Natural Science (or Geology is e_otic)
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Igen Weyr - Central Bowl

Barren by day, the Weyr bowl becomes a hive of activity at sundown. It is the center of the Weyr's industry — the frequent comings-and-goings of dragon transports are marked by the greeting bugles of the watchrider pairs with the odd flurry of wings and raucous calls of gathered firelizards. During the day, before and after Rukbat reaches its zenith, shadows are cast by the worn peaks at the volcanoes rim that at times look as though they're dancing across the sand — an illusion enhanced by the shimmering of rising heat and light reflected by the lake to the south. Dragons of all sizes and colours can be seen lounging in the sun, soaking up the extreme warmth as if it were going out of fashion. Towards the end of the day or very early morning before the heat becomes too much, activity within the Weyr increases — residents and riders alike helping to load and unload arriving goods and visitors from dragons and regular trade caravans. Every other part of the Weyr branches out from this central location. Many of the lower ledges can also be seen from the bowl; most specifically those of the Weyrleaders and the junior queens.


The desert life is a demanding one, and so the people of Igen are often busy, though they still have their moments of calm and enjoyment. There are moments to gaze at the stars, or play one of many board games, or take leisurely strolls through a musical and perfumed bazaar, or to enjoy thick, sweet klah sipped to the accompaniment of spiced pastries. Jethaniel and Darsce, unlike the inhabitants of Igen, have paid their way in marks, not labor, and their focus has been on those moments of enjoyment. Such moments - for them - include a tendency to emerge late from their rented room. This may be partially ascribed to the fact that they often do not return there until late night or early morning, though retiring early does not seem to correspond to early rising. Today, however, they have done so. It's slightly before sunrise as they leave the caverns and approach the green dragon with whose rider Jethaniel has made arrangements for a trip to one of the outlying areas of Igen, that they may explore its potential for enjoyment.

Enjoyment - of Igen or each other - is a genuine pleasure that has not lost its appeal, not for Darsce. Although being lazily self indulgent is something she's quite good at, she's long been a businesswoman (though some might not understand there is more to her than tripping around in trendy clothing on a runway). It's only been after several days that faint stirrings of restlessness have surfaced - feebly - only to be ignored and dismissed for the more desirable, which might be pursuit of exploring Jethaniel or more of Igen Weyr. Any Igen Weyr has plenty to offer, from that exotic bazaar, to its terraced hydroponics’ gardens, to the salons with facials, wraps, massages and scented soaks to pamper and soften heat-desiccated skin. There have been moments where, she has found herself idly sketching some of the more exotic clothing worn by the locals - especially the trader culture, the colorful, loose-flowing garb unlike any she's ever seen. She's been fascinated with the weave of the fabrics, spent quite some time speaking of the properties and purposes of such rough design with those who sell it, the activity feeding that tugging for her to get back to somewhat of a normal life… even if it's going to be somewhat different for her now. Today though, she's up - early - easy enough since Igen's time is some hours later than Xanadu's. And she's learning to dress more appropriately for the desert too, having purchased a light and loose tunic and trous from the traders' bazaar, the reflective weave recommended to keep heat out and cool in. Upon donning it she plucks it with her fingertips and wails, "I look like a…a…a Shar Pei!" It's an exaggeration, she looks nothing like one, but she's seen pictures of the old Earth canines and it's her ultimate worst complaint upon appearances she can muster.

Jethaniel has been quite willing to linger with Darsce as she discusses fabric and design. Her expertise is significantly beyond his, but he nevertheless has listened in on some of the conversations - and, when he has not, has occupied himself with taking notes on other subjects. There might be a way to adapt some of the water-reclamation technology here to use in Xanadu's greenhouses, and the reflective surfaces used externally might, in variation and turned to interior use, provide efficiency on the sands. He's resisted the urge to write a letter to Xanadu asking for a status report. Thea knows of the existence of that envelope. If he were required, he would be summoned. As he has not been contacted… he is not needed, and as such, he will continue to spend his time with Darsce. If his thoughts wander to craft matters… well, not everything in that pocket notebook he's been carrying around is technical, and the conceptual exploration has been interesting. Today's intended exploration is less metaphorical, and Jethaniel is also dressed suitably… according to local standards. Darsce's standards prove somewhat different. Jethaniel lifts his brows slightly, and grants her complaint due consideration. It is somewhat implausible; nevertheless. "It is somewhat voluminous," he acknowledges. "Would you prefer something else?"

Darsce experimentally flutters the loose fabric in front of that mirror, feeling the air flow and watching it drape. Hm. It's loose; she's unused to such clothing but draping can be…sort of…mysteriously? seductive. To Jethaniel's question, she quips back without missing a beat, "You and a bedsheet!" She smirks and moves to drape her arms around his neck, laughing up at him low in her throat as she waits to see what he says about that before, "No, really, this is fine if you don't hate me in it. I don't want a sunburn and Cyrus' nasty-ointment that makes my skin fall off. (yep, she's convinced that peeling, flaking was all the poor healer's fault). As they depart their room, she tells him, "Though later I'm going to undo the stitching at the neck some." She's also going to have a bad hair day, because she's holding one of those headdress-things the traders recommend for keeping a person from sunstroke too. She'll…put that on only when she has to.

Among the mysteries provided by these garments may be the mystery of hand position; there is sufficient space to potentially obscure a roaming touch… were one to be conducted. Jethaniel's arms do slip around Darsce in return, but merely to rest around her waist. He lacks expertise concerning fashion, but… "The bedsheet may, in fact, be unnecessary." It's with a smile on his lips that he lowers them to brush hers - though only briefly. He does not actually intend to cause sufficient distraction to result in a change to the day's plans. "I do not believe a garment exists in which I would not find you attractive." It's only a moment later that he adds, wry, "…that is not intended as a challenge." But if it were, this particular garment - draping and wrinkly as it is - would not succeed. He provides another kiss as evidence of that fact before he releases Darsce sufficiently that they may depart. He nods to her intended alterations, proceeding with her through corridors that have become familiar during their time here.

Were a roaming touch to be conducted while out where prying eyes would be foiled, Darsce would be giving Jethaniel an admiring look for his creativity. Or knowhow. Or both. And be far too turned on! (Maybe that's good though?) Her lips are smiling as his touch hers, "I can adjust," she says of the bedsheet without a moment's consideration. "I'm not inclined to try and find out," she says of unattractive garments, but his assurance pleases her. The drapes can't really hide her form, she simply isn't accustomed to viewing herself that way. And since the traders assured her a belt would defeat the air-circulation of the garments, she's reluctantly conceded to not wearing one on the tunic that falls below her knees. With loose trous tucked into boots (because venturing into the desert without those is something she's not about to try) she's at least not draped and floofed everywhere; her slim legs are encased in some fine, thigh-high Igen leather. She returns those kisses with affection and then they're off, her eyes alight with anticipation of adventure. Through those corridors, yes, but who knows what they will find 'out there'?

On the other hand - which is not to be confused with the roaming ones, which may or may not exist - if Darsce were to take as a challenge to discover what garments Jethaniel finds most attractive, he would likely enjoy her attempts regardless of their degree of success at making that determination. For now, he nods for her stance regarding the unattractive ones, and departs the room with her despite the presence of a bed, complete with an (unnecessary) sheet. Through the corridors they go, and out through the caverns to the bowl, where the sky is a rosy grey that promises Rukbat won't be far behind. The Igen-dwellers are scurrying around, busy with tasks before the heat of the day begins to build, and a green dragon and her rider await the two of them. A prolonged hike through the desert sands seemed inadvisable, even given Darsce's change of attire; the alternative means of transport - while permitting a closer view than a dragon flying high enough to not create an incidental sandstorm - even more so.

And so out into the bowl they go, Darce scrambling up the waiting green's side when bidden to mount. She's found riding dragons less of an indifferent means of transportation and more of a pleasure since being on them with Jethaniel and settling back into his arms. The trip - if it is indeed ground-skimming in the pre-sunrise is breath-taking for different reasons and so she is doubly-pleased to watch the landscape rolls by underneath them, noting the rough and rocky mountains in the purple distance first touched by the rising sun as they flush peachy-orange then bronze while the bluish shadows cast fade across the dim lavender desert expanse. The colors are breath-taking and it's likely she's tucking them away in her mind's eye for later use with fabric dyes - if she can re-create them.

Jethaniel likewise mounts the dragon, and given Darsce in his arms, he will enjoy at least one aspect of the coming flight. He does not particularly enjoy the part where the green launches herself into the air, but as she quickly rises, he holds Darsce. The bowl retreats beneath them, the expanse of the desert stretching out below. The dragon flies nearly straight north, and that fact is made more obvious once Rukbat begins to rise, illuminating the eastern sky with those vivid colors. Rukbat's light sparkles on the Igen river and grants further detail to the rolling dunes, and as it edges over the horizon and brings the day, the land they overfly transitions from the dunes of desert to the gentle roll of plains, arable land and fields that make rough squares of matching vegetation dotted with the spots of color that are houses and barns, the herds of bovines or equines grazing in pastures. They continue flying, through stray clouds as the air becomes moister after the desert dryness. Ahead, there's the prominence of Red Butte, a landmark of greater historical than practical import, but before they reach it, the dragon dips. She folds her wings as she descends toward a small valley, half concealed by mist, and prepare to make her landing on a small rise by the edge of a foggy lake.

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Darsce's had second thoughts about that desert now that she's overflown it. The colors change with the lighting throughout the day from shades of grey to mauves, purples, blues then to this - the vivid flush of deep reds, amber, topaz, bronze, orange, rich golden… It's the midday view that she's missed - the temperatures too hot to venture out but now… Now she's tempted and might find the time to go see what Rukbat does to the desert palette with searing light and the shimmer of heat waves. The change in climate does not interest her so much - she's seen the like all her life - and so there's a few backward looks until the desert recedes into a bright gleam of gold dunes shining despite the purple-blue distance. For the duration of the flight, she leans back into Jethaniel, satisfied to be within the circle of his arms. The iron-red dome of Red Butte is eyed with interest; she's heard of this place but never been to it. It is impressive. She is surprised, but not disappointed, when they descend not to it, but to that misty lake. She simply waits, looking around curiously while waiting for Jethaniel to dismount so she can slide down and laughingly land on him (she's his new flight hazard).

Jethaniel also looks out to the colors of the desert, his attention going between the distant horizon and Darsce against him. He prefers to not observe the locales in between, where the dragon's wings beat against the sky. The landscapes and Darsce are both enjoyable. The reminder that all that keeps him aloft is the beat of wings is not one of which he is particularly fond, and he is glad when they reach their destination. He slides from the dragon, and once his feet are solidly on the ground, turns to offer his arms to Darsce. Of all the hazards inherent in flying, she is the one Jethaniel most enjoys, and his arms encircle her once more as she comes to join him. "We may visit the Butte later, if you wish." The rocky prominence is rather prominent against the horizon; it is reasonable to presume it has been observed. However, "This is Smokey Lake. There is a hold on the other side." He makes a vague gesture to the lake itself, and the start of trail that winds around it through the haze of scenic mists.

Darsce is steadied against Jethaniel and regains her feet all the more quickly even if she is reluctant to slip a step away, tossing a, "Seeya to the dragon and rider." It's an improvement over treating them as objects of transportation and nothing more: She means thanks, really! Iceblue eyes flick towards the top of Red Butte, furred by the rising mist. "Sure," she says with a casualness borne of trust; when her new husband has chosen the direction it's so far been quite interesting and she's learned things. "Smo..key…Hold." This may not be trepidation with the destination as much as the humidity is penetrating her heavy flowing tunic and frizzing her hair. This, it is becoming rapidly apparent to her, is not the desert. Aaaand she's over - inappropriately - dressed (not that that's anything new). She eyes the path while raking her fingers futilely through her hair. It's definitely going to be a bad hair day and she hasn't even put that headdress on yet. This is balled up and tucked in the generous pocket of her trous, but if things go more askew with her 'do, she'll dig it out and put it on. "Do they mind… nudity?" she asks flippantly while slipping her hand into his and smiling up at him rather than wailing. (that'll wait until she spots herself in a mirror). Lead this fuzzhead on!

Jethaniel's thanks to those who have transported them are somewhat more clearly stated, though he is primarily occupied with Darsce. He nods to her assent concerning the side trip to the rock formation, produced in prehistorical times but having gained further significance from a human perspective in historical ones. A visit can be arranged, either by runners or draconic detour on the way back to Igen. The details of it are not something with which Jethaniel concerns himself at present. According to some perspectives, the usual problem with Darsce's attire is that she is underdressed in terms of the proportion of her body covered by fabric, but it is true that in others, she is often considered overdressed. Jethaniel's perspective comes with a lingering gaze, and his fingers curve against Darsce's. "It was not a part of my initial assessment," he says, and gives her a smile. "We may ascertain so, if you wish." Her hand in his, he leads her along the trail edging the lake. Through the mists are the shapes of trees and boulders, and it's high enough from the water's edge that the ground here is dry, though there are places where one (or two) could step down to the lake itself, where the water ripples against rocks and little fish and frogs dart around. When they get further around it, they'll see the cliff-face of the hold, facing the lake like a miniature version of one of the old sea-holds along the northern continent's shores with runner-pastures above.

It's true, that people who are more comfortable with casual dress might consider Darsce overdressed most days; today Darsce feels overdressed, but not in formality. Her smile blooms in the wake of Jethaniel's response; she's kidding. "As tempted as I am, I think I'll streak through Smokey Lake…Hold? another day." Aside from the discomfort of clothes meant to work in harsh, dry heat and not humid heat, she forgets about them, instead simply walking beside him and and enjoying the tranquility of the lake. Fish - how cute! Fish usually stay where they belong; she admires them from afar, like they're supposed to be enjoyed. Those frogs though… y'know, Darsce isn't the type to enjoy certain aspects of nature overmuch. So when one decides to get up close and personal - a misdirected hop that lands one on her shoulder - she… well, she spazzes, screaming, "Getitoff! Getitoff! Getitoff!" while the creature just sits there staring at her bug-eyed. Hyperventilating? Ohhh, you bet she is!

"They may appreciate your forebearance," Jethaniel notes with a smile. The hypothetical is closer to a certainty; Smokey Lake is not a cosmopolitan hold. It is, however, a scenic one, with lake and mist and tumbles of rock that can show their sedimentary nature and the effects of aqueous erosion. It is perhaps not the most exciting of places, but excitement is not one of the intended features of this side trip. Variety is, though perhaps they might be more satisfied to find variety by a return to everyday life in its new shape. Jethaniel lacks expertise in indolence; fortunately, he has been able to apply himself to the task of pleasing Darsce during the prolonged leisure periods, a domain in which he is quite eager to gain expertise. Still, the change of scenery seemed reasonable. He looks, as they walk along, to those rocks, to the ripples of the water, to the patterns the fog makes in the air as water droplets behave according to gaseous expansion and are perturbed by air currents generated at a macroscale through Pern's rotation and surface contours and by heating and cooling in the immediate vicinity, the chill of night lingering in the thermal mass of the lake and the warmth of Rukbat above. The wildlife is an element of his observations, but only receives prominence when a certain frog takes it upon itself to draw Darsce's attention, and she, in turn, draws Jethaniel's. His eyes jump abruptly from a cracked boulder to Darsce, widened with concern that seeks a source for her reaction. He finds it in the frog on her shoulder. "Ah." Nature has determined that this trip will be an exciting one. Jethaniel has no aversion to proximity thereto, and so he gives Darsce's fingers a squeeze before releasing them, reaching with both hands to cup them around the frog and capture it. He's done this sort of thing before, and though the frogs of Cove Hold are different ones, the behavioral similarities are sufficient. The result is that Darsce's shoulder is no longer a perch, and the frog is hidden in Jethaniel's hands. He dips his head slightly. "It is gone." By which he means he has it, little limbs scrabbling against his fingers, but he does not draw attention to that fact. "I will be back momentarily." By which he means, as soon as he makes his way down over the tumble of rocks to the edge of the lake, releases the amphibian to those water, and dips his hands to scrub them together briefly and clean them insofar as may be achieved under the circumstances. This is not likely to make them notably more or less clean when concerned from a logical perspective, but from certain emotional ones, it may be a crucial difference.

The holder in Darsce knows whereof Jethaniel speaks and yet she chuckles anyway. "Being chased from their hold with torches and pitchforks is not my idea of a fun time," she notes and quite honestly at that. While she hasn't been remotely bored or unpleased with those prolonged alone times with Jethaniel, this change of activity is interesting and she does enjoy the stroll though the mists, the music of falling water, birdsong and the peep and chirp of frogs and insects. The… visit from one though, yeaaah. Not so much. It's really a miracle that she doesn't go flail-running but running would be stupid because to help her, Jethaniel would have to chase her down. So she stands there with iceblue eyes wide and fixed on her shoulder until his hand closes over it and them she screws them shut. Deep, breaths, Darse, deep breaths. She is still a little pale, and her heart is probably not back to normal but she's calmed back down. She'd… so fail at one of V'dim's wilderness survival outings. "Thank you," she says and with a final shudder, she'll try to put the… slimy visitor from her mind. She has no problem offering her hand to his becaaaause she's not thiiiiiiinking about that frog being in them, nope!

"Nor mine," Jethaniel agrees concerning the eviction which they would like to keep theoretical. The stroll through the mist continues until the frog interrupts their time alone and must be (non-theoretically) evicted. An attempt at flight from Darsce would likely dislodge the intruder, but might encounter other difficulties due to the sometimes-slippery rocks. Jethaniel uses caution in his approach and return, and even so, there are precarious moments. He does not, however, topple into the water. On his return, he takes that offered hand. His own is still somewhat wet, but - fortunately - not slimy. "You are welcome." He conducts an assessment of her state, and does not speculate further on the nature of that visitor. Now… does not seem an opportune moment to share certain aspects of the biological sciences. There may, in fact, never be an opportune moment, but this one is assuredly not. It is, however, a reasonable moment during which to continue down the path.

Darsce continues warily now, but not because she's afraid, mind. Creepy-crawlies are fine as long as they do not inspect her. "I don't know what it was thinking in it's little pea-brain," she mutters. “Sothere, frog! Peabrain! Stay in your lake!” Then in a calmer tone she confesses to Jethaniel, "I'm… not all that great with animals." Understatement? "Except runners," she qualifies. "I've never had a pet." And then, because she's calmed down somewhat as they walk, sways to gently bump his shoulder playfully with hers. Well, being shorter than he is, it's more like his bicep area. "You're pretty good with frogs."

"I expect it was not, as such, thinking," Jethaniel says with a slight smile. "A pea… may be somewhat of an exaggeration." If Darsce wishes to initiate the conversation concerning amphibian biology, he is willing to continue it. He squeezes her hand gently, and nods to her comments concerning animals and the subset thereof that constitute pets. "I have seldom had them. I occasionally kept insects." A quirk of his lips, and he leans back to that nudge for a moment. "I did not keep frogs. I did observe them." Including observations of a tactile nature. He smiles, and after a moment adds consideringly, "There were, however, animals around. Sulliam kept some."

Frogs don't think? Who knew? Certainly not Darsce! The look she awards Jethaniel is skeptical, an 'are-you-sure?' because it landed on her! And doesn't everyone want to jump her? "Why did he (surely it was male?) jump out of his lake and onto me then?" Her smile is less shaky now, as she concedes, "You know more about them than I do." The boys she knew played with slimy, wriggly things and he was one once, so yeah. She will believe him about the brain size. That smile falters when he says he kept bugs. "Whyyyy would you want to… augh." More shuddering and the hand in his tightens briefly. Bugs. They're the worst! It's weird how the imagination works - she's SURE there are things probably even now, sneaking inside those draped tunic and loose pants. "You're past that stage, right?" Please tell her yes?

Frogs think in a way significantly different than humans, that it is somewhat misleading to characterize as the same process… though Darsce's reaction to the frog and his decision to leap onto her may have had similar degrees of consciousness and intentionality behind them. "He may have confused you with a boulder," Jethaniel answers. "Or a tree. It is primarily governed by instincts, not rational thought." And Darsce's shrieking is…? …not being referenced by Jethaniel, that's what. At least she may be assured that an attraction to her is sufficiently strong of an instinct that it is present even in lower forms of life. Jethaniel certainly did spend the occasional boyhood afternoon catching frogs or observing slugs in motion, as well as keeping insects. "Because," he says calmly, "They can be fascinating. Technically, bugs are merely a subset, but… there are some insects that possess significantly distinctive forms of motion," he means creeping and crawling, "and others that change their form through cocooning and metamorphic behavior." There's a slight dip of his head for her final question. "I have not done so since I was a child. My involvement with the biological sciences is minimal." He does not have, nor desire, a butterfly collection. Nor an ant farm.

A rock or a boulder? Darsce splutters at the suggestion, "Then he (yes, still a 'he') needs glasses!" she mutters. See, in Darsce's mind it’s completely rational to shriek and flail when something nasty lands on her. She might need some aversion therapy? Because alternatives haven't occurred to her. She listens to Jethaniel's so-calm elaboration of insect behavior. Distinctive forms of- She swallows a laugh, half dismayed, half of fond disbelief that anyone would be so fascinated with the creatures, but this is Jethaniel so. "Yes, they fly at you, get in your eyes or hair, sometimes crawl down your shirt, bite sting, spray their stinky scent- augh!" Another shudder follows as she exclaims, "And don't their scratchy feet creep you out?" Ohhh there's relief at the assurance he's not still studying them and this does restore some of her equilibrium as they walk down the path towards that hold.

"I would suspect he is not motivated to do so," Jethaniel says of that frog's acquisition of corrective eyewear. "The difference is quite significant." At least from his perspective, which is notably disjoint from an amphibian one. It is also, on the matter of insects, disjoint from Darsce's, though he nods to the behaviors she describes. "They may." Among various other actions. "Insects are not necessarily pleasant, but they are interesting." The two concepts are often significantly disjoint, though there are certainly elements where they overlap. Jethaniel tilts his head, looking to Darsce, and smiles. "There are a great many interesting things." Including insects. "I have refined my focus." Such that it does not, at this point, include insects to any significant extent, though he still acknowledges certain aspects of them as potentially interesting. Jethaniel will, however, leave their further investigation to others. An alternative subject for exploration is the hold ahead of them. The original structure is carved into the side of the valley, as it was constructed during the era of thread. A few of the outbuildings were constructed from that stone, but more modern wooden ones have been built up around it. There's a wooden dock with a few small boats tied up against it, and there are assorted holdfolk going about their days, either in the courtyard here or further up in the pastures where the runners are kept, including the iron-grey draft stock for which Smokey Lake is known… at least in certain fields. It is not particularly well known in general, nor often visited, and as such, their arrival will draw some attention. The proportion of that attention which will be due to the current state of Darsce's hair is somewhat indeterminant.

"Probably not," agrees Darsce with a smirk of the frog. A smirk which morphs to mystified uncertainty as she awards Jethaniel a look in the wake of his stated interest in insects. Even as she suppresses another shudder, her lips tug sideways into a reluctant curl; he's so endearing when he's all earnestly-absorbed into science! "Oh have you?" she asks, her smile freed to sneak across her face a little more. "Focused on what?" Would that be…technology, stewarding or…? Those draft runners in the field are given a look of appraisal. Not that Darsce is an expert in runners by any means; she has an eye for quality blooded riding stock but that's as far as her interest-driven ability goes. She takes in the boats bobbing at the dock, the picturesque field, the looks of veiled curiosity they're being given. Not that she's ever been to a remote hunting/fishing cothold, but her father has described them to her and so she assumes this is one of those sort thus she asks, "Are we here to fish?" Because he's baiting the hook if they are!

Fortunately, Jethaniel's current interest in insects is an abstract one, part of his general absorption with the nature and mechanisms of the world around him. As such, this specific interest is unlikely to manifest in his actions without an exterior influence to draw it out. Darsce, given her aversion, is the opposite of that, and Jethaniel is quite willing to limit his explanation and verbal exploration of the topic when it arises in her presence. He does, after all, have other things to focus on, and he inclines his head to her in a nod. "That," he says, and lifts her hand in his, "depends on the moment." His lips brush lightly to the back of her hand, and he smiles. "It is, however, often technical or logistical." But not always. He also looks about the hold, his attention more for the structural components than the biological ones, then returns his gaze to Darsce. "We may, if you wish." There's a flick of his eyes to the boats, verifying their presence. Fishing would, in fact, be possible. "Or go riding to Red Butte." It's near enough, and surely the hold has non-draft runners available. These are potential ways to spend their day, and Jethaniel acknowledges them as such prior to stating the intention he had when arranging it. "The hold adjoins a natural limestone cave. It is an interesting perspective on sedimentary rock and aqueous erosion."

Fortunately indeed! Because if the entomology bug had bitten him (ha!), Darsce would likely have run screaming from his quarters that first morning - either that or gone queasy and lost her five mugs of klah all over his bedsheets. As it is, they're both fortunate something large, flicky-winged, spidery-legged and capable of making buzz-clicking noises at her hadn't landed on her shoulder instead of the frog. The results would have been epic. "I see," she says watching as his lips brush her hand. Her smile has grown both amused and pleased as she ascribes her own meaning to his words. Logistical indeed! Or maybe he meant them as she took them, she never really can tell if he's meaning to make those kinds of innuendos. Her answer to fishing is a hasty assurance, "Nono, that's quite alright. I'm sure the fish would prefer not to be caught anyway." Do. Not. Want. As for the rest, she considers, "Ah yes. Geology." And then she smiles. "Let's go see that cave then." Because she's… never been in a natural cave and surely the worst that can happen in there is getting dripped on, right?

The neat trays in Jethaniel's quarters contain gears and screws, not insects, and he could likely not even identify that hypothetical insect. He might, on occasion, still watch the aerial progress of a dragonfly or observe the geometric properties of a spinner's web, but he's more likely to be gazing at the stars or the planes of a construction project - and those spinners who attempt to build webs indoors will find themselves escorted to a more suitable exterior locale… as did that frog. At least it, being a predator of insects, is responsible for a reduction in the probabilty that one will encounter Darsce? She is, however, likely attempting to not think about any of the aspects of that situation. Fortunately, there are alternative topics for consideration, such as Jethaniel's fields of expertises and his plans for them. His smile is pleased for her amusement, and he nods regarding the fish. "I expect so, yes." He is, further, not really the fishing sort; while he has the patience, he lacks the motivation. Geology, on the other hand… his lips quirk for Darsce's phrasing. "Indeed." Jethaniel awaits her consideration, then returns her smile as he nods. "Let us do so." Because looking at hard protrusions that drip is a suitable way to spend a honeymoon.

Some insect enthusiasts frame their collections and hang them on their walls. Darsce, lover of fashion, decor and art, would notice those and freak accordingly. Bugs - as she thinks of them - all belong outside and were Jethaniel to scoop one up of his own free will, he'd be given another of those looks of awe for doing so. Her mind carefully blanks out the thought that those creatures enter - and even live inside human habitations sometimes. Those inspections she does are nothing like the one she will do if she actually finds evidence that they have. And so, she nods agreeably to accompany her husband into the chamber where they will behold the wonders of seepage through organic material and the resultant chemistry upon geologic bodies.

Fortunately, Jethaniel is not nor ever was an enthusiast by such measures. Most of the insects he captured were not kept for longer than a few sevens, with their release into the wild often corresponding with his mother noticing their presence. The tendency of the mind to avoid certain unpleasant facts is an adaptive mechanism. For now, the topics of insects may recede, just as the organisms themselves find burrows and hiding places, whether in a forest tree, a human house, or underground. Jethaniel leads Darsce to the caves, a path that takes them through part of the hold to obtain a glow-basket. The cavern's access was found by accident while constructing the hold, and there's a series of caves where pale rock spires hang from the ceiling and rise up from the floor. The sound of dripping is constant but not quite regular, as the water builds up on stalactites and falls down to stalagmites. In some places they've joined to make columns, while in others the rock has been deposited in delicate-seeming threads. The water table is relatively high, and so there are pools of water here and there, reflecting the glow-light.

Point in Jessa's favor: No bugs in the house. But yes, adapting! Darsce's done that all of her life and she does that now while beholding the wonders of that cave by imagining dripping shapes as not merely rock, but other things. An occupation she'll be happy to share with him amongst geological facts he no doubt shares with her. With a tilt of her head and the closure of one eye to be sure, "Huh. That column over there looks like one of those armless statues I saw in a booklet printed from Aivas files. It just needs a little shading here and there…" The form is really graceful, beautiful, exotic, a natural work of art. Darsce's summation after viewing a few erect stalagmites rising from the ground and that column? A sidelong look towards Jethaniel and a drawled, "Geology is hot."

Jethaniel has a variety of geological facts he is capable of sharing, and - given that Darsce is a willing audience - he does so. He also listens to her as she re-interprets the rocks in new ways, tilting his head and considering the shapes. Most of the time, he agrees; occasionally, he suggests a variant shape that seems, to him, more likely… if one is to ascribe a symbolic meaning to these shapes. They'll likely get dripped on, as they wander through the cavern, but it's merely water with a high level of dissolved minerals… as Jethaniel has explained. He considers the column as statuary, and nods. "It is… evocative, while being imprecise. Further detail would have to be applied carefully, or it might obscure that which, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, we perceive." The words are contemplative, Jethaniel's perspective on geology appreciative. Darsce's summary thereof makes his lips twitch upward. He could tell her how Pern has a molten core, the nature of lava and how it leads to igneous and metamorphic stone… but he has already done so on a prior occasion, and so he instead lifts her hand to his lips (though he's already done that as well). Nevetheless; he kisses her hand, then tilts his head up just enough to look at her and explain, quite earnestly, "So are you."

As a topic, rocks are safe - and also hot - but once formed solidly are usually safe, unless they're thundering down a mountainside towards the beholder. Moreover, since some of them are used for things like jewelry and art and decor, Darsce is an avid learner of those facts Jethaniel shares, squirreling them away to spout later when there's an indecisive shopkeeper eyeing her designs. Her smile will flicker from amused, to fond to secretive depending on what those shapes are that Jethaniel suggests and if they're science-like things, while she may not see them, she won't disagree. She's pleased with both his compliment and the kiss to her hand, even though between drips landing on her - which aren’t helping her hair - she's caught a glimpse in one of those pools of just what havoc the humidity has wreaked upon it. The cave, as the desert, is full of color, these more muted and blended but still quite enough to capture her interest and she'll remain relaxed unless they encounter unexpected wildlife. If that happens, the sound properties in this cavern will be demonstrated quite audibly.

There may be cave-fish in some of the deeper pools, but if so, they have the courtesy to remain beneath the surface, under the tiny floating rafts of black-speckled white stone that have formed on still water over the turns. Jethaniel is pleased to discuss both physical properties of stone and the symbolic ones of the structure, and while he certainly seems to observe Darsce sufficiently that he must have noticed her hair, he makes no comment on nor reaction to it, simply continuing to wander with her and observe the colors and shapes of the cave. He does not suggest that they venture through any of the narrow crevices nor attempt any of the more difficult transits, but there's still a fair bit to occupy them until their stomachs inform them it's time to retreat and seek a lunch, whether here or after a return to Igen through the blazing heat of the noontime desert.


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