Crossing Bridges

Xanadu Weyr - Star Stones
Looming up above the weyr stand the spindly spires called the Starstones. Jagged grays and brown are stately, if a bit dull and uniform. These rocks have stood for as long as records stretch, being used by millions of dragons across time and space to come home, or to herald the coming of Thread by the circular hole drilled there by the first people of Pern. As the Red Star creeps across the sky, an enemy still very real, if perhaps just a memory now, to line up with the circle and sing of the Pass' beginning.
There is room here for a few dragons to land although there is no shelter for man or beast. It is a magnificent prospect out over the weyr and across the lake, the sky often occupied by dragons and firelizards, many flitting in and out of *between*.

Of all the places in Xanadu to while away the last of the afternoon, the Star Stones are probably not high on anyone's lists — or there at all. For some though, it provides the perfect little hiding spot that isn't a hiding spot in which to watch the sun dip lower and lower on the horizon. It'd almost be hinting towards romantic given the view of the weyr and lake if it wasn't well… so barren and bloody cold up there. And cramped! Ujinath is not a big blue, but he's coiled himself up pretty tightly in case more come to land. Nestled in the protective cradle of his limbs is Kiena, bundled up in her thicker flight gear and even her helmet is still snuggly on her head. She still has the flight mask raised to cover her exposed skin, but her goggles are off and dangling at the end of her gloved fingers as she sits and stares out over the land below, lost deep in her thoughts. Their reason for being there is unknown and even more so why the blue riding smith chooses this of all spots to settle. Then again, given her recluse nature this is exactly the sort of place she'd go to! At least it guarantees she's not in the company of any surprise offspring?

This definitely is not a vacation spot for anyone but … well. To nobody. It's cold, made colder by the height. It can be windy. And in all it's just one big uncomfortable time! And for a person like Ka'el, who has voiced his hatred for the cold plenty of times, being up here when he doesn't have to be is an absurd thought! But, here he is anyway, arriving from a distance as first a speck in the sky that grows in size the closer he gets. He hunkers down on Kanekith's back, the bronze flying languidly through the thin air, already scoping out a place to land. Big bronze, incoming! He calls his arrival to those ahead, though he only spies one other on the rocky ledge, which makes things a little easier for him. Wings spread and flap to slow him down further legs stretching. He lands without much problem, though space is limited up here and he's not quite as graceful as he is on the ground. But he lands and after a time of settling, his rider dismounts. Gloved hands lifted goggles away from his eyes. "Didn't this place was much of a hang out," he says to the woman, knowing her identity only because of Kanekith's recognition of Ujinath.

Ujinath lifts his head as that small speck in the sky grows to take on the form of a bronze dragon. One that is apparently intending to land here and the blue begins to rumble low in his throat, breath pluming white in the cold, cold air and only shifts to scuttle a bit further to the side. Not that he needs too, as Kanekith has enough room to land and settle himself comfortably. Ujinath will keep a wary eye on the bronze the whole time, followed by a sharp snort after his thorough and silent study. That'd be Uji-speak for 'hello'. If many find Kiena reclusive and standoffish, they've not yet met her blue! At least his rider knows his habits and Kiena stretches just enough to give a firm smack to her blue's foreleg. "Quit it, Ujinath. Kanekith is welcomed to go wherever he wants to go." Just why here? Those words are all but muffled behind her riding mask, though she pulls it down when Ka'el dismounts and greets her. Seems only polite, right? "It's not!" she remarks dryly and smirks, recognizing the bronze rider easily enough. "And that's why I'm darin' to be up here in the cold. The… quiet and all." Yeah, that's it! "So what's yer excuse?"

Kanekith's head lifts, neck arching regally as he regards the sky and lake beyond. The sun is sinking. The colors are growing. He makes a noise in his chest that could be considered a purr, though with his girth and the lowness of it, it's closer to the sound of slowly rolling thunder. He allows Ujinath to observe him. Pft, why wouldn't he want to? He is a magnificent bronze, and he can't fault the blue for ogling. Ka'el's expression flattens as he regards his bronze, brow arching. "Scorch it. That's not what he's thinking." Not that Ka'el can verify this himself, but he's pretty sure the sullen blue isn't fawning over Kanekith's gleaming hide. He rolls his eyes with a smirk before returning his attention to the dragon-coiled Kiena. "You think you're the only one that comes up lookin' for peace an' quiet?" he remarks, shifting away a bit as Kanekith begins to settle down on the stone. Good. He'll have a place to sit! "Needed to clear my head," he says, giving a tap to his helmet-domed head with an index finger. "An' this is the best place on Xanadu to watch the sunset. Second to the ridge." Once his dragon is down, he settles himself to sit, leaning against his side. "How're the kids? Are they still here?"

Luraoth… is nowhere near here. Wings aren't the only way to get up to the top of the starstones - Soriana has taken the stairs! They're generally locked, of course, which means not many people get that option - fewer than have the option to do it with wings - but when there's a good reason, they can be opened. Soriana's reason was that she wanted to go look at the radio tower and make sure it wasn't getting ice on it again. Not that she's an expert technician to figure out the fine workings of it, but she has a personal interest called not wanting to get static in her ears. It was good enough to get the door unlocked for her, and she came up with a bag of sand (because, hey, might as well do something useful while she's up here). She sprinkles some of it around the base of the tower, then pauses to shade her eyes and look across to the starstones. There are dragons there. Actually, there are people there too, and so after a moment's peering, she leans the sandbag where it is and heads over the narrow metal walkway to- wait. That walkway doesn't look very safe, given the winter weather. New plan! She goes back to get the sandbag, and sprinkles her way along the pathway. Because this is totally not her job but it's still useful, right? Besides, she's not taking unnecessary risks, that's why she's sanding the metal before she walks on it. Yep.

Ujinath has now gone silent which is nothing new for the blue's behaviour and if he had any inclination that Kanekith has taken his blatant observation as fawning, he'd be bristling in indignation. Ogling indeed! More like sizing up a potential threat and adversary! He's studying the bronze to find any possible weakness or how, if ever came to it, he could outmatch him if the need for escape is required. Such is the way of Ujinath, though once the bronze settles his wariness begins to ebb and likely aided further by Kiena's silent pleas for him to just relax. Maybe that's why she pinches the bridge of her nose for a brief moment? Or was it something Ka'el said? "Not that daft to think I'm the only one who comes up here. Just didn't think it'd be so popular given the season!" Kiena goes on to mutter as she lowers her hand again and she'll catch that gesture, which has her frowning and curious. "Huh. So what's got you so troubled you gotta dart up here to brood?" Did she not pin him as the type. "Mhm." Is all she has to say on the view and then there is an abrupt silence from her as she simply blinks. Really? "They're fine." she mutters as she looks away. "And no, they are not. Their home is in Western Weyr." Flatly spoken. Can they not speak of this? Oh, look! Another arrival and the timing could not be any better, as the blue rider latches onto that distraction with no hesitation. Another to join! With sand…? From the stairs? How did… "I did not know there was another way up here!" Kiena exclaims with a crooked grin that may falter when she recognizes just whom she's calling out too. Who needs formal greetings?

"It's not trouble," remarks Ka'el who pulls off his helmet because things are sounding really muffled with it on. Beneath he wears a dark wool cap, though he still shudders at the initial transition from warm head to cold head. "An' I'm not brooding, what the shell." He glances over at her with a smirked look. "I'm just thinkin' is all. Or, that was the plan," he comments with a little laugh as he presses himself against his dragon a little more, using him as a shield from the wind. Despite her mutter, he seemed pleased that the girls are alright, though awws at the news that they're no longer here. They're … home. He makes a slight face at that, watching her with a furrowed-brow look. "But…they were.." She's saved by a distraction! Ka'el doesn't see what's taken her attention from him right away, and he doesn't follow her eyes right away either, opting to give her one last look before he finally does sit up and turn, indeed spying another body approaching…spreading birdseed. Wait no, that's sand. "Uhh… I think so…" he says, not sounding all that sure. "From..the caverns, maybe?" Nope, he doesn't sound confident about that at all. "I wouldn't want to come from that way," he remarks, eyeing that narrow walkway and imagining how many stairs it took to get up here. And.. "Is that Soriana?" He squints.

Sand, sand, sand the metal walkway! Because otherwise people will fall down, if they're stupid enough to cross this way during winter. Like Soriana is being. That's probably one of the reasons why the door to those stairs is kept locked - that way, people won't be tempted to do something stupid. Soriana, though, she's a junior weyrwoman! Which means she's not supposed to be stupid. Whether she (at the moment) is… well, that's a different question, and one she's not going to be answering. If it were birdseed she was spreading, she'd probably qualify as crazy, given the season and location… but sand is (slightly) more sensible. For all Kiena can know, from the distance (and in winter clothes) she could be just about anyone. Some random caverns-worker or technician, but she pauses to wave (at least she's not waving and walking, on the potentially-slick metal of the bridge. "Dragons're faster!" she calls back with a half-grin. Because, yeah, there are a lot of stairs, and this bridge? It's longer than she'd thought when she started on it. Or at least it seems that way, now that she's noticed how it's swaying a bit in the occasional gusts of wind. Formal what now? Yeah, never mind those. But it is Soriana.

Kiena shorts to Ka'el's reponse and reaction, lifting a gloved hand to wave it dismissively. "Brooding. Thinking. Same thing? No need to get all uptight and prickly about it." she teases and that brief moment of easy going good humour is gone. He'll earn a sharp and narrowed look from the bluerider, her head tilting in a way to suggest a silent 'leave off' of the topic, a brow quirking up for his half-spoken statement. Not that she'll pursue it. Oh no. Soriana is here to save her from that! "Why not?" Kiena drawls to Ka'el with another of her smirks. "Afraid of a bit of exercise? I'm just… surprised I never noticed it." Now she knows! Too bad it'll be locked most of the time and probably very much for the best. Blinking, Kiena doesn't quite squint her eyes though she shifts along Ujinath's foreleg until she's sliding down to land on the ledge and tuck herself up against the blue's side just behind the shoulder. Convenient nook! "Could be?" she says uncertainly to Ka'el. She's not met the weyrwoman often, save for that one time in the caverns. Any other time may have been in passing at best. "Can't argue that! But there's something to be said about hidden passage ways too!" she calls back with a faint grin. Much cooler! Sobering and a touch awkwardly, Kiena adds after a pause. "Need help or, uh… anything?" Cause that's what one asks right?

Ka'el is not going to pursue the topic of Kiena's kids, even if there is a small portion of him that wants to despite that well-deciphered look he received from her. He'll behave. This time. "Afraid've exercise? No. Fallin' to my death on a bridge that probably hasn't been walked on in turns? Lil' bit," he remarks. He'll choose dragonback anyday! Far more trustworthy than that swinging bridge over there, which indeed has a Soriana on it. He rises to get a better look at her, and even Kanekith's head swings that way, though his attention doesn't stay on her nearly as long as Ka'el's does, and the bronze's swirling eyes are soon back on the sky. "Don't do somethin' like fall," he calls to her, grinning…with a sliiight tightness to the look as he stands up again. "I'm officially off duty, and any 'rescuing' may have to wait for another time!" he calls, cupping his mouth.

She hasn't even gotten there yet, and Soriana's already a savior! She's just edging along the bridge, nope, not gonna - "Hah!" she calls back to Ka'el, because she's definitely not going to fall. Just, well, she's got to… get across, without falling. "That they're more fun in theory?" she suggests to Kiena's comment about secret passages, and keeps coming across the bridge. She's over halfway! "Nah, almost…" Whoa, that part's a bit slanty, and she trials off to provide her attention to how she's moving. Okay, just another few steps and… there! Foot: placed on the potentially icy rock instead of the potentially icy bridge. It's… a start? Her grin isn't relief, nope. "Just getting it sanded." Which wasn't her job, but… details. Soriana glances back along it, putting her other foot on the rock as well. "Not sure whether this beats out the stairs or not, for getting to that tower."

There will be another time that Ka'el can pry into Kiena about her children or… why they remain half way across the planet. Besides, now would not be a good time or place and would likely result in the bluerider bursting into tears or losing her temper. Both perhaps? Which no one wants! Kiena snorts and shakes her head. "Live a little!" she fires back, but even she is eyeing that bridge with a longer look and a not so certain smirk. Okay… maybe not? "Oh, that's helpful!" she scoffs jokingly to the bronzerider before gesturing with a flick of her hand. Why doesn't he go help? Or is this a pride thing she's unaware of (for either rider)? "Guess that leaves any rescuing to me, huh? How gentlemanly of you!" Chuckling dryly, Kiena pushes away from Ujinath as Soriana begins her careful trek over that bridge, taking a few small and well planted steps herself. She's approaching …because it's easier to talk when closer than shout. Yeah, that's right! "There's that about 'em!" she agrees with a grin. "Never know where they lead to. Found one in Western as a Candidate… Lead to some hidden underground room beneath the kitchens. Didn't think they would be any here!" Who'd want to sneak to the Star Stones, after all? Probably Kiena. "

Ka'el gives a bow to Kiena. "I can't be the one to do all the rescuin'. I've to share the glory from time to time." And now is one of those times, apparently! See, he is so giving. So thoughtful! So considerate! His eyes continue to shift to Soriana every now and then, and through all his joking he /is/ watching that she makes it over okay, for that bridge is high and the wind is gusty and a single person looks so small out there. But .. phew. He breathes a little easier when she's on solid (yet still a little icy) ground, and like Kiena he picks his way over towards her. "A hidden underground room … with treasure of marks hidden inside?" he questions of the bluerider. "Of skulls an' skeletons of a forgotten prison chamber?" Oh he hopes it's the skulls. Let her have found skulls! "Are we goin' through budget cuts?" he asks, this one aimed to Soriana and her bag of spilled sand. "We've weyrwomen sanding bridges in the skies of Xanadu." WHat's the world coming to! "Y'know, with time I bet you could train Haru- … Toral to do that next time."

Soriana may decide to get a ride down with someone instead of walking back over that bridge, but for now, good enough! "Well, I won't tell you where this one is." She grins, the expression a lightly teasing one. "Otherwise it wouldn't be secret." Good luck? Ka'el's suggestions as to the contents of those hidden rooms make her shake her head. "Forgotten prison chambers aren't nearly so fun as they seem." Because… she'd know? "Mostly they're full of bugs and broken bits and pieces." Again… she'd know? But she shrugs, then huhs. "Yeah, I probably could." A glance back along the bridge. "If, y'know, I was assigned it again." Or in the first place. Details. "So," she glances between the two of them. "What're you doing up here?" It's a question for either, really.

Thoughtful? Considerate? Would not be words Kiena would be using at that moment even if just playing along. Her's would likely be far less polite. She'll only mock scowl at Ka'el before rolling her eyes and mouthing the word 'men' (or was it bronze riders?) as if his behaviour confirms some deep rooted opinion she carries on them. "I wish there were marks! Or skulls. It'd make for a far better story." she drawls back to Ka'el. With Soriana now safely on sturdy ground, the bluerider stops where she is and shifts her weight to one hip while her arms cross over her chest for warmth. Stupid winter! "Wasn't no forgotten prison chamber. Just… a room. Had an old couch stuffed in it and was obviously used by Candidates or weyrbrats before as a hideout. There was a few caves in the back though… downright maze. Never had the nerve to go in it…" Because that would be where the skeletons are! Or not. She just had common sense! Soriana earns a disappointed look. "Not even a little hint?" Pleeeease? That look is swiftly replaced by a curious one. Yeah, how… would she know? "Would you know from first hand experience that it ain't fun?" she asks bluntly but with enough teasing left to her tone. Ka'el's mention of budget cuts only has Kiena wrinkling her nose a bit but she'll give the weyrwoman the same answer she gave the bronze rider. "Just wanted some quiet." To do… what?

They aren't fun? But .. they're prison chambers. And forgotten ones. With … broken bits and pieces inside? Ka'el gives Soriana a look. One of those 'how would you know?' sort of looks. "Depends on what sort of broken bits an' pieces they were, I'd think. Broken glass? Not so interesting. Broken bones, though.." Severed limbs and rotted corpses! Those chambers just haven't been found yet. What's he doing up here? "Not brooding," he says with a pointed look at Kiena. He's apparently immune to her foul temper, for all she's earning are grins from him. See? Here's one now, accompanied by that pointed look. "Kanekith wanted a good view," he explains with a nod to the bronze who has quieted to watch the horizon. "And I took it as a chance to … be away. Think. Not brood." A smirk. "But we aren't here long. It was meant to be a brief stop before evenin' duties, which we have tonight. And our time's runnin' up on us, I think." Hard to tell with no timepiece handy, but the setting sun is a time piece in and of itself. Night is falling, and he should be going.

A little hint? Soriana grins. "Sure. It's from somewhere down below." How far down? And below what? …nope, that'd be a medium hint at least, and she's not giving any of those! Really, she's being bad for the secrets in general, but that's what she gets for letting her curiosity get the better of her. As for those eyeings… oh, yeah, she might have asked for them on purpose, but Ka'el's spoken version just gets a nod. "Broken glass is interesting if you step on it, but yeah. Bones're more like it." Kiena, though, actually asks the question. "Would indeed," she says, and tucks her hands behind her back. "Fell right into one, but fortunately I found the key, else I'd still be there." Wherever there is, because Soriana is… maybe teasing just a little. The answers about why the two other riders are here make her nod, not asking questions about them… though the teasing smile goes away as Ka'el puts a time limit on his presence. "Oh." A glance toward the sun, and then a glance back to the bridge. "…maybe I should get a ride down with you." A glance to Kiena. "Since you won't be getting your quiet with him around." The teasing's back.

"Broken bones ain't that interesting either…" Kiena remarks with a grimace and any thoughts of finding such forgotten prison chambers are hastily shoved from her mind. She sleeps bad enough as it is, she doesn't need more fodder for nightmares! Frowning, she puzzles for half a heartbeat over the hint Soriana gives only to realize… nothing more is being shared. Hey! "Tease." she mutters at the goldrider and then coughs. Probably not something to be said but too late now! "And like I told Ka'el, thinkin' and broodin' are one and the same usually." Kiena hurriedly drawls with another gesture of her hand. Same thing! Right? Right. She tilts her head a bit as she listens to Soriana's tale and though interested, doesn't seem to quite wholly buy it. Who is she to say otherwise, though? "Just your luck then I guess, huh?" To Ka'el, she grimaces. "Night shift? That's rough." Never was her favourite of them, even if she's not much of a sleeper. Snorting, she shrugs her shoulders as her arms uncross to fall back to her sides. "Oh, don't feel like you've gotta rush off. I best be going anyhow. I've a few things to tend to before the night is done." Whatever that may be! She doesn't elaborate, not feeling the need or simply… not wishing to share. The teasing leaves her grinning faint and crookedly though. "So you'll be getting a ride down with him then?" She jerks her thumb back to the bronzerider, though she means it good naturally. "Just double checkin' before I hop up on Ujinath." And escaping!

Ka'el scoffs. "You didn't fall into any forgotten chamber," he says to soriana in a dismissive sounding tone. "I'd know!" Somehow. Through osomosis, probably. Knowledge merely seeps into his brain. Liky a psychic, he /knows/ things … Certain things because he certainly doesn't know if Soriana's telling the truth about her accident or not! The quip about not getting any peace due to his presence is met with a highly exaggerated roll of his eyes as he moves towards the junior weyrwoman. "Puh. I'm the quietest man you'll ever hope to meet. I'm so quiet, no one ever notes when I enter a room. I'm invisible. Can swipe a drink right from a man's hand and he'll never be the wiser. If I weren't so noble, I'd be a thief an' be a richer rider than I am now." Which … isn't very rich at all! To Kiena, he nods. "Yeah, nights. It isn't too bad … as long as I haven't kept awake too long in the day." Which he hasn't, hopefully. He nods as Kiena speaks of leaving too, and a glance is given to Soriana. "Yeah I'll give her a ride," he agrees to the both of them, "For a small fee of fifty marks, paid up front and in full," he jokes, grin curving. Kanekith is willing enough to be used as a private taxi service just this once, and picks himself up, ready to be mounted and fly off once everyone who is riding is ready.

Oh, yes, Soriana's a tease. She just grins to Kiena's accusation, because goldrider she may be, but she's also a woman of eighteen turns with a sense of humor… and in a good mood. "I dunno, brooding usually has more scowls. More…. grave looks. Like those dead bodies in forgotten prison cells. "The falling in, or the getting out?" she asks Kiena about her luck, then glances to Ka'el. "Sure I did." She grins. "Back before I met you, though." So that's why he didn't know! "Out at the ruins." See how complicated her story is? It even has a location… which isn't here, so it'll be hard to test the truth (or, uh, not) of her claim. Ka'el's claims of being the invisible man just make her shake her head. "Sure you are. I can't even see you right now." She turns to face Kiena. See? Ka'el is completely invisible. The bluerider's comments about having to go make her nod, though not ask. "I'd better be getting back to work, anyhow." And getting the secret passage sealed up again, though not exactly the proper way. Yay more stairs? "Since Kanekith's not got a rider-" because he's invisible, you see "-I'd better take him down." And then she turns back to Ka'el, and laughs. "Of course. Here you go." She leans in. A kiss! Because that's worth at least fifty marks, easy.

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