's way in a silent plea not to forget, then she nods slowly in reply, lifting her head to peer beyond him into the clearing where the water dances a barely visible silver in the growing starlight overhead. Belior and Timor hang in the purple sky just peeking out from behind the volcanic peak looming above the jungle behind the falls. As she steps out from the jungle, she moves so N'shen can join them and see it for himself. "Bet we could jump from up there too." And she points to the few boulders at the top of the falls - which can't be more than fifteen feet high. From around her neck, Shep chirps at the two firelizards overhead, gives Thea's cheek a headswipe of apology and takes flight to join them. Ruin, thankfully, is nowhere to be seen. As to inhabitants, "I have… no idea. He discovered it." She sends a questioning look towards D'had.

"Not for a long time," D'had replies about inhabitants at just about the same moment as Thea gives her answer to the same. Dark eyes loose focus on that mountain top. A short moment later there's a slight shake of his head, clearing thoughts perhaps. "Hammocks should fit good there," he notes, turning to point towards a stand of trees that are about the right size and space apart to do the job.

Questions tremble on the tip of Nash's tongue, evident in his eyes, but he doesn't ask them - clearly, he's learning a bit about holding back. Instead, he turns his gaze on the waterfall, drinking in the view before shaking himself awake and turning to more practical matters. "Right then," he says, somewhat gruffly. "I've never hung a hammock, but I'll help if you show me what to do, Fa- D'had."

And because Thea is looking D'had's way when he loses himself on that peak, she notes that headshake of his, turning her eyes to follow his gaze. Hrm. Dark brows lift, but any speculation or questions will have to wait. There's little light left to set up camp with. When N'shen speaks, she allows the man his hand back; he's going to need it to do stuff with. A quiet smile curves her mouth at N'shen's quick self-correction, then she's stepping aside so the pair can work together. Off through the ferns she goes towards the trees indicated, the thick moss carpet muffling the sounds of her footfalls. Twin thuds can barely be heard over the whisper of the falls as she drops her bags and begins pulling out foodstuffs for their meal. She'll leave D'had to handle their hammock, unless he needs her help.

D'had nods, "That'd be good," he replies, a hint of a smile turned towards the boy as he releases Thea's hand. "Was gonna ask if ya'd help anyway." But since he offered it’s that much easier. He leaves a look to follow the weyrwoman as she heads off, but then he's letting his own bag slide from his shoulder, letting it sit on the ground while he pulls the hammocks free. "Doesn't take much really."

N'shen trails along behind D'had, clearly pleased that his father had been planing on asking for his help. Leaving his bag where D'had did, he waits patiently at the man's side, awaiting instruction in the fine art of hammock hanging.

Thea's not all that far away, just enough so that when the fire she plans on making is burning, sparks won't threaten to catch the rope hammocks and set them afire. On previous trips here, she'd noted that there's a rock ring here, the stones already blackened. Someone has been here, obviously. She'll just use that. Containers and packets of food are set out and left beside it and a metal folding tripod dragged from one of the bags is set up. She pulls out a change of clothing, too. Already sweating in her riding leathers, she's got to get out of them! While father and son hang hammocks, she slips off into the jungle to do just that.

There's not so much explanation to hanging the hammocks. D'had makes it more of a watch and learn as he ties off one end, explaining as he goes. The rope needs to be secured about this high. Make sure it’s tight that its not going to fall. Simple really. Just takes practice. He's had practice and makes it look easy.

N'shen watches D'had carefully, clearly trying to commit each step to memory in his methodical way. As D'had finishes with the first hammock, the boy reaches up and tugs thoughtfully at the ropes tying it to the tree, gaguing the tension.

When Thea returns, she's minus her leather riding trous, having changed into a soft, sleeveless, scoop-necked sundress of emerald green, which can double as a nightgown. Riding boots under one arm, her feet are blissfully bare and free. Much too warm here for leather after all. She's collected and armload of wood and kindling, which is dumped willy-nilly into the ring, while three, long pointed sticks are leaned against a tree for future use. "Who wants to do the honors?" She can't really say, 'come on baby light my fire' with N'shen here, now can she?

D'had watches as Nash takes charge of the second hammock's hanging. "Looks good," he notes, giving it a once over. "Go ahead, test it out." See if it stays how it should. He turns a glance over his shoulder towards the fire ring when Thea returns and drops the wood there. "Go ahead," he replies, tossing her a wink. She can get that taken care of. Right? "Or should I let him do it?"

Well she can. N'shen's head might asplode, but she can say it all she wants. The boy eyes D'had thoughtfully, then the hammock, and finally he clambors into it, hesitantly at first, then with more enthusiasm when it holds his weight. Not that he has much weight to hold. "You should," he replies cheekily to his sire, resting on his stomach and peering through the strands of rope at the bluerider.

There's a slow smile spreading across Thea's face for that wink of D'had's. Poor, poor N'shen. If he sticks around long enough he's going to see the particular back and forth between this couple. "I'm going to make us something to eat, so if you would?" She's stepping past them towards the waterfall pool to wash her hands when N'shen speaks. Her dark brows wriggle up and down a few times at the boy, as she quips, "Maybe he can teach you how!" She doesn't wait for his reaction to that double-entendre, but continues the few steps to the bank, kneels and splashes bark bits off of her hands. She's left the flint and steel where D'had can easily find it, though the dusk is rapidly deepening.

D'had cuts a glance towards Thea. What? She can't make a fire AND food? Women! Okay, so not really, but he does cut that glance and then look back to N'shen. "You know how to start it?" The fire that is. "Have at it." Beat. "If ya don't, have at it anyway." No time like the present to learn. Of course, if there's too much trouble in it he'll be right there to lend a hand.

It's fairly safe to say N'shen learned a thing or two during his Candidate camping trip, even if much of it revolved around how to hide behind Phylicia when the bullies were giving him trouble. But the boy looks all comfy and stuff in his hammock, and he offers his father a long, sorrowful look before awkwardly sliding out of the net, staggering slightly as his feet hit the ground. Dragging himself to the pile of kindling, he begins to arrange it in a more appropriate shape for burning, then takes up the flint and steel, gathering a pile of dry leaves and bits of bark for tinder. "What's for food?" he asks Thea as he attempts to get a spark to catch.

She's from a mountain hold where it's winter 3/4 of the year, some of which D'had has had a taste of, so yes, Thea knows how to build a fire. But for some reason, she's letting them handle it tonight. Maybe so father and son can have a bonding moment? Women. They're scheming things, they are. The weyrwoman is on her way back flicking water off her hands in D'had's direction playfully as she passes him. "Dinner," she tells N'shen as she returns to the food packs, "Is sausages we'll cook over the fire and rolls with some fixin's from the kitchen. Cook packed us berry pies." She gives him a bit of a devilish grin, "Unless you want bug kabobs instead. But we'll have to hunt those."

D'had watches, leaving a tip or two for the bronzerider as he sets the fire ablaze. When Thea returns, there's a bit of a glare for her at that water flicking, amused but a glare nonetheless. "Looking good," he notes to the boy. "And sounds good," he adds when the goldrider answers about the food. Really, it’s food – it’s good. "Let’s save the bugs for tomorrow. Hmm?"

"I am not eating bugs again," N'shen avows stoutly as he finally gets a spark to stick and begins to blow on the tinder, fanning it gently. Once he has a respectable flame, he uses several twigs to feed it into the main pyramid of kindling, setting several starting points and once more using his breath to urge growth. Soon enough, there's a steady blaze, and he rocks back on his heels, grinning proudly. "Hah, didn't think I could do it, didja?" His glance at Thea and D'had is just short of challenging, though the obvious pleasure in his eyes keeps it from being too overbearing.

Thea bumps her shoulder against D'had with a mock pout. "You're too serious," she chides in an echo of something he might well recognize as his own words getting turned back on him. Really now. Time to lighten up, or so she seems to be saying in so many words. And is that her choking about bugs tomorrow? "I'm with you there, N'shen." He does get an approving grin as she hands over one of the sticks to him, offering D'had his before unpacking the sausages and handing them over. She skewers hers and settles to hold it over the flames. The night has settled in and darkness cloaks the area, save for the comforting glow of the fire. Luminescent sparkles of glow insects vie with the stars overhead.

D'had chuckles once, and then some more. Amused to say the least. "Wasn't sure," he replies about N'shen's fire making abilities. "Looks like ya managed alright though." There might even be a bit of pride hiding in there for the boy. As for Thea, "Someone's gotta be." Right? A hint of teasing hangs in his voice however. Sausage on roasting stick he finds a place around the fire as well. Food.

N'shen takes a stick and sausage - and is fortunately too young yet to consider the entendres his player might otherwise bring to the scene - and settles back into a comfortable position, extending the makeshift skewer with its delicious cargo so that his dinner is slowly roasted over the open fire. "Taozyuth says that there's a time to be serious, but it isn't now," he says, somewhat sleepily as the excitement of the day slowly drains away in the face of comfort, family, and nightfall.

Thea just smiles at D'had sweetly as she scoots closer to lean against his shoulder, propping the arms holding her stick against her knees. They both know the truth is it's a job that gets passed between them as the need arises. "I agree with Taozyuth," she tells the young bronzerider with a light laugh. Snapping fire, crackling flames. Both of which are mesmerizing and sleep inducing. She's yawning along with the boy before long. It's a relaxed meal with quiet conversation, likely the most of it between N'shen and Thea with a few words thrown in there by D'had now and then. Their simple supper, washed down with juice, wine or whiskey depending on whose drinking it, is followed by those yummy pies and finally all are wrapped in blankets to sway in expertly-hung hammocks and fall asleep to the cadence of singing insects and whispering falls.

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