I Guess This Is Goodbye

Xanadu Weyr - Caverns
A massive cavern in its own right, this one has been skillfully adapted for human habitation. The high ceilings have been painted a light, soft ivory, as have walls hung with numerous tapestries that provide brilliant color and insulation from the stone. The floor has been left in its natural state, pale pink granite speckled through with glittering mica and dark flecks of basalt. The stone is carefully leveled but kept sufficiently rough to avoid slips.

The cavern itself is loosely divided into areas, each one set up to be suitable for some segment of the Weyr's population. The most frequently occupied area is the one near the Kitchens, where tables of varying sizes provide a place to sit down and eat or chat and a buffet of consumables is almost always kept stocked. It's plain that on most days, this area wouldn't accommodate anywhere near the full population of the Weyr, instead feeding people in shifts as they come off duty. On occasions when a formal meal is laid out, tables are borrowed from all the other areas.

There's also a big fireplace set into the western wall, several comfortable chairs nearby providing haunts for elderly residents or riders who like a good view of all that happens. Rugs cover the floor in strategic spots, all of them abstract or geometric in design and most in the softly neutral colors of undyed wool.

Exits lead off in all directions, the largest an archway to the northeast that leads outside. Near it there's an alcove with hooks for coats and shelves for muddy boots. A tunnel to the east goes to the infirmary, and a set of stairs just a little south of that lead up to the offices and administration area. To the south, a long and sloping tunnel leads down to the hot springs. The kitchen is off to the southwest, while the residents' quarters are reached by tunnels going west, deeper into the cliff.

It's late. Late enough that drinks are many and many of the original feast goers have going-going-gone after getting sufficiently drunk. F'yr is probably only still on his feet because he had to go collect his all-important messenger bag from the office in the few moments of peace he has. He's slipped in and is now slipping out of the administrative hallway with the messenger bag over a shirt that's not buttoned right and looking more or less shell-shocked and exhausted already. RIP F'yr. There's only…. A whole lifetime more where this came from.

The hatching was a whirlwind and in the aftermath Katailea had simply disappeared. The white robe she'd been wearing on the sands left draped neatly over the end of her cot to be washed and returned to the stores with so many others like it and her things gone. The festivities after saw her absent as well, but now that the halls are all but empty and the Weyr is moving back towards 'normal' now she's here, or at least someone that could be her. Maybe she was just good at hiding in the crowd? Or maybe not given her current state, while not drenched (anymore), indicates that at least some of that missing time was spent between caverns at least.

F'yr might have kept going, slipping like the ghost he vaguely already resembles, save for a single glance that takes in familiar blonde hair and— he changes course. If Katailea didn't want a hug, then she should've hidden better. "Katailea," is familiar baritone and the only warning she gets before big arms are seeking to engulf her. "I was worried you'd be gone." Has he found her note? Sounds like not. But evidently he wasn't so dense as it might have seemed to assume she wouldn't vanish on him anyway. "Ow," is with a wince and a groan as he tries to give her a reassuring squeeze and only hurts himself. There's something thick under that shirt, thick like bandages the length of his ribcage.

Katailea should have hidden better then. It could have been easier if people hadn't dispersed so much already. It could have been easier if he'd stayed where she'd expected him to be. It could have been easier if it weren't still storming. As it is she's caught in that hug before she can vanish again which finds her stiffening and flinching at the contact. "Are you.. okay?" she asks, finally finding her voice as she reaches a hesitant hand for his chest, fingers hovering meer centimeters from actually touching. She did feel that extra layer in that hug, gathered the state of his shirt in a look and did hear that noise and even if she was intending to disappear she does still care.

Flinching is no good. That brings an instant release from the big blond. Let it never be said that he intentionally inflicted physical touch when he realized it wasn't wanted. "Cracked ribs. Hurts. It'll heal." F'yr winces anyway because he may be a big man, but cracked ribs still hurt no matter the size of the man. "I'm sorry." For the hug. For the lack of dragon? "Are you okay?" He's worried, it's there in his tired face as he tips his head down, searching her face, his hands moving like they would touch her arms, would reassure himself somehow through that contact but given the flinch, they only hover impotently at his sides.

Someday he'll realize that just because a body doesn't want it doesn't mean its not exactly what they need. "Ouch," the first expression that crosses her features are sympathy for his injury. "Sorry?" Katailea echoes that word, confusion coloring her expression next. Sorry for what? A quick shake of her head follows, green eyes dropping from the man's face to his shirt and lip form a smile as she reaches to fix those buttons. If it doesn't reach her eyes, well… "You look awful." Leave it to her to put it that bluntly and spin it with amusement, because yes that is a hint friendly teasing in her voice at his current state. Goodbye is not one of her strong suites. In the past she's had a few days to get to know people and then leaves with the tide. Months of unexpectedly forging friendships, this moment wasn't supposed to happen. She was supposed to be well on her way to the ocean by now, sharding storms. "Oh!" the exclamation a sudden realization as her hands drop and one dips into a pocket to produce a trio of marks. "I think these belong to you, and Rhodelia and Keruthien."

"I'm sorry you don't have a reason to stay." That's the first clarification. "And for the hug if you didn't want it." Did you think you'd get out of that without an awkwardly straightforward interchange about it, Katailea? F'yr isn't that different from Stefyr, not yet. His lips press together and he looks down at the marks she's trying to give him. Maybe he doesn't even register the value of those pieces. Maybe they don't hold any for him. He rocks onto his toes just slightly and then asks quietly, "Can I kiss you goodbye?" Evidently, the big blond who is so very dense in some ways isn't so dense in that one way some people wish he would be. He must have registered some of what she said because he does look down at himself, and apologetically back up, blue eyes searching her face.

Expect, no. Hope, yes. Then again she was hoping to avoid this exchange all together. Katailea shakes her head, which could be for those reasons he's sorry. Those reasons that she glosses over without comment to answer that question. He has to ask that now? Where was that inquiry this morning? Yesterday. Last seven. Lips press together as her icy green eyes meet his blue in her own searching. If he hadn't asked, but he did and her answer is simple. "No."

"Okay," doesn't come without just the slightest flinch from F'yr and rock back on his heels, but it is unquestioning acceptance. His hands search for pockets to tuck into and find them, fingers hiding away any more complicated feelings along with them. His lower lip ends up under his teeth as the weyrling looks down at the trader. "Can I write?"

Its not that she doesn't want its just… not complicated at all. Some might say it's complicated but it's not. She could explain. She could say that she doesn't want a pity peck. She could say that she doesn't want it mean goodbye. She could say alot of things but she doesn't. Katailea's gaze holds all those unsaid words hidden away as it follows the movement of his hands, and then tracks back to his face. "Of course," he can write her response comes with the quiet lift of the corners of her lips as a smile tugs at them, "If you're not too busy."

"Not for you," he'd like to think. He means it now, in this moment. Weyrlinghood may prove to be more than he'd anticipated but at least he'll try to be a good correspondent. "You'll tell me how to route the letters to find you?" And then, "If you stayed, even just for Leirith's eggs… I wouldn't have to write." F'yr's baritone is wistful in a way that says he has no expectation of this small request swaying her intentions. But he has to try. His eyes are sad as they look down at her, because of course they are. Goodbyes are hard, even if they're really only "so long"s.

Katailea would like to think so too, but she's not setting herself up to expect it. "The Gilded Lily," she provides the name of her family's ship. "Drop them at the docks and they'll get to me." Eventually. Maybe. "I'll try to tell you where we'll be next." And with the addition of a port ahead to be delivered to they'll find her more easily. A shake of her head begins with that next request of his, continuing through each word. "Don't ask me that." Especially with those eyes.

"Okay," it's that word that is real acceptance of her choices, no pressure placed once her decision is apparent. The eyes… well, he can't control those. Maybe F'yr could make an effort to look less kicked-puppy sad about all this if he even knew how his face looks right now. "The Gilded Lily," he repeats. "I'll write." He will. Infrequently, maybe, but he will write. "Will you visit if you're ever back at dock? Come find me?" It's question followed immediately by another of those quiet requests, maybe an easier one this time.

No pressure. He might not speak it, but Katailea can still see it in that look on his face that she tries to ignore. She does nod then, verifying his repetition, acknowledging that he'll right. Agreeing. "If I'm here, I'll try." It's not a promise of certainty, but its the best she can offer right now. "Spring," she adds an estimate on when that time might be. A glance downward finds those marks still in her hand and she reaches to tuck them into his pocket if he's not taking them. "Go get some sleep," the trader suggests. It's been a long night.

Not only is F'yr not taking the marks, but he's looking down at them bewilderedly and trying to stop that hand that is trying to tuck them into his pocket. "What are these?" As if he only just noticed them, and really, he looks exhausted enough that maybe, just maybe he actually just did. At least him looking at her in a perplexed way is better than in a sad way, right?

"I bet on the hatching." Katailea explains, though where she got the pieces to bet with is anyone's guess. Its relatively easy to stop her. "Keruthien, Rhodelia and you." She said it before but not quite in the context with where the marks came from or what they were for. The first time it was an attempt to avoid the whole conversation they just had, now it might be backfiring in keeping her longer. "I figure you three deserve some of it." Perplexed is definitely better than sad, but it's still them standing there, together.

"Why would we deserve some of your winnings?" The bewildered bronzerider blinks at the blonde. F'yr looks stupidly down at the marks, "You're the one that placed the bet." Wouldn't it have been smart of him to do the same? Alas for ideas that come too late. He's trying to close her fingers over the marks. "These are yours. What would we even spend them on?" SORRY, RHODY AND RU'IEN, F'yr's good guy morality is deciding for you, too. "Meat chunks? Bandages momentarily without blood? New shirts?" He glances down at the one he's wearing, whose buttons she fixed. He does seem to go through an alarming number of shirts. This one has an ink stain on it, but no blood yet. It's only a matter of time. But it is one of the blue ones she helped him to find.

Why? Because they're her friends. Because her father doesn't deserve it all and if she's going. "I don't know," Katailea's reply could go for either of those questions. Both even. "Another book? I'm sure you can find something." Surely there's something. "And if you can't then save it for me and when I make it back," if she makes it back, "we can treat ourselves to dinner not from the caverns." Because despite how he can close her fingers over them she's not taking no so easily.

"Bring us something." F'yr's impulse to press this possibility though it may not be any more of a real promise than any of the other words the blonde has offered. "I don't think it's ours, but if you think it is, then get us something. Something small. And bring it back. Because that's the part I want." Too earnest, too painfully real about it, but emotions are raw in this night of such profound change for so many, for F'yr.

"Fine," the word released from her lips with a huff, tone holding an unintended sharpness for which she presses her lips together harder as if that might have stopped it to begin with. Katailea reaches up with her other hand, the one without the marks, fingers gently resting on F'yr's cheek for a second as she lifts a silent smile to him. A smile that touches her lips yet incomplete given the lack of it in those green eyes. Nothing more is said as she side-steps, one hand pulling away, the other opening to spill the shared winnings on the floor as she walks aims to walk away.

"Katailea!" is protest. "Shardit," is mutter as F'yr stoops to scoop up the marks that belong to her and in that poor choice, the moment is probably lost because when he straightens, the snap decision to save her things lost him the chance to save the things that mattered with the woman. "Shit. Idiot." That's him. Starting at the marks a moment, he mutters something under his breath and tucks them into his pocket before daring a quick dart into the caverns to pick up some food and escape with passing congratulations back to the barracks before the first long sleep is over and more is required of him by his new, very demanding lifemate.

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