What Was, What Is, and What Will Be

Healer Hall - Courtyard

This lovely square is the perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the Hall and simply relax. Benches can be found at regular intervals, nestled beneath leafy shade trees. Statues of distinguished Healers have been placed there along the walkways, each carving, performing his or her notable medical duty. At the center is a large fountain, its bubbling tinkle, adding the soothing sound of water to this sanctuary.

The weather is cool, but not unpleasant in the morning at the Hall, and it finds Tenebrous in a sheltered apart of the courtyrard, packing the last bits of his odds and ends into a large, runners satchel. Another, smaller one sits next to hi, ready to be taken up. A large, wrapped package rests on the ground near him, a gift of some kind, though he doesn't appear to hav eopened it yet. Off to one side, a massive brown dragon reclines, his rider leaning lazily against his side. Kherissni has taken Tenebrous on flights before, and it appears that she'll be taking him from this place once again.

With the weather being cooler, but still manageable, Phylicia had apparently gotten it into her head to go for a morning's run before her afternoon classes begin. And so she walks out into the next-to-deserted courtyard, surprised to find Kherissni and the large brown she rides taking up a fair chunk of the space. Recognizing the rider and brown - if only vaguely - she looks around before spotting the man she was looking for. Walking over, she simply claps her hands behind her back as she approaches him from the side. "I thought you said you would tell me when you were leaving." She half-teases, her voice light.

Tenebrous glances up from the work he's doing, his face twitching with a bit of a smile. "You're looking remarkably awake in the early morning hour," He calls quietly to her. "I didn't know if you'd be awake yet. Kherissni was going to let her brown friend rest for a bit before we made the jump back to Xanadu. I figured I'd come and find you while they were taking a bit of food." He closes the flap of that larger satchel, working the clips and clasps with purposed, practiced gestures. He nudges the bundle at his feet. "I assume this is from you?"

"Old habits die hard?" Phylicia says calmly, a slightly impish smile pulling at her lips. She's even dressed for an easy jog to a mild run. She lifts her hand in an easy wave to acknowledge the rider and her bondmate for a moment before she returns her attention to Tenebrous. "Oooh, you were going to come find me in the dorms then?" And it's not like that wouldn't've set up a ruckus at all. As he nudges the bundle at his feet her smile turns less impish and more pleased. "Consider it a joint gift." She says without saying who the other person involved is. But there are only so many people to choose from. It was interesting talking to the Craftmaster about it, but apparently it worked out in the end. Or at least she's hoping it did. "You haven't opened it yet?"

Tenebrous chuckles a the thought of coming to see Phylicia in the dorms. "It would give this place a bit of a shake up. On a more pleasant level than the Craftmaster has, that is. Besides, the Dorm Mothers would have a fit, and that's always fun to watch from a distance." Then he eyes the package. "I figured I'd open it in front of you, if indeed you were the one that gave it to me." His brow perks a little at the mention of joint. "Do you have time to do this now, or were you planning on being somewhere?"

Phylicia's eyes laugh along with her voice as she seats herself on the bench, making sure that she won't be sitting on anything first however. "But you wouldn't've been at a distance." She corrects him with a smile. "If you were coming to get me." And then she's shaking her head, more or less at ease as she sits next to him. "Mmm. I was just going out for a bit of a run." Because running on a regular basis is one of the only ways she can keep her stamina up to even come close to matching his. "I don't have to /be/ anywhere for awhile."

Tenebrous ahhs quietly. He nudges the bundle at his feet again before bending down and hefting it up. "Well, whatever it is, it's a bit heavy, and malleable." He eyebrows Phy again. "You mentioned this was a joint gift. Do we need to go find the third party to all of this, or…?" He pads over to where Phylicia sits, casually claiming a seat next to her.

Phylicia shakes her head as he asks about the third person. "I'm sure she wouldn't want to be around for it." Wiping that bit of a grin off her face is going to be a mighty interesting feat, as she waits for him to open the package. "You can go ahead and open it now." As he sits next to her she scoots a little closer until their shoulders brush. Part of her knows he'll like the gift, but she's watching him intently, wanting to catch his reaction fully.

Tenebrous smirks. "Heart of stone indeed. Angry old woman…" He stands then, hefting the bundle onto the seat before him, and slowly begins t work the bindings free. It's a slow process with him, not hurried, and only when he can unfold the packaging like a flower does he proceed. With the sides up, it's hard to see what's inside of it, but Tenebrous' face betrays his surprise when his eyes finally identify it. The smile fades from his features as he bends down, fingers wrapping around the object within and pulling it out into the daylight. The coat is long and sturdy, crafted from fine hide and cured against the elements for extra durability. Discrete straps rest here and there for securing it to his body in windy situations, and on its back, a deep, weighted yoke of a hood rests. For a long moment, Tenebrous simply regards the object, his face unreadable. Only after a time does he slowly turn away from Phylicia, working the coat over with his hands. His stillness is broken a few moments later when, with more of those practiced motions, he flips it over his shoulders, slipping arms into sleeves. Nimble hands fasten it a few times in front before they raise to grasp the hood, pulling it low over his head. Then he turns, a bit of wind picking up to kick the train of the coat out behind him, his face almost completely hidden under that hood. A ghost from the past, or perhaps the future. "Thank you," he says simply. "Now I can go home…"

Watching as she is, Phylicia catches that first look of surprise before his face goes into an unreadable mask. Her smile takes longer to fade, but is gone by the time he turns away from her. She doesn't stand up nor does she move as he inspects his new coat. Part of her was hoping for a little more of a pleasant reaction (or a reaction at all) when he opened his gift. She sits up straighter, chocolate brown eyes intent as he finally breaks his stillness to put the coat on, and promptly hide himself with its folds. It is a bit of an eerie picture from the past, seeing him standing in the courtyard with the hood drawn low over his face. "Your welcome." Comes her equally simple reply as she finally stands up, even if she makes no real move to go over to him as if she's waiting for the shock of having something from his past crop up pass.

Tenebrous's fingers run over the coat in various places, checking for little details, little pieces of hide that should be here or there. A slow nod betrays his satisfaction, and he moves over to that smaller satchel without a sound, slinging it over his shoulders and settling it about. Only when that is done does he turn back to face Phylicia, murmuring, "I haven't felt fully dressed in months…" He pads over to where Phylicia stands, holding one hand out. "This…is a gift fit for someone much more deserving than I am. You're … a good friend, Phylicia."

Phylicia's look of happiness starts to return as she watches him fiddle with the coat. His nod of satisfaction revives a quiet smile for her. "It wasn't completely my doing, remember." She insists as she reaches out to take his hand, her fingers curling around his. "There would be no coat without Fraille." As his coat was used as a template for hers, hers was likely used as a template for his new one. It's also one of the few times Phylicia could actually say she probably likes the old crone, deep down. His words produce a small chuckle from her as she shakes her head. "I think it's a gift fit for you, Tenebrous." She says softly, without meaning the pun since it was indeed fitted for him. "Feeling a bit more … right, now?" Comes her next question. It's not that she didn't hear him call her a good friend, its just that her cheeks turned rosy at the compliment.

Tenebrous grunts once, absently windmilling an arm to test the coat's breathing room. "Stones, it's…almost like my old one." Then he stops, going still. "This one doesn't…smell like smoke." Then he shakes himself. Gloves are produced from…somewhere, and he tugs them on gently. "It's a gift perfectly fit for me, actually," he offers, staring at the sleeves. "It's almost eerie. It's not a bad thing, trust me…" He tests range of motion in his other arm. "I'm feeling a bit less…wrong now. Come visit me after I've had a few days to run in the woods. Then we'll talk."

"I would hope not!" Phylicia says in mock-shock with a small laugh. "It's the first time its ever been worn, after all." She lets go of his hand so he can test the mobility of the coat, watching him with apparent happiness. The gloves she wasn't totally expecting and earns a blink from her. Well, trust Fraille to do what she will. "What?" She asks that one word almost loftily as her good spirits have been put back to rights. "You don't want to take a quick run with me now to help break it in?"

Tenebrous arches an eyebrow. "You know…I don't remember you ever actually beating me in a foot-race." He smiles slightly. "Not…that said remembrance means anything, all things considered." He shakes his head with a smile, eying her wardrobe. "I suppose that, as long as we stay on the beaten path, as it were, we'll be ok. You're wearing awful nice shoes to take a run through the jungle."

Phylicia meets his gaze with a small playful huff and a smile as he eyes her clothing which is more suited for a regular run than going through the forest, though it wouldn't be entirely bad for that purpose either. "I was exactly planning on going cross country today." She protests playfully before admitting. "That's because I never have beaten you in a foot-race." Because at the end she's usually left panting, where he's merely winded. Maybe. A look is given over his shoulder where the rider and dragon should still be. "After all, you wanted to let them have a break, didn't you?" So what better way to spend it than in a brief run?

Tenebrous's legs almost quiver with the pent up energy within them. "It may be longer than a break," he says playfully, though his voice is lower, a bit of a growl in it. Then he steps just a little closer to her, leaning down, and in the shadow of his hood, his eyes almost glow. "It stops…being a run after a time…simple motions of the legs and arms, of the body's core working to keep balanced…it becomes more." One of his hands raises just a little, leather-clad gloves touching her forearm briefly. "Keep up with me," he breaths.

Phylicia can't help that her body hums with awareness as he leans in a little closer. "Really?" She asks, that one word teasing him right back. As he leans in closer she almost reaches up into his hood to hook his face closer to hers, but she manages her catch herself in the first few inches. No, the courtyard isn't the best place to do that. "I usually do." For a while at least, she answers as she smiles waiting to see which way he'll take off, fully intending to be no more than a pace behind him.

When it happens, the only noise is a sudden snapping of the hide from the jerking motion. There is no getting up to speed, no scaling upwards of motion. There's only Tenebrous' sudden launch into a sprint. For a moment, he almost looks like he's going straight into the woods beyond the dragon, but at the last moment, he tears himself away from that course, heading down the river road towards the gathering grounds, a small cloud of dust following in his wake.

Fort Hold - Fort Hold - River Road
A longish road, that may have been well kept at one time, but has fallen into slight disrepair, travels along this length of the Fort Region. From here one can spot the great cliffs of Fort Hold and Harper/Healer Hall rising to the north and east respectively. To the west is the large gather meadow, home to some of the biggest Gathers on Pern and to the northwest dust can be seen rising from the beasthold area.

If it wasn't for the fact that Phylicia is far too used to the old Tenebrous just taking off in sprints like that, she'd be left far behind by the sheer amount of speed he launches himself into. But she had nearly a turn under him, and as a result she's only a handful of paces behind him, her shorter legs stretching as she bolts after him, her face in a wide smile as she makes her own trail of dust, while she tries not to breath in his.

Dirt and gravel, root and contour, all fall under Tenebrous' feet. He seems far less concerned with staying ahead of Phylicia, his course winding from one side of the road to the other. From time to time, he drifts into the low vegetation, his stride shortening slightly into a woodsman's lope that keeps him airborn over anything that might trip him up. The terrain he runs over is random under his feet, and it slows him more than enough to allow Phylicia to keep pace. Still, as he streaks past the front of Phylicia's path, there's a low, almost virile chuckle that reaches her ears.

Though Phylicia doesn't find herself wandering from the path like Tenebrous is doing, she does find herself watching him and laughing as her body falls into the rhythm of running, carrying it on without conscious thought. While occasionally she glances forward to make sure no one is coming down the road or that it isn't turning or host a rock in its midst, she's primarily watching Ten … frolic. She can't think of a better word for the sheer joy that running seems to give him. The next pass he makes in front of her path earns a breathy laugh followed by her shout, at a level he'll hear. "Having fun frolicking, Ten?"

Fort Hold - Fort Hold - Gather Grounds
Set on a wide field near a winding river is the area set aside for Fort Hold's gathers. The wildflowers add some color to the grassy field, but currently there is nothing but the huge central dance square in the middle.
To the southwest you see a cobblestone road leading back to the Fort Hold courtyard and clustered between here and the main hold are the many colorful cotholds of Fort Hold. To the southeast is a gravel road that leads to the dragon landing field.

Eventually, Tenebrous' winding, skating path takes the two of them to the gathering grounds. It's only on the level, open ground of the grounds themselves that he slows, eventually stopping near the landing field and almost hopping from foot to foot. He rounds on Phylicia when she catches up, his hood just a bit further up than it used to be, revealing the slight smile on his face. "I'll have you know, I do not frolic. I was just… " He turns slightly, chuckling. "That's…wonderful, I don't have to squint under a proper hood anymore. That's borderlined euphoric…" Then he shakes his head. "I was just stretching my legs."

"You were frolicking." Phylicia teases him without mercy as she approaches her footsteps slowing from their rhythm down to a jog and then finally down to a walk before she stops. She doesn't seem to have lost too much of her stamina since the fire. Either that or she's been painfully rebuilding it nearly everyday, for the senior apprentice is breathing deeply, but in a soft and controlled fashion even as she watches him virtually hop from foot to foot. "It's been a bit, hmmm? Since you've ran like that?" But it's also been awhile since she's had a running partner.

Tenebrous takes a deep breath. "Yeah…yeah, it's…been a bit." He actually hops up and down once before bending his knees a little bit. "It's…not the same though," he murmurs. "Don't get me wrong, the running is good, the air is good…it's just not quite the same." He looks around slowly, his eyes finally focusing on the river. "It's green again," he murmurs. "Back home…in the wood. Things are growing again, and while I miss it, I think it may have been good that I wasn't there to see the destruction…"

Phylicia had stopped a few paces away, but now she closes in the rest of the distance, putting herself at his side as he seems to calm down a bit for the time being. "Will they be?" She asks, her voice uncertain. "I've never really seen what a forest fire does. How long it takes the forest to recover." She's not quite certain what Xanadu's forest will hold, whenever she gets back to visiting the Weyr. Her gaze also travels to the river and a certain serene expression comes over her face, even after the talk of healing burnt forests. "And when it does, I'll be sure to challenge you in a race through some of the forest." Which she will undoubtedly lose, but the offer - as well as a playful smile - is there.

Tenebrous smiles slightly. "Never run through the woods unless you have to. Unecessary speed in a place like that is a recipe for a twisted ankle, at the very least. Never run when you could walk." A breath. "That having been said, yes. I will most likely run like a loon through those woods…" He purses his lips at Phy's question. "Lower growth like bushes, grass, things like that, will start to sprout back up. Trees will look a bit strange. It takes a great deal of time and heat to burn an old tree down. The most dry portions of the plant are at the very top, under the hammer of the sun, and far from the moisture of the earth. The burning of a tree is an uphill battle."

Phylicia shifts slightly next to him, one hand cupping the elbow of her other arm as she lets that other hand dangle. "I never … got too far into the forest to see how bad it was." And like most people and their friends with a stressful situation, no one wanted to tell her how badly the forest burnt. But that playful smile has retreated again, as she settles for staring at the surface of the river, falling into silence for a few short minutes. "Just be careful when you're running like a loon through the forest, hmm?"

Tenebrous smiles slightly. "A…restrained, responsible loon, then. Perhaps not an outright goonie bird." He adjusts his satchel for a moment. "I hear you got decent marks on your final review. Have they released you for posting yet, or are they keeping you here for further poking and prodding at the hands of the masters?"

"'Decent', he says, after the same Masters want to stick him with another apprentice." Phylicia comments with a good natured roll of her eyes. For a moment her eyes scan the gather grounds, and like the last time they were here, there's not a soul to be seen, so the one hand just dangling at her side moves to try and take a hold of one of his. "I don't think they're going to actively post me anywhere." She says after a moment. "I think I kept hearing the words 'by assignment' being thrown around." She pauses a moment to chuckle to herself. "Sounds kind of like they want to poke and prod me some more."

Tenebrous doesn't exactly pull his hand away when Phylicia reaches for it. "The masters want to stick me with another apprentice because of how well the first one came away, I'd imagine." He glances over at her. "I turned them down, incidentally. I told Master Bundo that if I ever take another apprentice again, I'll pick them for myself, when it's my time. He wasn't terribly happy with that, but…" Then he turns slightly. "When Stormhaven is a bit more..habitable, you should come to see it again. You have every bit the right to return there as I do. It's at least as much your place, given how much time you spent there."

Phylicia lets her fingers lace with his when he doesn't pull his hand away from her and gives it a little bit of a squeeze. She can only picture Master Bundo and his reaction to Tenebrous refusing to take another apprentice, and she can't stifle the giggle the thought produces. "No, Master Bundo wouldn't've liked that at all!" She manages to say between giggles before she looks at him. "But if you aren't ready to 'teach' again, you aren't ready." She turns to face him, tilting her head minutely to the side. "Define 'habitable', Ten. Stormhaven itself-" The waterfall, cave and clearing. "-can't be too bad." Just all the surrounding forest.

Tenebrous smiles slightly. "It's not that I'm not ready to teach again, exactly…I just haven't exactly had time to set my own barometer yet…figure out exactly where I stand with myself in the grand scheme of things, as it were." He chuckles. "Besides. If I do end up taking another apprentice, I'm going to have to stalk them for awhile to make sure they aren't foolish." He gives Phy's hand a squeeze. "Look at what happened the last time I took an apprentice without doing research."

Phylicia's smile is soft in response. "It'll be good for you to go find yourself, I hope." She says as she takes a side step closer to him. With the chuckle and a squeeze of her hand, she's pretty sure those words were meant mostly in jest. She turns to face him fully as she pulls her face into a (likely well practiced) pout. "What's /that/ supposed to mean?" She asks with just a minimal amount of whine to her voice. The only thing that gives away that she's playing with him is the laughter in her eyes.

Tenebrous turns just a little more to face her. "It means you were great," he says sincerely. "I'm sure you were a fantastic student…and you've been a wonderful friend, Phylicia. Through all of this. I wouldn't take an apprentice on to find another friend. I'd take one on to find a student. And I don't think I'd count on finding another person as solid as you are. In another turn or so, you're going to make a fantastic journeyman. Woman. Thing."

Phylicia really just doesn't want to let go of his hand, as if it will keep him here any longer than he wants to be kept. And though her words were playfully pouting, she gets a serious answer which prompts her cheeks to deepen in a bit of a flush again. "It's not like I entered into the apprenticeship expecting to make such a good friend either." She responds softly before he pulls a soft laugh from her. "You're assuming they'll ever promote me." Though she pauses at the end, one eyebrow quirking upwards. "Thing?"

Tenebrous laughs a little. "Phylicia, they'll have no choice but to promote you. Your botanical knowledge is already on par with several of the Seniors that I've spoken with in classes…which is either really good for you, really bad for them, or both." He touches his other hand to his chest. "They promoted me, didn't they? And I could care less about my knot." He smirks. "Journeywoman just sounds…awkward. I think maybe I'll just call you 'Healer'."

Phylicia shakes her head slightly, a grin still pulling at her lips. "I'd go for 'both', considering how much there still is for me to learn." She says with a chuckle. Slowly, and rather randomly, she lifts their clasped hands and on a whim places her cheek against his knuckles. "Or you could still just call me 'Phy'." She chuckles. "And they did promote you, didn't they?" She pauses for a few moments. "I… care but I don't care about the rank. All it'd do is make life just a /little/ easier." Without living under the restraints that apprentices are supposed to.

Tenebrous waves one hand a little. "Restrictions exist to keep the idiots in line, but I think that so many people get used to adhering to those restrictions that they forget to look beyond them when someone of exceptional talent crosses their path. All they see is the knot, and not what you're capable of." He shakes his head a little. "It's one of the reasons I was so glad when I heard that the Master had gotten her promotion. Fraille doesn't care about rank. She cares about ability, and respect for that ability. She'll do good things for the hall if everyone can ever get past her iron fist."

Phylicia watches Tenebrous with a bit of curiosity as he waves off the rank, and thinks about it for a few moments. "True." She says after a couple moments of silence. "People are often caught up by rank…" Note she didn't exclude herself, but rank isn't like some turn on or attractant to the young woman. "It's just something that … is." Her own shoulders lift in a shrug as she gently lets his hand drop now, especially as she thinks of Fraille's 'iron fist'. "It'll be interesting to see what she does." And if Phy herself will like any of the changes that might come about. All Phy knows is that Fraille is doing an awful good job of shaking up the Healers.

Tenebrous is still then, absently staring out over the river that borders this part of the Hold. "I should go back," he says after a time, his voice quiet. There's reluctance in his voice, if only a little, when he turns to face Phylicla more fully. "I have a great deal of work to do at Stormhaven, and at Xanadu, the fall is nearing its end again…" He holds out a hand. "Will you walk back with me?"

Phylicia may or may not have heard his reluctance, though either way she has some of her own. "Would it be wrong if I didn't want you to go back yet?" She asks slightly, looking at him sideways for a moment, her voice reflecting the barest trace of sullenness. But she puts her hand in his, likewise turning to fully face him for the moment. "Not running this time?" She asks, though the next question follows quickly. "You will let me know if you need any help with Stormhaven?" She pauses, her cheeks reddening again. "I want you to have time to yourself, to think. But I do want to help if you'd like me to, too."

"Wrong? No." Tenebrous smiles slightly under that hood. "It wouldn't be wrong…" He shakes his head slowly. "And I'm going to need help with Stormhaven, Phy. I will. It's a big enough area that I could labor all winter and not have it cleared like it was before. You're going to have an excuse to come visit for a long time. Not like you need one." He gives that hand a squeeze for a moment before he takes a breath. "It's not…just 'one kiss' anymore, is it." he murmurs. It's a statement. "You don't want me to go because it was never just…one kiss. Do you wish you hadn't now?"

"Tenebrous!" Phylicia half-snaps at the man, though she's still holding onto his hand and not making any move of letting it go unless he draws away first. "How many times do I have to tell you I /don't/ regret anything that we've - or I've - done?" She can feel her cheeks heating a little bit more now, deepening her blush past her normal hue. "I'm not sure, even if we hadn't done anything… it would be any better." She admits. "You'd still be leaving, and I'd still miss you." Her eyes gleam slightly as she looks at him. "I just have another reason to miss your company now."

Tenebrous falls into thought again, still and silent before he slowly passes Phylicia's hand off to his other one. "Walk with me," he says at last, gently leading her back towards the river road, and the hall. "You keep saying that you'll miss me. It's not like I'll either be far away by dragon transport, or gone for a long period of time. You've said yourself that you don't know what you'll do for a posting at this point, Phy. Stay at the hall. Go back to Xanadu, go … anywhere. As long as you leave me a bit of a note, it's not like I can't come visit you."

Phylicia almost balks at turning to walk, just because she doesn't want to head back just yet. But instead of planting her feet, she lets herself be drawn along for the first few paces before her feet start moving in a sedate pace to match Tenebrous'. "I know you won't be far away, or impossible to reach." This time. She says reasonably. "But duties /will/ get in the way of being able to hop atop a dragon when one's feeling up to it." A slightly familiar stubborn looks shows the potential of showing. "Anyways, where's it written that you have to be across the world or gone for weeks on end before I can miss your company? Part of me wants to ask if you won't miss me too, but I'm not fishing for anything, so I won't ask." Nevermind the fact she indirectly did, she's not expecting an answer.

Tenebrous rolls his eyes. "You're looking for normal answers to normal questions from an abnormal person, Phylicia. Will I miss you? Yes. Of course I will. You're my friend, and despite everything that's happened to me, you've remained that way. You haven't…changed." He laughs a little. "That is to say, you haven't…changed for the worse. Our more recent developments definitely qualify as changes. Unexpected, to be true…but not bad." He gives that hand a squeeze again. "The…hermit in me likes the fact that you could probably exist within my life without affecting it…that we could be in the same room, and not speak. That you don't make me feel awkward." He smiles. "And yes…I will miss the way your hair smells."

Phylicia smiles, looking rather pleased with that answer he gave, even if it stirs the blood in her cheeks once more. "You'll miss me. So why is my missing you that big of a deal?" She asks, shifting her grip on his hand to twine her forearm around his, before taking his hand again, the maneuver putting herself close enough where every so often their shoulders likely brush. She has to smile again as she looks up and over at him as they walk. "So I appeal to the hermit in you, hmmm? I hope I appeal to other parts too." Well, she just intentionally left that one wide open.

At this distance, it's impossible to see Tenebrous' face, what with that hood back in place, but his voice carries easily enough. "It's…a big deal to me because of how I see you dealing with it. I don't…" He wobbles his free hand, searching for a word before finally sighing. "I don't want you to be sad," he finally states. "You shouldn't be sad… not you. And I know that it's bound to happen to everyone, but there are some people that should include themselves with sadness as little as possible, and you're chief among them… I wouldn't want you to be sad on my account." Her comment about appeal has him chuckling. "See, the problem now is, the next time you wander through a patch of toxic plant life, you'll second guess me when I tell you to drop your pants."

Phylicia does plant her feet now, though she doesn't untwine her arm from his. If he wants to continue walking, he's either going to have to pick her up, drag her, or confront her until she's willing to walk again. Her face isn't angry or even annoyed, but instead some sort of mildly exasperated. "I told you this too. I might miss you, but I'm not going to wither away and die without you with me all the time." She can be a rather independent person when it's called for, even if she does occasionally like to be spoiled and cared for now and again. Her other hand wraps around his bicep, not tightly, but not an easily breakable stance either. Well, probably easily breakable for him. "I'll miss you as my friend and companion first." She says after a few moments, when he's decided how he'll attempt to move her. "The new part… that comes after. And probably wistfully." Her look of exasperation crosses with a bit of embarrassment as she admits that. "And no. I'll drop my pants quick enough, still. I'll just be watching to see how you're acting."

Tenebrous pivots a little when Phylicia grips him and stops, but he makes no attempt to move her. He listens as she speaks, commenting, "You know, a little withering might not kill you. It *would* give me an excuse to come back more often. To water you, of course." But there's gentle humor in his voice. He brings his other hand to bear on top of hers, the hide gloves warm despite the cool of the morning. "It…is nice to know that I'll be missed. That someone misses me. I don't know what the last turn was like, but a night alone in a cave won't be so bad if I know someone might be thinking about me from time to time." He takes a breath. "And no small part of me will be glad that it's you that misses me." For several reasons…

The gentle humor that Tenebrous shows Phylicia is met with a near impish grin from the young woman. "I can manage a bit of withering for you." Her voice reflects his humor back at him as her face falls momentarily into a slightly forlorn expression. His hand comes to rest on top of hers, and she unplants herself long enough to take a step forward and putting herself that much closer to him, a grin breaking her little act. She likes the warmth he emits, especially on this slightly cooler morning. "I just said I wouldn't die from it." She points out after a moment before she lapses into an easy silence as she listens in turn, her cheeks turning only faintly rosey once more. "Oh?" She seems happy enough to hug his arm, now that their progress towards the Hall has stalled. "Wouldn't you be as glad if it were, oh … say Fraille?" She asks with that impish glint back in her eyes.

Tenebrous is surprisingly still after Phylicia's last asked question, his demeanor less humorous and more contemplative. "Yeah," he says at last, his voice low. "Yeah…I think I'd enjoy it quite a bit if…I thought that the Master missed me." He takes a breath. "Fraille is a hard woman, Phylicia…but she's the closest thing to a parent that I have." He shakes his head a little. "As silly as it sounds, part of me was jealous when you and your father were fighting in Xanadu's Infirmary."

Well, it definitely wasn't the reaction Phylicia was aiming for, but she doesn't look put out in the slightest. Instead, she uses his stillness to duck under the arm she had a grip upon until a moment ago, so it drapes across her shoulders instead, and she's able to wrap her arms around his waist in a hug as she situates herself closer to his torso. "You're right." She says with an obvious smile in her voice. "That is silly. Especially since it's my father in question." Having Jaice for a parent is almost as much of a nightmare for the child as having a truly delinquent child for the parent. Sometimes. But her voice drops as her arms tighten about him, squeezing gently. "But I think I could imagine.."

Tenebrous's other arm comes up to wrap around Phylicia without him really thinking about it, and for a moment, he simply holds her to him, absorbing her presence. "I don't…think about it a lot. Most of the time I don't even register that my family life is so different, but…" Then he swallows once. "I've got the Master now, and my two little flits to keep me company. It mends the gap on cold nights." Phylicia gets a squeeze for her closeness. "For all of her gruffness, do you know, the Master never yelled at me…never raised her voice or thrashed me…"

Phylicia simply nuzzles her head into his chest, be it the side or the front depending on how he's facing her now. She's learned well enough that sometimes just being close helps in such situations, though she's enjoying the position just as it is, without actively being after anything else. "I could actually see that…" Phy says after a few long and quiet moments, a small smile touching her face as she stays nestled up against Tenebrous. "I also don't see you misbehaving enough to need a thrashing." She ventures to say, looking up with a grin. "I don't see you being the trouble maker, ever."

Tenebrous absently runs one hand up and down Phylicia's back, murmuring, "I never really…did much *to* get into trouble. I sat and I learned while I was at the academy. I never went out philandered or drank, never got into fights… when I wasn't in the classroom, I was running through the woods. She never complained more than a little when I would come home with injuries or covered in mud." He smirks. "I think she was grateful for the quiet. I used to talk a lot…" He's still in the face of memories for another few minutes before he offers, "You know you can…come to see Stormhaven whenever you wish, right? Come see me?"

Phylicia's spine stretches out slightly as Tenebrous' hand rubs up and down her back. "See? Not a trouble-child." Unlike a certain young lady standing up against him, though she wasn't as bad as some. As she lets him laspse into thought, her head rests against his chest again in pleasant silence. But at his offer she nestles her cheek against him. "I thought you said you wanted a few days to think? To find yourself again." There's a small note of confusion. "I do want to see Stormhaven though."

Tenebrous laughs a little. "Well, a bit of time, maybe, but…I think, more than anything else, it'll be enough time adjusting to what I am when I actually go home…I think that home, more than anything else, will do the trick. A visitor probably wouldn't mess things up at all. Especially if she smelled nice." He leans his head down a little, kissing the top of her head. "Come on. I've got a dragon waiting for me."

Phylicia smiles, though her arms protest the thought of moving from their current spot, tightening in said protest. "Mmmmph." Is half-growled, though a fair amount of her dislike is neutralized by the kiss to the top of her head. "That's good to know." She says at first, thinking of any obvious chores or lessons that she'd have to finish here at the Hall first. "Are you sure they're done resting up yet?" She asks, tilting her head back to look up at him. "Either way though… can I ask one favor of you before you head off today?"

In the closeness that the two share in body, the shadows within Tenebrous' hood are somewhat lighter, allowing Phylicia to see the one-sided smile on his face. "There will always be an excuse to stay here until I leave, Phylicia. You have to let me go so that I can come back." He tilts his head to the side slightly when Phy mentions a favor. "What do you need?"

"But this is such a nice position." Phylicia returns, her tone turned slightly teasing instead of protesting the change which needs to happen. She manages to convince her arms to let go and unwind from around Tenebrous, though until they start walking again the pair of hands rest lightly on his hips. The smile on her face now is one of innocence, trying to cover up the trouble-maker. "Just one kiss?"

Tenebrous can't help the quiet laugh that slips out from between his lips. "You have no concept of shame at all, do you?" He shakes his head a little. "Still…it's not such a horrible favor to ask, is it." He brings one of his free hands up to the side of her face. "I will give you three kisses instead," he says solemnly. He leans down then, kissing the cheek not occupied by his hand. "For what was," he murmurs into her ear. Then his other hand comes up to cup the other side of her face, and his lips find hers. It's warm, but not urgent, simply a pleasant closeness. When he moves his head away, he offers, "For what is." Then he tilts her head down, and gently presses his lips to her forehead, inhaling her scent once more. "For what will be," he finishes, his voice low.

Phylicia's smile turns a bit more towards a grin at his initial response. "None." She chirps softly but happily as one of his hands moves up to cup her cheek. Her eyes slide closed as he kisses her cheek and her grin fades to a slight but unquestionably pleased quirk of her lips. The next kiss finds her hands tightening slightly upon his hips, though she does her best to keep her side as pleasant and warm as his, not pressing closer but simply enjoying it for what it is. The last kiss brings a contented sigh from her and she opens her eyes again, one hand resting ontop of each of his as she pulls his hands from her face to squeeze them. "Mmmmmm. Now I'll definitely wilt a bit until I can get back to Stormhaven and visit." She murmurs.

Tenebrous chuckles a little. "Well, it's nice to know I'm appreciated, I suppose." For a time, he studies her. "That's the problem with kissing good people. It's not like eating a good piece of cheese or a favorite meal. It's almost impossible to stop with just…one bite." Then he smile.s "I can live with that risk." He squeezes back. "Come on, you. People are going to tell stories about my abducting you if we don't get back. And I have a flight to catch…"

Phylicia shakes her head slightly, still smiling. "Nothing says you have to stop." She tempts him for a moments. But she's let go of him now, and while his kisses were enough to make her swoon for a couple of moments, she has her bearings again. For a breath, she pulls up close to him, bracing herself against his body as she lifts her head as if she's going to kiss him again, though the mischevious look on her face suggests it wouldn't be nearly as quiet at the last one. However, she stops mere inches from his face, a hand braced on his chest. "Catch me if you can." She whispers softly. Without any more warning than her words she drops away from him, her muscles bunching before she's sprinting as fast as her legs will take her back towards the Hall, a bubbling laugh echoing from her as she doesn't wait. It might take that small advantage there to win a footrace against Tenebrous.

Tenebrous actually scoffs a little when Phylicia takes off, but he doesn't immediately chase. Instead, he simply watches, muttering, "The price of being last place is a pleasant view." Then he starts off after her, an explosion of motion in his own right, coattails snapping in the air.

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