Xanadu Weyr - Thea's Weyr

This clearing is sheltered by a thick canopy of trees, which seems supported at its centre by an immense, wild-growing fellis tree. Hanging from one of its high branches is a swing, made up of two ropes and a seat of softwood and leather. The grass is tall here and interrupted in places by clusters of white and blue alyssum. Alyssum covers the indentation of the wallow, remaining hardy despite being continually crushed. The constant sound of herdbeast in their pens can be heard close-by, though its source is invisible through the foliage.

The cottage itself is made of white softwood, like birch, though creeping vines cover all four of its walls from the outside and even encircle the brown-shuttered windows and matching door.

A brown firelizard has been sent with a note to a young man. The sender watches from the edge of the woods as it is delivered. Yes, the recipient is in full sight and it is noted that Master Fraille is not in sight when he gets it. The sender slips back into the woods. The firelizard waits until the note is taken, then lifts and disappears between.

The note, when it is read is simple:

"Come to my weyr now, if you can. Arrive unseen. Tell no one. Bring this note with you.


It has a simple map on it to show him the way there

The note finds Tenebrous in mid-scavenge, hanging upside down from a tree branch to delicately harvest a bit of moss from the side of a tree. When the firelizard arrives with the note, he looks at the creature curiously before accepting the note. Between one word and the next, the strength goes out on his legs, and he plummets to the ground, landing in an astonished heap. For a time, he merely lays there, looking up at the branch he once hung from before muttering, "At least the girl isn't here…" Slowly, he picks himself up. He reads the note once more and then promptly disappears, bleeding into the foliage like a predator.

The clearing is large, open and sun-filled at this time of day with Rukbat almost directly overhead. Seryth is sprawled in the center with her head angled towards the path leading into it, soaking up the warmth. Her eyes are closed and for all appearances, fast asleep and far enough away that one needn't feel threatened upon entering the clearing. Behind the young queen is the cottage, but closer at hand, near the path in, is that massive tree. In the shade of it Thea sits on that swing, her hands folded in her lap, pushing back and forth just a bit with one toe to the ground. She's humming softly to herself.

It is somewhat unfortunate, given the peaceful nature of the day, what happens next. The merry squawking of fire lizards can be heard, followed by the shouting of voices. Light glints off of pots and skillets several clearings away, and then the noise dies off. It's only then that a quiet voice whispers, "Flop loves eggs." It's not exactly next to you, but it's definitely off to one side, and not where a visitor might normally enter.

Thea's head turns towards the racket with a soft sigh and a roll of her eyes. She's in the process of turning back when that whisper comes and by the time she turns her head past the path towards where it comes from, there's an amused smile on her lips. "He certainly must if he's willing to risk being whacked with pans." Her eyes scan the foliage of the underbrush surrounding her clearing, but instead of calling him forth, she merely lifts one hand palm up. "May I have the note?" Not a question of whether he has it.

A patch of forest moves slightly, and Tenebrous melts into view, moving with a kind of predatory grace completely opposite his usual nature. It's the movement of a man who believes he's in danger, prepared to run rather than fight. To disappear. "I think a fire lizard ate it," he murmurs. His eyes are unfocused beneath that hood, like the fighter that looks to the middle ground to see more.

Thea tsks, her smile unabated, "Flop was off poaching eggs. Check your pockets." She's relaxed still, remains seated on that swing, her hand still outstretched, waiting. "We'll need to retrace your steps if you can't find it. I must have it back." Her tone is light, almost playful, but there is a small hint of disquiet in her eyes as she watches him.

Tenebrous holds a hand up slowly and then snaps his wrist. The rolled note appears between his fingers before he closes his fist around it. "I'll trade you," he whispers. "Did you need me to fetch something for you?"

Thea's smile grows as that wrist-flip produces the note. She stands, nodding at the same time. "Yes, in a way." She says it decisively as if she was undecided before. "Come." She turns and takes two steps towards a low-hanging branch of that massive tree. Can you please look at this for me and tell me if these are useable to the healers?" She raises a hand to nudge a clump of dark berries there. "Fraille tells me you know plants. And she also says you never lose things." Her other hand once again lifts palm up for that note.

Tenebrous falls back into his long coat, his hood still low, but those eyes of his focus on the area in question. "Well," he says softly, "The Master is frequently …overgenerous." He produces the note with another flick of his wrist, placing it in Thea's hand without looking. Then, without another word, he approaches the tree, and begins running his hands over it. "I think this is the biggest one I've ever seen," he whispers.

Thea's fingers close over that note, glancing at it to be sure it is indeed the one she gave him, before she shoves that note in her pocket, keeping her hand on it. She merely watches him as he examines the tree. "I've climbed to the top." One hand points to the thick crown, "Someone built a log seat way up there in a three-branch Y." A wistful smile plays over her lips as she says it, but she does not comment further on that. Instead, "They've never bothered with it. Never come to harvest the fruit." She lowers her hand from the berries. "I think… they must have forgotten it is here."

Tenebrous shakes his head. "I really don't think so," he murmurs, his voice calming, his stature relaxing a little. "There must be dozens of clusters…" He gently hefts one of the bunches. "Narcotic," he mumbles. "This one looks like a seedling transplant from the paradise region…" He gestures vaguely. "The healers would skin anyone alive if they caught them with these…" He rubs his thumb over one and then touches it to his lips. "Potent," he murmurs, wetting his lips and spitting. "Incredibly potent," he adds.

Thea just watches, listening silently as he studies the berries. She nods at the word 'narcotic'. She knew that. "I thought it was a fellis tree when I climbed it and had a look around up there, but wasn't really sure. Then things happened. So much happened! And I forgot all about it until Fraille mentioned you know plants and I…" Here she pauses before finishing, "Didn't want a horde of healers in here if it wasn't necessary." His confirmation has her looking somewhat dismayed, but his 'really don't think so' has her confused. "So… potent but not usable to the healers?" Puzzlement rather than skepticism in her question.

Tenebrous mms once, circling around to other parts of the tree itself. "When they get this big, the concentrate in the berries is massive. This high of a dose would be dangerous, and it's a pain to thin out these berries and not lose some of the medicinal value." He absently flicks a berry. "You could eat one of these and find a rock attractive for at least four hours…"

Thea laughs at that, "'I think I'll pass." She's shaking her head in bewilderment at all of this seemingly contradictory information. "So.. potent. Then can't they stand to lose some of the medicinal value while processing?" She's looking perhaps less dismayed, "I'd feel guilty not telling them about this unless I'm sure they cannot use it. Healers. Trampling about my clearing." She shudders as she says it. As he's circling round that tree, Seryth opens her eyes once his back is turned and rises silently, takes a few stealthy steps to pad right up behind the young man. She is quick enough to be there before he turns, for she isn't too far away to begin with. She crouches down, head cocked with interest as she watches him.

Tenebrous waves a hand absently again. "Don't worry about it. They won't want these. You might have to worry about some of the youth though…I hear rumors that people enjoy their intoxicants around these parts…" Then he stops and tilts his head. "You should go see the On Duty, ma'am…your nose sounds stuffy." Then he stops. "And…huge." He turns slowly and then jumps a little when he spots Seryth so close. "You gained a bit of weight, too," he breaths, his eyes wide.

Thea relaxes completely at those words. "Well, then. I will keep the tree a secret." She shrugs at his comment to the youths, "Seryth is here to guard it from the weyrbrats." She spots Seryth's creeping, smiles but says nothing, "Besides, I don't want it cut down." Seryth mrrs quietly at Tenebrous, at least as quietly as a creature her size can. Thea translates, "She says you may pat her muzzle." Her voice echoes the queen's tone - the gold is conferring an honor. "She says you need…rain?" She merely blinks confusion towards Seryth before shrugging her shoulders at the young man. She has no clue what that is supposed to mean. "She's gentle, Tenebrous." It is meant to be encouraging.

Tenebrous glances warily at Thea. "The muzzle's the part with the teeth in it, you know," he offers, somewhat nervously. When Thea makes her comment about rain though, he turns back to face Seryth. He leans in slightly to examine the dragon's head from as many angles as size allows before returning to face her head on. "If I pet you, and you sneeze," he whispers to her, "We're done. Literally, in my case, because…well, I've seen you guys sneeze before, and if you want to talk about rain, that's it exactly…" His touches are tentative at first, but then curiosity wins over, and he leans in even closer, his face full of unspoken thought.

Thea just watches quietly as he pats Seryth, though a smile pulls at her mouth at his words. She bites her lips to keep from laughing, as she steps beside him, reaching towards the underside of the gold's jaw. "She likes to be scratched right here." She demonstrates, then steps back a pace, falling quiet. Seryth rumbles a low trill deep in her throat, but remains very still, one blue-hued eye watching the young man with interest. Thea makes a small 'huh' sound as she watches but that is all.

Tenebrous stops his motions, his hands resting on the side and underside of the dragon's jaw, simply staring into her eyes. "Pick up here, and chase the ride…the river empties to the tide…all of this is coming your way," he intones softly, those strange eyes of his focused on Seryth's. "None of the little ones talk to me anymore," he whispers to her. "They've all chosen…"

Seryth bespeaks Tenebrous with the first soft breezes of springtime, the air soft and moist carrying both the scent of melting snow and the promise of rains after a long hard winter, « Not all. » The whisper of rain on leaves dances though her words, « You are mostly lost, as mine was, but not… » Her mind retreats, the backside of a gentle rain curtain drifting with the winds, fading into the distance.

Thea merely stands there still, quietly, listening to the young man comment. She gives no indication whether she understands or not. Her hand in her pocket clenches on that note as he speaks. There's no indication on her face of anything amiss.

Tenebrous jerks a little when the dragon enters his mind, his face looking almost desperate. "Why did the little one pass me by?" he stammers. "I…I didn't even ask. I just sat there and listened, while the others talked…" He swallows once, and his eyes go distant. "They tried to tell me it wasn't my fault," he whispers. "How do they know?"

There is nothing more from Seryth, although she remains there with that same peaceful gaze, her rumble softly filling the space. After a time Thea reaches a hand to gently touch the young man's shoulder, the touch gentle, fleeting. She's at a loss as to what he's talking about, but whispers, "Sometimes the questions we most wish to know the answers to remain unanswered, Tenebrous." She waits before adding softly, "It matters little what others tell you. It is what you tell yourself that matters most."

Tenebrous lowers his hands after a moment, looking over at you. Beneath his hood, his face is filled with the kind of longing that a 20-turn man should never know. "I didn't ask them to tell me those things." One of his own hands raises up, fingers brushing against Thea's. They're rough hands, unaccustomed to anything other than utility. Not soft or cared for. His eyes meet hers, and he whispers, "I have to know…" Then, very gently, he moves her hand over to his throat, wrapping her fingers around it. His throat trembles beneath that grasp like a bird. And there he stops, simply staring at you. "It doesn't fit," he rasps, at long last, and gently disengages himself.

"The little ones? Eggs?" Thea's not sure. "The eggs I've touched said things, asked questions. All without my asking them to do it." She's trying to help, unsure if she is, by the look on her face. Her response is to allow his hand to lift hers, her expression shows neither humor nor alarm as her places her hand on his throat. She merely nods to that, agreeing, "It doesn't fit." Her hand released, she merely lets it drop. "Is this a good thing, then?"

Tenebrous shakes his head slowly. "Just means you'd need both," he mumbles. Then he looks up at Thea again. "Why don't you want to be seen with me?"

Thea nods to this, "I see. Both." She can at least ask, "Why did you need to know if it fit?" His question has her eyes suddenly shining with a sudden shrewd realization, but she doesn't voice it. Instead, she answers easily and without hesitation, "Fraille. I don't want her to know I called for you. Can you keep a secret from her?" She asks it as if she already knows the answer to that, waits a beat before adding, "Fraille is wrong about you, Tenebrous, in more ways than one." Thea says it as if she knew this before now, but it has just been confirmed, "She said you don't traffic in information, only plants." Her head tilts to one side, "You were able to fetch me information from your mind and put mine to rest about the tree. It is a very special tree."

Tenebrous glances down at Thea's hands and then back up to her. "To know if it's possible," he answers simply. He listens to the rest of your statement, nodding when asked about keeping secrets, and then murmurs, "I wouldn't be very good at what I do if I didn't know about the things I bring people…" He tilts his head. "What are you trying to accomplish?"

"Rest assured, then Tenebrous, that even if they fit, it would never be possible." Thea's drawing the only conclusion she can regarding that little test. "I would never." Her head tilts, "Has…ah, anyone ever tried that with you?" There's concern in her eyes, but she's keeping her tone as casual as she can possibly manage. She nods to his comment, "She is wrong about you in more ways than one," she repeats with a nod. She considers his question, lifting a hand to tap her lips as she considers her answer, asks one of her own instead, "Do you have any friends?" It's a grave look in her eyes as she awaits the answer. "Besides Flop. And Master Fraille, if you consider her one."

Tenebrous smiles that mirthless half smile. "Master Fraille says that questions like that aren't very useful, because you already think you know the answer, and want someone to say otherwise…I listen when she lectures the others, sometimes. I don't really have to…I've heard them all before." A pause. "Friends," he says, working the word around in his mouth. "There are…a few people who are nice to me…" he looks up at Thea suddenly. "Jeffin, the young man in the cavern, he gave me food once, and didn't even want anything for it." He looks a little perplexed as he continues thinking. "I think one of the fish likes me, but he's awful small, so I don't know if it's the same one…" He rubs his face, his eyes going distant. You can almost see his mind whirring up, poling through a massive river of data. "I haven't gone swimming since I cut my arm," he mumbles, speech failing him.

Thea hrms to this, "I don't know about that, Tenebrous. Some people might, but I just… want to know. Anything is possible." Thea shrugs, then, allowing confusion and concern for him to show in her eyes." Seryth's peaceful rumble fades gradually, but her eyes remain open and focused on the young man. She sighs at his answer, "I'm glad Jeffin is nice to you. It is his way. Friends are…more than someone who is nice and likes you, though. They're someone who wants nothing in return. Someone you can trust." His mumbling has her nodding at something and she lets it go. "I don't want anything from you." She lets him make the connection, in his own time, in his own way. She reaches in her pocket and removes something holding it out to him, "This is for you." She opens her hand.

In her palm is a tiny dragon statuette made of pure silver, wings outspread as if ready to take flight, hind legs just pushing off of the ground. Leaving the confining ground and reaching for the freedom of the skies.

Tenebrous nods gravely. "That's exactly my point, Ma'am… Anything is possible." But as Thea continues to speak of things, this…friendship, he simply shakes his head. "Then your answer is no. I do not appear to have any friends." He says this with a terrible finality, made worse by its matter of fact-ness. "Other than Flop, of course, and only if she hasn't had any…" his voice dies off when you open your hand. One of his own twitches, itching to take it, but instead, he whispers, "I have nothing to offer in return…I could bring you something…" His other hand sort of blindly pats his satchel, but he seems transfixed in the moment.

Thea shakes her head quickly, "No, see you already did." She takes a step forward, reaches for one of his hands, takes it gently and turns it palm up. The statuette is placed there and she closes his fingers over it. "It is yours." She laughs quietly, her head tilts towards the tree, "You put my mind at ease about that tree. I could pay you for fetching the answer for me in marks, but I thought you'd like this better." She releases his hand, "It is a very special tree to me." As she says this, her eyes lift to the dense foliage high in that tree where the seat is hidden before returning to him, "You can trust me, Tenebrous. Remember that. And if you want a friend, I am here."

Tenebrous looks down at the little statue in awe as Thea closes his fingers around it, and for a moment, he almost looks like he might cry. "I don't know what I would do with a friend if I had one, Thea," he admits quietly, running his fingers over the minute details of the figurine. He looks up at her a moment later, and murmurs, "But when I find out, can I come tell you?"

Thea simply nods to this, "I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on that. You may come to me anytime and tell me anything." Her voice is kind as she answers, "I might not always understand, but I can try. Don't always have answers…" She's blinking a sheen from her eyes as she says it. Seryth croons and Thea blinks at her in surprise. "Really, Seryth?" There's a wonderment in hers as she shifts them back to the young man, "She says you can come talk to her anytime you wish to." Almost immediately after that she murmurs, "Ah, I'm thinking it might be better not to say anything to Fraille about it though."

Tenebrous smiles shyly and murmurs, "Actually, Master Fraille always said she wished I'd talk to more dragons. Not sure why though…" He looks puzzled for a moment and then shrugs a little. Almost reverently, he tucks the small statuette into his satchel and then turns to face Thea gravely. "I have to go now," he announces randomly.

Thea blinks at this, shifting uneasily and her eyes drift towards the clearing unfocused for a moment a tiny wrinkle of concern creases her brow at that. "She did?" It's muttered in quiet surprise. "Huh." The young man's comment breaks through her train of thought and she shakes it off, nodding, "Of course. Thank you, Tenebrous." With another nod towards that tree, she gives him one of her sunny smiles, eyes reflecting her approval, she allows him to take his leave.

"You know," he calls, walking towards the treeline that he materialized from in the first place, "You may be right. Master Fraille misses things sometimes." As he walks, his posture changes, growing more liquid, more fluid. Into what he was when he arrived. "Sometimes I don't know if she has any idea what she's saying," he continues, not looking back. "I heard her muttering the other day about me giving a crush to you, when she thought I wasn't listening." He laughs a little wildly, and turns, from the trees' edge. "I don't have any idea what a crush is!" He shrugs helplessly, and in the next breath is gone, his voice echoing in the air where no body remains.

Thea watches him go, speculative and thoughtful as his posture changes. Could that be… deliberate? His words about her possibly being right about Fraille have her eyebrows twitching up in surprise and she nods to herself but at that wild laugh and crush comment as he turns back, she merely smiles weakly. Oh dear. Then he is gone. She turns to Seryth with a long, narrow look. “And what was all that about?” One toe taps as she waits, “You’ve never bespoken anyone other than me… and Kav.” The only audible answer, if he is still around to hear is a smug chirring from the young queen.

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