Among Hidden Stars

Paradise River Hold - Underwater Grotto
The sight of thousands of sparkling crystals takes your breath away. All around, on every wall, are literally millions of glimmering white crystals the likes of which none has seen before. A small waterfall pours from the ceiling into a shallow pond in the center of the grotto. Yet silky soft, white sands surround the salty, turquoise blue waters of the pond, and tiny white blossoms have found fit to grow in clusters in the crumbly, black rock jutting from the sands. Several tall, and wide, tunnels branch off from this little cave, presumably to the thousands of other places in this underground world, and flickering firelight casts a dull, orange glow from the gaping tunnel mouths.


A day has come and gone since the Xanadu pair of leaders have landed upon Paradise River Hold. Fun has been had! Drinks drank, dragons jumped from, warm waters swam in. The warm sands of the cove provided a perfect place to sunbathe for both humans and dragons alike. Evening found them drinking and eating again, foods fine and exotic. A different palate than that of home, yet just as good. Entertainment came in the form of music played by a local band and chatter with each other and other folks until it was time for bed where sleep eventually was on the agenda. Today is a new day with new adventures to be had! Already, they’ve frequented the Palace again, this time to actually play some of the games available, both card and machine. Lunch has been taken out on the main beach, where tables have been set up and men and women came with platters of delicacies to sample while yet another band played tropical sounding tunes. And now, a few hours past lunchtime, Ka'el and Soriana are out exploring. There’s a jungle here! There aren’t any jungles on Xanadu. And beyond the beaches, they’ve come across a curious opening that leads down to … unknown places! They should definitely check it out. “We can bring the firelizards,” he insisted, after getting the bright idea that they should probably go back for glows to light their way. And it’ these glows that he’s returning with now, his sense of exploration ignited as he approaches the mouth of the unmarked cavern. “If they didn’t want people going in, there’d be a ‘no trespassing’ sign, for sure.”

Adventure, fun, and lack of responsibility! Which isn't really the same as being irresponsible, even if… maybe it might sorta look that way. But anyway, they've been having fun, even if they didn't make nearly enough marks in those games to actually pay for one of their own. Oh well! Maybe that's part of why they're exploring now instead, looking at tropical plants with odd flowers, tropical lizards that stare at them, and tropical birds that squawk and fly away. Toral's been interested in some of those, the brown flitting around in the branches. With all these wonders of foliage and verdant growth around them, is it any wonder Ka'el and Soriana have decided to go avoid them and wander underground? It makes perfect sense. Which is why Soriana's waiting by the entrance (because they might have a hard time finding it again (never mind finding their way out)) and eyeing Haruhi as she tries to get a clear mental picture from the local firelizards about what's going on down there. It's probably not a deathtrap. Probably. Soriana looks up as Ka'el approaches, and grins crookedly. "There are an awful lot of kids around. So… they'd have found it. And then it'd have been posted." After the first horrid death.

Exactly” emphasizes Ka’el with a nod of his head. “This is probably one of those local well-known..places that everyone knows about.” Hence, ‘well-known’? “Kids probably go down there all the time and play games.” And teens probably use it as a make out spot. Hopefully they don’t run across couples in compromising positions! But isn’t this dark, unmarked cave sounding friendlier and friendlier? Alloy pops in from Between to help out with the investigative process, though unlike Haruhi, he takes the ‘sniff around for danger’ approach and waltzes to the cavern’s mouth, poking his nose at places. He smells no monsters, boss! But…mm! There are some crunchy yumyums nearby, yes sir! “Alloy thinks it’s a-okay,” he interprets as he hands over a glow (which I’m imagining to be like…an orb of light. Which may be totally wrong, but…yeah.) to her, mischievous grin included. “And, to put any doubts at ease, you are in the company of an expertly trained Search and Rescue rider. I’m combat-ready. And I’m always armed.” With fists of fury! And probably something pointer in one of those many pockets of those shorts he has on. “Plus, one glare from you and anything down there is going to run in terror anyway,” he adds. “Ready?”

The lack of a trail leading here? Why, that's just because everyone has their own path, along with their own goals for how to use it. Riiiight. "Haruhi's got glimmers, at least." Of other firelizards, so mostly it's more comments on those yummy crunchy things and flickers of Mine! from other golds. But hey, "We might as well find out." Hopefully this Paradise River place has some rescue whers in case it goes badly? Soriana grins, and accepts the glow from Ka'el (which, really, you don't want to know what it is, which is why I'm going to tell you that it's… basically a basket of fireflies. Only they're kinda more worm than fly. Er, I mean, yep just a magical glow. >.>) "Expertly trained?" she says, and grins. "I suppose, since you oversee that training, you'd know what expertise is like." Or something. "So what, are you expecting we'll encounter cave-felines? Do I need to bring a tunnelcat or two along?" She laughs, then pauses to arch a brow at Ka'el. What? Her? Glare? Does she do that? …maybe. But. "…let's do this thing."

Nice. Glow worms. … Got it! So, with their basket of glowing worms in two, the two brave adventurers begin their next adventure! To the depths of an unknown cave, in which anything could be waiting for them. Rabid cave-felines, perhaps. Monstrous nightmares. Snogging teenagers. "No tunnelcat needed when /I'm/ along," he says as he takes her free hand in his. Yes, let's do this! He grins in agreement and gives his head a definite nod. Onward, to the unknown! They head in, leaving behind the warm light of the late afternoon in favor of a cooler darkness illuminated by the light of wiggling glows. He holds his up a little, trying to illuminate the steps ahead. Alloy's invited himself along, claws scraping against sand and rock as he darts ahead to hunt for the crunchy morsels that he knows is down here. Crunchtime! "If there's treasure down here, it's only fair that my portion is larger than yours, as it was my idea to explore," he says to her. money on the mind! Maybe it's an after effect of gambling on those machines earlier? Or maybe he's ready one too many books in which treasure is found in mysterious caves like this one, buried away for eons.

Ka'el is better than a tunnelcat! Check. Soriana grins, and squeezes his hand lightly as they start down the path. Haruhi's not interested - it's dark down there! How will anyone see her properly? - but Toral comes along, darting out ahead to investigate crevices and cracks. Tasty things? Sure, there might be some of those! Between them, he and Alloy are bound to find all the (edible) treasures of this cave. "Is it," Soriana says to that fairness with a smirk. "So you're going to get the yo-yo, when we find some kid's stock of toys, and I get the stick with a feather on it?" Because that's what's down here, right? Well-tromped (if currently empty) paths and known caverns. Or… maybe not so much, as they continue down along a gently-sloping path and see the uneven walls lit by their glows, shining with fragments of mineral deposits.

"Naturally," Ka'el agrees, bobbing his head. "Yo-yos trump feather sticks. Stick feathers. Whichever they're called. And if there are two yo-yos, then I get to investigate them both and choose first and you can have the leftover one." The cruddy one that's probably broken and has a string that's knotted! That's the consequence of not coming up with ideas first, you see! "Let's not even mention toy boats. We both know who gets that.." He grins, eyes going wide as they leave behind what remnants of light filtered in from the cave's opening. It's just darkness now, other than the light cast by their glows, which is sufficient enough for now. And for now, the going is simple. The cave doesn't split into three and turn mazelike, which is a plus, for not even Ka'el can find much fun at being lost underground. His eyes turn to the wall closest to him catching sight of the glint of mica or whatever it may be that shines every now and then when the light hits it just so. "Wonder how far this goes…" he wonders aloud, not really looking for an answer, for how would she know? "Do you hear something?"

"Pfft, I already have a toy boat." An awful crappy one that barely even floats, but let's not get into that part of it right now. The point is, Soriana has one, and so she can wave her hand (the one with the glow in it) dismissively to the idea of another one. "You deserve to have one." A better one than hers, likely! But on they tromp through the cave, with its lack of making them horribly lost. Toral's finding more side-alleys, given firelizard sizing, but it's not like he can't just between himself away if he gets lost, so that's fine. When Ka'el asks about hearing something is, of course, the moment Toral decides to chitter about something, which makes it very definitely clear there's a noise and blocks out whatever more distant sound there might have been. Which she isn't sure whether there was or not. So… "Probably someone playing marbles," she concludes.

At least now there will be no confusion as to just who the toy boat that may or may not be found down here will belong to! Soriana can keep her crappy one. Ka'el will take the one…that may just be as crappy, considering that it'll have been found within the depths of some cave. But still! It's the principle of the matter! The boat shall be his. And the noise that he heard, or thought he heard, takes a backseat to firelizard chatter. He snickers. "Nice timing, Toral," he compliments, rolling his eyes as Alloy decides to join in with his noise. Hey! Is someone talking? What's going on! "Faranth.." mutters Ka'el. "Hush up, you!" he hisses to the darkness, because who knows where Alloy has actually gotten off to. His echo seems to come from everywhere at once. "Heh. One thing's for certain, if there was anyone down here wrapped up with some woman, they've plenty of warning now," he laughs as they continue to pick their way along, heading deeper into the tunnel which continues to slope downward. A distance ahead, there is a noise, though. A trickling sort of soft noise that sounds curiously like water. Distant water.

It'll probably be differently crappy. A sunken toy galleon, buried beneath the earth! Once proud masts now… uh… toothpicks. Actually, really, they were always toothpicks, that's kind of a toy boat… thing. Maybe that's what Toral's saying? Probably not. It's probably more along the lines of, "Hey! Hey! Look! There are grubs here! Listen! Grubs! Wow! Mine! Hi Alloy! Hi! Hi! Hey! Hi!" Because firelizards. Two of them. Soriana nudges mentally at the squawky one that's hers as she sighs long-sufferingly, then looks to Ka'el. Heh. "Really, if they didn't get the hint by now, it's their own shardin' fault." Because seriously, firelizards. On and on they go, deeper into the tunnel, and after a while, Soriana cocks her head to the side. "…I think I do hear something." And not firelizards. This time.

Maybe the firelizards were chatting about the awesomeness that lies ahead, for what lies ahead can only be described as awesome. Not that Ka'el can see any of that now, eyes squinted as they are. Glows only give off so much light, and that sound is still a bit away. He glances over his shoulder instinctively, but they've left the mouth of the cave some time ago, and it's long out of sight by now. He nods as she confirms that there is sound ahead, and they trudge on towards it, which is always the mistake in horror movies. Unknown noises usually mean 'run away!' Not 'come forth and investigate!' Alas, Ka'el doesn't seem to be aware of this, and so he forges ahead, where the trickling noise amplifies itself. "Water." That's obvious. Underground cavern water? Water on the move, from the sounds of it. It's a little more traveling before the light of their glows shines upon the end of their tunnel and the opening of a cavern. They made it down the rabbit hole not what's waiting for them on the other side? A conqueror's grin is shared with Sori before moving in through the opening, where the tunnel-restricted light of their baskets spread. "Whoa.."

Maybe. But awesome to a firelizard and awesome to a human aren't always the same thing, and besides, those firelizard sounds could be coming from anywhere. (The squeaks are coming from inside the cave?) So could that sound of water - maybe hidden inside one of these crevices? Or… "Yeah," Soriana agrees that it certainly is water, and on they travel, toward the mysterious sound. Water probably means a place for the deadly and mysterious killer of the cave to live! And like fools (fools!) they're heading right toward it, until the light of their glows falls on… "Huh." It's a cave! Okay, so it's all caves here, they've been traveling through a cave to get to this cave, but… this one is bigger! She grins back to Ka'el, and takes a few steps forward, heading toward the cascade at the center. "…definitely water." Not that she had any doubts, exactly, but… proof! "How come we don't have any caves like these?"

Water, yes. Falling water, at that! And.. Ka’el follows Soriana as she heads for that waterfall, eyes turning up to try to see just where it’s coming from. “Because if we had places like this as home, there’d be no reason to go on vacation,” he answers as his eyes drift from the water to the walls that he can see. Their light just barely reaches it, but not much light is needed for the crystalline structures embedded within to show off their brilliance. They look like jewels. What was that about buried treasure? They’ve definitely found it, even if those crystals aren’t worth anything in market. He exhales a breath, lifting his arm higher, trying to spread the light further. “Look at that,” he prompts, nodding towards a far wall. “They look like stars. This whole place, like..the sky.” The sky, obviously at night though that part is left to be inferred.

The firelizards, for all their calls of awesomeness, are nowhere to be seen. Probably because they're pursuing firelizard awesome, not falling water and sparkling walls. Soriana reaches out her hand to the waterfall, letting it spray against her hand and splash out onto the cavern's floor. No vacations? "I'd be okay with that," she says, though it's hardly a properly considered opinion. If she didn't have vacations, when would she get to stop doing paperwork? Still. Can't she move into a place like this? Okay, so the stone'd be cold and damp, and she'd get awfully tired of it after the first seven or so, but right this moment, she's tempted. She looks past that water to the bright twinkle of the star-stones, and nods. "They look like they're moving." Really, it's the light that's moving, changing the angles at which it encounters them and makes them gleam, but… "Like they're dancing."

Water is totally boring (to firelizards) What's not boring is chasing critters through all these awesome firelizard and human sized tunnels! That's what Alloy is off doing, giving no thought to his human partner that he's just abandoned. But, Ka'el hasn't given Alloy much thought either. The bronze can take care of himself. Plus, he has things to wonder and gaze at in the meantime. "Not me," he answers Soriana. "Findin' places like this makes me want to visit more places and see what else I can find. A cavern today. A secret garden the next. Who knows what else after.." His hand has slipped from hers in their wandering, but her comment on the dancing stars has him grinning and looking her way again. Eyes shift to the wall, watching as the light moves along the surface, his grin growing. "Yeah. A dance of stars." It gives another meaning to dancing with the stars, doesn't it? Sandaled feet move quickly across the sand as he makes his way towards her again, bending briefly to set his basket down before reaching to catch her around the waist with one arm. "S'only right that we dance with them then, huh?"

Water is sometimes boring to humans, too! Like when it's sitting in a cup instead of ale or klah. Or when it's grey and dreary in the form of rain. But this water, falling from the roof of the cavern… this is fascinating! Even if Soriana'd object to having it falling down in, say, her office. She's so picky about where she does and doesn't want her waterfalls. "A city in the clouds," she suggests for Ka'el's next discovery, and shakes water from her hand in a spray of iridescence in the glows, not nearly so bright as those crystals and far more transient. As Ka'el slips his arm around her, Soriana laughs, and leans in to give him a kiss. "The music's playing," she sweeps the glow-bearing hand toward the water, then sets it down as the other one goes to rest on his shoulder. "So you're right. We'd better dance with them, if we can figure out the steps."

Ka’el can hear the music. It’s a melody written to the beat of that trickling water. The echoes of their own voices, the instruments. And the shadows that dance on the walls is the crowd that dances with them. “The steps are always easy,” he says as he takes her hand once it’s free of glows. “Isn’t it always … one-two-three, one-two-three?” A waltz, apparently, written in traditional time. Everybody can dance a waltz! Even with no real music but the music that plays in the mind, strummed by water. Grinning, his feet move indeed in waltzing steps. One, two, three. Ka’el hals always been a good dancer. From the time she forced him to be his date to now, he’s rarely ever hesitated to join in on a dance! Across the sands they go, staying within the realm of the glow lights that collectively give off enough to make a good sized dance floor with twinkling false stars serving as a backdrop and dance partner. “I challenge you to not step on my feet!”

A harper could overlay a tune onto that trickle. The water gives a tempo, a set of tones. A composer could make a sonata in splash minor. Soriana? She's no composer. Neither is Ka'el, but she curves her fingers with his, and laughs as he names the tune. "Always and forever," she says, then adds, "Except when it isn't." So that should cover it, right? But they're both familiar enough with the steps and how to dance. The first time she made him do it, cruelly forced him into dating and dancing with her. Ever since? It's been his own fault that they've danced together. Admittedly, given the sorts of formal occasions at which dances sometimes appear, sometimes it's obviously the better choice. Talk to that grouchy craftperson, or dance… easy decision! But even when it's less clear than that, dancing together's a good thing, and Soriana smiles as she and Ka'el sweep the sandy floor with no audience but all the stars of the night-time sky, transported here for their pleasure. "…not to…" She laughs. "What sort of a challenge is that?"

"An impossible one for you," Ka'el answers with a crooked grin, their shadows mirrored splotches on the wall. "My toes bleed after dancing with you," he jokes, because joking is what he's known to do in any given situation, especially the comfortable ones like these. He winks at her, then leans in for a brief kiss, if she'll allow him to kiss her after berating her dancing skills! In either case, his mirth will not diminish, nor will his grin as their waltz their way around their private little cave which is in fact not littered with toys or children or lost boys ready to pounce them (hopefully). And for a while, Ka'el does forget that it is day and not actually night as it seems to be here, even though outside the sun his begun to descent toward that horizon. The display couldn't' be as brilliant as what they have here, in this sparkling cavern. Soriana got her glitter after all! He pauses after a measure to twirl her 'round twice, not because any waltz calls for twirling, but because twirling is fun to do.

Soriana snorts with entirely false indignation as her dancing skills are impugned. She's a perfectly good dancer, and she knows it! Okay, so she's got a bit of a tendency to lead sometimes, but she doesn't step on toes. Except that one time, with that guy from Reaches, but he was a jerk and he deserved it. Ka'el? Him, she'll kiss back, and continue to dance her way around the white sands of this star-strewn cavern. There's no felines hiding behind that waterfall, and any snakes or crawly things have ceded the space - probably chased away by the firelizard scouts, now off on further adventures. Soriana pays them no mind, laughing as she twirls under Ka'el's arm. It's the obvious thing for this part in the music, she can hear it. Also, she's still not stepping on any toes.

Twirling is also fun to watch when one is doing the twirling. The brief glimpses of a grinning face that he gets. The whipping of hair as she spins around. Twirling should be mandatory in every dance! His hand grips at her hip to stop her and guide her against him once more. “You stepped on my toe,” he says, giving her a brow-arched look, completed with a half smirk. (She totally didn’t step on his toe at all. He’s lying!) But he’s giving her a smirkish accusatory look anyway, their dance momentarily paused due to .. er, injury? Yeah, right. An injury that neither one of them felt happen, but definitely occurred. Definitely. “I told you it was an impossible challenge for you. And now I win. And you owe me big.”

Twirler and twirlee! It's like the top they might have found in that store of kids' toys, only… better. Because it is, that's why. Soriana bumps her hip into that hand as it stops her, with a teasing sway of her hips that ends in a laugh. "Did I," she says, and her lips curve in the other half of that smirk. "And what was it doing, lying out in the sand like that? Can't you keep better track of your limbs?" Detachable toe! Wiggling its way along, free of his body. It's a wonder he hasn't left it behind somewhere on another continent! "So what?" she asks, still smirking… though it's edging toward a grin (Grirking? Sminning?) as her arm slips further around his shoulders and she leans in. "Do you need me to kiss it better?"

“It’s you who needs to keep track of your limbs, with your…dragon feet,” retorts Ka’el whose toe is most-assuredly throbbing right now, having been tromped on by dragon feet. It’s no wonder he’s been so easily stepped on! Poor, poor Ka’el. His eyes narrow at the griking, sminning girl, but he beams at her suggestion. Kiss it better? Or would that be a kiss to make it better? Or a kiss to distract him from the pain, which will make it seem as if it’s better, when in actuality it still hurts? Whatever. Kiss! That’s what he wants. “Yes. That’s exactly what’s needed,” he says, nodding solemnly. “You’ve got to kiss me.” Which is what she said, right? Something like that. Oh well! He squeezes his eyes shut and puckers up, making a fishy, kissy face. Mwuahmwuah! Lay it on him!

Such dragon paws! So huge, it's no wonder Soriana didn't feel a single human toe beneath it. Ka'el's poor flipper! …is what it'd be if he was still a dolphin, which he isn't. Soriana has so much to answer for! And she's hardly penitent at all, which compounds the situation… like the compound fracture of the toe that surely (isn't) there. Throbbing away! He can barely stand to stand on it, which is why his posture isn't revealing anything at all about which toe it might be. Because, uh, it's… anyway! About those kisses. That will heal… er. Distract? Because she's pretty sure she didn't step on his lips. That expression he makes, with squished eyes and puckered lips, turns smin toward snicker. Because… fishyface! It looks goofy and silly and like he's… uh… huh. Maybe there's something to those claims of dolphinhood. But anyway, Soriana - once she gets the smickers under control - goes for the smackers of lips and kissing.

The problem with having his eyes closed as he waits for a kiss is that Ka'el doesn't actually know when the kiss is coming! He knows that she's still there and hasn't left him in the cavern alone while she's run off snickering, because his arm is around her. He can feel her! But just when her lips start leaning towards his? Unknown, so he continues to fishy-smoochy face in hopes that she'll grant him his wish! Wait, no. Not a wish. She's supposed to be giving him what he's due, because she has broken his whole foot! (Yeah, it's not just a toe anymore. His whole foot is crushed! Gasp.) And she'd better get to kissing him soon because eventually that foot is gon-.. Ah ha! He feels lips! He grins instantly after, his lips curving against hers before his head tilts so that mouths can properly meet with a small "Mm!" as both arms now wrap around her. This is the best medicine for anything. The owwie in his foot? Gone. As if it never happened at all. (Fancy that!) No throb. No soul-crushing pain. Just the warmth of a kiss had beneath the sparkling walls of a hidden cave.

Maybe Soriana's replaced herself with… a statue. Yeah, that's it. A statue that's… somehow mysteriously warm and soft in all the right ways against Ka'el's arm. That she managed to sneak in there without him noticing. She could do it! She's crafty. Wily. Clever. See how she leans in without him noticing it? The mystery (and wonderment) as she gets her lips in range with such stealth that he doesn't even know the kiss is coming until… it does! Maybe a little awkwardly at first. Fish-faces aren't actually the best for kisses. Not the starts of kisses, anyway. They're more suited for partway into the kiss, once her other hand has slipped against the back of his head and her head has tilted and they double-fish-face at each other. That's a technical term, used by the kiss-healers. Nothing short of that would cure the terrible phantom pain of a wrecked and ruined limb. So… it's a good thing Soriana's here. That they're both here, floating (that'd be the kiss) among the underground stars.

Double-fish-face to the rescue! Good thing this has all worked out in the end, else Soriana would have a one-footed boyfriend. And it would be all her fault! But, as it is, she has a perfectly intact, wholly human man who is all too eager to kiss her and kiss her more as a hand slides up to allow fingers to disappear within her tresses. He smiles, which makes the kiss awkward because smiling lips aren't too good to kiss with. Gradually, it melts away for the kiss to resume again though, only to be interrupted again by another, smaller grin. He pulls back a fraction of an inch, then a little further to open his eyes. “This vacation tops Ista,” he says with a smirk. “And I lied. You didn’t step on my toe at all.” Gasp! Shock. Scandal!

Ka'el would have to hop around on one leg. He'd be… uh… rather silly looking, and the story of how he got that way would be even worse. But, fortunately, it was all lies. Except the kiss. The kiss isn't a lie, it's just a teasing one, with interruptions for smiles and breathing and all those important things. "You liar," she retorts as she opens her eyes to peek at his. She's not terribly upset-sounding, though. Neither shocked nor scandalized. "I liked Ista," she says, and her fingers trail down along the back of his neck before she adds, "Here's good too." Soriana leans in, with another kiss for Ka'el. Despite his lying liar ways.

Vague shivers are sent down his spine at that lazy touch to his neck, sparks of electricity that zap through the veins and tingle his extremities. Fingers and toes. She’s right, Ista was good. He liked it too, and he nods in agreement at the memory made turns ago. He has something to say about that, but it rests still on his tongue which is finding better things to do besides talk anyway. Like kiss, which he happily does in return, heart thumping hard in his chest, like a drum finding the beat to a lost song. Thump, thump, thump. His hand lowers from her hair and rests upon her back, a soft smacking of lips sounding another parting of them. Blue eyes roam the familiar contours of her face, and he leans in to press a kiss to her cheek, fond and gentle. “…” Huh. There were words, but he lost them somewhere between the first and second kiss. Where’d they go? Something about Ista..maybe. Thump, thump, thump. “I’m glad we came.” These weren’t the words, but these are better than blank-minded silence. “I didn’t think we’d ever really get away together.”

Memories linger in the mind, brought up by associations. Sand brings to mind beaches. Crystals bring to mind stars. Kisses… oh, those bring to mind other kisses, and other things that can be done beyond kissing. Words? They're another thing, sure. They can be done, after the press of lips and slow tangle of tongues have parted again, and Soriana's leaned in against Ka'el, her front warm as it seeks to match to the shape of his, softness that squishes and muscles that press. Her lips pull toward his as he kisses her cheek, or maybe they're just pulling into a smile. The music has changed, a different movement - this one carried by the eager drum of beating heart and punctuated by the sound of lips. Hers brush against his jaw, and then her head tilts up to look at his eyes. "Yeah," she agrees, and her lean gets just a little firmer. She can practically feel the beat of his heart. "We finally got our chance to run away." Her fingers splay against his neck, slide up into the hair. "…together." Because that's the best wy to run away.

He’s not sure when it happens. Maybe it’s when their eyes meet, blue to brown, or when he feels the weight of her lean pressed against his front. Perhaps it’s the moment when her fingers glide against the strands of his hair. He’ll need a haircut again soon if he wishes to keep that clean-cut look of a Weyrleader intact, for the strands near his neck have grown and have begun to curl. Maybe it’s one of these moments, or maybe it’s been this entire time, upon their arrival to the cave, or upon their arrival to the hold altogether. But at some point, his thrill has given way to fear. Not outright terror. Not the fear that one feels when one is in danger or has received devastating news. But instead, that nervous sort of fear that creeps into the capillaries when one is standing at the precipice. The peak of a mountain. The edge of a cliff. And there’s a choice of taking a leap of faith, flying off and risking falling or soaring to greater heights. But the outcome is .. unknown. Hence the fear. The nervousness. Is it a risk worth taking? Fly or fall? Or should he merely turn back and wander the paths he’s always wandered? As he looks into her eyes, he asks himself this question. He’s been here before, standing on this apex, and he’s backed down again and again. Here, under these false stars of beauty, will he do the same? Thump, thump, thump! Slowly does he swallow, throat lifting and dropping as he unsuccessfully tries to slow the tempo of his anxious heart. “Would you .. want to run away with me, always?”

The light's unsteady, the flicker of the glows reflected by crystals and the falling water. Soriana's eyes are steady, though the patterns of light and shadow on her cheekbones change. Those eyes have met before. Their bodies have pressed before. Her fingers have teased over-long hair before… and those are something to be remembered, memories to be brought back to mind even though this time is different. It's always different, somehow. Even when all the things are the same, there's always something different about it. Something new. The unknown, in with all the known, and that's something to fear. Something that's always to be feared, because no matter how much becomes known, there'll always be an unknown lingering. Something not understood. Something that might be dangerous… but it's not something that has to be understood. There's that option to step back from the ledge, to stay on familiar paths. To float where the world takes you instead of forging your own way. It's likely safer that way. If they'd stayed on familiar paths, they'd never have found this place. They wouldn't have risked falling into an unexplored crevasse… and they wouldn't have found this sparkling cavern, either. It's a choice, suggesting both risk and reward and promising neither until it's taken, committed to, chosen. Soriana's still smiling, though what she sees in Ka'el's eyes… well, she's not sure what it is, but it doesn't seem to be a laughing thing. Just a smiling thing, or maybe it's just Ka'el that she smiles for, regardless of his look. There's time enough for her to think about the look, but she's mostly distracted from doing so by the presence and warmth of him, the feel of him against her and the unWeyrleadery hair she slowly teases into an even less professional look. His hair, and then his question, and it almost brings a laugh. Almost. There's the flicker of her mouth, the expression that's part grin and part rueful. "If I could," she answers, and leans in, touching her lips to his. He knows as well as she does the reasons why she can't. (Hah. She can do anything she wants… right? So… make that the reasons why she shouldn't.) But her fingers stay in his hair, even once her lips draw away. She can't. (Shouldn't.) But she still asks, tone wistful, "Where would we go?" What lies down that path? Past the leap?

She would. A fractional bit of tightness loosens in his chest. If she could, she would. She can’t, and neither can he. It’s a child’s dream, to imagine that such freedom exists that one can take off whenever one wants to. Whenever the desire to go sparks, that going is an option. If they were renegades, possibly. Weyrless. Holdless. Tied down to nothing with no one looking at them for guidance or leadership. If all that were true, she would go with him, always. And where? Where would he take her? “No limits,” he answers, speaking past his heart which seems hell-bent on jumping out of his throat. “I’d take you to the ends Pern and beyond. We’d see everything. Every wonder there is to be found’d be ours. It’d take turns and turns, til we’re old and gray and senile. But we’d still fly, together, to every jungle and ruin and castle in the sky..” He smirks at that, pausing momentarily to bring his lips to hers. Thump, thump, thump. The loosening of nerves was only a temporary thing, for when his words ends, the grip in his chest redoubles its hold, clenching an invisible death grip upon him. He swallows again, glad for the glows for the shadows hopefully hide a portion of the tenseness that shows on his face, around the eyes. Felt in his arms. He’s walking blindly. He’s been given no guidance. There was no father to turn to for advice. No strong hand to point him in the right direction and build the confidence a man needs when risking baring his whole self. What should he say? How should it say it? Thumpthumpthump. Is it getting warm in here, or is it just him? A slow breath is inhaled, inflating the lungs, and is eventually exhaled just as slowly. He can’t look away from her eyes. He’s seen so much in them throughout the turns. A fierce determination. Stubbornness. Joy. Compassion. Love. Passion. Hatred. Distrust. What will they show him now, as his arm slips from her so that a hand can slip in and out of a side pocket of his shorts, removing something that remains cupped in his palm? “Wherever I go, I want you to be with me. Even if you’re not with me..physically, I want you to.. be a part’ve me.”

Renegades or children, but with the ability to run away from home come the reasons to stay. The should-reasons, the reasons that are known and felt and understood, and so hold more securely than any chains or rules possibly could. If Soriana could? Oh, she would, and her smile grows as Ka'el speaks of where they'd go. Everywhere? Sure. If it's to be a dream, that's… a good one. She presses her lips back to his. "To cliffs," for leaping from, "and hidden waterfalls," for dancing to, "and… everything." Old? They'd be centuries dead before they could see it all. But they already can't, so what's another impossibility? The warmth might be the closeness of their bodies, a belated reaction to the dancing. Whatever it is, it's not enough to move Soriana away. Which doesn't mean she can't feel it, necessarily, she just… doesn't move away any more than that inhalation pushes her. Which isn't really away, anyhow. It's more just… changing the contours that she leans against. Ka'el can hold her upright, even if she's proud to stand alone. But she still leans on him, doesn't she? Her eyes stay on his, wistful with the dream of escape, relaxed with the comfort of being close to him. Thoughtful-Soriana, but his motion - the removal of arm, the dig into his pocket - brightens them toward curiosity. There's a question there, one that brings her eyes away to his hand before his words draw them back up to look at… well, his mouth in passing, but then they settle back to his own eyes. Wherever he goes… wherever he goes, which means… not necessarily her with him. Not them going, not these adventures across Pern and beyond that would take them everywhere. Will instead of would, can instead of could… right? But how's she supposed to be in two places at once? She's not a dragon, to tease her thoughts into the back of his head when she's absent. (But he thinks of her, doesn't he?) Neither is he. (But she thinks of him.) Physical space is a barrier to them. Finding time… a challenge. The question in her eyes is joined by other ones, puzzlement and curiosity and the remnants of that wistfulness turning to desire. She's not sure if this is can or could, sense or something that'll fall away if she reaches out to grasp it, but she still wants… "Which part?" It's the wrong question, or at least, a more or less irrelevant question, but it's the one that comes out of her mouth.

It’s such a small thing, this thing in his hand that feels suddenly very heavy in his palm. But he holds on to it tightly, his hand fisted as if it were a lifeline. His palm doesn’t open now. Not yet. It’s maybe not the right time. The words haven’t come out so perfectly yet, but when have they ever? He bumbles and fumbles often when it comes to matters of the heart. Easy to joke, difficult to lay it all out when he’s unsure if laying it out is the correct move to make. And such meaningful words never come out right anyway, even if they are well-spoken. Words don’t do feelings justice. But oh, he can show her what he wants to say. With touches and kisses and kind gestures, like gathering wood for the winter to leave by her doorstep, or flying over her weyr during Galaxy sweeps just to make sure everything is okay. Or sending his frenemy to be her rock and protector when he couldn’t be. When she didn’t trust him to be. He cares, greatly. But is it too great? Too much for someone whose independence is something she takes such pride in? And it’s this need for independence that hinders him now, and has hindered him long before now. Is this gesture robbing her of it? Would it be an undesirable concept to offer this tiny token that rests in his hand? It’s a leap, definitely. A leap of faith he’s been far too afraid to take, afraid of the outcome. But how can he let fear dictate what he does? He’s supposed to be a leader. He’s supposed to follow his heart, and his heart has been hers from the start. Which part? Which part of her does he want with him? Which part of him does he wish her to have? Th-thump, th-thump, th-thump. Everything here is so beautiful. The crystalline walls. The light that dances on the water. Her eyes. Her face. This is a beautiful moment. Could he hope for anything better? Her question was the right one. “The heart.” Hers. His. He gulps down another breath. He had no one to ask about this. He doesn’t know if he’s doing the right thing by stepping back from her and lowering himself down on one knee. He read about it in a book about Ancient traditions. He knows at home, when a man asks a woman to marry him, this is what they do. In a Weyr, he doesn’t know because there is no marriage, and so maybe he’s risking looking foolish by doing this, but he does it anyway because it’s all that he does know, as nervous as nervous can be. He looks up at her, hopeful and fearful, eyes bright beneath the light of the glows, as he offers up a ring to her, crafted by the hand of a skilled smith (himself!). Fancy, because his position allows him the resources to be. Woven bronze and gold, topped with a jewel. “I want to give..you my heart, because you’ve always had it. And there’s not a woman on any Weyr or hold or cothold or hut in any forest that I want to be with more than I want to be with you. I’ve loved you since I was fifteen, and I’ve never loved anybody else but you. And I would .. be.. shards, the happiest man on Pern if you’d .. be my weyrmate.” Thumpthumpthump! She could say no. He knows this! He’s feared it. But..he’s taking the leap anyway, and all that’s above and below him is now sky. Terrifyingly empty sky.

His heart? That's a rather important bit for remaining inside his chest. Dragons may have multiple of those, tucked inside their ribcages, but humans? Oh, humans only have one of them, and it can't be physically given. That's the problem, isn't it? Soriana's lips tug to the side at that answer of heart, the joking answers tumbling into her head and distracting her from the serious part. From Ka'el, who she loves seriously… even if there's always something silly. That's a part of it, the light-heartedness, the ability to make her smile, to run with a joke (to run away together), to do… whatever it takes. To tease away her temper, to turn aside her glares, to make her amused instead of angry. Afraid of her? Well. He's the one who's seen her at her worst, when she was lashing out because she was frustrated and scared. (Lashing out at him, because… because of something where she should have known better and didn't, because emotions don't always follow logic.) Words don't follow them either, too tangled to be logical and a poor way to express emotions. Gestures can do a little better, affection and signs, a history built up over the turns (the turns together), but they're limited. They can only be understood by what they mean to someone else. Ka'el steps back, and the puzzlement grows. Did Soriana read that same book about the traditions of the Ancients? Did she see marriage proposals? Or - as she shifts her weight to stand on her own - does she only notice that? Her independence, a lonely sort of thing… except who really knows that? Ka'el does. He's the one she's told. He's the one who still brings her wood for winter (which she did take half of), and who she'll let remind her to lock her doors. Not that… she does, all the time. But she does listen. She listens to him, silly or serious or somewhere in between. Sometimes… she doesn't agree. She's stubborn like that. So yeah, she could say no. That's why the question, right? Because it is a question, something that's in doubt. Whether she's his, whether he's hers. Whether a part of them goes with the other, or whether they're only together… as long as they're together. Whether the physical is the most important part, or whether - like the gold that echoes Luraoth's hide, the bronze that echoes Kanekith's - there's something to be had in thoughts and dreams and memories, something that's there even when the bodies are absent. There's question in her eyes, as her hands fall back to her sides. A certain perplexity, a certain… slowness. What is he… his heart. The thing that all the harpers talk about giving away, despite it staying inside the chest. The heart that was thumping away, quick and eager. The desire - for her. Ka'el's desire for her, stated in words that are… serious. True. This isn't some overblown joke, and she nods fractionally. It's… she believes him. She understands what he's saying. It makes sense - that part of it, anyway. Her eyes flick to the ring, then back to Ka'el's. He'd be - he wants - and it all tumbles into a sense of things. So this is… "Shards, Kale." Which is… what? It's not a very good answer, but the part where she reaches her hand out is. Sort of. Her fingers aren't quite sure if they want to tangle with his or if they're supposed to reach for the ring or what. Also? This whole standing up thing's kind of overrated, and so she leans forward until, instead of standing on her own, she's kneeling there facing him. "Only if you're mine." Which is sort of how it works, but logical and words aren't really her thing right now, which is why she leans forward further enough to kiss him.

It’s amazing how vulnerable one can feel in the span of seconds. Is it really only seconds that pass between the question asked and the answer given, though? It feels so much longer than that, and Ka’el feels exposed to the world, even if their world consists of only them two and two wayward firelizards who care not for such things. In those heavy seconds, all the can do is wait. Whether or not he has anything else to say, he can’t say them now. Once the question is asked, there is no more. It’s her turn now. Her turn to watch him fall or give him the strength to fly. Perhaps this is why some men don’t bother with things like this. Marriage. Weyrmating. Too much of it depends on the other person. Too much is left up to chance. It’s a scary thing, and Ka’el now has personal experience to attest to just how scary it is. Down there on one knee, holding up a ring, looking up at a woman who he’s been with for so long, makes him feel vulnerable. All he can do is wait. Even if there were more words he wished to say, now isn’t the time to say them. Now, it’s her turn. She can either lift him up or watch him flail and fall into the emptiness that he’s willingly jumped in to. What will her answer be? She has every reason to say yes! Turns they’ve been together. Turns of laughing and playing. Learning the intricate secrets of one another. Turns to build trust and disappear to foreign places together. But for all the reasons she has to say yes, she possibly has just as many to deny him. He is a jealous man. So jealous. He’s made mistakes with her. Broken friendships. Fought with her. Brought harm to her. Broke that trust that was so long in the making. He dare not assume to know just what her next words will be, and so he merely waits on bended knee with a drumming heart of anticipation as she pieces together just what it is he’s asking from her. And her answer..? It isn’t a yes. It isn’t a no. It’s a curse, which usually doesn’t..bode well. He has no escape plan. He hadn’t thought of what to do if she said no (or even if she said yes!) and for a panicked moment he’s frozen down there, heart lurching to a stop. Fool. Fool! Why did he .. Wait. What’s she doing? Her hand’s coming his way, and his eyes flit to follow the process as she reaches for him. For his hand. For the ring? And soon, Soriana herself is down there with him. Wait, is she supposed to be down here? That wasn’t part of the book, but he’s not going to argue. Not now that she’s talking, speaking words that jumpstart his heart again. Wait. Is that a yes? There’s a baffled moment where he just looks at her with this owlishly wide-eyed look, but her kiss clears everything up. That ring is still in his hand, he hasn’t quite gotten it on her finger yet, but it’ll get there. After kissing. After a lot of relieved, happy kissing! Ring clutched between their held hands, he kisses her. Kisses her as if the chance will never again present itself. But, that’s not true is it? There will be chances. So many chances! Because she is his weyrmate, and he hers.

Lift him up? Not quite. Soriana's taking the option where she falls with him. It's a long tumble, down from whatever cliff or dragonback perch this is. But that's what flying is, right? A controlled tumble, a fall that's interrupted by the beat of wings, denying the gravity that's pulling downward. Ka'el's taken a leap. Soriana… leaps after him. Because… shards, what else is she going to do? Because… Kale. Because shards, Kale, how long have you been planning this? Because shards, Kale, is that what this is all about? Because shards, Kale, you didn't have to, it's not like you had to make a fancy ring and… all the… words, that she doesn't have. Soriana doesn't have any of the words, which is why she comes up with the ones that she does. They're not very good words, all things considered. One might think, being a Weyrwoman, doing diplomacy, she'd have better ones. She doesn't. Shards and Kales and… she's not just going to be his weyrmate, because she can stand on her own. But if they're both standing together, then it's not that she can't. It's not that he can't. It's that… they will. Together. Weyrmates. She hasn't properly said a yes, has she? Not in the actual human words that get spoken. Maybe her lips would manage some, if they weren't busy kissing. If they weren't pressed to Ka'el's, as they were a moment before. This kiss isn't to heal some phantom wound. It's a reminder that some real wounds - harm, broken trusts - have healed. It's a willingness to fall together, to leap from cloud-city heights and a fall down into who-knows-what, beneath the waves and down into the depths of the earth. It's something said less clearly than words, but more deeply. It's an obvious answer to a question that was up in the air, that could have fallen either way but has fallen this one. The ring's caught between their hands. His giving, hers accepting. Or they will be, anyhow. After this kiss. And the other kiss that follows it. In case the first one forgot anything. It might have; Soriana's not very good with her words. How many misunderstandings has she caused? The lack of actual yes is just the most recent one, but that's okay. Ka'el's good at figuring these things out. Even when Soriana doesn't do it by the book.

It’s unlikely that Ka’el realizes that she hasn’t answered him verbally. That’s right, there was no ‘yes’ at all, but he doesn’t really need one. This kiss is a yes enough, as obviously it feels nothing like a kiss goodbye, or a kiss of pity. This is a powerful kiss that answers the question that was so hard to ask. His heart still thumps. Thump,thump,thump. Hard in his chest, but it’s has a different feel to it now. It’s not wildly pumping nervous feelings through his body anymore. It’s not causing palms to sweat or body to feel unusually hot beneath the collar. Now, it’s the rapid beat of a thrilled heart. A relieved heart. A happy heart who gladly will call Soriana its co-owner. Weyrmates? Weyrmates. A new and unknown path that’s likely filled with as many bumps and tumbles as it is adventure. He’s ready to explore it with her. Every nook and cranny and obstacle that it may have in store for them. Dating wasn’t always sunshine and butterflies. This weyrmate thing? Well, they’ll get the hang of it, whatever it entails. For now, in this moment, it consists of happy feelings that has Ka’el wrapping an arm around her, pulling her against him as he falls backwards onto the sand. Floomph! His fingers lace between hers, keeping that ring secure, aware enough to keep it safe from being swallowed up by the cavern’s sands (because shards, how awful would it be to lose it already?) And he kisses her, and breathes, and kisses her more because he can’t think of anything else he wants to do but kiss and kiss and kiss her! And he does, for a long and happy time beneath their twinkling stars. Gradually, kissing slows to tender touches to the lips, unhurried, lethargic with a heavy feeling of comfort. “You’re my weyrmate,” spoken with a slightly drunken grin.

And just what does it entail? That'd be a good question to ask. To figure out just what exactly they're doing. Weyrmates, yes. That answer's been given, words or no. The thump of heartbeats - has Ka'el's slowed, or has Soriana's quickened? She's not sure - probably both - but now there's not that lack of matching, that confusion of question and answer stretched out and seeking each other. Now their feet are on the same path, even if they don't actually know the way. Even if, just now, they're kneeling on the sands more than walking any actual path. It's a metaphorical path. That, or they're gathering their strength and their supplies of kisses before they start walking. Or… before they fall once again. Soriana leans in to that arm around her, and as she's pulled off balance and tumbles with Ka'el, she laughs. It's not the first time she's fallen on him. She did it turns ago, before they'd even acknowledged the possibility that maybe someday they'd be dating, let alone weyrmated. Boy-scent was noticed then. Man-scent now, altered by turns, but still Kale, and her laughter ends with the press of her lips to his once more. It tries to bubble out around the edges of the kiss, to escape into the air. The ring, they don't let escape, the unfamiliar shape of it pressed between her hand and one that is familiar. Ka'el's fingers, twined with hers, and the skin-warmed metal and the faceted bump of the stone, pressed to their palms. Her breath? She needs that to laugh, and once it's escaped, she just smiles around the rest of her kisses to him, until the kisses subside (for now) and she's just left with the smile. The smile… and Ka'el. Her weyrmate, and the statement brings forth that laugh once more. "Yeah." There. She's actually said it in words, now. "I am. We," and she leans in, presses her lips to his, "are weyrmates." Which means - if you look at the definition of the word, never mind associations - living in the same weyr. Which. "…does Kanekith even know how to share a couch?"

He is, isn’t he? He’s her weyrmate. Soriana’s weyrmate, Ka’el. Ka’el, Weyrleader of Xanadu, weyrmate of Soriana, Junior Weyrwoman of Xanadu. He smirks as his brain conjures up the many ways to tack on this new unofficial title. One he’s far happier to have achieved than his last! He hasn’t forgotten that ring that still is hidden between his palms, and slowly, his fingers untwine from hers and he holds the object between his fingers. “Of course Kanekith…doesn’t know how to share a couch,” he answers, smirking. “He never has, even after hatching. He never shared with anyone else after claimin’ his. So … it’ll be … interesting.” Yes, that’s the best word. Interesting! Not disastrous. Not headache-worthy. Interesting. And her words bring up a thought. Sharing a couch. Sharing a weyr. That’s..to be expected, right? Probably, which is probably why she brought up couch-sharing. Who will be moving into whose place? Oh, details! For now though, as he revels in the glow of having his proposal being accepted, he’s not too worried about the details. He’s more interested in combing his fingers through her hair and enjoying the weight of her that’s pressed against him. And sneaking another softly lingering kiss. He rolls the ring between his fingers before remembering…hey. This belongs to her! He grins crookedly. “Is this a custom, for weyrmating?” he asks as he moves the ring closer to her. “ Or am I makin’ myself out to be a bigger weyr- fool than you thought?”

Oh, Faranth, it means they can stack their titles on top of each other. Soriana, Junior Weyrwoman of Xanadu, weyrmated to Ka'el, Weyrleader of Xanadu, weyrmated to Soriana, Junior Weyrwoman of Xanadu and Dragonhealer Grade Two, weyrmated to Ka'el- aaaaaand so forth. The titles, like hearts, can be shared. Kanekith, though.. Soriana grins. Of course he doesn't. Her fingers brush against Ka'el's as they untwine. "He'd have had his own hatching, if he could. Just to make sure all eyes were on him." She's fond in her teasing for the bronze, wherever he is (Probably showing off, if he isn't lazing. Or maybe he's managing both at once!) and her thoughts don't stay on him for long. Not when there's a Ka'el here to distract her. Interesting? She snort-laughs, and nods. Definitely! Whether they share a weyr or not - which is usually expected. It's the step after toothbrushes, but it's definitely all details… though it would make it easier for Ka'el to walk Soriana home at night. She wouldn't be able to tell him to head to his own weyr and get to bed! But they can figure that out later. For now, she tilts her head against those fingers, leaning into the touch, and a reflection of the light against the ring draws her attention briefly before she's distracted once more by a kiss. Good distraction. Much better than figuring out details… though there's one detail she wants to take a closer look at, and after a kiss for his chin (not his lips, because then she'd get distracted again), she looks to that ring, reaching out her hand to brush a fingertip around the circuit of it. A custom? She shrugs a little. "I guess it… depends?" There's a thoughtful tug at her mouth, but the truth of it is, Soriana doesn't know. Her mother came from a hold and never found a weyrmate. Her friends… heh, some of them flaunt all kinds of jewelry, that doesn't mean it's a weyrmating thing to do it. "It… makes sense." Her eyes flick from ring to him, and her mouth quirks up into a grin as her fingertip rests just against the top of the ring. "I like the braid thing."

Soriana has the better weyr. She has like .. a real kitchen. That can cook things like .. actual meals. Ka’el’s stove is awesome in its own way, perfect for late-night reheating of kitchen-stolen food! But when it comes to actual cooking? Well…can either of them even cook? Ka’el makes a mean grilled cheese on his grilling rack over his forge, but.. Hey, speaking of forges, does he get to keep his? And what about all of his handy mismatched furniture pieces? He can’t part with his wicker chairs! (oh yes he can!) Oh, this will be a fun ordeal once they actually get the ball rolling, but they’re miles and miles and miles away from home now, and thus, unimportant til they actually get back. What’s important now is the ring that she’s taking more notice to now, and he lets her examine it. He made it for her, besides. “I liked making it for you,” he answers her, his smile smirkish. “Gold is soft. Easy to work with in smithing when you can get your hands on it. Bronze, not as soft, but workable enough.” Uh oh. Is he reverting back to his smithing jibber jabber? “I wanted to use them because…well. Luraoth and Kanekith,” he says with a sheepish smirk. “And this had better fit you, else all that hand-holdin’ would’ve been for nothing.” His words are a tease as he moves the ring. Index finger. Middle finger. Ring finger. Yeah, that one seems the most logical! He slips it onto that one. “If it needs adjusting, let me know.”

Soriana can cook …some… things. Like klah! Or, uh… oatmeal! She can cook oatmeal, with dried fruit and brown sugar. Or… yeah okay she's not exactly a chef, master class or otherwise. But in theory. According to theoretical cooking rules, a kitchen beats a forge rack. Even if that rack can do grilled cheese and sausages. Ka'el definitely has the best (only) forge, and as for the rest of the furniture… well. They'll figure something out.. once they get back to Xanadu. For now, there's a ring to be looked at. Soriana grins a bit more that Ka'el liked making it for her - she should hope so, given the goal of the piece! - and observes it as he explains. Soft gold… at least according to smith theory. Not so much to her fingers, which is good. She'd hate to smush it into a lump instead of a braid, but that doesn't seem to be at any real risk of happening. Luraoth and Kanekith as the inspiration draw a nod, a return of her eyes to his and a grin. Riders put a strand of their lifemate's hue into knots all the time. This here knot is just a… different sort. "You should have one to match," she says, ponders it briefly. "Or maybe reversed?" Because Kanekith and Luraoth. Because weyrmates. Because making it look good and work on his finger while still being part of a set, and she doesn't particularly know how those things work. Besides, she's distracted by getting the ring onto her finger, to prove that hand-holding was not in vain and they're not going to call this off for half a turn while Ka'el goes back and makes a different ring. …they're not, right? Even so, there's a moment of held breath, making sure that it actually really truly is the case that, in fact, "…it fits." On her finger, no less! The ringy one!

Mmm, oatmeal! Ka’el won’t complain about her daily dose of oatmeal if she doesn’t complain about his nightly meals of sandwiches and forge-grilled sausages. Two culinary artists, they are. Xanadu’s Top Chefs! Brows lift fractionally at her suggestion that he makes himself a ring to match hers, and he lifts his free hand to gaze at his naked fingers. “Maybe I should…” he says, voice thoughtful. Gold and bronze. Bronze and gold, reversed. He can definitely get more of that, easily. Sans the rock cuz..jewels are for women. “Yeah..” he says to himself, the creative wheels beginning to turn thanks to her inspiration. Even if it is jewelry for himself, it’s a thing to make, and he likes making things. And he wants to match her. And, possibly, he wants that little symbol that signifies that, sorry ladies! His heart belongs to someone else! .. Even if the significance of a ring on a finger isn’t really all that significant on a Weyr. Still. It’s the principle of the matter! His eyes turn to her finger, now ringed with a ring that fits rather well, and his chest swells a little. Ha! He did it. It fits! And it looks pretty on her. And..weyrmate! With both hands free now, they rub up and down her back, inching lower and lower with each pass from shoulder blades to the small of her back. Past the small of her back. Pausing to grasp and squeeze. “So..” An innocent ‘so’. “I think..now that we’re weyrmates, we should leave this cave, go back to our hut, and not see anybody again until tomorrow.”

Between them, they've got all the important meals covered! If they just grab lunch in the caverns, that is. So see? This'll work out great. Gourmet food all around! …for… certain values of gourmet, that probably aren't actually gourmet at all. But! Even if the Iron Chef would look dubious at their recipes, the Gold and Bronze Smith reigns supreme. Soriana nods along that Ka'el should make one of his own. It's jewelry for himself, but it's also for Soriana (in a way). It's so's she can point to his finger (pointer finger, just a bit over from ring!) and go, see? Matched set. Mates together! Weyrmates together! She gets (in addition to his heart) a few square centimeters of his finger. Or, er… something like that, anyway. It's that principle thing, being all… principle-y. Also that ring thing, on her finger, being ring-y. She grins, and reaches up, curving her fingers against his jaw in a way that makes it hard to see but also means he can feel that ring, touching his skin in between her skin. See? (Er, feel?) It's really truly really there, and so is she, with her body shifting against his hands as they work their way down and her head leaning into to kiss him again. Because she hasn't done that enough, you see (feel). And so… she laughs, and nibbles teasingly at his lip before touching it with another kiss. "Seems appropriate," she agrees, grinning. Or, well, inappropriate to… do anywhere that wasn't the privacy of their hut. But they're weyrmates! So it's totally appropriate to retreat to their hut (even if their hands stay around (and about) each other along the way) and figure out some important parts of being weyrmates that have nothing to do with cooking. At all. Well… they're hot? And sometimes… okay so maybe there are comparisons to be drawn. (And snickered about.) But the rest of today's plans involve a bed far more than a stove!


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