A Day Away

Xanadu Weyr - Meadow
A large, slightly rolling meadow is set high enough above the riverbank on both sides to avoid suffering from flooding, healthy ground cover and grass spreading out from either side of the dividing river. Scattered amongst the meadow are a variety of weyrs, each with a narrow path leading up to it from a main, winding road. Some are set under a few trees, while others sit by themselves.
Runner stables with the paddock beyond are to the south beyond the meadow weyrs, a smithy and a woodcraft shop are settled closer in towards the path to the clearing, while trees border the western edge of the meadow, and a faint outline of a stone wall and low rolling hills can be seen to the north. Wagons laden with felled trees from the forests to the southwest or ore from the mountains to the southeast are hauled by burden beast up the road through the meadow, over the bridge spanning the river to be processed in the appropriate workshops.

Hoovebeats sound from inside the Stables, which isn't an unusual thing by itself, but what comes out of the entrance is: Datsun mounted atop a beautiful black mare dotted with white spots across her hide with the one on her forehead shaped ilke a star. This runner is unknown to Xanadu folk, but the Journeyman seems to ride her with ease, pulling up just outside the Stables to call to the hawk perched on top of the building. Ash takes flight, circling once before coming in for a landing on Datsun's gloved arm.

Really, it's the particulars of the situation that make it an interesting one. Runners emerge from the stables all the time. Runners with people on them, nearly as often. This runner, and Datsun on this runner? Ah, those are more unusual things. Soriana is in a good position to see them, given she was already crossing the field toward the stables. She waves, then uses her hand to shade her eyes for a moment to find Ash up in the sky before he lands.

Datsun is dressed in garb fit for hunting along with several knives adorning his belt. Two saddlebags have been fitted o the back of the mare, who nickers softly as Datsun strokes Ash, talking to the hawk, "You ready, boy?" The hawk doesn't answer him, canting his head at the human before Datsun tosses the avian back into the air. Grabbing the reins, the Crafter turns, seeing Soriana. A smile comes to his face as he kicks the runner into a trot, coming to meet the girl, circling around and around her once he reaches her, "You free today? It's a beautiful morning."

Speaking of particulars, Soriana gives that runner a good looking-over as she trots closer. Never mind the pretty spots, it's always easiest to judge a beast in motion. She grins, not turning around to chase that circling mare with her eyes, just flicking them to await her re-arrival. "It is. I've got nothing but studying to do, and that," she gives a dismissive flick of her fingers. "-can wait."

Datsun smiles, never allowing the runner to stop, continuing her trot around Soriana as he listens to her answer, "Good." With his gloved hand keeping ahold of the mare's mane, he bends over, grabbing Soriana with his free hand to physically lift her up off the ground. Twisting once she's up, he places the girl neatly right behind him on the mare's back before turning back to the reins and turning the mare in the direction of the forest with Ash flying above them, following.

Having ridden pillion more times than she can count, Soriana recognizes the gestures of being hefted atop a runner. She grins, her free hand going to help pull herself up for that important getting-off-the-ground part, and settles comfortably into position once she's been placed behind Datsun. With the mare moving at a trot over easy terrain, she doesn't bother holding on with her hands, just using her legs and keeping her hands resting against her thighs, at the ready in case of zigs or zags. "Have you got a place in mind, or will we find out when we get there?" she asks curiously.

"Away." answers Datsun to Soriana's question, "Far away. Today, there will be no Hold, no Weyr, no Craft for us. I'm kidnapping you." A one-sided grin is given to Soriana as he glances over his shoulder at her before urging the runner into a faster pace, the trot turning into what the animals are named for: running. The mare seems to like this idea, moving quickly over the terrain as the forest's edge grows closer and closer until they're among the trees.

Away is a place. Strictly speaking, away is many places, but that just means that there are particulars to be discovered. Soriana laughs as Datsun reveals his plot to kidnap her. "Better steal me away quickly before someone sees!" she replies, unconcerned despite all the rumors of renegades of late. Those are for people who aren't sixteen. As the runner moves faster, she leans forward somewhat, the better to stay balanced, and her hands reach for a light resting position against Datsun's sides as the increase in speed makes conversation more difficult but the ride more enjoyable.


Xanadu Weyr - Forest
This broad path that leads from the main clearing into the forest has been designed in such a manner so as to be not only wide enough for wagons to travel through, but also providing ample space for dragons. The path appears only worn in the center though, as most of the traffic moving through this area is that of the two-legged kind. Flowers sprout up and speckle the lush grass with bright saffron and cheeky rose, creeping all the way up to the bases of the trees that rise upward in their aged magnificence, gargantuan limbs casting often welcome shade, the general atmosphere and scent of the path is one of freshness and wild abandon.
The path winds its way leisurely through the trees, deeper into the forest and a number of less traveled paths branch away from it. Southwest leads to the forest's edge near the base of the tumbled rocks that mark the wilder areas of the forest and the mountains that rise behind Xanadu. West leads to the Firelizard Theater, northeastward the path leads to the feeding grounds while east leads to the meadow where it joins both the road that crosses the bridge over the river leading to the clearing and the the coastal road that leads out of Xanadu bypassing the beach and the Caspian Lake. Here there are secluded spots where one might picnic.

The mare runs freely, moving past traffic on the road winding through the forest, occasionally veering off the path to avoid crashing into wagons. At one point where two wagons are passing each other, she heads into the trees to jump over a fallen log before moving back onto the path. Their speed earns curious looks from the travelers, a few pointing at them. Datsun doesn't mind Soriana's hands, leaning forward slightly to give himself better balance. Soon enough, the mare takes one of the less traveled path, diverging away from the traffic, moving into the wilder areas of Xanadu's forest.

Too late, they've been seen! That's okay, it's not like anyone's trying to stop them. Soriana grins to the people being passed, not that there's time for more than that as the mare runs and leaps. Her posture is easy, relaxed despite the increased speed… come to think of it, maybe that grin is just for the run instead of being at all related to the people who might be around. There's fewer of those as they get deeper in the woods, anyway… though there's more likely to be other logs or similar barriers lying across the path.


Xanadu Weyr - Forest's Edge
While the forest is thick for a long while, in time it begins to thin, as the ground becomes rockier to the south western stretches of the Weyr's land. The trees are further apart, and the tumbled rocks become larger, before rocky outcroppings steeply rising with the terrain seem to be more prevalent than the trees around them. As the hills begin to gain in height, the shrubbery upon them become more stunted. A cave that was opened up by an earthquake has been widened into a mine, the initially small opening turned into one large enough for whers and humans alike, and the carefully placed support beams can be seen in the opening. Wher dens are located here.

The trees begin to become more dense along the path with more obstructions and the mare's forced to slow down some, lightly panting at her efforts from the run. Patting the runner's neck, "Good girl, Morning Dew." Datsun says, naming the mare. As the terrain begins to rise in elevation, the mare's pace becomes slower, carefully following the path that's become overgrown and faint from disuse since the forest was made off-limits. At some points, the path is even lost before it's seen again ahead of them. The direction doesn't seem to be towards the mine but in the northwestern direction, where the Deep Forest is.

Soriana's grin lingers as the mare slows, and she sits closer to upright again. "She's got a nice pace to her," she comments on the runner, then looks around the forest as it grows denser and rougher and takes in a deep breath. "It's nice to get out again," she says, half to herself. Ahh, the smell of the forest in spring! Which is at least half pollen, but it's fresh-smelling pollen.

Datsun nods in agreement, "She does. I borrowed her from the Beastcraft Hall. She's used to Gryphhawks." He explains the origins of the runner, "The others at Xanadu didn't like the smell of Ash." His body moves in an easy rhythm with the mare, "That it is. I wanted to do some real hunting. Get away from everything and everybody." Except for Soriana, it seems, since he took her with him. "Get that feeling of freedom I had when I traveled back, even if it's just for one day."

Ah," says Soriana, and glances up to see if she can make out the gryphhawk through the trees before returning her attention to what's ahead of her. With how overgrown the path is becoming, it wouldn't surprise her if they had to duck a branch or three before long. She nods at his urge to get away, though it's with a quirk of one side of her mouth. She can be a nobody! After a moment of just enjoying the ride, she hmms. "So… why'd you stop traveling? I mean… Xanadu's a good place, but when I first met you… seemed like you were never going to settle down, not until you'd put your feet over every centimeter of Pern." She hehs. "Maybe not even then."

Now beginning to enter the Deep Forest, Soriana's right. There are branches beginning to block their way, and Datsun ducks one before chuckling and answering the question. "Because I had forgotten what it was like to have friends after being so long on the road. I liked Xanadu, I liked Kale, Idrissa, you, and the people I met here." A pause as he glances over his shoulder at her, "What makes you think I've settled down, though? Xanadu's just a temporary stop for me. I've visited the forests of every place I've been to but I couldn't here since it was off-limits. I was waiting for it to open up again."


Xanadu Weyr - Deep Forest
The wooded areas closer to Xanadu Weyr represent a compromise between man and mother nature, but to the west, no such arrangements have been made. The deep woods between the Weyr and the mountains are less traveled, the wider paths fit for man and beast less present. The noises of mankind are barely audible here, brief ghosts on the wind, and the quiet thrum of forest life presses in on all sides. The snapping of a twig, a bird's cry, the low cadence of insects; all of these things seem louder. Closer. The deeper you move into the trees, the more it becomes obvious that you are passing through nature only at her allowance.
The cover of trees is more severe in this area of the wood and only occasional shafts of sunlight lance down through the canopy, the sky visible in brief patches. A rough path has been blazed to the east, back towards the Weyr, and west, towards the mountains. It does not appear to be a heavily frequented path, but the few who have chosen to pass through this area appear to use it more than other avenues available. Only the very foolish or the very experienced would ever wander far from the path.

Soriana ducks the branch in turn, and listens to Datsun's answer curiously. She smiles at the idea of friends, then looks back to him and shrugs. "Ah, maybe so. You can be off again as soon as you've checked out these particular centimeters." She chuckles slightly, waving a hand to the forest around and making one of the overhanging branches rustle as her fingers brush it. "I don't know. Just seems to me…" She trails off for a moment, thinking things over. "Well, you came back. That's what does it, it's the being here a second time that makes me think there's something. …but then, you were waiting for the forest, so that's a something."

Heading deeper and deeper into the forest with Morning Dew carefully picking her way through, cracking twigs here and there. "Mmm. I've only just started exploring your forests. It's a beautiful land." He comments quietly, reaching out and touching a tree's trunk as they pass by. Her words bring as smile, "I was. Xanadu was the last stop for the South. There's nothing but wilderness and renegades beyond your Weyr. I have experience with renegades, but they don't take kindly to someone with a Weyr's knot on their shoulder on their lands." The knot on his shoulder is tapped lightly, indicating Xanadu's colors. "I came from the North, so there are only two directions left for me: East or West." A pause, considering her, "Do you not want me to go?"

There is quite a bit to these forests. Soriana smiles, letting her gaze wander as she listens to Datsun. As he talks about renegades, her gaze goes back to him, with a moment's frown, then shakes her head a little, tossing that thought aside as she looks out to the forest again. She nods about his choice of directions, adding in a playful tone, "Or straight up." The grin there is put on hold at his question, her attention going back to him instead of the forest. She's quiet for a few moments, expression serious and thoughtful, before she speaks. "No. If you want to go… clear skies and good luck. But… it's nice having friends. I like having you around."

Datsun chuckles, canting his head upwards to look at the trees' canopy, knowing the blue and white sky that lies beyond with his Ash flying in the wind above him. "Up… That's one direction I don't think I'll be able to go. No matter how many times I ride a dragon with their rider, it's not the same. Besides, you can't see the land if you fly over it. You have to walk and ride." He pats the runner under him before turning around sideways to look at Soriana better. "Why is that, though? We don't know each other that well. We've never had a real talk except for last time." Suddenly the thick wood comes to an end, bright sunlight bathing them as they enter a clearing with Ash flying high above in a circle.


Xanadu Weyr - Deep Forest Clearing
Between stepping over tree roots and pushing your way through ambitiously high bushes, you almost stumble into the clearing before you. Some bizarre force of nature has pushed the trees outwards to form a rough circle that is nearly one hundred feet across at its center. Low grass covers its interior, and curious looking bushes appear to have been transplanted from elsewhere, forming an aisle down it's middle. Their blooms are vibrantly colored and each bush has a strong, pungent aroma that suggests something beyond the ordinary about the fauna in this area.
A large patch of earth off to one side is home to a circle of stones, ash in the center, and a sturdy log has been dragged before it, possibly as a makeshift bench. The earth has been freshly turned in several locations, suggesting that something was buried within the last month. All in all, it appears to be a delightful camping spot. It would be almost idyllic, except for the subtle presence of animal tracks found near the circle's edge and around the makeshift fire pit. The tracks have clearly not been made by man or dragon kin making it foolish to wander too far off the beaten path.

"You see things differently, when you're flying. Y'see different things." Soriana shrugs, letting that topic slide away, and finds herself faced instead with one that's just as challenging to answer. Actually, really, it's probably more challenging. She grins for a moment. "I need a reason?" she says, then shakes her head. "You're interesting. There's plenty we don't agree about, and-" she smirks, "-sometimes you're awfully full of yourself, but even so. You're interesting. You make life more interesting."

"Differently, aye. Perhaps that's why you Weyrfolk are different from Holders. You're used to going up. Holders are used to going across land." Datsun answers, coming to the center of the clearing and pulling Morning Dew to a stop. Glancing around, "I wasn't expecting this. I wanted to get away from people…" He comments with a bit of a frown, considering the situation before seeing other paths. "You're from here. What's that way?" He asks Soriana, tilting his head towards the Trail. At her answers, he just smiles, "I'll grant you that, but so are you, being a Goldrider's daughter." A wink is given to her, "But thank you for the compliment."

"Up and between," says Soriana. "There might be something to that." Interesting fuel for later thoughts, but for now, there's a clearing to investigate. She leans over a little to look at the stones and fire pit. "Maybe someone's been camping," she says, though she's a bit uncertain of it. The ban on the woods is only recently lifted, after all… and there was good reason for it being banned in the first place. She frowns, but can read no more than the basics of these signs, and so she's soon glancing back to Datsun. Her, full of it? "Hah. Suppose I might be," she acknowledges with a smirk. "I'll try and get myself better reasons." As for finding their way, well, from here she may be, but, "I've haven't really been out in this part." She considers a moment, looking around. "I think we're getting near Mire Hold." Herein end the maps she's studied.

Datsun walks Morning Dew through the clearing around the signs of previous occupation, "Looks like it. But I don't see any fresh tracks by people." The ground is studied by the Journeyman, using his past experience to read it. Then there's the odd aisle of bushes from elsewhere, leading the runner down it. "Those bushes aren't from around here." He nods at several, "Those are Pawberries and Gooseberries. From my home, Lemos… then there's Hyssop, from Fort. Sabsab, Bitra." That has him tilting his head, puzzled at these Northern shrubs, "The rest look like they're from the jungles, Western…" He looks over his shoulder at Soriana. "Do you want to check it out here or go on?"

"It has been raining a lot," says Soriana. So maybe the tracks have washed away? This is not her field of expertise. Neither are bushes, though she looks at them curiously. Gooseberry, ooh, that's the one that made that tasty pie she had once! "But what are they doing out here?" Landscaping the Weyr is one thing! Landscaping the forest… is weird. She frowns, considering a moment. "I think we should check it out."

"Okay, let's do it, then. I have no idea." Datsun agrees with her, dismounting from Morning Dew, holding her reins and the saddle to keep her steady to help Soriana get down safely. Once she's down, he simply lets go of the reins, allowing the runner to wander off a short distance to graze. The gooseberry bush has him gravitating towards it, smiling as he touches it. A berry is picked and eaten, tasting a bit of his home. More are pulled off, turning to offer them to Soriana, "Here, have a taste of the North."

Soriana hops down off the runner easily, taking a moment to stretch her legs before following after Datsun toward the bushes. "They seem to be growing fine, even if they're not frown around here." At least, so far as she can see. She accepts the offered gooseberries. "Thanks," she says, and has one. "Huh. It sorta… pops," she says. "Like… yeah." She has another one.

"Well, they're out in the open with plenty of light. There's nothing to give them serious competition…" Datsun comments about the bushes' growth, "Though I do wonder about the ones from the jungles. There's not as much rain here as there is where they're from." Her words earn a grin, "Like what?" He asks, catching that cutoff from her. Then he raises his gloved hand towards the sky, as high as his face. The black speck in the sky comes closer, circling downwards until Ash makes his appearance on Datsun's arm, earning a chest rub.

Soriana glances upwards to check on that light, then back down and nods. So not her field of expertise. At the question, she laughs. "Like I don't even know what," she says with a grin. "Like a little burst of sour and sweet in my mouth." And there's the last of them, into her mouth, and she glances up again as a shadow passes by to see Ash coming in for a landing. "He's got good eyes to follow us through those trees," she says, then huhs as she glances over to the way they came. Well, not quite the way they came, more… "There's tracks," she says, heading over to take a closer look.

Datsun grins at Soriana, "That's the North for you. Sour and sweet at the same time. Have you ever been up there?" He asks, still stroking the hawk's chest, who keeps an constant eye on his surroundings, "Aye, he does. And ears. The Beastcrafters thought of everything when they taught me how to train him." One eyebrow raises as she comments on the tracks, following her. "You hungry? This seems like a good spot to catch a hare or two for some stew."

"Not to Lemos," says Soriana. "I've been to some of the Weyrs up north… Fort, High Reaches, Ista. Though Ista's only north in the sense it's nearer that continent than this one." She grins. "I don't get to see much besides the Weyr itself, usually it's just there and back again." She hehs, and adds, "Dragonrider perspective instead of holder perspective." She nods about Ash, taking another look over the gryphhawk, before frowning at those tracks again. "These aren't hare." That part is said with certainty, because she knows from hunting hare. The next bit she's less sure of. "They might be felines."

"Well, if you're ever that way again, drop by Lemos and go see their forest. It's one of the oldest on Pern." Datsun suggests, "It's not much fun to just drop by the places you go to, or at least that's what I think." There's a little smirk given at her dragonrider versus holder, glancing to where she's looking at the tracks. "Maybe… I'm not sure. We don't have them up North…" He frowns slightly before nodding at Soriana, "Let's try, in any case. Unless you want to go?" He asks, holding the hawk to wait for her answer before releasing him to hunt.

"I'll have to take a look," says Soriana, and hehs. "If I can. I'm not usually the one in charge of the trips. It's more, hey, you, come along and rinse things in redwort for us or take notes on this meeting. Oops, turns out this part of the meeting is too important for you, go off and play for a bit." She grins and shrugs, then takes another look at those tracks, dropping to one knee to peer at them. "They do kinda look it," she says, then glances up again. "Yeah, let's try hunting. Even if there are felines here, they're supposed to be mostly nocturnal. So we're fine, and this is a good chance to see Ash in action!"

Raising an eyebrow, Datsun asks, "They take class ones on trips with them to other places? I would've thought class two or three, something like that…" He thinks about it for a moment before adding, "I suppose you have to go to the cases where they are, not have an injured dragon come to you." At the mention of redwort, he wrinkles his nose, "I do not envy your Craft. Why is it that nasty-smelling things are good to use?" A little shake of his head, "Those tracks don't seem to be fresh, either. A day to two days old." He comments before nodding and calling out a whistle as he tosses Ash up into the air, eyes following the black-and-red bird gaining altitude above the clearing, circling.

Soriana hehs. "Not usually. It's sort of a weirdness of being at Xanadu. There are a lot more grade four and fives than there are the lower grades, because they're doing research but they don't have the school like at Ierne. So… sometimes, they'll just point to whoever junior is on shift, and never mind just how junior they may be." She grins. "Kinda lucky for me. Means I get to see a lot more than I would if I was actually at the school full-time." And then she laughs outright. "Fallian says it builds character. She says most things build character." Soriana smirks, then nods at the comment about the tracks before looking up to watch Ash in flight. Heeeeere bunny bunny?

Datsun sidles over to Soriana's side, moving to put his elbow up on her shoulder and lean slightly against her if she'll allow him. "Really? That is lucky. I was stuck forever in the same place as an Apprentice. I guess your Craft's not so bad, after all." A grin, nodding, "Fallian's right. Everything builds character…" His eyes catch the sudden change in Ash's flight pattern, "Oh, he's seen something…" He falls quiet as the hawk goes into a dive towards the other side of the clearing, a black and red blur in the sky, quicker than one would think possible. The Gryphhawk suddenly levels out just before he reaches the ground, skimming the blades of grass as a hare breaks from cover, running towards the edge of the forest only to be ran down by Ash's outstretched talons, wrapping around the neck and killing it instantly.

Soriana leans back against Datsun's side, letting him use her as an armrest… for now. She chuckles. "It's got some good points. Least, I think so, which… is good." A grin. "Yeah, well. She doesn't have to be so picky about what character gets built." Though, really, isn't that the job of the seniors in a craft? Doesn't mean their juniors have to like it. Soriana goes quiet as she watches the gryphhawk soar and dive. "He flies different than a firelizard," she observes after the strike, then glances to Datsun. "Will he bring it back, or do we go get it from him?"

"We go get it from him. He's not like a firelizard, he won't bring me what he takes or anything else." Datsun answers Soriana's question, grinning as he gives her a nudge before heading off towards the hawk, "He does. I've noticed firelizards can be noisy, but he's silent. They don't know he's coming until it's too late." The Crafter crosses the clearing, humming a cheery tune as he nears the avian crouching on top of the dead hare, "Off, off, you." Pushing the hawk off it and taking the catch, securing it to a string hanging from his belt before picking up Ash to throw him up into the air again with a different whistle, watching him take to the air again, "He'll get his own lunch now. I'll prep the hare, you set up the rest. Deal?"

"Ah, y'never know. He could be like a canine instead," says Soriana with a grin as she follows along after Datsun. "Can't say he much looks like one, though." She hangs back a few steps during the actual retrieval, in case Ash gets finicky about giving up his prey. "He's kind of quiet in general, even when he's not hunting," she says as she watches the gryph take to the air again, then laughs. "Sure, but I didn't get a chance to grab a stewpot before you kidnapped me, so I hope you thought ahead," she teases, and begins picking up pieces of fallen wood.

Datsun smirks at her, "A canine? Far from it. He's his own 'hawk. I'd like a canine, though, so it could go and get what Ash takes for me. I'm lazy like that." A wink, "If someone treats him or handles him the wrong way, trust me, he'll let you know about it. The sounds he makes are /not/ pretty… Be thankful your ears haven't heard him yet." Her laugh earns another smirk from Datsun, "'Course I did. I have a traveling stewbag with the rest of the supplies on Morning Dew." It's to the runner that Datsun heads towards to now, walking quietly as not to spook the grazing mare.

Soriana chuckles, and nods. "Zan's got a pair of hunting canines. Chasing, mostly, not retrieving, but still." She shrugs slightly, continuing to pick up sticks from around the edge of the clearing. "I'll be sure not to offend him," she says of the gryphhawk, glancing for him. "Better not compare him to a canine again, might be an insult." She grins, and once she's got a decent armful of wood, she brings it to the edge of that circle of stones. It's here, might as ell use it… though while she's there, she does pause to poke a stick through the ashes and see if there's anything beyond char.

"Zan?" echoes Datsun, the name unfamiliar to him as he picks up the supply bag from Morning Dew, petting the runner while he's there before heading over to the spot Soriana chooses with the bag. "Eh, I don't know if it'd be insulting. Ash is just different. He doesn't have any emotions like firelizards and canines seem to do. He knows I'm his hunting partner and that food comes from me. That's the only reason why he stays with me. If he decided to fly off, he would be fine without me, but Gryphhawks prefer to hunt with partners." Squatting down by the circle of rocks, he opens up the bag to reveal a tripod, the stewbag, several things wrapped with fabric, and a container with dividers inside to allow it to hold several different spices in one place. "Anyway, how are you doing?"

Soriana extends that syllable into a full name. "Alzanbri. He kinda keeps to himself, but he does a lot of hunting." She shrugs slightly, then nods about the gryph. "Yeah. Ash doesn't actually remind me of a canine. He's too… well, avian. He's got the same sort of look as the chickens do." A pause. "Not that he isn't much handsomer than a chicken. Also smarter. But it's the same thing, like how wherries and dragons seem to have the same look sometimes." She grins slightly, brushing the ash flat and starting to build up a square shape out of the sticks. "So you're just convenient to him… makes sense, I guess." She glances to the tripod, and nudges the square a bit tighter, big sticks on the outside and kindling and stripped bark in the middle. "Me? I'm okay. I've got classes to do over, which is sorta annoying, and…" She frowns somewhat. "Well. The whole thing at Western."

Datsun raises an eyebrow, chuckling at her words, "Chickens? Well, I hope nobody mistakes him for one and ends up having him for dinner." A glance is sent up to the flying hawk, watching it dive down again after his own meal before turning back to Soriana. "I suppose so." The tripod is set up and the stewbag put on it, filling it up with water from the waterskin among his supplies. Once that's done, he goes to work on preparing the carcass for cooking with one of the knives drawn from his belt. At her last words, he glances up, "Go on. I'm listening."

"Hah. He'd have them for dinner, more like," says Soriana with a smirk, and finds the tinderbox to get a flame started. She's quiet for a moment, concentrating on feeding the burgeoning fire with small twigs and other flammable bits to help it grow, then sighs. "Did you hear what happened?" she asks, still with her eyes on the flame, then goes on to explain regardless. "There was a party, that's why I was there, and then… there was an attack on the Weyrleader. I don't know why, the guy shouted it was for… Dane or someone." She gives her head a bit of a shake. "Anyway. It's just… I don't know. I mean, I'm used to blood. I'm a dragonhealer. I go hunting. It's just… it's different, somehow."

Datsun chuckles at her words about Ash, who's currently enjoying a largish mouse, "I'm sure he appreciates that." His attention is on the hare but he's listening to Soriana at the same time, showing his deft skill with a knife. It's not long until he's done, opening the container to get pinches of a couple of spices, rubbing it into the meat. "Bits and pieces. My Apprentices talk about a whole range of things and you know I don't put much stock in rumors." His eyes glance up at her words, quiet. "Someone tried to attack Zi'on?" He frowns at that, watching her. "He still alive?"

Soriana nods to Datsun's question, her gaze remaining on the growing fire and her face mostly still. "Yeah, he's alive. I was close, I got pressure until the healers could take care of things. Arrow to the kidney." Her mouth curves up briefly in an expression of displeasure. "At least he's got two of those." There's a moment of smirk, humor as a coping mechanism, then she sighs. "Idrissa was terrified. Now she's gone and closed up again."

Datsun considers Soriana for a quiet moment. "You did good, Soriana. I'm proud of you. Most people would have just run off at the sight." He doesnt add the 'of blood' part, glancing down at his own hands covered with the hare's blood before wrinkling his nose. Tossing the meat into the stewbag, the same knife is used to dig a small hole and bury the remains. Dirt is used to clean off the blade and his own hands before using his waterskin to finish cleaning up. "I can't imagine what his dragon did…" One eyebrow raises, "That explains why I haven't seen her lately."

Soriana glances down at her hands, and makes a sound halfway between a laugh and a sigh. "I've seen worse." Her tone is not bragging, just stating a fact. She looks up at the stewbag, watching it begin to heat. "It's like… when it happened, I didn't feel anything. I just went and did it." A moment, and she huhs. "No, that's not quite true. I was annoyed that the healers were so slow. It seemed like they took forever." She shakes her head slowly, then finally looks up to Datsun again. "Tried to stick his nose in," she says of the dragon. "Didn't work so great." That's another moment of humor, then she nods about Idrissa. "Yeah. That's part of it."

Datsun brushes off his hands once he's done cleaning, adding a few more pinches of spices from the container before closing it put and putting it away. That done, the Journeyman seats himself beside Soriana with crossed legs, leaning back onto his hands. A nod at her words, "That shows you're going to be a good Healer. You have to the instinct to react in time." Tilting his head to look at her, "'Course they did. When something like that happens, time seems to slow down… I don't blame him." Meaning the dragon. "Part of it?"

"I suppose so. Move too slow, and…" She just lets that trail off, then nods slightly. "Took forever. Couldn't have been more than a few minutes at the most." Soriana sighs, adjusting her position a little to get more comfortable, less hunched toward the fire. "I've been going to the defense classes again, but it's hard to find time. Still." She frowns at the question about Idrissa. "She's been… having some trouble with her journeyman. It's… kept her busy."

"Aye." Datsun agrees to her first words with a nod, not needing the rest to be said, quiet as he listens to her. "Defense classes? Are you afraid someone will attack you after that experience? There's not much you can do against an arrow." Eventually, the dance of the fire draws his eye as it always does, watching the flames. "Poor girl. She's already a shy girl, then Western happened and now her Journeyman. At this rate, she'll end up shut up in a wardrobe or something. What about Kale? Is that at least going well?"

"I don't think anyone's out to get me, but… it's just sort of a reminder. Pern can be dangerous. Maybe there's nothing to be done about arrows, but there's plenty you can do about someone with a knife, or a wild feline. That's why." Soriana shrugs a little, glancing to Datsun and then letting her eyes wander back to the flames. "Yeah, Idrissais… heh. If she ends up in the wardrobe, I'll keep dragging her out every so often somehow. But she really is having a hard time lately." Soriana sighs, then tilts her head. "Kale… yeah. Things are good there." She smiles slightly. "Well, pretty good. He's busy a lot. So am I. Scheduling is hard."

Datsun nods, "Better safe than sorry, I suppose. If a feline does appear, I'm going to hide behind you and let you deal with it." A light smile, "Maybe we can do something nice for her. That's good…" A few small nods at the last answer, watching the fire. Falling quiet for several long moments until he finally gets up and retrieves a long spoon. With it, he stirs the stew, looking down at it before setting the spoon aside to draw a different knife than the one he used earlier, this one more narrow. With it, he picks up an apple, beginning to peel it but his pattern of peeling isn't the usual method, but rather erratic.

"Hah. If a feline appears, I'll singe its whiskers," replies Soriana with a smile. She nods, then. "Yeah. That'd be good." She smiles more, leaning back on her hands and sniffing at the stew as it's stirred, then breaks the silence to ask, "How about you? How've you been?"

Datsun chuckles, alternatively glancing from his apple to Soriana. When she leans back, he points his blade, dripping with juice, at her, "Don't move." A little smirk appears and disappears as he returns to the fruit, slicing away several chunks before moving on to thin pieces. It's obvious that the Journeyman is doing something unusual with his apple. "I haven't been bad myself. Been busy with work, like you. Taking care of Ash. I'm afraid my life isn't as exciting as yours is."

Soriana raises an eyebrow. "See, this is the sort of thing I'm talking about," she says in a teasing tone. "People with knives telling you not to move, there are techniques for dealing with." Despite her commentary, she does stay where she is. Her lips keep on moving, though. "Heh. Most of the excitement is in other people's lives. I just get pulled in." After a moment, she hmms. "Have you seen your mysterious date since you got back?"

Datsun's eyes shift up to her, "I work with blades for a living, though." A wink and smile, looking back at the apple as he's done with the general shape of what he's carving, now going to work on the details, using the very tip of his blade to do it for him. At her question, he pauses in his work to look up at her. "Why do you ask?" She's considered for a quiet moment before resuming his detailwork again. "I have. She's another reason why I've been busy as of late. She's been trying different Crafts but there's nothing that fits her, so she's trying mine out now."

Soriana laughs. "So you do. So. You. Do." … staying still is hard now that she's supposed to do it. Fortunately, conversation soon comes along to distract her. "Because," she answers his question. "You're curious about my life. I'm curious about yours. It tends to work that way." Then, she nods to his answer. "I've been there. Before I decided on dragonhealer, I spent a while wondering what on Pern I'd do with myself. Never did try Woodcraft, though. Don't think it would have worked."

Datsun puts on the finishing touches at last, turning the apple carving side down to cut little grooves and gouges into the still-red part, exposing little lines of white. Presumably hair. "It does work that way." He admits with a smile, "It wouldn't have, nope. I agree with you. The Woodcraft's full of Holders." Teasing her, he lifts up the now-done apple carving so that it replaces Soriana's own head from his perspective. "Yeah, not bad." After admiring his work, the apple's tossed over to her. It's Soriana's profile with red pupils in the eyes along with her lips, which are also red. Otherwise, her face is off-white, while not an exact replica of Soriana, it's a pretty good representation that you can tell it's the Dragonhealer.

"Oh, well, Holders," replies Soriana with a smirk. "That'd do it. They've probably gone and gotten Holder all over everything." She laughs, and shakes her head. As the carved apple flies toward her, she reaches up and catches it neatly, turning it around to take a look. "Definitely not bad. Though I think my looks will last longer." She turns it a bit, looking at it from different angles.

"Yeah, you don't want the Holder cooties to affect you." replies Datsun in a mock-serious voice, rising up from his seat to check on the stew again, "It's ready." He declares, picking up two bowls before ladling the stew into them with the long spoon. Steaming hot, the first bowl of hare stew is given to her with him taking the second. A few other food items are also offered, spreading them out on a piece of fabric. "'Course it's not bad. It was made by me, after all." Modest, isn't he? "Now eat yourself. Or if you don't like it, I'll eat you."

"They're a real and actual threat, you know," replies Soriana, not terribly seriously at all, then grins as the stew comes to fruition. Oh, wait, no, that's the apple she's got in her hand. She helps to spread out the fabric, then looks back at the fruit in question and hmms. "Is this like self-cannibalism or something?" she asks, staring her apple self in the eye. The apple does not blink, so finally, she puts that stare to an end by taking a bite. Chomp. Now it's only got one eye to stare back at her with. She lets herself suffer while she has some of the stew.

"Odd, I thought it was the other way around. The Weyr flu afflicting us poor Holders." There's a grin from the Woodcrafter, picking up a spoon full of stew, blowing on it first before taking it. "Yum. Not bad, Ash got us a good one." Smacking his lips, Datsun continues to eat the stew, watching her bite herself with amusement, curiously asking, "How did it feel? Are you delicious?" A piece of bread is chosen from the fabric, using it to soak up the stew. "Let's trade stories. Tell me a story. About anything."

"Hmm," goes Soriana. "Well, it's probably mutual. Different strains of the disease and all that." She grins, eating more of the stew, and then takes another nibble of the apple. "Of course it's tasty. It's me." A pause, and then Soriana points a spoon at Datsun. "Not that you should go getting any ideas. This version of me-" she points the spoon at herself, "-is inedible. Despite being tasty." She gives a mock suspicious look, then grins as she has more of stew and apple both. "A story?" she says. "Huh." There's a moment of quiet as she considers, then she hehs. "I could tell you about The Frozen Boy."

Datsun nods amiably, "Let's agree on that, yeah." A smile, raising an eyebrow at her answer about the taste of herself. "Perhaps I should have a sample of you, then…" Then there's that spoon pointed at him, causing him to smirk widely, "You sure 'bout that?" The stew-soaked bread is eaten with relish, moving on to other foodstuff, nodding. "Aye, perhaps something from your life. Or that." His spoon is licked then waved around to show that he accepts The Frozen Boy story, "I'll trade you that story for The Weyrling's Stone Tomb."

"Oh, all the stories from my life are either dull or take far too much explaining to be worth it," says Soriana with a wave of dismissal. Which probably isn't true, but that's her claim. "Or there's the story of why exactly I am entirely inedible, but that might give you ideas, so let's not go there." She grins. "Okay, so. The Frozen Boy." First, a bite to eat, then, "So this story begins long ago in a place far away… but that's too far to go back, so let's start somewhere else. The ninth pass, after the discovery of AIVAS. The dragonriders had been led to the starships, and were working there. But then… something happened."

Datsun's spoon hits an empty bowl, causing Datsun to frown and peer down at the lack of stew. This problem is quickly remedied by ladling more stew into his bowl, offering Soriana some more if she'll take it. That done, he settles back down, "I do not believe that for a second. How can a Goldrider's daughter have a boring life with no good stories to tell?" A little snort as he falls quiet, listening to the start of her Frozen Boy story as he enjoys his stew. "Well, go on!" He brandishes the spoon, motioning for her to keep on with the story before resuming.

Soriana holds up her bowl for more stew, and laughs. "Hah. I wasn't even living at a Weyr until I was thirteen, and believe me, runner lineages are soporific. Least, they always worked on me when I was a kid." So uh, there's that story, for one. But never mind that, there's a frozen boy to tell about! "Strange things. Like, objects going missing, then reappearing. Noises down corridors when there was nobody there. At first, they figured it was just the ventilation systems, or the vibration of the engines. Things like that… but then, he started to appear. A pale figure, walking through the halls or standing and looking out at Pern. The first time it happened, the rider thought they were hallucinating from lack of sleep, so they tried to keep it secret. The second time, the same. It kept happening. Eventually, someone mentioned it to someone else… and they realized everyone was seeing it. The pale figure, like a young boy wandering the ship."

Datsun blinks, giving her a slow once-over, "You weren't even at a Weyr til you were thirteen? You sure adapted fast." But then he shuts up, returning to his meal, spooning more stew into his mouth. As he listens, his bowl soon grows empty once again, the spoon clinking again and again as he focuses on the story before snapping shut his mouth with a swallow. The bowl is put down and another apple picked up and bit into. "Nah, that's impossible. Those ships have been up there for forever. Ain't nobody on them." The thought of a young boy left abandoned on a spaceship is dismissed with a wave of his apple.

Soriana shrugs about her adaptation. Yeah, there's definitely a story there. Probably two or three of them, but they're not the ones she's telling right now. At Datsun's objection, she nods. "That's what they said. The ships had been there for turns and turns… entire passes! Nobody could have survived that long, and none of the riders would have brought up a child. But… they kept seeing him. Glimpses, out of the corner of their eyes. The figure in the distance, and when they got there, nobody was there. It was impossible, but they were seeing it. So… they organized a search. The whole ship, top to bottom. They went through the cargo bays. The hydroponics. The engine rooms. The medical bay… ah, and there they found something. Past the medical bay lie the cryogenics, full of capsules like upright coffins. It was dark there, save for a single glowing red light."

Datsun furrows his eyebrows, regarding Soriana suspiciously at her story, but he doesn't interrupt her. The Journeyman leans back onto one hand, kicking out both of his legs outwards then lifting one boot so that it crosses on top of the other as he chews on his apple with his other hand. "Say what? Hydrowhasis? Cryo-what?" A shake of his head at the technological terms, showing his old-fashioned side before nodding at her to continue.

Why, yes, Soriana did practice saying them. Hydroponics isn't important to the story, other than it being a place on the ship, but cryogenics… "Cryogenics is where the colonists slept during their journey to Pern. They call it sleep - cold sleep - but it's not really much like sleep. It's a way of being caught like you're between but your body is still present… never aging, never moving, not even breathing, all your living stuck between while your body takes the long way to get there." She pauses, to pull off a piece of bread and eat it. "When the ships arrived, the cryogenics capsules brought the people in them back from between, brought their bodies back to life. Except… when the riders approached that one red light, they found a cryogenic capsule with the door still shut. There was a message on the screen. Stefen Michaels. Age fourteen. Life signs good. Malfunction. Do not open. The capsule had failed. His body was still inside, frozen, and the rest of him was trapped like between. Only… perhaps even between isn't as absolute as we think. In the turns and turns and passes and passes he had there, trapped in the capsule on that ship, Stefen Michaels must have learned to reach out from between and look down on the world he would never, ever reach."

"Hold on, hold on, hold on." The mostly-gone apple is frantically waved around, leaning forwards off his other hand to wave his hand too. "Machines that let you go between? But when you go between, you disappear… How can you stay here but be in between at the same time?" The logic doesn't make sense to poor Datsun, instead deciding to give up and suspend his disbelief in order to hear the story, falling quiet again. At the end, he's bitten into the pit, which he realizes too late, spitting it out before launching it away at the other side of the clearing, turning back to her. "Keep going."

It's not like Soriana really understands it any better, she's just heard it more times. "It was the Ancients. They couldn't go between like we can on dragons, but I guess they figured out another way. Nobody really understands how it works today… and they didn't back in the ninth pass, either. They found Stefen, but they didn't know how to stop the malfunction. Even AIVAS couldn't help. Perhaps Stefen understood that somehow, because after they found him, they stopped seeing him as much, but he's still there." She points up, to the sky… to space. "Caught between. Still waiting."

Datsun huhs. "That's true. These Ancients had some wild stuff. Spaceships and the like." A shrug, chewing on his lip as he considers what she says about Stefen, "Thus, The Frozen Boy." The title of her story is said as he looks upwards when she points at the sky. Squinting briefly as he tries to find the spaceship but as it's daytime, nothing is seen. "Poor guy. He's the one that ended up in a wardrobe." Dropping his hazel eyes back to her, "That story's good, just sad. Your story was longer than the one I was going to tell you. I have a better one, it's sad too. The name of it is The Recipe." Licking his lips and sitting up straight, Datsun adopts a storytelling voice, "It was many, many, many Turns ago. Before AVIAs, before Xanadu was even a place. Nobody knows exactly when it was. Some say it was in the Fifth Pass. Others say it was the Seventh Pass. An elderly woman had her own tavern deep in the country. Only the locals knew about it and only they came to eat and drink. It was at this tavern that a famous murderer had been caught. But this murderer had a talent for escaping. He escaped dragons, he escaped Holdlers, he even escaped when the renegades tried to come after him when they found out there was a reward on his head."

"Indeed so," says Soriana. It all comes back to the title. And… wardrobes. "Stuffed into the refrigerator." She shakes her head slowly, and now that she's done with storytelling, she picks up her bowl of stew again. It's not quite cold… yet. Better eat fast. "Oh, it's okay if yours is short," she says, then grins. "But longer's good too." Either way, she settles in, ready to listen. Ooh, murderers. Always good things, in stories set many turns ago! They're less good the closer they get to the present. She nods. "But they caught him?"

Datsun nods, taking a drink from the waterskin before continuing, "Aye, they caught him. But how and why? He was known to take hostages and kill them. One of his would-be victims that was traveling through the country before a dragon had rescued him from the murderer wanted to know. So he went and interviewed the woman. He interviewed the group who had caught the killer. What he found out was that the murderer had come into the tavern after closing time and demanded food and wine. But this particular wine that was served was powerful. It was so powerful that it made everybody stop in the tavern and daydream. The very scent made them remember their first loves. When they were happy children. But most of all, it reminded them of their home. It was only after the murder had drank the very last drop that everybody came to their senses and caught him. When they caught him, he was only sitting there dazed. He didn't even put up a fight. When they asked him for his final words, he smiled and all he had to say was, 'I could go for some wine.'"

Soriana reaches for another piece of bread, using it to sop up the last of the broth from her stew. "Sounds like a nasty fellow," she comments, then huhs. "That's some pretty impressive wine." Her tone is somewhat skeptical. Possibly, just possibly, that wine is in fact too impressive to be believed. Even if it was possible, "How did an old lady get wine like that?"

Datsun smiles at Soriana's response, similar to his own response to her story. "So the person who asked everybody was puzzled. He wanted to try the wine himself, so he set out searching for the wine but he kept running into dead ends. Finally, he came back and asked the old woman to give him the wine but she shook his head and finally admitted that it was not her wine. She had taken in a passing young woman and fed her and housed her in the tavern for a sevenday, but the young lady had already left. She was the one who had served the killer. The man was vexed until the older woman remembered something the young lady had said and told him the name of her Hold. It was a small Hold that no longer exists now. Nobody knows the name of it. The man searched and found the Hold, but it had been abandoned. The people that lived close by told him that it had belonged to a famous vinter who had died and left it to her daughter. The man wandered the Hold and found broken pots in a rundown brewery. He noticed that some of the pots were intact and had fermented cherries in them. He wondered where they had come from and explored some more and found a grove of cherry trees. The strange thing was, there were pots buried in the ground under the cherry trees."

And things are reasonably okay with the story for a bit, and Soriana finishes her apple-self, carefully nibbling her way around the pits, until… pots full of fermenting cherries, fine. Pots buried under trees? "O… kay. I mean… I've heard some wines are aged in barrels…" So maybe pots under the earth is also a way of aging booze? Giving it that peaty flavor?

Datsun shrugs, "They used the flavor of the clay instead of the wood. Whoever had buried the pots had left the tops open but covered with screens. They had fermented cherries in these pots as well. He went back to the brewery and noticed something strange in one of the pots' shards. Leaves. The cherry trees' blossoms had been mixed with the clay under them and baked. It was then he realized he had found three integridents of The Recipe. Cherries, the clay under the trees, and the blossoms. The man started to sleep in the brewery and began having dreams. In his dreams, there was the young lady living with a young man Turns ago. They were in deeply in love with each other. They did everything together, they made the pots, they picked the cherries, they buried the pots, they covered the pots when it was raining. The man woke up and went to talk to the people next to the place and found out that the man had been called away by the death of his father but the young lady couldn't go with him because the father had lived in the desert. The woman's health was too fragile for such a long journey. So the young man left the young lady alone. She waited a month. Two months came and went, Then three, Then a Turn. The young man never came back."

Soriana frowns a little, but she's not actually a vintner, so in the end, she nods to this Recipe, strange as it seems. She leans back on her hands, listening to the story, the strange dreams and love and loss. "So… what happened then? Did she go after him?" A pause. "Did the murderer get him?"

Datsun smiles and continues on with the story, "It was here that the questioning man came to a dead end. There was no more information to be had from anyone, so he did the only thing he could think of: He slept. As he slept, he dreamed of the young woman finding a fourth integrident: the yeast. It was a special yeast that her mother had left behind with instructions that it was not to be used until her daughter was in the darkest time of her life. So it was this yeast that she added to what she and the young man had done together so far. Over time as she watched the yeast, she soon realized that it was creating the most pure alcohol she had ever tasted. This yeast her mother had left behind was pure. It had been grown during a specific time of the year watered by a spring that was rumored to allow anyone who drank it to fall in love. After the young lady learned of her lover's death by the murderer, yes." Datsun nods, "The dreamer woke up and went to the grove. The young lady was there, but like your story, she faded away. But not before the man saw her cry tears into an open pot. The final integrident was her tears of sorrow."

"Huh," says Soriana after she listens, and she's quiet for a long moment, toying with a piece of bread. "Well. It makes a good story." She's still rather dubious about its validity as an actual recipe! Still, the marvels of vintnering are even further beyond her than those of cooking. "So… what did he do then?"

"The dreamer went to the pot and saw that in it, there was the wine he had been after. He drank it and cried for the young man and the young woman and their lost love. He had finally found out how to make the wine, but there was no yeast left. So all there was left for him to do was tell their story. So he told his mate, then later, his children. His children told their children. As Passes passed by, the story was passed on from person to person. And now I pass the story to you."

Soriana pops the piece of bread into her mouth, chewing it slowly, then nods as she listens to the end of the story. Or at least, the end of the wine, and the end of this telling of the story. She swallows. "I guess stories are a lot easier to keep going than recipes… though it seems like someone would be able to find the right yeast again. After all, the mother did it in the first place. Tears of sorrow are sort of the harder part. Not very practical to try and get those on a regular basis." She pauses a moment. "Uhm. I mean… it was a nice story." Soriana smiles, with a vague sort of apology in the look.

Datsun notices the fire's gone low, which is just fine with him, so he rises from his seat. Looking down at her, he chuckles, "That particular recipe is a bit difficult, aye." The bag is taken off the fire and what little bit that's left emptied before washing it out with the last of the water from his waterskin. Her apology gets a shake of his head, "It's only a story. If it's true, then it was certainly changed and added and edited many times through the Turns." He answers, watching her for a moment before adding, "Maybe you're not the romantic sort."

"Yeah. Stories are sort of like that," agrees Soriana with a smile, and she starts gathering up the rest of the meal again, packing it away. The saddlebags will be lighter on the way back. On the other hand, Morning Dew will have just about the same amount of weight to carry. She glances up again, and hmms. "Maybe not. I mean…" she frowns. "Most of the time, romantic seems to mean someone being weak or doing something stupid." She considers her own words a moment, then laughs. "Yeah, just thinking that probably means I'm not the romantic sort."

There's a sad smile from Datsun at her words, "I consider myself a romantic at heart. But I don't think I'm weak or stupid. I'm just me." Then he leaves once everything's packed up, walking across the clearing to retrieve Morning Dew, gently taking the mare's reins. Once the two are back, he begins to place the supplies back into the saddlebags, "I think that's why you can share someone with someone else, but I can't." Pulling back on his leather glove, he checks around for Ash, who comes swooping down from a nearby tree to land on Datsun's arm.

Soriana goes back to that apologetic look again, biting at her lip a little. "I didn't mean… it's just… I don't get it, that's all. There's a lot I don't get." Foot, meet mouth. Sori is finding out for herself just how tasty she really is. She sighs, and goes to make sure of the fire, poking it with a stick to make sure there are no suspiciously warm spots or glowy bits before turning back. She hesitates a moment, then says, "I don't think you're weak or stupid either, and I hope you find lots of romance… and it doesn't have one of the tragic ends. Aim for the Happily Ever After."

Datsun watches her put out the fire before looking around the clearing as if to commit it to his memory. Then the Journeyman throws the hawk back up into the air, calling out a different call, watching the avian take wing before taking the glove off and tucking it into the side of a saddlebag. Her words bring a smile to Datsun's face, reaching to place both hands on either shoulders of hers if she'll allow him. "Thanks. And you know what? I hope you do too. Maybe you just haven't met the right person who can make you understand. Or maybe it's just you. Like Ash with me." He tilts his chin up at the flying hawk, "But there's nothing wrong with that. You learned things about me and I learned things about you today. I'm glad I kidnapped you."

Soriana looks up at Datsun, his hands resting on her shoulders, and smiles. "Heh. Maybe I will. Maybe I won't. I'm not going to go searching for it. I've already got a place I'm happy with and a boy I love… but I'm not going to close my eyes, either. There's always new possibilities, and maybe one of them will teach me to like romantic stories." She grins, then. "Have to say, of all the kidnappings I've been part of so far, this was probably the best. Thanks."

"Yeah. Nobody really knows for sure 'til it hits them in the face." Datsun answers with a smile, letting go of her. "When it hits you, you'll know. I knew the minute those chains were slapped on me and Zaala." He finally names his mysterious girl, turning to Morning Dew and swinging himself up into the saddle. One hand reaches down, offering to pull Soriana up behind him. "Oh, you've been kidnapped before? Well, I feel special." There's a grin, "You're welcome, and thanks for coming along."

Oho! There's a gleam of bright interest in Soriana's eyes as Datsun reveals that name, and a quick grin. She nods, and then takes the hand to pull herself up and behind. "Well, technically, the last time I was involved in a kidnapping it was as more of a rescuer, but that still counts." She hmms. "Unless… nah, pretty sure it doesn't count as kidnapping when it's instructions written out on paper. Shanghai-ing, maybe, but not kidnapping. Which is good for your ranking, really." Quickly, before she gets even more pedantic! Time to ride away into the sunlight!

"Instructed to? That doesn't really count. Only way a kidnapping counts is if someone comes along and actually snatches you up without warning." He shakes his head as he gives one glance up at the sky to make sure the hawk is above them before taking the reins and turning the mare around, heading back in the direction where they came from, taking the very-barely-there trail through the Deep Forest towards Xanadu.

Soriana hmmms, considering on that. "Well, I could make a case for it, but… nah. I'll just let this one take the prize," she says after a few moments, and grins as they head back along the trail again, enjoying the trip through the forest once more. This time, the surroundings get more familiar instead of less so, until eventually, they're back at the Weyr.

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