Come Into My Tree, Sir

Continued from Damn You Fraille!

Xanadu Weyr - Deep Forest Trail


The trail that runs through the forest becomes more difficult to follow here, the ground more treacherous. Dead leaves and loosely packed earth make footing harder to find and the trail frequently doubles back on itself at sharp angles, often dropping downward at an alarming rate. Much of the path's borders are choked with tall, leafy vegetation, making further exploration a dangerous prospect at best and nearly suicidal at worst. At various intervals along the path, the ground along the upward slope appears to have been ripped away, carved out by some massive force of nature. Bare earth is visible in ugly patches of wet and dry, the gnarled roots of trees reaching out hungrily like the claws of some arboreal nightmare.

The farther down one travels, the louder the noises of the forest become, until they seem nearly deafening at the bottom of the gorge. Looking up the steep trail to the southeast, it becomes obvious that, if anyone were to fall down that slope, no one would ever be able to hear their cries for help.

Dawn's tentative rays have given way to morning's bright ones as the thirty minutes that Phylicia had to retrieve the rope and return to the cave come and go with no note, or agitated firelizard coming for help. The tree that Tenebrous had tied the rope around is one of those ancient oaks you could trust to support almost anything, it's thick enough. There's a low hanging branch, maybe about six feet from the ground that still has Phy's older sur-tunic frosted onto the banch where it sprouts from the trunk, and the rope is coiled, sitting on top of that. But unless one looks up further into the tree, Phylicia is not to be seen anywhere. She's perched on a thick branch even higher than the first, her satchel slung on a knob, staring off into space with the hood on her coat pulled up.

The noise that comes from the brush leading ot the waterfall is anything but Stealthy, and it's no surprise at all when Tenebrous emerges onto the trail, his little green firelizard perched on his shoulder. He moves through the trail with listless speed, stopping at the base of the Oak and looking up. "Phy-" Then his shout dies off as he sees her. "You're late," he calls quietly.

Phylicia doesn't start or anything from her perch way up high, nor does she turn her head to look down at Tenenbrous. "Am I?" Come the distant words that show she heard him at all. Most people wonder how the young girl climbs trees so well, especially when she spent much of her childhood in skirts, the two sterotypes contradicting each other. She looks completely comfortable on the branch, unwilling to move. "Do you want to try and get my tunic off the tree branch?" The tone is still a little distant, but her dexterity is a little impaired today. "It seems to be frozen." And shredded.

Tenebrous glances over at the tunic and then back up at the girl above him. "It's cold outside," he deadpans. "The tree'd be naked." He waits a half a second before murmuring, "Do you…mind if I come up there?"

"Nothing's stopping you." Except for maybe the tone of Phylicia's voice. It's just unnatural for the young girl to go distant. But she doesn't impair his journey up the tree, knowing he can probably move better than her on anything in the forest. There's a small sigh to her voice. "I guess I'll just get it in the spring." She still hasn't looked down, and is still talking to open air, minus the fact her words are directed at him.

Tenebrous shakes his head. "It was hard enough with one person being off kilter," he murmurs to himself. Then, without another word, he swings up to that first branch, crawling up it to the overtunic's location. One hand snakes into his satchel and comes out with a plastic tube full of white powder. He begins sprinking it on the top of the tunic, being liberal with his dosing, and a moment later, water begins to drip donward. "I don't suppose you've eaten since our surprise guest showed up," he calls up to her.

Phylicia turns her head just slightly, to watch him, however, the hood is pulled so far forward her face is lost in it's shadows which suits her for the moment. She blinks under the hood, curiousity begin to nibble at her distance though she ignores it. "I'm not stupid." Ah, it was hard with one off kilter but add a weyrwoman, her mate, and all the emotions that go with it, and even the youngling of the group is going to get harried, run off and start looking at conversations closer. "I've had dried herdbeast up here." Mmm. Jerky. Now she's just gettting up the guts to ask her question.

Tenebrous shimmies out onto the branch just a bit more and then locks his legs around it. Then, just as casually, he slides down to its underside.. Gripping it with his thighs, he moves his now free hands up to the tunic. He begins working the white powder into it, and a moment later, it begins to slough off of the wood with a moist slurp. "I wouldn't wear this one until you washed it again," he cautions. "And it may need to have a ferw holes mended, I'm afraid." It comes free with one final, wet flop, and promptly falls onto his face. "I planned that," he mumbles lamely.

"'A few holes,' he says." Comes Phylicia's voice again, humor barely dragging her voice back from the distance. "It's probably only good for rags now." She saw what dragging the rope over it did. But even the satisfaction of seeing something that helped them the night - or two nights? - prior slop into his face doesn't drag her back to the world of the emotional for long. "I have a question for you, sir." She lifts her head to look back out where she did before. The wonderful thing about trees, is they have to let you come down on your own time, unless they want to risk a lot of nasty cuts, scrapes, and crashing to the ground. Or in this case the Clutch, depending on which side of the tree they fell and how far they roll.

Tenebrous lets the tunic fall to the forest floor without comment for it, spitting several time.s "Empty Egg, that's awful," he mutters. Then he poulls himself back up onto the branch and sits. "ask whatever you wish. At this point, we're a litlte beyond…pretense."

He may regret that offer, but Phylicia was going to ask one way or another. "Am I 'something that just had to be done'?" Comes the question, slightly bitter instead of distant. And pulling one of his moves - which speaks for how long she's been playing in trees - she monkey's and squirrels down to the branch he's on and croutches instead of sits, sticking her back to the trunk and shoving the hood back abruptly. "Do you honestly want to teach me?" The look he gets is somewhere between hard and hurt. She can take the not wanting to be woo'd. He's older. But something in their earlier conversation set her off.

Tenebrous watches her descent with curiosity, indeed noting her posture, her manner. "Yeah, Phylicia. You were absolutely something that I 'had' to do." He shifts a little, trying not to jostle the younger woman. "I tried to make this plain when we first met, but I'm not right in the head. You've certainly heard the rumors, but it's true." He inhales. "Trying to spend an extended amount of time with someone is the next part of what I think I need to do to…fix whatever this is." He laughs a bit weakly. "I certainly hadn't anticipated all of this. I'm not a teacher, Phylicia. I won't lie to you, I have no idea what I'm doing most of the time. Anywhere, not just with teaching. You've seen how the last 24 hours went down…" Then he shakes his head. "I don't want to teach you, Phylicia. Not because I have some overwhelming desire to teach. I want to answer your questions, because you genuinely want to learn, and I see that. I want to help you. But I didn't agree to this because I wanted to teach. I did it because you wanted to learn. And I wanted to help."

Phylicia has her footing in the tree, and her support against the trunk. Little is going to jostle her right now if she doesn't want to be jostled. His first response has her shrinking back into herself against the tree trunk, but she pauses when he continues on, listening carefully and trying to think through all the implications. She looks a little perplexed at the end. "You .. don't want to teach, but you .. do want to help." That sounds kind of like an odd combination, and she's half-regretting asking, because now she's put herself in a vaguely uncomfortable position, staring at her mentor for clues on how to read him. And she's just left with being stumped. "I really don't understand you…" She mumbles under her breath, her posture going lax as she lets her head hang, staring at the tree branch instead of him.

Tenebrous sighs. "Look at it like this: Several of the Seniors, and even the masters, teach because they want to push their knowledge to futuregenerations. They want that knowledge to have a legacy." He looks at her forehead. "I have no such desire. I didn't take you on so I could pour every ounce of my very spotty brain into yours. I took you on because you had questions, and I had answers. And I wanted to give you those answers. Does that make more sense?"

Phylicia actually has the small beginings of a smile on her face as he finishes, which is starting to dispell her sour mood. "Well, at least you're admiting you're senile." She teases, which falls only a little flat as she whirl's from her position, springing up the tree trunk to her satchel and the branch she was on before, stradling the branch as she retrieves her bag, slinging it over her shoulders. And her face drops back into seriousness then, but not the same sort it was before. "Yes it does, thank you." She says softly. "I can work with that."

Tenebrous nods once. "I'm glad." He scoots over to the trunk , leaning back against it with a sigh. "You really did good the other night, you know," he says quietly. "Never asked why or how, just did what you had to do. Did what was necessary. Anyone'd be lucky to have someone like that."

Phylicia doesn't stay perched on her branch long. The tip of her nose is already pink with the chill from this high up, so she works her way back down the tree trunk, pausing next to him, so she can crane her neck to the side. "And you're not?" She asks curtly, but her tone is already improving and more chipper. Ah, fickle teenagers. "But it was Thea. /And/ you. What other choice did I have?" Well, she could have roused the whole bloody Weyr, but that might have been as bad as doing nothing else differently. And then she's the rest of the way down, vaulting from the tree and landing with a soft 'oomph' a foot or two from the base. "How's your thigh feeling? And your back?" She asks, craning her neck up. Now that she's had her initial question answered, she's willing to act like a normal human being now.

Tenebrous smiles. "Yes, Phylicia. I'm lucky ot have you. Better?" As she scurries down the tree, he follows suit, though he doesn't land with quite as much robust ferver. Instead, he comes down on one foot, his left, and merely rolls in a controlled fashion, coming back up on one knee, and putting minimal stress on the right leg. "Sore." He laughs a little. "But that's to be expected." He stands slowly. "I actually…came to talk to you about the leg." He sighs. :"I need…my compress switched, and I could use a little help." It's like pulling teeth…but it's there.

"Better." She says happily until she notices that he's actually favoring his leg now. "And all you have to do is ask." She says kindly, resettling her pack and starting back off towards the cave, before a thought catches her. "Uh. How is .. everything.. at the cave?" Comes the tentative question, like she really didn't want to ask that. But knowing the situation is good.

Tenebrous smiles weakly. "The asking is only the first part of the problem, but baby steps." When she starts bakc over ot the cave, he murmurs, "I have…no idea. They've been in there for awhile, and that idiot's dragon is still there, so I can only assume that he's still up there." He sighs. "I don't…want to interrupt." "He rubs one side of his face before offering, "I don't get it, Phylicia. We talked, and I know she wasn't really happy to see him, and yet somehow, I feel like this is all *my* fault…"

Phylicia blinks at that one, pausing in her walking to look at him again. "As far as I can tell, it's not your fault at all." But she doesn't know what's going on with Thea and D'had, and she can only pick up what's going on between Thea and Ten. "In fact, I'm thinking most of the blame should go on D'had. Weyrsecond or not. If /he/ wanted to be the one to rescue her, why wasn't /he/ there?" She lifts her shoulders then continues walking again. "I do want to interrupt. It's been more than half an hour. I'm kicking him out, or at least to the other side of the cave." There's resolution in her tone. But she coughs. "Though I might need you to back me. I /am/ only an apprentice.."

Tenebrous snorts. "And I'm just a Fetch. You may have noticed, but he doesn't pay any attention to me either." Still, it's put a bit of iron back in his step. "come on. Let's go take the cave back…"

Phylicia's face has it's grin back, though there's a certain amount of determination to her right now. "If nothing else, I have to change /your/ dressing, and there's no privacy curtian." She says, and if he looks at her she winks. "He doesn't know I'll just be helping instead of doing it all." After all, this is kind of like trial by fire.

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