Best. Assignment. Ever.

Ista Weyr - Southern Bowl
Compared to that of other weyrs, Ista's bowl is small, and incomplete - northwards, one wall was blown clear away several millennia ago, leaving the view clear towards the plateau, the jungles, and the ocean beyond. Somewhat elliptical, the breadth of the bowl seems to run northwest to southeast, the bustling epicenter of the weyr being here, towards the southwest. Several large entrances have been dug into the sidess - northeast are the hatching grounds and south the living caverns, these being the two largest caverns in the weyr. To the east, a smaller entrance leads in to the ground weyrs - the ledges of these line the bowl wall above, often filled with dragons of gold or bronze; westward is yet another ledge, but with a staircase built into the wall, allowing access to the Sable Sands. The infirmary is located nearby, towards the southwest.

Adventure calls! Which is to say, a totally important mission. Definitely crucial, that's why a pair of teens have been assigned to it. There's the super important letter that absolutely must be delivered to this one harper in Ista, and there's no way the rider of the mail dragon these two are catching a ride with could possibly do it. Nnnnope. Flimsiness of their excuse aside, it's all dandy and official, and so Kale and Soriana have hopped aboard a dragon in the cold of Xanadu's winter, and after a moment of the even-colder of between, they come out into the bright blue skies and tropical heat above the island paradise that is Ista. The dragon bugles a greeting to Ista's watchdragon, which is returned in unsurprised kind, then glides down toward the bowl.

ka-el hates, hates hates going between! As if it wasn't already frigid enough with the snow and icicles of Xanadu, he must now bear the nothingness of between with a temperature that makes the weyr's winter seem like a spring day. How he loathes the cold! At least it's a brief thing and instant satisfaction comes when the dark cold is replaces with bright heat. Woah! The suddenness of it is surprising, to say the least, and he's already ready to strip himself of his jacket to reveal the warmer weather clothes beneath. But not now. Now they're still overhead and are descending towards an odd shape below. He hangs on tighter as he peeers down to the volcano's mouth, eyes widening.

Even the warmest of jackets hardly even seem to be there, between. Quite possibly because they're not, exactly… but never mind the technical details, there's Ista! Soriana grins as they come out over the island Weyr, and she leans out to take a better look, trusting in the straps as she leans sideways. How is it she's never actually been here before? How come it can't be their dragons that get sick in interesting ways sometimes instead of those of High Reaches? The jungles beyond disappear from view as the dragon drops straight into that volcano, tucking her wings as she comes in for a landing with the sort of briskness that's hardly surprising in a dragon that's flitting back and forth all day. Of course, it may be quite surprising to a new passenger!

Especially if that passenger has only been on dragonback a handful of times before. Kale's eyes have just wandered towards the plateau when the dragon makes her move to land. Woah, what happened to nice and easy landings? The word that jolts from his mouth is a grunted curse as his grip tightens on a hold. Not that there's any real chance of him flying off and falling to a neck breaking death, right? Right! Dragons are the safest way to travel! But even so, Kale is not too sorry to dismount from the green's back and get his feet on solid ground again. Unfamiliar solid ground at that! "It's shardin' hot here," he comments, though not with complaint as he peels his jacket off, patting an inner pocket to make sure that super important letter is still there. "Their beaches must be wicked. Idrissa would love it here."

Lucky Soriana, she's been on dragon backs many a time! So, when the green tucks in for her landing, she just swings herself back to center over the dragon and takes the landing without curses, unfastening her straps and hopping down. "Thanks!" she says to the rider, then grins to Kale. "It is," she agrees, undoing her own jacket because otherwise she'll be a puddle in five minutes flat. "We'd better check 'em out," she agrees, with a glance out north to where the jungle creeps up to the edge of here. "But first-" She's interrupted by a carol from Haruhi, the gold appearing overhead and proclaiming her pleasure with all this lovely warm. It's so nice. Why can't there be more of this, hmmm? Soriana laughs, and waves a hand at the gold firelizard. "Well, go on, scout the beaches for us why don't you?" Haruhi trills, and for once, she doesn't argue, gliding off toward (presumably) a beach. Probably because she wanted to do it anyway.

And not far behind that headstrong gold is Alloy, appearing in a flurry of wingbeats. It's about time Kale got himself to a warm place! Alloy has been trying to tell him that there are far more comfortable places to be than holed up in the snow! And so of course it is because of his insistent mental pictures of fun times and green lizards that Kale is here, and thus Alloy is happy and shows such emotion with acrobatic swopping overhead, pausing only to hover above Kale's head to bat and claw at his hair. Happytimes! "Ow, hey.." Kale ducks, half glaring, half smirking up at the bronze who takes off after Haruhi. He shakes his head, straightening. "I'll be lucky if I see him again before the end've the day. If he sticks with Haruhi though I may have a chance." A smirk. "This harper shouldn't be hard to find, so let's save that for later." Save the only task you've been given for last. Grand idea! "Let's see what this place has to offer. I feel like I'm trapped in here," he comments, eyeing the border of the bowl lingering on that blown away section.

All good things happen through the intervention of firelizards. Doesn't everyone know that? It's the truth, is what it is. Haruhi trills to Alloy, and her flight turns more toward the aerobatic as he follows her. Up and around, zig and zag, oh, won't you come chasing me? All the way to a nice warm beach! "If she stops showing off long enough to actually stick around anywhere," says Soriana with a laugh, watching them for a moment, then turns back to Kale. Leave their duties till later? Sure! "Besides, we can just leave it at their crafters' hall, when we find that." Which they're bound to do, sooner or later, right? "So…" Where to now? She tilts her head, looking out at the northern bit as well, then back to some of the cavern entrances around. Or, oh, there's those stairs, where do they go? So many directions to explore!

If they leave it up to Haruhi and Alloy, Kale and Sori will never see an Ista beach and all fun will be had by the firelizards instead of themselves. "True…" he states with a shake of his head. He's not planning on seeing either one of those showoffy 'lizards within the hour! His eyes draw back to Soriana now at her indecisive sounding word, and he begins to smirk. "What? You haven't a plan?" he says, feigning shock. "Y'mean on the flight over, you didn't make an agenda in your mind of what you want to see or do in order of importance?" He clicks his tongue and shakes his head, as if disappointed. "Ah, that doesn't matter. We have the whole day! So .. I'll make it easy for you. We start either in here," he twirls a finger once in gesture to the bowl "or out there" a point to the bowl's gaping exit.

"Me?" retorts Soriana, her eyes widening. "I didn't even know about this until you came striding in with your elaborate schemes! What, you wasted all your energy on trying to trick me, and never bothered to figure out what we'd be doing when we got here?" She rolls her eyes, grinning, and then stalks off northward. Definitely stalking, yep, and never mind the grin. This is first rate indignance here! … if indignance were anticipation.

Ista Weyr - Northern Bowl
The three remaining walls of the weyr caldera rise upwards toward the tropical sky, the tightly packed ground black with the volcanic sand Ista is well-known for. This is the quieter end of the bowl, narrower - it's certainly no perfect circle - and somewhat more sheltered, even with one wall missing, the bowl floor spilling out into the plateau. To the west, just at the edge of what is left of the bowl wall, the feeding grounds are located, the braying of animals audible at all times of the night and day, chimed in by the sound of movement from the training grounds to the southwest, and the weyrling barracks to the east.
The plateau spreads northward, greenery reaching the edge of the bowl floor, allowing a remarkable view of forest and ocean, spreading as far as the eye can see downwards from the weyr. Above, the Star Stones are visible just towards the west, and far above, as are the pockmarks of ledges and weyrs that line the bowl walls.

Why yes, Soriana, that's exactly what he did, for it's the delivery of the news of the trip that's more important than the actual trip itself….right? Kale crosses his arms as she stalks off and leaves him, watching her go with a smug expression etched across his face. "You know you'll have far less fun on this trip without me!" he calls on her wake, stubbornly letting her get a handful of feet further away before he follows after her. "Actually, without me I know you won't even want to be here, you'd be so bored and sad without me. I bet you'd even… woah." The black surface below his feet is certainly cause for attention, as is the plateau that spreads before them. His eyes turn at a blessedly familiar sound: Feed animals. "Guess some things are the same no matter where you go," he snickers.

Entire handfuls of feet! Why, Soriana will surely turn back, desolate, aaaaaany moment now, except for the bit where she does nothing of the sort. "I'd better go find a bar so I can drink away my sorrows. Alone." She smirks, then pauses to let him catch up as she glances at those herds. "Least, anywhere you've got dragons," she agrees, then grins. "C'mon, enough staring at cows." She moves on, making for the rest of the plateau and a better view of those views!

Ista Weyr - Plateau
The low volcanic plateau spreads in all directions, out towards the coastline and back towards the forests that line the outer walls of the weyr bowl. It stretches as far as the eye can see, with wide swathes of hard-packed sand and expanses of fertile grass, providing spectacular views of both the bowl and the main beach below. The flat land is divided into various areas. A large corral sits behind a strong wooden fence, sectioning off the meadows, with an expansive trio of stables beyond, each with their own paddocks and yard. From here, one can get a clear picture of the ocean and forests that surround the weyr. Various sets of wide stairs have been cut into the northwestern edge, allowing easy access to Ista's famous black sand beaches that lie between the trees and the brilliant azure waters of the bay. Always kept clear of debris, and constructed of thick timbers, the way down has been oft-repaired, with the addition of railings and occasional platforms from which to rest and enjoy the view. One of the gates leading into the weyr is located near the meadows, making use of the new fence by cutting a path along the southern edge of the animal pens. From there, a small rocky stream flows down from the corral to one end of the beach, and emptying out into the ocean in a rainbow-riddled waterfall.

Yeah those cows are very much like Xanadu's cows. Nothing special to see here! "Hey, if you're going to a bar…" Kale says, moving right along with her now instead of behind her, "I'd might as well come along too. Not to join you," he assures, "because you need to drink away your sorrow of bein' without me, without me. I'd just watch you drink while drinking too off to the side somewhere…" And it's here where his attention is taken again for now there are plenty of new things to see. The most dominant of which, at least to Kale's eyes, is the dazzling black beach made blacker by the brilliant blue waters that wash up on its inky sands. "No way," he says, the phrase accompanied by a headshake. "That looks.. weird."

"We could drink at opposite ends of the bar," muses Soriana. "That way, we could get the wistful glances in. Only glances, mind you. And they've got to be wistful, otherwise it misses the whole point of drinking alone without each other." …which, of itself, would miss the whole point of them being here at Ista together. Sori huhs as she looks out across the sea and sand. Azov never looks that blue. Is that even really water? … for that matter, is that sand? Soriana recovers quickly enough to grin. "You said you wanted beaches," she says. "Look, there's even a waterfall." She points to it, the spray shining iridescent in the light… and gleaming on the hides of firelizards frolicking around the falls.

"Yes. Beaches," Kale confirms slowly. "But this?" he lifts an arm to gesture to the dark sands and clear water "is hardly a beach. That's like…like a…" Ugh he can't even think of word that'd be close to fitting. Ummmm.. "Like an illusion," he finally says, lowering his arm. He eyes the people there already. Ista folk apparently. Talking and splashing in the shallows with not a care that their sands are black. "They're … always that color, right? They're not only black when there is something wrong..?" With the luck they've had with Yumeth’s clutch, he'd hardly be surprised if bad luck followed them! He shakes his head a little, scanning the rest of the scenery and stopping upon the glint of a waterfall he can see from the distance. Is that a glint? Yes…moving glints! His gaze lingers on the falls, looking… inspired by something. "Figure I may know the answer to this already.." he says, glancing over to her. "Buut. .. you aren't afraid've heights, are you?

"Pretty sure they're always black," says Soriana, though she gives them a second look, juuuust to be sure. "That, or they had an accident with an inkwell that just got way out of hand." A gigantic inkwell. An inkwell the size of… well, of Ista's bowl, how about. Actually, that would make sense. The missing wall is where the ink poured out, and it stained all the sands of the island! It's all perfectly logical. … sort of. Anyway, the people of Ista seem unconcerned by it, so giant inkwell or not, Soriana is also unconcerned. At Kale's question, she laughs, continuing with the being unconcerned. "Me? No."

..That is a rather logical thought there, Soriana! Have the people of Ista entertained such a notion? If not, well they certainly should've. In any case those black sands certainly do deserve a good amount of awed staring, especially from one whose home sands are the usual (normal?) shade of a soft golden brown. Kale's eyes have in fact turned back to the impressive beach as Soriana answers and after she does he begins to grin. "I didn't think so," he remarks, returning his attention to her. "Soooo, let's have some fun. I bet that waterfall's perfect for jumpin' from," says Kale, who is much more confident in his swimming abilities than during his first turn on Xanadu where he proved himself to be less than proficient.

Soriana looks at the waterfall for another moment, then she laughs. "Let's see!" she says. It's not like they weren't bound to end up in the water anyhow! This way, there's an adventure along the way. Also, the edge of the beastie pens. Weren't they supposed to be done with staring at cows? Oh well. Time to walk up to the edge of the waterfall and peer down at the surf below. At least the water is still the same sort of swimmable (they hope). While she walks over to the edge, Soriana starts with untucking her shirt. One way or the other, water, here she comes! She leans over the edge, looking at where it splashes down. "Soooo… long's we keep away from the rocks thattaway…" she says consideringly. "I think it looks good."

To the waterfall! Xanadu doesn't have one of these in plain view. Or in any view, possibly! Kale can now check off waterfall jumping from his bucket list. At her side he looks down the edge as well, watching the sprays of water as it rushes down to the sea. That's a long way down, but it only causes his grin to grow wider. This will be epic! His brain doesn't consider the possible dangers. Rocks. The depth or lack of. Breaking a leg. Breaking a neck. Drowning. Nope. His sixteen turn old brain focuses only on the thrill of this, which has him discarding his shirt in a pile with his jacket. Soriana's official proclamation of the jump's safety gets a nod. See? Totally safe. "You're sure you're not afraid?" he teases with a smirk, plopping down to pull off his boots. "If you are, I’m sure you can take a safer way. Probably grab an auntie to walk with you and hold your hand."

Shirt goes off, dropped down with Sori's own jacket. She's got a cotton bra thing under it, one that could pass for swimwear under casual inspection, and she leaves herself at that as she leans against the fence to pull off her own boots. "Puh-leaze," she retorts to Kale. As if she'd admit it if she were! Besides, the waterfall's right there. If this were deadly dangerous, somebody would have made a sign or something. …right? Okay, so maybe her common sense has also gone on a bit of a vacation today. You're only fifteen once! "This'll be awesome… and I'm sure you can flail your way back to shore somehow." Boots: off! The same with pants, and then the boots go on top of the pile of clothing so it doesn't blow away.

Kale’s socks are tucked into his boots, and his bare toes wiggle against the grass. Freedom! He hops back up again to fix her with a smug look that's soon to be followed by equally smug words. But those smug words are put momentarily on hold as he instead takes a moment or so to blatantly check her out now that her shirt has been discarded. Best. Assignment. Ever. Now come those smug words. "Flail? Ha, you wish. I'm an expert swimmer now. Could probably make it from here to the other side of Ista, no problem. The dolphineers at home mistook me for a dolphin one, I was going so fast." He juts his chin up in a royal pose before stripping down to his shorts beneath. And now, he is ready! He grins, brows lifting. "Ladies first, or do you want a moment to gather your courage?"

"You mean, they mistook you for a dolphin's dinner because you smelled like one," retorts Soriana. She stretches, limbering up those now-exposed limbs. Much better this way, in the Ista heat! Clothing is highly overrated, and as for those checkings-out? Why, she doesn't seem to mind them in the slightest. "Hah! I'll show you how it's done. Besides, someone's got to be there when you hit the water and start floundering like an overgrown wherry!" She takes a few steps back, giving herself a good runway, then charges along the side of the creek before leaping out over the waterfall. The spray glistens around her, firelizards darting out as she dives past them and then echoing her course along the edges of the falls. She tumbles for a moment, then puts her hands together and straightens her body just in time to hit the water. Sploosh! The Bitran judge gives it a seven.

"Oh, ha..ha…..ha," sarcastically laughs Kale, his expression slack as he fake laughs at her comments. He crosses his arms over his chest after she claims going first. Overgrown wherry his arse! "We'll see who flounders, Soriana," he comments as she charges up to run. And then, she's running. He still has his arms crossed as he watches her til she gets to the edge and flies off! His arms fall and he scampers after her, stopping at the edge to peer down as she makes her impressive descent. "Wow.." He begins to grin, leaning further a bit to keep her in his sights despite the mist. Aaaand splash! He waits eyes scanning the water to search for her resurface. "You alright???" he calls down, even before he can spy her.

Glub glub, time to swim with the fishes! Soriana stays under for… moments. Maybe she cracked her head open on a rock. Maybe she drowned. Maybe there was a lurking dolphin who carried her away. Maybe… oh, there she is! She bobs up again, half a dragonlength from the falls, with her hair in disarray and her bra falling off one shoulder. Nevertheless, she's got a big grin, and she flails her arms up in a wave to go with it - and with the ocean waves that make her bob in place as she treads water. "Come on!" she shouts up. "Water's great!"

Ok so how long is an acceptable amount of time to wait before allowing the mind to go into panic mode and conjure up all sorts of bloody scenarios of death and loss? Seconds pass and no Soriana. His scanning eyes gradually begin to dart on a quicker search for a bobbing head .. or perhaps, bloody water? Ohno, what has he d-… oh wait, there she is. Phew. His faltered grin returns in full force as he stands and backs up a few feet for some running room. And then, with thundering feet, he runs and flings himself off of the cliff's edge. "WOOOO!!" He's flying! He's falling. Nothing above or below but air! His arms pinwheel as he falls feetfirst towards the water, his heart somewhere high in his throat as he falls down, down, down into the spray and *splash!!*

The Kale has launched! Soriana grins, watching as he flails his way through the air and water toward her! Well, sort of toward her. He's not actually aimed for her, because she swam out a fair bit, especially given the current at the base of the waterfall. Still, down down, down he comes! A pair of green firelizards dart in, dancing around him in mid-air before flying off again to escape the splash at the end. Now it's Sori's turn to scan the water and check for signs of Kale.

Ista Weyr - Main Beach
The famous black sands of Ista spread out about the great cove upon which the weyr has been built, gleaming under the rays of both sun and moon, like diamonds in their own pristine beauty. Caught between the brilliance of the lush and verdant greens of the forest, and the crystalline blues of the shallows, gradually deepening their color into the wide ocean, the beach is nothing short of striking. The heat of Rukbat reaches into these sands by day, forever blazing underfoot, although the water remains cool and refreshing, never quite reaching the point of being tepid. Off to one side, spilling down from the plateau, a small waterfall empties into a catching pool that runs off toward the sea through a furrow of dark sand and pebbles.

Wow, it's very … bubbly down here. Bubbly and cool and glistening. For a bit, Kale is unable to find his bearing. Which way is up? Which way is down? The glimmer of the surface some feet above is head helps to turn him around and not too far away he can see the warbly sight of Soriana's legs and arms moving. With his breath held, he kicks himself that way, moving beneath the surface like that aforementioned dolphin. Or in this case, more like a shark! With enough air in his lunches to keep him submerged for a little bit longer before needing a breath, he swims closer, closer and closer til he's somewhat under her. He reaches up to grab for her ankles, and if he can get a hold of them, yanks her down!

Wheeeere's Kale? Did he encounter those rocks she missed? (Da-dun-) Nah, he couldn't have, he wasn't anywhere near them. He had an entire foot's worth of clearance! (Da-dun-) So where is he? Sori bobs in place, her limbs moving slowly just to keep herself afloat, and she hmms as she notices her strap's out of place and starts to adjust it. (Da-dun-da-dun-da-dun-) "Yeagh!" Glub. There's a yank and pull and now Soriana's underwater again. And what's this? Though the water, there's the distorted shape of a Kale. No doubt the responsible party! She tries to twist herself down and push at his shoulders. Hah!

Shark attack! Kale would laugh, if laughing wouldn't most assuredly lead to drowning. But even though he can't make a sound beneath the water, there's no hiding the huge grin on his face as Soriana is indeed pulled beneath the surface with him. Mwuahaha! He releases her legs and the push to his shoulders results in him pointing at her and making laugh motions. But now he needs to breathe, so further retaliation must wait for a breath! He kicks himself up and with another splash, his head breaks the surface and a breath of air is gulped through the mouth. Wet hair is plastered over his forehead and eyes, and he gives his head a doggish short of shake to clear his vision. "That was wicked!" Xanadu definitely needs a waterfall.

Laugh at her, will you? After the moment of Uh, what? surprise, Soriana's grinning back, but that doesn't stop her from shoving Kale again, twisting around in the water and then bobbing up again a moment after him. Yeah, so she wasn't under nearly as long, but she didn't exactly get a chance to take a good breath before sooooomeone was dragging her down! Inhale. Air, good! Water, bad. "Ha!" she says, and kicks to propel herself closer. "You looked like you were trying to fly." Her hand reaches out under the water, and brushes against his hip for a moment. …then… for another moment.

Soriana is so abusive, pushing him around like that! Kale tips his head up a bit to look to the top of the falls, trying to gauge just how tall it is. Whatever the height it will be grossly exaggerated when this story is retold, likely morphing from jumping from a waterfall to 'leaping from a cliff hundreds of meters above into a small pool of water of unknown depths'. "Didn't you see?" he says to her, "I was flying. I swear, I felt a bit of a lift a moment there. If I positioned myself right, I bet I'd've taken off like a firelizard." Pern's first flying man! Books will be written. But his flying debut will have to be done later, for now there are other things to attend to, like that touch to his hip, for instance, which draws his eyes back to her. His legs continue their lazy kick to keep him afloat, and now that she is near, he lifts a hand to slide a few fingers up her arm, adjusting that brastrap she was fixing before his attack back to its rightful place on her shoulder. "Not that I wouldn't like it goin' the other way just as much," he remarks smirking, before leaning in to steal a kiss to her lips.

"Now that'd be something to see," says Soriana of Kale the amazing human firelizard. "Maybe next time you'll manage it." That, or one of the other of them actually will crack their heads open. Either way. For now, she returns his smirk, and her fingers trail along a hip that keeps on moving with those kicks as her own legs do the same. Seawater is nicely buoyant. Makes it easy to keep afloat, even when being distracted by things like kisses. For instance. Here's one of them now, and Soriana returns it warmly. Here in the water, it's not like she even needs a bra for the support. Breasts are buoyant too! It's just a matter of modesty, since, as it turns out, a beach on a sunny day ends up with more people on it than just a pair of teens in the water. Nevertheless, she leans in again and kisses one more- kick. Her knee bumps against Kale's under the water. Oops. These aquatic makeouts are harder than they seem.

Not only are they difficult, water make outs require a lot of effort! One: The kissing part. That part by itself is never bad. Kale truly enjoys kissing. It's one of his favorite things to do! And thanks to Soriana, he's gotten much practice and has turned out to be a pretty good kissing partner because of it. For instance, now as their lips press, he'd usually allow his brain to turn off while his body does what feels good and right. Lingering pecks. Long caresses. A teasing slip of his tongue between her lips. But add the setting of deep water, and things become more consuming. That's the Number Two: The staying above water part. Keeping his legs moving. Continuing to tread water. That part takes brain power. A conscious effort. And that's difficult when the brain is turned to mush like his is beginning to do. Even with that knee bump, Kale is turning into lead, forgetting to keep himself moving as he seeks to deepen that kiss. Not realizing that he's beginning to sink a bit lower into the water, possibly taking her with him, til.. sputter! "Ack!" Water up the nose! *coughsputter!* Not…the best of kisses he's ever given her. Nope.

Dragging her underwater in shark attack mode is one thing! Dragging her under during makeouts is another one entirely. Soriana doesn't sink quite far enough to actually inhale water, but as it turns out, her mouth was opened slightly (it's a part of that whole kissing thing), and as Kale sinks and splashes, she gets a mouthful of seawater! …is not so tasty. It's not even the salt, it's that vague taste of seaweed and fishpoop. "Blech!" she goes, sputtering. It's not a referendum on the kiss itself, honest! She shakes her head, then tugs at his arm. Shore. They go shore now. Shallow water thataway! She waits a moment to make sure he's not actually drowning or anything, then strikes off in that direction, still making a bit of a face.

Ah, it burns! Water in the lungs! Water on the brain! Water everywhere! This was an awful idea. Kale's head turns as he continues to cough, clearing his lungs of the saltwater that does not belong there. And now poor Soriana is sputtering too. Going to shore is an amazing idea, and he nods at the arm tug, coughing a few times more before, swimming after her. He actually has improved in his swimming, that much is thanks to Idrissa's insistence that every free wakeful moment in summer is spent on the beach, and does not struggle on their way to shallow water. Eventually, feet touch the sandy bottom, and he exhales a few deep breaths, continuing forward on his feet. "That was the worst idea you ever had," he says, giving her an accusatory look. "Kissing in the water…ha! Fail."

How is that Idrissa hasn't turned dolphineer yet? With as much time as she spends near the water, it really is a wonder some dolphin hasn't scooped her up and swum away with her. Regardless, Soriana is certainly grateful that she doesn't have to drag a floundering Kale back to shore herself. Rescue breathing does not equal makeouts. As the black sand appears under her feet, she breathes a sigh of relief, only to- "Me?" she retorts. "You're the one who couldn't be bothered to keep swimming!" She'll have you know kissing in the water is one of the classical romantic moments, and in fact, she steps toward him and starts to press her lips to him again (this time, with feet touching the ground!) before stopping. Huh. Eau de fishpoop still lingers in her mouth. She pulls back. "I need a drink," she says, and starts toward shore.

"Yeah well ….. it's still your fault." There! No arguing that logic, right? Fingers are combed through his hair to push the wet strands back and away from his eyes yet again, and as Sori comes closer, apparently to continue their watery kiss now that they are in safer depths, Kale's arms reach to loop loosely around her, and he leans in.. only to be denied! Wait, what? "Huh?" Caught off guard by the sudden topic change he doesn't have the sense to trap her til she's already out of reach. "A what? Wait!" he splashes after her towards the mystical black sands, the water level dropping lower and lower the further along they move. "You're thirsty? .. You're sure you need a drink right now this moment?"

Thirsty is not the problem here, though now that you mention it, Soriana is somewhat thirsty. That's not what has her fleeing kisses, though, for she is rather fond of kisses. She just doesn't want them to involve the taste of the ocean surf quite this literally! "Yes, I do!" she calls back, and regards the waterfall for a moment. On the one hand, fresh water! On the other hand… didn't it run right by the herdbeast pastures? Okay, so, NO. Where's a bar when you need one? Or a scantily clad cabana boy offering fruity concoctions, that'd do too! None appear. Ista, you disappoint her!

Ugh, damn you thirst! For it is thirst that Kale is blaming this on, not the fact that ocean water is nasty in the mouth. But, this isn't all disappointing, for he can think of far worse things he could be doing than chasing after a Soriana that's dressed only in undergarments. In fact, the fact of that makes following behind her a downright pleasant experience as he allows his eyes to linger on places usually kept hidden by clothing. There goes his mushing brain again… Focus, Kale, focus! "I don't think there's anything here to drink," he says, looking up and down the beach and seeing nothing that would promise them anything worthwhile. "Could look around," he says as he catches up to her, sliding an arm around her waist from behind. "Or ask one've these people on the beach for one, if they have one, and hope they don't think you're a beggar."

It's hard to get a righteous ire up when facing a near-nude girlfriend. Or, well, not facing, more following, but nevertheless, That's Not Ire. When Kale comes up beside her, Soriana leans in against him slightly, pressing her side to his as his arm goes around. She's not averse to him, not at all! Rather the opposite, you see. She just doesn't want to associate kissing him with nasty tastes. "There's probably a bar in the weyr," she says, and looks at those stairs up. Ugh, it's so far! Frownyface. Getting down was easy, but the way up involves ascending a multitude of steps in the hot sun. They should have come better prepared! Like… oh, hey. There's a teen guy on a beach blanket reading a book. More importantly, he's got a bottle of something he's drinking from. It's… tea, maybe? It's sort of light brown in color. More to the point, it's a liquid that isn't seawater! Soriana puts her arm sideways around Kale for a moment, giving a quick hug. "Good plan," she tells him, then sets off to put it into motion… by… approaching another guy with a smile. "Hi!" she says, and he pauses with the bottle halfway lifted to stare at her. "Can I have a sip of that?"

Every good weyr has a bar. It must! And as tempting as those three letters sound together, Kale's temptation currently is in human form, and while she troubles over just where to get a drink, he occupies himself with her. She may not be up to kissing him right now, but he has no problem kissing her in places other than the mouth. And the grand thing about being on Ista is .. they're on Ista! No worries of grumpy journeymen prying him from her or keeping up appearances, for right now they are unknotted, random weyrfolk. And so he touches his lips to her wet hair and to the ridge of her ear, giving every sign that he'll make a kissing nuisance of himself til he gets that main kiss he so seeks. But wait. What plan of his was so good? He watches her approach that guy with that half drunk drink. Awesome Idea Number Two: Drinking a random stranger's drink! He heads after her, making his presence known in case this guy gets any ideas. Cuz, you know .. his girlfriend is hawt and she's wearing next to nothing.

Ista, where nobody knows your name! Soriana laughs as lips find their way to her hair and a sensitive ear, her fingers trailing along his hip. Fortunately, she has determination and willpower, and does not get distracted. No, she goes right up to that guy and makes eyes at his… drink. The beachgoing teen stares at Sori for a moment before he remembers that, oh yeah, he's got words somewhere. Maybe he should try using them. Quick, how does his mouth work again? He moves it, right? Yeah, he does that, and no words come out, prooobably because his brain is busy with staring. If he had any intentions to do more than stare, the looming shape of Kale puts those thoughts to rest. Smithcrafting leads to muscles! Shirtless makes those muscles obvious. So, random beach guy simply lifts up his bottle, offering it to Soriana, who grins and takes it. "Uh. Sure," he says as he belatedly remembers how to form words, while Soriana sips from the bottle and swishes it around in her mouth a moment to wash out all that seawater taste. Ahhh. Much better! She hands the bottle back with a bright, "Thank you!" and then turns back to Kale. The bottle is received back carefully, the fellow cradling it in both hands. "Welcome," he murmurs, and then slowly lifts it to his own lips, staring at Sori out of the corner of his eye as he does. Secondhand kiss. *^_^*

Kale is a silent, lurking entity, his eyes for now no longer watching Soriana, for his hawklike gaze is now on the Istanian, watching him for any signs of funny business. Any lingering looks towards places he need not linger upon. Luckily for him, the sharing of drinks succeeds with no incident, and when Sori turns back to him, he reaches for her hand. "Yeah, thanks," he says to the guy, if not a bit offhandedly as he pulls her away from his vicinity. His grin returns now, and he fixes her with an arched-brow look. "Better? Or shall I find you something else? A drink with crushed ice brought back from Xanadu, perhaps? Or Ista's finest, rarest wine? I know you have high tastes, what with that sparkling fizzy fruit drink you had at the cafe."

Nothing funny. She just likes drinks. The poor sap who's provided this one nods, and watches with a wistful look as Soriana is drawn away again down along the shore. She laughs. "Later, we will inspect the finest it has to offer. The most elegant and fizziest they can possibly muster." Or at least the finest a pair of dripping wet teens can get access to (and pay for). "And something to eat, too. But… later." She puts her arm around his middle, stepping close to him as she walks down along the shore. Time to wander away from those sidelong glances!

Can Kale imagine Soriana sitting at an elegant table with the leaders of weyrs, Weyrwomen, their juniors, and other polished sons and daughters in lace and dresses and suits, sipping drinks from glasses more expensive than anything he'd ever dream of owning? .. No. Not really. And the image that presents itself has him laughing good-naturedly. "We'll make a pact. We won't eat or drink anything here that we can find on Xanadu. It has to be something that'd make us coming here worth bein' here. Some .. Ista special. I bet someone can tell us what's good." Or what's bad. Or just plain interesting. He looks down at the sand as they go, seriously considering pocketing some to take back with them. He slips his arm around her as well, holding her against his side as they walk. "I'm glad you got to come. Well .. glad we both got to come, really," he corrects, smirking. "Are you gonna let me kiss you now? I've been bein' patient." ..ish.

Soriana is so a daughter of a Junior of Weyrwomen! …it's just the polish and lace that cause trouble with the mental image here. She grins, and nods to that pact. "Sounds good to me." Time for exotic! Well, it will be time for exotic, anyway. Right now, it's time to walk together along the beach and get their wet feet covered in black sand. Whether Kale intends to or not, they'll probably be bringing back some of it on their return trip. "Best banishment ever," says Soriana, then laughs. "Now that I'm not tasting seaweed," she says, and she does not actually say the word yes, because instead she turns toward him and puts the other arm up around his shoulders to brush at his wet hair as she leans in for that very kiss. Patience (ish) is rewarded (definitely).

Fiiinally! And this kiss is loads easier than the near drowning version of moments ago. They'll definitely need to practice their water makeouts, but for now, a seaside one will suffice. Walking slows to a stop as she turns toward him, and both arms loop around her hips just as their lips meet for a second time. Whatever that drink was that she swished around in her mouth, he can taste it on her lips, and whatever it is is likely a far better flavor than seaweed and fishpoop! Good call, Sori. His eyes close as he hugs her to his front, his looped arms closing more fully around her frame to pull her against him, skin against skin. Lips part gently, guiding hers with his to make room for an eager tongue that seeks entrance into her mouth.

A subtle flavor of peach iced tea enhances kisses instead of detracting from them. There's a whole scale of flavors and their suitability to kissing that can be plotted… out… some… other time, because right now, Soriana is busy with the hands-on (lips-on?) portion of things. Her lips press to his warmly, parting slightly as the kiss deepens, her body presses close to his, already nearly dry in the bright sunlight here, and yes, her hands are in fact on, one of them stroking along the small of his back as the other caresses over his hair and brushes the wet strands back behind his ear. Around them, passers-by occasionally gawk but mostly fail to notice them as anything more than a random pair of teens making out; a common sight on this tropical beach. Ah, anonymity; it's a wonderful thing.

This is definitely what they need to do. Weyr hop! There are plenty of weyrs and holds and small places where no one, absolutely no one, knows them! The world can be their vacation spot. Their hideaway! An adventure of exploration of new places and things and experiences that will make grand tales to tell. If only they had such freedom to go where they want when they wanted. Kale takes advantage of now, knowing that now probably won't happen again anytime soon. His tongue explores the cavity of her mouth that he already knows rather well now, yet exploration never gets tiring. His fingers press against her sides, digging gently into her flesh a moment before relaxing again. He pulls back slowly, enough so that their lips just part and his forehead presses lightly against hers. His arms unravel, though his is done only to free his hands to roam her sides from waist, up to the sides of her bra, and back down to hips. "I don' think I've ever told you that you're really pretty."

There's always something new to find in each kiss. Or something old and familiar but no less pleasant for the experience! Soriana kisses warmly, her head tilting slightly, her tongue pressing back against Kale's, counter to his exploration, back to his forth, coming together as their bodies press close and her one hand drifts down over the fabric of his shorts and, okay, it squeezes for a moment, as if to pull him closer (as if he could come closer than he's already doing) and then eases to simply rest there for a moment, then trail up along the outline of his hip and up over his chest to rest, along with the other one, around his shoulders. She smiles, standing so close to him (if there was only music, they'd be dancing), and trails fingertips along the curves of his shoulderblades. "Well, and you're handsome," she says softly. "So… I suppose we match."

Who says the sound of the surf isn't a melody? The cries of avians overhead. The rush of the sea beyond. Kale's eyes find themselves closed again, finding it difficult to differentiate between the heat radiating from the sun and the heat radiating from his own body. There's something about Soriana that doesn't take much for him to feel aroused, whether he wants to feel this way or not. It's an unfortunate (or not) effect of being in one's midteens. A constant horniness surges through the veins, kept at bay easier when one is apprenticing in something and days are filled more with work than with girl gazing and fantasizing. But now, Kale is not working and he's on a beach with his near bare girlfriend whose hands seem to know all the right places to touch and linger and … such little clothing would make too much of an arousal more than a bit awkward, given their current setting. What he has now? Noticeable likely to her with their closeness, yet not quite at the point that'd be seen as crude when bodies separate. Talking helps. "Handsome?" He considers the word, then nods. "I'll take that. I also would've accepted 'drop dead sexy' or 'I can't put into words how incredibly good looking you are, Kale'. For future reference."

Noticing, sure. Objecting? Naaaah. Soriana's fingers trail lightly along shoulders, and she laughs. "So glad it meets with your approval," she says, and tilts her head to brush her lips to his. Just a brief little kiss, because sometimes, this feeling of warm and close just seems to need an outlet before it overflows, and kisses… well, in one regard, they calm those mid-teen feelings. In another, they increase them! It's like how pumping the bellows makes the fire crouch down to the coals and burn hotter and brighter. "Better be careful, though. What if I'm struck permanently speechless by the experience? Whatever will you do then?"

For Kale, anything she does henceforth would only amplify things. Other than peeling herself from him and passing a No Touch law from now til they're back on Xanadu. Even that small kiss leaves him wanting more than that, although he's aware more kissing would lead to more touching, and more touching would lead to … things. Yes, pumping the bellows is a fair comparison! "I've a hard time imaginin' you with nothing to say," remarks Kale with a smirk, bending down a bit to press his lips to her cheek once. Twice. "Buuut, if it were to happen, because of my supreme, utter, awesomely undeniable good looks, I suppose I'd go into mourning for a while. Wear all black. Cover myself with a layer of soot, for good measure." Lips can be felt on the side of her neck in lingering caresses. "Wear a black knot. Convince the weyrleader to shut down Xanadu for a sevenday. It'd be .. tragic."

Even the shield of anonymity probably wouldn't help them if they got to Things out on a public beach. Not even the beach of a Weyr, licentious rumors aside. Someone would notice and Do Something. … though … there are plenty of secluded alcoves, here and there. Back along the cliff, out in the edge of the forest… where, if one thing leads to another, as one kiss leads to another on Sori's cheek, it might escape all notice beyond that of these two already so busy noticing each other. Soriana's fingers notice all the outlines of muscle on Kale's back, and she laughs as he describes how he'd deal with her silence. "That'd be pretty impressive," she admits after a moment's consideration. "But… I'll try to make sure it doesn't come to that." She kisses in at his hair as he traces down her neck, taking in a deep breath through her nose and smelling, yes, some seawater, but mostly just him. Kale-smell is good smell, and she smiles.

Soriana needs to stop touching him. That is the problem! Granted, Kale isn't making that easy to accomplish with the way he seems incapable of not touching her. His lips kiss her shoulder and eyes partially open again as his head rests there, reveling in the sensations that her fingers and lips bring, aware of how the 'noticeable to her' arousal is becoming a larger issue. Literally. He smirks, eyes closing as he rests against her, hands sliding down her back and resting at the small of it, drunk with comfort. Keep talking, says his brain. "Ah. S'alright if you never said another word. It'd just be .. way quieter on Xanadu," he teases. "Wouldn't make me love you any less." Wait, what? His mind comes to a screeching halt to rewind itself and replay his last statement. Yup. It was definitely said. He opens his eyes, fully this time. "Er. Like you any less," he corrects, lifting his head from her shoulder. Like. Yes like. Not love.

Sori's just making things harder. Literally. Not that it's an issue visible to anyone else on this beach. At least, not so long as Sori stays right there and… well, touching him. And, so long as she stays there and is pressed up so close against him, that litt- er… that growing problem is unlikely to go away, either. Soriana trails her fingers up along the back of Kale's neck, splaying them to comb through his hair slowly. It's getting long in back. Maybe it needs a trim. Such are the distractions her mind throws at her, just as Kale's decides that words are the way to go. And oh, what words it comes up with! Maybe if his brain hadn't been distracted… but, it was. Her fingers stop in their motion, and her head tilts slightly, her gaze seeking his and looking over his expression. There was a smile for the teasing, but now? Oh, there's still traces of smile, but she's got a question. Really? Was that a mistake, or was that… she's quiet for a moment, and then she rests her hand against his shoulder once more. "Do you?" Her tone tries for casual. It misses by several dragonlengths, but it's trying.

It's a very difficult to read expression on his face. Something close to apprehensive, while still trying to look…nonchalant. Much like her tone, it's a total failure of nonchalance. Inwardly though, there's no denying what's felt. Panic. What the shell was he thinking? He wasn't thinking, that was problem! And now he can't take back words he may or may not have meant to say. And now he's faced with a snowballing effect. Words have been spoken. Words have been heard. Words are wanting to be clarified, and his next answer could go so many different ways of wrong. He watches her, trying to read her face. What does she want him to say? If he says no… well, of course she wants him to say no! Right? She's a weyrbrat. Relationships are…This relationship isn't to be taken seriously. She can come and go as she pleases! If she came across someone tomorrow, she'd be free to snog him as much as she likes without any complaining from him. She'd want him to verify that with his answer, right? And what if he said yes, he does love her? Would that run her off and cause him to lose her? She wasn't looking for anything .. 'serious' at the start of this. Is it serious if he claims to love her? Has it transitioned from 'casual' to 'serious' when thoughts of her kissing someone else is enough to make him want to punch a wall? When he feels sort of happier about most things when she's around? Is that love? What does love even mean? Someone, help! "Uh.." Heh. If nothing else, this inner turmoil is distracting him from his erection. Much! Yes. After all that, 'uh' is all she gets.

This conversation just got very, very nonchalant. If it were any more studiedly casual, there wouldn't even be a conversation. Admittedly, it's close. 'Uh' only barely tips the conversational scales. They've gone for longer with less words, but that involved kissing. Now, it involves looking at each other. Soriana's still got that questioning look, searching for the answer she wants. If only Kale knew what it was! …if only she knew what it was. Does she want him to love her? …does she love him? He's… well, he's Kale. The one who makes her laugh, the one who's always got a ready retort but she's never afraid to let see her weak spots. Is that love? It's not like she doesn't look at other boys. She does! They're cute, some of them. She wouldn't mind kissing them, some of them. But, they're not Kales, either. So. Soriana studies his features, like she's trying to read his mind… or maybe she's just tracing the familiar shapes of them. Mouth. Nose. Eyes. Hair… no, back to those eyes. Her brown eyes rest on his blue ones. If she's going to say something (and she is; however quiet Xanadu might be if she was struck dumb, they won't get to find it out just yet), she's going to say it ready to meet his gaze, even if her voice is quieter than usual. "…because… I think I might love you." And this way, if he decides (as teenage boys are well known for doing) that love is way too deep a subject for him, at least she'll get a good final look at him before he runs off to Idrissa's arms for good.

Saying nothing may be worse than anything that Kale could have said, for the silence that stretches after his single utterance seems neverending. Why couldn't he have kept his big mouth shut? This time of awkwardness and worry could have been spent kissing in some hidden place shrouded with only small beams of sunlight filtering through their hidden paradise. Kale's brows gently begin to furrow, frustrated with himself for not finding the right words to say. Worried that her next move may be angry steps away from him, turning this what would be epic vacation to an unexpected nightmare. Difficult as it is, his eyes hold hers as he looks at him, and that inward breath that she takes has him bracing himself, his own breath halting. And then she speaks, and the rush of the ocean suddenly silences itself. His eyes squint a bit, as if he's not quite sure if he understood her correctly. Love. It is deep. Way deep. Deep waters in which Kale has not yet tread. But, if… if he is to explore such unknown territories, why not do so with the person he seems most willing to do anything with, or for? He does not run. In fact, her words seem to relax him, and he exhales the breath he wasn't aware he was holding before leaning forward to kiss her lips softly. A parting kiss? Not quite. "Good .. cuz I think love you, too." Typical boy. Much easier to say I love you after it's been said. But, at least he says it, and genuinely so.

Love is deep, and also strewn with rocks. You can crack your head open, with love, or at least your heart in two… but it can also be entirely awesome. So. Soriana bites her lower lip slightly as she waits to see what reaction her words may bring. Her body stays close, but now there's tension in her arms. She's not going to be the one to move them away, but… well. This is the moment when things might change for good. This might be one of those rocks, ending things abruptly. Or… the kiss isn't an answer. She likes it, but it's not an answer. It's the splash, and below the surface is… a smile breaks across her face. Apparently, that was the right answer. (Or at least the one she wanted to hear.) Now you know. She relaxes, her fingers curling in closer around him now that she doesn't have to be ready for him to try and break away at any moment, and leans in for another kiss. They're still good, now that they're love-kisses instead of like-kisses. The words don't change the kissing. The words just… well, they're there. What they actually mean is something that will likely take a great deal of figuring out.

Tenseness is a heavy thing, for now that it's starting to slip away, Kale feels about ten pounds lighter! With the weight of worry off his shoulders, he returns her kisses warmly. Happily? Yes, happily. Happy that they are still here and good and friends. Still more than friends that can still do the same things together that they always have, now knowing…that love is there. Yes, they'll figure that love thing out in due time, the twisted, confusing, aching thing that it can be. For now, he's happy to be happy. And, another bonus! He's been distracted enough that he can now pry himself from her without worry of awkward, embarrassing staring. Must take advantage of this. "Let's get our clothes," he suggests as the backs of fingers caress her cheek, brushing strands of hair away. "Maybe find something to eat, then see some more stuff."

If they proceed with more kisses, this moment of non-awkwardness will not last. Better take advantage of it while it's here! Soriana turns her head slightly, just enough to kiss those fingers for a moment before she looks up again and grins. "Yeah, let's." Almost surprised, she adds, "I'm hungry." Somehow, as all that stress melts away, it's left her with a gnawing hunger in her stomach where the knot of tension was mere moments before. She steps back from him, but reaches for his hand before starting for the stairs. So maybe they can't levitate on the mere power of love and kisses, but that doesn't mean she's going to give up physical contact entirely just yet.

Stress is an energy sucker! And food replenishes energy. It is logical to feel hungry after what could have been a sad breakup. He gladly takes her hand, not too keen on being without her touch either. Fingers lace between hers as they head to the stairs. Woah .. the stairs. There are so, so many of them! Whose grand idea was it to leave their clothes so far above and jump off a cliff? … Oh yeah. His. Ahem. Ah well, at least they have each other's company on this epic journey of too many steps, and in reality in his elated mood, the most tedious of tasks would be done with the same grin that's on his face right now. He's forgotten to take a handful of sand, but there is still time for that before the flight back home. Besides, he has the most important thing he wants to take back with him anyway. Soriana. His mind echoes the same words they thought before as they leave the black sands of Ista. Best. Assignment. Ever.

Climbing stairs is like levitating, except it takes an awful lot more walking. Up and up they go, and Soriana's got a grin to match Kale's. For the two of them together, the stairs present no obstacle! Okay, well, technically speaking they do, because they are an obstacle, but… regardless, they ascend back to the top of the cliff again, even if it does take ten times as long as the journey down. This is indeed the best assignment ever, and better yet? Nobody has stolen their clothes in the time they've been left, unguarded, beside the top of the waterfall. Will wonders never cease! Now they even have money to buy themselves that lunch they most definitely need… though… it does involve the putting back on of clothing. The view gets a little less good, but with that grumbling in her stomach, Soriana is not inclined to complain. More… to quickly throw on clothing so she can find something to eat!

The people of Ista. So trustworthy! Kale is indeed a little disappointed to have to dress again. But hey, who knows. Maybe clothes can be pulled off again at some point before their departure. For .. swimming purposes, of course! He checks to make sure the harper's message is still there, and after confirming that and pulling his boots back on his feet, he's back at Sori's sisde. "That a dragon or your stomach?" he teases. "C'mon. Let's find someplace before you take a bite out've me. Thought I smelled food when we landed. Was probably a food cavern nearby." He takes her hand. "Remember. No Xanadu food allowed." And with that, he walks with her back in the direction in which they came. Too food and more fun times!

After all, if they don't swim now, they won't have a chance at Xanadu for months! Winter's just now tightening its grip on their own Weyr. So it's important that they spend as much time as possible without clothes. For the swimming. Soriana laughs at Kale's teasing. "Definitely my stomach. Now, just don't look behind you…" she retorts, making eyes at an imaginary dragon peering over his shoulder before nodding. "Right. Ista food only." Back into the bowl they go, following their noses (and maybe passers-by that also look hungry). They're smart! They can figure it out.

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