Sands of Time

Continued from: The Awkward Meeting

Cove Hold - Clearing

Cove Hold is nestled against a peaceful cove, the waters a deep tropical blue but protected from the worst of the storms by the curve of the shore. White sands make for pleasant beaches, and the main hold building is proud to be the same as since MasterHarper Robinton retired here - though there have been a few careful changes to bring modern comforts to the stone structure whose wide verandas and airy windows welcome the sea breezes, the traditional metal thread shutters open wide.
The grounds are well manicured, the warmth inviting rampant growth of plants and flowers that are carefully tended to give them an inviting look while keeping them off the paths. Back behind the main hold, a scattering of cottages allow guests and residents some measure of privacy to rest and rejuvenate. A dock for sailing ships and a cleared area for dragons let those guests come and go freely.

The blue of the ocean sweeps out to half the horizon, the curves of the shore visible below. Autumn stormclouds lurk on that horizon, but the curve of the shore to which the dragon descends sits beneath a sunny sky. Cove Hold is in the trailing end of the northern hemisphere's tourist season, when an escape to the heat and humidity of the tropics seems attractive to those snowbound weyrs and holds. In a few more months, it'll be the far south that comes to visit here. In between, those actually in residence can hope for a chance to breathe. If the storm season is an easy one, they'll have that chance; otherwise, there'll be a scramble to get the place back in order. Today, though, all seems peaceful; palm fronds and flowers rustle in a gentle breeze off the ocean instead of tossing in a gale, and the pale sand of the beaches are scattered with shells and bathers, not shredded sails and torn shutters. There's a clearing meant for dragons to come and go, a more frequent occurence than in many holds this size - but then, most holds this size have a far more fixed population. Most of the hold is quiet, here in the heat of the day, but small figures still move about here and there.

That's one of the marvelous things about scientific inquiry. So long as one keeps an open mind, there's no such thing as bad data. It can all be used to inform some hypothesis or another - though a proper technique would insist the hypothesis be documented prior to the collection of that experimental data. Jethaniel can, however, formulate a few hypotheses regarding Darsce. They suggest his research about electricity may be delayed by adopting the experimental protocol he's suggested… but hypotheses are nothing without experimental validation. Besides, the peer review board is very small; he does not intend the research papers for broad publication. In fact, the intended audience might overlap entirely with the one meant for his current smile. His fingers drift slowly against Darsce's, and his gaze lifts partially to his mother at her praise of him before drawing back to Darsce at her greater one. There it lingers, his mouth smiling but his eyes with an expression of wondering question. Once he looked upon the warm blue of the tropical sea and wondered the secrets of its depths; now he looks upon the pale iceblue of Darsce's eyes, and he wonders what they see. It is a substantively similar expression, this awe and wonder. The feeling is one of smallness, though that emotion is at odds with the words that evoke it, but Jethaniel is curious instead of afraid. When, as a boy, a coming storm turned the sky a murky shade of green, Jethaniel's curiosity went unsatisfied - though being kept inside kept him alive to wander the shores afterward and pick up strange weeds carried from the ocean. At the time, he did not entirely appreciate it. Time is, however, a continuum, one which is experienced in a largely linear fashion - though memories may create an exception, at least from the personal perspective. Then again, what other perspective exists? Memories of the past are experienced through much the same mental faculties as observations of the present, and perhaps by focusing on a place - Cove Hold, in this instance - one may permit the time of their observations to roam freely. If time is considered a velocity - and, certainly, both can be described as vectors - it's plausible on a quantum mechanical level. Plausible or not, it is also a rather fanciful line of reasoning, but it is certainly true that a location or experience may evoke the memory of related experiences - and that such experiences can, in some form, be shared through the use of language. At the time, Jethaniel did not entirely appreciate being kept in from the storm. He sat on his bed and listened to the rain and didn't come to dinner. Now, Darsce is appreciative for the results of those actions - though there were (and are) many factors, and while the past can be observed, the recollection is imperfect. Observation of the present can also be imperfect, and that dismissal is slow to claim Jethaniel's attention, competing as it does with the continued prospect of observing Darsce. As it finally registers, he nods. As Darsce adds her own opinion, he smiles. "Very well, then." His fingers squeeze back at hers. This would be their opportunity for a break, yes.
"Mmm." Jessa is far from the first mother to have difficulty accepting that growth from boy to man. Her gaze is assessing as she considers it - but her eyes are on Darsce, not Jethaniel. (She already knows what her boy looks like… or at least, she thinks she does.) The gratitude makes her expression soften slightly, and she looks to her son as she gives her head a small shake. Whatever goes on in that head of his, Jessa doesn't know it. For the moment, she's giving up on even trying. "You two have fun." Whatever that means. Equations certainly don't seem fun to her, but… Jessa reaches for her glass again, to sit and sip tea in the afternoon shade. She'll watch them go, Jethan and this Darsce, and if she's got reservations, she's also got the nagging knowledge that she can't send Jethaniel to his room anymore, and what he does with his life is, ultimately, his decision. That doesn't mean she has to like it.
Jethaniel rises and inclines his head to his mother before turning the preponderance of his attention to Darsce. A small portion is still required for purposes of navigation, but he is more interested in the company… though he says nothing as he leads her away, choosing a path that optimizes for shade while proceeding toward their next destination. It's still a Cove Hold afternoon, hot and humid beneath the tropical sun - and, for a time, beneath the gaze of Jessa watching them from her seat with baked goods and iced tea. Perhaps that's why Jethaniel is being quiet as he brings Darsce around the building and toward the orchard whose ornamental trees are between display seasons and whose fruiting plants have been picked over by avians and harvest. Near them is the rock garden, where white beach-sand is neatly raked around black stepping stones that make a spiraling path leading through the center. It's a peaceful part of the hold, veiled from view of both beach and buildings by hedges and vine-trails encouraged to grow on trellises - though plants seldom require much encouragement to grow here. More effortful is preventing their growth. Even the thick layer of sand in the rock garden hasn't been entirely effective at it, a few weeds edging in over the border to make an attempt at colonization. This attempt is successful in the short term, but will prove ineffective in the medium when a gardener next arrives. In the long term, the success of this strategy is indeterminant, as there are too many factors involved for accurate predictions. Cove Hold is not a constant, for all that it seeks to bring a feeling of consistency and peace to those visiting it. Since Jethaniel's last visit to the orchard, one of the trees became sickly and has been cut down. The stump is surrounded by the green of grass, and a few feet past it, a new sapling begins to grow, supported by a pair of stakes driven to either side. A small change, as are the others around here, but they serve to assert that this place is not the one it once was. A series of small changes can be as significant as one drastic one, particularly when they occur during a period when the changes are not individually observed. They grow up so fast? Or is it that you can't go back home? There is a certain degree of veracity to aphorisms, properly interpreted. Perhaps that's what has Jethaniel so wrapped up in his thoughts - or perhaps he's still considering some of those quantum mechanical ramifications, though that doesn't explain why his eyes keep being drawn to Darsce, who is a significantly more macroscale manifestation of physics.

It might be prudent to calculate delays into his schedule, not that Darsce would be one to suggest - or even think of that. Her attention upon Jessa is brief, before it returns to Jethaniel where she promptly forgets the woman. Not that she means to slight her, but let's face it; her son has a far bigger draw on her than his mother does. The quality of those grey eyes at the moment is enough to get lost in regardless of the lines of reasoning behind that bemused focus (or is that a lack of one?) upon her. Jethaniel should ask Darsce sometime what she sees in him and his curiosity may - if temporarily - be satisfied, for she sees new things in him all the time so the answer is destined to evolve. Jessa's admonition to have fun recalls Darsce and she is totally going to heed that advice. It might not, however, be what Jessa suspects, although watching Jethaniel explain an equation is certainly absorbing to her in several ways. It might be the heat, it might be that Darsce is imagining a young Jethaniel about the very grounds she walks, but she too, is quiet as they pass from Jessa's sight and while she does note her surroundings, her eyes keep returning to Jethaniel and each time her eyes meet his, she smiles. There was mention of a spiral equation, but what she says and without apparent undue anxiety in noting it, "Jethaniel. Your mother doesn't like me." Now who doesn't want to influence who?

Any question capable of receiving a simple answer is likely not intriguing enough to make the answer satisfactory. Far more fascinating is when there are challenges to comprehension and the gradual exploration of increasingly detailed explanations - or the discovery of elegant underlying principles. Jethaniel is intrigued by either, and he smiles when his eyes meet those of Darsce - though his expression drifts toward a thoughtful mien in those moments when he looks away. The smile does not entirely dissipate, however, and it's quick to return when his eyes do. There are equations for many things in the world; mathematics as a system is highly descriptive, though it is rather abstract when compared to most actual entities. As such, systems are constructed to bridge the difference. When Darsce begins to speak, Jethaniel turns his head toward her with a smile, but what she says makes him frown slightly, lowering his head. "I am sorry."

Gradual exploration and discovery of elegant underlying principles is something Darsce can totally get into, depending on the subject. Thoughts, each having their own on this walk, can form an invisible wall that might, were it to be seen, create some complex questions and more complicated answers - at least in Darsce's opinion. She's watching Jethaniel's reaction to her comment carefully, trying to keep her expression neutral and her voice light but she can do nothing about the quickening beat of her pulse under the skin at the base of her neck or the slightly-increased rise and fall of her chest as her breathing picks up slightly. "It's not important," she says evenly, with a habitual toss that would send her blonde hair back over her shoulder if it were not rolled up and a smile up at him that is quick to fade as she looks away. It's a lie, but… She's sure she's been found lacking. Not good enough and if he thought the pressure to find someone suitable was bad, wait until his mother begins to work between them to pry them apart. To the sand, raked in such soothing patterns she says, "I won't cause you any problems." She can't make herself let go of his hand though.

Jethaniel shakes his head slightly at her statement of unimportance, looking back up at Darsce to find her eyes gone to the sand. Honesty, however, impels him to admit, "In a sense." His voice is quiet, and his gaze is considering, head still slightly downturned despite the lift of his eyes. It is true that he does not intend to be dissuaded. It is also true that the conflict may prove stressful to him. However, he is willing to discount that part; after all, he is the one primarily affected. His intention may not be effectively conveyed, but Jethaniel is considering further, and, as such, does not clarify. He has no desire to have his hand released; in fact, his fingers curve slightly more firmly against hers. At the mention of Darsce causing problems, his frown deepens. There has been a nontrivial amount of research supporting the hypothesis that she does cause him problems… but a part of the scientific process is being open to having assumptions challenged. However, "That is… not entirely relevant." Jethaniel tries to read those partly-hidden emotions, and while he finds himself incapable of a complete analysis, he nevertheless finds enough to trouble him. "Darsce…" he begins, voice soft, then hesitates. If he were to finish his thought, would that be an attempt at manipulation? He does not wish to do so, and so instead of speaking words, he lowers his head and lifts Darsce's hand. A brush of his lips to the back of it. She told him he could kiss her, anytime he wanted to. He wants to - admittedly, it's more of a sublimated desire to say certain words, but he believes the instruction may still permit this sentiment.

Darsce has caused Jethaniel enough problems that she's regretted. Admittedly, this regret is helping her grow up. It's one thing to cause him complications with his profession. It's quite another to cause him them with his family. She doesn't know where he stands on anything but that he enjoys seeing her. Well, she knows how he felt about the other morning and that he didn't want her to leave Xanadu and he loves her. It's the love she has for him that has prompted her previous comment. She waits for him to finish and when he trails off after saying her name, she lifts her chin. "What?" she asks while his lips brush her hand, her eyes focusing on that instead of meeting his. The silence stretches long enough that she lifts them further and when hers meet his, the iceblue shimmers.

Jethaniel keeps his head bowed over Darsce's hand for a moment, quiet again… but, ah, now she's asked. His lips quirk slightly, though he hardly regrets his gesture. It is merely made redundant. By the time his gaze lifts, his smile has faded from his lips, and so it is with an earnestly serious expression that he completes his thought. "I love you." She already knew it, and yet that was the sentiment her comment prompted in him. A single predicate. An operator with two operands. An underlying principle that manifests in complex questions and more complicated answers, yet is itself… simple.

Complexity is to be had in many situations, not that Darsce really ever tries to bring them about. Such is the situation now and though Jethaniel's answer is simple, to her the answer isn't that simple. Not this time. He says it with such a somber expression and though the words usually bring a smile to her face, this time it doesn't. Her eyes never leave his though. "I know," she answers. Also known is that it is an answer to her comment about his mother. And the one she made about not causing him trouble. "I want…" wistful. She stops. She wants to know what he's been thinking. The words he won't let himself say. It doesn't take a mind reader to know he stops himself often enough from doing that. She doesn't know why but she knows he does it. One of the things Darsce knows is that people can feel one way and do another. Especially holder and crafter folk. So many things drive their decisions. Affiliations. Attaining rank. She is lacking in the 'advantageous decision' department and so without going into all that, she says honestly, "I… I want to be… together… with you always. But…" So many buts. But his mother. But his craft. But his work as steward. His mother looms large. But not as large as Jethaniel himself. Because he hasn't said.

Jethaniel nods slightly to Darsce's knowledge, his head moving but his eyes remaining on hers. His hand remains with hers as well, the fingers staying where they are. For once, they're not moving to touch and caress, though they're not withdrawing either. They're simply… there. Darsce's smile isn't, and Jethaniel is aware of that fact. It concerns him, and something of that worry clouds his grey eyes. Does she hope for something more? He doesn't know what he can do, but that is simply an awareness of his own lack of expertise. (How many times did he hear how he should have said this or not said that? Jethaniel is aware of not only extremely large numbers but of definitions for multiple orders of infinity. He could not answer that question, were it posed.) Nevertheless, he intends to try. Darsce has encouraged him to do so, and so he will make the attempt. He wishes, after all, to do what she wants. Insofar as he knows it - so his head lifts slightly at those words, eyes brightening with an eagerness to his attention. She wants… something. She stops, and he speaks. "Yes?" Given the context, it must be a question and not an answer. A prompt, asking her to continue, but save for that one word, he waits in silence. It doesn't last for days. The sense of time dilation is quite misleading. Jethaniel waits, and as Darsce speaks again, he listens carefully to each word, then nods. She wishes to be with him. His mother doesn't like her. He synthesizes these facts, and draws from them a conclusion, one which he believes will address the issue. "We do not have to visit." Because even Jethaniel doesn't take that 'always' literally. He can continue his sparse home-visitation schedule when Darsce is otherwise occupied. Problem solved?

Darsce won't be one to reproach him for things not said just so. Or not said at all. Or giving an answer that isn't a 'desired' one. She doesn't ask what he's thinking even though she wants to know. The prompt is effective and she continues her own thought in a rush though it isn't finished at the end. Jethaniel's conclusion earns a shake of her head. "That's not… what I meant. Your mother will want to visit with your wife regularly." Wait, what? Is she assuming? Did she just propose? Or did she misunderstand? "And she'll want to see her grandbabies." Is she… expecting?

That's not an answer Darsce is happy with? Jethaniel is quiet again to listen, his expression attentive. Awaiting her correction. His mother will want… Jethaniel's eyes widen slightly at the proposal. That is to say, the proposal of what his mother wants, which may or may not implicitly contain a proposal in the sense of a constructed relationship or the intent thereof, which would imply a formalization of certain things which have been said - or at least implied, because while the statement was made, as of today, that they were together, that term is a quite vague one and capable of covering a wide range of states, at least one of which an external observer without biases would be fairly certain to agree they fall within, and therefore may be safely expressed, as opposed to a more specific statement about the precise nature of what form this togetherness will take, which really they haven't talked about, nor made explicit statements about the duration except in the form of desires for eternity, which Jethaniel is aware are a form of poetic license, as it is not even theoretically possible for any entity to exist forever, and certainly the existence of a human is significantly more circumscribed than that of, for instance, a star or planet, but nevertheless a proposal of a social construct nature would create a certain definition to this relationship - perhaps even to the extent of defining it as a relationship, because thus far it has not entirely been described as such, despite fitting many of the constraints commonly associated with - "Ah… do.." Jethaniel's thoughts might be compared to a piece of machinery which has become unbalanced - perhaps a centrifuge conducted a lurching random walk across the laboratory floor, or a turbine which has inverted a coefficient somewhere and is now speeding up instead of slowing down. Her next words, however, demonstrate that he has not, in fact, invented a mental perpetual motion motion. They also demonstrate why the previous widening of his eyes was characterized as slight. "…are… what?" They do not, however, demonstrate any significant degree of coherency.

It's not a proposal per se. Though Darsce is attempting to discuss - maybe define - this relationship thing because, well. They have been asked. Moreover, she knows something of Jessa, having been subjected to her grilling and implications. That woman has PLANS and GOALS and they do not include her. "Your mother. She doesn't want that woman" his wife "to be me. And so you don't have to… you know…" Ask her. Yeah, so she is far more outspoken than most girls. What about the 'always with you' did he not understand? He's flustered, she can see that. This is her fault. "I'm-" No, she's not sorry. She won't say it. She does know that she's, "-in the way. You should be seeing girls you might want to, uh, marry. Raise a family with. Whatever." There are no rocks to kick. Just that pretty white sand with those carefully raked perfect lines in them. Perfect unlike herself. And so she gently pulls her hand from his, turns and steps into them, partially to mess them up and it… doesn't help her feel any better, really. His words stop her and he's awarded a blank look over her shoulder, "'Are… what…' what? I am confused, Jethaniel." That makes… two of them?

Jethaniel stares as Darsce speaks, his eyes still wide - but with his train of thought derailed, he listens. His mother. Back to that again, when what Jethaniel cares about is Darsce. His brow furrows, trying to follow her - to figure out what it is that he should know. "But…" Why should it make a difference - oh, but the visiting. The… grandbabies. So, yes, it is in fact relevant. Darsce is correct. As usual… but then he frowns. In the way? Darsce may - this once - be incorrect. She told him, once, that he should consider if he was the marrying type. He has, admittedly, not spent as much time considering it as he should. Of course, at the time, he didn't know if she was… though he might have seen the implication, had he considered it further. He might also have had some part of that discussion already. He might not be staring at her now, grey eyes wide and startled, listening and trying to think and with a growing pain as he recognizes that he has done something - not done something - been - …has hurt Darsce. As her hand draws away, the pain tugs his lips down into a wince. As she turns away from him, he swallows, grey eyes blinking hard for a moment before opening once again and seeking for Darsce. They meet her look, soft and faintly blurred. "Darsce," he says, and his hand falls to his side. He stands where he is, not following her. Hardly moving, save for that lowered hand. "I love you." He's already said it, and yet he finds it sufficiently fundamental he feels the need to repeat it. "If you wished to marry me, I would be honored." A more complex predicate, but - for Jethaniel - just as factual. "I do not mean to confuse you." But he has. He always has, since he was a boy talking about clouds and equations and all the rest of it.

Darsce doesn't want to pressure Jethaniel despite her own stated wishes. She has previously tossed out a comment in a sort of question about whether he's one of those marrying types because… well… they aren't riders. And holder/crafter types do sometimes form more formal arrangements. Sometimes, especially those living at weyrs, they do not. She remains immobile, the sand trickling into her sandals and in between her toes. In spite of her pain, she smiles faintly. "It's okay, it's my fault. I know you don't mean to confuse me. I can answer questions better if they are finished questions," she points out logically with a wan sort of smile. As for his declaration, she answers it with, "I love you too." This time the words bring an ache to her throat instead of a smile and she swipes at one eye with an impatient hand for the betrayal of tears. As for the other statement, she swallows hard and asks thickly, "I told you already I choose you, Jethaniel. But what do you want? For yourself?" To want to be wanted. For always. The overwhelming wish for that might be glimpsed before she covers her face with both hands just before he answers. Because otherwise… someday she might stand under a tree and watch him leave.

If Darsce can answer finished questions better, then it is Jethaniel's fault for not giving them to her, and so he slowly shakes his head to her claim. The smile fails to draw an answering one from him, for he's caught in thoughts too serious. She loves him, and it makes her cry. He makes her cry. He… His fingers twitch, wanting to reach out, but he holds them back. If his inaction can hurt her so much, how much could his actions hurt? Jethaniel… did not spend his whole life at Cove Hold. He lived at Landing, where crafters come and work. Away from their families, many of them - young, some of them - and sometimes… sometimes they are not properly aware of the risks. Sometimes, there are dangers to the inexperienced, not comprehended until it's too late. Jethaniel was curious. He was observant. He noticed, when deltas in position and experience led to social manipulation. He noticed… many things. He drew his conclusions; about agency. About rights. About… what he should not, would not expect. Would not ask for. Would not seek without a permission that he questioned his ability to obtain. How could he be certain? He questioned his social skill, even as he presumed he might manipulate. How would he know if he had? He was not observant in that way. He knew he was not. He knows it now, as Darsce tells him she's already told him. He didn't understand. He didn't realize. His head lowers, though he can't bring his eyes to do the same. They stay on Darsce, though he still doesn't come toward her. "I…" He wants to. Darsce covers her face. He watches her hands. "I want you. You are beautiful and clever and I want very much to-" he swallows "-touch you and hold you and love you." Like that? He doesn't say, but his next words are, "I would like children with you," though that's so much to ask that he slips into the subjunctive. "I want you to have me. I…" His eyes close for a moment. Just a moment, but the words rush out. "I told you once you gave me a song." Turns ago, when she gave him a firelizard. "I lied, because I wanted it. The song is named-" Jethaniel fails to open his eyes, but succeeds at speaking. "-I Would Be Your Slave."

Between Jethaniel and Darsce there are three footprints in the sand. Darsce keeps her hands over her face, the impulse childlike as if the hiding of her face, even while she is in plain view will ward off what she fears - or in this case doesn't want to hear him say. The words he speaks are not… exactly what she wants to hear. But they're not horrible either. At first. Her hands drift down enough to uncover her eyes so that by the time he closes his, her iceblues are wide with wonder. She lowers her hands absently after his rushed admission. She gave him a song? It takes Darsce a few moments of casting around in her memory. Ah yes! In the dim back hallway where they'd slipped and fallen tangled together. He'd mentioned a song she gave him that didn't work as a name for his firelizard so he'd changed it to Lady Stardust. And then wouldn't say what he'd changed it from. Be her slave? Silent, she swallows down a sort of horror. Has he really thought this through, what that means? This isn't as romantic as some might think. To give someone that kind of power over them. To give up choice. To give up free will. Her father left her. Twice. It was her fault. Both times, she's sure of that. But it was his choice. She still has things she wants to tell Jethaniel, but she leaves them for the moment and chokes out, "What?"

If it were romantic, Jethaniel would have told her. So he's not surprised to hear her reaction, though he still winces. His eyes, still closed, tighten for a moment. His mouth turns down. His head stays low - bowed to her? - and the rest of him stays where it is. He is not leaving, but he is not pursuing Darsce, either. She has the opportunity to leave. He will not see her go. "I am sorry." That she'll leave? Yes. He is very sorry for that, but… he has done what he should not. What he would not; for he has not given her a choice. He chose a song and put words into her mouth - took the one of hers and read it as something it was not. "I am…" in love with her? "…afraid, sometimes." More often than he admits… though not of thunderstorms or electrical currents. "I become… caught up in things." Thunderstorms. Machines. Darsce. "I pursue them. I…" His head lowers further, his eyes pushed closed. "I do not want to claim you. I do not want to make demands of you. I want you. I want it to be your choice. I would like to marry you-" a decision he hadn't made before he began speaking, but now it's obvious despite his awareness that he is merely speaking of a hypothetical "-but I do not want to ask you." Because that would be a demand. A social imposition, like his mother's questions of when he's coming to visit. "I want to give the choice to you." Jethaniel's eyes are firmly shut, his head lowered to further obscure them, because even closed, they reveal his emotions by the dampness in their corners. "I am sorry."

Darsce remains rooted to the spot, the harsh sun beating on the fair skin of her bare shoulders and legs, but she isn't aware of it. His apology prompts a shake of her head, she's not taking it as if words were put in her mouth at all. "Poetry is like that," she reminds him quietly. Didn't she do the same with his words? She continues to regard him, the bowed head causes her acute dismay. It's that dampness in the corners of Jethaniel's eyes that Darsce cannot bear. She doesn't want to leave. What she wants is… She closes the gap between them even while the rest of his words are being spoken and lifts her arms to him, both twining around his neck, hands gently seeking to direct his head where she can press her lips gently to first the corner of one eye, then the other. "You want but you will not ask? Why? Because slaves do not ask for anything?" She's still wrestling with his reticence. And before he answers that, she will reassure him on two things, "There are always choices. I could still say no. I said no to Search." She smiles, a twisted smirk of satisfaction, that fades to something more appropriate, earnest hopefulness. "But I don't want to say that to you."

Poetry is… dangerous. So are all words, really. They convey emotions. Meanings. Jethaniel has no answer for Darsce's reminder, and so he is silent to it, though the words are heard. The touch of her hands surprises him, a small tremble of motion without intentionality, but he keeps himself still - mostly. He doesn't move of his own volition, but nor does he resist Darsce's hands. They find is easy enough to draw his head a little further down, angle it toward her such that her lips can touch to the slight damp of his eyes. He draws in a breath, the deepness of it intending to steady him. To permit him control such that he does not manipulate her. He is somewhat betrayed in this by the evident effort it takes and the way, after the breath's let out again, he swallows at her question. Her suggested answer makes his head slowly move, a small shake of denial, but words, ah, those are harder. His eyes open, as hesitant as if they're facing some bright and shining light - which would explain the watering of them, if it were true. But… he listens. Darsce could say no. He nods to that, the motion earnest and almost quick enough to be glad… but then he hesitates, his expression uncertain. "…because I do not want you to say no to me." The words are soft. Uncertain… or is that afraid? "But you always have that choice. Will always have it. I… do not want you to forget." Any constructed social context contains the potential for hierarchies. A formalization thereof creates an intertia to the dissolution thereof. (Admittedly, there are multiple sources for such inertia… but Jethaniel's not thinking about that. He's thinking about things he observed, growing up in Landing. Circumstances where formalized social structures might have, in addition to their other descriptors, been defined as traps.)

Perhaps words are dangerous. But where would they be without them? Darsce seeks his eyes, noting the sheen to them, she winces but doesn't comment on it. His answer - ah! Vulnerable honesty! - allows her to breathe again. "Yeah, I get that. I'm glad you could tell me that." Even if she's already shared that she doesn't want to say no to him. "I won't forget," she assures him with a smile that grows despite the concern gnawing at her. She doesn't know what he's thinking about the social structures he's observed, but the slave thing still troubles her. "You have choices too, Jethaniel." Right? Rright? her eyes ask him. You do right? Her arms are still around his neck, perhaps given his self control in not taking her into his arms, this might seem a little awkward. If his mother gets a glimpse of this, well, she'll draw some sort of strange conclusion no doubt. Darsce? Doesn't much care anymore what Jessa thinks. She leans her forehead upon Jethaniel's shoulder and admits in a whisper, "Sometimes I am also afraid."

Jethaniel regards Darsce for a moment, gaze questioning, before he slowly nods. Just once - until she tells him she won't forget, and then he nods again. There's a slight easing of his features for that, or perhaps he's finally responding to that smile - though his own expression is still serious. "I do." There's no sign of evasion, just earnest truth. Perhaps those arms around his neck remind him of something, for he adds, "I choose to be with you. I could leave if I wanted. I could ask you to stop." He moves at last, one hand reaching up to touch softly at her arm. He would be holding it in place, if the touch were not so light as to seem implausible. That is, nevertheless, the positioning a hypothetical observer - maternal or otherwise - would see. "I want to be with you." Furthermore, and, he hopes, not conflictingly- "I want to make you happy." He wishes to do - What she wants him to. That's what he wrote, isn't it? There's a conditional to the predicate. Jethaniel's head turns, his eyes following Darsce as she leans in, his head lowering slightly to catch her words, inclining in a soft nod. "Of what?"

After he's spoken, and with her forehead still upon his shoulder, "I love you," Darsce, reaffirms lowly, "I will never love anyone but you." Don't they all say that? But see, she's had plenty of opportunities to meet all sorts at Ierne - they come from all over the planet. "I've seen brash, selfish, self-centered, arrogant, lying, flattering, rough, violent, cruel men…" And she lifts her head to search his grey eyes earnestly, "but I've never found another you, Jethaniel." She doesn't list all of his qualities, but he is to her the antithesis of all the ones listed. Does this say why she loves him? Not really. It is why she went beyond noticing him though. "You deserve to be happy too. I want to be there to do that. I want your babies someday." Her fears, oh she's coming to them! This is hard - hard to say and she swallows, takes a breath and forces herself to say the words, "But I will not raise them the way I was raised. They will know they aren't bad because… because when people make those kind of promises" marriage "I think they tend to keep them…easier." Easier isn't the right word. They try harder, take it more seriously, but she can't form the coherency to say it right now. "It's why I said no to Search." And why Ers'an got punched in the stomach for suggesting she could have a 'real' life. No thanks! So her fear? Her arms pull back to her own space and she drops her head, "That you will leave…one day." The children-to-be? Her? Both!

She loves him. Darsce can likely feel how a certain tension go out of Jethaniel's shoulder at that. Not that her approach and touch might not have indicated it, but for all their dangers, words are capable of being far more definitive and precise than actions. Words are capable of providing assurance for his uncertainty, because he believes Darsce. Her list of adjectives makes him frown - though not at her - before he slowly nods at her conclusion, keeping his eyes on hers. It is trivially true that any person is unique in some regard, no matter how insignificant. It is also true that Jethaniel is incapable of bringing to mind another Darsce, and as such, he can accept her statement on a metaphorical as well as concrete level. He lifts his hand, hesitating partway up before continuing to touch his fingers softly to her cheek, a gentle caress that pauses as she begins to speak again. His own happiness is answered with a slight smile to accompany her desire to be there, and then his eyes widen slightly. Really? they ask, flitting across her features before returning to her blue ones as he nods. Her drawn breath is uninterrupted, though his gaze remains on her as he waits and as he listens. A small furrow begins in his forehead at the mention of how Darsce was raised. He has not precisely conducted any degree of research into that. He's confused, and… he frowns. There are more questions than answers here, and Jethaniel tries to understand. He's failing. Search? It does nothing for his confusion. Jethaniel is the son of holders, not dragonriders. He's not seen things from that perspective. Not like Darsce has. Her arms draw away from him, and his fingers do the same, an unthinking response to her retreat. Mirroring is the technical term for it. Jethaniel's grey eyes are anxious as they fall to Darsce's lowered head, and her final words make some things come together. Him, leaving. Promises. Raising children. Darsce of Ierne, Darsce with D'had, because even without conducting research Jethaniel is not entirely oblivious. "Darsce," he says, and his fingers return to her cheek, tracing softly along the line of her jaw to the chin - which he tries to gently lift, to bring her iceblue eyes to meet with his. "I will stay with you. I will listen to you. I will love you." He smiles, just a little. Enough to curve those serious lips beneath earnest grey eyes. "I promise."

Yes, really, says the very tiny smile and nod - not enough to remove her cheek from those fingers. What? She can design and model maternity clothes as easily as the form-hugging ones she does now. Darsce's told him something she's never told a soul, allowing the armor of her flippant and forward behavior to fall away - at least with him. She trusts him enough to be that vulnerable and yet in admitting it she had to hide, even from him. At the touch of his fingers, her chin lifts willingly, her lashes lift a moment later and her eyes meet his steadily. She remains sober, intent on his words, silent after they are spoken as the moments tick by. "Papa was always mad about Mama's flights. Mama didn't care; she laughed. But other times she yelled and threw things at him." It was very confusing! "My papa… left. And people said… they said…" She doesn't all repeat the cruel things said, but she does mutter, "…that it was my fault." She's dry-eyed in the saying of it, perhaps a touch hard when she says, "I used to think, you know what? If riders can't ever leave their dragons, why can't people be that way too? About their families? Only the dragons ruin it. I will never be a rider." Okay, she's rambling now, but her arms slip around his waist and she tilts her head to regard him, her mouth trembling and she abruptly asks, "Will you be happy?" With her.

Jethaniel waits, his fingers still against Darsce's chin. Not that she couldn't evade them easily, if she wanted - but he doesn't want to move them away. He doesn't want her to look away, so he expresses that desire with the continued touch… and the way his grey eyes stay on hers. He listens as she talks about her parents, giving her his full attention though his comprehension is far from complete. Nevertheless, he listens. At her father's departure, he gives a small nod. At the things people said, he frowns. He can imagine some of the things they said. He does not enjoy that mental exercise, but she provides another one, and Jethaniel considers on it. When her arms go around him, he smiles suddenly, and he puts his arm gently around her, the fingers against her chin brushing back to trace the line of her jaw. "Because," he says, quiet but still smiling, "People have choices. Always." His hand brushes against a wisp of hair, escaped from Darsce's styling and now twined around his fingers. "I will be. Not always," that would be impossible, "but with you… I will be happier." Than he would otherwise have been.
Cove Hold is quiet, this time of day, but it's hardly deserted. They've been fortunate to have this much time alone, away from prying eyes… but their location isn't a secret. Jethaniel and Darsce are right where it was suggested they should go, mere steps from the rock garden that now has footprints in the sand. It is, therefore, not very surprising that they've been located. There's someone turning around a screen of vines and striding toward them with a jaunty step. A woman, with short-cropped brown hair just barely starting to have grey and a character to her features that may - if Darsce chooses to generalize from multiple data points she has observed thus far today - seem familiar, despite the fact that she's never seen this person before. Not that either Jethaniel or Darsce is noticing her at just this moment, but it doesn't stop the new arrival from lifting her hand in a wave. "Hey! Dragon!"

Darsce nods agreement, her slight frown is indicative of her lingering displeasure with her own past rather than Jethaniel's comment. To hear him talk about choices, brings a gentle smile though. He should have choices! "They could choose to try harder." She intends to, anyway. Happier works and her smile grows sweeter as she watches him, something in her relaxes upon hearing those words. Rising up on tip toes, she breathes a sighed, "I love you, Jethaniel," right before she applies her lips to his in a gentle and dreamy sort of benediction of the promises they've made to one another. She shouldn't be surprised when someone finds the place - the rock garden with the spiral-thingie she still hasn't heard about - they've gotten off to, but the hail confuses her. Slow to pull away, though she might have done so with more alacrity if the voice had been Jessa's, Darsce looks from Jethaniel to the oncoming with some perplexity. Is… she calling him a dragon? Or notifying him there is one?

"They could," Jethaniel agrees to Darsce, and more - "I will." Of his own free choice, and that is how he kisses her back, his lips half-smiling even as they touch to hers. His fingertips trail down along the back of her neck so that his arm may rest around her shoulder, holding her happily. The voice catches his attention, but if Darsce is slow to pull away, Jethaniel is even slower. The slight lift of his head at the sound is reversed for a moment to press his lips to hers once more, and his arms do not move away - though they relax slightly. After all, she might wish to see the new arrival… but Jethaniel does not want to let Darsce go entirely. He'll let her figure out how she wants to stand, but unless she actively steps away, he'll keep himself in contact with her even as he lifts his head to regard the arrival. "Jee." A… letter? A mild expression of surprise delivered in an unsurprised tone? Whatever it is, Jethaniel's still smiling…
…and it's definitely not Jessa. She's a couple decades too young, for one thing. Also, she grins, hooking her thumbs into the waist of her practical pants as she waits to be acknowledged and takes the time to give both of them a once-over… okay, maybe twice? Or at least once and a half. When Jethaniel speaks to her, she nods. "…nice skirt." It's said with a grin, and then her attention goes to Darsce. "Hi."

Darsce could have happily remained making out with Jethaniel in this tropical setting. She's pleased by that second kiss. Pull away, what? No way. Her arms remain linked loosely about Jethaniel's waist and she remains within his arms while the three-layer fringe of her skirt swish-bounces as she pivots to turn her hips to face the newcomer, the is movement brisk despite her reluctance to do so and the smile on her face is friendly, if still a bit dreamy. She did come here to meet his family - or friends - after all. "Hi! I'm Darsce." And she pulls one arm from around Jethaniel to offer a handshake. A look is darted between the two. She's lost. Thanks for the intro?

"It is a kilt," Jethaniel says, then adds, "Thank you." So far as those introductions… he may have still been distracted by the kiss? That, or it can be counted as yet another of his social failures. Nevertheless, he nods to Darsce's self-introduction and adds, "I will be marrying her." In a perfectly ordinary tone; he might have been giving her place of origin, or her rank. Merely reporting the pertinent facts of the situation. His arms adjust their positions suitably to continue resting around Darsce, settling nearer those hips as he tilts his head down toward her. "Erijeane. My sister."
Erijeane - apparently - just grins to the correction about Jethaniel's attire, then reaches out to take Darsce's hand. Her mouth opens to introduce herself back, but then she hears Jethaniel's addition, and so her eyes flick away from Darsce to stare at her brother for a moment, then return to the woman in his arms. Oh yeah. She was shaking hands. She should probably finish that. Her introduction's been obviated by the same reason she was distracted from it, so she just nods. "Congratulations."

At the exchange regarding his kilt Darsce tilts her head, seeing Jethaniel in a bit of a new light as a smile grows on her lips. Heretofore he's been so meek; this is almost…bold. She likes it! But her attention goes back to his… sister? Okay then. She says, "Pleasure to mee-" Jethaniel's announcement, so matter-of-factly given draws a blink, even from her. Then she smiles fondly at him. He is what he is and she loves that about him. She shakes Erijeane's hand, giving the woman an almost rueful smile. Sorry for the sudden surprise? "-eet you. And thank you. I'm very happy." And she bounces on her toes slightly still within Jethaniel's arms.

Perhaps Jethaniel drew his conclusions erroneously? However, the facts he's gathered indicate that he and Darsce both want it, and thus, it's only logical to assume it will happen as some point. Why wouldn't it? So he arches his brows in question to her blink - if she protests, he will of course apologize and retract his statement… but she doesn't, and so his smile widens. For a moment, he gazes down at Darsce, simply enjoying the sight of her in his arms before looking up to his sister once again. "Thank you." His arms tighten around Darsce for a moment, holding her before relaxing around her to provide her with effective maneuverability… insofar as she desires it. To Erijeane, he says, "I was not aware you were here today."
Erijeane glances between Darsce and Jethaniel at that silent exchange, but her smile back to Darsce is a genuine one. "I'm sure you will be." She puts her hands back to her sides, then shrugs to Jethaniel. "Oh, I've been doing the local runs. Had to come by, when I heard you were visiting." There's a flick of her eyes to Darsce, the reason (or so she heard) for the visit, and then her grin is put on pause. Reason for the visit, yes, but she didn't hear anything about upcoming weddings from there. "Am I supposed to tell?" It's asked mostly to Jethaniel, but she includes Darsce in the question with a glance and smile.

Oh no. No, he didn't draw erroneous conclusions. Darsce is ecstatic. She beams up at Jethaniel next, her sheer-glossed lips flashing in the sun as she does so. Thankfully she went au naturale and he doesn't have lipstick in each corner of his eyes where she'd kissed him. Or on his lips. Maaaaybe a teeny bit of sheen, but that could be dismissed as perspiration. She'll wait to see what Jethaniel's answer to Erijeane is regarding telling. Normally she might've suggested a formal announcement, but what the hell. She's probably assuming Jessa isn't going to take it well no matter how it's presented. Darsce could be pleasantly surprised on that front though? "They don't know yet," she shares with a flick of a glance towards where the dwelling is. And she's remaining within his arms, showing no desire to move away.

Jethaniel nods to Erijeane's answer, smiling to her. Her question, however, takes him by surprise. His conclusions did not extend that far. "Ah…" he begins, and trails off, looking away from her to regard Darsce. "They do not," he agrees with her. It would have been rather difficult for them to become aware, given how recently the decision was made. Jethaniel looks to Darsce because - while he is certain he wishes to engage in this course of action with her - he is rather uncertain of the correct way to proceed. "I suppose they should." Given Darsce's statements regarding his mother's emotional valences, however… "What would you prefer?" Because Jethaniel considers himself very lacking in expertise, despite the fact that it's his parents.
Erijeane doesn't seem surprised to hear that addition to the news, nodding again with a smile for Jethaniel's hesitation and a glance to Darsce - who may be too busy staring at Jethaniel to notice it. "They should, yeah." She looks back to Jethaniel and arches a brow. "…and if I'm the one who tells Jessa her firstborn son is getting married, I'll never hear the end of it and neither will you."

"I would prefer not to alienate your mother," says Darsce with her typical decisiveness, "but that might be unavoidable." She who has helped with planning and catering events just such as these, knows something of proper procedures. "There are several ways to go about this. You could mention it at dinner tonight, if we're staying for that, with an informal announcement to your family and make a toast to them thanking them for all they've done for you, followed by another to your fiancĂ©e so they have the chance to offer toasts back to us." Orr… "We can host an engagement party at Xanadu and invite them to attend where a more formal announcement is made. They'd have no prior warning and thus you'd avoid an argument." It might not go over all that well with Jessa, but she might pretend all along she knew to save face. "The third option is to announce it via the harpers news." Again circumventing protests and arguments, but… alienating possible. "We haven't set a date for the wedding," Darsce adds, this directed to Erijeane along with her question, "Do you know which might be least troubling?"

Jethaniel nods to Darsce's preference, as she states it. The potential for unavoidable alienation makes him frown, but at the same time as his lips curve down, his arms squeeze more firmly around her for a moment. Regardless of the potential or actual outcomes, he will be here. He glances to Erijeane and nods, still with that same frown. "I suppose so." Jethaniel returns his gaze to Darsce, and listens carefully to the options she presents. "I had made no statement regarding dinner." Which probably means his mother is assuming they'll stay, but since he hasn't actually told her that, they could skip out with a minimum of ruffled feathers. The unagitated state of those feathers does not, however, seem likely to persist. As for the party at Xanadu… "They are generally disinclined to travel." Which may be a relief to Darsce… though perhaps the situation will change as a result of this announcement, however it's actually made. Jethaniel still hasn't expressed an actual choice, simply provided additional data for some of the possibilities, and now he lowers his head slightly as he thinks. "I… believe I would prefer something simple."
Erijeane nods to Jethaniel, and then her lips quirk for a moment at Darsce before her gaze drifts off to the hold as those options are enumerated. The final statement and question draw them back, and she smiles to the one and shrugs to the other. "She'd hate hearing it from the harpers." Because that would mean her son had been stolen away and wouldn't even talk to her. Erijeane glances to Jethaniel again as he mentions simplicity, and hehs. "No fancy parties, dragon?" Her tone's teasing, and then she gives her head a shake as she looks back to Darsce. "Dinner's not bad, I guess. You'd have… let's see. If it's just family… Mom, dad, me," Not that she'd necessarily be there if it weren't for the announcement, but hey. Erijeane continues her list, counting on fingers. "Liessa and her kids, Nereilse probably… that just leaves Sulliam, and he won't care he's hearing it secondhand."

Darsce can't help it. The tension leftover from Jessa's rather personal inquiries, biting her tongue to keep herself from telling her to shove it combined with the giddy joy of the decision they've just made bubbles over into an irreverent snigger when Jethaniel says he'd prefer simple. "We could elope?" She's totally kidding, says the playful nudge of shoulder into Jethaniel's side, afterwhich she listens to Erijeane carefully. "Dinner would be fine with me and we could get the transport dragon to fetch some of that effervescent wine from Xanadu's stores to accompany it?" The last bit asked of Jethaniel. They can pay for it when they return home. She'll be likely to be biting her tongue the whole time during dinner, but oh well. For Jethaniel? She will attempt it. One thing she's been wondering and finally can't contain her curiosity any longer, she arches away from Jethaniel's side - only enough to tilt her head, consider him and ask with a bemused smile, "Why's she calling you Dragon?"

Jethaniel tilts his head to Darsce at her suggestion, and for a moment, he takes it quite seriously. His look is a considering one for the ramifications - his mother would not approve. She might not approve even more than she would otherwise not approve. Darsce's mother, Jethaniel is not qualified to speculate on, as he has not even met her. Also, there are… other factors, none of which actually require consideration, because he belatedly realizes it was, in fact, a joke, and he smiles as he leans in to kiss at the top of Darsce's head while she listens. He would not be entirely averse to a plan with that degree of simplicity, were it to be suggested in seriousness. He would not, for that matter, be entirely averse to any plan involving Darsce, and so he smiles as he replies to Erijeane, "I would not necessarily go that far." If Darsce wants a fancy party, she'll have one. He listens to Erijeane's analysis, then nods to Darsce's decision, nodding to her suggestion about the wine. "Certainly." Nobody's going to question a note from Jethaniel making a request of that degree. Correction: some might question, but nobody's going to deny it. They'll just find the Steward afterward with those questions, if they are so inclined. Jethaniel certainly hopes Darsce's tongue does not become too severely bitten, and not merely because he has hopes of further kisses. Perhaps his presence will keep the conversation more polite than not? At the very least, it may make Darsce happier to be there, and his fingers brush lightly along her arm before the question makes him pause. "Ah. Yes." That would be something incomprehensible at first (or second) hearing, wouldn't it? He smiles. "It is because of my name. I had… abbreviated it, when young. I was… introducing myself, I believe?" He glances to Erijeane for confirmation, because he's partially just telling this story as reported to him. Jethaniel himself was too young to entirely remember. "I do not recall. But Jee heard me, and informed me that Jeth-" his abbreviation of choice, at the time "-was a dragon name." His lips quirk. "I asked her if I was a dragon."
Erijeane nods about dinner, then grins at Darsce's question, letting Jethaniel tell the story. As she's done, and as she's heard their mother tell it when some curious person asked a question after overhearing. The children of a vacation hold have to take their privacy where they can get it, because there's always people coming by to visit. Once he's concluded, she adds, "I'd just been in harper lessons about dragons. So then I guess I told him that he was, and it kind of… stuck."

Darsce would totally elope if it wouldn't hurt his - or her future - relationship with his parents. Her father would likely be unfit to attend and her mother? Might. She has no friends, or she now thinks she doesn't. Of her siblings half would surely come - the rest, iffy. Uncles, aunts… eh, if the ship was in the area, possibly. But no, she was kidding with that. She's also aware that more than just family and friends might take an interest in such an occasion and sometimes personal preferences must be sacrificed. Not that she wouldn't enjoy a fancy party! She just hasn't really thought about it. Jethaniel's presence always makes things better and so dinner surely won't be that bad. Feeling that kiss through her hair, she leans back Jethaniel's way, tilting her head so that it rests against his chest and sighs contentment. "That is so cute," she says when it's finished, tipping her head back to see his face, squinting in the harsh sunlight as she says lightly, "I like Jethan but… it's your mother's name for you."

A great deal of thought will likely be both required and provided concerning that occasion. Fortunately, they have not set a date (a matter which will also require thought), and as such, there is no deadline for those considerations. Jethaniel smiles at his past self and present Darsce, amused in a self-deprecating way but pleased that she approves. "Despite the mounting evidence to the contrary," he adds. "Counterfactuals have always been a talent of Jee's." The smile's more amused for that, but it fades somewhat as Darsce continues, and he nods. "It is." It always has been, and Darsce… "You may call me what you want," he tells her, though he expects that does not actually address the question. Indeed, he seldom argues with anything he's called by anyone; there's no special permission being given there. Perhaps Jethaniel's learning something, though, for he continues. "I am not sure of my own preference." Even if he doesn't actually have a want to express… oh, wait. He does. "I like hearing you speak of me, regardless." Jethaniel leans down toward Darsce with a kiss. His name on her lips, his lips on her lips… he likes them both.
Erijeane grins at Darsce's reaction to the story, and shakes her head to Jethaniel. "I was six." Because who's logical at that age? …Jethaniel. Sometimes. Erijeane, not so much. Still, she's grinning as she protests, and regardless of how fancy the wedding, she'll certainly be there… though the cute of Jethaniel and Darsce together makes her eyes drift away, now, glancing off to trees and hold and mostly just busily not looking at them. Not that she's objecting. She's very much not doing that, either.

Perhaps skill in using subjunctive conditionals is an inherited genetic trait? Jethaniel seems to be able to use logic with such ease, after all. Darsce is smiling up at Jethaniel as he bends to her. "My, my, I think you might like me just a little," she says with a little laugh just before his lips touch hers. Darsce will call him… hers? As for names, something will come to mind, sometime. "Mmm, Jethaniel is nice too," she says with her eyes closed, feigning going limp in his arms right afterwards. Cute indeed! Dinner will be a different story, there she'll limit herself to under-the-table cuteness. Her fair skin is beginning to show a subtle pink, she really should get out of the sun, but while they are here… "So what's the spiral-equation thing we were supposed to see?" This is asked to the both of them, since they should both know.

The heritability of logic is a testable hypothesis - though Jethaniel is unlikely to accept the establishment of a proper control group, and thus the experiment will risk the conflation of genetic and memetic factors. It may, in fact - given the external requirements of the experiment and the limited size of the test group - merely generate anecdotes instead of useful data. Darsce is, meanwhile, being quite correct, though Jethaniel merely answers her with the press of his lips instead of attempting to form words with them. That answer given, he smiles fondly at his armful of Darsce. 'Hers'… yes, she can call him that. He likes it. Perhaps she'll just always pick whatever name comes to mind at the moment she opens her mouth? After all, he has no general requirement for her to engage that brain-mouth filter she has undergone recent development of… though he will be glad for her attempts to reduce incidents during dinner, when his mother and father and all the rest are watching. Erijeane, he doesn't mind seeing him act like this, even if she's finding herself disinclined to actually watch. At dinner, Jethaniel will simply limit himself to tender looks and such motions of his hands and legs as may be construed as subtle. That, and making an announcement, which is rather the opposite of subtle. Darsce's mention of the spiral equation makes him blink. "Ah. Yes." There was a stated purpose to their visit here, one which they have thus far ignored… not quite entirely. The footsteps in the sand show an interaction with the environment, but certainly not to the intended extent. "The stepping stones are plotted along a doubled Archimedean spiral. If you observe their positions, you can see that the relative distances remain constant over the rotations."
Erijeane glances back at the question, but gives her head a shake before tilting it toward Jethaniel. This explanation is his. Oh, she's heard it before (from him), and she even sort of gets it, but… he's the one who found the equations describing spirals in one of his math books at Landing and measured stones and calculated the properties of this one when he came back from his studies for a visit.

Improper control works for Darsce, depending on what hypothesis is being tested? Data? Psh! Anecdotes are MUCH more entertaining! Uh, well, to her anyway. She'll be pleased to randomize variables to give Jethaniel varied results? There, heh, might actually wind up being genetics involved in there too, eventually, though the conclusions drawn might be so far from the original hypothesis that… where were we? Oh right! The Archimedes Spiral. DOUBLE spiral, even. Darsce wouldn't understand angular velocity if she were to be sucked up into a tornado. She does note the distances he's pointed out, notes then tilts her head one way, tilts it the other and finally concludes, "It's pretty. It makes me dizzy." And didn't his mother use the word 'equation'? She's looking at him now with undisguised awe. "You…made this, didn't you? With math." Somehow. It's beyond her, but he's certainly welcome to try and get her to understand it. Oh and that dinner? Is certainly not going to be boring. Not by a long shot.

Math. The subject at hand is math, despite the fact that Jethaniel's hands are on Darsce. Such is the difference between physical and metaphorical hands. Possibly that also relates to the propriety of the experimental procedures? He's trying to explain this in non-technical terms, for her. He is likely only partially successful. "It is," Jethaniel agrees about the aesthetic elements of the spiral, then ducks his head and shakes it at her attribution. "No. I did not make it. I may have adjusted a few positions to better fit the curve, once I calculated it-" In secret, in the middle of the night, with a shovel to dig things up and a rake to make the sand neat again afterward. Because he was mad about something his parents said. "-but it has been here for a very long time. Mathematics and aesthetics have traditionally been linked, though more classically the connection is discussed in the form of the golden spiral and the ratios thereof."
Erijeane slips away as they discuss math. She'll see them again at dinner. Un-boring dinner. For now, she's going to give her brother and his… fiancee… some time alone.

In a way? Darsce would probably much rather be the subject at hand. Well, his hands, but she listens. She is paying attention not only to what he says, but also how he says it. There's something about him as he explains things he knows. There's an earnest confidence, an enthusiasm that she finds endearing. It's too bad he doesn't fill her in on the particulars of that midnight re-adjustment. But then her questions would shift from mathematics to psychology and what was said that got him angry. Okay so no, he didn't make it. He's no less wonderful in her eyes. "Still, you knew it wasn't right and you knew how to fix it. And you wanted to. That's unusual, do you know that? I've worked with enough designers to know how rare and vital that is." She… doesn't know the importance of the spiral. But she appreciates his attention to detail. A long time, he says. "So the Ancients put it there?" It's her uneducated guess. An anthropologist/archeologist she is not. "And does it have some sort of… meaning?" All these questions while she stands there, the sun forgotten. She's going to regret this later. Erijeane's leaving goes unnoticed because Darsce is wrapped up in Jethaniel and his math. "What's the golden spiral?"

Jethaniel tilts his head back to look at Darsce again, and smiles. "Perhaps," he says to her assertion. "I expect the world would certainly be a different place if more people attempted to bring it into correspondence with their visions." His lips quirk, wry. "I do not know if it would be better. Not all visions for the world are good ones. Nor would they necessarily be aligned." His eyes drift away, over the rocks in the sand and his thoughts. The question brings his gaze back to her, and he shrugs. "I do not know. It is possible, though there is no record of it in the accounts of Cove Hold's founding. Nor of its construction, though my analysis was not comprehensive." There was only so long he could spend reading records before getting chased outside to play in the sunlight, and besides, there were other questions to occupy his time. The question of meaning is something else that's very old - indeed, there are Ancient philosophers that studied both that and spirals. It has not, however, found a definitive answer. "In a way. It describes a relationship between two factors. If…" Jethaniel reaches for Darsce's hand, holding it lightly in his. "Imagine a ship, beginning at a point-" he touches the back of her hand "-and sailing at a constant speed." His finger brushes along the back of her hand and up her arm. "Now." The finger lift away and touches back down at the starting point. "Imagine that it sails at that same speed, but the rudder is fixed, so as it sails, it turns constantly." Once more his touch demonstrates, spiraling out over her hand and the air around it. "That is an Archimedian spiral. The golden spiral is within the class of logarithmic spirals; the ship goes faster and faster the further it sails."

Darsce watches as Jethaniel talks. The visions of others questionable? It is something she agrees with him on. "Some are outright evil," and she shudders despite the tropical heat shining down on them. What she's heard, where she's heard it, she doesn't say, but Ierne - all sorts come there. She quirks him a questioning look at his use of the word aligned. She doesn't ask though because he's taken her hand and the tracing of his finger is distracting so she has to focus on what he's saying. Of ships she understands, having sailed on her grandfather's trading vessel. The explanation of the golden spiral has her shivering once more. "Like… water going around a whirlpool?" She's seen those in the ocean. They're dangerous.

Jethaniel regards Darsce for a moment at her description of some visions, then nods, slow and serious. She is - as usual - correct, but that is not where he wishes to bring his thoughts. Not now, with the bright tropical sunlight glowing against Darsce's hair - and shining on her skin… but that's nature, not intentionality. Intentionality is what can make people fight, when two believe different things and cannot see how to bring them together. Intentionality - choice - is why people fight… as well as love. For now, Jethaniel puts his attention to his explanations of mathematics. It might have been easier for Darsce to pay attention were he to use a different substrate for his demonstration. The sand, for instance, would be quite effective for drawing diagrams; such diagrams could even persist for a time instead of being transient with the motions of his hands. Perhaps Jethaniel prefers the inefficiency because it permits him more contact with Darsce. Ships are something he understands also - not well, but his father is a seacrafter, with a small ship that takes the tourists out to watch shipfish and sunsets. Jethaniel spent time on that vessel as a boy, and though it was not his passion, it nevertheless provided him with knowledge he can use to create a descriptive analogy. Experiential knowledge is valuable, at least to him. "Similar," he agrees about those whirlpools, his eyes lifting from her hand to her face. His fingers squeeze her hand softly for the shiver. "The physics are, however, complex."

Darsce took the basic harper classes. And most of those she didn't pay attention to like she should have. She was too busy day-dreaming and fooling around to get the benefit of them like she should have. Oddly, art was something that enthralled her and she did quite well in those. She is able to eye a person's build and take material, knows how to make a tuck here, a pleat there and a drape in between and thus sculpt it into forms that bring out the best and hide the flaws. Moreover, she can gauge skin tones and choose colors of those materials that will cause sallow skin to appear golden or ruddy skin to seem to glow with a rosy hue. How she transforms things from the one-dimensional to the three-dimensional, she has no clue. It's not something she's been trained to do. She has no mathematical formula for most of what she does, but she does use math to design garments and jewelry. Even patterns need to adhere to measurements for differing sizes. Of physics being complex, she can only nod and take his word for it. Could she grasp it? Probably eventually, for designing clothing uses geometry and that is a step towards (perhaps one of many). Would she want to? Probably not without sufficient motivation. She has no problem, however with the medium Jethaniel is using to demonstrate the spiral. In fact, she wants the touch to… "Jethaniel." The heat has finally gotten to her. "I feel funny."

Jethaniel, at least, is confident that Darsce could understand. A lack of knowledge is not the same as a lack of intelligence. If she is interested in his explanations, he will give them gladly. If she is not, he will simply conduct those analyses behind his own eyes, regarding the world around him according to those rules of mathematics and physics he's internalized… though he's aware his own knowledge is incomplete, his understanding of that physics not yet enough to model the entire world. Indeed, it is likely theoretically impossible for him - or anyone - to understand physics enough for that, yet he still enjoys the pursuit. If Darsce wished to explain clothing design to him, he would listen to it with that same analytic curiosity. He could, perhaps, define for her some of the equations she already instinctively uses for that purpose, for one of the truly fascinating things about mathematics is how it is a system for understanding the world derived from the world. It is the abstraction which describes itself. The thought is poetic, in a way, and as distracting to Jethaniel - in a different way - as his touch against Darsce's hand. Her words reach through that distraction, and he notices that flush to her skin, normally fair - which, had he paused to think about it, might have been given him motivation to act more carefully. He grew up here. He had ample opportunity to grow used to the heat, and his complexion is a darker one than hers, more suited to resist that sun. Jethaniel has seen these signs before, and he frowns with concern and displeasure for his own neglect as he nods. "I am sorry. Come," and he puts his arm around her middle, careful to support her. "Let us go to the shade." Where he'll find her a place to sit and get her a cold drink. Maybe fan her, if he can find a palm frond?

Darsce is interested in everything Jethaniel has to say whether she understands or not. Perhaps because Jethaniel says them, she doesn't blow it off as she might with others. He is not, she senses, operating by ulterior motives to impress or manipulate, but by the simple joy of sharing knowledge. This is unprecedented in her life. So she will not only listen to him, but seek to understand. Sometimes though, when you take a rose, and remove all the petals, dissect stamen from pistils, stem from sepal you have… not a rose. What Darsce does is drawn from the creative side of her brain, not the logical side. It might not work? She might though, find Jethaniel's explanations quite interesting. She moves with him, walking easily enough. How long have they been standing in the full sun - perhaps an hour and a half? It's more than she's used to. And she's worn a skimpy dress that exposes so much creamy skin to Rukat's rays. There's a pink flush showing on her cheeks, nose and shoulders that will likely deepen later, but for now it's subtle. "I'm okay," she assures him. "But shade will be nice." There's some nausea, a lightheadedness that she's saying nothing about. She's fine, really!

There do exist precedents for others being interested in Jethaniel's knowledge, but in his experience, the preponderance of people are impatient or annoyed by it. When he taught classes (well, supervised labs, mostly) at the technician's hall, there were some apprentices who actually cared for that knowledge - though others simply wished to obtain a passing grade, their interests elsewhere in the craft or their motivations different. Other than that, those who actually wish to hear him speak have been relatively few, and Darsce's interest pleases him. He wants to explain things to her, even if that desire sometimes leads to unintended consequences. Herein lies the danger of doing what he wants - he may be careless, so focused on his own intentions that he forgets to think of others. Or so Jethaniel thinks of himself, never mind that he turned responsive at Darsce's first indication that something was wrong. He nods, but there's concern in the grey eyes that brush across her features before returning to check their path, and he keeps his arm around her, making his speed through careful calculation of the optimal angles to reach shade instead of a quickened pace that might require excessive exertion. He has some experience in interacting with a fainted Darsce. He would prefer not to gain more, despite his general stance on knowledge. "It will," he says, letting the other part go unanswered because he does not wish to argue. The hold itself casts a shadow, being as it is a dense physical object and thus reflects and absorbs light rather than transmitting it. They approach it on a different side than they left, and that same characteristic is why it is impossible to see whether Jessa still sits in the chair where they left her. There are, however, other chairs here, in the heavy shade of an overhanging roof, and it is toward one of these that Jethaniel guides Darsce.

Darsce won't blame Jethaniel for her obsessions and lack of care for the sun. This is her fault - her own lack of attention on her surroundings. She's not going to faint! At least she doesn't plan to. Ha! Who plans to do things like that? (besides Darsce's player) No Jessa in sight - and yes, she's feeling well enough to flick iceblue eyes and check - draws a sigh of relief as she is directed into the shade and sinks with a sigh into one of the chaise lounges there. Sandals are kicked off, sandy toes wriggled and then with a half-smile up at Jethaniel she crooks a finger that beckons him to join her on that lounge. Help you kill some time before dinner?

Jethaniel's own relief is for the change in Darsce's demeanor as they arrive in the shade, and it's in his eyes as he smiles to her. "Do you want a drink?" he asks - because he should be going to get her one, whether she wants it or not, and yet that would require departing from her presence when she is, in fact, inviting him to do somewhat the opposite. Jethaniel seats himself on the edge of it as he awaits her decision, hips at an angle and torso further turned in order to face Darsce, and he reaches out to brush his fingertips softly against her side. She could assuredly help him pass some time; however, given how pleasing such events would be in retrospect, it seems inaccurate to describe it negatively.

Darsce's change in demeanor has more to do with being seated and in the shade than Jethainel knows. She's pink-flushed now? Which means by dinnertime that's going to become a noticeable shade of red sun-burn. She's yet to be feeling pain, just feeling 'funny' and drained. So half-lying works for her. She smiles back to him. "Yes please." Because even in the shade things feel… hot. Pretty much all over. And so sprawling with him and making lazy, idle conversation is about all she has the energy and presence of mind to do. Besides, there are things of a more personal nature to speak of. If she can muster the energy to do so.

Jethaniel nods to Darsce. "I will be back shortly," he says, smiling to her before he rises again to slip into the hold and find a bottle of water and a cup he can fill from it. Easy enough to do - keeping visitors hydrated is important, and it's still kept more or less where it used to be. That part of a hold proud of tradition is useful, though the past is not always a good thing. The departure is only a brief one, and then he returns, offering Darsce a glass of water and setting the bottle down nearby before once more taking a seat beside her. Darsce looks… rather off-color, even in the shade, and Jethaniel frowns slightly. The bloom of sunburn may make that dinner somewhat unpleasant to sit through, but Jethaniel will do what he can, even if - for the moment - that's just sitting with Darsce and discussing whatever she wishes to while refilling her glass.

And in that time Jethaneil's been gone Darsce has plucked the pins restraining her hair into that coil about her head so to free her hair, allowing the silvery-blonde strands that now form waves created partially by being held in that coil all day and partially by the humidity to tumble loosely about her shoulders. She's massaging her scalp with her fingertips to ease the pull created by the unaccustomed hairstyle - or would that be the remnant of tension from the past interview with Jessa and the up-coming dinnertime announcement? Either way, she greets the returning Jethaniel with a smile and a murmured thanks for the water, drinks an adequate amount before sinking back to half-recline. A trace of fingers along his arm seeks his hand where, if successful she'll attempt to tug him down to tangle up with her. What's on her mind? "So… when do you want to do this?" The wedding.

Jethaniel smiles in return, watching Darsce as she drinks. Perhaps he's calculating the volume of water she's imbibing, or perhaps he's simply looking at the curves her hair makes. The physics governing it are… complex. With the touch of her fingers, his attention moves to her face, and when her hand reaches his he curves his fingers back against hers, head lowering to brush his lips softly to her hand before he lets her draw him down to lounge with her. He ends up resting partly on his side, facing toward Darsce. His kilt's askew from his adjustments of position to account for the differing geometries of the seat and his body. He doesn't notice, his attention on Darsce. One of Jethaniel's hands reaches up, stroking against her hair softly. His eyes drift there for a moment, watching the perturbation of the waveforms in response to his touch, before returning to hers as she begins to speak. "Ah." His hand continues with those slow motions despite the fact that he is no longer watching it. The undeclared object of Darsce's statement is clear to him, most likely because it has also been an element of his thoughts. "I have no particular urgency; I am already with you." Another element of his thoughts. The words are simple truth, though the veracity of them in matters other than physical proximity (which is, at the moment, also true) was only confirmed earlier today. Still, it is a truth Jethaniel is glad of, and his tone reflects it while his grey eyes also show his affection as he attempts to reach a conclusion. It presents him with some difficulties, and he hehs softly, ducking his head but not his eyes as he asks, "Are there factors I should consider?" There have been prior examples of weddings in Jethaniel's experience, but he was not paying any significant attention to the logistical elements. While he is, evidently, the marrying type… he had not heretofore considered that he might become so. As such, "I am… unfamiliar with the field."

Oh yes, that kilt! Darsce's not thinking about the way such garments can creep up. You'd think she would, since the skirts she tends to wear are so short, but no, she's oblivious to her hems too. She doesn't notice now, either - uhhh… does this side of the house have windows that face the porch? When he joins her, she shifts her head on the pillow of that lounge to be closer to him, turns her hips enough that her opposite leg can drape where her toes can tickle his foot or ankle without too much effort. Perhaps it's the movement of Jethaniel's fingers in her hair, perhaps she's thinking, for she is silent after he speaks. There is no rush as far as she's concerned; his words are true, they're already together and there are no children to consider. Other factors to consider? Are there ever! Some of them depend on how Jessa responds to the news, but she'll worry about that later. She ticks them off on her fingers, "Having a place and date set with time for people to make travel plans is considerate. I need time to draw up a list of guests to invite from your family and friends; I have all of maybe ten people on my side, half won't attend." The frown over that is fleeting, mostly because she doesn't want to think about it right now. "I need time to find a dress, plan a menu, hire some harpers, talk to the bakers about a cake. And you need time to find an engagement ring, be fitted for something nice to wear, choose a place for where we're going on our wedding trip…" She trails off. Is she forgetting anything? "Oh, yes. There's the matter of where we're going to live afterwards." She quirks a questioning look up at him, a small smile playing on her mouth. "Hali wouldn't welcome a third roommate. And your place is a bit tight."

There are many windows in the hold, including ones that look out on this porch. They're open, since it's not storming. Those inside want breezes! Those inside… may or may not be looking out. Jethaniel isn't checking. He is, however, shifting such that one of his legs drapes against Darsce's, despite the heat of the day. His attention remains on her, and he nods to the first of her considerations before he frowns at her projected lack of attendance from her side of things. His gaze lowers for a moment, looking away from her as he thinks on that, but lifts again as she lists the set of requirements on both their parts. He nods, acknowledging those as necessities for the situation - it is, after all, not an area in which he claims any expertise whatsoever - but there's still a somewhat troubled look to his features, though it's not one that makes him move away or stops his fingers from their random walk though the silver-blonde waves. The list, once completed, is accepted with a nod. He may (and likely will) have more questions later, but first… his mouth begins to open, then closes as she adds another item to the list. This one causes his frown to be replaced with a smile. "Ah. Yes. I would also prefer to not have a third roommate." He leans in, brushing his lips against Darsce's cheek. "I do, however, have a list of unassigned residences." Complete with reasons for vacancy and action items required prior to occupancy. "We could consult it?" Cots in the barracks are the headwoman's purview, but cottages in the fields are the steward's. It all ultimately requires the weyrwoman's approval - but she can hardly concern herself with every line of every requisition, can she? Jethaniel pauses, his head still close to Darsce's, and his smile fades a little, the troubled look returning. "Darsce. Are there people from your family you wish me to meet?" He's earnest, watching her face. "Even if they would not attend."

Darsce's… yeah, forgotten people can see out those windows - or that since they're open, they can be heard. She's that wrapped up in Jethaniel. Being semi-distracted by the heat and their topic of conversation is adding to it as well. Her iceblue eyes are all dreamy as she reaches up to play with the ends of Jethaniel's hair with her fingertips. Hmm, nice haircut! Her eyes flick down to see his frown, reading it as displeasure - he did say he wanted simple. His troubled look concerns her. She has no idea what a Steward's salary is, come to think of it, she hasn't paid any attention to hers. Has she even drawn it? If so it's probably been stuffed in one of her desk drawers and forgotten. "You don't have to get a ring or do a trip, Jethaniel." She's contrite, having rattled off the things she's done and seen while helping cater events. She's pleased by the kiss, leaning her cheek into that a bit, brightening when he says he has a list of empty dwellings. "Could we?" It's a bit squealed and the hand she's been playing with his hair stops so she can snake it around his neck and hug him, all a-wriggle with enthusiasm. The question though, drains that away and her arm slips back to her own space - well almost her space. She's playing with his shirt button. "Um, no?" She flickers a look to his eyes, looks away. "My mother," she grimaces, "you could meet her; she's… prissy." Says the one who takes after her. "My- D'had… you… no. He just… No." Another look up at him with eyes that have the pleasure dimmed, "You know my half sister Marel, yeah? And N'shen?" Sort of? He should at least a little? "Hali's around. Mur'dah? He's a brownrider at the Weyr… I have relatives of my- D'had's… on the Vega Run, wherever she is. They're nice. We could try to find them?" She has no clue how.

Jethaniel tilts his head slightly into the touch, and blinks at the reversion of requests. "But do you want them?" he asks. Because if she does, he will! The steward's salary is… quite reasonable, particularly when one considers that he lives in the same quarters he was assigned when he first arrived as a journeyman and generally eats in the caverns. Jethaniel has savings. He has no objections to putting them to good use, and does not entirely understand the reason behind Darsce's change of opinions. His arm slips up around her waist as she hugs him, and for a moment he grins. "We could." There are procedures to request new assignments of lodging. He's fairly certain 'steward' is sufficient rank for him to assign himself whatever he requests. So is 'headwoman', though given the circumstances of Darsce's appointment to that rank, it might prove more interesting in the approval stage. Still, it's just a matter of paperwork, and he knows precisely to find all the appropriate forms. As Darsce draws back, his own smile fades along with hers, but he doesn't remove his hand from her side, simply resting it there as he listens. The mention of a mother makes him nod - he has no particular urge for the encounter other than curiosity, but it seems that meeting family would be an appropriate thing to do… if Darsce desires it. The mention - or rather, the reaction - to D'had makes him frown, and he lowers his head slightly. "I am sorry," he murmurs, and closes his eyes for a moment. Perhaps he should not have brought the matter up. It simply seemed he was focusing too much on himself and his family, and not enough on hers. "I know N'shen, yes," he says as his eyes re-open. Weyrleader and Steward do not interact extensively, but they do speak on occasion. "I have met Halimeda." In passing. "As well as Marel and Mur'dah." There's a faint smile at his mention of the latter brownrider, a wry amusement that doesn't last for long… not with Darsce's general reaction being what it is. "The seacraft might have locational records," he says of that ship, but finding it is a matter of secondary importance, and his considerations return to the larger issue of Darsce's family - or, more to the point, the relative smallness of that portion of her family which she wishes him to interact with, when compared to the family as a whole. "It is up to you. I do not require a meeting. I do, however, expect they will become aware of the news at some point." It's not going to be a secret. Especially not if Jethaniel and Darsce keep discussing it under open windows. "I will do whatever you think is best."

Darsce shrugs, "Sure I'd love them. Especially if you picked it out. Or made it. Like your beautiful star lights. I just meant you don't have to… if it's… too expensive. I just realized it was like I was telling you to get me gifts and I felt bad." For the first time in her life. "I like it when you just… do stuff. I still have the flower you got me," she says with a smile of fond remembrance. Of the place they will share, her smile beams and she agrees, "Okay!" Then her family is the topic and yeah. She fiddling with his button, focusing on it rather than Jethainel's face as she tries to explain - poorly - why her father isn't someone she… His apology draws her gaze up from that button. "Oh, please, no. Don't be. It's just that-" There's really no way to say this delicately, so she says it with a pained expression, in a little rush of words as she focuses on a tree across the yard, "He's a drunk. Pretty much all the time now. It's my fault." She doesn't burst into tears or anything like that - maybe she lacks the energy. She grasps at her father's kin to steady herself, "We could look for the Vega Run, yeah. They're good folks; I adore them. I'd love for them to meet you." She probably should have been fostered to them but then… she would not be here in Jethaniel's arms if she were. She blinks back to him, perhaps reading between the lines, "Jethaniel. I'm not ashamed of you. It's just that…" She looks away, "my family's sorta weird. We'll go to Ierne and Asher (not mama or my mother) will be happy to meet you - while having a manicure or a facial. You'll see." She peeks at him, does he mind sitting in a salon for this? A secret? "Oh no, no. They're all getting invitations. Even…" D'had.

"As part of a larger set of things to be acquired, yes," Jethaniel replies on the matter of those requested items. He smiles, and at the mention of that flower, the smile widens. "Very well, then. I am not a smith…" Maybe she'll get a piece of circuitry to go around her finger? A gear with the teeth filed down? "…but I will see what I can do." His fingers trail lightly along her side, then pause with the topic of her family, drifting further around her. His button? She can undo it, if she wants. Jethaniel won't stop her. He's barely noticing, watching Darsce's face instead of her hand with an expression of concern on his own face. As for D'had… Jethaniel frowns, then shakes his head. "No." He's disagreeing with Darsce. She is - this time - incorrect. "He has a choice." Jethaniel lifts his hand from Darsce's side, brushing his fingertips softly along her cheek. Wasn't she just reminding him about choices? Fortuitous, as it means the lesson is fresh in his mind. He regards Darsce for a moment as she regards that tree, then slowly lowers his head. "Trading ships are recorded at their ports of call," he says to her shoulder. He would know, since he sees the records for Xanadu. "We can conduct research." It should be possible to find the Vega Run. Eventually. His name makes him look up again, expression questioning, and then he nods. "I do not mind." He gives a small shrug, accompanied by a faint smile. "I will see." The invitations receive another nod. Will this wedding have an open bar?

He'll get a confused look thrown at him for that, "But-" Darsce'll learn how to be less guilty. It might take time. He's not a smith, he is a wizard. He works magic with chemicals and lights. He could make a gear look beautiful. It's too bad she's too preoccupied - or is it distressed? - to undo his button. Right now she's just got to do something with her hands and she's not even close to thinking how pleasurable it would be to… She closes her eyes briefly at the touch to her cheek. Jethaniel's disagreement is the first she's ever heard from him and as such, for her, it carries weight. Her voice is husky as she struggles with letting that go, "I… guess he does." It's going to take her some time, but she'll be thinking on it. Heh, an open bar. Nothing like courting disaster? The button pops off in her hand and she stares at it. Right now would be the perfect time to be called in to dinner, wouldn't it? With her hair all down and his shirt button missing.

There is some potential regarding chemicals. Jethaniel could perform electroplating, or use acids to etch something into metal. Incorporating lights might prove more challenging, due to the scale; he'd have to find a way to get the battery small enough. Or perhaps there's some way to use the electrical potential of skin to power a small light, but while Darsce may like surprises, she's unlikely to enjoy shocks. Careful consideration will be required; fortunately, there's still time for these things to be decided. The date… also needs to be decided. Jethaniel's request for clarification has proven to contain a wide variety of distractions. Apparently, weddings are complicated. This might explain why event planners are capable of staying in business… but Jethaniel's current job involves logistics. Surely he'll be able to figure it out. He'll draw diagrams, but for now, he simply watches Darsce. Perhaps his disagreement with her is a sign that he was listening before. He's disagreeing because he's following her directions to him? Regardless, he nods slightly to her agreement with that disagreement, relieved at hearing her say it, then glances down to where she's staring. "Ah." It appears his shirt is now displaying the dashing style wherein a portion of the chest is displayed. It is not his usual choice of attire, but it may yet serve to remind Darsce of certain pleasurable things. This will be advantageous for improving her mood prior to dinner.
If only there were sufficient time prior to dinner for it to be effective, because these discussion have taken long enough to bring not only a cool evening breeze to the porch but also an emerging figure. The last known destination for Jethaniel and Darsce was the rock garden. This is the side of the hold closest. Dinner's not ready yet, but it might take some time to find them. So it makes sense to start looking early! …though apparently, that extra time won't be needed, because here they are, tangled up on a chaise lounge looking rumpled. There's a sweep of eyes across the pair, a disapproving frown… that's carefully replaced by a polite and distant expression (one that means doom, but only after the guests are gone), and Jessa (it had to be Jessa, didn't it?) clears her throat. Very. Audibly.

Continues in Dinner Disaster

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