A Walk on the Beach

Xanadu Weyr - Forest's Edge


While the forest is thick for a long while, in time it begins to thin, as the ground becomes rockier to the south western stretches of the Weyr's land. The trees are further apart, and the rocks become larger, before rocky outcroppings seem to be more prevalent than the trees around them. As the hills begin to gain in height, the shruberry upon them become more stunted.

What's this, though! It seems with all the recent earthshakes from the south, the ground has begun to realign itself, and one hillside has shifted, revealing an opening into a small cave. At least, that's what it appears, as the whole is just large enough for an average sized man to sneak through.

A series of 'dens' sit into the rocky outcroppings, showing signs of the whers who make their home within them.

The weather is cold, but only a crust of snow lays frozen on the ground in the wintery forrest. Janelle hasn't been at her den for the past couple hours, since the sun began rising, and Jansk curled up for sleep. The day's light is relatively high now, and the warm-clothed handler takes weary steps through the forest towards those series of caves that whers and their handlers call home.

Hyrlon emerges slowly, having had a much harder time putting Hysk to sleep than usual. His breath rises before him as he lets out a sharp breath, not expecting the cold to be as bad as it was since his den was well insulated. As he turns to step back into the den he spots Janelle's approaching form and smiles, "Janelle?"

Janelle slows, nearing Hyrlon's own den, as he greets her, "Hey, Hyr.. Not asleep yet?"

Hyrlon shakes his head a bit, "Hysk had some indigestion… took an hour to get him to bed, so I'm wide awake… you?"

Janelle shakes her head softly, "Just took a walk. Jansk's been asleep since first light." She worked her hard, training and practicing last night, what can she say? "Want some company for a bit?"

Hyrlon smiles and nods, "Sure… I could use some company that doesn't speak in chirps and clicks."

Janelle grins a little, nodding. "It's nice to have the human contact some times, isn't it? I mean, I love Jansk dearly, but sometimes.." Once upon a time, not so terribly long ago, she would've prefered to stay alone all the time, working and studying.

Hyrlon grins, "Yeah. I love Hysk, but yeah, I miss having conversations." He pauses briefly, then adds, "I bet the beach is pretty this time of day…"

Janelle nods a little, "Want to go check it out?" She's dressed for the cold already, "You might want something to wrap up in, at least.. Kinda cold out here." It is winter, after all.

Hyrlon grins, "I'd love to, just let me…" He moves back to his den and re-emerges a few moments later with a thicker coat, "Shall we?" he asks as he slides into the winter jacket.

Janelle nods some. She's quiet today, the strong chipper young woman more thoughtful than normal. Patience comes easily still, however, as she waits for her friend to return, and slip the jacket on before turning to head in the intended direction.

Hyrlon smiles and starts walking in the general direction of the beach, "This way, right?"

Janelle nods again, "This way." She walks along beside Hyr, heading beach-ward as hands slip into pockets of her jacket, fishing out a pair of gloves, tugging them on. "Winter seems so peaceful.."

Xanadu Weyr - Beach


The unerring range of subdued white rises and falls in a multitude of sandy dunes, creating an endless amount of tiny valleys constantly demolished and rebuilt by the frequent arrival or departure of a dragon. Smoothing out as it slopes gently to the edge of the deep blue water, the sand darkens and a shell here and there stands out for children to collect. The beach itself is set along a low cliff - the height lessoning as one heads eastwards, blocking a portion of the beach from direct access.

The wide wide stretch of water opens up to the east, the far distant shore way beyond the horizon and the beach curves ever so slowly round to east and west, distant arms of land embracing the wind-ruffled Caspian Lake. East leads up to the mouth of the Rubicon River, where the protecting cliff is merely an arms length higher then the sand, and beyond that, a winding road leading out of Xanadu's territory. Westwards, the beach narrows as the cliff swings out, leaving a path wide enough for dragons in single file before cutting in to the sheltered cove designated the Weyrling Beach. However, cut in the cliff face to the north are a variety of rough, wide staircases, providing access to the clearing and to the meadow.

Hyrlon takes a deep breath as they reach the beach and lets it out slowly, "Any particular way you want to walk?"

Janelle glances, first towards the Weyrling beach, then East, towards Rubicon River. Witha quiet rumble, "Neither of those.. Maybe we can just go sit out on the docks for a little while?"

Hyrlon smiles, "I suppose that would work for me. Lead on, m'lady?"

Janelle grins a little, nodding as she sets foot to path, heading towards the docks.

Xanadu Weyr - Main Docks

Jutting out from the land are the platforms that make up the main dock of Xanadu Weyr. The extruded plastic makes an odd sound when footsteps echo across it. From this dock, two others protrude taking opposite directions, each for a special purpose.

Hyrlon settles down on the dock with a sigh, "It's pretty here in the mornings, isn't it?"

Janelle settles herself next to Hyrlon, crossing her legs beneath her. The snow is cleared from the docks, but still it's a bit cool, from the winter air. "Beautiful.. Not long from now, it'll be too busy with ships, and stuff, blocking the view over the lake.."

Hyrlon frowns slightly, "That's too bad… Asov might be the largest body of water I've ever seen…"

Janelle nods quietly. "Ever wonder what it'd be like, to visit somewhere far away?"

Hyrlon chuckles quietly, "For me this /is/ somewhere far away. I grew up in Crom. I'm practically on teh opposite side of Pern now."

Janelle oh's a little, "Really?" her head tilts curiously now, "When did you move here, and what's it like having to move?"

Hyrlon ponders that for a moment, "I requested the transfer not long after Morl impressed… I was kind of stagnating at home and at least here I had at least one person I knew."

Janelle oh's softly, nodding once again. "It's nice to have someone you know around, isn't it?" She stretches her arms out a bit, rubbing at the back of her neck slowly.

Hyrlon stretches as well and yawns a bit, "Yeah. It's nice to have some family around, just in case something happens." He tilts his head towards her slightly, "Does your neck hurt?"

Janelle shakesher head quietly, "No, well, not really at least. Just a little tense.

Hyrlon holds up a hand, clearly offering a rub, "Would you like me to massage it? I got some training while I was getting my Journeyman's knot."

Janelle glances to Hyr briefly, "In massage? As a miner?" She grins a little, even teasing gently with her words. "But really, I'd love it.. Ever since Jansk hatched… Live just seems so much more *complicated*." Jan points out, before addin, "That is, in a good way, mostly.."

Hyrlon smiles, "There was a healer at the hall doing some cross-training, so I asked." He shrugs, then moves one hand to the back of her neck, massaging in gentle circles, "Yeah. I thought safety inspections were hard work before Hysk…"

Janelle loosens her jacket a bit, dropping it from her shoulders a touch for better access. "Before, I never really thought much.. about anything. Was happy to live life going on, and on as I was. had no urge to move on.. Then I met you, then Jansk came.. And the firelizards.. And Tenebrous.. I started to live, realize there was more to being a drone, and a Searcher.." She closes her eyes, softly groaning as muscles slowly work out under Hyr's handiwork.

Hyrlon keeps gently working her tense neck muscles as he smiles and speaks, "It was totally different than I expected to become a wherhandler." He moves his second hand up to join the first and moves to the base of her neck and shoulders, "But the most important part of living is being happy."

Janelle nods a little, though restricting her movement to avoid dislodging Hyrlon's hands. "I think I'm getting there.. living.. Being happy.. not just working like a drone." Sound slike there's a but in there, even if it isn't said aloud.

Hyrlon works his thumbs against the base of her neck, rubbing circles against the first few thoracic vertebrae as he nods, "MmmmHmmm… if you're only getting there, what do you think you're missing?"

Silence, save for the oddly comforting groans that Hyr's fingers elicit, is all that Janelle offers as answer for a few long moments. Finally, with her chin dropping to her chest, she answers: "Self esteem? I never cared, so stayed ambiguous, stayed in the shadows. But that's changing now, and now.." Words trail, cut off silently by a brief shrug.

Hyrlon's hands move up, rubbing gently against the base of her skull, moving between her 1st, 2nd, and 3rd cervical vertebrae and her mastoids, trying to force the tendons there to relax their tight hold. "Self-esteem? But you're confident, educated, and quite pleasant to look at. What's to lose esteem over?"

Janelle blushes briefly, sighing softly, "I'm not so confident as I might seem.." And words spoken about her appearance simply pull her arms tighter around herself. "But thanks.."

Hyrlon smiles softly, letting his hands massage gently back down her neck, "There's only one way to fix that, you know. Keep doing things until you know without a doubt that you can."

"Or pretend, so that noone knows otherwise?" Janelle adds. "I don't know if I'll make a good Journeyman, Hyrlon.. or if the masters'll like me." Or anyone, most times, for that matter.

Hyrlon stops massaging, his hands resting lightly on her shoulders, "You'll make a top-notch Journeyman. You love what you do and know as much about it as any journeymen I've met. And what's not to like? Did you send them nasty letters? If not, I think you'll be fine."

Janelle shrugs her head quietly, "It's just me, really.. I know what you're saying is probably true, Hyrlon.. I just.." she sighs quietly, closing her eyes, "I just can't convince myself of it. And the closer it comes to time to talk to them, the more my confidence erodes."

Hyrlon gives her shoulders a gentle squeeze, "I've never heard of a petition for a journeyman's project being denied on any grounds other than age or time in the craft, Janelle." He moves slightly, so he's sitting beside her again, "Maybe you just need someone to boost your confidence."

Janelle shrugs a little, "I dunno what I need.. Maybe just to throw myself at it, head first.. But really, I haven't even actually chosen a project to focus on.."

Hyrlon shifts a little more, so he can look her in the eyes, "Pick something you love and do it. You're going for Journeyman, not master, so it doesn't have to be one of a kind." He swallows, then smiles a little, "Janelle… I… I think you'll do great no matter what you do."

Janelle looks back at Hyr, and shrugs a little with a short grin, though not totally heartfelt. "Thanks, Hyrlon.. I'm glad I've got friends like you and Tenebrous to help me."

Hyrlon smiles, then looks away, "Janelle… have you taken that trip to Rubicon River Hold yet?"

Janelle shakes her head a little, eyes glancing up the lake to where the river leading to hold can be found. "I haven't, no.."

Hyrlon tries not to look too happy about it when he glances back up at her, "Do… do you know when you're going? So I know…" Yes, he's a pussy…

Janelle shakes her head quietly, "I don't know.. Probably not till spring, I"m going to bet. But.." She pauses just alittle, "I"ll make sure you know, okay? Tenebrous didn't say anything about the trip, this morning when I saw him.."

Hyrlon glances over his shoulder, almost as if expecting Tenebrous to be standing right behind him, then turns back, "Did he… say anything?"

Janelle shakes her head a little. "Not really.. just offered some support, a hug.. Told him my problems with, well.. What I told you."

Hyrlon nods slowly, "I… we talked the other day… it was… fascinating… I thought he might've mentioned it…"

Janelle tilts her head a little, shaking her head. "No, he didn't mention it.. What did you talk aobut, that made it so fascinating?" She grins a little, weakly, "Still think he's trying to steal all the weyr's girls?"

Hyrlon chuckles, "Never thought he was tyring to steal 'em… just wanted to know how he managed to surround himself with them… As to what we talked about… him… me…" He blushes just a little, "You…"

Janelle quirks a brow just a little, "Me?" Since when is she a conversation piece? Words come softly, "Oh.. Hope it wasn't anything bad."

Hyrlon coughs and shakes his head, "No… not bad at all. Anything but, really."

Janelle oh's a little, once again. She nods once, and falls into a quietly reflective silence.

Hyrlon's eyes fall when Janelle goes silent, "I… You don't…" He sighs softly, "I'll just go…"

Janelle shake sher head, looking up at Hyrlon's impending departure. "Please don't! I.." She chews on her lower lip again, shifting so she can face Hyrlon again, reaching a hand towards him, should he still try and get away. "Please, don't go, Hyr.."

Hyrlon had barely begun to stand, so her insistence easily rocks him back to sitting on the dock, looking her in the face, "Janelle… I…"

Janelle leaves her hand resting on his knee, jaw chewing at words that don't seem to know how to come out. That, or her lip again. She remains eye to eye with Hyrlon, frozen in a moment, the thoughts of a million things causing emotions to continue fluttering just so briefly over her features. "I.. you.." She blinks a second, then almost grins, "…we're both staring at eachother, speachless."

Hyrlon stares at her as long as she stares at him, not sure what to say either. When she nearly grins, he chuckles softly, "… So we are… I wonder what that means…"

Janelle grins a little, and shrugs. "That we're inarticulate in eachother's company, apparantly.."

Hyrlon moves his hand to touch hers, "Apparently… maybe we need to see a mindhealer." His grins says he's joking.

Janelle can't help but let a laugh escape from there. "I like being around you, Hyrlon. How 'bout we start with me saying that."

Hyrlon smiles, "I like being around you, too, Janelle. I missed you while you were gone."

Janelle nods a little, "I was only gone a couple days, though.." Could she be missed, in that short a time? Li'l ol' Janelle?

Hyrlon smiles softly at her, "Loneliest days of my life…."

Janelle's smile softrens, verging on fading. "I had no idea it'd be that bad, Hyrlon.. I'm sorry.. I thought.." She shrugs a little, only now looking away, "Figured I wouldn't be missed."

Hyrlon smiles, still looking right into her eyes. One of his hands comes up to gently cradle her cheek if she'll let him, "You've been missed every time our shifts haven't lined up."

Janelle lets her gaze be turned back towards Hyrlon, looking back. "I…" she's back to speechless, flush rising in her cheeks.

Hyrlon just smiles, waiting for her to regain her voice to either smack him or return the feeling.

"I.." She tries starting again, "often think, wondering what you're doing, when you're not around… Never really thought of it as missing…" Janelle chews that poor, abused lip again, "The night that those storms hit, with all the damage, when the whers were still babies.. I'm glad I was with you."

Hyrlon smiles softly, "I… I feel the same way… about all of it… every time you've visited my den has made me… happy."

Janelle reaches a hand up, to lightly run fingertips along Hyrlon's cheek, before it falls to her lap again. The other remains on his knee.

Hyrlon smiles as she touches him, his eyes closing. After a few moments he nods, "That's why I don't want you to go… even if I won't try to make you stay…"

Janelle nods a little. "…I don't want to go either.. But, even if I have to, maybe I can still have my den here, and I can come back and visit.."

Hyrlon smiles, "I suppose, if it comes to that, I could try to make that happen… it's harder to travel with a wher, though."

Janelle nods a little, "Yeah.. I know." And more dangerous, really. She sighs softly, "I'm still hoping I won't have to leave.

Hyrlon nods slowly, "Satoris is really busy, especially with Kanta missing, but I'm sure we'll manage to catch him eventually."

Janelle nods a little. "That worries me, too.. Kanta missing. No sign, no word.."

Hyrlon nods, "I'll bet she just nipped off for a vacation… After all, she's been in the middle of a lot lately… still, we'll probably have to help find her."

"I think she would've told us something.. or at least the Hall.. she wouldn't just up and disappear, Hyrlon.." Janelle insists. Her one hand still sits on his knee, the other folded in her lap. "When it comes time to search, Tenebrous's offered to go into that big pit of a hole out in the forrest.. He's been in there before, he can check it out."

Hyrlon nods, "From what Morl told me about it Tenebrous is probably the best choice for that… I probably wouldn't be worried at all, but there's a pretty dangerous renegade group in this area… who knows what they might try to do to a gold wher."

Janelle nods some. Then she grins, "I probably worry enough for the both of us."

Hyrlon nods, grinning as well, "Probably… you ever considered a career as a counselor?" He chuckles again, "Couldn't think of you doing that kind of work, anyway. But when it comes to Kanta, as soon as Satoris tells us to go, we'll go."

Janelle wrinkles her nose, and grins. "Don't htink I'd want to be a counselor. Apparantly I'm pretty good at my field dressings, though." she nods a little, "Jansk and I are waiting for the call to Search." She looks far for a moment, a grin lighting to her lips, "It's what we've been training for." Sad as that may be.

Hyrlon nods, "Hysk and I as well…. and yeah, it makes sense for a wherhandler to have medical skills. We could make the difference between life and death for a trapped miner."

Janelle nods slowly, "Or anyone else." She sighs softly, pausing for a moment as she tilts her head to the side. "I'm glad we came out here, today.. That you happened to come out of your den when you did."

Hyrlon nods, "Anyone, really…" Then he sighs, nearly in unison with her, "I'm glad that Hysk had indigestion… otherwise I would've been asleep before you got back."

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