Almost, But Not Quite

Xanadu Weyr - Niko's Dungeon of Ruin
Upon entering the living space of the den, there's an immediate sense of entrapment. Once upon a time, this was not a place one was meant to escape from, though renovations have turned a tortured cell into a home. The cramped tunnel gives way to an arched ceiling. All walls, including the ceiling, have been made of pieces of rock, carved like bricks of every shade of gray, pieced together for a sturdy structure. The floor somewhat softens the hard look of the place by being crafted of large slabs of flat and smoothed stones. Browns, tans, grays swirl naturally, turning the flooring itself into a piece of artwork. Though in order to get to the floor, one must continue down the slope started by the tunnel outside. This den is entirely underground.

The single room is divided by sight alone, with only one other door in the back marking the beginning of another space. To the right side wall there is a slight convex curve, like a half cylinder, of a fireplace whose chimney goes up, up, and up to expel smoke outside. There are no windows in the entirety of this subterranean place, but spaced upon the walls are iron sconces that hold what look like medieval torches but actually are electric lights that glow dimly, casting shadows against the walls.

Furniture is sturdy and thick. A small table near the left side of the room has only a single ornate straight-backed chair of dark wood. A kitchenette with a small counter space, wooden cabinets, and two electric burners for cooking is available. Towards the back of the room is the sitting area, with a matching set of low set plush seats upholstered in rich brown and a bookshelf against the right side wall. A rounded rug adorns the floor between the seats on top of which there is a wooden table with a brass candelabra centered upon it. An arched doorway leads to a small bedroom complete with a restroom.

(Rated…Uh…PG-13 - R for language)

It's got to be somewhere around here… Past his weyr. Down the path. Through the woods. Towards the ruins.. Ka'el pushes bare branches out of his way as he picks his way through the near-dark forest. It's gotten colder. Winter is beginning, if one were to gauge from the nakedness of the trees above. Most leaves have fallen and have blown away or become one with the earth below. At least it isn't snowing, though that's probably right around the corner too. As it is, it's mainly cold and breezy, made colder with the sinking sun. Ka'el wears his leather riding jacket and a black beanie pulled down over his head as he searches for the unknown entrance to a weyr that may or may not exist out here. With him is his firelizard, Alloy, who swoops from branch to branch, supposedly an extra set of eyes, but the lizard is merely playing around and keeping his eyes out for any tasty treats that haven't gone into hibernation yet. Ka'el's gloved hands adjust the sling of his satchel that's slung over his shoulder, and as he reaches the ruins and sees nothing but ruin and crumbled rocks, he's about to give up. It's Alloy who chirps the alarm, swooping ahead towards a rocky path that leads somewhere around the crumbling towers, and he follows, slipping on a few loose rocks in the process, but keeping his footing. Eventually he gets to the opening of a tunnel, and he quirks a brow. "..No way." Here? Or possibly, this is just a tunnel that leads nowhere. Nevertheless, he leans in, cupping his mouth. "Hello?"

Chiiiiiiirp. Apparently Nisk is up early tonight! That, or Ka'el's clumsy approach woke the wher. If there was any doubt of his location, the glint of wher eyes a few feet into the tunnel is a dead giveaway. There's a questioning trill from the little green, and then he'd hear the skitter of claws on rock as she disappears… the other way. "Ka'el?" Niko's voice is the next sound to come, any 'surprise' about his arrival ruined by Nisk's foretelling. Sort of. The girl's blinking green eyes as she emerges at the edge of the tunnel, a few feet past where Nisk is firmly stationed, to turn a bemused look toward the rider. "Ka'el." She reaffirms, then offers a half smirk. "She showed me a picture of Kanekith instead've you. Thought I recognized him, but without color…" There's a one-shouldered shrug, and she's glancing the man over once more. "You looking for me?" Or leaving Xanadu. Whichever. They both involve finding the very edge of the weyr…

Alloy alights upon the ground, small claws scrabbling upon the rocky surface a moment before he settles himself. Small swirling eyes peer towards the tunnel, and his mouth opens to emit a hiss at the eyes he sees within. Beast! Feline! Danger! "Quiet Al. It's Nisk," says Ka'el who grins a moment, but the look falters as the green disappears further into the tunnel instead of coming out. But then out comes Niko and the bronze rider grins. "Thank Faranth. Wasn't sure if this was your place or not, or if you kept Nisk separate from you or what. Wanderin' around in the forest with no clue where I'm goin'? Not one've my favorite past times." Her explanation of what Nisk showed her has him laughing, and his eyes flit in the direction in which the tiny green is. "She must really like Kanekith. C'mon Nisk. Don't you think I look loads better than him?" he calls teasingly before his eyes return to and stay upon Niko. He nods in answer. "Lookin' for you, yes. Damn proud I found you, too. You didn't leave me much to work with other than 'I live thataway in the forest'," he says with an arched brow and smirk. "I've come with a welcome gift for you, but can we go in? It's shardin' cold."

Niko allows Ka'el to have his conversation with Nisk without interruption, though she is snorting softly as the rider finishes with the question about looks. "She just showed me Kanekith again, and now he's surrounded by glowing eggs. I think your dragon is making my wher a bit… theatric." She flickers a look back to her life mate in the shadows, though her expression is more amused than chiding. The youth looks less than repentant as he comments on her den's whereabouts. If anything, there's a bit of a smirk pulling at the corner of her lips. "Nisk likes to 'guard' the tunnel." She tips her chin toward the blackness at her back. "It's not long. Just go straight, an' you'll see light in a second." Apparently that's her version of an invitation, for the girl is turning then, disappearing into the shadowed tunnel. True to her word, there are only a few footsteps in the actual darkness before the glow of the den beyond begins to creep into sight.

"Kanekith has that effect sometimes," remarks Ka'el, shrugging helplessly. "He's a bit theatric himself. I saw what he was showin' Nisk about the hatching. Was the most exaggerated thing I'd ever seen." He's smirking as he speaks though, the fondness felt for his dragon obvious in his tone. He follows her into her tunnel, gesturing for Alloy to come too, which the little bronze doesn't seem inclined to do. "Fine, go on then," waves Ka'el. "But don't go chasin' after any flippin' greens!" he calls in his firelizard's wake as he flits off through the trees. His head shakes before he looks ahead again, eyes going wide in the growing darkness, seeking any bit of light that'd help him see. But before long he can see that glow and Niko's silhouette ahead. "I've never known a weyr to be so far underground…" he says as he shadows her, eager to see past and to the subterranean living space ahead. "You don't get claustrophobic comin' down here?"

Claustrophobic? That question is ironic enough that the ex-miner is turning her chin to grin at the man, a 'brow arching in a 'did you really ask that?' sort of expression. "I'm used to tight spaces," she reminds, avoiding outright mockery for the moment. "I like it down here. I'm more nervous in open areas. You can't tell if something's going to come down at you." The crutch has been abandoned in the comfort of her own den, and while she moves a bit slower than she might with the assist, she's making her way around the furniture with only the occasional touch to Nisk's back. A Nisk that, incidentally, is following diligently beside her affected leg. Better than any crutch! "Down here, only way anything's coming in is through that tunnel, and Nisk spends most of her time making sure squirrels and raccoons don't sneak in." There's a nod toward the couches, inviting the man to sit without the nuisance of actually speaking it.

“Alright, stupid question…” says Ka’el with a smirk, catching that look of hers. “I just can’t imagine myself livin’ underground. I like my quiet time as much as the next guy but…I need windows.” And a forge. He’s gotta have a forge to bang away on! Once the tunnel gives way to the open space of her actual living space, he pauses to take a look around, admiring the walls, the high ceiling, the floors. “Woah..” The word ‘underground’ has such negative connotations. Darkness. Cold. Graves. But this? This is … nice! He whistles as he turns around, giving the place a three sixty degree look around. “I might take that window comment back in a second..” he says as he starts forward again, grin curving his lips. He reaches up to grab for and pull off his beanie, which leaves his hair sticking up all over the place before a few comb-throughs of his fingers tame it. A little. Footfalls take him to the silently offered couch on which he sets his bag down upon and reaches in. Two amber bottles are retrieved. Liquor! Well, beers of some sort. Probably ale, considering this is Ka’el. “Welcome to Xandu and happy weyr warming!” *coughmonthslatercough*

The corner of her lips quirk as he takes in the den, and she's smirking outright as he mentions retracting that comment about windows. Her gaze flickers predictably to his hair as the beanie is pulled free, and then to the ale. She's pausing in her approach as she notes the bottles, a subtle pause, before a questioning look from Nisk has her finishing her approach of said couch. She's settling to the cushion a foot or two from the man — distant enough not to seem presuming, but close enough to prevent awkwardness. "… thank you," she offers dryly at his last pronouncement, and angles herself on the couch to face him — shoulder to the back cushion, and her good knee bent beneath herself. "You sure you want to see me drunk? I've heard bad things."

Ka'el settles himself down upon the cushions of her sofa, his grin still firmly in place as he offers one of the two bottles to her. "There are nev-… hardly bad things happening when one is drunk," he says with a knowing smirk. "Though, if y'd rather…" He sets his own bottle between his legs and goes to rummage through his bag again, pulling out two smaller bottles of a lighter amber liquid. "The best drink on Pern, in my opinion. Freshly made in our own kitchens here on Xanadu. Apple juice. My personal favorite.." He grins, setting those two bottles onto the coffee table before reclaiming his ale. "Besides, it'd take far more than just this to get me drunk. You, on the other hand… small as y'are? Lucky you're already home else you'd be stumblin' through the Weyr an' I'd be forced to throw you into the cells to sober up. Drunkard," he says teasingly as he twists off the bottle cap. "Need a hand?" he offers, nodding to her drink. "An' don't drink yet. We've to make a toast first."

And apparently I missed a pose here from Niko! Niko, if you have it you can send it to me and I'll add it in! <3 Sorry!
(And even though I'm sure you readers out there can use your context clues to figure out what she had in her pose, it consisted of … Pulling the cap on herself. Being skeptical about making a toast. General Niko awesomeness. Etc.) ;)

"Oh ho, well damn. /Excuse/ me," remarks Ka'el as her cap is pulled off with ease, smirk evident on his lips. "Yes, a toast," he repeats. "We can't just drink to no occasion. This is a weyr-warming, as belated as it might be. So," he lifts up his bottle, making eyes at her that she should follow suit. "To..your home! The most wicked lookin' underground weyr I've laid eyes on, ever. An' to you and Nisk," he continues, nodding to the undersized wher to include her as well. "An' that Xanadu provides for you whatever it is you may be lookin' for. And, finally, to our friendship, because meetin' people that don't irk my nerves lately has been a shardin' impossible task, and you and Nisk are a rare find." Here, his grin turns crooked.

Nisk! Ah, she heard her name. The wher trills lightly at the acknowledgement, and after a somewhat skirting glance toward Niko, the little green is… well, climbing onto the couch. She turns in an awkward circle, a bit too big to navigate the cushion smoothly, before curling up, tail and all, at Niko's back.

"To… all that," Niko offers with a matching grin. "And you." The bottle is raised to click against his own, whether he's holding it up or not, before she's tipping back a long swallow.

*Clink!* Bottles are tapped and Ka'el takes a swig from his. Ah! Ale, how he loves thee. After his swallow he laughs at the comfortable looking Nisk. "She has her spots, eh?" he assumes, looking amused as he sits back to relax a little more. His eyes give the place another sweep, shaking his head. "You really did luck out gettin' this place," he says as he reaches a few fingers out towards Nisk, not touching, but obviously wanting to and allowing her the chance to investigate him first, if she so desires. "An' I'm glad you're not opposed to unannounced visitors. Was half thinkin', if I ever found the place, that it'd be crappy if you wouldn't let me in or were .. I dunno. Takin' a bath or somethin'." Another swallow. "Oh, also belatedly: Happy Turnover." It's a new year! Or turn, rather. And it has been for a little while, but hey, he hasn't had the chance to say it! "You make any promises for the new turn?"

"I'm opposed to most visitors, announced or otherwise," she admits, smirking a bit, as she takes a second swallow and tips a glance to watch him reach for Nisk. The wher blinks with the initial approach, and then she's lifting her snout to sniff /just a bit/ at those fingers. A long moment passes like that, Nisk regarding Ka'el in the dimness, before her snout bumps against his fingertips. "That healer girl showed up here the other day," she admits with a slight grimace. "I let her in because she brought numb weed." Well, at least she's being honest! "Mur'dah comes with Kalsuoth to visit Nisk sometimes, but that's… outside." And going to stay that way, if her tone is any indication. She's blinking, much like her wher, as he mentions Turnover. "… thank you. And no. I stopped making those a few turns ago. Was tired of making a liar of myself." There's a quirked grin at that.

Ka’el keeps his hand very still, allowing time for Nisk to consider him. He won’t rush her though, and his eyes linger only for a little while before they lift and settle upon Niko. “Who, Kera?” he assumes, a brow arching. “Was she purple?” An odd question by itself, and he snickers after it’s asked, hearing the absurdity. “Last I saw her she still had remnants of it. Still don’t know how that happened an’ haven’t bothered to ask. Why did you need numbweed? .. Your leg?” he assumes, head vaguely tilting. “An’ Mur’dah?” A smirk at the name and he nods at the explanation of the brown dragon visiting the green wher, and he takes a drink from his bottle. “He gets around. Likes bein’ friends with everyone. Y’know, the everyman’s man type.” His eyes stray back to Nisk now, and he smiles gently at the touch from the wher, venturing to graze his fingertips against her nose. Hello Nisk. “Aw, c’mon. You’ve got to make a Turnover promise,” he says with a sidelong look to her. “That’s the fun of it! Seein’ how long you go before you break your word. The trick is to keep it simple. Wanna know mine?”

"She was… normal colored, as far as I could tell," Niko's musing, though the prospect of a purple apprentice does have her lifting a 'brow. Huh. The things you miss out on when you live at the edge of nowhere. "Mur'dah…" She pauses for a moment, lips pursed just enough to betray something going unsaid. "He's young." By what, a year? "But Kalsuoth's visits are Nisk's daily fulfillment, so I'm not going to complain." Speaking of Nisk, the wher trills a bit at the grazing, and tips her snout upward to guide his fingers toward the ridges under her chin. "Isn't it supposed to be… life-changing or something?" She counters his last claim, then snorts softly. "What's yours?"

Life-changing? "Pft. Says who?" replies Ka'el, somewhat grinning. "I play by my own rules. Plus…" he pauses to think. "mine may be life changing. To me anyway. See, my goal," he begins as his fingers lower to rub and scritch beneath Nisk's chin, pleased by her acceptance, "is that every morning before duties, I straighten my bed. I had to as an apprentice, and Candidate, and Weyrling, but now that I'm on my own? I do what I want. No one makes me, and I've been lax on keeping it neat. So, my Turnday promise was to make my bed every morning before I leave. And thus far, perfect record." He grins smugly, though he did catch that earlier look of hers during the mentioning of a certain brownrider. Will he ask? Well, right now he doesn't. "So you should make one. It isn't too late, you know."

Make his bed? Niko doesn't even /try/ to smother the bark of laughter that his admission garners, though there's nothing mocking in the sound. Surprised, yes, but amused. "I'm… proud of you, Ka'el. I truly am." She even nods for emphasis, only then glancing at the arm that's currently crossing her to give Ka'el access to Nisk's chin. "Careful, she'll have you do that all day, if you let her. And I'm not even joking." She takes another swallow of her ale, apparently unbothered by the risk Ka'el is apparently taking with her wher. "I can't think of anything, honestly. And if I tell /you/ to think of something for me, you're gonna say somethin' about showing up in public however often, and I'm havin' none of that shit."

Ka'el grins. "I've the vainest dragon on Xanadu and the most demanding firelizard you'll ever hope to meet. I know how it is to be used by creatures." Apparently he doesn't mind it much, for he continues to give Nisk fond attention with one hand while the other brings his drink to his lips again. "An' you ought to be proud," he says after swallowing, his grin reappearing. "It takes a lot've effort to do somethin' I don't have to do. There's a lot of self-discipline there. I'm a hardened soldier." A hardened bed-making soldier! "And puh, you don't give me enough credit. I'd think of something grand for you." His words end there, melting into silence as he ponders this. What would be a good resolution for Niko? "I've got it." Well that was fast! "Your Turnover promise should be this: You'll have at least one mug of ale a week. That should be easy. Plus, it'll loosen you up a bit. You're too tense. Too tight. Let yourself breathe a little an' who knows.. maybe that showin' up in public thing will happen on its own." Maybe.

Ale. That earns him another snort, as well as reminding her to take another swallow of her drink. Said ale is disappearing rather quickly, and should his assumption about her size be correct, it won't be long before it's taking some effect. "I'm too tense?" She echoes back his assessment, tipping her chin sidelong as she regards him. "I'm not sure you're /quite/ the person to assess my… state of relaxation." That's one way of putting it. Another drink. "Whers don't socialize much," she notes after a moment, glancing sidelong at Nisk. "Not like dragons, anyway. Just think of me… like a wher." She lifts her drink in a mock-toast. "Happy in my little cave." Alone.

"I'm very qualified," retorts Ka'el who finally pulls his hand back from Nisk after giving her headknobs one last little rub. Good wher! He sits back then, draping his free arm upon the top of the couche's back cushions. "I've been to the brink of madness due to stress, an' I've been so stress free that I hadn't a care in the world, which can be jus' as dangerous. I know the spectrum. I'd do well assessing your state, and I assess that you are Too Tense. Double T, for short. But lucky you, there're quite a few remedies for it." One of which apparently is drinking, though not in excess, one would assume. "And, ah-ha. Now I see the root of your problem," he says, pointing the mouth of his bottle to her. "You think like a wher. You're as much of a wher as I am a dragon, and if I was anything like Kanekith…shell, we'd all be doomed." A grin, and he lifts his bottle to touch the neck of his to hers, pushing it away. "I'm not toasting to reclusiveness."

"Pretty sure you missed my point, darlin'…" she's drawling after he's finished listing off his qualifications. "Of all the people in this Weyr, you're the only one whose seen me mostly naked." Or turned down the offer for 'mostly' to become 'entirely'. "If I'm gonna be tense around someone, pretty sure it'd end up being you…" She tips a look toward the ale bottle that has gotten in the way of her own. "I think like a /miner/," she counters, however weak the argument may be. "Crowds make me nervous. And it's a pain in the ass to get down to the caverns for no reason other'n sitting there." She can sit right here, clearly.

Oh, right. Ka'el's eyes lower to his drink, lips holding a fraction of a half smirk before he busies his mouth with the glass rim of the bottle again. Swallow. His tongue slides between his lips now, gaze returning to hers. "Or," he counters, "that'd be reason enough for you not to be tense around me. I'm still here, aren't I? It isn't as if I'd been avoidin' you since." His half smirk grows to a full now as his brows lift. "Right? Plus, you don't seem very tense to me right now in this moment, or is that the ale talkin'?" He gives the contents of his own bottle a swirl. Half empty. "I eat in the Caverns the evenings of the first, third, fifth, and sixth days of the seven," he informs. "In case you need a reason to go. You can sit with me an’ whoever. Pretend to enjoy my company in a crowd."

"It's the ale," she assures, even as she tips back another swallow. The bottle's close to empty now, and green eyes are a bit brighter for it. "I have a better idea. Spare the cripple the journey and come here some of those days. That way I may not even have to /pretend/ to enjoy your company." There's a sleepy 'mrrr' from Nisk as she leans back against the wher's warmth, having found herself a rather cozy spot between the couch's back and the green on the couch beside her. "Besides, the more people who know I'm here, the more who try to find me when I'm /not/ making an effort." A slightly smaller sip, if only to make the last bit of the bottle last longer. "This 'wicked weyr' of mine…" She lifts the bottle to gesture around the high ceilings and rock walls. "Do you think I'd have chosen it if I'd wanted everyone to stop in and chat?" If nothing else, the ale has made her more talkative.

Ka'el chuckles. "What, will you make me dinner?" he asks, sounding highly doubtful. "It's near winter. By the time I get food from the caverns clear over here, it'd be frozen stiff. Soupsicles and wherry pops don't sound ideal." Ka'el does glance around though, noting that she does indeed have a stove. Perhaps perfect for reheating food! "I'll consider it.." he says, his voice purposefully idle sounding. "If you make it worth my while." He peers at her, a brow arched. "Dessert. At least on one of those days, I demand a sweet treat. Then and only then will you be honored with my presence." He suppresses a grin and keeps it at bay by drinking again, draining his bottle a little more. Less than half full now. "But oh, now I do feel special. You chose this weyr because it's a hell've a lot of effort to get to and hidden away, yet I've been given invitation to invade." He places his hand to his chest, over his heart. "You move me."

Sweet treat? Worth his while. He's been given invitation. The comments are dropped carelessly enough that Niko is left to stare, lips still parted a bit from her latest drink from the ale, as she attempts to sort out the Rider's intentions. Inviting, cruel, or simply oblivious? Her gaze flickers to the hand against his chest, before seeking his eyes once more. "You /should/ feel special," she finally murmurs, tone a far cry more somber than it had been a moment before. The last of her drink is taken in a long swallow — noticeably so — before she's setting the empty bottle aside and leaning her weight against Nisk as if the now-sleeping wher were a large throw pillow. "You'll have to tell me what classifies as 'sweet treat', I'm afraid. I've noticed that the tastes in the Weyr aren't the same as the Hold's."

Ka'el is always oblivious. It's one of his .. endearing… traits. Niko will soon learn this if she hasn't already. His hand drops, or rather raises to rest back on the top edge of the sofa as her drink is swiftly drained to its end. He watches her do so, his expression shifting slightly. His grin less wide, eyes…tensing slightly around the edges. But then she's speaking again and his train of thought shifts gears again. "You're tellin' me," he remarks. "But a sweet treat is any good thing from the oven. Cookies. Cake. Shell, I'll even take candy. Somethin' with a good amount've sugar," he explains, tone light. Not to be outdone with drinking, he brings his bottle to his lips, tilts his head back, and swallows down the last few gulps of his ale. Ahh! He places the bottle down on the tabletop and relaxes back, though without a wher behind him to act as a pillow. "Feelin' alright there, lightweight?"

Oblivious, then. Unfortunately, that comes hand in hand with cruelty. Niko's nodding at his explanation, seeming familiar enough with the concept of cakes and candy, though she does roll her eyes a bit as actual sugar content is noted. The last question has her jaw setting slightly, perhaps at his choice in nicknames, before she's offering a half-shake of her head. "Just tired. Was a bit before, and drinking puts me to sleep."

"Oh. D'you want me to go?" Ka'el asks, jutting his thumb in the direction of the exit. "Sleepin' is better than some of the things drinkin' makes people do. You've got one of the better effects of it, then." He lightly smiles. He's already shifting on the couch, slipping his arm off of the back of it. "Pretty sure I can find my way back without gettin' lost in the dark. Left a trail of breadcrumbs just in case."

Brutal. Niko's brows actually furrow a bit as Ka'el speaks, seeming to marvel a bit at what is proving to be a skill unto itself with the Rider. "Probably for the best," she answers the first comment with a nod, smirking just a bit at the mention of breadcrumbs. "Better pick them up on your way, or you'll have Nisk following them to /you/."

"Hey, that'll get you out've your weyr, so it may be worth leavin' them," remarks clueless Ka'el as he rises from the couch. He's kind enough to pick up the empty bottles though, situating them back in his bag to throw out when he gets to his own weyr. His beanie is retrieved and pulled back over his head, adjusting the stretchy fabric so that it covers his ears in preparation for the cold walk back home. Gloves are in the process of being pulled on when he slows, eyes traversing to her. Sixth sense tingling. "I've said something wrong, haven't I?"

What difference does it make? Any true sense of pride was lost that night in the springs, and considering she has enough ale in her to have her slouching back against Nisk, Niko is bordering on the edge of 'what's left to lose?' Or perhaps she's stumbled over it entirely. She turns enough on the couch to let her head back on the high cushion, arm still draped over Nisk, as she watches him ready to leave. "You really don't mean to do it, do you?" She muses after a moment, shaking her head without actually raising it. "I'm a rare find. Come sit with you at the taverns. Make your visits 'worth your while'? Promise you sweet treats." Apparently she has a good memory when it comes to unintentional barbs. "Why did you come here, Ka'el? And don't say it's because you want to be my friend. You know as well as I do that I don't have, or want, 'friends'. I'm not one of the carefree Weyrborn socialites, sitting around and laughing it up every night in the cavern, and I never will be."

"What do you mean I don' really mean it? Of course I meant that," says Ka'el whose brows are beginning to furrow a little. He's paused pulling on his gloves in favor of watching her, attempting to decipher her words.. his words, as they're spat back at him. He shakes his head a little, trying to clear the thoughts that are beginning to jumble in his mind. "Why else would I come here, Niko? To … try. Believe me or not, I do want to be your friend. Why wouldn't I? Forget the hot springs. It passed. It happened.." Or rather, didn't happen. "Hell, if we keep goin' back to that, we're never gonna get anywhere.." His head slightly tips to one side now, and brows frown in a thoughtful sort of way. "Why did you come here, then? To a Weyr? Why not go to some backwoods cothold that hardly anyone knows about if all you wanted to do is hide an' be alone? I don' believe that you don't want to be a part of somethin', Niko. You wouldn’t've let me in if you didn't. You wouldn't've bothered with Kera, an' no matter how much Nisk likes Kalsuoth bein' around, you wouldn't bother with Mur'dah, either. So yeah, I came here because I want to be your friend because I do think you're a rare find an' I would like to sit with you in the Caverns and I do belive you want me as a friend, too."

"Maybe I don't /want/ to forget it," she half-snaps the words, and then shakes her head in unspoken apology. Regret? It wasn't supposed to sound /quite/ so vehement. "Just… go, Ka'el. It's been a long day, and when drinking doesn't make me sleep, it makes me puke. You don't need to see that." And he likely will, should he stay, for the girl's pushing herself from both couch and Nisk to start toward the kitchen area. She moves quickly enough in her own space — the furniture arranged just so — and while there are no actual theatrics to start, she's bracing her hands against the edge of the sink as she lowers her chin. Back to the Rider, and now silent.

Ka'el's head rears back just fractionally at her barked words, and a frown pulls at the edges of his mouth. "Don't hold it against me if you're gonna hold on to it. We'll just keep goin' in circles." His gloves are both pulled on now, and as he's instructed to go, again, he exhales a slow breath through the nose. Guilt rises now as she speaks of being sick, and his eyes widen slightly as she rises and finds her way to swiftly to her kitchen. Teeth clench. How can he just …. leave? "I'm sorry." For the ale? For the memory? For his words? He doesn't specify, leaving it to her interpretation. "Will the juice help? Water?" Damn he's a pain to get rid of, isn't he?

"No," she assures, voice tight. If she's going to be sick, she's doing her damnedest not to do so in front of him. "It's just… like this at night." What what? Either she's a closet drunk, or something's going unsaid. "And I'm not holding it against you, any more than you can expect me to just pretend it didn't happen. It /did/ happen, Ka'el, and you should know by now, if you know nothing else of me, that those things don't just /happen/. The fact that I'll even /look/ at you now, let you in here… you don't think that's me trying? And then you spend the entire time making comments that could as easily be an invitation as casual conversation. I'm not /good/ with people, Ka'el." This is all easier to say with her back turned to him. "I'm not good reading people, or giving them what they want. You're right, I don't want to be alone. But if what you've said is true, you understand how much worse it is to be alone while surrounded by other people. I dealt with Kera because I needed the drugs. I deal with Mur'dah because Nisk needs /something/ to look forward to, even if it means I humor the boy for an hour or so. I invited you…" She lets that one trail off, and she's leaning more heavily against the sink's support. "I can't take Nisk to some backwood cot hold. She's bored enough here, even with visitors and things she can pretend to guard."

"You're like this…at night?" Ka'el asks, sounding utterly confused. He thought it was the ale? Or does she have a secret stash of liquor around here somewhere? Whatever the case, the look that he's giving her back is one of concern, and the bag that he's shouldered … well, it begins to slip from that shoulder now and is eventually placed on the ground with just a vague clinking of the empty bottles inside. "Look, I'm sorry. Those things I said? I didn' mean for you to take them…like that. I guess I didn't think them through too well, huh?" He frowns and lifts a hand with intentions of combing his fingers through his hair, to grasp and slightly pull at the roots, his usual gesture when frustrated or otherwise ill at ease. But the sight of his gloves tops him, and he lowers his hand down, the motion incomplete. "You need a purpose here, Niko. If Nisk is as bored as you say and you…unsettled, you need to find your place. You have a wher. You should be workin' either in the mines or with Search and Rescue. If mines are out," which obviously they are, "then you should talk to the Wingleader and Second of Galaxy. There's plenty of training the both of you can get. Nisk shouldn't have to pretend to guard anything. She was bred to guard and seek. That's what she should be doing.”

"Most nights. Some are worse than others." Ah, alcohol, how it loosens one's tongue. "And any other bloody part of the day, but usually nights. She's glancing toward the still-sleeping Nisk, the wher apparently accustomed to this particular turn of events. She's silent through his comment about Wingleaders and training. "And what the fuck am /I/ supposed to do, Ka'el? My walking is getting easier, but I'd sooner wither here than deal with the Faranth-cursed healers probing at me again. I had enough of that at home, and you saw how far it got me." Still not looking at him. "If it's about Nisk, she's better here with me than with someone else in the mines. She's too small. They'd have culled her if I hadn't refused."

"Why?" Ka'el asks, still miffed about her nightly illnesses. And, apparent daily illnesses as well? Maybe she /does/ need to see a healer… not that he'll be giving her that advice, already knowing her feelings about that. "Has it been this way, always?" he asks, taking a few steps in her direction, blatantly ignoring her demand that he leave. As for what she's to do, he snorts. "Easy. Be with her," he answers. "You don't know what you can an' can't do til you try, and I haven't seen you try anything with Galaxy. You need to do somethin' with her, Niko. I've never known a wher to just be kept, an' if Weyrwoman Thea's told that she's here and not bein' used, she may not allow you to stay." His brows raise then, looking towards Nisk. "I'm sayin' this only because I'm your friend, Niko, or tryin’ to be. Not to piss you off." Or make her feel even more sickly! "Your and her conditions may allow it in the end, but it'd work better in your favor if you at least tried so you can say you made an attempt, but it didn't work with your leg an' her… smallness." Another step closer. And then another. Only feet away from her now.

They're not easy words to hear, enough so that she's actually choking back the first threat of a gag, a hand raised to press the back of her wrist to her mouth. She may have moved to the sink just in case, but she's still not keen on the idea of doing so in front of him. His questions have her breath escaping in a hiss, and she's shaking her head enough to send a few strands of overlong hair spilling across her shoulder. "Not always. Last few months." Since he seems to adept at missing him own unspoken implications, she's leaving him to muddle through hers. If he even can. "Fuck, are you serious?" That's offered after he mentions not being able to stay. "That's what Mur'dah said. Not bein' able to stay, not doing my share. Faranth." A hand strays from the sink's edge to push the fallen back back over a shoulder. "I carve. Jewels. Metal. Rock. I'm not just living here for fucking /free/."

"Grand. You've a purpose. What's Nisk's?" he asks, not flinching at the tone of her words. "You yourself said she's bored. Is it enough that you work? Would it be enough if I was a smith and Kanekith had no use? She impressed to you for a reason. Find her reason is all I'm sayin'." His mouth twitches, and he takes no further steps towards her. In fact, he retracts those that he did take, backstepping towards his bag, bending to lift it and slip it over his shoulder. "I wasn't threatenin' you with that, Niko. I'm only tryin' to help, but obviously I'm no good at that either. So. Sorry I mucked this all up. It was meant to be … I was only tryin' to…" He gives his shoulder a miniscule shrug as he turns. "Good night." He doesn't try to make sense of her hints and riddles regarding whatever illness she may or may not have, lacking either the will or patience to pursue that further. With his bag in tow, he sees himself out, back to the cold and darkness of the forest.

Add a New Comment
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License