Tears for the Lost

Xanadu Weyr - Meadow Ridge

The meadow continues its gentle rolls and dips, grass tall and short waving in the slightest of breezes. Each hill seems to grow a bit higher, a bit steeper, as eventually, the meadow works up to a large ridge, the top flattening out at its new elevation.

From the top of the ridge, the view is certainly something to be admired - higher than the majority of the trees, one can look out over the rest of Xanadu Weyr proper. The houses in the lower meadow - each roof a different color - and the clock tower peeking upwards from the its forest surroundings are all visible, as is the cliff that houses the Weyr Caverns themselves. And yet, the ridge also holds an amazing view of the night sky - horizon to horizon - unaffected by the light pollution of the more heavily traveled regions.

Construction continues on the observatory and the first level of the observatory is more than half way done. The outer wall of the structure is up and made of gray concrete blocks. The wall forms a circle that covers the foundations of the observatory. Scaffolding has all ready begun to be set up to continue the construction as it reaches towards the sky. Off to the side the building materials have been uncovered and some of the materials have no doubt been used.

Graduation approaching, all tests passed, most lessons learned, most Weyrlings are content. Ontali can't seem to decide which camp she's sitting in. It is shortly before dusk, and the girl is sitting on the flat top of the ridge staring across the Weyr quietly, arms wrapped around her knees. The towering clouds that bring summer squalls race across the sky to the west, lit up in fiery colors by Rukbat's setting. As the stars finally start to show, the girl eyes them curiously, then turns to the cobalt dragon lingering nearby, expression unreadable. He peers at her with muted affection, arching his neck and offering a prideful little rumble. "Oh, please." She snorts. "I haven't caved yet and I'm not going to, you stupid wherry." There's more acid in her tone than usual, but she still sounds vaguely playful, rolling her eyes. "What would you do if you missed a tree? You'd run into it. No, get more creative, mister. We can fly at night, but…" Talking aloud seems to ease the tension, and she stands, pacing out to the edge and smiling a little. Cidheoth peers after his bonded mournfully, finally retracting his wings from their sunning span and warbling plaintively. He gets only a snort.

Faraeth is curled up on the ridge, seeming at first to merely be sunning, but as he shifts his head to give Cidheoth an odd look for his behavior it becomes clear that the brown is wrapped tightly about his rider. For the moment the lad is asleep, curled up nearly fetal, his hands clutched against his dragon, his five firelizards draped across whatever bit of his body they can reach, though none of them sleep, their eyes whirl slowly but with hints of red, belaying their bonded's distress, even in his sleep.

Dragons aren't an uncommon sight around the Weyr, so Cidheoth and his rider haven't paid much attention to the dragon down the ridge. They continue to banter back and forth for some time, until Cidheoth suddenly blinks and squints down at the moving Faraeth, warbling in pleasant surprise. « Faraeth. You were sleeping. » A cascade of bubbles shimmers in almost-laughter. « Hope we didn't wake you up. Ontali is being a /girl/. They're so afraid of getting hur — » "Shut UP!" « Hurt. Ahem. » A pause, and curious tilt of his head at the brown's lifemate, while Tali peeks around her dragon, eyes widening a little. "M'nol? You okay?" The girl calls, eyeing Faraeth and then the array of firelizards. "Why's he sleeping out here, Cid?" Muttered for the dragon, who relays, « Mine wishes to know why yours sleeps outside. » There is a snort hidden in his words. Prissy humans and their indoors habits.

M'nol flops over in his sleep, a fitful edge to his movements, his arms moving as if grasping for something… just for a moment, then cling to himself all the harder. Faraeth's mindvoice has a ragged edge, the silk and velvet faded to grey, no color remaining as the wind blows gently through newfound holes, « The barracks make him sad because yours and Nyunath's are happy. He says the outdoors hurt less so long as it is not the beach. The healer left. » That last sentance is stated as if he assumes Cid knows who he's referring to, even though the blue probably doesn't.

Ontali continues to watch M'nol warily, eyebrows knitting, expression worried. Cidheoth relays the brown's words, and her expression flickers first to indignation, then irritation, then sorrow for her younger friend. "S'not /my/ fault we're happy. Mostly." She mutters mournfully, frowning thoughtfully as she leans against her dragon's shoulder, politely keeping her distance. "The healer?" Blue-Weyrling squints, expression clouding for a moment in thought before a likely candidate seems to surface, and it clears, then clouds again, this time in chagrin. "Aw, shells." Cidheoth waits patiently, mind a bubbling river of sparks and candescent bubbles, content to sit in the warmth of the summer evening. « Mine is concerned, » He relays eventually. « But she's a little dense and can't figure out what to do. » Pleasantly, the blue rumbles, eyes narrowing a little. « I don't understand them. Mine is still upset with me for something I don't remember. Why is yours upset over the other? And, » Finally, a blaze of inspiration, the blue warbles. « We can just go get her back, of course. We can go tonight! »

Sweat beads on M'nol's forehead and he shifts again. Faraeth gives a soft rumble, the velvet still tattered, torn, and colorless, but with no harsh snap that usually accompanies his ire, « Tell yours that mine does not blame her or Nyunath's, but he can't always stand to see it. To avoid making them sad, he leaves. » Faraeth's eyes flash gently, « Mine misses her. She made him feel happy and good inside. Just like Isobeth made you feel, I'm sure. » A draconic sigh follows, then he glances at his rider with one eye, « We cannot get her. She has been taken far away for training. Somewhere called Fort Hold. Mine said it would be many days straight flying and require crossing the water even bigger than the lake. He waits until we too can go /between/, then he will go to her. »

« I still don't understand Ontali sometimes. » Cidheoth muses quietly amongst a cascade of drifting bubbles. « I will tell her. » Noted next, before the girl's eyes soften and she sighs, scrubbing at her face with one hand anxiously. "S'fine, silly." Muttered. "Shouldn't do that. We're his friends." Cidheoth sighs minutely at being turned into relay-machine, but relays dutifully, « She informs me that she and Nyunath's are his friends and he shouldn't worry. » But then the girl is frowning in thought, pacing too and fro on the rocky ridgetop, eyes distant. "I'll be back." She murmurs, then sets off down it at a bouncing trot, determined. The dragon watches her go with a snort, but tries to recall Isobeth anyways, rumbling faintly. « I — do not remember. » The blue finally admits quietly, annoyed by his lack of memory of what was apparently enjoyable. « The sea? Ontali tells me of the sea. I see. » A hissing dance of sparks flare faintly. « You're right. » Defeat is conceded with annoyance; Cidheoth could do anything, if his lifemate would let him! Even *between*! « She has gone to get something that will make yours feel better. I think flying would. Have you tried that? I can show you how to fall without falling. » Enthusiasm flares in a brilliant flash. « Yours would like it, I'm sure. »

M'nol twists again, leaning hard into Faraeth's side. The tattered velvet waves gently, « We flew for a whole day after he found her gone. Back and forth over the lake as if he would find her there. » Faraeth turns to glance at his rider again, « I hope yours is right. Mine's dreams are troubling. Filled with fear and loss. » The brown sighs, turning back to the blue, « I fear that if we were to try to learn by ourselves now, in his state, we would be lost /between/. He is too sad to face such an easy option. »

Cidheoth is silent for some time, expression distant as he peers across the Weyr, likely imagining death-defying stunts of some sort. This seems to make him irrationally happy, but he snaps to eventually, blinking back at Faraeth. « I see. » He rumbles carefully. « Mine is always right. » A beat. « Well, mostly. » You know, when she's not telling /him/ he's wrong, and all. « She will take care of it. She is very good at taking care of things, my Ontali. » Confidence seethes from the dragon in contented waves of bright bubbles. « When ours are like this, we take up the slack. We could do it correctly without them if we did it right. But, I wouldn't risk yours. » He falls silent again, curling up until his rider returns, a skin of something slung around one shoulder and a packet in one hand. "M'nol!" She calls, smiling faintly at Faraeth. "Doesn't look like he's getting good sleep anyways, eh?" A pause, before she strides closer, purposeful and carefully cheerful-looking. "Wake up, M'nol! Wanna talk. C'mon."

Faraeth blinks at the blue, « Yours *is* smart. I am glad for her help. » He stares at M'nol's twisted form again, « If… If I could bring him to her or her to him, I would… in an instant. But he's never been where she is and neither have I » M'nol starts as Tali calls out his name, a single terrified word slipping from his lips, "Phy!" His body is tense, his arms outstretched, then he sighs, blinking twice and shaking his head before looking back up at Tali sheepishly, "Hey, Tali…"

« She is. » Cidheoth murmurs approvingly, lapsing into silence for a moment — his own affection for his bonded isn't as boomingly obvious, when she's looking at least, but he understands, it would seem. « It is our duty. » He says calmly, peering over at the brown as Tali arrives again, eyeing his rider with a snort. She smiles tentatively at the younger brownrider, waving. "Hey," There is a moment of awkward foot-scuffing, before she brightens, wiggling the cloth-wrapped packet. "Guess what I found. C'mon. Wanna talk, and I don't guess you've had dinner." She glances at the still-twilight sky with a little grin. "You should get up and walk around a little or you'll be sore."

Faraeth nods slowly to the blue, « Often we must protect them from themselves. » He grunts when M'nol wakes, but as he seems fine the brown doesn't move to help me. M'nol's voice squeaks a little, "Talk? I ate, I swear!" He continues like that for a few more platitudes before his stomach rumbles loudly, giving him away. He blushes, then sighs, carefully if stiffly pulling himself to his feet, "What'd you find and what do you want to talk about…?" He doesn't sound enthused… if anything he sounds more coerced.

Cidheoth's rumble is wistful and distant. « If only they always thought the same as we did. » He laments. « Life would be much easier. » There is a faint twitch of a wingtip as the falconlike blue peers up at the sky, eyes rapt. « Yours will be fine, Faraeth. Ontali will fix him. » Despite the fact that it's a sentiment he's already expressed, Cid does so again, as Tali steps forward with a wry grin. "Of course you did." She says placidly, before throwing an impromptu arm about the younger Weyrling's shoulders and dragging him bodily away from Faraeth with a wink for the brown. "C'mon, silly. They aren't gonna stay hot for forever." The girl laughs, and flops down on the edge of the ridge, feet dangling as she points imperiously next to her. "Sit, sit." A beat, and she's flipping the cloth off of what she's carrying. It reveals itself to be a trio of palm-sized bubblies, steaming warm. "Tea and bubblies. The tea'll make you feel better. Yeah, talk," Here's a winning smile. "You can talk to me, M'nol. C'mon. I won't tell anybody or anything."

More than anything else, Faraeth watched Tali drag his rider off, then snorted, « She'd better. She does no pushing him off won't help, right? » M'nol finds himself being dragged. Where he would have resisted before, his will is limp, gone for the moment. He lets her push him to the ground, slumping forward. He just stares at the bubblies for a moment before he reaches forward to take on and slowly takes a bite, chewing it equally slowly and swallowing before asking, "What's to talk about? I'm fine." The quiver of his lip and hands clearly shows that he's lying through his teeth.

Cidheoth's response to his rider's impertinence is a low rumble that sounds oddly like a chuckle, head snaking back in forth in exasperation. « I assume so, least. » Bubbles shimmer faintly in amusement. « Girls know. They must have a different way of knowing. » Mutter mutter. Giiirlss. Ew. Tali grins over at M'nol, setting the packet down beside him and tossing the skin of tea over. Eyebrows lift delicately at the brownweyrling, and lips purse for a moment, as she considers her options. Finally, "Don't lie to me." is almost a whine. "Cid says you were sleeping out here because of me." Those raised eyebrows furrow, as she continues. "And something about a healer. I — I didn't notice. I should have noticed you were sweet on her. She left? Yes, he told us." The last is to stave off the inevitable question. "Was the right thing to do. I'm…sorry she's not here. When will she be back?"

Faraeth chuckles softly, « Girls are quite pleasant. I hope to soon take one in flight myself. You are lucky to have experienced it if the echoes from mine are any indication. » The velvet touch briefly takes on some color, then fades again. M'nol sighs, looking away from Tali as he slowly chews another bite to avoid talking to her. Further pushing off the conversation, he takes a long swig from the skin of tea, wondering if Satoris had felt like this when he too had been driven to drink. "Wasn' ou' here 'cause o' you… leas'wise no' jus' you… You an' Ro're happy an' I don' like to pull y' down with m'own sadness… 'n' Kez's been all smiles 'n' an' winks since Alosynth rose, even if she an' Ruz aren' a pair 's hard t' see." He sighs loudly, then takes another swig of tea, feeling the heat of it spread through his body. Another sigh preceedes his next statement, "We kept it quiet… I think only Jessamin knew, an' she's at Western now." He takes a bite of bubbly, chewing it slowly still, then shakes his head vigorously, "Didn' leave… was taken… no warning." He digs a slip of paper out of his pocket and passes it to her. It's a simple note, hastily scrawled by Phylicia: I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry. Been recalled to the healer hall. I don't want to go! I'll send Ciaran with letters when I can. I'll miss you! Visit me! M'nol sighs again, "Found it on her empty cot… all her stuff's gone." He buries his mouth in the bubbly again, focusing on it instead of the numbness.

Cidheoth's rumble is appreciative as he peers around, eyes drifting to a nearby green, sleeping in the meadow below. « Indeed. » His voice rumbles with a shower of sparks. « Human females, though, are awfully odd. » A long suffering sigh. One that Ontali unconsciously echoes, with a fierce look for M'nol. "Hey!" It's a drawn-out word, accusing. "I wanna help you, M'nol, not make you sleep out in the damn meadow." This is lamented with a frown. "I'm sure Ro does too! And Kez and R'zel too! We don't want you to be left out here and all. Just 'cause we're happy doesn't mean we don't want you to be. We could do something. Distract you. I dunno. Or just talk. Really, that's what friends're for! Isn't it?" She pauses briefly, nodding slowly. "Oh. She's gone?" Sorrow, fleetingly, before, "I guess I can't blame you for not telling anybody. But we could've…I dunno…could've at least talked to her and stuff. You like her, she must be great!" This gets an emphatic nod, before she's blinking, ire taking over at the next. "Seriously? Shells!" The note is read, and lips purse, expression darkening mightily. "Dunno who they think they are. But we'll be able to visit soon, honest, M'nol! Somebody'll be able to take us to Healer Hall. And she'll be back soon, I bet. It won't be so bad!" The girl seems convinced of this, flashing a bright smile. "Just gotta wait a bit. Waiting's not so bad. It's worth it." Wisely. Oh, right. Because she's so well-versed in the waiting game. How sagely.

Faraeth and M'nol sigh in unison, but it is Faraeth who speaks first, « I thought I'd figured them out. Then she left. She said she wouldn't hurt him. I believed her. » M'nol just looks at Tali for a moment, a single tear sliding down one boyish cheek, "What shoul' I've said? 'Gee… guys? I know I didn' tell anyone I was seein' someone, bu' I was and we spen' several nigh's jus' sleepin' t'gether on th' beach an' even wen' t' Rubicon… an' now she's gone…' It's not 'xac'ly an easy subjec' t' broach…" He nods a form of finality, taking another deep swig of the tea, then another tear found its way down his other cheek, "They're her hall… any craft c'n recall their people, 'specially harpers an' healers…" he sighs, "'specially 'pprentices…" He sighs again, more tears beginning to find their way to his cheeks, slowly at first, then more quickly, though his voice was clear, "As soon as I'm cleared fer /'tween/ I'm gonna go visit her." There's conviction in his tone, then he glances again at Tali, "I… I wouldn' objec' to some comp'ny, though… just in case…"

« /I/ haven't figured them out, and my lifemate is female. » Cidheoth points out quietly. « I don't think we're meant to know any but ours. Nyunath's is pleasant, but he is not mine. I don't know whether he will hurt her or not. » A beat, a hissing drizzle of sparks. « Only that if he does, we will not be pleased. » Rumbled quietly, before Tali has a chance to send a chastising glance his way. "Shut up, Cidheoth." The girl growls, then glances back at M'nol with a sympathetic smile. "No, it's not, but it's probably not easy doing drills when you're sore from sleeping on the /ground/, Morl." The girl says gently, with a little grin. Her expression freezes a moment, curiosity attempted to be hidden, but she can't seem to resist: "You — on a /beach/? Shells'n'shards, man, there're some places you just shouldn't get sand in!" Vehemently, before she subsides with a sheepish grin. "Not like that, they don't. Wherries." This is muttered venemously. "Apprentices've got feelings too. And so've the people they love." Her chin lifts and the Weyrling glares across the darkening Weyr for a moment, before glancing back with a smile. "Of course. I wouldn't want you to go alone and all. We'll be cleared soon enough, too. I asked around."

Faraeth rumbles, « I told the healer that, too… but mine says she didn't hurt him by choice and I'm not allowed to eat her. » It's Morl's turn to cast a hard glance at his brown, but what ever chastisement he throws is silent. M'nol himself mumbles softly under her glare, "'M used t' sleepin' on th' groun'. Did it 'nuff as a kid…" His eyes open wide and he finds himself waving his hands in front of his face, "Nonononono. Not on the beach. That'd itch, I think… we literally *slept* on th' beach… Faraeth makes a good pillow…" He manages a slight half-smile, though it doesn't reach his eyes, "Thanks, Tali… I can' wait t' go /'tween/."

Cidheoth's laughter comes in a snowdrift of pleasantly luminescent bubbles, warmth spreading. « We would not do well to eat any human. There are better ways of revenge, anyways. » Placidly, the blue lays his head in an utterly uninoccent fashion on his forelegs, eyes half-closed and whirring contentedly. Tali, meanwhile, is not easily diverted, and flicks a hand imperiously. "Still. 'til we move outta the Barracks, please sleep in your cot? I promise I don't mind you being sad." Brief solemnity is marred by a broad grin, then, and nod. "Oh! Okay. Well, that makes more sense. I was gonna say. Shells." She giggles, feet bouncing off of the rock below her, as a grin is turned on the young brownrider. "No need, silly." A pause, and glance at the sky. "Soon. Then we'll be able to go /anywhere/ we want." The girl leans back on her hands and sighs happily, before casting another glance sideways. "I hear we're supposed to be outta the barracks soon. My siblings're gonna be so jealous that I get to live in my own house. Bet yours will be." Grin!

Faraeth's velvet flaps in a mental wind, « Perhaps… but it would be satisfying if she were truly hurting him. » M'nol nods slowly, finishing off his bubbly carefully, "I'll try… bu' sometimes I still need t' get 'way." He gives another soft sigh, "I *was* looking forward t' havin' my own Weyr… now I'm sad tha' she's no' here to share it' with." A few more tears make their way across his cheeks before he wipes them clear, "I'll try to make through, Tali… I'll try."

Cidheoth concedes this with a rough flare of sparks, amusement sharper now. « Well, yes. » The blue admits, while Tali eyes him warily. Her attention focuses on M'nol after the brief flicker, though, and she nods quickly. "Of course. We all do, eh? You ever wanna get away for a day or two away from the Weyr once they let us go, I can show you some caves downshore from where I used to live. Good place to hide out." This is offered with a little grin. "She'll be back, Morl. Don't worry. You can just get it nice and pretty for when she returns, yeah? I'll help, if you need. Girls got different things they wanna see than boys. You just keep it nice, and I bet she'll feel right at home when she gets back." A stout nod, before she's standing, clapping his shoulder if he'll take it. "It'll get better. Don't worry, okay? I'll see you later. Eat those bubblies before they go cold, and, um," Tali has the decency to look slightly sheepish. "Get somewhere nice and soft pretty soon. The tea might make you tired." Cough. "You didn't look like you were sleeping well." An explanation, before with a sigh, she's swinging astride Cidheoth with an ease that's just now starting to impose itself. "We're always here, yanno. See you later." The girl smiles down at her friend, then waves a hand as Cidheoth moves a few dragonlengths down the ridge from the others and gathers himself, leaping headlong off, before steadying at some point across the meadow, disappearing into the deepening gloom of twilight

M'nol smiles that same sad smile, trying not to be hurt that she'd drugged him, "I… I'll try t' take you up on tha', maybe. All of you… except Vivian…" the grin is a tad more genuine this time, but not much, as he stands and stumbles, whether from lack of sleep or fellis, to his dragon and the two make their way, on the ground this time, to the barracks, not wanting to collapse in the middle of nowhere…. or the meadow…

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