...Sittin' in a Tree...

Xanadu Weyr – Clearing

A wide clearing stretches from east to west, the ground packed hard although grass grows across most of it. Trees are strictly forbidden in this space, their danger to the constant draconic traffic reason enough to banish them to the forest that creates a border to the north. Where the ground is less trampled, tiny flowers poke their delicate heads out from their shaded hiding places.

The cliff looms imposingly on three sides, stretching upwards all the way up the side of the rock edifice where, high above on Xanadu's Star Stones, the ever-present watchdragon sits on the lonely peak. Directly south is the hatching arena, the large round complex taking up a large portion of the perimeter, a line of trees visible beyond it. Southeast are wide steps leading up to the caverns and eastwards is the large entrance to the Infirmary. Somewhat north of the infirmary is a human-sized archway that has a frequent quantity of traffic — it leads to the Wandering Wherry Tavern. Tucked neatly under the arch, to one side is a tiny wood-frame shop bearing the name 'Petals and Pots Garden Shop'. Southwest lies cliffs where windows for the administrative offices have been cut. Underneath them are the entrances to the crafters complex while north and west along the cliff's base, a broad path leads to the feeding grounds. Due north is the spacious trail that leads to the rest of the Weyr - the meadow, the forest beyond. At the far edge of the clearing, beside the trail leading to the forest sits a clocktower.

The afternoon in the clearing is sunny and pleasant with the sun-dappled shade of later summer shading the cool grasses. Raelii has slipped out of the busy caverns after unsuccessfully attempting to solicit input from folks in there (though Mur'dah was quite helpful) to accost unsuspecting folks out and about in greater Xanadu. She…hasn't gone far. There's a comet rider just swinging onto his blue while Raelii scribbles something on her clipboard and giggles. "Thank you," she calls as she starts away. Looks like she's headed towards the meadow.

"Raelii," Mur'dah calls out as he jogs after her, having passed off the drudge duty to another drudge with a promise to work a later shift to make up for it. Catching up to her, the brownrider stops and pauses for a moment to catch his breath, pushing hair off of his forehead. "Can we talk?" He looks concerned, darting a glance around the clearing. "Somewhere…more quiet?"

Raelii pauses upon hearing her name and a peek over her shoulder confirms it; there's Mur'dah. Who should be working. She covers her own concern with a half-smile. So not convincing, right? "Yeah, sure. But, ah, you won't get in trouble will you?" There are many places Raelii hasn't seen yet. Though quiet places? She is unsure. "How about in there?" she points to the clocktower at the edge of the clearing. It'd s guess; she has no idea how busy - or quiet - it might be up there.

Mur'dah shakes his head, "Naw. I traded shifts. It'll be a late night but I don't care." Following her gesture, there's a moment's thought and then he nods. "Yeah, that works. C'mon, it's actually really cool inside." Giving her a smile that's just a little awkward, he leads the way to the massive structure, opening the door to usher her inside. Up three flights, he leads her out onto the ledge with the view of the meadow and the sea beyond, and settles down against the wall, knees tucked up and his arms wrapped around them.


Xanadu Weyr - Clock Tower - Dragon's Ledge

This is a simple ledge, built of the same stone that comprises the clock tower itself. It's large enough for one dragon to stretch out on, and has railings along two sides—the sides perpendicular to the tower. The farthest edge is left railingless for ease in takeoff and landing, and the tower frames the other edge. Underneath the ledge, a pair of shelf supports that protrude from the clock tower wall itself supports the ledge, so it's quite safe for dragon and human alike. Where weight is concerned, it could probably hold a pair of queens. Of course, the ledge isn't nearly big enough.
There's a human-sized door on the tower's wall where a human can venture out onto the ledge if he or she so chooses. Seems this ledge isn't just for dragons. There's only two ways off this ledge, the door in the wall…or straight down. The door would be a far less dangerous way to leave, however…since this ledge is three and a half stories up!

Raelii is relieved there will be no further trouble for Mur'dah, but she eyes his awkward smile askance, unsure what's causing it. She follows readily, though she will ask (because she's learning to), "It's okay if we're in here?" as they ascend those stairs. She'll pause for a moment to take in those huge gear workings with awe before following him to that outside ledge and flopping down at the edge to dangle her legs over the side, swinging them idly. While taking in the view, she asks casually, "So what did you want to talk to me about?"

Mur'dah nods, "Oh yeah, it's fine. I come up here a lot. It's a good view," he says, scooting forward to join her along the edge when that's where she goes. He doesn't swing his legs though, he crosses them and leans forward, elbows resting on them. And he sighs. "I was a jerk," he says, glancing sidelong at her, "and I need to apologize for it. I shouldn't have pulled you into it. It was a stupid idea and I've kind of…messed up your introduction to a few important folks here. So I'm really sorry, Raelii. I hope you'l forgive me. I'm…life here is complicated sometimes."

Uhuh, complicated! He's got that right! Raelii blinks over at Mur'dah when he speaks, her mouth making a little o of surprised dismay. Her expression then turns teasing and she sways to bump her shoulder against his. "Why do you keep apologizing when I already told you I forgive you? And you weren't a jerk for inviting me along on what you intended to be something lighthearted and fun." She coughs wryly, "I’m the one who said yes! And we learn from our mistakes, right?" And then she leans out over the ledge - keeping her hands on her thighs to peer way down to the ground. Huh. That's some drop! Still leaning out over the void, she turns her head to scrutinize the young man beside her. "Or is something else bothering you?" Because there was the word 'friend' when the prank was mentioned and then the 'didn't forgive me' just awhile ago.

Mur'dah tenses when she leans, and his hand reaches out automatically to grab a bit of the back of her tunic. Yeah, that's some drop, and there's no Kalsuoth below to fall on. "Because I still feel bad about it," he admits with a little shrug. "Learn from them, yeah…" he adds, and then he sighs. "Oh, I'm just..Ka'el and I used to be friends. Kind of. But. This…part of this punishment was him telling me we weren't friends anymore. That I shouldn't see him as anything but my Weyrleader. And that…" He hesitates and shrugs. "I'm hurt. But there's nothing I can do. Probably for the best anyway, our friendship was never even. It was always me seeking him out. Maybe he never wanted to be my friend in the first place, who knows. I have other people I'd much rather spend my time with," he says, flashing her a swift and crooked grin.

No deep snow, either. Feeling the pull of gathered material at the back of her tunic, Raelii chuckles, "Don't worry, I have excellent balance." In spite of that reassurance, she leans back away from the edge. "You'll probably feel bad for awhile," she points out with a practical air, before listening closely to the rest of his commentary. Her brown eyes widen, then narrow thoughtfully. "Are you sure it was over just the prank? Because… friends don't usually throw friends away like that." Raelii doesn't know Ka'el. And she doesn't know the pressures he faces as Weyrleader, let alone as a dragonrider. Mur'dah has said that life is complicated at Xanadu. She has no idea how complex it can be, but her smile is immediate, if not as perky as it normally is, perhaps a touch troubled, even. "Maybe he does - or did - but just doesn't know how to be a good friend." She thinks, then tosses in for good measure with a little shrug and a laugh, "To a guy." Because aren't most guys about gruff, tough 'I'm hangin' in' when they're really hurting? At least with each other.

Mur'dah lets her tunic go when she settles back, and the brownrider relaxes, chuckling softly. "For a while," he agrees with a nod. Then he shrugs. "Probably not," he agrees. "He's a fine Weyrleader. And that's all I'll say about him from now on." There's another shrug and he glances sidelong at her before he's clearing his throat. "There's, uh…one part of weyr life that you haven't seen yet, and…um. You need to know about it before it happens. Um. Do…do you know what happens when dragons rise to mate? Especially the golds?"

Raelii isn't going to try and push the Weyrleader and Mur'dah back together. Partly because she's no mindhealer, but mostly because she's certain the man probably dislikes her as much he now seems to dislike his one-time friend. If she gets another chance to get to know the man, she’ll reserve judgment, but for now it's probably best to avoid coming to his attention. So she simply nods glumly and turns her gaze out to the splendid view of the Weyr, which… Mur’dah’s mention of parts she hasn't yet seen draw brown eyes back to him bright with curiosity and a lift of brows. Really? The question comes out of nowhere for her and her expression is almost comical. Her eyes quiver fractionally from side to side as she ponders. Is this a trick question? Raelii has seen stock mating, canines and felines too, for that matter. So she can… guess? "They… have sex?" She supposes, anyway. "And then lay eggs that hatch baby dragons?" She smirks, "I mean, I'm pretty sure they don't have puppies!" What's all that umming about over there, Mur'dah? She giggles, "Why d'you ask?"

Mur'dah laughs at that, the sound almost relieved as he lets some of his tension go. Only to build it back up again in his own mind. "Well, yeah. They fly and they twine and then…yeah. Eggs and hatchlings and all that. But, uh. When a dragon rises, it affects the riders. Uh. When a /queen/ rises, it affects /everyone/." He turns to look at her. "Non-riders, too. Everyone gets very…um. Frisky." Cough. "It's not like people have orgies in the living caverns or anything, but…I didn't want it to surprise you. I used to just hide in the woods, or take a long run down the beach. I didn't want to…you know. Be…influenced by all that…um. Lust. And…you know. Do something I didn't really want to do…" He coughs, his cheeks flaming red as he glances at her and then away.

Raelii stares at Mur'dah, noting his stammering and flushed cheeks. She did not know this and yet, without missing a beat, she puts her hands on her hips and feigns an offended air that might almost be believable if it weren't for the dance of her brown eyes, saying with a toss of her head, "Hmph! You don't want to get frisky with me! So I should keep away from you when a gold rises in case the…influence?… might force you into it. I get it." Does she get it? Not really, no. She also might be misunderstanding that 'frisky' does not mean flirty-games. Innocence, thy name is Raelii.

Mur'dah coughs, pushing hair away from his forehead and grinning a bit, glancing at her and then away. "You should keep away from /everyone/. Some people get a little…grabby. Most folks find a partner and go somewhere private to have sex and whatever. So yeah. Just warning you, so it doesn't take you by surprise." Cough.

Oh, so he's not going to answer that, is he? "Have sex and whatever?" Raelii boggles a little bit at his phrasing. "What else do they do?" Curious minds want to know! "Do I have to go hide? Can't I go watch? I've never seen a mating flight before." It's likely going to take her by surprise anyway, especially if she's not aware when a flight is going up and the feelings so associated may be a tumble of confusion. "Can you come let me know when one starts?"

Mur'dah coughs again, his cheeks bright red now, the color reaching up to his ears and down his neck. "Well, like…kissing and touching and…um…and stuff. And yeah. Go hide. There's nothing /to/ watch, the dragons fly up really high and sometimes far away from the weyr, so…yeah. Nothing to see. Just hide." Then he turns to stare at her. "Come…can…uh. Well. I can tell you when one is close to starting, maybe? But Kalsuoth usually chases, so I'm kind of running to the feeding grounds…unless it's mom's gold flying. Then I leave for a few days so I'm sure I'll miss it. But I can try. But. You'll know. You feel all…like you want…things. And…people will be talking about it. The gold will glow before, so…yeah. You'll know." BLUSH.

Oh Mur'dah gets involved in flights? Raelii awards him a very curious look. She has no idea what he's meant by 'affects the riders' - her experience with flights is nil and his explanation has left huge, gaping holes in what actually occurs between the riders of the female and the male who catches her. Still eyeing that red blush - and with interest too - Raelii says too brightly, "Okay, sure, I'll go hide." No she won't. She'll be sneaking through the woods to go watch. ESPECIALLY now that she's aware his dragon chases. He said he’d be heading for the feeding grounds, so if Raelii sees Mur’dah on running cross-Weyr, she’ll know what’s up. Thanks for the tip, Mur'dah!

Mur'dah /eyes/ her for a long moment. Deciding if he wants to believe her, clearly. And in the end…it's just too embarrassing to continue the conversation any longer so he just nods. "Right. Great." He eyes the sky and the angle of the sun, and flashes her a grin. SUBJECT CHANGE. "Come with me? I want to show you something." Yes, that /is/ a subject change. Promise. I sware.

Raelii is wide-eyed innocence as she looks back at Mur'dah. Though this conversation has been interesting and she's not the least bit embarrassed by it, her curiosity isn't being sated here and so she's quite easily redirected. Something to show her? "Okay!" She scrambles to her feet, heedless of the edge and the sheer drop to skip to the door leading inside. That's where she'll stop and let him take the lead because… she doesn't know where they're going.

Wide-eyed innocence is /bad/ in a weyr, and Mur'dah fidgets a little bit before he's leading her down the stairs and outside. Then he reaches for her hand with a shy little look. "One of my favorite things about the weyr. I kept wanting to show it to you, but it was never the right time…" Literally.

It SO is! And yet the numerous people wandering the planet now that there is no Thread guarantees an influx of such types, so here she is! Likely Raelii's in for more than one surprise, aside from the one Mur'dah has in store for her. Favorite things? After the talk they just had, she cannot guess. Her fingers curl with unselfconscious ease about his hand when he reaches for hers and she directs a look full of curious anticipation up at him. "Really? I can't imagine what is better than the stars over the sea from Kalsuoth's back but I'd love to see it!" She allows herself to be led, trustingly to wherever he's going.

Mur'dah gives her hand a squeeze and grins at her. "Well…I don't know if this is better than /that/, but…it's still great." Along the path to the beach, the cool breezes drift towards them from the sea and Mur'dah waves to a few folks he knows that are relaxing on the sand. The sun is almost setting, but hasn't yet begun to kiss the horizon, and the low layer of clouds promises spectacular colors once it sinks far enough. Along the shoreline, Mur'dah stops them near a large tree, the low limbs wide and perfect for climbing. "Up we go," he says with a grin, before he lets her hand go and wipes it on his pants before he begins to climb.


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.

Not…better? And yet it's his favorite thing about the Weyr? Raelii is all the more curious now and so laughs and will wait to see rather than peppering Mur'dah with questions. She doesn't know anyone on the beach but waves gaily to them anyway. She's in a great mood! (She does, on occasion, have those downs to her ups, but today is not one of them) She eyes that tree. She eyes Mur'dah. Really? She can SO do this! And so she waits until he's on his way up before scooting up monkey-fashion after him. "So what's up here besides us?" she asks from below as they make their way up.

/One/ of his favorite things. "The tree?" Mur'dah teases her as he moves onto a thick limb and settles down, his back against the trunk and his legs straddling it. He pats the spot in front of him invitingly, and points. "And the sunset," he says. The drape of the leaves frame the picture perfectly as the sun begins to sink further, casting those clouds and the water below in a stunning array of red and pink, indigo and orange.

Raelii giggles and rolls brown eyes as she swings up nimbly to that limb-seat and crouches there to direct sparkling merriment at him. "Not going to the top-? oh!" She half-pivots, still holding onto the branch above her for balance to eye the horizon. This won't do. And so she carefully eases her bottom down to sit on that branch in front of Mur'dah, one leg stretched out along the limb while the other foot remains braced upon it. She doesn't assume he's meant her to lean back against him, so she retains her grip on the branch to prevent herself from wobbling and falling. "It's really nice," she breathes in appreciation of the display.

Mur'dah smiles when she settles, though he might be a tad thrown at her lack of 'omg it's so beautiful!' Still, he's a flexible guy. He recovers quickly enough. "It's one of my favorite sights here. Truly magnificent," he says, and there's no denying the pleasure in his voice. When she settles in front of him he stares at the back of her head for a moment and then gently reaches out to lightly rest his hand on her shoulder. Hesitant, slow. Cautious.

Like she might bite? Or flail and fall out of the tree? But no, Raelii does neither of those things. At the touch to her shoulder, she turns her head and smiles with a question in her brown eyes. She does like the sunset, but her mind is likely on that talk they just had and plans to sneaky-watch the next flight are still percolating in her brain. That and well, she's grown up seeing the splendor of the setting Rukbat from the heights of the high reaches along their caravan route. "Thanks for bringing me up here, Mur'dah. You're just the sweetest brownrider I know." He's the only brownrider she knows, but that's besides the point.

"Aren't I the only brownrider you know?" No, she couldn't sneak that past him, and Mur'dah grins crookedly at her. His hand gently squeezes his shoulder and he licks his lips, looking…nervous. "This is a special spot to me. I wanted to share it with you," he murmurs a bit sheepishly. Then he coughs. "Raelii…have…have you ever been kissed?" Blush.

"Yes, you are," Raelii answers, totally without guile. He is the only brownrider she knows. He wanted to share this special place with her? Aww! He's still the sweetest brownrider she knows! She doesn't get what's up with the nervous look on Mur'dah's face - until he asks his question. Then she looses her grip on that branch overhead and wobbles, flails for it and misses. "No?" she squeaks while trying not to fall out of the tree, still looking at him with a wide-eyed sidelong look. Is he kidding? With Chapar looming? And her brothers skulking about to tattle? The boys in the holds they stopped at avoided Raelii like the plague. It couldn't have anything to do with her tree-climbing, downhill-plummeting snow-skiing ways - surely!

Mur'dah tightens his grip on her shoulder, his other hand coming up to brace against her waist when she wobbles. "Don't fall," he murmurs, watching her. "Would…you like to be?" He's either very cute or very lame.

Is this a trick question? They are sitting in a tree after all. And who's going to say no to the world's sweetest brownrider? Though Raelii has to make sure he isn't setting her up for a joke, so she tilts her head and asks him pertly, "Are you offering? Because I don't think," since he's holding her, she can use both hands to tick off on her fingers, "babies, dogs, cows, parents-" a sudden memory of Kalsuoth's huge maw prompts her to add hastily, "-or dragons should count in this 'like to be'."

Mur'dah blushes crimson at her question - not the reply he was expecting. "What?" he asks, not quite understanding her question. She's throwing off his moves - and he only has a few to begin with when it really matters. Watch him flirt at parties and dance with the ladies and he's mostly charming and suave, but with someone he cares about? He's a mess.

What does he mean what?! Raelii eyes Mur'dah, slowly folding her arms across her chest. She can do this because he's holding her up, lalala! "Are you offering to kiss me? Because if you're not, why'd you ask? I don't wish to be slurped by a canine." Are his Spidey senses tingling yet?

OH. He gets it now. "Yes," Mur'dah answers. "Of course I am. I wouldn't…I'm not…trying to, you know. Trick you or anything. I wouldn't…not…I mean…not with /this/…" He can't say he wouldn't play pranks. She knows he would! But not now. And probably not on her. And definitely not about /this/.

If it's one thing Raelii knows it is that Mur'dah can play EPIC pranks. She smiles sweetly, "Okay, you may kiss me then," she says easily enough. She trusts him, see? But also - she's never been kissed. She has no clue how to go about this. So she just sits there with her big brown eyes - open - on his and waits, all seriousness. He's a polished and experienced brownrider. He can deal, right?

Mur'dah clears his throat and licks his lips. "O..okay," he says, just stammering a /little/ bit. "Close your eyes. I won't do anything weird, promise," he assures her as he scoots a bit closer, tightening his legs around the branch so there's no fear of them falling. His hand on her shoulder lifts to gently cup her cheek, thumb beneath her chin as he smiles at her and waits to see if she'll close her eyes or not.

Close her-? Raelii stares at Mur'dah. "Weird things? Like what?" She watches him scoot closer. Well, that's not weird, because to kiss her he's got to be closer and so she sorta expects that. He cups her cheek and though she doesn't move her head, her brown eyes roll to the side in vain to try and see his hand before returning to Mur'dah's face. She returns his smile, though it's an uncertain sort of smile. Close her eyes he said and instead of asking why she can't watch, she complies: thick lashes lie against the curve of her cheek. Eyes closed, check!

Mur'dah smiles, looking at her for a moment with her eyes closed. She is so beautiful, and his heart lurches slightly before he leans in. And to be fair, he closes his own eyes before he gently presses his lips to hers. He holds it for a moment, lips moving subtly, and then pulls back with his eyes opening again. Well? Was that awesome or what?

Raelii isn't sure what to expect. Sure, her parents give her goodnight kisses but those can hardly compare - besides, they're given to her cheek. Her eyes fly open at the touch of lips to hers. There's nothing to see but blurry Mur'dah-eyelids and so she closes them again. Her lips are soft against his, but she's uncertain. Is she supposed to move hers like he is or-? Oops, he leans back and so her lashes lift to find his eyes upon her, expectant? So… does she evaluate and give feedback? Or simply thank him? She is smiling though, so it couldn't have been bad. So Raelii does neither. Instead she asks, "May I… kiss you back, Mur'dah?"

Mur'dah has a score card, no doubt. An exit survey he'll ask her to complete before she's allowed to leave the tree. When she is smiling he looks relieved, still blushing but less out of fear of rejection. And her question startles him, no doubt about it. But his /grin/, well…that has to be good, right? "Of course!" YES PLEASE.

Rejection?! Psh! Raelii's yet to gush and coo over him but she also thinks he's the cutest brownrider she knows. Perhaps that'll be voiced sometime. She's… also never kissed a guy before (not that she’s kissed girls either!), but she isn't blushing. Perhaps some day something will happen to make her cheeks glow, but this evening she's caught up in this… experiment. Still smiling, one hand reaches for the tree branch above her head, perhaps to steady herself. Her eyes do not close; they remain on Mur'dah's, dancing impish merriment as she leans in then stops a half-inch away and just waits. She'll wait until he opens his eyes again if he's closed them and then, quick as a wink her tongue flicks out lightly across his lips. She sniggers, "Puppy kiss!" swings down from the tree and starts running down the beach.

Mur'dah does indeed open his eyes a bit, and then…w…wha…"Did you just /lick/ me?!" he yells as she swings down and starts running. He stares after her for a moment, conflicted. "I…think she might be too young for me," he murmurs to himself. But he can't just let her go running off on her own, so he quickly climbs down and races after her.

Give her a chance to grow up a little? She's mostly a tease - Mur'dah can thank her brothers for that. And Raelii's led a fairly isolated life on the caravan trails of the High Reaches. She's cackling as she runs, but she's not making a very swift getaway in the soft sand.

Mur'dah, in contrast, is an expert at running on sand, and he quickly catches up to her. "That's not how you kiss!" he protests once he's close enough to not have to shout, his nose wrinkling. But he's laughing at least, amused, as he tries to catch her arm.

Raelii's arm is easily snagged. Her momentum brings her swinging around to Mur'dah, off-balance, and breathless from laughing and running both. "Puppies do," Raelii insists with a grin. She is well aware that she is not, in fact, a puppy and so before she can talk herself out of it, rises on tiptoes to kiss him properly - which is to say - not so properly. It's not experienced and this time there's no tongue involved (heh, sorry Mur'dah!), but it's no prudish peck either. She's still mid-laugh so her lips are parted when theirs meet and her breath tickles his lips with warmth just before hers touch his, lingering for a few beats before she drops down onto the flat of her feet. "Better?" she asks brightly, as though to hide the almost shy note of that one-word question.

Mur'dah catches and steadies her, laughing for a moment. He's about to respond when she's rising up to kiss him and he goes still, exhaling softly against her lips as he kisses her back, gently guiding before she moves back. "Much," he says, letting his arms loosely wrap around her as he looks down into her face. Now…would not be the time for her family to arrive. Hopefully they don't.

Chapar is an unknown element in this equation. He's certainly imposing enough, whether he'd actually do more than bark probably depends on what, exactly, he interrupted. Raelii's brothers? They'd heckle them to death. Arms are looped about her - now Raelii's cheeks bloom with that rosy flush, but she doesn't duck out of them or evade his look. "Oh good," she says with a pleased and suddenly a touch shy.

Mur'dah grins when she blushes, because she looks so dang cute when she does it. "I'm…rather fond of you, Raelii. I'd like to, maybe, sometime, maybe, take you out? For dinner or something?" They've had picnics but this is different. Kind of. "If you want?"

Raelii is pleased to hear that Mur'dah likes her, the deepening of color on her cheeks plainly says that. But she attempts to hide it by gently poking him in the middle of his chest with one forefinger. "Maybe? If I want? You sound so unsure." And she laughs quietly before tipping her head back to pin him with a pert look. "I want."

Mur'dah laughs, looking down at her finger poking his chest, grinning at the gesture. Though his expression wavers when she starts off with 'maybe', his grin returns swiftly along with his blush. "I want to too, but, you know. If you don't want to, I don't want to like, put myself out there if you don't want to…" But she does. She wants, and he grins. "Great." Glancing past her shoulder he suddenly laughs and tries to spin her, pointing into the water. "Dolphins!" he says, just as another one leaps from the water and spins, before splashing back down. "Seen dolphins before?"

With a toss of her head and a sniff of feigned pique, "Some things are worth putting yourself 'out there' for!" And maybe she wants to be won over? But, nah, this is Raelii. She's straightforward with the lack of social pretense. She can't hide the smile that sneaks out after teasing him. That and… she's - most times - easily redirected. She's spun, reflexes bringing her arms curling up over his forearms to keep her balance in the soft sand. With a squeak, "No! Where?" She squints at the shadowy water made purple by the slowly deepening twilight.

Mur'dah considers her words for a moment before he grins and tries to give her another kiss - swift and playful, almost. "True enough. And you're worth the risk." The risk of rejection? Or Chapar? Time will tell as he takes her hand and tries to tug her closer to the water. "There, see? You can hear them too." Another one leaps, turns, splashes with an eager squeak and chitter.

This kiss takes Raelii by surprise and it lands on her mouth. Mur'dah has excellent aim, even in the semi-dark! And she likes surprises! But before she can respond to it, she's tugged, with a laugh, to the water's edge by the hand. She is watching for the dolphins, but she's also watching Mur'dah out of the corner of her eye, just a wee bit flustered. "I see it!" she points with her other hand but the creature is gone in a flash, back under the water. And then, "They're playing?" Because that's what it looks like to her.

Mur'dah nods, "Probably," he says, oh so casually slipping his arm around her waist and holding her against his side. "They love to play." More chirps, clicks and whistles, but the pod is clearly moving past them, along the shore to the south, and begins to fade from their range of sight and hearing. Then all that's left is the moon and starlight gleaming off the gentle sea swells. "Are you happy here?" Mur'dah asks her softly, turning his head to glance down at her again.

Raelii is entranced. Xanadu has playing shipfish! Who knew? She's searching in vain for the dolphins, but in the moonlight sees nary fin nor splash. Sadness! She will now be watching for them when she is at the beach. Surprised again by the arm around her, she allows him to pull her to his side without comment, rests her head against his shoulder only to pop back up and blink at him, her mouth forming a quirky smile, unsure. Has she seemed blue? "Yeah, I'm happy here," she says simply. It's true. "It's an adventure." That pretty much defines her whole life, if Mur'dah can imagine it. "My family is on the way. The ship was held up by weather. They'll be here in a few sevens." Oh… joy?

Mur'dah smiles at her and nods. "I'm glad," he replies, just as simply. Then there's a small frown, fleeting, and he nods. "I'm glad they'll be here soon," he murmurs. Giving her a little squeeze, he shifts away but seeks to take her hand instead. "Let me walk you back to the weyr," he says quietly. "And I'll be in touch about when we can have that dinner, okay?" And with a squeeze to her hand he leads her back home, effectively walking her to her door and - if permitted - will give her a polite and chaste kiss to her cheek. Sweet and simple, before he lets her go.

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