Rough Morning (Post-Flight)

Xanadu Weyr - Guest Weyr
Rustic and simple, this one-roomed cottage sits at the edge of the forest near the feeding grounds. The decor is spartan with a wide, comfortable bed and a couch, table and chairs and small kitchenette. Kept stocked with food and drink, the bed freshened with sheets and coverlets after each use by the weyrstaff, it's nothing more than a place to give riders participating in mating flights a bit of privacy should they need it.


(Warning: Implied Mature Content. Trigger Warning: Implied Violence.)

It's likely not all too often that the guest weyr gets used. It's obvious to anyone with a dragon just what this particular guest weyr has been built for. Its location is anything but accidental, and Xanadu has pletny of other unoccupied weyrs that are used when diplomats or other Important People arrive on Xanadu and need a place to stay. This one is not for them, but nor is it a weyr that gets left to bugs and dust when it is not in use. There are people for that. People who come by and sweep and such, just to keep things presentable and away from the yuck side of the cleanliness spectrum for those times when it does get used. It's also kept stocked with foodbits and drink that are not spoiled and sheets that smell clean. It's kept neat and tidy and fresh for the envitable day that someone needs this place.

Today has been that day. The dawn brought with it confusion and panic for a handful of young riders and hope for those more seasoned than they. But with the passing of hours, only two remain on the feeding grounds, holed up in what was once a tidy little weyr. The cleaning staff will have a job to do once the occupants have departed! An epic battle has been waged within the four walls of the cottage. What few decorations that have been placed here and there have been disrupted. Shoved aside or knocked over. An overturned chair rests in the middle of the room, far from the table that it likely was at to begin with. A small potted plant lays in ruin, its vase broken and earth scattered around it. Here and there a piece of clothing has been strewn carelessly, stripped (ripped?) from the bodies of the two that lay upon a bed whose sheets are no longer in place, revealing the mattress beneath. Tangled, that's what they are, around the bodies of those who still sleep.

Ka'el is still asleep, his face a myriad of the colors of a bruise. His left eye is swollen, puffy and blotchy from where he was hit. Hair's a mess. Body dons war-wounds of scratches. Pillow? Somewhere on the floor. His head is without one as he slumbers, dead to the world, brain recovering from a drunken stupor that required no liquor at all. Kanekith is outside, curled closely near Luraoth (if she's still around) and is awake. Watchful. Maybe it's his wakefulness that rouses Ka'el. Or the sunlight from the late afternoon sun that sneaks out from a crack in the curtains that don't quite fully meet. Whatever it is, the young rider begins to stir, shifting a stiff arm that's tightly curled around the body of someone as his face scrunches. "Nngh.."

Sleep, once it finally claimed Soriana, was a force to be reckoned with. Those restless hours last night caught up with her at the same time as post-flight exhaustion, and she passed out like a ragdoll tossed onto the bed and left there. At least she made it to the bed? …then again, if she was on the floor, at least she could have a pillow. She's turned away from Ka'el, her body curved forward slightly and her limbs flung out carelessly. Her hair drapes forward to lightly obscure her face, fluttering with each breath. Her shoulders - well, and the rest of her - are bare, but the shoulder is perhaps the thing closest to Ka'el's view, marked with a growing bruise around… teeth? What else could make such a nicely paired set of indentations? Elsewhere on her body, there are other marks where the tangled sheets don't cover - the bright red marks that show up quickly and the slower-forming bruises of blue and purple. That's what's visible, so far.

Soriana still sleeps, dead to the world, but outside, Luraoth begins to wake. She's still with Kanekith, after their imperfectly-graceful fall from the sky. Dragon flew dragon, and they danced a set together against the dawn sky. In her mind, the soft pink hue of that morning still lingers, and a gentle hum of cicadas provides the background noise of a warm and pleasant day. Luraoth is content. Her urgency is gone; she flew, and now she rests against Kanekith.

Consciousness comes extremely slowly, as if his mind doesn't really want to come out of its comatose state. Perhaps it knows what is to come next and it wants to give Ka'el a few more hours worth of ignorant peace. Sleep. Go back to sleep and dream those dreams that are far more beautiful than the wicked world of reality. But, no. He's starting to wake and dimly is he aware that his arm is lightly elevated upon something and his head lays flat. Bed. In bed. His bed? Maybe, but where's his pillow? His many pillows.. Unngh.. Closed eyes squint again as his body shifts closer to the one that he holds, nuzzling against a shoulder. … A shoulder? What could've been the soft fabric of a pillow feels more like skin against his face, and this confuses him. Flesh? His mind inches closer to wakefulness, and the closer it gets…the worse he begins to feel. .. Faranth, he hurts!. The unchecked punch to his face has had hours to painfully swell, and he's aware of a pulsating pain to his cheekbone and eye. And his body. Where nails bit, punctured, and scraped, burns uncomfortably against the sheets that grate his skin. His shoulder. Back. Chest. Waking up has never been so unpleasant or downright bewildering, and it's only one eye that begins to open, vision blurred and mind hungover.

He's with somebody. The realization of that comes fast once his eye clear enough for him to discern a bare and discolored shoulder so near to his face. With .. with somebody? How? And who?! Something inside of him clenches. He's not sure if it's his heart or stomach, but it's an unpleasant feeling regardless. He releases her and recoils quickly, shifting back and away from her, fleeing and further tangling himself within the sheets that trap him. Get off! Why is he panicking? "Shards…fug.." His mind isn't giving him much right now. Even the fragments of memories have been reduced to mere specks of reflective dust as he's bombarded with too many unknowns. Where is he? How'd he get here? Who is this person? Is he naked? He's naked! Did he sleep with her? What happened! He struggles against the sheets with growing urgency now, trying to distance himself til.. *thud!* "Shit!" Yes, beds do have edges, and yes he's just found the edge of this one, pulling the sheets down with him. Outside, Kanekith is unconcerned, nearly amused. Almost. Why such panic on this wonderful day? They have accomplished much. Both have won.

Yank. Tug. The sheets are far too tangled to simply pull away from Soriana, and so instead Ka'el's frantic motions start to drag her along. One jerk drags her nearly onto her back before she settles down again… oh, but not nearly so restfully as before. The process of her awakening has begun. Her eyelashes flutter, consciousness beginning to return from the depths where it escaped. Coming back to her body to find the place… not as she left it. Someone's been through and wrecked the place, left pain scattered like the dirt from that potted plant - and like those torn clothes, in muscles that complain about their use, ask her why she thought some of those writhing, twisting, clawing moves were a good idea… and she has no answer for them. But. She wasn't going to just lie back and take it, was she? Whatever… it… was.

Thud. Ka'el falls to the floor, and this time the sheets go with him, pulling away almost like one of those magic tricks that leave the teacups undisturbed. Almost. Ka'el is no magician, and though he gets the sheets, he brings Soriana falling onto her back in the middle of the bed. The mattress needs a replacement soon (did it before?), and there's a hard spot where her shoulder hits. Soriana yelps, her eyes coming open as bruised flesh takes a jolt without endorphins to buffer it. For a moment, she doesn't even see the ceiling, because what she's seeing is the same as what she's feeling.

Outside, Luraoth's awakening is a more pleasant one. The drone of cicadas carries across a gentle field, tall grasses growing in the sun and bearing the hot, nose-tickling scent of summer in the gentle wind that only barely stirs heavy heads of ripening grain. Her eyes remain half-lidded, for she finds no need to open them. She has everything she wants, right now - and not even her rider's stirring can truly disturb her near-somnolent contentment, though her soft summery breeze drifts that way.

It's gotta be a bad dream, right? Only, dreams don't hurt this much. Dreams don't hurt at all! He can fall in a dream. Walk inside of fire in a dream. Become engulfing flames himself and never feel a thing! This? Is no dream. His body complains at the impact of it to the hard floor. The sheets have done nothing to cushion his fall, and his head hurts where it bonked it on the wooden planks. More swearing, though it's brief before he silences himself abruptly. His one good eye opens all the way now while the other, although now open, remains notably squinted in comparison. He stays where he is as his brain makes a move to try to gather the thoughts it seems to have lost. It's like watching a sketchy replay of something in super fast rewind. Pieces of the film have been fractured, badly scratched, burned away, and it's moving so quickly in reverse that he barely can comprehend what it is he /does/ remember. He closes his eyes hard and focuses on just breathing. This isn't home. He can hear the sounds of the cicadas outside. The lazy moo of a bovine. There's someone above on the sheetless bed. A living, breathing someone that he … did he…? He must have. He lifts a hand to his face to press down hard upon, and he instantly regrets that as a pang of pain bursts from his cheek. "Shhh…!" He bites back the expletive and gingerly touches the puffy skin around his eye. What .. happened? Maybe she will know… but how can he face her, whoever she is? But there is a glimmer of a memory that falls into place. Luraoth. He remembers her. And .. Soriana? She was there, or was that a dream? It seems like eternity before he moves again, but he does move, slowly picking himself up off of the floor to sit instead of lay, eyes (eye) set down as he attempts to find the courage to lift them and himself up. His tongue slides, wetting his lips. "..Is it you..Sori?" His voice sounds hoarse and dry, as if it's had far too much use.

Kanekith's head slightly turns to the weyr, but…ah. Unconcerned. His queen still rests, and he's going nowhere while she is here. It is the closest thing to affection he has shown to any dragon, this attention that he now gives her. He does not cuddle (though he does stay close enough that his hide touches hers), or fawn, or nuzzle, but he is attentive and watchful, his mind smooth and silky as the shadow that usually clings so possessively over his rider instead passes languidly over her.

Oh, yes, Soriana was there. Is here. The ceiling ahead resolves into an actual ceiling. White, not red. It's… yeah. A ceiling. Soriana's kind of glad it's a boring one. She takes in a deep breath. She lets it out, something that starts smoothly but catches at the shut-off profanity. She's not alone. There was… there was… she remembers a rider. Lean, androgynous, carrying his age well but with at least a decade on her, and she was… Luraoth was…

Luraoth is pleased by Kanekith's presence, by his touch, though she seems content enough to have it be a light one and a shadow against the great golding fields. Perhaps a rain-cloud - a welcomed one. How else will the grain grow? The small queen's thoughts are more inward-turned than usual, though they are still warm and welcoming. She is simply… distracted by these expanses inside herself, her focus spent there instead of externally… for the moment.

The rest of Soriana's breath falls out raggedly. She starts to maneuver to sit herself up, then winces at a muscle's complaint and settles back again. She's naked, she notes almost absently. Completely and utterly so, not even a scrap of sheet. That, at this moment, seems the least of her concerns - whoever's here, they already saw it - and so she files the thought away as she half-rolls to a different position and carefully begins to lever herself up again, faced half-away from Ka'el's side (edge) of the bed. Her hair sways as she rises, again obscuring her face. She doesn't bother to brush it back. Let it hide what it wants to; it's not like she has any other kind of privacy. It's not like…

It's not the presence of a voice that surprises her. Even dazed, it's obvious enough that there's someone here. The broad strokes (like that blue one on her hip?) of events resolve themselves in her mind to at least that extent. That lithe rider whose face she can picture well enough to know she's never met him before. His dragon. Soriana's already bracing herself for it, hoping that sitting up will let her put on a confident and smiling face, one that will convince the world that everything is under control. Even if that face doesn't seem to be coming on demand, this time. She wants it, and she's trying to get it there in time, because she's figuring out what happened.

So no. It's not the presence of the voice that surprises her. It's that it's… "…Kale?"

Soriana. He'd know that voice anywhere. It's been turns since anyone has used his name, his old name, other than her. And so the relief that floods his body is like a tidal wave that engulfs him and carries him away. Then rigidness of his body, the sick feeling of his mind eases with such swiftness it leaves him feeling slightly light-headed as he floats along with that tsunami of relief that now slumps his body. It was Sori. Sori who rose with Luraoth and intoxicated him so completely. Not a stranger. Not a friend. The knowledge of this does not answer the question of why he can't quite open his eye, and why his eye hurts so shardin' much, and why his body feels as if he just tried to wrestle a wild feline… but those are physical things. Unimportant things in comparison to the twisted turmoil that was going on within him.

But it's ok now. Everything is fine, and Ka'el slowly picks himself off of the floor, pulling away the sheets that still trap him like a web. It's Soriana up there, and Faranth does he want to be with her now and hug her close to him and keep her to his chest for hours and hours while reveling in gratefulness. And so he rises up, standing before pressing a knee to the naked mattress in preparation to crawl across the handful of feet that separate him and her. But he .. doesn't make it that far. He stops, frozen in the beginnings of that crawl as his eye gets its first good look at her. Her body, familiar. Her body…battered? Bruised. Blue. Black. Purple. Red. Patches marked by a too rough hand. Violent grips. Rough handling. Careless handling. Mindless rapture. "What happened?" It's a tone that rarely claims his voice. Rage and fear, intensely hot, like the blue flame of a blowtorch. Concentrated emotion that comes out small in volume, yet extreme in feeling.

And it's Kale, Ka'el, him who's here. It's him who… Soriana's fingers curl slowly. At least they don't hurt? Though she might have broken off a nail somewhere, embedded in flesh in the midst of… that. The tone of his voice doesn't get a visible reaction. She doesn't turn toward him, not even her head. She stays where she is, hair hiding her face. It doesn't hide her voice, though, and it can't hide the edge in it as she speaks. Something that might be bitterness, or might just be an edge she's trying not to fall off. "A flight."

Soriana had her flights lesson. She's read the books seen it happen to others. She knows, oh, all sorts of things, and now… it's happened to her. Funny. All that education, and she still hurts. No wonder she's having such a hard time getting that reassuring smile, because she's feeling anything but reassured. So she stops trying. The pain and unhappiness in her face may still be hidden for now, but only by her hair.

No. No no no, this isn't right. This isn't … is it? Is this how it always is? Ka'el has no background knowledge other than what he's been told. By his mother. By the few riders he spoke to, but none of them told him the intimate details. It has to happen. Yeah, he got that. You can't control who it happens with. Sure, understood. Details will be spotty. Heh, no joke. But this? They didn't warn him about this.

His mother did. She knew all along that riders are less human than their non-riding counterparts. Animals who only care about one thing. He believed her, when he was younger. Then he met riders and .. how could they be anything like as she described? Mindless, ravenous drones whose only instinct was to satisfy themselves with whoever may be available? These people weren't like that! … But is he? Has he been wrong and she right this entire time? What happened? That was his question to Soriana, but his gut knows what happened. Her injuries? Those were because of him. His hands did that. His own lack of control over himself brought injury to her. A sick feeling turns his stomach. Her unresponsiveness twists something in his chest far too hard, making the pain of his own body unimportant. His eye lifts to her shoulder, to that bruise and toothy indentations. His expression shatters, mouth agape as he recoils from the bed, way from her, horrified by the realization. "..I.." He what? He's sorry? Sorry fixes nothing. Sorry doesn't take back anything that he did or make any of those marks and bruises go away.

Soriana shifts abruptly, rising to her feet. She's still faced away from Ka'el, and for once, she has no urge to turn back toward him. He's the one she goes to when things go wrong. The one with the light words to make her smile and the serious meanings underneath that make the smile last. Only… the thought of him isn't bringing a smile to her face, now. She doesn't want to look at him. There's Luraoth, but… no. The gold's a presence in Soriana's mind still, but her contentment is so at odds with her rider's thoughts they might as well be cross-winds at different levels of the sky, generating nothing but turbulence at the intersection. It doesn't help. None of it helps.

It's not always like this. Oh, Soriana doesn't know that, but… she's had greenrider friends. A goldriding mother. She'd have seen something. Wouldn't she? Someone would have let something slip… right? But. If it isn't always like this - if there's the chance of pleasant (if urgent) flights and waking with awkwardness but no pain - then. Then that's even worse. Because then it's not because of a flight. It's her and Ka'el, and that is what brought this into being.

Soriana steps away, briskly at first and then adjusting her pace as she discovers what bruises and strained muscles mean. It's not a limp, exactly (not after the first couple steps), but it's a smaller stride. A more careful one. One that she can manage, taking her to the window and carefully twitching the curtains open just a tiny bit. Enough to look out without letting anyone else look in.

Ka'el steps backward til the back of one foot hits the edge of that overturned chair that lays forgotten in the middle of the cabin. That stops him, but his eyes don't leave her. She doesn't look at him, but why would she want to? This was Luraoth's flight. Her flight, and look what he's done. He dimly remembers feeling concern for their Weyrwoman the last time she rose. Worried of the bronze riders that lusted after her so. Would they injure her? Bring her harm? Soriana herself reassured him. Told him Seryth would call if anything had gone wrong. .. Did Luraoth? Has she called in fear for her rider? Are there dragons now from his own wing, assembling to lay siege to this cottage and defend their youngest weyrwoman from a rider tried, tested, and proven to lack control?

Maybe. If so, he'd go willingly. Lock him away. Chain him to a wall! Keep him away on ball and chain like the beast he's shown himself to be. "I'm sorry." He manages to get the phrase out, useless as it may be. His eye throbs, begging for attention. He sidesteps the chair, and bare feet step upon the soft fabric of his jogging pants. .. He's naked. He nearly forgot, and a sudden surge of shame is felt upon realizing it now. Grimacing, he bends to collect at least that garment and pull it on. "I didn't mean…" His apology has opened the floodgates of babble and unfinished sentences. "I never would've… I didn't know… I'd never.." But he did, and it makes him sick. He stumbles upon her shirt, and he snatches it up, his hand balling into a fist around the fabric before it's brought to the bed and set down. "If no one's out.. I'll go…send a healer.. so nobody sees…" Shit.

Luraoth rests with Kanekith, for none of Soriana's pain is enough to push through the gold's contentment and truly worry the queen, and besides. Soriana doesn't want to disturb her. Luraoth is happy. There's no squad of guards coming. Flights aren't always like this - but sometimes they are. Bruises… happen. It won't be the first time. (Though isn't there a new healer here lately?) It … won't be the last time? Soriana frowns, and tugs the curtains back into their place before slowly turning. She's still nude, but she doesn't seem to care. Finally, finally her gaze settles on Ka'el as he babbles… apologies? Wouldn't. Didn't know. Do any of them matter? Because. Did. The frown remains, listening to those excuses and then to his offer.

Her head shakes in quick negation. A little twinge of pain. "I'll go myself." And let everyone see? Maybe. At least her face seems unmarked. There might be a chance nobody would notice? …the shirt's a scoop neck. Of all the days to have worn it. Soriana starts back toward the bed, then pauses. The change in position. That's not a trick of the light. Ka'el's eye, puffy and swollen. "What happened to…?" Her tone is concern, drawn out of her despite her unhappiness. It's probably the most affect her voice has had since she awoke.

She wants to go? He nods, small and quick, his eyes staring hard at the shirt on the bed, the fabric stretched out of shape in apparent attempt to tear it off of her at some point earlier today. Teeth clench as he shifts his gaze away. She can go first, he won't stop her. It'll be better that way. Save face. She's a weyrwoman. How would it look for her to exit after he abandoned her? She's the one in control, calling the shots. That's what the weyr expects from a weyrwoman, and he's not going to strip her of that right. He won't mar her any further. He steps backward and away from the bed as she starts toward it, keeping distance between himself and her. He looks up at her question, vague puzzlement seen through a face of misery. "What? … Oh." He touches at the tender flesh of his cheek and eye and gives his shoulder an unconcerned and pained shrug. Ow. Her fingernails…need to be kept forever short. "Fell maybe.. or somethin'." His tone is careless, himself obviously not a priority and he doesn't bother trying to rake through his fractured memories to find out the true answer. He moves further back, eye kept from her as he look for pieces of clothing. Pants. A belt. Underwear… ugh. Those probably aren't salvageable. Each mangled piece digs the knife of guilt deeper, but he picks them up, save that once piece of undergarment, to bring to the bed, which he keeps between himself and her. "He won't chase her again." A quiet promise.

…into a doorknob? Because, uh, people don't just fall like that, generally. It's more like… Soriana frowns, arguing with her memories. (Does she even really want those memories? … It's better than not having them. … Maybe.) Even now, she's concerned about him, the thoughtful look and eyes that - after so much avoiding him - watch his movements. Did… was there a brawl? Bronzeriders do that sometimes. They fight, as the dragons do in the sky. (Was there a fight? Is the Annex host to injured dragons? Is Xeosoth there as the best option to soothe them, with Luraoth distracted and the other golds gone?) "Did someone…" The frown deepens. They better not've. Because, uh. … they just better, that's all. Soriana walks back to the bed. Brisker now. It hurts more, but she doesn't care. If she can't ignore the pain, what can she do? Her pants. Her underpa- no. Her pants. She'll be starting with those, apparently. She steps into one leg, then the other (ow. It doesn't want to bend like that. She makes it anyhow.) and carefully fastens them up. Her gaze rises to Ka'el, opposite the bed from her. Her mouth twists. "You-" She cuts herself off. Why remind him that he doesn't have a choice? If Luraoth is glowing, Kanekith will chase. All the bronzes will. It's instincts, wired into them. There's no choice there. Not for the dragons. Not for the riders either. When a gold rises, the bronzes will chase. "You should put some ice on that." She looks away, and picks up her shirt.

He won't chase her again. A promise he aims to keep. How could he allow himself to do this again? To wake up to a battered Soriana again? Have her hate him all over again? How could he loathe himself any more than he does right now? He may, if he allows this to happen a second time. Darsce was right. He's changed into something mean. Maybe this is what it took for him to see it and realize what everyone else has already known. He's different. Ka'el … Kale never would have done this. Not in a million turns, yet the evidence is black and blue before him. Kale is gone, replaced by a vengeful, egotistical, and apparently violent man who'd bring harm to even the one he swore he never would. He told her she could trust him. How can she now when he cannot trust himself? He won't allow Kanekith to chase again, and he knows what that entails. For now, he's chased and caught and … will there be eggs? Maybe. Probably. Then another hatching for new candidates. That will give him.. some time to sort through the details.

His heart hurts more than his eye ever could. He doesn't watch her dress, though he can see the motions of her doing in his peripheral. He frowns at the mentioning of ice. She's concerned about that when she… when all over her… He inhales a swift and deep breath as he stalks away, plopping down heavily on one of the undisrupted table chair. He stoops over, elbows upon knees and head bowing down as both hands dig through his hair, clinging and pulling at the roots. His eyes squeeze shut and he holds himself in a grimace, murmuring barely heard strings of the same expletive. "Shit..shit.." Fingers grip tighter, straining the scalp painfully. Is this how she felt, when he gripped at her, damaging capillaries, making her bleed from within? "See…a .. healer." He didn't mean to hurt you. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry."

The shirt goes over her shoulders. It's a comfortable one, except for when it touches the parts of Soriana's skin where nothing's comfortable right now - but that's a mild thing. Easily ignored. Harder to ignore is Ka'el, because she is concerned about him. About his eye, though she's sure he's had worse. (How many brothers does he have, again?) About… him. About how he must feel, about… she can see it hurting him. (The her being hurt.) It's… it's a flight. Flights can be… are?… like that. He… it's not like she said no. Not that… not as such. Because… It wasn't her doing the thinking. And. (One shoe.) It wasn't him doing the thinking either. But. (Another shoe.) Are flights like that? Maybe she did something wrong. Maybe… if she'd been more aware of it coming. More in control. There might have been something she could have done, so it didn't end up like this. Something she didn't know. …maybe Ka'el was right, in a way. Maybe Darsce shouldn't have been the one teaching that class. Maybe someone else could have told her the right thing to do. Oh, he still went about it all wrong, but… maybe he was right. Maybe if Darsce hadn't stolen that knot, this wouldn't have happened. Not like this.

Maybe Soriana could make Ka'el better if she told him some of this. Remove some of the burden of guilt from him. Make him… tell him… she takes a step toward him, and then she stops. She can't. She doesn't want to see him hurting, but she hurts. Too much, right now, for any of those comforting words. Especially when she's not entirely certain she believes them. (Of course she believes them. This is her Kale… but… she hurts.) "I'll…" Be fine? She doesn't believe that one either. She at least won't lie to him. Go to the healer? Maybe, but she doesn't like that one. He can't tell her what to do. (Since when does she mind him caring about her?) It's all too much to deal with, and she shakes her head. The rest of the sentence finally comes out, as she turns to leave. "…see you." It's true, isn't it? Whether she wants to or not. There will be eggs. Even riders from other weyrs stick around when their bronzes are clutchfathers. It's not like Ka'el is going anywhere, and neither is she, except. Right now… right now, she's going away, because that's all she can manage to think to do.

What does he do? What is he supposed to do? Ka'el doesn't have an answer, and the blackness behind his eyelids isn't writing a miracle for him. There's no script. No words that he can say to make all of this go away or get better or resolve. He's done something unforgivable. .. But it was a flight. Is that an excuse? Is there any excuse for his conduct? Is this what riders do? Involve themselves in impossible situations and do unthinkable things only to write it off as 'oh, it was a flight. Not my fault'? How much do flight impulses control, anyway? Are those actions truly separate from who he is, or is flightlust merely an outlet that allows riders to be who they want to be once formalities and social norms are stripped away? .. What if this is who he really is? Did he do all of that because he wanted to? She's right. It's all too much to deal with, the battle going on in his mind. The strain is exhausting. Heartbreaking. And there is no one to guide him towards the path towards healing. And so, he stays still, trapped upon the weed choked trail that threatens to smother him. Thorns press into his skin. Vines wrap around his limbs and tighten around the throat as jagged leaves stretch to further suffocate him. He'll be too far gone to find, eventually.

She's leaving. Ka'el swallows but he does not look up. His grip upon his hair doesn't loosen and his body doesn't shift. She'll see him. Sure, because she has to. Because they live in the same place. Because their dragons are, for the moment, mates and Kanekith will have that instinct to protect and serve Luraoth til eggs crack on the sands. She'll see him alright, but not because he wants her to, and definitely not any more than she needs to. His face, hidden by arms and its bowed position, is red with shame, guilt, anguish, loathing …. too many more to list. She's leaving, and he doesn't discourage her from doing so. He stays, and he will stay long after she's gone, tending not to his own injuries. Long after the afternoon gives way to evening, he'll stay, swallowed by the darkness of a weyr he's come to hate.


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