What Words Mean
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Xanadu Weyr - Deep Forest
The wooded areas closer to Xanadu Weyr represent a compromise between man and mother nature, but to the north and west, no such arrangements have been made. The deep woods between the Weyr and the mountains are less traveled, the wider paths fit for man and beast less present. The noises of mankind are barely audible here, brief ghosts on the wind, and the quiet thrum of forest life presses in on all sides. The snapping of a twig, a bird's cry, the low cadence of insects; all of these things seem louder. Closer. The deeper one moves into the trees, the more it becomes obvious that one passes through nature only at her allowance.
The cover of trees is more severe in this area of the wood and only occasional shafts of sunlight lance down through the canopy, the sky visible in brief patches. A rough path has been blazed back towards the Weyr. It does not appear to be a heavily frequented path, but the few who have chosen to pass through this area appear to use it more than other avenues available. Only the very foolish or the very experienced would ever wander far from the path.


After the disaster that had occured yesterday Sami and Serena had withdrawn to an out of the way place where Serena had tried to comfort the miserable green. It hadn't helped all that much. Samiryth had been inconsolable and felt very much brushed aside in favor of someone new. Which is a feeling that Serena herself could share a little bit. Serena had nothing that she could say to the greens questions of why Garouth did what he did. There isn't a good answer. It had left Serena feeling more that a little put out and frankly angry at the bronze. Sami had been nothing but kind, warm and understanding to Garouth through all his difficulties and to have him blow up like that and embarass Sami was no ok in Serena's mind. Not to mention her own feelings of D'lei's reaction when she'd tried to give him a little peck on the cheek. Was that impulsive? Yes it was. But a true expression of how she was feeling and since he and Quinn have the relationship they have she didn't think he'd find something so small that repugnant. So double ouch. So there Serena was with a miserable green, pregnant, without her flight clothes and in an unfamiliar weyr. She eventually found her way to the living area and then fell asleep, but first thing in the morning had escaped out into the forest where she is sitting next to Sami. For obvious reasons they had not wanted alot of people interaction.

So that was yesterday. And today…? Garouth comes looking. D'lei too, for that matter. He's in the lead, in fact, making his way along the forest trail… though it's Garouth who's done more of the scouting, for all the bronze trails a distance behind his rider. He's asked the firelizards, skimming through their mental pictures to find… Samiryth. The emerald in the forest! …semi-literally. But the bronze hangs back, even as D'lei approaches, with an uncomfortable expression and his hands tucked in his pockets as he comes to the edge of where they sit and… clears his throat. "Hey."

Serena would rather have just gone home. But without her flight jacket and other stuff she wouldn't risk it and Cita had said 3 days so she figured that was when would be safe for the baby. So yeah. They are here. Sami does not pick her head up from the ground when she hears them approach. She knows who is coming and is doing her best to be radio silent and shut them out of her mind as much as she is able. Serena doesn't have the same luxery since D'lei is standing right there. If she wasn't pregnant with his child she would probably just blow him off and tell him to leave, but she has to be a grownup about this. That and D'lei didn't actually do anything all that bad. Garouth on the other hand….Serena will get to her feet and sigh and move toward them, "Hey." she'll say to D'lei before she moves past him to address Garouth, who she views as the source of the problem, "I'm not going to tell you how you should feel. You are a grown bronze and have the right to feel how you feel about whoever you like. It isn't what you said it's how you said it. And how you said it isn't ok Garouth. I'm very disappointed in you. Sami didn't deserve that. She's been nothing but loving to you and to embarass her like that doesn't speak well for you." She could go on but really thats the crux of it. She'll move back to her human counterpart and sigh, "She's a mess." she says motioning to the green.

Serena isn't sure herself. Not completely. Samiryth hasn't given her the complete story yet either she just knows how Samiryth feels and that she views her relationship with Garouth as over or lost, "He broke up with her." Thats the best way she can think to phrase it. Not that they were 'together' in the sense that Sami might have wanted but still, "She was explaining to Leirith that Garouth and her have been well…together…and he flipped, threw her things out of his mind and raced off. She's crushed and mortified. She feels used." She looks past D'lei toward Garouth, "She thinks he's moved on to Leirith." So yeah. Lots of feelings involved. Serena can only shrug.

D'lei blinks. "Uh. They weren't together," he says, putting words to that thing that even Serena was thinking. There are necessary pre-requisites here! You can't get to second base before you round first. Or, well… you can if you're the baseman, but never mind. The point is… what? D'lei furrows his brow as he tries to follow what Serena is saying about what Samiryth said about what Garouth said… and gets Garouth's own side of it, as well, as the bronze interjects. "So. They… she said they had a flight? Or that they were together?" Because those are very different things. "I mean… even if she just meant a flight, maybe it's how she said it…"

"She said to Leirith that she and Garouth were mates because they have mated." Serena says with a sigh, Sami is too proper to say it so bluntly but Serena is less so. She once again looks past toward Garouth, "So yeah. She's your mate in the literal sense." There is no escaping that. It's a biological fact. She'll look back to D'lei, "She didn't want to overwhealm Leirith or embarass Garouth. By saying it that way when it could lead to more questions."

D'lei blinks again, because he has apparently not put these pieces together like that before and… his brow furrows, because he's still having a hard time doing that. "Uhm. Okay. That's…" He glances past Serena to Samiryth, then back to Garouth - still blank-faced - then to Serena again. "He… uh. Like, mated does mean that? But it also means like… weyrmated. And that's… y'know. Different. Usually when it's flights its more… 'won my flight' sort of things. Or 'made love' or something. Not like… uh… what you do with your prize bovine." Maybe dialects are different between Monaco and Half Moon! Could be, right? D'lei shifts a bit on his feet, awkward but keeping his gaze on Serena because… well, this is important.

"If she meant weyrmated she would have said that. She loves him…or she did." Serena says with a sigh, "You know how proper Sami is. She wanted to be clinical and brief." She will once again look past D'lei to Garouth, "She knows full well you are working on figuring your stuff out. Hasn't she been understanding enough for you? She gave you space when you wanted it. She said she wasn't bothered if you flew other females. She hasn't put anything on you."

"So… it sounds like they both misunderstood things?" D'lei suggests, with a frown and a shove of his hands a bit deeper into his pockets. He keeps his gaze on Serena, watching her eyes as she addresses his bronze again, speaking to the dragon since Samiryth… well. Isn't interested in doing so, apparently. Not now! But Garouth, well… he's had enough of silence, apparently. « Enough for what? » he asks, a rude projection of his voice - though only voice, no images or thoughts - toward both Serena and the mentally-blocking Samiryth alike. And that does make D'lei glance back to his dragon, with a small frown as he eyes the bronze.

Serena is't going to let anyone off the hook just that easy, "It might have been a misunderstanding but on his part. Not hers. And he saw what he did to her and didn't care. That isn't a misunderstanding. That is mean." When Garouth speaks up though that gets a reaction out of Serena who frowns and then looks at D'lei and then back to Garouth. She's in momma bear mode now. "Garouth I'm going to explain this to you since you clearly have no idea what you've done. I want to paint you this picture so you can understand because if you ever hope to have any close relationship with a female ever you are going to need to understand this. You caught Sami on her maiden flight. You are the only one ever. There's the physical component. But she fell in love with you. The you that is deep inside. You kept her at bay because you wanted to figure things out. Thats fine. You told her she couldn't be your only and she took it with style. She even said she wanted you to catch other females. Because she knew it would make you happy. Even though it would still be difficult for her. Then you start cuddling up to her and giving the impression things were ok. She was trying to be generous to you and Leirith in how she explained things. She didn't want to make it harder for you. Then you turn on a dime in front of another female who you clearly have interest in. How do you think that makes a lady feel? It makes her feel alone, rejected, and crushed. If this is how you treat the females you care about you will not have them very long. So yes. I think she's done enough for you. And she did it all asking nothing in return from you. Because thats how love works." Sami, if she even heard him, does nothing. She'll let Serena deal with this, because it's hard to even look at Garouth right now.

D'lei's frown deepens, his hands buried in his pockets, but while the corners of his mouth tug in, words don't make it out before Serena is addressing herself to Garouth again and explaining… a whole entire side of things. The bronze remains there, stoic and listening to her as the greenrider goes through all the many pieces of the story she and Samiryth see, and then… he is silent, for a time after, before he speaks. « So. » Just that, at first, and D'lei's mouth twitches silently in a deeper frown before the bronze… continues regardless. « If I had spoken to her less… shown less kindness to her… she would not now be unhappy. » He blinks, a slow lowering of his eyelids and a rise of them. « She is unhappy because I sought to warm to her. Because I tried to please her, in her first flight and after. » His wings flicker, a motion up and then back down again. « Very well. I will not lead you on, Samiryth. » Not that she's listening to him, most likely, but still. He says it to her, as well as Serena. « I am sorry I disappointed you. »

Sometimes there is a communication divide between dragons and humans, men and women. This is one of those moments. Garouth seems to lack a certain social experience that may well come with age, "No Garouth. She is unhappy because what you said and did yesterday. All those things you mentioned are fine. She loved all those things. But I think you can piece this together. If you want to fix this you have to apologize for what you did and mean it. If you don't care about her at all then yes…don't lead her on. But if you do care and just are still figuring things out then nothing has changed and you might still have a shot at fixing this." She shakes her head, "Garouth it isn't me you need to apologize too. I'm guessing you care at least a little or you wouldn't have come." She will then move toward Samiryth to try to get her attention, "Sami. Garouth has some things you should hear. I know you feel bad and embarassed but you have to remember he's younger than you. Still figuring things out. Being a grownup means we have to try and give people second chances." Sami shifts her head to lift it from the ground and drops her wall and says simply and without ornamentation, « I'm listening. »

Garouth regards Serena, then shifts his gaze past her to Samiryth. He's silent, for a moment, looking at her before he speaks. « I wish to apologize. You have a dream, Samiryth. A beautiful and elegant dream… and I did not realize how important it was to you. I did not understand what you meant by your words, or by your actions. » His head dips slightly, a flicker of silver across his gaze. « I still do not, but I understand more. I see your dream, your desire to be a princess beside her prince. I see how you thought I might become your prince. » A huff, an exhale of breath, and he lifts his head again, gaze steady to her. « I am sorry. I do not think I can be. »

Samiryth will listen though her eyes remain grey. What he said was incredibly hurtful, though his words are nicer now than they were yesterday. Much nicer and do speak about what she actually wants so he's been paying attention enough to at least get that, « That is my dream. » she concedes, though she will continue, « You were doing fine until yesterday. » Even though it was slow and difficult it was /fine/. « I can't compare to her. » Leirith. He's a bronze and she's a gold. It doesn't take much to work it out. « Do I embarass you so much? »

« Your rider says you spoke of mating as nothing more than flights. » Garouth's voice is simple, sparse. « That seemed an ill fit for your dream. Would your prince be the mate of yourself and many? Your prince may chase others… but that love… lust… is not what you hope to feel for him. You desire romance. » The bronze tucks his head again, a slight lowering of it. « So. I thought you reached for more. Your dream's fulfillment. » Which… he denied, but still. « I can tell Leirith of my error. » The offer is made readily by the bronze, his gaze steady. It may be simple for Samiryth to work out, but Garouth is honest with his answer for her last. « I do not understand. »

Samiryth sighs softly to the bronze. She isn't ready to accept his apology just yet but she isn't rejecting it either, « Garouth females compete for males just as males compete for females. We compare ourselves to each other. » Sami is guessing this is the common experience with most females. Thankfully life is not a flight. « You are still figuring things out. » Though she will come out and tell him what she wants, « I need to know that there is some romance and maybe a little love between us. I'm not asking for a life commitment here, but are you saying you love Lerith and me? »

Garouth listens to Samiryth, letting her words settle among his thoughts… even as those thoughts remain hidden, his voice and gaze his only communication opened to her. « There are many things I do not yet understand, » he agrees, his words followed by a quiet. « I… do not know if I understand what you mean when you say… love. » He's soft, almost hesitant. « I know what Leirith means. She means she is excited, and happy, and wants to cuddle like a hatchling against my warmth. She is too young to mean more. » Even if she's growing fast, and Garouth is… not without his trepidations, there. « When you say it… I see your dream. I enjoy speaking with you, and dancing with you, and seeing the shapes of your body and mind… but I feel there is something more, something I do not understand. »

Samiryth has never been the sort to hold a grudge. There was a problem, it was solved, and the future is looking bright again. The relief is palpable in the greens mind. Now hopefully Leirith will not look down on her for what happened. If he even understood it. « I will go with you. » The wilds might not be ladylike but perhaps she can pretty them up if given the chance. And yes they will see. Things had gone good so far so there is no reason to think that they can't go well in the future. Though the green does have one request of the bronze, « Will you tell Leirith about us? You can describe it how you wish but I want her to know. » For several reasons. Not the least of which because she asked, but also because that may help explain the difficult moment. Serena has been standing off to the side to let the dragons talk and her smile would seem to indicate she is pleased with how it went. She can now look over to D'lei and sigh, "I hoped they'd work it out." That was her first concern though now to the human problems. "I'm sorry if me trying to kiss you bothered you. I was swept up in the moment."

In a sense the wilds are a test for Samiryth, but more importantly to Garouth… they're a way for her to ease into it. If, after seeing him hunt, she's still willing to see his wild side… well. That, surely, will make him more comfortable in the exposure of it to her. « I will tell Leirith. » The bronze agrees to that readily. « She knows what flights are, though she does not understand them. » He's matter of fact about it; the gold has a child's knowledge of Where Babies Come From, but of course she doesn't actually get it. Not yet. « I will tell her that is part of it, and so is… an element of romance. » Garouth laughs, just a little - an amused sound, not mocking or condescending. « She may have many more questions for you, after that answer. But I will tell her. » D'lei… well, he's taken up a spot leaned back against a tree as the dragons talk, eyes half closed as he listens, and now he shifts his attention back to Serena. "I… shells. I'm sorry too. It's… it feels so complicated. You, our baby… things like meeting your parents… and Quinn… I don't know what to make of you. Of… anything, it feels like." He shrugs. "It's not that you're not pretty or anything. It's just… complicated."

Sami is willing to be exposed and at least give it a shot. If she hates it she'll be honest enough to tell him so. There probably isn't always an element of romance but sometimes! « If she has questions I'll answer them within what is appropriate. » Some things are private after all and can't be discussed with anyone but who was there. In this case the bronze dragon, « Thank you though. I'm glad she'll know. » It is complicated. Life went from simple to complicated real fast. Serena is not immune to mixed feelings, "I understand." And she does. It's one of those strange things, "I just thought since you and Quinn were open about things it wouldn't be a big deal." She shrugs helplessly, "The most important thing is that we are on the same page with the baby and we are." Thats where it all has to begin anyway, "It's just that sitting in an office all day I've had time to think about things and I thought maybe we could find a way to make your situation work." A crack in the wall perhaps?

« You need not give up your secrets. » Garouth replies, with just a trace of tease… and then his tone shifts more serious again. « She means no harm by it… nor does she wish you gone. » He says it with a tone of certainty, because apparently this bronze thinks he can speak for that gold. « She is exuberant… » Which is a polite way to put it! « …but kind. » D'lei leans up from the tree again, taking a step toward Serena. "It's… we are. That's not even the complicated part." He smiles wryly. "When we're talking… I don't know. Sometimes it feels like you're a nice girl I'd like to make out with. And sometimes… it feels more like you're my aunt, fussing over me." An awkward smile, as he tries to keep up his gaze but doesn't quite manage it.

Samiryth dips her head in something resembling a nod, « I don't believe she wants me gone. » That didn't seem the golds wish at any point in the interaction they had. « She is. » is her polite response, « Her energy doesn't bother me. » And so it really doesn't, in fact there is nothing really about Lerith that bothers her. Serena won't look away even if he does, its empowering to hear that she is still attractive, "There are times I want too." she says, "And I don't think its just the hormones talking." Though that may be a part of it, "I fuss because I care. We all need someone to fuss over us every now and again. You haven't had anyone to do that for you."

Garouth nods back to Samiryth, accepting her agreement and seeming pleased by it. He moves his head, a slight lean of his neck to hers, and… a slight rumble, with a trace of smile. « I suppose this might be a part of the tour… » he says, head tilting to survey the forest around them. « I am certainly fond of it… different as it is from the jungles of Monaco. » D'lei nods slowly, eyes down before he looks up again… and smiles wryly. "I guess that's part of it too. I don't want to take advantage of you, if you're… I mean, it's your choice what you want to do, and with who. But…" What if she regrets it in the morning? Or… in six months from now? D'lei studies Serena for another moment, listening to her, then… half-smiles. "But… that's the thing. I'm almost twenty five turns. I… my job, when I get back to Monaco, is flying out into the worst storms we can find, because that's where the shipwrecks are. I take risks. It's… sort of what I do."

Samiryth will apply a gentle pressure in return while closing her eyes for a moment. Things are safe again and safe is good. Her eyes will open again and take in her surroundings. She'd paid little attention to them when she arrived here because nothing had mattered then beyond just being away from people. « Half Moon has jungles too, but here is different. There are all sorts of different places that I've been. » She's been pretty much everywhere in the course of her job, « Sometime you can show me your home again. I didn't get to see it properly last time. » There had been much going on then. She smiles at his words. It's sweet that he'd even think about that. "I'm not saying it will happen and I'm not saying it won't." Which is a change from previous, "I'm saying we can talk about it." As he tells her his age she'll chuckle, "I'm not saying you can't take care of yourself. I know you can. Just saying I'll always worry a little. It's sorta programmed into me now." she'll tap her belly gently, "Just because I worry or fuss doesn't mean I don't have faith in you."

« It is the weather, I think. » Garouth's been in the back of D'lei's mind for those studies of Deluge climate maps and weather patterns, after all. « The change in temperature, and rain… it makes different things grow, and different creatures come to eat them. » And at the top of that food chain? Why, Garouth, of course. RAWR. « When it is safe for your rider, you can visit Monaco again and explore my jungles. » As opposed to her Half-Moon ones! D'lei… nods a little, to Serena. "I… hey. How about a hug?" he says, with a wry quirk of his lips. "I mean… I know it doesn't make up for anything. But. I think… it might make us both feel better?" He opens his arms a bit, making the offer as he looks to her.

Samiryth had never really given consideration to why things were the way they were. Just that they /were/ different. Which made for pleasing aesthetic differences that she could appreciate. Garouth /is/ at the top of the food chain! Because he's a big old bronze, « I mostly eat from the pens. Sevran brings me food. » At least that is the name of one of the butchers in charge of things over in Half Moon. She will wrap him in velvet again gently, « I will come. And until I can you can come visit me when you can. » Serena does want a hug! Especially from D'lei. It's only been a night or so since the last one but so much has happened since it seems like a long while. She'll move over to him and wrap her arms around him tightly, "We don't have to worry about making up for things. Just about moving forward."

« I do not like the pen-beasts, » Garouth says. There's a distaste in his words, but it's a personal one - like someone talking about a meal too bland for their palate while acknowledging there's nothing outright wrong with it. « They taste dry. Without spirit. » A small snort, and then he follows it with a soft nuzzle to Samiryth's neck, a nosing along. « I will visit. » he agrees. « Half Moon's jungles are more similar to Monaco than here… but there are still differences. » And he is curious to explore them. D'lei nods, wrapping his arms around Serena and squeezing her against him, lightly at first but then with increasing strength as he gives her an opportunity to squeak out if the hug turns out to be too tight for comfort with baby involved. "Yeah," he agrees quietly. "Moving forward is… important." A smile, as he looks past to their dragons, then tilts his head toward Serena with a quirk of lips. "So where do we go from here?"

« Maybe you can show me the differences then in what you eat as opposed to what I eat. I've been very hungry lately. » The green informs him. And it's true that she's been eating at least double what she did previously. Cita had theorized that perhaps it was her response to the pregnancy. « We can go find something to eat now if you'd like? » she'll ask him. Now that great matters are settled the normal more mundane ones become pressing again and she hasn't eaten since she got here. Serena will look up at him with a smile, the hug is /just right/. Though hugs like that will get increasingly difficult with time so its probably best to get them in now. She'll smile to him widely, "How about you take me to get some food. I didn't get breakfast and last night was a scrounging of leftovers. We can talk more over lunch."

« There is a flock of wherries that settles near the edge of the field. » Garouth says in answer to Samiryth. « They are still not the best prey… but they are better than the penned ones. We can catch some. » Though they'll probably mostly disappear into Samiryth, given her appetite… but Garouth is willing to pounce a wild wherry to make sure there's one for the green less experienced at hunting un-penned beasts and hungry… in sympathy to her rider's pregnancy? Serena is certainly hungry herself, and D'lei grins. "That, I can do. We're probably even late enough that the crowds will have died down and we can get one of the tables with the comfy chairs…" he says, and with that… he releases the hug, the better to offer his arm and take her back through the forest and to the caverns where food - of tasty sorts! - and comfy chairs await. Also? More conversation! But… hopefully the vacation-planning sorts, at least for the most part. They've had enough hard talks for one morning.


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