Night Watchdragon

Xanadu Weyr - Coastal Road
This coastal road runs parallel with the edge of beach that stretches endlessly beside the Caspian Lake. From coast to inland the dunes of the beach grow smaller and smaller until they eventually peter out into nothing but small moguls in the sand. The path is eventually seen to be blocked by a river that reaches the lake just south of the point where the road turns west and crosses a grassy meadow towards a sturdy wooden bridge that can be seen in the distance.

Autumn. A season of colors and change and coolness. Winter's neighbor and friend. The evening breeze is crisp and fresh, bringing with it the aroma of a recent rain that fell upon Xanadu hours before. Things are still damp and soggy, but the skies have cleared and remain patchy with stars. Ka'el's day has consisted of mostly sky drills and sweeps in the rain, leaving him soggy and cold during his rendezvous on the beach on which he and Kanekith lingered amongst the company of others until ways were parted and he found himself back home and changed from wet to dry clothes. But instead of staying indoors with the heat of his stove, he's back out again, wearing a hooded sweatshirt above another shirt and denim pants. He's also pushing a tarp-covered cart in front of him, much like he used to in his apprentice days. Just a man making deliveries down the coastal road.

On a day - well, night - like this, one might expect to find Soriana tucked away indoors. Unless, of course, one remembers that she's just spent months cooped up by the sands. Then, one might be less surprised to find her taking advantage of the cool (practically cold! Joy!) and wide open skies. Luraoth's out too, having left her heated couch behind to lounge in one of her favored spots. While she's been gone, the grass had mostly grown back; now, it's being pressed down again, worn by her belly. Her eyes are half-lidded, and lying on her back (Luraoth's back) is Soriana, nestled between her wings with her hands folded under her head as she stares up at the intermittent stars (because Soriana's on her back as well, dressed in a sweater and wooly socks in her boots… but no jacket. The cold's nice. For now.

Rattle rattle. It's unfortunate that carts can't just roll by quietly on roads. Nope. They must rattle, and the objects that are being carried inside must rattle too until it's just a bunch of rattling noise. Ka'el has a destination and he can see it many yards ahead in the dark distance in the form of a cottage, and so he pushes on along the road, towards the big hulking mass that is a gold dragon. One would have to be blind not to notice the lounging young queen out there on the grass, and Ka'el definitely has his vision. The former sands-bound dragon is easily reconizable after seeing her nearly every day for months. He slows, not aiming to stop, but intending to keep his symphony of sound down to a dull roar as he tries to … eh, sneak past?

Shake, rattle, and roll! The roll part is intentional. The rest? Is just unavoidable. Soriana is intending for a quiet night of star-gazing - so what if the stars are barely out? She'll settle for the quiet night part - and so Ka'el's symphony in C(art) isn't exactly what she had in mind. Is that thunder? There are clouds in the sky. Luraoth opens one eye a little bit more. The watch-dragon reports no storms. Then again, he's half-asleep, and so Luraoth's thoughts are diverted to rouse and encourage him, leaving Soriana to wonder about the rain and… okay, no. That's definitely not thunder. Not that 'ping!' as a stone is cast up by the cart's wheels and hits the underside. So she shifts around on Luraoth's back, rolling around and pushing herself up to look around.

Shh, cart! Can you be any louder? Why yes, yes it can as the front wheel finds a pothole that Ka'el didn't see in the darkness and THUMPS right over it. He winces and freezes in mid step and curses the hole. And the cart. And the stuff under the tarp in that cart! Maybe Luraoth didn't here that. And maybe Soriana isn't with Luraoth at all and he imagined that shape of something upon the gold's back. Maybe! And so Ka'el glances towards the slumbering dragon to make sure the coast is clear, which it definitely is it because he can definitely see something (or one) moving up there! He pulls his hood over his head, now making himself look even more suspicious and more like someone up to no good instead of an innocent un-knotted rider making a delivery of sorts. He hunches his shoulders (even more suspicious looking, congratulations Ka'el!) and inches the cart forward. Nothin' to see here ma'am. Nothing at all!

Yeah, Soriana's definitely looking. She's sure there's something here, and while it's (mostly) idle curiosity… she is indeed curious. The figure on Luraoth's back moves, and then - as Soriana notices the dark shadowy shape on the road - lowers down again. Her? Nope. Nobody here. Not her. Hey Luraoth. Why don't you edge closer to that mysterious and shadowy figure and take a better look? Soriana balances on her dragon's back, arms and legs splayed to the sides, as Luraoth slowly eases up from her wallow and drifts closer to the road.

Is the coast clear? Did he get by without being detected? Um, with the Loudest Cart Ever Made On Xanadu (tm) Ka'el's crazy to even think to hope! And so the hunchback of the coastal road continues towards the cabin, which is closer now than it was before thanks to a process called walking. He glances over his shoulder, peering at a now mobile dragon. Luraoth! Go away. Go hunt or something. Or catch a spiderclaw. Or … something! Unfortunately the gold isn't going to be reading his mind any time … ever, and contacting Kanekith would just blow his cover completely, and so he can just continue to send 'go away' vibes before he looks forward and hurries along at a quicker pace towards that cabin. Soriana's cabin. Which most assuredly he's aiming to rob, which is what the cart must be for. To stash away his loot!

If Luraoth did read Ka'el's mind… it would also blow his cover. But she doesn't, because she's Soriana's dragon. That same Soriana who's on her back, and who is watching this mysterious cart-pushing figure heading toward (wait for it) that same Soriana's cottage. So there's a little bit of extra interest there, and Luraoth picks up the pace in response to the thoughts from Soriana draped against her neck. Go away? Nope. Luraoth's going to catch up, with those long dragon legs - though she's quite quiet for a creature of her bulk, which is to say there's a lot of rustling and crunching, but she's still better than the cart - and loom down at Ka'el with glowing curious eyes. Hi?

Having Luraoth trail him is almost like having a stray dog follow him. A very large, elegant, and imposing stray dog who isn't a stray at all because this is their home! Even with his hurried steps, Ka'el knows that shaking a gold in a footrace is as impossible as an ant trying to outrun a runner. And so it should be of no surprise when he's faced with the swirling eyes of a once clutch mother peering down at him, but he gasps anyway. He stops his cart and peers up. "Luraoth!" he whispers. "Go! I'm not here. Pretend I'm a ghost and don't tell Sori." Because there's a .0004 percent chance that the gold might indeed listen to him and follow directions. A tiny, miniscule chance! And by looking at just her face, he's disregarding her other upper portions which he would probably be able to notice that the bulk he thought he saw up there earlier was actually the shape of a body…that is still up there.

Luraoth regards Ka'el with curious attention. Perhaps she's one of those tall, lean hunting dogs? …very, very tall. But she tilts her head to his declaration (and technically, she's not telling Sori, because Soriana is hearing it for herself) and ponders it a moment before giving a chirp and a nudge of her muzzle to Ka'el's shoulder (and a puff of dragonbreath). Her head lifts (carefully). What? Someone here? Noooo. … okay, Soriana is more than mildly curious. There's a stealthy Ka'el sneaking into her cottage. At night. With a cart. What is this. She does not even. Luraoth glides back, letting Ka'el continue, but… she watches him. And Soriana borrows her eyes.

Chirp and nudge! Does that mean she's not gonna tell or alert the authorities (aka Soriana herself?) Ka'el smirks, peeking out from beneath his hood before lifting a hand to rub at the nose of the young queen. "Alright, you're not gonna rat on me, right? Come on, then." He pushes the cart up the trail, towards the cottage and past Luraoth's barn, right up to the cottage's entrance where he pauses. "She's not home, right?" He's not looking at Luraoth as he speaks anymore, instead heading up the steps and onto the porch to peer into windows (like a CRIMINAL) to make sure that the home is indeed dark and empty. "..Good. Probably workin' late to make up for time off on Ista." Happy warm memories those which make him even more unobservant as he heads back down to the cart to pull off the covered tarp, revealing a cart full of … uh, wood? Which he begins to pile into his arms. "It's stupid, I know, you don't have to tell me," he continues to the gold whether or not she's listening or even close enough to hear him, carrying his arm load up to the porch. "But you haven't been around long enough to know the bad sort've winter we can have. The last was mild."

Well, no, Luraoth isn't telling Soriana anything. Because Soriana's seeing for herself. It's… technically true? Luraoth's curious gaze is not that unusual for the gold, though. She likes to see what's going on! And she has trouble with the entire concept of people doing bad things, so the peering into the (quite dark) windows wouldn't seem suspicious in the slightest. Ka'el is just… uh… what is he doing, anyhow? There's another little chirp, not that Ka'el has much chance to figure out what it means (he can assume whatever he likes?) and the gold settles in to watch, her body at a slight angle to the porch. That's intentional. Soriana slips down off her dragon's neck, wrapping her arms around to let feet dangle - kick, kick, there! ground - and drop. She's still listening. Her and Luraoth both. Even if it is sort of eavesdropping. (On the trespasser.)

Ka'el's load of chopped wood is situated in one corner of the porch, and he crouches to arrange them neatly before brushing off his hands and turning to repeat the action. Down off the porch. To the cart. Armful of wood. Luraoth is making for a great conversational partner. "See, one winter…think it was a turn or two before you guys were clutched, it was so bad that we lost power. Picture no lights, no heat, no nothin'. Maybe that's how it was like when you were still in your shell? Minus the warmth." Up to the porch he goes, crouching and stacking wood on wood. "When winter gets like that, it's shardin' awful. Soriana might need wood to keep warm because it might be days or sevens before we get power back. To be honest Luraoth, it's sort've a selfish reason that I'm doin' this. I'd feel better knowin' she had some sort've backup to stay warm." A smirk as he clomps down the porch. (He'd be an awful thief anyway, all this noise) "But you'd keep this secret eh?" he says, looking at the now lounging gold. "She hates it when I do this kind've stuff."

Soriana leans back against Luraoth's side. She… should leave, she guesses? Or tell Ka'el she's here. Because this, right here, with her lurking and listening to Ka'el as he spills his secrets to her dragon… it feels kind of weird. Luraoth's listening as well, her thoughts riffling through Soriana's to find those memories of cold and winter snows. They're examined. As Ka'el is, as he tells her about those things. Soriana… hasn't managed to actually move yet, her body masked against Luraoth's bulk. As for his request for secrecy, that makes Soriana frown and Luraoth lower her head, looking at the bronzerider eye to eye (except hers are much bigger). Soriana bites her lip, glancing to Ka'el (but Luraoth's in the way) at his reason why. But. Her mouth opens, not that he even knows she's here. That's not… it isn't… she closes it again. Slowly, ever so slowly, she begins to make her way out along Luraoth's side, trailing her fingers along the gold's body to help keep her from stumbling as Luraoth chirps once more. Agreement? Or a 'well, actually'? …they sound the same.

Ka'el plans on keeping Soriana well stocked for the winter, considering how much wood he brought. But he's strategically placing his pile on one side of the patio, and when that gets to a certain height, he'll start on the opposite side. For now, he still works on the one side, making sure the piles of wood don't go falling or are in the way of her swinging chair. For a while he's quiet as he organizes, then stands again for more wood. "Your babies were amazing, by the way," he offers in belated compliment to her clutch. "You did grand Luraoth. I don' think Kanekith's been more proud. You two made a good pair, but eh.. do me a favor?" he says with a smirk, pausing by the cart with a small stack of wood in one arm, "don' go risin' again any time soon? .. Please?" Like, seriously. He reaches for another wood log, eyeing Luraoth all the while. She makes for a pretty good wall and the movement behind her..well he can't see anything! Other than gold hide.

It's not like someone wouldn't arrange to get wood to Soriana if the snow did come and knock out the power. All it would take is one dragon capable of forging through the drifts. Luraoth could spread the news… and yet. Soriana slowly steps away, following Luraoth's side until she's walking against the dragon's tail. Hardly enough to hide her figure, anymore, though she doesn't try to duck or crouch. She's… not hiding that much. Besides, Ka'el is distracted. So, as Luraoth watches and chirps soft interjections to Ka'el's words, Soriana walks out along the road, hearing Ka'el's words now less with her own ears and more with Luraoth's, a two-sighted overlay that gives her steps good reason to be slow. The blur of her gaze… might be from that. Then again, it might not. She pauses, partway along the path - a dragonlength past the golden dragonlength that is Luraoth - and takes a deep breath.

Luraoth isn't making any promises to not rise, but Ka'el smirks at her anyway. "You'll do your best not to? That's all I ask, thanks." Imagined conversations with another person's dragon? Totally normal! He's reaching for one more piece of wood when movement catches his eye, causing him to pause. Brows furrow as he peers ahead, past Luraoth to a humanoid figure that's heading away. Away? Meaning that at some point it was close. Close enough to Soriana's empty weyr to get his guard up. A frown tugs at his features, his night-vision not at all helpful to solidify that shape as Soriana and not Xanadu Baddie of the Night instead. His logs are abandoned, dropped back on that cart save one thinnish one. The perfect size for a club, which is exactly how he's holding it. "Hey!" he calls out before stepping forward, pulling back his own hood as he approaches. "What business do you ha-.." His words are cut short as his growning nearness helps his eyes discern a friend from what he thought was foe. "Soriana?"

Luraoth has no urge to rise just now - but dragons aren't much for planning. When her instincts drive her, she will. Whenever that is. It's the humans that plan for the future, but even their lives get pulled around by things outside of their control. Dragons. … other people. The first call from Ka'el stops Soriana from moving. So much for sneaking away in the night, but she's still got time for that breath in. She's not running away. Maybe that's because she's a villainous figure who thinks she can take Ka'el in a fight, but… nope. Not so much, actually. What business does she have? …heh, she might ask him that, only she sort of already heard it. Over-heard it. So, well… her lips curve, rueful, and at the sound of her name, she turns around to face him. A tip of her head, a casual shrug of a shoulder. "Hey."

Ack. It is Soriana! It's a weird mixture of feelings that runs through him next. A quick rush of relief that it isn't a thief in the night that was hoping to break into his girlfriend's weyr. Sure she wasn't home, but she could've been! Not that Luraoth wouldn't make for a great guard dragon, but she's a dragon and he's never known a dragon to intentionally hurt another human being, good or bad. But after that relief… yikes! Prickled startlement at being caught red-handed sneaking around her weyr at night as if /he's/ the thief. Not that it helps matters at all, but his club weapon of choice is slid behind his back, as if there's not a whole slew of evidence yards behind him and piled on her porch. "Hey. What're you.. I thought you were working tonight?"

Luraoth could sit on the thief? (Or, more likely, call for one of the Galaxy riders on duty. Ka'el, on a different night, except tonight, Ka'el is here already.) Soriana's lips stay curved, a sort of half-happy, half-sad expression - okay, no, the part where he's trying to hide that stick makes her actually smile. Briefly. "Oh?" she says to his thought, then shrugs. "No. I mean, obviously not, right?" Because she's here. "Galaxy does the radio at night." Which she knows. "And my mom sent me home." Because overworking is only for senior weyrwomen?

"Yeah…heh, obviously not." Cough. -.-; Smooth Ka'el. He glances to the side, perhaps trying to think of a way to distract her long enough to get back to this cart and cart it away without her noticing. … Yeeeah, not amny ideas pop into mind. Especially now that he's closer to her and can see her expression, which looks a little mixed. Or maybe she's tired? Or maybe it was a difficult day today. Or maybe it's just dark and he's not reading her well at all because of it. Fingertips drum against the stick behind him before settling still as he leans in a little, brows furrowing. "..You alright?"

Or maybe Soriana's struggling with the fact that she was listening in on Ka'el while he was being… okay, kinda sweet, even if she doesn't need it, but that doesn't mean she doesn't… appreciate it. Or does she? And so… her lips quirk, and then she steps forward toward him, slipping her arm around his middle with a quick motion. "Yeah. I'm fine." She is. Really. There's nothing wrong, just… it's awkward. But that's not Ka'el's fault, except for the part where it is because he's the one who decided to come sneaking to her house with a wood-filled cart at night. But, besides that.

Is she, though? Circumstances have programmed Ka'el into double-checking that 'I'm fine' really means just that, or if possibly the truth sounds something more like 'I'm definitely not ok'. There are signs, and he looks for those now. Usually found in her eyes. A tenseness around the edges. A hard narrowing. That guarded and distant look that he's come to loathe so much but hasn't seen in a while. Is she really okay? His free arm lifts and curls around her waist in return. His other hand still holds that club, and for a second he smirks as he pictures how they must look. A caveman poised and ready to club his captured mate over the head and drag her off by the hair! The stick is dropped to the ground, and her eyes…well. Maybe there's nothing to see there after all. What is left to see is all that physical evidence that he's been up to something. But, wait a second. "Were you here…this whole time?" She was walking away and not towards, afterall.

Distant? No. Soriana's look is nothing like distant. It matches her actions, coming close to Ka'el. Cave-Ka'el. Maybe he'll get a sabretoothed leopard pelt for her? A haunch of meat she could have gotten for herself, but… hah. If he really was Cave-Ka'el, he wouldn't be able to grunt his way into the logical conclusion he just did. She sighs - which might be an answer of its own - and looks away. "I…" was? already have a woodpile (out by the barn, so it depends how deep the snowdrifts are)? will be fine? A shrug. "Did you save some for your weyr?" Out in the woods. Harder to reach with supplies.

She was! Ka'el turns his head to glare at Luroath. Luraoth! You could've warned him or something! Grunted or wiggled a wing or..something! Just whose side is she on anyway?? (Sori's, obviously) At least he wasn't spilling some super embarassing heart wrenching, soul-exposing secret. Just sugary things that he didn't want her to hear because…well. Sugar. "Heh…" He rubs at the back of his neck with his free hand, the other still holding on to her. "That was…mine," he admits with a sheepish grin. "Kept it in Kanekith's arc because rain because rain doesn't get in." And it's close to the door. "So it's dry. An' you can have that tarp to cover it with so it won't get wt in the rain if it rains again. I'll gather some more for myself when things dry up in a few days."

Luraoth regards Ka'el back with amiable equanimity. He told her not to tell Sori. He never told her to tell him that Sori knew! It's completely different. Or maybe the soft croon-chirp is just because of seeing the humans together. Dragons are hard to read when you're not their human. Soriana tilts her head to Ka'el. Yeah? So he doesn't have a wood supply anymore. Out in the woods. Where he can't just jump out a second story window onto Luraoth's back and escape, because all the drifts will push him up into the entangling branches. "I'm only taking half." Yes, she'll let him have his gesture. Partly. But she's not going to let him freeze to death. "Thunderstorms can knock out power too." And this time of year? Yeah, it's possible. Shells, there could even be a cold snap and an early snowstorm. Or ice. Or… something. Anyway. "Okay?" Her arm's still there around him. Just… yeah. He's right. Winter. Their first winter when there's not somebody else taking care of making sure they don't freeze.

Half? Ka'el quirks a brow, glancing back to the cart from which about half the load has been unloaded and stacked already. Mission accomplished? "Puh. It's hardly cold now," he points out, eyes back on her. "I wouldn't freeze before I could chop more wood. Shells, I could go out an' chop wood in the thunderstorm if I needed." Not that it would be helpful: Wet wood. Or safe for that matter. But the point is, he wouldn't be snowed in! Despite his complaints, he doesn't deny her offer (or command?) that she only receive half of the wood. Hell, he's probably glad that he wasn't told to take all of it back! Their first full winter as independent riders, yes, and Ka'el is determined to be the one that takes care of Soriana during it…without making it seem as if he's taking care of her. Hence sneaking around in the night time delivering firewood like a weirdo. The weirdo. "I can walk you up?" he offers, nodding to her porch.

Soriana, who doesn't need to be taken care of. And yet… she's letting half the wood stay here. She was going to let Ka'el (the weirdo delivering wood in the middle of the night) get away with it. Sort of. She was willing to pretend. It's just… she sighs, and glances up to him, giving a smile. "Yeah, okay." She starts toward the porch, arm still around him. "And I know it's not cold yet," she's not even wearing a jacket, "but you know how we get busy sometimes. And how the storms can come up." Also? "I'm usually gone afternoons." In case he intends to be a weirdo again. "Though there's other people around, then." A shrug.

Ka'el knows a lot of things thanks to his wing. Perhaps why he's in such a preventative mood now? Things get busy in the colder months. Accidents happen. People get stranded. Iced in. Lost in the snowy woods. Floods. Storms. Lost at sea. He walks with her, both listening and thinking, making a mental note of afternoons. "I don't care about the other people." He could be a maintenance man for all they know! He glances over at her, brows lifting. Since they're on the subject of maintenance (or, at least he is!) "When's the last time you checked your lights? You've got any extra bulbs in case they burn out?" She's a weyrwoman. Lightbulbs are just one checklist away! But still… "You leave your doors locked when you're out, right? Petty crime's usually down in the winter. Folk here are trustworthy, but y'never now who we'll get passin' through or stoppin' in the cold season. Plus, jus' a tip I heard from the guards when patrollin' with them. You should leave a light on in your weyr if you're goin' to be out an' gone til evening. Makes it look like someone's there, an' also makes it easier to see if someone's sneaking around." Just so she knows.

Some of those people might know the difference, but… well. Secret or not, Soriana's probably going to assume mysterious things showing up are… actually they could be from any number of people, up to and including standard weyr delivery procedures, but… she half-smiles, and leans over to touch her lips to Ka'el's cheek. "Kale. I'll be okay." She will! "Yes, I've got bulbs." A few. Or she can borrow them from other, less important light fixtures. "I've got candles, too. And one of those flashlights from the techcraft." Admittedly, she'd have to find her way to the cupboard where it's stowed, but even the murky darkness of the deep dark night isn't all that black. Not when you've got between to compare it to. Those lights certainly would have helped her see Ka'el, illumined against the windows as he peeked in to check on her… so there's a sign of what's more important, his stealth or what it's for. "I'm not getting a guard canine, though." Just in case that was next on his list. "But," she grins, teasing, "I can train Toral to make thumping noises?"

Her kiss and his birth name gets him smiling, but he still watches her expectantly til she answers his questions. Alright. Lightbulbs checked. Backup candles. And a flashlight! Ka'el looks pleased by that. But there's still the matter of her locked doors and whether or not she'll leave a light on. And the fact that she's cavorting all over the place in the dead of night with no escort or anything! A guard canine wouldn't be such a bad idea… "I was thinking more of a wild feline, caught and trained to attack anyone who passed your porch without your permission…" he says teasingly. "Toral's not a bad idea though. Or Haruhi. You should have one or both've them with you when you get off duty at night.." said as his boots clunk up her porch steps. Attack lizards! Or at least lizards that can send out panicked images to other lizards, like say… Alloy, for instance. He slows upon nearing her door, and he faces her, his other arm slipping around her waist to join the first. "I know I'm bein' anal, but I can't shake what Thea said that night in the infirmary. About Kinden and you. The more I've been talkin' to people the more I'm seein' there's a lot more like him out there."

"I'll keep an eye out for kittens," Soriana says about that attack feline, and smiles. "It can sleep underneath the steps, and lunge out at unexpected arrivals." An arch of her brow at Ka'el, as the latest person to come, unexpected, to her porch. Does he really want to have gotten mauled? Up the steps with him she goes, and gives her head a shake at the mention of those firelizards. "I've got Luraoth." Or does he forget the gold lurking after him? If something happened to Soriana, Luraoth would know. And so would the entire rest of the Weyr, doubletime. It's a half-smile now, but it gets to at least three-quarters as Soriana turns toward Ka'el and reaches up to put her arms around his shoulders while his go around her waist. Only… then it fades to only a quarter or so, and she sighs. "I know. But…" She reaches up, brushing her fingers against his jaw. "I'm not going to be scared all the time." Her expression's serious now, looking at Ka'el with (now) no fear. "Because… being afraid sucks. And there's people like that, but not everyone is."

Ka'el tilts his head a bit, leaning in to that brush of fingers. "I don't want you to be scared. That's not what I mean," answers Ka'el with a small headshake. "I just want you to be careful, you know?…. Remember how you told me that it won't always be the same with us because you're a weyrwoman? Well, it won't always be the same with anything. You're a rider and weyrwoman, and I think if Thea feels it enough to be cautious, you should too." He draws his arms around her more fully, pulling her gently against him. "I'm tired of losing people. I couldn't help what happened with Kinden or my family. All I have left are you guys here. You, Marel, M'kal…Mur'dah. Whatever I can do to keep you all safe, I'm gonna do."

Soriana nods, a half motion of her head followed by a tilt of it. So what does he mean? Not scared. Careful. Her lips twitch. "I try." Mostly. Sometimes. She shrugs. "I mean… I do. It's just…" A shake of her head. "I can take care of myself." Though her tone's not an argumentative one, and she's not pulling away. In fact, her fingers are still brushing slowly against the line of Ka'el's jaw. "…but… that doesn't mean…" She sighs. "You be careful too. Don't just… keep everyone else safe and go jumping in front of arrows." Metaphorical ones. She hopes? "I… could have come with you. I would have. If…" When. "I do know how to throw a punch."

But jumping in front of arrows would be the coolest thing ever, wouldn't it? A hellstorm of arrows! Ka'el, sacrificing himself for his friends, proving once and for all that he was a man of noble character and golden heart! An epic battle with a tragic end! .. Yeah no. Eyelides slightly lower as her touch continues, and upon the small of her back his fingertips press and rub in circular motions. "If I'd've asked you to come, you would've I know. You already said you would before I left. But," he wrinkles his nose, "we weren't in a good place. Everything was twisted up and wrong, and I knew I'd just be bringing to a place even more fucked up so… wanted to spare you at least that." He pauses, then cracked a crooked grin. "Would've been worth it to see you bust him in the nose. I know you have good aim." And a good arm. He's felt it!

Noble, yes. Stupid? Also yes. Guess which one Soriana cares about more? Her fingers brush back along his cheek to stroke against his hair, and she nods once, satisfied that he at least knew she would have come… even if… sigh. She looks down, to Ka'el's shoulder, and nods. "It… yeah." Another sigh. "Things were pretty…" She gives her head a shake, and looks up to Ka'el again - though not without a detour to glance at Luraoth. Please don't rise again anytime soon? Not that she's got a choice, but… please? Back to Ka'el again, and she hehs. "Missed opportunity." For her to punch Kinden. But there's another opportunity here, and this one, she's not going to miss - and so she tangles her fingers a bit more into Ka'el's hair and leans in with a kiss.

The opportunity will rise again .. in two turns when Kinden is free to roam Black Rock once more, though hopefully by then he won't give reasons to be punched in the face. Ka'el can only hope his brother finds such a happy ending. As for himself? Things are looking better. Dragons have stopped rising left and right, and now that Kanekith is no longer constantly at Luraoth's side, the lull in glowing green activity is a welcomed thing that won't last forever. And he and Soriana? Well… they're here. That's leaps and bounds from where they were months before. Close and touching without masks of smiles and lies of being ok. Kissing now, as Soriana leans in causing Ka'el to meet her eagerly for a kiss as her fingers slip through his hair. His curl to lightly grasp at the fabric of her clothing behind her. His head turns, like it has dozens of times before, locking his lips with hers as his body presses gently, firmly forward. The curve of his mouth is something he can't help, a smile he loses a battle with.

In a way, Kinden did them a favor. (Soriana is so not grateful.) The anger and fear and all the rest of it were like an emotional reset button. A giant red switch that overloaded everything and made it… refocus. It let Soriana's feelings catch up to the parts she'd figured out (and knew all along). That it was the dragons. That it was flights. (Flights suck.) That it wasn't Ka'el, because Ka'el is still… himself. A guy who comes to bring her his woodpile. A guy she wants to kiss, and so she does, lips pressing warmly to his as her fingertips trail along his scalp. Luraoth's lying in the grass once more, but now there's no rider on her back. She's just relaxing, enjoying the cool of the night after the heat of the sands. Someday she'll rise again. (Please not soon.) It'll be easier the second time? (It had better be.) For now, though… things are okay. Better than okay. They're good. Ka'el and Soriana are kissing, and when Soriana's chest presses to his, he doesn't tense from it, because those injuries - like the emotional ones - have healed.

His smile melts back into the kiss, but moments later it's back again, likely felt against her lips as his curve upward. He can't fight the smile that manifests because he's here in this place he believed was impossible to get back to. Comfort with her. Feeling like one body of warm and good feelings as opposed to two. Hesitance has no place here. Unsureness, no room. It feels again as if they have been together for turns instead of just beginning a rocky, fledgling journey on inexperienced wings, bogged down with doubt and uncertainties and … Woah. Ka'el's back to kissing her, but the tenseness that wasn't there, the thing so celebrated to be gone, is back. Not in her, but in him. Fingernails to scalp, her chest to his, and mouths pressed…they're all good feelings. Very good. A little.. too good, and Ka'el's vague tension comes from a backwards pull of his hips as his arms loosen their hold a bit to allow him try to put a little space between bodies. Necessary space. Because of things he's not certain are ready to be tackled again. Yet. But hey, he can stil kiss her without pressing bodies, right? He's sure aiming to try!

Smiles make for weird kisses. The lips go curvy instead of… well, curvy. But it's a different kind of curvy, that doesn't work nearly so well. It's not bad, exactly, it's just… weird. Funny weird, and Soriana's lips twitch, almost laughing against Ka'el's. That doesn't much help with the kissing either, but… they figure it out. The kiss proceeds. The press of bodies, oh, yes, that's a good feeling, and Soriana starts to press closer until she feels Ka'el… tense. Until she feels him start to pull back, and her fingers (that were teasing through his hair) stop moving. Her lips do too, and for a moment, Ka'el's lips are pressing still ones. Those lips are still pressing, though, and so Soriana leans in (with her head, not her body) and kisses them back. It's just a little more… hesitant, again. She's not sure what's wanted. Back to the uncertainty… though not all the way back. She's still kissing him.

Of course they can still kiss without their bodies touching! Ka'el just doesn't want to. Or rather, he wants to..but not really. He wants to press all over her but he knows, or at least he thinks he knows, that they're not there yet Or maybe they are and he just doesn't know it. Or maybe they are and he's just not trusting himself as much as he should to do what he wants to do because try as he might to forget, he can still see her standing on the opposite side of a tousled bed, looking at him with an expression of anger. He lift a hand to cup at her cheek, gently pulling away from the kiss after its placed there. A smaller, briefer touch of his lips is offered, and when his eyes open, a small smile is seen. "I don't know how to be close to you without … really, really wanting to be close to you." However did he do it when he was fifteen, sixteen? .. Oh that's right. He didn't. He was a ball of raging hormones all the time!

Wanting it is one thing. Wanting to want it is another. Soriana spent a lot of time around that second one. Now it's… wanting to know if it's okay to want it, because it's wanted (and wanted to be wanted), but there's a question of whether it's wanted? Shards, this stuff is complex. It could give someone a headache just thinking about it. Soriana's fingers brush down along Ka'el's hair, her hand trailing his neck before resting on his shoulder. He doesn't know how to be close to her? …pfff, yeah he does. He's gotten pretty good at it, over the turns! But… really superlatively close? Like… "Oh." The look of incomprehension only lasts a moment before she gets it. Close close to her. Because he like likes her. Because… she does not, in fact, look down. She's tempted to, but it's probably too dark to see. "Right. That's…" okay? She wants it to be, but quite honestly she's not sure. It's too dark (metaphorically) to see. Not until she walks right into something. Or doesn't. She wrestles with those thoughts for a moment, letting her gaze drift away from him, and then she returns her eyes to Ka'el. "If it's not okay," because she really doesn't know, "I'll tell you." And he'll stop. She knows he will. (Because this isn't a flight.)

Ka'el really doesn't know if it'll be ok either. There hasn't been any of … this since … well, then, and so no theories have been tested. No hypotheses proven or disproved. What if it's not ok? If that flight released the lock of control he has over himself and now, flight or no flight, he'll risk losing it again? What if? Ka'al swore to her that it was just the flight. What if he's wrong and all of this, all of these slow, painful forward steps will have been for nothing? What if … oh. It's difficult to keep thinking of what ifs with her so near and her hand on his shoulder and his hovering so near the curvature of her backside. And he wants to kiss her again and press aginst her again and not care that she'll feel what it is that she can't see by him doing so. He leans in to kiss her cheek, then her lips, and finally her opposite cheek. Well, that was supposed to be the final thing that he kisses, but his head lowers to bring his mouth to the side of her neck until clothing gets in the way and he's rising again to look her in the eyes, the hand that cups her face brushing a thumb against her cheek. "I just got you back, and I don't want to lose you again. You don't have to worry about it maybe not bein' okay. I'll go home."

Soriana's lips twitch for the kisses that aren't on them - smiles for the two on her cheeks. The one on her lips, in between them, gets a kiss back in return. She tilts her head at the fourth kiss - the one that goes down along her neck - and nuzzles her head in to his hair before lifting it away as he rises again. She believes that Ka'el still has control. If he didn't… heh, things would have been a lot different, those first few sevens (days (minutes)) after the flight. Things wouldn't have ever come back to this. Her fingers brush up along the back of his neck, nails teasing from there onto his scalp. "You do have me back. But…" she leans in. Her turn for a kiss, and she goes right for the lips - though she makes it brief. "I want you too. And… I don't know. But if you want, we could go inside and make a fire?" She's got this handy firewood, see. And while it's not yet cold, it's definitely cool enough for a fire. "And I can make tea. You don't have to go home."

Ka'el leans into that short kiss of hers, and vague goosebumps rise on his arms at the sensation of grazing fingernails to his neck. Leaving is going to be difficult because he does not want to leave. He wants to stay and be close and share space with her even if he doesn't on hundred percent trust himself to do so, and she's inviting him to do just that. Relief comes as a wave. Relieved that he doesn't have to walk home after all, for it'd be a lonely walk with lonely feelings of yearning and thoughts of her that'd last hours into the night before his mind would allow him to sleep. It's been a repetitive end to many consecutive days past, and he's glad for this rewrite of his script. "I'd like that," he answers, nodding. "..Shards, I'd like that a lot. You make really good tea." And really good company, too.

He may not trust himself, but Soriana trusts Ka'el. More than that, she's finally convinced her body to do the same, to remember things going right instead of things going wrong. Soriana trusts Ka'el that he would leave, so… he doesn't have to. She waits, head tilted in inquiry, and as he decides to stay, she smiles. Good. Because she wants him here too. It's why she offered - and if sitting on a couch together isn't exactly the same as more kisses, it's still being close. Kisses can be involved. She can lean against his side and ease into an arm around her shoulders, or she can drink tea and just let the side of her leg touch his. "Okay, then. We'll have tea." And company. She gives a ruffling tease of her fingers further up through his hair, then turns partly away from him so she can open the door. (It's not locked. Then again, she was here the whole time… right?)

Ka'el goes to grab two pieces of wood for the fire that's to be made to keep the weyr warm on this cool night, though he has a feeling that there need be no flame to keep things toasty inside. Those aforementioned moments? Side by side on a couch, bodies leaned and arms across a shoulder? That'd be enough to keep his temperature risen. Added what's sure to be stolen kisses and grazing caresses to the face and neck.. shoulders and legs. It'll keep the temperature rising. And Ka'el will have to coach himself to keep that temperature just below boiling, as much as his hands will want to roam to other places and his body will want more than just the feel of her slight weight against his side. The pot can't boil over. And perhaps Ka'el is worried for nothing, for if he can manage being so close to her with lips upon lips and hands seeking skin and keep himself from taking things a step further and giving in to desire, then he has more control over himself than most men would ever hope to have! With logs in tow, he follows her inside, pausing only briefly to glace and the door, then her s it opens without any sort of unlocking mechanism. He cocks a brow at her, then steps in. Yeah, he'll chastise her about locking doors once they're properly in, and perhaps that door can be locked now, for now that he's inside, going back out to head home alone has is no longer on his mind.

Maybe Soriana will even listen about those locked doors. Maybe. Even more maybe, maybe she'll remember it after that time sitting on the couch, leaned and draped and touching (and, yes, kissing). They talk about something or other, she's sure. She's not entirely sure she remembers it. That's okay. The door's locked behind them, the fire's warm until it burns out, and Ka'el and Soriana… are warm through the whole night.

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