A Bad Idea

Xanadu Weyr - Coastal Road


This coastal road runs parallel with the edge of beach that stretches endlessly beside the Caspian Lake. From coast to inland the dunes of the beach grow smaller and smaller until they eventually peter out into nothing but small moguls in the sand. The path is eventually seen to be blocked by a river that reaches the lake just south of the point where the road turns west and crosses a grassy meadow towards a sturdy wooden bridge that can be seen in the distance.

It has, in retrospect, been a long day for Tenebrous. To avoid travelling with an injured apprentice during the daylight hours, the two healers started out in the early hours, and he's never stopped. A morning meeting with the Senior Weyrwoman and his customary visits around the Weyr done, it has left him with only one thing left to do.

Go see Mom.

Along the coastal road, his long coat is open to let the breeze, such that it is, ruffle him as it may. His hood still rests low to keep the sun's light away from his eyes, and he peers here and there, looking for something. But as he rounds a bend, the object of his search looms up before him. He changes his direction, angling over to the Gold that lounges nearby.

Seryth lies in what little shade the wilted and dried canopy above provides from the afternoon sun and the simmering heat of the bone-dry summer. Awake, but relaxed, her eyes are half-lidded and whirling a peaceful blue as she reclines on her side with neck and wings outstretched. Her chin rests on the ground, head angled towards the lake, where no doubt blue Siebith is hanging as he is wont to do, within the cooler depths of the lake. Rapidly-drying hide is still water-spotted, giving evidence that she has, until recently, been in the water with him.

Tenebrous makes no pretense of stealth on this particular visit. That portion of what he was is gone now, as is the part of him that cared for prying eyes. He pushes his hood back a little as he makes the last few steps of his approach, stopping some few feet from the tip of Seryth's maw and leaning in a little. "Would that we all had it so easy," he chides her. "A dip in the pond, and then laying out on the ground for the sun to dry us." Then he purses his lips. "Actually, now that I think about it, that's what I do with most of my afternoons." He shrugs with a grin. "Hello there."

Seryth doesn't move as Tenebrous approaches, save for her eyes, which idly track his progress down the road. She whuffs a warm breath, strong enough to stir that coat of his as he stops before her muzzle, a rumble of greeting follows his words. She remembers him.

Tenebrous smiles, leaning down a little and extending a hand for scratching along the unside of her jawline. For a moment, he simply looks at the dragon as a whole, eyeing her flank up and down before he turns back to look into her eyes. "I need your help with something," he murmurs to her. "And, to be honest, you're one of the only ones who can help. Do you remember Stormhaven? My home?"

Inside the Weyrbarn, Thea sits at her desk writing a letter. She's just gotten the words, "Dear Lairgnen, may I introduce-" when Seryth's gentle touch interrupts her with a faint rumble of thunder and the uneasy stirring of leaves, rainscent accompanying her words « The healer who saved you is here.» A pause, puffs of cooler air, erratic in nature continue, « He seems to want something. »

Seryth rumbles again, tilting her head just a bit so her jaw is more accessible, her lids closing one by one. Scritches are good! There is no answer forth-coming from her, but a few moments later the door of the weyrbarn opens and Thea steps out onto the porch, eyes immediately seeking Seryth and the form by her. She takes a moment for an indrawn breath to steel herself before walking down the steps and towards the pair, her face sober but not unfriendly. Shuttered, wary surprise might be closer to it. She stops an arm's length away, cautiously she asks, "Seryth told me that you seem to want something?"

Tenebrous doesn't stop that scratching, even after he hears that door open. He knows those footsteps, he probably always will, so he never even bothers to look up. Just hunkers a bit lower to the ground and brings his other hand to bear, loving on the gold's jowels and bone structure. "You couldn't just answer the question, could you, Mom," he murmurs, but there's no displeasure in his voice. Only mild amusement. When Thea is finally close enough for him to talk without raising his voice at all, he murmurs, "Seryth is quite correct, though what I want is from her. Not you." One corner of his mouth twitches in a little smile. "Not yet, anyway." In his mind, he fashions a picture of the waterfall, and of the forest. Of the air, and how it looks from above, on approach by dragonback. And then he quietly offers the picture up for any Gold that might just happen to be listening. "Do you remember?" he asks the Gold again, voice still quiet, still curious.

Thea nods, in that same careful way she's had around Tenebrous for several months now. "I see," her evenly-voiced words carry no surprise, but quite a bit of puzzlement, which only increases at the last three words he speaks. There's a blank wait until the healer presents another question to her queen. "She… can't hear you, Tenebrous," the weyrwoman offers apologetically. Softly, "I'm sorry. I remember how much it meant to you." Indeed, there is genuine regret for him there in face and tone. " It's my fault… she's picking up on my-" Unsure how to word it any other way, "confusion." is the word that comes out. She waits for a beat, then asks warily, "What do you want with her?"

It is, perhaps, unfortunate that the first real emotion that has crested on Tenebrous' face since the rift between him and Thea arose is sadness. But there it is, proof that, despite the things that have transpired, the man still feels. It's guarded with a smile, but it's there, in his eyes. In his posture. "Oh," is all he says, and for a moment, he simply holds Seryth's head in his hands, his scartches changing to soft little strokes. It takes him a moment to gather himself in the face of that, and he shakes his head a second later, letting his hands drop from Seryth's jaws. "Uhm…" He shakes his head agai, trying to clear it, and slowly stands up, and then looks at Thea for a moment, blinking. "It's…Stormhaven." He looks away again, back down to Seryth. "I just…wanted to know if she remembered Stormhaven. That's all…"

And perhaps it is at least telling that Thea notes that sadness and is able to reflect it - at least compassion for his loss. "Perhaps someday, sometimes. It's really very unusual, you know, for dragons to hear people other than their riders." But he'd know that, growing up at Xanadu. "She doesn't hear D'had. I don't hear Siebith." A shrug follows this admission as if it's something that just occurred to her. She shifts her weight, leaning back against Seryth's shoulder. "I can ask her," she offers as her eyes lose focus for a moment, then close slowly as she concentrates. Her head drops back against the hide behind her, lids flicker. After a few more protracted moments, they open slowly to meet the healer's, "She remembers." Perhaps via Cila the picture comes, the falls frozen and silent, the area blanketed by snow, heavy and abundant. Bare branches and tall firs are bent under the load of snow tinted the same hue as the lavender of twilight, under Timor and Belior.

Tenebrous twitches a little with that image in his mind, and almost involuntarily, he asks a silent question that nothing hears. Then he blinks a few times, willing the image from his mind. "So she does," he murmurs. Then he shakes himself a little and offers, "That's all I needed to know…" He glances back at Thea. "I should've…just asked you or something. Or…sent my apprentice or something, I…" He rubs one side of his face again, an echo of a gesture from so long ago. "Sorry to interrupt you…" One hand reaches up to tug his hood a little lower and he turns.

There's an unstated grief fading to patient resignation in Thea's eyes along with that fading picture when Tenebrous glances her way. "Why'd you want to know if she remembers Stormhaven?" The question is re-stated with increased anxiety in Thea's words. A tiny wrinkle of concern forms between slim dark brows. She brushes away as unimportant his apology for the interruption, "Something wrong up there? I saw the reports of felines…" Her voice trails away uncertainly.

Tenebrous takes a few shuffled steps away before turning to look back Thea's way. "They're out there," He say as quietly. "I was…" Despite everything, some part of that nervousness has crept back into his voice, a memory of someone that seems so distant now whispering, 'They have good water here…' Tenebrous inhales once. "I talked to… the Senior Weyrwoman… I was going to try and make her a more detailed map. " He gestures to the Gold. "Seryth's… really the ony one who's seen Stormhaven from the air and known what to look for. Repeatedly, that is." He shakes his head again. "It's alright. I'll take care of it."

Thea blanches at the change in the healer, a look of alarm ripples across her face before she schools it to detached calm, forcing her to focus on the current topic. "Well, so what do you need? Images from her? She can transmit them to Cila maybe?" Not quite understanding, but she's trying for the sake of the Weyr's safety. "Or a flyover?" Puzzled, she continues, "Search and Rescue riders would be more trained to pick out landmarks and map them. I'm… still new at it." A glance over her shoulder to the weyrbarn, "Or D'had and Siebith could take you up? They've also been there several times." Her head turns back towards him, her lips twitch into a semblance of a smile, "Can fly there straight. No need to go *Between.*"

For just a moment, the thought of kissing D'had flickers through Tenebrous' brain, accompanied by memories of going *between*, and he laughs alittle, shaking his head. "No," he offers, his voice a bit more firm. "No, I don't think I'll do that." Despite the summer's heat, something has him slowly fastening his coat. "Search and Rescue doesn't know what to look for. I do. It's my home." For just a moment, he smiles. "Such that it is." He looks back to Thea. "I'll take care of it. I'd thought about having…" He exhales. "I'd honestly thought about having Seryth help me do the flyover, but, I don't think that's a good idea. I'll speak with Malchisibeth."

"If she's not hearing you, flying on her wouldn't be safe," Thea's agreeing soberly, a blink of confusion for the look on the healer's face. She's not aware of what he's thinking, which is probably a very good thing. She nods about Malchisibeth, "That's probably your best bet, then. Kinda wonder why he wasn't your first choice." Seeing he's flown with the pair more than a few times now. There's a tiny flare of irritation in her tone as she comes to the defense of the S&R wing, "Don't knock Search and Rescue, Tenebrous. You point out what you want and they can map it. They're well-trained, much as you seem to like to assume otherwise." She pushes away from Seryth's side now, turning to head back inside and finish that letter.

Tenebrous laughs then, though it's tired. "Something like that, yes." That Thea's dragon can't hear him never even entered into Tenebrous' equation of 'Not A Good Idea'. Then Thea is walking away and he calls, "Not everything's an insult, Thea. There was a time when you used to take everything I did at face value, instead of reading into it, instead of trying to find…something."

Thea turns when Tenebrous speaks; she's not rude enough to ignore someone. Well, give or take certain bronzers who think they're Faranth's gift to women everywhere. She blinks, considering, her face blank for a moment. She replies slowly, "I… didn't read into anything? I'm sorry if it seemed that way." She sighs, "I think I babied you before, to be honest. I just didn't speak up." So now she's going to! "Sometimes you seem…" she searches for the right way to say this, "disparaging of the weyrfolk and their ability to perform." She holds up a hand to forestall should he defend himself, "While I know there are many folk here who focus on the unprofitable and squander their opportunities to better themselves, there are also some fine, capable Riders here." She gestures to the weyrbarn, "I wouldn't be with D'had if I thought otherwise. D'son, Niva, even K'ael are all highly qualified to help you. Likewise, we have woodsmen who are as skilled as yourself." Something's piqued the weyrwoman, that's obvious. "Just… " she takes a step nearer, "Don't go off by yourself to deal with these felines, okay?" She allows the concern for this possibility to show on her face.

"There was a time for such things," Tenebrous concedes with a lift of his hand. The rest of Thea's statement has earned her a strange little smile on Tenebrous' face, barely seen under his hood amidst the afternoon's light. "You sound a great deal like her," he murmurs, though if the words were intended for her, no one knows. "I rarely find myself alone," he calls, offering a slight nod of his head. Then he nods low to her, and starts back up the road again.

Indeed there was. No longer necessary to baby, for the child-man is no more. She sounds like? His mother perhaps? "Took me awhile to figure that out too," Thea murmurs to herself as she watches him go. For a moment she lingers, before she lifts a hand in silent farewell, "Be careful, Tenebrous." And she pivots on her heel to return to her home and the man she shares it with.

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