Mistaken Identity

Xanadu Weyr - Garden

An arch woven from the tendrils of a willow tree stretches overhead lightly creeping with ivy as one steps in from the meadow into this sanctuary of green. Cool gray flagstone carefully spaced enables a soft velvety moss to thrive within the cracks, and creates a single wide pathway that fluidly breaks off into two paths of stone once free of the natural arbor. It is a wonder this place, and meticulously tended from the way it seems not a single leaf is out of place. On either side of the main path expansive grassy patches are trimmed short and edged behind with natural tan colored stone selectively chosen to stack just right. Beyond these are a line of fine puffed shrubberies in vibrant green intermingled with flowering bushes of brilliant pinks varying in hue from the very light to the very dark, which causes the occasional snowy white blossoms of other scattered here and there without worry to simply pop out of the scenery.
Directly in the center of the garden is another wall of intricately stacked stone, this of muted grays, creating what from the air would prove to be a perfect circle. It's been set high for safety, but not so much as one would not be able to lean over it to admire what lies beyond, either standing or sitting at the smattering of benches whose backs are set every four feet along it. Flush to the ground inside it's protective stone outcropping, is an enormous twenty foot wide fish pond. Within one can glean the metallic glint of playful goldfish, the unhurried cruise of fat koi, and even a frog or three among pale yellow and white flowering water lilies and their thick green pads.
The trees surrounding the entire garden were planted to give the impression that they had always been here, not only lending to a rustic look, but also eluding to the beauty that can be found among the wilds if only one might just look for it. Species vary from the ordinary Birch and Pine, but the flaming red capsules of the Indian Shot to the robust orange spokes of the Firewheel tree suggest the spice of the exotic. The two paths leading away from the entrance have come full circle, wrapping around to meet each other on the other side, yet still continue on to the far left and right. One path leads off deeper into the surrounding woods, while the other wider; cheerily decorated with brightly colored slabs of painted stones.

It's getting late, the sun has set and the stars are out, although they do get obscured from time to time by the dark clouds that roll across the sky. The moons cast an eerie clow about the gardens as the light fades in and out with the moving clouds. The light glows along the fish pond and and Keziah is sitting near and watching fish within.

The brown weyrling rider has often been awake at nights, when Zhaoth was sleeping or not. Sleep was hard for the sailor, not because of the lack of physical work, but some other unseen cause. While weyrlings may not have the same curfew as candidates, often shattered when the dragons wake at odd hours, Ers'lan is not with his lifemate at this point in time. A walk that started on the beach, alone with the sun setting, has ended up taking him to the garden. It was not a conscious decision, though now in the dark, it made sense. The gardens were alive with the natural noise of life, from night-time bugs to the sounds of reptiles, to the babbling of water or the rustle of leaves. Ers'lan stops at one point in the path, making small noises while he shuffles about in the dark.

Keziah has no lifemate nearby to warn her that anyone in specific is coming and so the shuffling as her on guard. One can never be too careful after all. She slowly and quietly gets up and moves back into the shadow of a tree. Once bitten, twice shy they say. She doesn't say a word, just watches the pathway, waiting to see who's coming down.

With no warning on either end, Ers'lan continues wandering down the path where Keziah had been sitting. He is completely oblivious to her presence there, too caught up in his own thoughts to notice anything out of the ordinary, like an extra shuffle of branches. In the dark though, the man doesn't look terribly inviting, considering his form is distinctive in that it is large. Grumbling a few more times to himself, the hard heel of his boot makes soft 'thumps' against the cobblestone pathway as he passes by the spot Keziah is hiding.

Keziah is silent and seeming at odds on what she's going to do. It'd be foolish to just jump out and attack. Still, such a large, looming shape doesn't beg safety. So, very quietly, she steps out, her belt knife at hand. In a low growl. "State your business." she demands "Who are you."

While he has been oblivious to her presence, the moment that the sound of something rustling behind him, the simple scuffs of feet against the foliage, he becomes alerted. The reaction is a swift one. A pivot, an arm lashes out, the force of his intent to disarm his attacker would dislodge the belt knife from her hand and sent it scattering to the ground, since his hit aims for the weak point: the wrist. It wasn't a gentle touch either, he actually might leave a bruise on her wrist from the sudden closed fist strike to it. This is all accomplished in seconds, as in the next he steps forward and grabs her opposite fore arm with his large hand, twisting it so she's forced to spin around and submit (think police hold). His other arm draws quick against her chest, just below her neck, pulling her back toward him. The darkness and his reaction prevented him from immediately realizing who it was he now had in a secure hold, by the panting and the heavy breathing, she had scared the pants off him… and now he's likely to return the favour.

There's a yelp as Keziah's wrist is hit and then all of a sudden she's in panic mode with the hold and she's kicking back at his shins and instep and biting at the arm. All if it with no rhyme or reason as she struggles painfully. And then reason comes back. Sorta. And she lets out a blood curdling ear piercing scream and then in the distance there's the scream of a dragon as Alosynth picks up Keziah's panic.

The shin kicking in affect works, since the man gives a terrible yowl like noise, gargling in his throat the anger, heightened with the instep that makes him second guess holding onto the feminine form. She was going to kill him! Right? Right? She attacked him with a belt knife! The BITE is what does it. The man growls loudly against Keziah's ear, shoving her forward with a snarled, "YAH BIT ME!!" His arm is lifted, glanced at in the darkness, the former-sailor releasing a string of blush worthy curses, some which include 'wench' and other lowly names for women in there. The scream and the noise of a dragon is echoed by another, a steel on steel voice, demanding to know why the green's rider attacked! "Ya want ta get yerself killed ya dim-witted woman!?! Whar the shells be ya thinking jumpin out with a KNIFE? Crackdust and ashes!"

Stumbling forward Kezi runs into one of the stone benches and goes falling forward and lands on the other side with an oof. There's silence and then "Ers'lan?" she winces a little and then there's silence from her dragon as she rubs her head "What are you doing skulking around in the dark?! Shardin idiot. You don't go sneakin' up on people. Shards. I thought you were one of Kefai's people. I ain't bein' kidnapped again by them and I already know they'll stoop ta kidnappin' riders. They kidnapped a gold rider after all." She slumps down a bit and her voice goes quiet "Shards. I don't wanna do that again."

"AYE…" there is a loud acknowledgement of who he is, holding his hand over the mark of her teeth, unable to see if she broke skin or not, but feeling the slight slickness of it. There's a near violent snort that resounds from him, hands lifting up on his hips, "I be walkin, that narh be skulking!" He protests, suddenly realizing that she was on the ground, blinking over at the spot where he had shoved her away. Though it could be her words that make him still his own tongue, listening to her story about being kidnapped or refusing to be kidnapped yet again. Instead, he shimmies over toward her, hand extended down to help her up off the ground. "Nay, once be damagin enough…" he frowns, tone empathic if only because it sounds as if he endured something simmilar.

Sitting there a moment or two, Kezi then finally notices the hand. Looking a little sheepish she takes it to help herself up. "Umm, I'm sorry." she murmurs after a moment. "I uh, I shouldn't have, I umm. Look I…" she trails off a little "Not skulking huh?" she looks up at Ers'lan and there's a worried look to her face. "I didn't hurt you much did I? I am sorry. Let.. let Zhaoth know I'm sorry?" she asks and then there's a deeper frown. "Aye, once be enough.." she's silent a moment "What happ…" she shakes her head a little "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have asked that."

The amount of effort put into helping pick Kezi up off the ground seems minimal for the man who has gained extra definition in the arms and chest in the last few months. The power behind his hoist up is evident as well: a simple jerk that seems to bounce Keziah to her feet. Afterward, he puts his a hand on his hip, the other more abused limb stays slung at his side. His retort initially comes with a smooth grunt, "Nay. Yee be skulking, jumpin out at a person from the bushes. Whar ya thinking?" Lips twist and jaws flex, perplexed as he considers the greenrider for a time. "Nah, be worse than this before. Tis nuthin…" he dismisses her concern about being hurt, eyes distancing as he speaks and reaches to Zhaoth, calming the enraged rangy brown. "He be fine. Reckons that ya should narh be hiding in the dark and jumpin out at people, iffin ya dun want ta be attacked. I reckon the same." He glances down the pathway he just came, eyes returning a look to her at later remarks, squinting at her question she quickly retracts. "Whar happened? Ya dun want ta know. Tis likely the same as you, iffin ya be kidnapped once."

"Likely I don't" Keziah says quietly as she's hauled up. There's a little bit of an eye quirk at that but nothing else. She absently rubs her wrist though, the one that was whacked good. She does hmmph a little but doesn't really answer right away as she turns to look at the pond. "I was tryin' to relax and then I heard something. I guess I got spooked. Had some nightmares about Kefai returning." she finally admits. "So, I panicked. Sorry." she looks up at him sheepishly. "Forgive me for mistakin you to be one of them?"

"Who be this Kefai…?" he asks, seemingly prying into the fears that have escalated into the incident that unraveled mere moments ago. While he might have been oblivious to many things before, the movement of her hand to rub her wrist, the one he assaulted, makes him extend a hand out toward her, reaching to grab the abused limb. "Let me…" he murmurs in a commanding tone, as if not to be denied, while his thumb and fingers massage the tendons on her upper arm and down along her hand. "I be sorry. Be leavin a mark on ya, tis narh me intentions ta hurt ya…" He sighs a little, second hand reaching into his belt pouch, fishing out a small vile. Popping the top, he will poor some of the contents over the bruised area. Numbweed. The smell is distinct. Fingers rub it in for her. A certain amount of tenderness required not to bruise her further, something that is almost ironic from a big tough like him. "I be havin nightmares too… even Zhao be trying to help me get on with out 'em. Tis hard, since we be narh in control of it." At her last, he nods, "Aye. Iffin ya forgive me fer hittin ya and all." The vile is capped and popped back into his belt pouch.

"Kefai… he's a renegade leader a cult leader iffen you will. He's killed his own followers even." she murmurs quietly. "No one's been able to bring him in. He's slippier than a 'snake." she shudders a little and then because it was more from surprise than any commanding tone she lets her wrist be takin. "Emm… thank you." she seems just a little taken aback by the tenderness and watches as he massages. "I forgive ya." she notes quietly "When your mind bond is stronger, he can block them out for you sometimes. Alo can from time to time, when she remembers too."

Lan murmurs something under his breath when he finds out what and who this Kefai is to Keziah. Whatever it was that he murmured can't have been good, considering the sour expression that touches his features, even in the dark, the eyebrow twitch and the brooding harbor ill will. Instead, he focuses on the wrist that he finds himself smoothing his fingers over, withdrawing his hand once the numbweed made his own digits numb to the touch. "Welcome…" he mutters, manners there underneath all that skulking about. As for the nightmares, he just shrugs a shoulder, eyes flashing up toward her face, "Be good ta forget, but narh iffin it made ya who ya be." His not so numb hand sits on his hip again, as he looks up the pathway once more, "Iffin it did narh happen, I narh be here."

Keziah hmms a little "True, but maybe ya not wantin' ta be here." she murmurs softly. "Things'll likely be interesting around her 'afore too long." she notes quietly "Ya weyrlings just be the beginnin'. MAny in the Weyr are worried somethin's gonna come outta Brie Impressin' a gold. I be worried that her Da won't be having somethin' up his sleeve to be used against Brie and makin her think she has no choice but ta turn. I don't think she would of her own free will. But I be knowin renegades care little about yer free will." she says softly.

"Nay… Me life is here now. Whar I once had, whar I wanted, be at the bottom of the sea. I be knowing that now. Tis whar it be. 'Sides, be having Zhaoth. He be me life now, all that be needed…" he trails off, as if not sure he believed that, as if it was something new to his mind, some new revelation he was slowly accepting. Then, when Keziah brings up the matter of Bri, the man tenses. "Dun worry. I be watching her back. I be taking on anyone who be challengin her." If he didn't prove that sevendays ago, he was making his stance clear once again. "We be narh picking where we be born, nor who be our parents." The tone in his voice suggests he will risk it all to prevent any harm from befalling a friend.

Keziah smiles softly, saddly? Too dark to tell. "I'm glad she be havin' ya." she murmurs softly as she looks up towards the dark sky. "Careful on the fights though. I don't think they'd be helping her too much and all." she hmms a little "Support though, she'll need the support. It'll be hard for her. There's all ready talk all through the Weyr." She sighs a little and turns to look at Lan, and then looks away again. "Again.. I'm umm. Glad she has you."

Lan gives a slight shrug at her first murmur, "Aye. She be fine once she be out tov weyrlinghood. I reckon others be showing her the respect then." The man was confident of that notion, adding in after thought, "'Sides, people be talkin until she be showing 'em how she really be and iffin this Kefia fellow do be coming, I believe she be loyal ta her Weyr." He leans back on his heels, arms crossing against his chest, eyebrow arched a little at the sigh coming out of Keziah, "Dun worry. She be narh impressin ta gold iffin she be narh be able ta handle it. Some say dragons do know." The last comment makes him nod, though correcting as if instinctively knowing there was more to that diversion of gaze than what she said, "Aye, she be having me 'bout as a friend, fer as long as she be having me. She stood by me, I be standing by her now, I reckon."

Keziah shakes her head a little "Not just Kefai I be worrin' about. But her Da. Can we really trust that he'll leave her be here?" she asks quietly "Can we trust him to not find a way to coerce her? I be thinkin that many of them be knowin' about Kate an how she left to join her Da. Many are wondering if Brie will be joinin' her Da." she shakes her head a little "Or will her Da invade?" she hmms a moment "I'm glad yer a good friend." She shakes her head a bit "Sometimes those are the hardest ta come by. But." She turns to look at Ers'lan "But please. Be careful." she then she leaves it at that as she turns back towards the pond.

"I be trustin in Bri. She be true in that she be stayin," reaffirming his believe, not even wavering in how sure he sounded. "Bri be knowin whar be happenin in the past, I reckon she do. But like me, we be tryin ta progress. Tis narh healthy fer people to be askin and questioning her. Her lifemate will narh be standing fer it, besides, Zhaoth will narh be standing fer it." He shuffles his feet slightly, following her movements, snorting quietly at her warning for him to be careful, "I ain't be born yesterday morn."

Keziah snorts a bit "I ain' tbe sayin ya be born yesterday I just be sayin.." she trails off a moment and then shakes her head "Never mind." she states and wraps her arms around herself. "People will questionin' and all. And watchin' her. She's not gonna having it easy. Bein' a goldrider it ain't easy ta begin with, people always watchin' and judgin' and all. Cause someday she could be leadin' us. Be some who'll be worryin' up ta da she becomes a senior. Fear dies hard. They'll wonder, even then if she'll lead us to ruin." she sighs a little "People can be so cruel."

Lan gives a slightly annoyed look to the woman when she tells him to never mind. He was having an inner struggle, since his face twitched, whether or not to respond. He chooses not to, since his jaws clench, listening to her words about being a goldrider. "More reason fer me ta stand by her…" he says at last, a decision made, "Tis going ta be a long journey fer her." The young man gives a long expressive sigh, shaking his head, "Iffin it be the way of it, she be needing people beside her. Ya already know where I be standing. Ya should be there with her, being her weyrlingmaster 'n all. Reckon that be yer decision, but I be sure she be needing a few more good folk being at her side."

Keziah nods quietly "More reason too." she agrees. "I'll stand by her. She's… she's not like Kate." she adds quietly "Hopefully people will start to see that. She glances back over her shoulder to look at Ers'lan "You all be mates now. I'm hopin the rest of your class rallies behind her as well. It's been a rocky start and some may never, but they've not left yet and they had the chance." she notes quietly "But sometimes the bonds formed here be lastin' a long time." Her gaze turns back towards the pond "I just don't want to see any of ya hurt."

"Aye," is all that ends up saying, wrinkling his nose and making a pretty loud sarcastic snort when she mentions the rest of the weyrlings climbing aboard, "Some t'will never be convinced. Best fight the battles we be winning." With that said, he does yawn, looking the way he came, "I reckon I best be back. Dun want ta be jumped by any one else…" He smirks, murmuring a thought to her, "We be adults. Iffin we be hurt, be our own fault. Ya dun have ta mother us. Jus be our teacher, aye?"

There's a bit of a wince. "Yeah, I am so sorry about that." Keziah murmurs quietly and then turns around a little "I don't mean to, I wasn't tryin to mother I was just, I.. I mean, I don't. Oh never mind! Why would ya…" She trails of and closes her eyes and then shifts tracks a little. "Shard it all. Even a teacher can worry right?" she then nods "Yeah, best be going back." she says, almost lamely and turns back towards the pond.

Ers'lan gives a bit of long suffering sigh as she tells him to forget it again, "Ya always do that. Tell me ta never mind. Tis really confusin," his fingers rubbing his temple, "Why would I … whar?" he asks, arms crossing against his chest. "Aye, a teacher can worry, but the best lessons be our own mistakes. Let us fail iffin that whar we be doin. And iffin we dun narh all get along, ya can't make it any different."

"Nothing." Keziah says, slightly under her breath and coughs a bit in place of never mind to his question on her remark of why he would or wouldn't. "Mess up yes, failure that leads to death? No. I can't accept that. That sorta of failure is unacceptable. To anyone. To any member of this weyr."

"Aye. Nothing…" he seems irritated by that, heard in his tone, "Iffin it be that way, I be going, since thar be nothing left to talk about…" He throws the whole 'nothing' back at her. Stuffing his hands in his pockets, he shrugs, "Do whar ya have ta do…" It sounds as if Ers'lan is going to be a hard sell on 'appreciating' his other weyrlings, at least, those who stood against what he was standing up for. He's walking away after that comment, muttering, "Good night…" back over his shoulder as if remembering to be polite.

Keziah hangs her head a little "It's gotta be nothin'." comes her almost inaudible reply. "Good night." she says just a little bit louder. She lets out a sigh and mutters something to herself that really isn't quite understandable, but a few words can be heard applied to herself. Namely such words as dumb and stupid and idiot.

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