It's Complicated

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 alluding 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.

Late afternoon in the Xanadian heartlands — a time of relaxation, a time of food and family, a time of… running away from the barracks to hide from the world in the depths of the gardens. Well… if you're Cara at least. The past few days have not been fun for her, and she's spent more time away from the bararcks than she has in it. There's been definite avoiding going on and now here she is. Wiha dramatic sigh she flops down next to the pond, one hand reaching out to trail in the water and see if she can attract a fish or two to say hello. The other hand holds a little bag that she moves to rest in her lap - it's impossible to tell what's in there, but by the way her hand stays on top of it it's liekly something important. Or secret!

Clearly Cara didn't hide well enough (or Risali just got really lucky), because the other she-weyrling is appearing on the scene where she pauses, for just a moment, to watch Cara by the pond with her little bag of importance and secrets. One, two, three, and Risali moves, silent on her feet as she moves to Cara's side by the water and sinks down beside her. Legs come up to her chest, arms go around them, and she rests her chin on her knees as she leans sideways and gives Cara a gentle shoulder bump that is just as much, 'Hello,' as, 'I'm here,'. And for a time, Risali says nothing; grey eyes fixed instead on the water, watching for fish, waiting to see if they will come to Cara's hand before she finally breathes out, "Are you okay?" Because it seems like the right words, and she is aware that the greenie has been particularly absent of late.

Cara doesn't startle, for once, so presumably she wasn't entirely unaware of Risali's approach. She doesn't speak either though. Not at first. Her hand goes swih in the water, the fish clearly not bothered, her shoulder rocks slightly towards Risali to return the bump, and only then does the answer come. "No? Well… yes. But no." Then comes the snort of laughter that could never be described as anything other than fake. "Where do you want to start? Faeth's been… a nightmare. An absolute nightmare. S'ndri thinks she's maybe proddy. Then he kissed me. And I've been writing to J'than again. Rules, what rules. Who care about rules, not me apparently. Oh shells, Risa, I've messed everything up.

WHAT A LUCKY BLUERIDER. He'd never given Risali his name, so Risali does not know who S'ndri is (and a good thing too, because MURDER), but she does know how to listen, and so… she does just that. She lets Cara speak, and she listens to every word in silence until the greenrider is done and grey eyes lift to focus on the woman at her side. "What has Faeth been doing?" She inquires, though she doesn't stop there, "Who is S'ndri? Did you want him to kiss you? And Faranth, Cara. You haven't messed up anything. Did J'than write to you first?" Because there is a lot that needs addressing, and so Risali tries to ADDRESS THEM ALL AT ONCE. BEST PLAN EVER.

Cara , as seems to be the case when she's alone with Risa, dumps everything in on glorious mess of confession, but in reverse order because sometimes you need to keep things interesting. "He's been writing to me since we were candidates. Spoke to him a few times too. Then he sent a note after I impressed only it was so… bland. I figured he wasn't interested any more only… I guess he was waiting til she was a bit older or something because… they are not bland now. Like… really not." Her hand clutches at the bag in her lap, which pretty much confirms what's in there. "S'ndri's a bluerider. Least, I think that blue was his. He's a rider anyway. Super flirty, not like J'than though, just really obvious and… I didn't stop him if that counts?" As for the rest, "She's so grumpy. And rude! I don't know, maybe it's because I've been… um… distracted?"

And like those times when Cara dumps gloriously, messy confessions on Risali, Risali listens, watching the water to keep it from getting awkward when talk of J'than makes her look murderous because damn that stupid rider and his stupid letters. Still, Risali is careful when she asks, "Do you want him to write you those letters, Cara? Does it make you happy?" Because it doesn't seem like it, if she is sitting beside her in the garden, at the pond, being spectacularly avoidant of the world at large. But still, she listens, brows rising for talk of S'ndri until - oh hell no. Lips draw in, thin, moving in tandem with a scowl as she breathes, "Faranth help me, if his blue is named Cenvath, Cara…" SHE WHAT. Is going to murder him, that's what. But she catches herself, shifting so that she can bring her hands to her face and pinch the bridge of her nose and… "Okay. Faeth. Let's focus on Faeth. Maybe it is because you're distracted, but I can have Leirith see if she can figure out if that's why? Or… maybe Garouth can help her." He is a WISE BRONZE. He KNOWS THINGS. "I don't think D'lei will mind letting us borrow him." Since, of course, he is precious. "Or maybe Kera would be best?" BECAUSE GREENRIDER. She doesn't know. She does know that Leirith talking to Faeth will probably be a little bit of a trainwreck, though. The kind you can't really look away from. "There's also…" A moments hesitation. "A greenrider from Half Moon Bay who is here. Samiryth is very nice, maybe… she can help Faeth sort through whatever is going on?"

"I love him, Risa." There, it's finally admitted to everyone including Cara - she's been trying to deny it for so long. "I don't want to, but Faranth I can't stop. I'll see him, or he'll write or something, and it's So Good but then there's silence and it feels like it goes on forever just waiting for him reply or something when I know he's… with…." She doesn't finish it, doesn't need to, Risa's the only one that knows the truth. Only one that even knows about him. Silence descends again as Cara's head drops, and though she lifts a hand up to wipe at her nose there's no sound or visible tears once her head lifts again. "Faeth's… probably best to not talk to Leirith right now? I'd hate for her to snap at her and upset her, she was really horrible to… um… it might've been Cenvath, I'm not sure. She's asleep just now or I'd ask. When've you ever known her to snap at someone and say screw you. To anyone. She just doesn't. But on the the beach, yep, bit his head off." Metaphorically at least. Hopefully. Otherwise it'd just be messy. "I guess I do need to speak to someone, only I don't want to have to tell them everything. I… can't."

"I know," Risali says softly, and when the greenie lowers her head, Risali pushes herself onto her knees, and moves until she's facing Cara instead of shoulder-to-shoulder with her, arms coming around the younger woman's shoulders as she turns her cheek in against the top of Cara's head and simply holds on. Because this is what friends do. And Risali whispers, "I'm here, Cara," but she's silent after that, letting the other weyrling sort through her emotions until she trusts herself to speak again. But unless Cara pushes her away, or makes any of those subtle indications that Risali should give her space, the goldling simply remains as she listens. There's a soft hush of laughter for Faeth and Leirith probably not being the best pair of dragons to throw together at the moment, but Risali just squeezes tighter when Cara mentions needing to speak to somebody without having to reveal anything. "You don't have to, Cara. I can ask K'vir and Zekath, or D'lei and Garouth. Neither of them will ask questions. And if they do, I will stab the both of them and you won't have to worry about having witnesses after." Which is a joke. Probably.

Cara leans in. Leeeeeeeean. Even once she's sorted herself out there're a few hints that maybe she's not quite as perfectly okay as she might try to portray. "You know you're not allowed to stab people now you're a goldrider, right?" if all else fails, aim for a joke. Or at the very least go for the less stressful and tear enducing topic. "And it'd be a bit weird stabbing both of them if one asked questions. Unfair too." There's a smile, faint and slightly wobbly, but it's there. "Do you think D'lei would… know? I mean I know he's done a ton of flights and things but he's…" A boy. "She's not all glowy or anything ." Faeth, presumably. "So maybe she's not proddy. I mean I'd know, right? That's what they said. It'd be obvious."

And Risali accepts all the leaning, leaning back in her own way and holding tight as Cara counters joke with joke and Risali answers with a wry, "Good point, Cara. We'll need at least one of them alive to help hide the other's body. But I assure you - they'd both probably deserve it." UNFAIR OR NOT. And Risali pulls back just enough to meet that smile with more breathy laughter, hands coming down on either side of Cara's head to push down her hair, and then she's pulling her back into a hug again and shaking her head even if Cara can't see it. "I don't know, Cara. But Garouth might. He helps Leirith sort through a lot of her…" Her-ness. There's really just no polite way of saying it, so Risali side-steps the possible insult to her lifemate and continues on with, "There's no harm in asking though, right? The worst thing that can happen is they don't know, and you're back at square one." And as for being proddy, well… There's a soft sound, and a nod. "Maybe it's just because you're distracted. Maybe having somebody else to talk to will help her." A beat, and then she pulls back again, grey eyes dropping to her bag and - "Are those his letters, Cara?" It's almost accusing, but it's not.

Cara laughs a little, brighter this time, "Oh hi person I have to share a barracks with, could you possibly look at my dragon and tell me if she's proddy because things have been a bit weird and I'm not sure. Nope, no way that could possibly go wrong. D'lei's sweet though, even if I wouldn't be able to look him in the face again after." Maybe that shyness isn't all manufactured. But then there's that question and her hand tightens on the bag. "No! No, why would you think…" A swear word slips out, far stronger than anything ever heard uttered by Cara before - though still fairly mild in the grand scale of things. "Letter. One. I was going to reply maybe, if I could stop feeling sorry for myself long enough. It's funny, used to hide them from the other candidates, now I hide them from my own dragon. As much as anyone can hide anything from her. She doesn't do secrets."

And Risali laughs too, shifting back, coming back down beside Cara as she leans to the side and drops her head on Cara's shoulder. Still there, just less… hugging. And Risali leaaaans, scoffing with good humor as she gives Cara a little nudge. "We'll just poison him after. Nobody has to know." SHE IS JOKING. Or is she? (She is, she is definitely joking). Still, the defensiveness has Risali raising her brows again, but she doesn't say anything; Risali listens, grey eyes on the bag-meant-to-hide that instead makes-things-obvious and… "You could reply," Risali says softly, slowly, as if she's gathering all the parts and pieces of an incoming idea that's going to be fantastic. "Or, we could go down to the beach, and build a fire, and burn it while we yell really rude things and say really terrible words at the top of our lungs." And if they happen to find a bluerider and his blue, and Risali happens to find out that S'ndri is S'ndri, they'll already have a fire to dispose of the remains. PERFECT. EVERYBODY WINS. Except for S'ndri. S'ndri loses big time in that. "And then we can dance and pretend that our lives are uncomplicated by men, and dragons, and rules that say we can't drink." A pause and then. "One day you won't have to hide them from her. They're getting older. They'll understand."

"I'll make him a thank you cake. Same thing really." Cara jokes, but then again you never know - some people really can't bake. "I should reply, otherwise he'll ask. Or turn up at the barracks or something." There's a moment of silence, of searching her memory to see if she ever told what he looked like so that there's no stabbing or poisoning happens. "He can be quite… um… force…ful?" The way she says it hints at an uncertaintly about the word, the blush that accompanies it says something else entirely. Her hands twist in her lap - one still wet from the pond but wrapping around the thumb of the other. Twist, twist, arms crossed, release. "We could still burn other things. And yell things. Though if we do go to the beach we have to make sure it's empty first. One kiss from a stranger a sevenday is my limit."

"I'll help," Risali offers, because some people can bake, and that means somebody has to be on hand to SLIP IN THE POISON. Still, there's a moment of silence when Cara tells Risali that her boyfriend-over-yonder can be quite forceful if she doesn't reply and… She simply leans on the greenrider, saying softly, "You love him, and it's okay that you love him, Cara. But you deserve to be happy." And maybe this guy is just… not doing it for her. Because he has someone else, and Cara is here, but still under his thumb, and Risali hates it, but supports Cara in her decisions. Because they are Cara's decisions to make. As for kisses and beaches? Risali offers a wry, "Tell me about it. J'en - he's a bronzerider from Half Moon Bay - was on the beach the other day, and he kissed me." There is something about beaches, apparently, and lone women that inspire KISSING. "If it's not empty, we'll find somewhere else." A beat, and then, softer. "What are you going to do, Cara?"

Cara smiles, though it's a little forced, "I am happy." She just forgot to tell her face. "Most of the time, I mean. He's… Oh Risa, when we're together it's incredible. And the letters are…." No need to finish that either, the way she bits her bottom lip says enough. "I wish… but wishing doesn't help, right? I know it's stupid. Inside, I mean. Inside I know it's stupid, but he's everything I want." As she shakes her head she takes a long, deep, breath, letting it out in an audible huff of air. "Maybe it's the beach that's the problem. Something in the sand that makes people all kissy." Topic… changed! But not for long. "Do? I honestly have no idea. Cup of tea?"

Risali is not stupid. She sees that Cara's smile is forced, and the answering smile that Risali gives her in return is understanding and… sad. And Risali watches Cara go through all those emotions, and then lowers grey eyes until they're back on the water again. "It's not stupid, Cara. It's…" There are a lot of words, none that seem right as Risali's brows furrow and she tries to settle on any one. "Complicated," she breathes. And then she laughs, because stupid beach and its stupid dragonriders doing stupid unsolicited things. THEY AIN'T NEED NO MAN. "Well, let's go get tea for now. Tea sounds reasonably uncomplicated." Much less complicated than Cara's current situation, anyway. And up to her feet Risali gets, extending both hands for her friend to take, so that she can help her up. "And then maybe we can dance anyway." Because SHUT UP! DANCE IT OUT. It's a thing. Risali dances all the time when she DOESN'T WANNA TALK ABOUT IT.

Cara grabs those extended hands and pull/shuffle/heaves herself to her feet. The fact that she then wraps Risali up in a hug is probably from her overbalancing. Or something. "I don't deserve you." It's quiet, oh so quiet, but utterly sincere. "Tea and dancing sounds good." She steps back, apparently not willing to dance just yet - or more accurately so she can retrieve the bag of lettery goodness and make sure the ink pot hasn't spilled (spoiler: it hasn't). "And if we crush a few toes on the way then they shouldn't have been so close." It's not quite poisoning, but at least it's something that makes her smile. But first… tea! And maybe she'll find S'ndri to point out to Risali on the way. Won't that be fun!!

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