Xanadu Weyr - Deep Forest Waterfall


"How could I have possibly missed this?" Anyone who frequently travels the deep woods between Xanadu Weyr and the mountains to the west might ask themselves that question upon stumbling onto this place for the first time. A waterfall, easily a hundred feet tall, dominates the immediate area, commanding attention. Like something from a storybook, it stands before you, flanked on either side by sentinel trees and mountain brush mired in stone-spotted soil. Water cascades over a beaten rock face at its peak, flowing down in a white-capped torrent to crash into a small, crystal clear pond below.

Not content to remain where it is, the pond appears to have carved a great trench into the earth, through which a stream now flows, traveling further west towards a massive rock wall in the distance. The stream bisects the area, and a narrow point some 30 feet away from the pond itself makes for an easy jump to the other side. The shore around the pond's immediate edge appears to be mostly soil and large slabs of rock, but that gives way to a grass field after only a few feet, a touch that gives the entire area an idyllic feel. The air is fresh and clean with the bite of cool mountain water and the tang of forest life. It is alive, this place.

The sun sets on Xanadu and Winter's chill settles upon land and heart alike for some, for other's there is the cheer of fire and home. Those that have such are there within the circle of the warmth and comfort provided. Others… others are out in the evening seeking…solace. And so it is that a certain gold swings up from the Weyr, circles about the falls with a clarion trumpet to announce her arrival before settling carefully beside the pond. Thea's feeling better. Well enough to dismount Seryth the way she usually does. She grabs a flight strap and simply kicks a leg over the side of the gold's back and… drops, swinging out and around the front of the queen to land lightly on her feet. She drops the line for Sigam, laughing up at him, "I dare ya, Siggy."

On any other day, Sigam would be all /over/ that challenge. Swinging down off a huge golden dragon like darling Seryth wasn't an opportunity one had every day! But alas, some sort of reservation holds the Dragonhealer back. "Oh, ha ha, very funny. You know I can't." Holding a padded pack close to his chest, the man takes a much more conservative path down the junior queen's side, dropping the last few feet to the ground gingerly, wincing. "You'd think someone with a /head wound/ would also exercise more caution." This is muttered much more good-naturedly, though muted worry flashes in Sig's glance for Thea as he pads to her side, eyes flicking around as his prize is huddled up into his arms. "Right. Now what?" Though properly awed by the massive waterfall (where /had/ it come from?), the winter chill has him peculiarly nervous. Hmm. Something is rotten in the outskirts of Xanadu!

Fire. There's fire…in the forest. Fire where before, there was none. It just sort of…gouts to life, a ball of it, bobbing towards the clearing… Impatient to be about its work, the pond has carved a stream out of the earth and towards the mountains to the east, cutting through the woods in the direction like a glaive. And yet, amidst the water, there is fire. As it grows closer, it becomes more and more obvious that the fire is not alone, but accompanied by a man in a long hide coat. And the closer he gets, the clearer it becomes that he's holding said fire in the palm of one of his hands, casually strolling towards Stormhaven's heart with a small inferno in his fist. "The healers at the Infirmary tell me that she didn't report in today for her exam, Dragonhealer." Tenebrous stops at the edge of the pond, some 20 feet from the others. "And yet you're surprised that she swings so freely from her dragon?"

Thea just laughs wickedly back at the dragonhealer, "Another time, maybe?" She pffts with a flick of her fingers when he mentions her headwound, "Was just a little boulder-tap. Rock said hello to me it's own special way," she answers lightly. She waves an arm to include the grandeur of the place, "Never been this far out behind Xanadu, have you?" She's turning on her heel to face Tenebrous when he speaks, clearing her throat to cover that tiny squeak of surprise at his appearance. There's a guilty look on her face as she mutters, "I dunno -how- you manage to walk soundlessly like that but maybe someday you'll teach me and I shall scare the dragoncra- ah, the glowlights out of you for a change!"

"Another time," Sigam agrees with a chuckle, head shaking to an fro for her nonchalance. "Shards, Thea. I knew bounding off to that island helped you relax, but I didn't know it had addled your brain, too. Or was that a gift from your boulder as well? Insanity." The Dragonhealer is obviously teasing, tongue flicking out in a raspberry between his lips before he, too, nearly jumps out of his skin. Fire? He was far too oblivious to see fire, but that vaguely-familiar voice has his gaze switching over to Tenebrous with a start. Wide eyes are quickly replaced with a grin, not at all sheepish himself. "'Fraid that was my fault. I have a bad habit of busting people out of the infirmary when they should, even by my estimation, still be in their bed. Oopsie?" Cue cheeky grin and a not-so-subtle shifting of the pack nestled in his arms.

Tenebrous looks between the two of them for a long moment before finally settling on Sigam. "Don't chase her if she runs…and you won't have a problem." Is that humor? Then he's turning to Thea and offering a slight bow. "Weyrwoman," he murmurs. "Stormhaven is once again graced by your presence." He inhales once, slowly raising that ball of fire in his hand so that he can better see her face. "Not…that I mind the company, but…you're ok, right?"

"Hmm, I managed to relax quite well with nary a sip of the whiskey D'had tried to get me to try, so who's the one coming back from deserted islands with addled brains now?" Thea's giving back as good as she gets, sans raspberry. She's much too grown up for that sort of thing. She's nodding in agreement with the dragonhealer, "I was on my way there, but I ran into him in the clearing - he's fine." She's having a hard time not laughing as she breathlessly returns the healer's bow, "And I am once again honored to be here." The pale green of her eyes glimmers back to him in a golden hue the fire he holds aloft. She raises a hand, lifts her hair from the dwindling lump on the left side of her forehead, the bruise beginning to fade from purple to greenish-yellow. "I'm fine, and that fellis-power you had me take for my headache hasn't hurt a bit." Yes, she is a bit giddy tonight.

"You women always have to be right," Sigam argues, taking a different train of thought since it is obvious Thea isn't going to let him win this one. Sigam's glance flicks back to Tenebrous, eyes lighting up with a crooked smile. "Aw, but I wouldn't mind chasing Thea - she wouldn't whip out the numbweed on me," he ripostes, watching the Healer and weyrwoman interact in silence, smirk still very much in place. "I figured there was something not quite right about you, but I couldn't put my finger on it." Speaking of giving as one gets, Sigam eventually tears his gaze away from them and digs into one of the pouches at the front of his pack, rooting about until he produces a rather soggy package of something greasy. This he extends towards Tenebrous by way of an offering, pausing only to give that fireball a confused glance. "How are you- Nevermind. You're gonna need that stuff." He means the packet, which upon further inspection will reveal a wad of thinly sliced herdbeast meat. Uhm, what?

Tenebrous exhales once when Thea announces her wellbeing. "Empty egg, that's a relief," he mutters. The fireball is rolled around his hand once before he clenches his fist tightly around it, and with a hiss, it goes out. "You deserved every bit of the numbweed, Dragonhealer, though in retrospect, I'm glad I didn't hit your hand…" And speaking of his…hand. "I have…food in the…" He turns to Thea. "I don't need anymore supplies, Th…Weyrwoman," he murmurs, catching himself. "I'm leaving soon…you know that." He gingerly accepts the package, eyeing it cautiously. "If I eat this, I'll spend a week in the Weyr's bathroom regretting it," he says weakly, but he does offer a nod of thanks to Sigam. "Come on, you lot," he offers a moment later, starting for one of the rock walls next to the waterfall. "It's cold out here."

"You don't wanna chase me, you just wanna catch me, though fat lotta good that'll do ya!" Thea rejoins smugly, her eyes dancing at Sigam. Then her fingers curl into a ball and she punches the dragonhealer on the upper arm, "Hey! Just because I don't suck down enough booze to choke a dragon and run naked through the Weyr, pass out and get myself painted rainbow colors does NOT mean there's something wrong with me, thank-you-very much!" She sniffs at Sigam before smiling radiantly at Tenebrous, "I promise if my condition worsens I'll sent Shep to you." The brown churrs agreement from her shoulder. She shakes her head at his response to the meat, "D-don't eat it!" But then she's dissolving in giggles as she simply shuts up and follows him with a small head-motion to Sigam.

Sigam couldn't possibly turn a darker shade of red if he'd tried. "You know, sometimes I hate you so much that I reconsider all those nice things I've said about you." The Dragonhealer's grumpiness doesn't quite reach his eyes, which are still humored, but he's certainly wrinkled his nose up into the disgruntled position. The expression lingers until Tenebrous aims another remark his way. "Maybe I did deserve it, maybe I didn't," Sigam agrees to disagree with a snicker before giving his head a furious shake, digging resumed. "It would definitely make you sick. Good thing it's not for you then, huh?" The Healer's offer puts his rustling and jostling with the bag to a halt, eyes shifting warily for a moment before he nods. A few more minutes won't hurt… "Right. You have a point." Making another face at Thea, Sig falls in behind the pair of them, following curiously.

Tenebrous approaches that rockwall without missing a beat, and with a spring, he's climbing it. It only takes a few steps up for him to reach a nearly invisible shelf, just big enough for him to slide over towards the water. Then, without any warning, he lurches towards the falls and abruptly vanishes into them.

Thea simply climbs the wall, carefully and slowly - she's demonstrating for the dragonhealer, right? She makes her way up to a ledge then turns to call down to Sigam, "Take your time, don't want you to drop anything." She steps behind the falls.

Sigam squints his eyes up at Thea as he scales the rocky wall behind her, neglecting to make any of the many comments flickering through is mind at the moment. Instead, he sighs loudly and loops his pack across his back where it will be safe and held away from the wall. Then follows until he finds that ledge, scooting in behind the curtain of water before arms quickly reclaim the bag.


Xanadu Weyr - Waterfall Cave

Cleverly hidden behind the illusion of stone, a cave has formed at the base of the waterfall itself, large enough to host several individuals comfortably, or one person and a dragon. The walls are moist and textured, with small rivulets of water draining from the cave floor down into the pond beyond. Moving further back into the cave finds a dry floor and a smooth rear wall. Two sturdy camp chairs lean up against the back wall, along with a generous bedroll, wrapped in water-tight animal skins. A small bundle of firewood rests off of the floor on a makeshift stand, drying.

The roar of the falls is loud here, making conversation difficult from any range other than close, and the sheer volume of water makes it almost impossible to see through to the forest beyond. The only way out appears to be via the water, back the way you came.

Tenebrous has moved into the darkness of the cave itself, invisible in the coming night. Bt it's only for a moment. His calm voice murmurs, "Preserve." Then there's that gout of fire again, calmly balanced in his hand. It illuminates the cave itself, casting long shadows and turning dark corners into pits. But even that passes as he kneels next to a ring of stones, recently used to build a fire by the look of the ashes. A few pieces of wood from the rack by the wall make a small cone, and soon, the cave is filled with firelight, warmth beginning to spread. "Thank you," he murmurs to the flame in his hand, clenching his fist once again to put it out. Only then does he turn to face Thea. "What can I do for you?"

Thea steps further into the cave, following Tenebrous with ease of movement that tells she is comfortable here. She is standing just a little off to one side as he re-ignites the flame in his hand, watching with interest but no comment until the fire is burning and he turns to her. "Well, it more of a question, what can we do for you, if you will." She steps back and turns a conspiratorial smile Sigam's way, backing away until she is near enough to one of the chairs to sit in it. She looks back to Tenebrous with barely-contained elation, her lips fighting not to split into a smile, which leaves them trembling in an odd way.

Sigam is visibly confused by the fire display, mouth working in an attempt to think of something to say that doesn't involve a string of disbelieving questions, but in the end he settles for a silence similar to Thea's. A little frown has taken up residence between his brows, but the exchange of words between Thea and Tenebrous brings a more spirited, amused glint back to the Dragonhealer's eyes. "It took a little goading, but a friend of a friend had some and… well…" Instead of continuing on awkwardly, Sigam rustles in his pack one last time before producing a small cloth-wrapped object. It seems strangely heavy for its size as he passes it on to Tenebrous, but then, great things often do come in small packages, don't they?

Upon shifting the cloth aside, Tenebrous will discover a strangely circular object, appearing almost perfectly (if not plainly) orange. Innocence radiates off it in waves, but the longer it sits there in his hands, the more wobbly it seems to be. Jeez, what, is it going to melt or something? Some gift that is…

Tenebrous smiles slightly. "Did she push you into this, Dragonhealer?" He accepts the gift, eyeing Thea. "I think it was a fair trade. I numbed his face, and he stopped me from…" Then his words die off as he unwraps it, his face strangely…occupied.

From where she is sitting, Thea has noticed Sigam's facial expressions regarding the fire, "He's… got powers, Sigam, so beware next time you chase him!" She cannot keep a straight face as she says that, but does she enlighten him about the flame? Nope. Instead, she focuses her attention on Tenebrous as he receives that cloth-wrapped something and it is his face she is watching carefully. There's a small headshake, "I am merely… a fetch tonight." Her voice is so totally serious as she says that, once might have to look closely at her eyes to see the laughter brimming therein.

"Powers." There's not exactly disbelief in Sigam's voice, but he does shake his head, burying the subject for another time. The wobbling sphere in the Healer's hands isn't leaving much opportunity for further discussion now. "Nah. This was my idea. I just needed her help to find you." The Dragonhealer looks as though he's about to say more, but good sense and many years of working in close relation with dragonkin tells him the show's about to be stolen. It'll be better to hold the advice until later, right?

It doesn't take long for the unwrapped egg to begin changing. Unlike their more chocolate-y counterparts, Skittles tend melt in one's hands just as happily as in one's mouth. Taste the rainbow? Not a chance! Shell drips away in messy, orange-toned oozes - drip, schlip, drop! - until at last there is nothing left but a puddle of egg shards at your feet and an entirely-too-bemused golden flit shaking itself in the stead of its previous container. Oh, well, hello there!

~*~Snowy Day Gold Hatchling~*~

This gold appears as frail and fragile as a wraith, snout narrow and delicate as it slopes back towards gently rounded headknobs. Her body seems to be composed entirely of sinew and wiry curves, appearing almost emaciated when the lighting is particularly dim. In actuality, it is all an elaborate trompe l'oeil, something her hide is wont to do. Pale gold, the color of reflected sunlight off the deep piles of fresh snow, glitters upon this gold's hide, entrancing hues containing shimmers of orange and silver as well as richer ambers as they dance over haunches. Her tail is a darker, more antiquated shade of gold, as are her dainty limbs, a soft blue undertint glinting beneath yellow. Snowy shadows gather in turn on each sail. Soft apricot spars criss-cross, while delicately frosted crystals collect on headknobs and eyeridges, catching the light and setting her aglow.

Tenebrous stumbles a little as the egg begins dissolving in his hands, a bit of panic in his eyes before he finally backs up against one of the cave walls. From there, he slides numbly down, setting that remains on the floor between his legs, a look of profound awe on his face. Without thought, one of his hands finds its way into his pocket, coming up with a piece of that herdbeast meat…

Thea rises as Tenebrous stumbles backwards, one hand outstretched to snag his elbow, though a lot of good it would do. If he keeled over, he'd just take her with him and oh, wouldn't that be fun? When he slides down the wall, she simply sinks down to sit cross-legged beside him. Her voice is soothing, warm a she quietly urges, "Think loving thoughts to her, I'm sure you won't have a bit of trouble doing that, isn't she a beauty?" There's a quick glance Sigam's way and she pats the floor beside her, "Where did you manage to get the egg, anyway, Sigam?"

Sigam's first reaction is to take a following step forwards, either to steady Tenebrous or protect the egg he's carted through hell and back in two weyrs now… But in the end, he seems just as surprised by the results, stopped in his tracks where he stares, dumbfounded. "Uh…" Thea's words kickstart something in his brain, and he takes the proferred seat even as the wraithly gold makes her first moves. "She is… shards, didn't know it was a gold… A friend's friend's goldie had a clutch over at Ierne and I asked if I could have one," he murmurs distractedly, eyes softening around the edges in the way they only seem to around baby animals. Softie.

All the stumbling and sliding earns a fair amount of squeaking from the pale, slender hatchling, her dusked wings flinging wide for balance even as Tenebrous comes to a stop against the cavern wall. Sensing a reprieve, the wee hatchling shakes the egg mess from her body, saving her dark tail for last before motion catches her attention. Wait, was that food? She's suddenly rapt, and visibly ravenous. /Cheep/. That was hers, right? Right. Graceful she may be in the future, but for now, she's all youthful scrabbling and chirruped demands. Gimme, gimme, gimme!

Tenebrous offers the strip of meat to the Gold without hesitation, a slow, almost silly smile spreading across his face. That hand almost immediately moves back into his pocket, coming up with the package itself. He fishes another strip out, offering it coyly to the little creature with the kind of look that a father gets the first time he gives a child a bottle. A little afraid, a little grateful that she isn't exploding for some reason…and a lot in love. "I don't understand," he stammers, his voice dying off again. He looks up between the two of them for a moment, eyes settling on the Weyrwoman last. "Thea," he mumbles. But before he can say more, his gaze slides back to the little thing in his lap, words sliding away from him.

Although the tiny queen is lovely, Thea only has eyes for Tenebrous, watching his face as he attracts the firelizard to himself. As that careful almost-mask drops from his face and the pure delight and love shine there, she almost looks away. Almost. She merely shakes her head when he says her name and tilts her head towards Sigam. "I'm just a fetch." A fond smile curves her lips as she says that.

Sigam's watching Tenebrous' face too, but it's in the unabashed way of one that honestly doesn't know the other man well enough to understand the immense gravity of the moment. Instead, he goes along for the ride, relaxing back onto the palms of his hands, head tilted to one side with a crooked smile. "There's nothin' to understand. It's- she's a gift. Enjoy her." The repetition of the fetch comment has his eyes sliding over to Thea with a quirk of one brow, but no questions, letting Tenebrous have his moment.

Food, yes, that is her initial priority, but somewhere along the way, the mechanisms of her mind grind to a halt and then switch gears in one earth-shattering moment. All that culmination of love, of fear, of awe, of memories that are not hers meshing and melding change something. It is, perhaps, not the profound influence such as dragons bring, but for the gold and her little hoarfrosted world, it is enough. Pausing in her gorging, she glances up and something goes click.

When the little queen locks eyes with Tenebrous, something clicks within the man and he begins to speak in hushed tones. "Behold," he intones quietly. "Witness this creation before you, and know that it is my doing. Never again will you bear so great a hurt as you have endured before. Let that deepest of shadows never again touch your world…this, my promise to you." One finger reaches out to touch one of the Gold's headknobs. "My Reconciliation," he breaths.

Thea's eyes slide sideways in time to catch that brow-quirk of Sigam's, but she merely grins at him and shrugs, returning her attention to Tenebrous in time to see the queen impress. His words certainly have her attention and some understanding is there in her face for what he says. For now, though, she hold her questions. Almost reluctant to speak, she breathes, "What will you name her?"

Sigam might not understand, but he certainly sympathizes, gaze twitching away from Thea when Tenebrous' voice breaks the moment of silence. "That's… certainly apt," he murmurs only after the goldrider has posed her question. Some part of him feels as if the sunlit gold has already been named, but another part of him is hesitant to assume, and so he waits patiently, curiously, a contented little smile quirking up one side of his face.

"Reconciliation," Tenebrous murmurs, his voice only half-there. He alternates between feeding the little Gold more meat and gently touching her in whatever way she'll tolerate, his head tilting to explore every facet that he can see, every detail he can take in. He looks up after a moment, eyes moving to Sigam's face. "Thank you," he says simply. "I…still don't understand…" He looks back down to the Gold again. "But…thank you…"

Thea is as rapt watching the transformation of Tenebrous as he is of the tiny gold. It is with great reluctance she rises, reaches to squeeze his shoulder and whispers, "I need to get back. Bond with her. See you tomorrow." And then she is heading towards the entrance, beckoning Sigam to come. His ride is leaving.

"You're welcome." It's an equally simple answer, but sometimes, those are the only ones that make sense. "And her name suits her perfectly." Thea's words catch his attention and Sigam rocks to his feet in one fluid motion, not needing to be told twice. "Thank you, too. Take care." Crinkling his eyes in a last smile, the Dragonhealer turns on his heel and sets out after Thea, seemingly unable to wipe the little smile playing with the corners of his mouth.

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