Xanadu Weyr - Feeding Grounds
Sparse trees are scattered through this field on the western edge of the forest, not far north of the clearing. The pen extends partly up the hills to the southwest, and the trees grow sparser the further west one goes. Within the large corral are a variety of beasts - ovines, bovines, and wherries - free to roam and graze. The appearance of a dragon may send them one way or the other to try and escape. A small pond is set near one corner of the enclosure, and at times it reflects the low, bordering mountains.
Just at the forest's edge, set under the tree line, is a guest weyr for use in mating flights, a simple cottage made of weathered planking and grey stones.
It could not be a better day! Early autumn means the weather is cool but comfortable and the afternoon skies are that crisp, bright blue and clear save for a few light clouds that lazily drift by. The leaves have begun to turn, a myriad of fiery reds, golds and orange that rustle and swirl by anytime the wind picks up. In the pens, the herds have been stirred and are just beginning to settle down again, well away from the lithe cerulean blue form of a dragon. Ujinath has made is first kill and has dragged away his prize to politely (if not ravenously) devour it along the more northern part of the clearing. Kiena is slowly trudging her way towards what few sparse trees scatter the area, flight straps resting over one shoulder as she seeks a bit of shade and a place to rest and wait. She could have returned home but the effort to just carry the straps that far seem to wear her down and she'll stop beneath the larger tree to carefully set them on the ground. Her helmet and goggles she sets beside her too, a hand coming up to brush some of her wind blown hair from her face as she sits with her back to the trunk. For a moment she is still, with her head resting back, arms folded in her lap and eyes closed, looking almost peaceful… until the wind sends a few leaves her way, some of which find their way to collide with her side and shoulder and up to tickle against her neck. Sputtering and cursing in low grumblings, she'll promptly shred the poor offending leaf and send the remnants scattering with a satisfied smirk.
Home. A small word for such an all-encompassing concept. Ka'el has been walking his home. Not just the cottage and barn and the rooms that make up the place that he rests his body at night, but the home that consists of many cottages and many rooms. Buildings. People from every walk of life. People that he is responsible for. Dragons and families. It's a huge thing when he stops to think about it, this home of his and the responsibilities and expectations that he has. But not hugely impossible. Not even hugely bad. Just … huge. Home is a big thing, and it's also a comforting thing, for as he walks he doesn't feel the heaviness of the hugeness. There's an ease to his gait that mirrors the current thoughts in his mind. Kanekith flies above, and Ka'el borrows his vision, getting a dragon's eye view of Xanadu from sky patrol. But in his stomach, he can feel Kanekith's hunger, and so the both of them turn their travels to the feeding grounds. The bronze arrives first, high in the sky to circle and pick out the perfect meal for himself, which he ends up choosing far more quickly than he does anything else. He swoops down, scattering the newly-settled herd to hunt down his one which he pounces upon with little fanfare. Ka'el emerges from the woods not long after claws sink into flesh, peering out towards the wide expanse of a pen to where his dragon feeds. There's another one out there, too far perhaps to tell just who it is. He moves up to the fence to lean, draping an arm over while the other lifts to shield his eyes.
Ujinath lifts his head when Kanekith arrives and swoops down for the kill, watching with detached interest and no bristling or possessiveness on his part. Once the bronze has settled, he will finish his first kill and then step away, leaving the remnants for the firelizards to pick over. Rumbling a quick, brisk greeting in passing to Kanekith, Ujinath spreads his wings and springs aloft again, soaring higher and higher as he begins to pick out his next beast, at times swooping down in a feint to scatter the herds when they bunch too closely together. It's not necessarily playing with his lunch, moreso that he's selective now that he has the edge of his ravenous hunger satisfied. Now recovered from her successful battle with the leaves, Kiena brushes the other ones away and has just picked up one of the segments of her straps when she recognizes just which bronze has come to feed. Not long afterwards, she'll spot Ka'el coming up to lean against the fence. After a moment of indecision and careful thought, she exhales softly and in a steadying inhale of breath will call out: "Shade under the trees is a touch more comfortable if you're looking to get out of the sun for a bit! Just mind the occasional attack by falling leaves."
Kanekith's greeting to Ujinath is very much like his greetings to anyone when his own attention is off of himself. A passing touch that's soon withdrawn as teeth find flesh and the real fun begins. Fooood! That grumbling in his stomach will soon be no more. He's content as he feeds, letting the blue hunt with little interference from him. Ka'el watches, recognizing the blue only now that his lifemate has acknowledged him. The hand above his eyes lower and drapes down with the other, the expression on his face twitching downward briefly before settling again. His eyes move although his head doesn't, glancing to the left as much as he can, but seeing only an expanse of grass and the occasional fluttering leaf that way. He pushes away from the fence then, hands coming to clasp behind his back as his body angles as if to move. He's paused by a voice though, and his eyes turn that way: Right. Towards the tree that Kiena has claimed for shade. Her invitation is met with silence. She herself, considered without initial expression as his thoughts swirl enough to cause Kanekith pause in his feeding. Brief it is, as an assurance from his rider is enough for him to continue. Ka'el also continues, reanimating himself forward, towards the tree instead of away, and his eyes lift to the multi-colored leaves. "A falling leaf wouldn't be the worst of attacks I've faced," he says, looking back to her afterward and pausing just within the perimeter of shade. "Hello."
Ujinath prefers those kinds of greetings and it keeps the blue relaxed and amiable. He's not a social butterfly, as some dragons can be, though in time he does open up. With his rider calm, he is calm and so Kanekith's passing touch is accepted and then his focus is back on feeding. He's finally claimed a second beast, now securely held in his jaws after diving down from above in a blur of blue. Again, he returns to his previous spot, wings still half unfurled, to dine in relative solitude. Kiena remains under her tree and doesn't move to stand when Ka'el turns and then seems to hesitate. For a moment, she figures he will keep to his own business, but when he does move towards the trees, she will only watch his advance quietly. The segment of her straps is pulled forwards again and she rests it in her lap just as Ka'el speaks. Kiena's reaction is not to bristle, though she has obviously tensed until by self-control she wills herself to relax. Her eyes lower to the leather and metal resting in her lap, her fingers knowingly tracing along the surface. So familiar, so well known. Her expression is complex, a mixture that shifts too swiftly to be entirely readable and made worse by her attempts to mask to neutrality. Regret, shame, guilt? Could be all or some. "True," she admits quietly, returning his greeting. "A Weyrleader faces much, doesn't he? Hey." Now her eyes lift but briefly, before they glance away again towards the pens. Her words have failed, her fingers stopping, distracted in their work of examining the strap piece. She struggles to find something, anything, more to say and lamely (in her head) she adds, "Kanekith looks well."
"It'd seem so," Ka'el answers with a single nod. "As do others I'm sure, but I can speak only for myself." His hands remain where they have been, at rest behind his back, while he watches her, glancing away when she speaks of his lifemate. He smiles only then, a light lift of a single edge of his mouth as his lifemate returns to the skies to hint another herdbeast down. One would barely satisfy a dragon with a gullet his size! Feeding may take a while, and Ka'el does not need to be here for its entirety…unless blood and guts is his new fascination. "Ujinath too," he says in return to her compliment, looking back to her now, the curve of his lip sliding back downward in the process. "I've heard the transition back to Asteroid with the smiths has been a smooth one. No hiccups with paperwork and the like," he says off-handedly, as standing in silence would truly make for an awkward (an even more awkward) exchange. Or lack thereof. "You're doing well?"
"I would think a Weyrleader faces a lot more than most would think," Kiena keeps her voice lowered, not in a menacing way but simply that: low and quiet. Subdued. Who doesn't like a compliment towards their dragon, even if one that is so often used in day-to-day conversations? Even she can't help but give a ghost of a smile for the return compliment, though her eyes only turn to him in another brief look. Her head then tilts down and her eyes remain fixed on her fingers as they slow slowly and meticulously work away at examining every little detail in those straps though she's barely progressed on the first piece. "It's like I never truly left. They welcomed me back and the work is familiar enough," Kiena explains with just the barest smirk tugging at the corner of her lips. It's like riding a bicycle! If… Pern had bicycles. His next query brings a small shrug of her shoulders, "Well enough." Is her kurt answer to start and it will take a few awkward seconds before she exhales softly and expands upon it. "As is expected. Somedays are better than others but I am coping. Spoke to Kera about safe herbs to use, so there is that once I speak to a Journeyman Healer to confirm what she told me." Given her intense dislike for most Healers and the infirmary itself, that'll be something she either sets aside for as long as she can manage or avoid it all together (which will be impossible). "That about… sums things up." Kiena pauses again, only because her mind is focused on pulling another length of the straps forwards without setting the whole thing tumbling but once she's successful she speaks up. "And you? The Turnover celebration went well?" Since she only witnessed the very start before her girls and visiting nephew took up her attention.
The confusion that gradually shifts Ka'el's features is one expression that's rather easy to recognize. It doesn't come with her first answers. Those are clear enough. His job and its difficulties, recent and otherwise. Returning to the smiths. He hadn't expect it to be a difficult thing at all. But, herbs? Herbs to use… "In smithing?" he asks, the confusion in his voice mirroring the look on his face. "I'd known that there've been a few different techniques tried, but I hadn't heard anything that'd require herbal uses…" he says carefully, mentally flipping through the many files in his mind in case this is a fact that he did, in fact, known but has merely momentarily forgotten. "Healers are involving themselves in the craft?" He must have missed a very important memo! And it's bothering him considering the frown on his face. He takes a half step out of the shadow, having half the mind to excuse himself so that he can go rummage through his paperwork! He ought to know these things! But she had another question that he hasn't answered yet, so he pauses. "Turnover? Oh, it went well yes. Soriana and I were pleased with the outcome of events and activities, and with no incidences or reports from Galaxy, I feel the evening was a success."
Kiena blinks and for a moment she does look up from her work and peers at him, confused and puzzled and more so when seeing the same mirrored in his expression. It takes a moment, for her to sort it all out and then mentally curse herself for her crypticness. She sighs and shakes her head, her tone close to apologetic when she first speaks again. "No, no. That whole business with the herbs has nothing to do with Smithing and more just for… my personal needs." Again, the crypticness and it takes her a second or two to realize it, catching herself with a grimace. "I've not been entirely well, Ka'el. Here," Kiena taps the side of her head. "Or, well… in general." Cue a general motion of her hand to the rest of herself. Realizing how it may sound, her hand then turns outwards in a warding gesture. She'll explain! Even if it's half mumbled and hesitant and scattered, she's trying her best when her habits are usually the opposite. "… it's not anything serious. Just somedays are worse than others." Hence the inquiry for herbs! Back to the talk of Turnover, Ka'el's report on it actually has her chuckling softly. "Any time an event does involve Galaxy is a success. It's good to know though, that it went well. Did those… glittery teenagers end up winning for all there, ah… effort?"
The frown that creases Ka'el's brow is one of misunderstanding rather than of anger. Yes, he's trying to straighten out the facts in his head, but the facts are a bit too scattered to organize in a quick an easy way. Facts! - There are herbs to be spoken about that are not for smithing. They are herbs for … personal remedies? The frown remains through that, especially through to the tap to her temple. More facts! - Mental…instability? It's not a very comforting fact in the slightest, neither is the gesture to her… everything. Whatever words he may have are fended off by her gesture, and her assurances that whatever is ailing her is not serious leaves him watching her with a look that hasn't quite changed much. Still confused, yes. "Do you need to find a mindhealer?" he asks with nothing but notes of seriousness in his tone. Her inquiry of who won the talent show is for now disregarded as he awaits an answer from her.
Kiena grimaces again when she realizes she's done little to clear things up and only served to muddle them further, if not terribly off course. She grows increasingly uncomfortable under his continued confused look and the seriousness to his tone. This is where she would normally brush people off and turn away. Only his query about a mind healer has her eyes widening — not by much, but just enough to show the flicker of fear there and all the anxiety with it. "No!" she exclaims in a sharp tone, far sharper than she intended and in her next breath her voice softens again. "No. No mind healers!" Ever. "It's nothing like that," she mutters, lifting a hand up to rub it along her temple and over her hair, smoothing it back though it doesn't stay put for long. "It's just trouble with sleeping. I've always had troubles sleeping and even before I was a rider. Sometimes its the dreams that wake me or I just can't sleep or stay asleep. Usually I can cope, sometimes I can't. It's been better with Ujinath but if I am stressed or anxious it can get out of control no matter what we do — what I do." And it's true. If she were mentally unsound, Ujinath would not be so healthy and untroubled. Right now, the blue is still out in the pens and having just felled a third beast, he's eating it quite contentedly without a sign of agitation to his behaviour or posture.
No mind healers. Ka'el blinks once, then ahs. He'd nearly forgotten. "Not Cyrus," he assures. "There's bound to be a competent one out there somewhere … if the need arises." Which she claims is not now. He doesn't seem particularly convinced. He surely doesn't feel that way, though reading feelings is even more difficult than reading faces can be. His hands unclasp from behind him and come to settle at his sides, and talk of sleep troubles eases his face a little. That sounds far less … concerning than 'mental illness', even though the phrase has not been said by either one of them. "I hope then that whatever the healer has given you helps to … settle your mind, if restlessness or anxiety is the cause of your problems," he says, softly exhaling afterward. "I'm sure Ujinath can help, if he has helped in the past." He smiles slightly, still a bit unsure which could be the reason, if not just one of them, that the smile does not stay on his face. He had taken a step out of the shade before and has yet to reclaim it. Thus, the sun remains partially on him. Half in darkness, half in the light. Silence falls again. Words of the casual variety are not easy to come, and fat seconds tick by with nothing to fill them with. There are only a handful of them, but the moments of nothing at all speaks loudly of their current situation. "If the situation does not get better," he says after a while, "speak to your Journeyman, and he will speak to me. More can possibly be done, if needed, to assist you."
"C'rus," Kiena corrects without even thinking of it and while her lips twist into a smirk, it is not directed at all towards Ka'el and more to a situation long since passed and most of which cannot be changed or undone. "No mind healers. Ever." she goes on to add stubbornly. "I've no intentions of letting them meddle and pick at me. My problems are my own and I will seek help where help has been given before. Ujinath, for one…" she confirms and now that smile returns for another flickering moment. Of course Ujinath would be the biggest help. No rider is truly alone in anything they face, even if they temporarily forget. "… and herbs. Maybe." Kiena's fingers shift and turn the leather strap in her lap, flipping it over to examine the other side but the gesture and movement is almost restless and distracted, rather than focused. She'll let the silence build, waiting and she'll shake her head again. "It won't get better," she mutters with another grimace. Her eyes look up again, to where he stands half in light and shadow. "But hopefully not any worse. I'll have to speak to my Journeyman eventually but I'm certain he's already on to me…" Another pause, a few slow breaths and then, quietly once more as her eyes drop to her hands: "I'm pregnant. That's all there is to it. No assistance needed… except the herbs for the lesser desired side-effects." A hand lifts to be waved dismissively to said details. No need for explanation? "I half blame that for the sleep troubles."
Ka'el watches her and nods a single time at the name correction, withholding his thoughts on rider names and Impression. Withholding his thoughts on her opinions on mindhealers and seeking help. The nod will have to do, for it's all that he gives. Her lack of confidence on the situation getting any better gets no reply other than a vague furrowing of his brows as she continues on. He waits, unsure if there's anything more is coming or if he'll be left to take those puzzling words and figure them out, if there is time for puzzles in his schedule. And there is more after all. An announcement that comes without flair or excitement. Simply words spoken to be heard on a quiet breeze. He quirks a brow, vaguely, his head slightly shifting in the direction of the light as opposed to shade. " .. Congratulations." It's a word he's said to her before. The catalyst to an argument that led to a broken friendship and the dissolving of their partnership. It's almost laughable to him to say it again, but thankfully he doesn't laugh.
Kiena won't leave him with cryptic puzzles to solve or at least try not to intentionally. His congratulations cause not catalyst this time, no sudden bristling or flare of her temper. Only a faint smile and nod of her head to acknowledge it and thank him for it. "So we'll see. I don't suppose I'll be at my Craft much longer… though I'm going to try," she murmurs with a determined edge to her voice. She speaks now, a touch more openly, whether or not Ka'el wishes to hear it. Maybe it has been sitting on her chest, unable to be expressed for whatever reasons, until now. "As it's all I have now, to keep me busy. Won't be able to fly soon," Her hand flips idly to where the straps lay bundled and half in her lap. So that's what she and Ujinath had been up to! Flying. Another stretch of silence, as Kiena leans back against the tree, head slightly upturned with her eyes gazing towards the branches and the leaves. "Lots to think about, more to worry about…" A dry chuckle, more of a scoff. "… if I'll do better this round or live up again to my past reputation."
Ka'el nods and nods again. Lots of nodding today! He must be in an agreeable mood. Or hopes to keep the atmosphere … agreeable, if that's what it currently is. In any case, he agrees. No smithing at some point. No flying eventually. A glance to those straps. Lots to think and worry about. Another nod to that with a light smile to go along with it. All points are true. "I'm sure you'll do fine," he offers to the end. "You already have two, and they seem to do well with their fosters and are happy with their time with you." Another smile, polite and possibly slightly encouraging.
Kiena blinks for a moment as if unsure of what she just heard, as though the answer she received was not one she expected. The moment passes however and tentatively she smiles back, appreciative for those remarks. "I have done right by Ellie and Ezzie in the end, haven't I?" she murmurs and a second later her brows knit. Doubtful, she looks down at her hands again, now empty in her lap. "I keep telling myself that. That it'll be fine, it'll be different this time, but I worry. Worry that I'll become the person I was accused of being… since I've done a pitiful poor job at proving him wrong otherwise in some regards." she murmurs, her head shaking slowly from side to side. Ujinath, who had finished his third kill and had settled to clean himself and bask idly in the late autumn sun now abruptly turns his head, the movement so swift it's a wonder nothing snaps. His whole posture changes from quiet to tense just as quickly too as his body shifts but holds steady, readied to step forwards but doesn't quite go through with the motion. He doesn't speak a word, but the impression is there of a firm denial and disapproval. Plain and simple: No.
Ka'el's smile lingers a little while longer, though gradually it begins to slip from his face as she continues to speak. His eyes turn, squinting slightly in the autumn light as he considers the distant forms of dragons. Bronze further off than blue. Blue, whose attention is now seemingly turned their way, from what he can see. A small breath is exhaled through the nose as he returns his eyes to her, brows faintly knitted as his hands rejoin themselves behind his back. "I feel as if I'm the wrong person to have this conversation with, Kiena. This is possibly something you should speak about with someone that you deem trustworthy. I remember that you feel that I am less than so, and a topic as … personal as this one likely is one to be shared with those that you do trust. Maybe one of your friends?" There's a slight downward tug of his lips, but it is a briefly lived expression. "I do extend my congratulations to you, though," he continues, reclaiming a bit of his smile. "I'm sure things will be fine. For now, I should go. Kanekith will feed for a time longer, but I'm afraid my time as of late is less free than his." He steps back now, fully engulfing himself into the sunlight, leaving the shade to her. "If you need anything, please send word."
Kiena straightens a bit where she sits with her back against the tree and for the first time her eyes linger on him, but again her expression is mixed as she struggles, mouth working slightly as her brows knit and the first signs of guilt and regret begin to show through. She sighs, "Words I regret," she admits quietly and sadly but the damage is long done. In her next breath, she chuckles again but it's bitter and short lived. "What friends? Who else can I speak to about it who isn't or wasn't directly involved? I'd only hurt them…" Kiena cuts herself off there with a grim look to her face, her eyes troubled. "As I've hurt others." Is that an apology? Perhaps, as close as she's come to it at this time. "I've no others left to turn to, but I suppose that is my payment to suffer… My fault and my burden to bear." His reassurance brings a small nod from Kiena and a flicker of a smile that fades almost instantly as she pushes slowly and somewhat stiffly to her feet. "I won't keep you from your duties and I'm sorry to take your time." Shifting her stance, she begins to slowly gather the straps and ready to carry them. His last request earns him a puzzled look and a frown, her mouth opening again to speak but she only closes it and shakes her head, looking back at her straps. "I will." she agrees quietly.
"I believe you have more friends than you think, Kiena," answers Ka'el. "You'll only have to let them know you're there. You've said Kera has been willing to help you. There must be others. Riders. Crafters. Weyrfolk. Family. Xanadu is a Weyr of many people. Some of which will surprise you with their kindness and generosity." His smile doesn't immediately return. This is one of those complex moments in which considering one's actions comes before the actual doing of those actions. And if nothing else, the knowledge that words can neither be unsaid or unheard is a lesson that's been well-learned and re-solidified. Choose them wisely. He watches her with the edges of his mouth faintly curving downward, but he has few words of encouragement left that haven't already been said. He starts a little as she stands, making a fractional motion forward as if to assist, but he doesn't, allowing her to stand on her own. "No apologies needed," he says, shaking his head at her. "One can't take the time that I freely give away," he says, smiling gently. "..Take care of yourself. With Kera on watch, I know you're in good hands." If she already knows about the child, then Kiena definitely will be taken care of! Ka'el himself? Well, he's no healer. Any medical assistance would've been minimal, at best! But he also hovers in a gray area of uncertainty. Uncertain of just what their relationship is. Unsure of what he wishes it to be. What she wants it to be, and just how many of those words truly are regretted. Straps are gathered by her, and when she's settled, he nods. "Have a good day, then. Take it easy." He steps backwards before turning around to retrace his steps towards the woods, leaving Kanekith behind to feed.
Kiena hesitates, her head tilting a bit as he speaks and clearly listening to his words. Her eyes lift and she looks sidelong to him, still doubtful but at least thoughtful along with it. She frowns, "I don't trust easily," she admits softly and not without a hint of shame to those words. She knows her faults and has tried over the Turns to fix them and has come considerably far given how she use to be. At least she greets people now and is social, to a degree. But to trust so easily? She's uncertain on that. "And I don't mean to fault anyone of Xanadu… I'm sure there are great people here." As for family? That she considers off limits too, given she has only her brother left and he is a Weyrleader of another area. At his correction and that smile, Kiena's mouth quirks into another faint echo of a smile. "I'll do my best," she promises and crouches to collect her straps — an activity she probably shouldn't be doing or at least, not for much longer. Kiena is unsure of many things of late, but she carries that regret, be it for all or half or most but the moment has passed to try and touch on such things — at least for now. "You as well. Clear skies," Kiena returns the farewell as she too walks slowly towards the forests only she is shadowed by Ujinath, who walks as close as he can behind her.