Facing the Cliff

Xanadu Weyr - Caverns
A massive cavern in it's own right, this one has been skillfully adapted for human habitation. The high ceilings have been painted a light, soft ivory, as are the walls where numerous tapestries hang to provide brilliant color and insulation from the stone. The floor has been left in its natural state, pale pink granite speckled through with glittering mica and dark flecks of basalt, leveled carefully but kept sufficiently rough to avoid slips.
The cavern itself is loosely divided into areas, each one set up to be suitable for some segment of the Weyr's population. The most frequently occupied area, however, is the one near the Kitchens where tables of varying sizes provide a place to sit down and eat or chat and a buffet of consumables is almost always kept stocked. Its plain that on most days, this area wouldn't accommodate anywhere near the full population of the Weyr and equally plain that on such occasions when a formal meal is laid out, tables are appropriated from all the other areas.
A big fireplace is set into the wall near the Kitchens as well, several comfortable chairs nearby providing haunts for elderly residents or riders who like a good view of all that happens. Rugs cover the floor in strategic spots, all of them abstract or geometric in design and most in the softly neutral colors of undyed wool.

Exits lead off in all directions, a big archway the largest and that leading outside. Shallow stairs to the west lead to the offices and administration area while tunnels to the east lead to the infirmary, kitchen and resident's quarters. Southwards, a sloping tunnel leads down to the hot springs.

It's early evening at Xanadu, there are people sprinkled about the cavern among the tables, but the dinner rush hasn't started quite yet. Kera is one of those already seated at an out of the way table. The apprentice seems to have worked up quite an appetite as there are a few plates in front of her each with an assortment of things. Some may question her choice of diet with things like raw fish and meat on her plate. The girl seems to be talking to herself as she grabs a string bit of fish and lowers the messy bit to her lap. "Hmm, don't like the raw wherry, got it. How bout this.."

Ka'el has entered the Caverns with two other young men from Galaxy, both of higher ranks than him though not so above it all to keep themselves from laughing along with the young bronzer at some joke he's just made. But it's here that they part ways. One is off to the administration hallway, apparently still on duty. The other is meeting up with a woman, who he cheekily grins at. That leaves Ka'el to sit at a table by himself. It's the same table he usually sits at when he's here, if anyone pays him enough attention to notice. A bit off by itself, in perfect placement for view of the comings and goings of that aforementioned admin hallway. It's there that his eyes turn as he slings his satchel down to the ground, reaching in to.. oh hey! He's not alone! He's startled to see that Kera is in front of him, only now noticing the fact of that. "Hey!" he says, straightening as he eyes her plate of .. raw food? "Urm.." Girls do strange things sometimes in order to 'watch their figure' but…this?

Kera looks up quickly when someone slings a sachel down nearby and grins quickly up to he rider. "Hi Ka'el!" Her greasy fingers go back to the plate, getting another strip of raw fish and making it vanish under the table once more. Glancing down to her lap, Kera smiles before lifting her other hand slowly to showoff her tiny baby brown. "Look! Isn't he sooo cute!" The little cutey in question sees the food and starts scrambling to get closer to the plates with hungry little creel. She hurried grabs more tiny bits of, meat this time, and gives them to the young brown lizard.

"Uuuh…why're you.." Ka'el begins as he watches her pinch another bit of raw meat. Is she going to eat that? Doesn't she know raw meat upsets the belly! "You could've ordered that rare. They would've at least.." Wait. She's not eating it. She's pitting it on her..lap? Now she definitely gets a queer look, and the book that he retrieves from his bag is set slowly down upon the table top as he eeeeeyes her. But then. Wait. Phew! "Oh, a firelizard!" He exhales a breath. "I thought for a bit that I was going to have to take you to see Cyrus the healer, Kera," he says, sounding utterly amused. But now the little brown gets his attention. "Congratulations. Where'd you get this little bloke from?"

Kera chuckles at Ka'el and crinkles her nose at the idea of eating raw fish herself. "Oh nono. I am just trying to see what he likes the best. So far he doesn't like the raw wherry, but gobbles down everything else I offer up." Smiling as she keeps the young brown off the plate while keeping the food choices coming at a quick pace. "I think Mur'dah found him. Well the egg I mean. It all happened so fast. I was getting some sun on the beach. Then Mur'dah's dragon landed and he was rushing forward trying to hand me a clothwrapped bundle. I didn't get a chance to ask where he found it, I was a bit distracted easlier." Kera grins a bit at that and shrugs.

An egg from Mur'dah, eh? "Who knows. Probably found on one've his deliveries," Ka’el supposes as he slides his fingers against the leather cover of his book, though it's kept closed in favor of conversation. "Though why he's given it to you.." He smirks, knowing that the track record of those two has been anything but … eh, friendly. "Maybe things are on the mend?" he supposes aloud, gving the brown a little more of his attention now, looking him over. "Glad you knew what to do when he hatched. I hadn't a clue about firelizards til I met .. eh, Toral." His eyes drift to the administration hallway again in time to see a tall man stride out to take dinner. A member of Quasar, likely. He looks back to her. "What's his name, then. You have given him a name, haven't you?"

Kera chuckles at Ka'el's curious assessment of Mur'dah's actions. Nodding agreeably though "I probably would have thought the same thing too. But we actually had a talk a few days ago and came to an understanding." She grins at a little burp that comes from the stuffed little brown and pulls him away from the food. "That's enough for now." Rubbing the stuffed little belly gently, the young hatchling gives a lazy yawn before plopping down on his belly and getting comfortable. "That and there wasn't anyone else on the beach at the time probably factored in there somewhere." Kera grins to Ka'el. "I named him Minimur." A quick chuckle and a smirk "I was gonna go with Murry, but Minimur is cuter."

Ka'el stares at her. He doesn't really mean to, but… he does. He stares. Gawks. Looking a bit .. well, disbelieved! Or maybe he misheard her? Nope. There it is again. This time, Ka'el coughs, bringing his fist to his mouth and keeping it there in hopes of hiding a grin. He wrestles it from his face before he lowers his hand down and looks at her with an unreadable expression. Blank. An empty slate. "Minimur?" he echoes, a corner of his mouth twitching up. "As in … Mini..Mur'dah?" He didn't mean to stare before, and now he doesn't really mean to laugh, but it happens. A sudden, chortling laughter that he can't quite stop as immediately as he'd wish.

Kera grins as she watches the reactions work across Ka'el's face and nods. "Except he's much cuter. I don't think he liked me telling him something was cuter than him though." Giving a shrug, she is laughing as well so doesn't seem all that bothered by Ka'el's laughter. "And if I need to tell Mur'dah he's being an ass, I'll train Minimur to do it for me." That seems to really crack the apprentice up. That or the belch the little brown lets out before going right back to sleep.
Ka'el shakes his head as he laughs. "You know, that's a bit weird yes?" he says, looking utterly amused, even moreso by the fact that Mur'dah already seems to know of this. He shakes his head yet again, now getting a hold of his laughter enough to rise and claim a drink for himself. He comes back with a single mug of ale. Apparently, he's not going the 100 percent sober route, but at least he's not holed up in the tavern anymore. After sitting, he takes a swallow of his drink. "Well then, how are you two getting along? Young firelizards are a lot've work, trust me. Alloy was a ruddy prat when he was a hatchling. Thought he was king of Pern." He pauses. "Heh. come to think've it, that hasn't changed much."

Kera shrugs and nods "Yea, then I seem to be fitting right in then. Cause most of the weyrfolk I've met are all pretty wierd in their own ways." Reaching towards her plate with cooked food onas Ka'el goes to get himself a mug of soemthing, Kera takes a quick bite before continiuing. "I've been doing like Mur'dah said. Keeping him stuffed and oiled….. Alloy, isn't he the lizard that likes to make runs of the food tables?" Another shrug offered before she gestures to the book Ka'el put on the table with her chin. "Now that we've established I'm weird, what are ya studying?"

"Yes, that'd be him. The one and only food snatcher of the Caverns," says Ka'el, glancing to the rafters as he says this. Where is his firelizard, anyway? Probably sunning himself amidst a pack of greens. "You've the right of it though. Hatchlings like to be fed and they need to be oiled. I take it he either gave you some or you bought your own?" he supposes, brows lifting. "Oil, that is. If not, I've plenty to spare and wouldn't mind lendin' you a bottle. Nothin' fancy, but for firelizards as young as that you want to keep it simple." He takes another drink, glancing down to his book, though not before eyeing the admin hallway for the umpteenth time as another Quasar member exits. A weary looking wizened man. "Eh, things I already know," he answers, opening it up to show her hand written words and diagrams of different metals and their properties. "Been meanin' to brush up for a while, now that I'm .. sort of… getting back into smithing." In his spare time, anyway. "If I'm to do what I'm hopin' to do in my wing, then I need to keep my skills up. And this as well," he says, tapping a finger to his temple with a grin.

Kera chuckles "I see him make runs on the tables from time to time." The oily question causes her to pluck a small jar from her waist pouch. "I got some from infirmary stores, thanks though." Slipping the little jar back in it's spot, her gaze follows Ka'el's, she grins but simply nods. Taking a couple of bites from her plate as the bronzerider explains Kera eyes the rider curiously. "What is it ya wish to do exactly?" The apprentice is seated across from Ka'el, several plates of food, some raw, some not, on the table around her and a small brown baby lizard sleeping on Kera's arm.

The admin hall is seldom bustling, but rarely completely empty. There's just always work that needs to be done! Sooner or later, though, individual people find that they've done enough work (for now) and make their escapes. That, or they just find that they really need another mug of klah, and take a walk to come out and get it. For example, Soriana, right now. The rest of the caverns? Eh, she hasn't noticed them yet.

"This." Ka'el retrieves a dagger from a thin sheath tucked within his boot, the blade just as thin yet strong enough to get the job (whatever the job may be) done. He grins proudly, setting it on the table between them. "Careful, it's sharp," he warns. "But although I'm not exactly a smith apprentice anymore, I still want to work the forges and make arms for Galaxy. I've finished one for M'kal. He needed a dagger, though I haven't a chance to give it to him yet. I'm startin' Mur'dah's next. Yeah, I know he isn't Galaxy, but flyin' from weyr to weyr to who knows where else has its own set've dangers, and he wanted one. And I figure it'd be good practice." He gestures to his satchel on the floor. "I've a notebook filled with designs I'd like to try. A different spin on some've the old things, but some of the classics need no changin', you know?" His grin stays in place, and wouldn't you know for all his glancing that way, he's so engrossed in his conversation that he misses the exiting of the one he was hoping to get a glimpse of? Leave it to smithing to make him blind to everything else.

Kera eyes the dagger curiously even if she doesn't reach for it. She doesn't know anything about smithing, but even she can admire a well made dagger. "I bet M'kal's gonna be thrilled when he sees it." Nodding with a smile, her gaze flickers to Soriana when she spots the woman coming from the hall Ka'el has been studying since he sat down. Lowering her head to hopefully disguise a chuckle, she turns her attention back to Ka'el. Canting her head she frowns slightly and seems to be recalling something. "And you have your own forge too right? So if the smithy complex is crowded, you don't have to wait for a work station." Kera grins and nods over that. "Ya know, you could do a bit of work, then show up at the complex, work for a few minutes then produce your finished work. They'll think you are really fast." Her chuckles afterward prove she's joking with the idea of coarse.

Here's the klah, into the mug. And some cream and sugar, and then Soriana's ready to face - actually, maybe she should get something to eat, first. The first sip of klah has reminded her stomach that it hasn't had food in a while, and that klah doesn't actually count. So… okay. Plate. Some … no, actually, the roast wherry doesn't look so good after all. Not that it doesn't, but… uh… okay. How about some roast tuber? Or… hmm. Maybe not. It looks a little… uh… okay. Fine. Spiced greens. She'll have some of those. They go onto her plate and everything! …and are eyed as she continues down along the table, before being joined by some beans and bacon and a roll. Make that two rolls.

Ka'el grins. "Oh, this one isn't M'kal's," he says as he picks up the knife, looking it over like one would a cherished toy from childhood. "I'd be embarrassed to give him somethin' like this. This was the first dagger I made that was up to par with Orik's expectations. .. Journeyman," he explains, not expecting her to know the smith staff. "My first real success. I can make better now, but I haven't had it in me to toss this one as scrap." He slides it away, back into the side of his boot. "Yeah, I've my own forge, and it's grand. The ones in the smithy are better though. And I don't have way of gettin' my own material, so .. I mooch what I can." He claims his mug of ale again, bringing it closer to himself, laughing at her joke. "They'd promote me on the spot then, huh? My arm feels right as rain, by the way," he says in a complimentary tone. "Looks like I'll be keepin' it after all. No infection." Or time loss from work, which is a good thing! Cue another casual glance to that hallway, even though at this point no one's coming out of it. He's looking back towards Kera, taking a swallow of his drink, when he catches a glimpse of .. oh hey, Sori! He swallows hard, looking her way. "..Must be hungry."

Kera ahs softly at the correction and seems to be trying to place the name Orik til Ka'el clarifies him as a Journeysmith. Nodding that she's up to speed then cast a curious frown at it. "Why would you want to scrap something that you consider an acomplishment? If it still works well enough." She grins and glances briefly to where the goldrider is by the food tables before smiling back to Ka'el. Chuckling she nods agreeably "Well, I guess you would sorta have to go where the supplies are wouldn't ya." Looking towards the arm in question, she does frown "I'm glad it didn't give you any problems, but explain again just how you fell from such a height?" When he notices Soriana, Kera smirks "Yea, she came out a few seconds after you looked the last time."

Being hungry would certainly explain the plate of food Soriana's got. She pauses for a moment to consider the desserts. There's… nah. Not today. She turns away from the food. So… does she go back to the office to eat? She's got the food, after all. The bustle of social in the caverns is… heh. Soriana smiles bemusedly, a distant look in her eyes for a moment, then begins threading her way through the tables, looking for a place to sit. Any moment now, she'll see - Kera? Well, yes, she sees the healer apprentice, and Soriana gives a nod before glancing past to… Ka'el. She sees him, too, and that makes her gaze linger. She nods again, this one far slower, and then she takes in a breath (breathing is important) before continuing to approach. All the way to their table, in fact… though on the opposite side from Ka'el. "Hey," she says, looking briefly at the bronzer and mostly at the table itself. "This seat taken?"

Ka'el's ears burn a rough shade of pink (ha! because pink is such a "rough" color) as he's ratted out by Kera. Apparently he wasn't sneaky enough with those glances towards the administration area. "I wasn't looking fo-.." Eh. Why lie? He doesn't finish the statement and instead takes another drink, just to busy his mouth with something for a few seconds! After a swallow, he busies it with the story. "It was a training exercise," he explains. "R'ver took us out for a climb. Supposedly for practice if ever we're on mountainous terrain but.. I think it was more for the fun've it. There were some hand and footholes on the rock face, but the one I went for didn't hold up, and I fell." He smirks. "Wasn't too high up." Else there might have been safety harnesses involved? Maybe. "Probably shouldnt've jumped for it like I did." He grins a bit at the memory and gives his arm a little roll just before Soriana makes her way to..their table? He claps both hands on his mug, as if afraid they'll run away or something. He looks at her, but as her eyes are set on the table, he turns his to his mug. "Hey," he answers. Though as for that other question, he looks to Kera to answer.

Kera is a little confused by Soriana's behavior but scooches over none the less with a smile "Hi Soriana." Rearranging the plates around with her free hand, she makes more room for Soriana. "Not at all, have a seat Soriana." Peering between her two friends, her frown grows a bit as Ka'el explains how he ended up in the infirmary. Snorting as the bronze rider tries to play it off,"Silly brat." is muttered with a roll of her eyes "You practically impaled your arm on those jagged racks. Lucky no bits broke off in there." Shaking her head "Next time try tying yourself to your dragon and have him fly over ya as you climb. Will need a long rope though." Kera chuckles and winks to Soriana. "Don't you think he should use a rope next time Soriana?"

Soriana sets down her plate (of food, that she got because she was hungry) with a nod. She puts her mug down as well, and then she actually sets herself down. She looks up to Ka'el again, watching him now that he's watching the mug… and then she sighs, and takes her fork to poke at some beans and get them to her mouth. Probably. Or that was the idea, anyhow, but then Kera's talking to her… about Ka'el and rope. "Hmm?" Soriana looks to the healer. She looks to Ka'el - briefly - and then back to her plate. She smiles, slightly. A little quirk of her lips as she murmurs beneath her breath, "I never did." Then, a shake of her head, though the smile clings. "Depends." Is there a pause here? Maybe, maybe not. "On Galaxy procedures." Which aren't her department.

"Right, and in that way instead of impaling my arm I'll surely die of a broken back," remarks Ka'el to Kera, smirking and arching a brow at her. "Have you seen Kanekith fly? He isn't the gentlest of creatures. One slip and he'll jerk me up hard enough to hear a snap." And then no more Ka'el! Which would be … bad, right? To some, perhaps. He doesn't have any food in front of him to eat, and so he drains the last of his ale and clunks his mug down before turning a page of his book. The book! Awesome distraction to keep him from looking up too often. The comment to Soriana and her given answer elicits an inward exhale, and he falls quiet. Maybe another drink is in order. Ale. Water. Probably ale. "Scuse me," he says, rising and taking his mug with him. "You want anything?" he asks likely both of them though he's not wholly specific about who he's talking to. He's already inching away, though lingers long enough to hear if either one of them does need anything while he's up.

Kera smirks to Soriana and shakes her head "So then, all riders are just plain nuts? Is that what I'm to understand from this conversation?" The apprentice forces a chuckle, shaking her head "No thanks, I'm good with my juice." Flicking fingers towards her mug, she spends a moment rubbing the little lizards back as he sleeps. A quick glance around the cavern and she peers to Soriana with a curious frown before giving a cheeky smile "Did I hear something about a little beach party that Idrissa is planning?"
Soriana blinks to Kera. "What, because… search and rescue went bouldering?" She shakes her head, and has a bite of her beans (for real, this time). She might have said more, but motion draws her attention. Is Ka'el leaving? Like… leaving leaving? Soriana looks up to him quickly, her lips parting… but then she hesitates before speaking, and her gaze drifts down to settle on… oh. His book. His book is still here, so he'll be coming back. Soriana nods to herself. But… does she want something? She looks up to Ka'el again - watches him, as he slowly inches away. "No," she says, softly. "Thanks." It's like they're two entirely different sentences… and she watches him for another moment before finally returning her attention to Kera. "Beach… huh. Did you? What'd you hear?" And it's like she's actually paying attention to the healer, finally, because she blinks at the little brown firelizard. Where'd he come from? …a shell. Next question: "…what's his name?"

Plain nuts, yes. As opposed to fancy nuts. Ka'el bobs his head once as the both of them deny needing anything, and without further word he's out of there. He waves through tables, offers pardon me's as he moves by folks who pitter patter along, til he reaches his destination. His mug is refilled, frothy at the top. Psh. That was quick. Far too quick! He'll be back before the conversation between the girls got into any juicy bits. He lingers where he is, pressing his palm against a table top as he buys time. This is stupid. Kera was right. He was looking for her. Hoping to glimpse her leaving the admin hallway. And for what? He glances over to their table, watching Kera pet her firelizard and Soriana begin to eat. He should just leave them be .. but his book is there, as is his satchel. Darn it. He looks back at his drink. "Sorry…" He drinks it down. Swallow, after swallow, after swallow til it's drained and his stomach feels full.

Kera sighs with a little disappointed frown. "Aww, I was hopin you knew for sure or not. I've not been able to catch up with her to find out for sure." A hint of a shrug over that "I'll just have to keep looking for her huh?" Brightening up a bit she smiles down to the little lizard. "I named him Minimur. He seems to like it." Watching the sleeping brown a few seconds, she glances across the cavern to where Ka'el went before peering to her friend "It's obvious something is going on between you two. I know it's not my business, but you two should talk about it at some point." Kera offers a little smile to her friend, but leaves it at that.

Soriana eats slowly. Small bites. She was hungry, right? Only now that she's eating… is she? She's not sure. Neither is her stomach, but food's still going into it, even if the pauses in between are more than the conversation itself requires. "I haven't talked much with Idrissa lately," she says with a shrug and a small smile. "We've both been busy." Or is that just a handy little excuse? Though, it's reasonable enough. Luraoth's been taking Soriana's attention. So have admin duties. The junior blinks at the name given the firelizard, peering at him before looking back up at Kera. "Well okay then," she says, and smiles slightly as she has another bite of her food… then stops. She puts the fork down, and the smile's gone as she inhales. Deep breath. Okay. "There's a lot going on." They've both been busy? "Conversations don't just fix everything." Neither does time. "But yes, we're having them." And the contents? Oh, look. Here's the smile back again. A very small one. Polite.

Drained. Too fast. His stomach hurts, but should he have just one more? Just so things can be funny again and he can ease back into making jokes about Mini Mur'dah and laugh about his near amputation and report on Kanekith's interactions with the tiny green wher? Ka'el eyes his mug. Eyes the tap. Just one more won't hurt will it? He hasn't broken any promises yet. Once more his mug is filled, his stomach already complaining about what the eyes see. It's filled and he steps away, though not back towards the girls' table. Instead he traverses towards the food in hopes of camouflaging himself. Just another patron getting his dinner here! Except that he has no plate in his hand, or a tray or silverware. Just his drink which he drinks from, slower than the last out of necessity. He'll be back in a minute, ladies. Just give him a moment to compose himself.

Kera eyes Soriana a few seconds and nods, taking her friend at her word. "That's good then, a start at least right?" An encouraging little smile is offered as she continues to gently rub and scratch the young firelizard and chuckles "You should have seen him before you came in though. Kept peeking around towards the offices so much I was starting to worry he had a problem with his neck." Kera winks in amusement to Soriana before looking to make sure she wasn't overheard spilling the beanbs so to speak about the bronzerider.

Is it? Soriana just smiles, a polite mask. What is it starting? Where is it… sigh. Ka'el has been gone for a while, hasn't he? Soriana turns her head, looking back through faces for one in particular. Surely he hasn't left. Not and left his book behind. But where is he- huh? What's this about him looking at the offices? She returns her gaze to Kera, blinking a little, then makes a 'mmh' sound and has another bite of her meal. "So. Minimur, huh?" Topic change, please. "Where'd you find his egg?"

Ah, here he is. Finally. Ka'el has made one loop around the caverns and now returns back to the table with his newly filled mug of ale. The look in his eyes is borderline distant, though that's perhaps not too uncommon. Riders tend to look a little off when communicating with their lifemates, besides. His mug is placed back on the table with a little thunk before he reclaims his seat. "There was a line," he explains of his prolonged absence, offering a grin that lasts not long on his face. He takes a swallow while glancing from one to the other to try to catch enough snippets of conversation to be able to piece together the topic.

Kera doesn't miss the goldrider's actions, but refrains from pointing out the mimicing behavior she observes. Turning her attention back to the little brown she chuckles, letting the topic be flipped easily enough "I didn't. It was Mur'dah that found it during his duties." Kera grins as the tiny fellow stirs with a lazy yawn and stretch of his small wings. "I was lucky enough to be around at the time." Ka'el arrival back at the table brings her attention his way, or more accurately the full mug. "You didn't have a few of those before you went climbing did you?" A few seconds passes before she gives a shake of her head "You didn't smell like you had when I was bandaging you up."

"Oh," Soriana says. "That's why the name, then?" It's only half a question, because it makes sense as a reason. "Comet does cover a lot of ground." As does Galaxy, really, but the two wings cover different parts of the ground. And… oh. Ka'el's back. Soriana smiles, and nods to him - never mind that she didn't actually see a line when she was looking around. She glances back to Kera, then frowns as she looks down to her plate. There's a stray bean there. She pokes it with her fork.

Ka'el freezes at the question proposed by Kera, his eyes lifting sharply to her. "Are you daft? I'm not so stupid as to go drinkin' before duty," he says, snappishly. That in and of itself is odd. He doesn't snap at Kera. That's not what he does. He bites his tongue after, quickly leashing any further words that were to follow. Grimacing, he glances to Soriana who he can't manage to smile back at, then to his still-fill mug. The third and a half one of the evening. "…I'm sorry," he offers, directing the phrase to the apprentice, his tone soft now. And then, to the both of them. "I'm sorry. I shouldnt've … eh. I should go." The ale isn't touched and instead he closes his book and leans over to stuff is back into his satchel, expression cloudy. Stormy. He rises, hefting his bag over his shoulder. "I'll see you. Prob'ly at the infirmary sometime," is said to Kera. To Soriana, there's a look. Like the storm that shows on his face has already opened up inside and rains torrents upon his heart. A breath is taken … for words that never form. Words that are changed to just one. "Sorry."

Kera obviously need to study a jokebook or something, all her attempts to joke around lately fail miserably. Peering between the riders a couple of times she gives her head a shake to Ka'el. "No need to appologize Ka'el. You're quite right, it was a silly thing to suggest." Eyeing the book being slipped into the satchel. "There's no reason to leave, unless you've duties or something." The apprentice offers a little smile and turns her attention to her waking lizard, fingers reach over to pluck food from her plate and holds it at the ready. Occassional glances between her friends and she gently clears her throat, looking to Soriana "Is there a map that shows where the differant Wings go?"

The anger from Ka'el makes Soriana look up again, though it's not directed at her. She doesn't look angry. She just looked… pained. Unhappy. Ka'el's apology doesn't make her look less unhappy about it, but as he starts to rise, she reaches out a hand toward him. There's an entire table in the way, and he's standing up besides - but her hand reaches, fingers extended across a distance that… might be bridgeable? She doesn't know. But the storm is rising, and so are the flood waters. A bridge now… might be washed away. Still. Her mouth shifts with an unsaid word. A small one. Only a single syllable… but not one she says. Not out loud, anyhow. "It's okay." Those words aren't very loud either, but they're audible. Soriana hesitates for a moment. A moment too long, perhaps, but… "You don't have to go." But she won't stop him if he does, though her hand's still reached out. Perhaps she's forgotten about it being there. Just like - for the moment - she seems to have forgotten about Kera's question.

Duties. Ka'el can certainly pretend to have duties if that is an acceptable excuse. He can break a promise and slink off to a place where bottles and glasses are endless. Just for tonight. Because with all he's kept himself busy, and with all the light-hearted moments have tricked him into believing that things were back to normal, he forgot how much it still really hurt. Tonight is a painful reminder of how nothing at all has changed and the warm delusion of his mind that brought him here seeking her have been just that. Delusions. His stomach gurgles protest of too much ale in too short amount a time, and he glances to Kera at her throat clearing, expression slack. But then there's a hand reaching across the table that he's now noticing. Reaching for him? He's confused by it, although his attention is on those fingers that haven't reached for him in over a month. Hands that haven't wanted him. Eyes flit to Soriana's face, silently hesitant. But he does sit down again, his bag slipping back down to the floor and his hand reaching for hers. Maybe she won't pull away. Maybe she will.

Kera flicks her gaze between her friends a couple of times before turning her full attention to feeding Minimur another meal. Hoping her friends can work out whatever is going on with them, she smiles and gives her hungry lizard a few gentle scratches between bites of meat. Noticing a dry spot in the brown's neck, Kera plucks a small jar from her pouch. Dabbing an oily finger on the dry spot, the starts humming to herself as she smiles to her newest friend.

The hand's there. Soriana isn't exactly thinking about it. She's definitely not thinking about Kera. She's watching Ka'el's face. It's… not exactly pleasant, seeing those emotions there, but she's watching, because watching is better than ignoring. She certainly isn't expecting Ka'el to reach back. There's an element of detachment in her expression. Careful distance, even as her hand goes to bridge the distance while expecting the storm to wash out any bridge she builds. But… the storm doesn't. And Ka'el does. His fingers reach for hers, and hers doesn't move away. The hands… touch. Lightly; a brush of fingers, and Soriana's eyes widen in a moment of surprise. Shock? No. Not exactly. Her hand shifts, and gently curls against Ka'el's hand. Holding it. A small bridge, even if there's still an entire table between them.

He braces for it, steeling himself for what he expects to come. A jerk of her hand away from his own. Recoiling from his touch. Ka'el can't allow his hopes to rise because when they are dashed, it's far too painful. And so the light graze of skin to skin is a sensation he clings to, not expecting it to last. But it does, and his expression shifts. She may not be shocked, but he is. He's glad he has a witness in Kera, for he himself may not have believed his own eyes as Sori's hand holds his. He's still for too long. Stunned perhaps. His brain is taking a while to catch up to what's happening, but he does eventually shock himself into movement and his fingers curl around her. He dares to smile. Hesitant, as before, afraid that the look may jar her back to her senses and cause that hand to be pulled away. But he smiles nonetheless. "My duties are done for the night," he says, answering Kera belatedly, speaking to them both. "I don't have anywhere else I need to be."

Kera catches glimpses of Soriana and Ka'el out of the side of her eyes while she finishes feeding Minimur. Quietly, she tidies her area, placing the firelizard food where other lizards can get it. Another quick glance to her friends and she smiles and tries to casually get up with as little noise as she can make. The apprentice cradles the little brown to her before grabbing her dirty dish and turning to start away. Hopefully, her friends are so distracted with each other that she'll probably be studying before they even look to their plates, or mug in Ka'el's case. She hears the comment, and glances back over her shoulder. Pausing, she just smiles "Well that is good news then. I sense a nice long chat in your futures." This to both her friends before she chuckles and slips off.

Did she mis-read? Was Ka'el reaching for the salt for his nonexistent plate of food? Soriana's fingers don't move away, but they do soften their hold, just a little. Making it easier for him to recoil - but then the fingers respond, and it's to join back to hers. Ka'el smiles, and a storm-wave crashes across the bridge to splash Soriana's eyes and knock the breath out of her in relief. Her fingers press to his. Touch. And… Oh yeah. His words remind her that those exist. That there's someone else here. There was a conversation, wasn't there? Soriana casts back for things asked and, "Schedules change." She might be answering Kera's question about where the wings go. Then again, she might be talking about her own schedule. Had she planned to go back to the admin hallway? …maybe. But right now, there's only one set of her duties that can drag her away, and Luraoth is resting contentedly. Besides. Eating food's important, and her plate's still got stuff on it. The part from Kera about a chat steals her eyes away from Ka'el for a moment. "See you…" she tells the healer, and then Soriana goes back to seeing Ka'el. A chat? That would mean she'd have to know what to say.

Ka'el can look at her now without his eyes shying to the tabletop or to the foam of his forgotten ale. Why? Because now, her eyes aren't the eyes of a weyrwoman. Her mouth doesn't curve into that mirthless, automatic smile fit for passers-by or chatty old aunties. Worse than that are the frowns. Oh, he's seen them. Slight downward curving of her lips. A look of disapproval. A frown of hurt. An expression brought on by a memory he'd give anything for them both to forget. Right now in this moment? There is none of that, and all he's faced with is Soriana. If it is her, he can face her all day and never look away. His face feels warm, partially due to the ale that courses through him, more so because of the hand that he holds. It's an instant calm. A momentary reminder of how good things were. A finger begins to move, forefinger grazing along the side of hers, reveling in the sensation that he's hungered for. Touch. Closeness. A sign that there's…something. Maybe. Does he dare hope? Although his ears hear the voice of another, he doesn't quite comprehend Kera's spoken words. He does nod though, without looking at her, as she rises to depart, and when she has departed he hardly notices the change. Soriana is quiet, so is he. Words? He's said so many of them already, what's left to say? "…I miss you." Understatement of the century.

The memory isn't forgotten. But… time has passed. It's been talked about. It's not forgotten, but it's no longer yesterday. It's in the past. The past is a nebulous thing. Something dragons have little concept of, and even humans… oh, it blurs together. Soriana and Ka'el's first kiss is also in The Past. So were walks on the beach and long conversations under the stars. So are a great many things, and while that memory's not forgotten… it's lost prominence. It's become just a part of the past, joining with all the others in Soriana's memory. One voice among many. That's all it is, now. And now - right now - she has eyes for one person. Her lips are curved less than they are for that polite smile she gives everyone. They're not frowning - far from it - but… her gaze is intent. Serious face. The one where she's just thinking, instead of the one where she's thinking what she's supposed to be thinking. Her fingers stay curved close against his. Still a light touch. One he could pull away from. (But she hopes he doesn't.) He has words, and she nods to them, slow and serious. She knows. "I'm sorry." The words are soft. Her fingers… tighten, just a little. They hold his closer.

Two words, countless numbers of ways to go about deciphering them. She's sorry. Sorry that he misses her, but nothing can be done about it. She's sorry. Sorry that she cannot, will not forgive him for the past and no amount of missing her will change that. She's sorry. Sorry that he can't find the strength to get over it and move on. There are so many other fish in the sea. He can feel his heart beginning to suffer and drown beneath the relentless rain of his fears, mind turning towards the worst of those possible meanings, and the smile upon his face falters. But they aren't all bad, these plausible interpretations. She's sorry. Sorry that this has stretched on for so long and reconciliation has evaded them. Sorry that she has kept him at bay, punishing him as he already punishes himself. Too many alleged meanings for such a simple phrase. The tightening of her grasp, oh yes which he felt, could mean the beginning of mending, or the last squeeze of a final goodbye. He grips back in return, strengthening his hold upon her as his brows faintly lift and press towards one another. "It's my fault, all've it. You haven't any reason to be sorry, Soriana. I'm to blame for everything, there's no denyin' it, and I've deserved all've what I got … and lost because've it."

Soriana shakes her head slowly. "I heard from Mur'dah. About what you… what Marel helped you with." She makes an unhappy face. Sour like a bite of unripe redfruit. "I should have paid more attention." Soriana looks down, at their hands. Between her eyes and the table - unless of course she looked to either side. But… she doesn't. She takes in a deep breath, and gives her head another shake. "It was Kanekith. And I know you're working on it." Hasn't Ka'el been working with his arrogant bronze since he broke out of his shell? It's not like Kanekith hasn't made progress. It's just… well. He's Kanekith. Soriana doesn't look up, but her fingers don't move away, either. They keep their place, curled against Ka'el's. Held by him… even if she doesn't want to look up, in case his smile's entirely gone by now. "I don't want to lose you." She dares a glimpse, an upward dart of her eyes.

Marel? Ka'el's head vaguely tilts at the name before dawning touches his face. Those weren't proud moments. Hiding in a tavern, suckling drink after drink. Drunken nights every night. Hungover mornings, stinking of smoke and liquor and sweat. He owes Marel much, this is true, but.. "You shouldn't feel as if you had to pay attention to me. I wasn't your responsibility. .." Brows furrow. "Don't feel sorry for me. All that happened to me was well deserved." If he was meant to be a drunk, he'd be laid in a tavern now, likely sans a Galaxy knot, but apparently Fate has other plans for him. He falls quiet then, listening to the rest of what she says about Kanekith. About herself. His hand that holds hers is soon joined by his other, encasing her hand between them. "I thought I already lost you. The worst part've all of this, the thing that bothered me most, was thinkin' that you hated me. I don't know if these are the right words Soriana, but I don't know if I've ever felt as much misery as I have since that day. It's - … To know that someone can make me feel so … incomplete, it's" He doesn't like this word, but it's the right word, "scary." His fingers caress the back of her palm. "You scare me, Soriana, but it's not a fear that I want to run from. You haven't lost me, unless you don't wish to have me anymore."

Wasn't he, though? And not in that weyrwoman way where Soriana can make a case that just about everything is her responsibility. In the Soriana way, where Ka'el is her boyfriend and she's (supposed to) know more about dragons and… that sort of thing. Soriana frowns, considering on that - then looks up again. The frown disappears, surprised away. Deserved. Her mouth quirks. "I dunno that anyone deserves flights." A quiet mutter, and then she shakes her head, going quiet again to listen to Ka'el. She doesn't see his other hand on hers, but that's just because she's watching his face again. She lets out a slow sigh. A twitch of her lips and her fingers both, but she stops herself from speaking, yet… though her fingers stretch a little, splaying against his hand. "I never hated you." Her other hand reaches up as well, brushing against the other side of his. "I was angry. I was scared. I…" still am? Yeah. But she's working on it. "It's… hard. I don't like it. But I want to figure it out." She swallows. "And… it might take… a while." Maybe she's sorry for that, too. "But I want to figure it out with you." Or was that figure out being with him?

All of her touches … shards, it makes it hard for him to concentrate on what she's saying to him. Things as simple as holding her hand, he's dreamt about. Stealing a kiss has been a fantasy. Playful pokes and tender caresses.. He hadn't realized how for granted he has taken the sensation of touch until it was stripped from him. Never again. Now he'll revel in every graze and glance of skin to skin, much like he's doing now. Fingertips, fingernails, palms, the back of her hands, the creases that make the lines of fingers and palms. Every centimeter of her hand is felt with his gentle touch, and the feel of her fingers upon his is a savored thing that lifts small goosebumps to the back of his arms. "I was angry too," he admits. "Because I couldn't understand how every other flight in the past could be forgiven but I was bein' punished for mine." Granted, it was a punishment he felt he deserved, but still. He shakes his head. "I'm with you, Sori. I want to be with you through all this, and I will be now that I know it's what you want. I don't care how long it takes. I waited a turn to date you. I waited turns to be with you. I'll wait turns more til you're okay."

For the most part, Soriana's fingers are still. The hand that's between Ka'el's rests where it is, just… touching. The other moves, but it's slow. Small motions that brush her fingertips against the back of his hand, that bring her touch as far as his wrist before retreating. The touch is… good, but it's a lot, somehow. Like it was after the dragons first hatched, when even the simplest touch stirred feelings not easily held back. Like that, except… it's a more confused set of emotions. Except there's nothing holding Soriana back except Soriana. Her outer hand falls away, though she doesn't try to move the inner one. "I don't think the other flights are okay," she says softly. Her eyes flit up as she watches a rider pass behind Ka'el. They're not alone here, for all that the rest of the caverns have been polite enough - so far. "But… they're…" She frowns. She doesn't like it, but. Flights are, "Necessary." At least, if there's to be dragons. Soriana lets out a sigh, but then… she smiles. Her outer hand reaches up, setting itself over the top of Ka'el's as they hold hers. Resting on them, fingers lightly curved. "I hope it doesn't take that long." Her lips are lightly curved too; a small and rueful smile. She hopes. She's not sure it won't be.

He should probably let her eat instead of keeping her hand hostage as it is. But what if this moment is a fluke not to be repeated? What if she wakes tomorrow morning and regrets everything about tonight? He should hold onto her for as long as he can. Til she pulls away, and even then be reluctant to let her go. Months. Months. Can he go through months again without a fond touch? A flirtatious word? Without any appearance that they're anything but acquaintances? Ka'el exhales a slow breath. It's a big promise, to wait turns for something that…is not promised at all. He wants a girlfriend. He wants his girlfriend. To laugh and play with and lean on when he desperately needs someone to lean on. For when he goes home, which he'll need to do soon before Kanekith is too unwilling to leave Luraoth on the sands. He watches the progress of her hand and fingers, and he turns his enough so that he can give hers a squeeze before he begins to gentle pull them away. "Me too," he agrees with a single nod at the time frame. Turns. Sure, he'll wait turns, but they won't be easy ones.

It's not like Soriana was making very good progress with her eating. Her appetite's been… weird, lately. (Luraoth finds that the heat helps her digest.) Besides, there's touch and hands and… she sighs, though her hand squeezes back at his. "I'll try." To make it faster. To not be angry or scared or… weird, about Ka'el. She can't promise it, but she can try. Soriana hesitates, and then another passerby draws her gaze. More people. Less privacy. Her fingers give another squeeze. At least she's not jerking her hands away, not even with eyes passing over them. Weyrwomen are allowed to have boyfriends. Even after flights. She just has to convince herself of that, but she's working on it. It's just a slow process - like the one now, where their hands draw apart. Where the touch ends - for now. Soriana sighs. "I'm not done with my duties, yet." Paperwork is also necessary. Or so they tell her.

She has to go. Ka'el understands those code words, and he glances to the administration hallway. His drink has sat forgotten, the foam on top gone to reveal the amber ale beneath. The passing patrons of Xanadu aren't given much attention from him as they mill to and fro. They may as well be ants traversing on the black sands of Ista. Unseen and disregarded. Frustrated he is, with everything. The flight. The aftermath. The waiting. The loss of what was so solid between them. He did everything right. They did everything right. There was no rushing. No scandal. No hastily made decisions. Hell, even her mother liked him! Perhaps not so much now, but before she did! How can this one literally mindless instance bring so much ruin on what seemingly was so perfect? It's ever so slight, but there's a vague slump to his posture before he nods to her, eyes lowering to her hands, no longer with his, and then to the table. "Can I ask, maybe… next time, if I see you here … can I sit with you?" It seems so stupid to ask, but ask he does.

Ok. Everything right other than the dating two girls at the same time bit. That wasn't so right. But … details. And! He wised up to that and made a big boy decision, so that still counts as doing something right! .. So there.

A gaze that had started to drift toward the administration hallway comes back to Ka'el. Soriana's lips quirk. They shift in an unspoken word, and then she nods. She pauses for a moment, and then… she smiles crookedly. Halfway there. Like a hand reached out partway. "You can come back and ask me to lunch, even." Her mother almost certainly won't punch him. And she usually doesn't have lunch meetings. And… Soriana lifts one shoulder, lowers it again. "I want to try. So, yeah. You can sit with me." Such a crooked smile. "You don't have to avoid me. I'll deal with it, okay? Because… I want to work it out." So she'll just keep walking up to the edge of that cliff. And every time will be easier than the last… right?

Ka'el, brave the admin hallway for a lunchtime rendezvous? He hasn't seen Thea in quite some time, though for some reason thoughts of her and thoughts of frying pans are going hand in hand. As for Sorrin? Yeesh. Going down that hallway is looking more and more like walking straight into a snake pit. "Yeah, I'll..do that." Sometime. Sometime in the unnamed future which could mean tomorrow, next seven, or next month. Way to be vague! But that's not important, the important part is that she offered it in the first place as if things weren't weird at all between them. As for avoiding her..yes, he's been an expert at that. Can he break the habit? Well … if the looks on her face were more like they are now than what they have been, it'd be a task made easy. That crooked smile of hers always gets him smiling back, even in times when he doesn't particularly want to. "Alright," he agrees. "If it means makin' this better, then I won't. I only was because I didn't want you feelin' bad if I was around." A glance to that hallway again. It's threatening to suck her away. "Do you ne- .. want me to come for you when you're done? So you're not goin' home alone? Do you walk with your ma?"

Or like she wants to pretend the weird isn't there. Walk up to the cliff and look over the edge. Soriana nods to Ka'el's assent. He'll do it. Sometime. (And it's not like there haven't always been plenty of things offered and agreed to and never actually done because different things came up instead.) So that's … practically normal. Of course, if things were actually normal, she'd probably (definitely) have kissed him by now… but she can pretend. She can try. And so can he. "I want it." Even if parts of her hindbrain are still a little twitchy about the whole concept of being near Ka'el. They're dumb and she's not gonna listen to them. Sothere. …just like she doesn't listen to anything telling her she can't walk home Just Fine on her own. Soriana gives her head a little shake. "You don't have to. I just go with Luraoth, if it's late." Because, well. What more protector could she need? But… "I won't be that long." She hopes, and also rises to her feet, because the first step in not taking long is getting started.

Yes, but Luraoth won't always be there to walk with her in the middle of the night, will she? Not when her eggs are on the sands and she's all … twitchy about leaving them! And ever since Ka'el joined up with Galaxy, he's learned all kinds of new ways that things can go wrong at night, most dealing with lone people ending up missing in some vile way! Paranoia can be a healthy habit. But although it doesn't seem like he'll be escorting her anywhere tonight, he does at least have confirmation that she does want his company. At least, during meal times. From across a table. With people around him which won't make for much of a private moment. But it's better than nothing. He rises as she does instinctively (residual from weyrling etiquette training, perhaps?) and he dips his head to her. "Alright then. Still, be careful. If y'need something jus'.. tell Luraoth to tell Kanekith," he offers, eyes flitting briefly to her hand. Please don't let this be the last time he holds them. He stands there for an awkward moment. He'd usually hug her now. Kiss her. Murmur something about seeing her later. But now he…stands and…er, dips his head a little. Yeah. Sure, why not. "Se-… Goodnight, Soriana."

…and Luraoth's definitely looking rather gravid, these days. The eggs aren't quite visible beneath her hide, but… some days, it's close enough to pretend. Soriana nods, and smiles a little to the offer. "I will," she says, and then (despite the summons of the admin hallway), she hesitates. "Goodnight," she echoes. Now is the time when… okay shardit whatever. She steps round the table quickly, and casts arms around Ka'el in a hug. A very brief one, so she can get it there and done before her hindbrain recognizes what's going on and starts squealing - and then she turns and flees, abandoning her plate and klah-mug both as she heads back to her office before she can start shaking. Looking down over cliffs, nothing. She'll step off the edges, if she thinks it'll help. Even if it means it'll be a good ten minutes before she can concentrate in the slightest on her paperwork.

Wait. What is she doing? Soriana’s movements that bring her around the table and towards him seem to have been done in super fast motion, as if someone’s sped up time. He hasn’t the time to react to her. To step away and find another barrier to place between himself and her. She’s too fast, and then she’s there, pressed to him with her arms curled around him. This is where time screeches, slowing itself abruptly so the sensation of arms around him lasts long seconds instead of the single one of real time. The light pressure and closeness, the smell of her (And oh, she smells good. Like dragon oil and klah and soap. Soriana.) invades his senses and starts to ease frozen muscles. But in truth, there isn’t enough time for him to fully appreciate it, or to relax, for she’s gone in the next second and he’s left to watch her depart. Surprise begins to fade and make room for a smile and a childishly giddy feeling to rise. A hug! He got a hug! If he’d only known how opposite her reaction was to it, he’d wipe that silly grin right off of his face and see to it she’d never touch him again. They say ignorance is bliss. How right they are. He collects his bag and departs.

Add a New Comment
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License