Find Your Way Home (Vignette)

OOC Note: The following vignette and the logs associate with it are not IC knowledge. Please do not refer to it in RP. Timing is not a widely known ability and is generally frowned upon and heavily restricted. Any use of Timing should be passed by Xanadu Staff first. Thank you!

This takes place between Lost: One Blue Dragon and Found: One Blue Dragon

How did we get here?

It was the only snippet of thought that Kiena could cling to with some confidence, that IT was real and right, from where she crouched next to Ujinath’s side in the clearing they found to land in in the dense and humid jungles. That felt like so long, long ago. They had emerged from Between and immediately both could sense something was very wrong. The land below was not of Xanadu territory, but something else weighed so heavily on Kiena’s mind that she had Ujinath land as soon as possible. Something was wrong, but she couldn’t pinpoint it and even the blue was deeply troubled. The bluerider tries to recall what had occurred, how exactly they got to here — wherever here is. Yet any time she felt herself getting close to the answers, her mind would skip and skitter away as if frightened by what the conclusion would be.

How much time has she wasted already, fretting and trying to hold panic at bay? Kiena wasn’t certain. She didn’t WANT to think of it. Shifting, she tucks herself further into the shade cast by both Ujinath’s body and the trees, a scowl working its way onto her tense and anxious features. She licks her lips, aware of how thirsty she is but not daring to go look for water quite yet, worried to take a few wandering steps away and she pushes irritably at her now sweat-dampened hair. Come on, Kiena. THINK. Pull it together! she chides herself, grimacing.

Last I remember we had gone Between to take care of that errand I had missed. Kalsuoth was checking in. The girls are with Mur’dah. I was worried about time… Time… Kiena has to let the thought drift as a sudden wave of lassitude seems to drain her of her strength. No. NO. It can’t be possible. It is NOT possible! Her hands ball into fists, nails biting at her palms as she clamps down on her rattled emotions. Ujinath rumbles, turning his head around to peer down in concern to his rider. He’s been acting as her guard, though can provide no answers for her either. The blue is feeling just as strangely disconnected. « We’ll be okay, Kiena. We are together and together we can solve this. We just need to be cautious… »

“But why do we have to be cautious?” Kiena hisses through her teeth, pressing the heel of her hand against her brow now. She feels so tired, as if many days are heaped upon her rather than a span of minutes. Hurts to think, she can’t think in that sense. It can’t be possible! She can feel herself shutting down, closing herself off to possibilities never before discussed or known until now. Ujinath is swift to cocoon her mentally, offering her the confidence and strength she is lacking, hoisting her up despite his own misgivings. « But it is. How else are we here and alive? Don’t think too deep of the details. We were rushed. Somehow we… are here. The "wrong” here. We can still go home. » And he seems so sure, so confident that Kiena has to pause in her brooding, fears momentarily pushed down, to mull it over.

“You mean we’re in the wrong place…? No. Wrong place, wrong… time.” Kiena says slowly, as if sampling the concept bit by little bit. Ujinath whuffles softly in agreement which brings forth another scowl from the bluerider. Only now she is forcing herself to focus, gripping to it as she wrestles with herself. “How… how far back are we, Ujinath? Or are we back or forwards?” There’s only silence from the blue and coldness trickles down Kiena’s back. Fear. Panic is close on its heels and the world begins to swim in front of the bluerider’s eyes, which she promptly squeezes shut. Ujinath rumbles again, this time alarmed and his voice far more firm. « Kiena, stay with me. Focus! Remember. We must go home. We’re not supposed to be here! We have to try! »

Kiena groans and gives herself a few smart smacks to the side of her jaw. Wake up! Ujinath’s disapproval of such tactics drifts over their link, but he says nothing. There are bigger issues at hand. “But how Ujinath! We’ve no idea where we are or WHEN we are! How far back? A few days? A Turn? Ten Turns?” she states in a tone both frustrated and edged with anxiety. She has to stop there too and grit her teeth. Could they truly have gone backwards so far? « We could ask for help? » Ujinath suggests softly, only to be met by a snort from his rider. Neither of them had thought of that option, though neither of them seem willing to try it. It would mean a quick answer, if Ujinath were to call out and ‘seek’ the nearest draconic mind. Yet he seems to hold back — for now.

“Impossible. If we… did what you are so confident about then talking to people is out of the question. Something… Something just doesn’t seem right or good about that.” Kiena has no idea what a paradox is, but some inner instinct is telling her to stay put and so all thoughts of calling for help are set aside. At least she has some rational thought left to her, though it is so tempting to the bluerider to just let go and break down. Shut down. It’d be so easy… just to lay down here and sleep and not have to worry. No troubling thoughts about time and what ifs and illogical possibilities and…

« Kiena, snap out of it! This isn’t helping. » Ujinath gives his rider a sharp nudge - mental and physical - which has Kiena recoiling where she had begun to slip into a semi-conscious state but now safely out of that spiraling trap. She gives herself a shake and then carefully pushes to her feet. A heavy weariness hangs over her, weighing her down but she makes herself get up and to move. She begins to pace, back and forth but with one hand outstretched to touch Ujinath’s smooth cerulean hide. Something to focus on, to anchor herself. “If we do this, Ujinath we have to be certain we get it right or…”

We’ll die. Kiena freezes mid step and her shoulders sag, the realization hitting her full force and so strongly that Ujinath whistles in quiet distress and leans his head forwards to press his muzzle against his rider. I can’t do this. I can’t. I just can’t. None of this makes sense! But we can’t stay here, either. The girls… my girls. Mur’dah. Ka’el. Kera and Bowyn. Th’ero and Kimmila. Mother and Garan. Zi’on. Do they even know? What if they think I’m dead? Are we dead to them? It… how much time has passed? Has been lost?

She doesn’t know.

She doesn’t WANT to know.

She’s scared and exhausted. Terrified even. Luck saved them once…

Panic sets in, gripping her in its vice like grip and she has to lean back heavily against Ujinath’s side as she slides to the ground. Head in her hands, she begins to tremble faintly while Ujinath croons and does his best to comfort her. « It’ll be alright. I’m here, Kiena. It’s alright. » he repeats as he rests his head by her feet, keeping one whirling eye on her anxiously. Eventually the episode passes and Kiena calms herself with a few deep breathes. It has cost her though and she feels even more weary than before, her emotions taxing her just as heavily as any phsyical labor. “What other option do we have, Ujinath? We’ve no choice but to try.” Kiena admits as her blue eyes drift skywards. The sun is setting… wherever this is. Somewhere south. Definitely not Xanadu. Again, her mind shies from the possibilities of HOW that even happened. No, there are no answers there. Stop trying. Focus on the present.

That brings a snicker to Kiena’s lips. Focus on the present? Ha! What a laugh! Ha ha ha! Dark humor cast aside, her mouth sets into a grim line and as though second nature she reaches out to stroke Ujinath’s muzzle and eye ridges as much to sooth her as it does the blue. « We wait on the stars? » he asks quietly and Kiena nods, slowly gathering a small amount of courage and strength. She HAS to do this. It’s the only way. « I doubt they’ll be different but… but maybe we can use them as a start and — work something out. We have to try. »

And possibly die for it. Kiena shoves that fear aside and steels herself even before Ujinath speaks up. « We will not die. I won’t allow it. We know of home, we just have to be confident. We can do that, we have gone home many, many times. » Kiena gives her lifemate a shrewd glance and a vague hint of a smile. “Not quite like this, Ujinath and you know that!” Nice try! Yet it works, the confidence is there, faint and flickering but there and the blue only snorts in a mildly smug way.

It seems like eons for that sun to set and with each passing candlemark, the weight on Kiena’s shoulders and head grows even heavier but so does her restlessness and close to maddening desire to be gone from there. In all the wrong this suddenly seems so right. Despite her misgivings and apprehensions, Kiena resolves to move forwards and when at last the stars begin to appear in the night sky, she will step out into the clearing with her head turn upwards to the heavens in an effort to ground their position. They yield nothing, those stars, but she is able to cobble together some strength and comfort from them. Familiar. She knows them and she knows how they would look over Xanadu, how they would be just prior to dawn.

“Let’s go, Ujinath. Do you understand?” Kiena asks, projecting the image she’s cobbled together to her blue as she dons her riding gear with limbs that feel leadened and not quite her own. Odd. Ujinath has put himself into a readied position and is silent as he absorbs the image, working with her to enhance and strengthen it. « Yes. I know where we must go. » He pauses. « When we must go. » Knowing it’s best not to think too deeply, Kiena inhales deeply and mounts up, buckling in before Ujinath launches forwards and springs aloft into the cool night air. Holding firm to that image, Kiena’s mind drift ever so slightly to thoughts of her family and friends and Ujinath climbs higher and higher into the night sky.

I hope that no matter what happens, they’re safe and happy. Kiena thinks to herself, but of course Ujinath picks up on it too and rumbles deep in his throat to cut off his rider’s sudden drop into depression. Focus! He is with her now and they will go home. Closing her eyes, Kiena reinforces the image one last time to check the details and with a slow, shaky breath gives Ujinath the command to Between, her hands clutching hard at the straps as a final thought slips through before the blackness envelops them…

Someone answer us, please. Anyone.

Answer us.

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