Warm, Willing and Alive

Please note that there is nudity farther into the scene. There is nothing terribly graphic, but if nudity in a scene disturbs you, please take it into consideration before starting this log.

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 isle 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.
The path that runs east-west through the forest can clearly be seen here, though it begins to turn north near the west end of the clearing.


With the first thaws of spring over and the snows having given way to the sun's relentless hammer, the days have grown warmer, if still brisk in the mornings. One such day finds Tenebrous at work, a large bundle of tools laid off to one side of his work area. Shovels, picks, rakes and forks rest here and there, their surfaces in various states of dirtiness, proof of use against the soil. The occasional sack of bovine-produced fertilizer rests around the area, and in the midst of it all is he. The day's warmth has coerced him to remove his jacket and over-tunic, working bare-chested despite the lingering nip in the air. He's already got dirt speckled on himself in various places as he moves about, his little flute hanging around his neck from a slender, sturdy thong. Above, in the trees, Truth and Reconciliation laze about, keeping small eyes open for those who would approach.

And spring has also brought about the giddiness involved with being outdoors without needing to be bundled up against the wet and chill for quite a few of the Weyr inhabitants. The warm day marks Phylicia as no different as her coming is heralded by both Ciaran who makes a high loop of the clearing before perching on a branch at head height, though Estevan takes straight for Truth and Cila, trilling a merry greeting. Their human's loping footsteps aren't too far behind either. A few breaths later she breaks into the clearing, her cheeks only slightly flushed from her jog through the re-growing underbrush which can be noted as she shoves the hood of her coat back. And yes, for a moment she just watches Tenebrous work topless, until she shifts the satchel resting against her back, taking a few steps further in as she already works at undoing the fastenings to her coat. "How's the soil?" She asks, her voice merry.

Tenebrous glances up with a warm smile on his face as Phylicia enters the area. He sets aside the smaller, hand pick that he's using, bringing one of his hands up to his nostrils and breathing in deeply. "It's warm," he calls quietly, happily. "It's arm, and alive, and willing, as it should be." He stands slowly, his right knee popping loudly in protest to the sudden shift in posture, and he wipes his hands on his trouser legs. "A season or two with the roots of strong plants within its bosom, and I think things will be well on their way to mend here. I know more than I did when i first came to this place. There were mistakes I made, soil that wasn't used properly. I won't do that again." He gestures to Phylicia with one still dirt-streaked hand. "The spring air looks like it agrees with you. What brings you out ot the Deeps this morning?"

Phylicia only gives a slight wince as his knee protests the movement of standing up as she crosses the clearing, watching her footing as she makes sure not to step on any tools laying around. "That's good." She says as she finally un-slings the satchel from around her shoulders, placing it near the collection of firelizards. There's a soft clunking and sloshing to the pack, and her coat soon joins the satchel, flicking one of the arms over Estevan who had been creeping up on Cila. "Behave yourself." She scolds him mildly. And a laughing look is given to Tenebrous accompanied by a little chuckle. "Helping you is what brings me out here. It's not raining and today was a rest day anyways." Though she left a note with the healer staff to let them know she's serving her other duties for a few days. It generally just seems to be a good day for the pair. "It seems like spring - or the work - is agreeing with you, too, Ten."

Tenebrous's eyes flicker to the various things as they happen, from her satchel and its noises to the fire lizards' antics, and then back to her. "And you'll spend your day of rest with dirt under your fingernails and on your face, hmm?" He smiles. "It's a welcome thing, your coming," he offers. "I'd give you a hug, but I'm all over with the day's labor, and I'm sure I don't smell the best. But yes…" He glances over his shoulder at the recently tilled earth that he's slowly begun working into neat rows. "The day agrees with me. The work agrees. It's a mindless sort of thing that the body knows how to do. It lets the mind wander, or shut off while the body does what it's supposed to." He glances back to her. "And while I generally consider myself a clean person, there's a certain satisfaction to sweat and a few new freckles from the sun, and the soil on my skin."

Estevan's head pops out from under the sleeve of Phylicia's coat with a disgruntled chrr until he takes up his perch atop the coat and satchel, behaving himself like he was asked. Phylicia crosses the rest of the distance to Tenebrous and grins. "If I'm about to help you and get dirty in the process what do you think is stopping you from giving me a hug?" She asks him playfully with another little laugh. It's true the clothing she has on is one of her more well-worn pairs, as if she was expecting to get dirty. She turns her head enough to look at the earth he's managed to cultivate into neat rows and smiles. "Just how long have you been at this, hmm?"

"As you wish," Tenebrous offers with a smile, and them promptly wraps her up in a light, if firm embrace. Her cheek gets a brief kiss and he murmurs, "It's good to see you again." When he lets her go, he turns again, gesturing to the clearing as a whole. "Today, I've been out here since early morning, but I started my work the morning after I found you at Xanadu and gave you that back rub. It's gone quicker than I anticipated it would. The ground seems almost eager to resume its former glory, a fact that I don't mind at all. I vividly remember trying to till the ground the first time through, and it was by no means as cooperative."

Phylicia's arms wrap around him in turn, returning the embrace happily. And undoubtedly, the hug has left traces of dirt upon her clothing, and maybe even her face from the kiss. He may let her go, but one of her hands stays lingering on his back merely resting against his skin as she takes in his work. "Probably since you had enough light to see by, am I right?" She asks without really expecting an answer. When he mentions the back rub, her smile turns a little sheepish and, even still in good humor, she ducks her head. "I fell asleep on you then, didn't I?" Because she certainly didn't remember wanting to fall asleep during the middle of that. But she's looking at the neat, tilled rows and the beginnings of the new garden. "Well, since you never let weeds overtake the ground, I imagine it's still a bit loose?"

Tenebrous chuckles. "Since a bit before I could see clearly, yes. I had to re-do one of the last rows because I did it by predawn's light and it was a bit…off." It's hi turn to smile a bit sheepishly. "Still, it was easy enough to fix, and the rest of the day yielded better, warmer results." he glances back to her. "Don't worry about falling asleep. That's a compliment, believe it or not. Some people don't trust enough to fall asleep under another's touch, especially when they've got their top off. I take it as a compliment."

Phylicia shakes her head in amusement, her smile growing a little wider as she leaves his side for a few moments, returning to her satchel and dislodging both the brown and her coat. "Don't look at me like that, I didn't tell you to perch there." She tells the once-again grumbling brown with a chuckle. There's a bladder of water in one hand, and a small block of cheese in her other, and she returns, holding it out to him. "I took this for you just before leaving. I sort of figured I'd run into something like this." But she sounds amused at the notion. And then she's chuckling. "I remember falling asleep with more than just my top off, not too long ago with you. The massage - what I remember of it - felt wonderful, though."

Tenebrous dusts what he can from one hand off and accepts the cheese and water with a nod. "I'll have you know that, at least for the massage, I was a perfect gentleman. Your bra was in the way." He sniffs almost piously and then promptly takes a large bite of cheese, chewing thoughtfully. "I suppose I should have eaten breakfast," he mumbles between bites. He raises the cheese to Phylicia in a little salute. "Thank you for this. I've got a bit of food in my pack over there, I just…hadn't thought about eating since I got out here." Another bite fo cheese is taken before he mumbles, "There's no way cheese is supposed to taste this good…" He absently turns to survey his work, continuing ot eat as a rote gesture, rather than with any thought.

"'At least for the massage'?" Phylicia echoes, sounding amused as she goes back to her pack and coming up with a small container of dried herdbeast. "Is there something else I should be aware of?" She asks teasingly, heading back his way as she opens the small container, taking a piece for herself. "You're welcome, Ten." She says, sounding pleased with herself before she giggles. "I don't know how you're still alive when you don't remember to eat half the time." However, she really doesn't seem to mind. She surveys his work with him, chewing on her jerky idly. "So, what were you thinking of for your garden?"

Tenebrous throws a smile over his shoulder as Phylicia talks. "Well, you of all people know that other occasions have dictated slightly more than your shirt be removed. I just wanted to clarify that the massage wasn't one of those times." He sniffs. "Professional ethics and all." Then he turns back to continue looking over the ground. "I've got a stable of medical plants that I'd like to see take root here, from Numbweed to Redwort to Ilex. Lavender as well, I think, and a list of other things that I've…got around here somewhere." He pats his pocketed thighs for a moment and then glances over towards the pile of his own clothing. "It's over there, somewhere, I think." He doesn't seem too concerned.

If he's not concerned with it, Phylicia isn't making another trip over in that direction just yet, not for a list of all things when they still have work to do with the soil itself before they can think of planting. "That was you being professional?" She asks with a grin, offering him the jerky in case he'd like more than just cheese. "Do you ever do recreational massages?" Because her imagination is having fun with that one. And as he goes through the brief listing of plants she smiles. "Well, this should definitely be an interesting project then. Have you figured out which parts get the best light?" She would figure that he's already figured which gets good lighting, or good shade, or a happy mixture between the two.

Tenebrous makes a wobbly gesture with his hand. "It's a crapshoot as far as 'best light' is concerned, really. As the sun passes overhead, the light in the clearing shifts. Most of the ground actually sees a fair bit of sunlight. That's why I chose this place initially, and if nothing else, the fire did me one small favor." He points up. "It punched an even bigger hole in the canopy. If anything, I'll get better coverage now, not that I approve of the method in the least." That arm is lowered as he paces over to his own satchel, fishing his bladder of water from it and drinking deeply to wash down the last of the cheese. "Recreational massage?" He purses his lips. "I don't…think so? I haven't given that many massages period, but they've all been because someone was in a bit of pain." His brow furrows.

Phylicia twists now, to look at him without craning her head over her shoulder. "No?" She asks regarding recreational massages. "With how much you enjoy contact, that almost surprises me." She says, closing up the container of jerky and moving to store it back in her pack. "After all, it's not like clothing has to come off for them." It's just a little easier without the clothing in the way. With things stored again she straightens up and starts to head back over to where he was working most recently, looking up at the canopy. "The one good thing that likely came from that fire.." She murmurs.

"There aren't exactly people lining up to receive massages from me, Phylicia," Tenebrous offers calmly, starting back over to his former place on the ground. He kneels slowly before taking the pick up and beginning to work the last bits of earth in that row. "There are other, more willing healers at the Weyrs themselves if they need one for medical reasons, and people at places like Ista if they want them for play. As for myself…" He glances upa t her for a moment. "I have enough trouble with people rubbing numbweed on my back, if you'll remember." Then the pick slips from suddenly slack fingers, and he blinks several times.

Phylicia smiles as she picks up both a trowel and a rake, both of the handheld variety and kneels down, about where the next row should be started. "Forgive the lapse of memory there." She chuckles, looking up as she first uses the trowel to gently break the surface, churning up a bit of the soil. For a few moments she's quiet as she concentrates on loosening the soil before she even spares a look for one of the bags of fertilizer. "How much are you using?" Because while the earth may be eager to start new life, a little added nutrition to the soil wouldn't be amiss. She looks over to him in time to see the pick slip from his fingers, and for a moment her expression flashes to frightened concern, before it just turns to normal concern a heartbeat later. Her new row isn't so far over where she can't lean over, resting a hand on his shoulder. "I can help you with that." She offers quietly. "You seem fine with it when we're doing other things, after all…"

Tenebrous looks down at his hand for a moment, the one that held the pick, and then over to Phylicia. "It's been happening more, lately. The… I don't know if flashbacks are the right term, but…" He curls his fingers into a fist for a moment, willing them to relax. "It happened a few days ago, when I was up at Ista to watch the clutching of one of their Juniors. We were…talking about alcohol, and it hit me right between the eyes, like a sledgehammer…" He takes a slow breath before he reaches for the hand pick again, wrapping fingers around warm wood. "Then just now, when we were talking about massage. All of these little things just seem to be shaking loose from the tree, as it were." He grimaces.

Phylicia draws her hand back a moment later, resting her weight equally on her knees, and letting her heels support the rest of it. "It must be disorientating, but is it such a bad thing, that the memories are coming loose?" She asks him as she digs the trowel in again, unearthing a large clump which she takes into her hands, gently breaking the clump into loose soil. "Remember, all you have to do is ask for help and I'll gladly give it to you." Whether its overcoming the troubles of being touched or whatever.

Tenebrous shakes his head slowly. "It's mostly just…disorienting, like you said. It's been almost half a turn, maybe more since the accident, and it seems like every time I get my mind set on how I can move forward with what's left, something else shakes loose and makes me re-evaluate everything's place in the world…" He slowly begins working in the ground as well, forcing himself back towards productivity. "A lot of the things…I remember, a lot of the little things…" He looks over at Phylicia. "Thea's there. That was her house I went to, in the rain. With you, not long after the accident. I know that now, even if I'm not sure how." He looks back to his work. "Did I love her, Phylicia?"

"I know." Phylicia responds softly, still intent on breaking that clump down into loose soil. "What I don't know from that day is why you called out for your mom." And maybe he doesn't know the answer to that one either. But that was something that struck her as odd, even for him. Her productivity is to keep her hands busy, and her eyes a place to look so she doesn't accidentally stab herself with a tool. "Maybe…" She starts off, breaking off from digging up another patch of earth to look up at him. "Maybe you don't need to be so set? If everytime something else crops up you pause to question yourself… you'll never get anywhere." But there's still a question she hasn't answered, and she's deliberating the answer. "The only person who can really answer that is you, Tenebrous." She says at first, though she obviously isn't done just yet. "But… at one point in time I think you did."

Tenebrous's lips flatten into a line for a moment as he works. "You know, I've given a lot of thought to the situation with her. The funny thing is, I find myself worried that, if I ever get my memory back in full, I still won't know what happened. That would be…ironic." Then he takes a breath. "As for you…I don't think about it. At least, not that much, not where your hands are concerned. It's still something that registers, when you and I touch, something that's there in the back of my mind, but call it…trust, or time, or whatever. It's easier to push it aside with you." He smiles a little. "A sign, perhaps."

Those words seem to soothe Phylicia's minorly ruffled feathers as she smiles back at him. "Perhaps." She nods her head a moment with a bit of a smile. "I'm glad that you don't have to work at it as hard with me." But she still ends up shaking her head slightly as he dwells on the thought of Thea. "If you do or if you don't, would it matter much either way?" She asks of him, turning up a few more areas of dirt with the trowel before switching her grip to the rake. "She's already moved on, and you had too." Or so she thought since he had gotten to know Hasha.

Tenebrous absently works another bit of fertilizer into the patch of earth beneath him. "Happiness…" He works for another few minutes in silence. "Phylicia, do you remember what it felt like, when we spoke in my room, back at the Weyr? When we were deciding if you were going to have to … go away for awhile?" He looks over to her slowly, his hair in his eyes. "The thought of you leaving hurt me. The thought of losing that closeness with you, and I don't mean the sex…hurt me. I don't know if that means I love you or not…but if I don't love you, and I did her, I have to wonder what in the world could have possibly prompted that…" He holds her eyes for a little longer before looking back down at the ground. "I don't care about the fact that it happened. I just want to learn."

Phylicia seems to feel his eyes on her, and she lifts her gaze, eyes locking on his as she uses the back of her wrist to shove some of the bangs out of her face since she made the mistake of not containing it in a runnertail before she left. She takes the excuse of needing some of the fertilizer for a good excuse to stand up and kneel behind him, wrapping her arms around him. "I remember." She says after a moment. Yes, losing moments like this would hurt indeed, for she's not asking for anything back as she even keeps her arms out of his way if he keeps working. "I can't say if you love me or not." She says quietly to him, unwrapping her arms after a few long moments and scooping up a healthy load of fertilizer for her freshly turned earth. "It's a call only you can make, based on what your heart says. I won't put those words in your mouth." She sprinkles the fertilizer over the turned soil, spreading it out somewhat carefully before she takes the rake to the dirt again, mixing the two together. But she looks back up as she starts to push the dirt around, a bit of a grin on her face, despite the topic. "You would."

When Phylicia wraps her arms around him, he stills himself for a time, listening to her speak. "I can only hope," Tenebrous murmurs evenly, folding a bit of earth over the last of his work. He opens his mouth for a moment and then closes it again, moving to a different patch of earth. He works for a time before he murmurs, "I suppose that's all of it, I guess. I could only hope that I would learn."

And so a fair portion of the morning goes, each tending to their current rows while turning the soil as well as mixing in fertilizer. Afternoon and the heat of the sun directly overhead finally call Phylicia to a momentary halt. By now she likely looks just as good as Tenebrous, smudged here and there with dirt. The break in pattern is signified by her standing and stretching her arms out in front of her, while she leans back slightly. "Isn't your back tired yet, Ten?" She asks in curiosity.

Tenebrous glances up when Phylicia finally calls his name. "Hmm? Oh…" Clearly, his own physical discomfort wasn't something that he was considering, but when Phylicia questions him, he straightens a little. "A little," he finally offers, before he, too, stands and reaches to the ceiling of the forest. Several small, successive pops can be heard as things settle in his body before he shakes himself a little and looks down. "All things considered, we should probably stop here and take a bit of food. A break, perhaps?" He glances over at Phylicia again. "We've gotten a great deal done today, the two of us. For now, we could simply call it a day, and enjoy the afternoon?"

Phylicia smiles widely at Tenebrous more-or-less absentmindedness when it comes to his own needs and body. Her back has been complaining for quite awhile, but she had been content to keep working with the earth, almost in a sort of meditative state. Her body doesn't pop nearly as well as his seems to, not that any pops emit from her joints at all. "Mmm. Well, if we're going to call it for the day, I'd love to take a bath." She looks to her dirt stained hands and smiles. "We're both a bit dirty." And apparently, just enjoying the rest of the sunny afternoon sounds appealing to her, the mention of merely a break no where to be heard.

"Well," Tenebrous ponders aloud, "At this point, we're about equidistant from the Weyr and Stormhaven, and since I know we both have clothing at both places, I suppose my only question to you is to your preference. I've even started smuggling soapsand out to the cave now, though I still use my simple bars of caked soap too. The water at Stormhaven won't be as warm as that in the springs, but I felt I should at least bring it up." He raises a brow questioningly to her, leaving the choice in her hands.

Phylicia seems to take his words into consideration, the biggest factor apparently being in the temperatures of the water by the look on her face as he mentions it. "Xanadu may have the warmer water, but Stormhaven has far less people." She says after a few moments, heading towards the area where she deposited her satchel and coat earlier. "Not being disturbed sounds far better than hot water." Not to mention, if she really wanted hot water, they could heat some. Eventually. Her hands get a much more through wipe on her pants before she slips her coat on without bothering to do up the fastenings beyond one or two to hold it closed. After getting her coat on she moves to collect her tools and grins. "Sound like a good idea?"

Tenebrous chuckles. "Then to Stormhaven it is. A bath, a bit of a meal, and then a more relaxing swim. It's warm enough out that such a thing might just feel nice, for a change." He gathers up the few tools near him and piles them over near the others before he binds the bunch in a treated bit of tarping to keep them free from the elements. That done, he moves over to his own clothing, bothering only to slip his long coat over his body and balling the rest up. It's threaded over the strap to his satchel and all of it is slung over his shoulder. Then he turns, reaching back to pull his hood up. "Will you lead the way?"

Phylicia is adding her tools to that bundle against the elements, and spends only a few very brief moments waiting for him to get his clothing secured. Her hair is shoved into the depths of her hood before she pulls her own up, protecting her eyes from the dappling of the light. But that's as far as she pulls it up, leaving the grin on her face visible as she walks backwards for a few paces, clear of their work or running into anything else. "You just want to watch, don't you?" She teases, not specifying what she thinks he'd like to watch. But it doesn't seem to matter either way as she twirls to face the way that they need to be heading, taking it at a good paced walk for the moment being.

Tenebrous makes absolutely no attempt at hiding his nod in the affirmative. "I like to watch, what can I say? I watch the birds, I watch my plants grow, I watch the fish in my pond. But if, in this case, you're referring to your backside, I confess, I find it a very watchable item as well." He spreads his hands. "Guilty as charged. Would you rather I walked in front?"

Phylicia spares a brief look over her shoulder at the edge of the clearing and laughs, shaking her head before she looks forward once more, readjusting the hood. "What sort of friend would I be if I deprived you of something you enjoy?" She asks rhetorically, still laughing as she starts off into the woods at a pace easy to keep, and easy to stop in should the ground prove more treacherous than expected, but slightly faster than a walk.


Xanadu Weyr - Deep Forest Waterfall
"How could I have possibly missed this?" Anyone who frequently travels the deep woods between Xanadu Weyr and the mountains to the west might ask themselves that question upon stumbling onto this place for the first time. A waterfall, easily a hundred feet tall, dominates the immediate area, commanding attention. Like something from a storybook, it stands before you, flanked on either side by sentinel trees and mountain brush mired in stone-spotted soil. Water cascades over a beaten rock face at its peak, flowing down in a white-capped torrent to crash into a small, crystal clear pond below.
Not content to remain where it is, the pond appears to have carved a great trench into the earth, through which a stream now flows, traveling further west towards a massive rock wall in the distance. The stream bisects the area, and a narrow point some 30 feet away from the pond itself makes for an easy jump to the other side. The shore around the pond's immediate edge appears to be mostly soil and large slabs of rock, but that gives way to a grass field after only a few feet, a touch that gives the entire area an idyllic feel. The air is fresh and clean with the bite of cool mountain water and the tang of forest life. It is alive, this place.


Tenebrous looks amused as he follows her down that steep trail. "You'd be the kind of friend that doesn't necessarily always enjoy being objectified? Even though I dare say that I don't always anything. You're kind to let me stare, from time to time." In the wake of the fire, the trip down from the top of the ridge is even more precarious, even more steep, and so Tenebrous concentrates on his own footing as they descend rather than any part of Phylicia. In time, they make it to the bottom, and he moves up beside her. "Do you remember when you first came here?" he asks quietly.

Phylicia gets to concentrate on her footing either way. "I don't mind so much, if it's you doing the staring." She pauses at the bottom, just where she would have stopped the first time she broke through all the underbrush. As he asks, her lips curve in a pleased smile. Both of their hands are dirty anyways, so she doesn't feel bad reaching out for his. "Of course." She confirms softly. Even after the fire, the sight of the waterfall cascading down into the pond is still enough to make her smile, even if the greenery is still trying to regrow itself. "Do you?" She asks a moment later, her tone still soft.

"I would hope that you understand that when I stare at any part you, it's with the coupled appreciation of the woman herself, and not simply a well-shaped bit of tissue." He glances down to her with a smile as she takes his hand, but when she asks him the question in turn, the smile wans a little. "No," He responds, equally soft. "No, I don't… I was hoping you could tell me a little about how we met, one of these days."

Phylicia only answers that first part with a pleased smile and a nod before she's leading him further into the clearing. The next look he gets is amused, as her cheeks turn a soft rose hue. "You'll have to ask nicely for that story, Ten." She says, looking a little embarrassed. "You aren't the only one who had grown in the past turn and a half." She gives his hand a light squeeze before letting go, setting down her satchel somewhere safe, her coat following a moment afterwards.

Tenebrous blinks once. "Oh, come on now. That's not very lady-like, holding my past hostage on a whim." He smiles and follows her movements, setting his own gear down and stripping his jacket away from his lean, scarred frame. "What does your growth have to do with how we met? I don't get it?" But he's keen to know, and so a moment later, he's slipping up behind her and resting his hands on her hips. He pulls her back to him a moment later before he brings his mouth down to her ear. "You'll have to tell me if this works for you like it does for me." He switches the sides of her head a moment later, lips brushing against her other ear, and murmurs, "Please tell me about how we met."

Phylicia can only laugh merrily, even as he calls her actions unlady-like. "It means it's a little embarrassing for me." She tells him just as his hands slip to her hips. There's a slightly deeper flush to her cheeks as he pulls her back against him, her head tilting back against his chest. It's fairly obvious that the position paired with his actions has some sort of effect on her. "I suppose I can." She breathes, pausing as she continues resting against him, re-gathering her wits.

"Good," Tenebrous whispers into that ear before brushing his lips against the base of her jaw. For a moment, his hands sweep in and low, across her belly before they slip back and away, and a moment after that, Tenebrous is moving back to his things, if only to bring them a bit closer to the water's edge. "Well?" He glances over his shoulder at her with a smile. "You can talk and bathe at the same time, can't you?"

Phylicia stumbles backwards a step as he pulls away. She had been using him as a bit of a support, after all, and his sweeping hands across her belly nor his brushing lips help her make her stand on her own. His smile is met with a mock-glare before she breaks out into a smile herself, dragging her own satchel closer to the water's edge before she leans over with her backside facing him to unlace her boots. "I had already been searching for you for a sevenday or two when I finally heard you playing your flute in the forest." She starts off, gesturing to the item around his neck. "So, in the middle of the deep forest, I deviated from the path until you finally decided to stop playing and talk." She presses her lips together, shaking her head as she continues to slowly shed pieces of clothing. "You scared me half to death out there." But obviously half to death isn't enough to get rid of her. Nor is mostly burned.

Tenebrous chuckles a little bit as she starts telling her story, even as he begins unlacing his own boots. When he looks over at Phyliica, however, starts just a little, all bent over as she is. T hen he shakes his head a little and goes back to his work. "One of these days, I suppose I should try playing this thing again." He taps the flute at his chest. "The master told me that I'd stopped at one point, but never felt the need to tell me why. Only that it was time to start again, whenever I was ready. I've honestly not put much thought to that conversation since then." He shrugs, sluffing his boots off before padding over to the edge of the pool. "And deviating from the path in the Deeps is a great way to get hurt, by the way. That's what got…" Then he blinks a few times, and one of his knees wobbles before he finally murmurs, "…Thea hurt."

Phylicia pulls her overtunic off over her head before she starts undoing the buckles to her pouch strapped to her outer thigh. "Only if you want to." She offers in the way of the flute, offering him a smile as the pouch joins her boots on the ground, off her being. "It was nice, if a little eerie out there." And her cheeks are flushing as she joins him by the edge of the pond. "Like I said, it's a bit embarassing. I know that was a stupid thing to do now." The mention of Thea getting hurt gets nothing more than a momentary glance with pressed lips. "Anyways, you nicely started to lead me back out of the forest, without answering my question." A person not telling a story might take advantage of that wobbly knee and his proximity to the water, but she doesn't seem to this day. "Do you remember the adonis at all?" She asks then with a touch of a smile as she looks up at his face.

Tenebrous blinks a few times more to process this most recent blur of his past before slowly looking over and into Phylicia's face. "Bits and pieces, actually. You mentioned something about stumbling through an Adonis patch, not long after we'd met. And you mentioned that I had you… drop your pants for it. Which, in retrospect, may have been a bit melodramatic." He rubs the marred side of his face absently. "Adonis is a vasoconstrictor that is a wonderful field dressing for wounds if prepared properly, simply because it serves to staunch any bloodflow. It's not a coagulant, of course, but assuming they're clotting, it's almost as good. The problem with Adonis is that if you expose yourself to too much of it externally or internally, it can slow the heart to dangerous levels. It's wonderful for correcting irregular rhythem in that respect, but…" He eyes her. "Were you rolling around in it or something?"

"I barely brushed the plant." Phylicia says with a laugh in her voice. "You were… reluctant to take an apprentice. I think you were trying to scare me out of it." Little good that seems to have done him, besides discovering her stubborn streak. She turns from his side then, working at squirming out of her top. "Anyways, I thought we were supposed to be getting clean?" She prompts him. Getting clean is not something usually done while in your clothing. "Either way, you gave me 24 hours to think about an apprenticeship with you after that." But this topic seems to have jogged her own memory, and she looks over her shoulder with a grin. "There's something back at your room at the Hall which I should show you sometime." A gift for her, from Thea. Which he is so nicely letting her store in his personal area.

Tenebrous snorts with amusement. "I hadn't realized that I'd started employing scare tactics. Reluctant seems to be a good word for my attitude." His smile is quiet, but sincere. "He did not know you as I do now. If he had, I suspect he would have accepted without hesitation, despite the lack of opportunity to see you with your pants down." He looks at her for a moment longer before her comment about bathing is heard and he nods. "Give me a moment. I'll go see about a brush and some soapsand." Then he's moving towards the rock wall itself, his motions casual and relaxed.

Phylicia smiles up at him. "Part of what I am now is thanks to you, Tenebrous." She reminds him before she watches him move towards the rock wall. And she does watch him go until he reaches the wall istself. She resumes shedding her clothing, placing it in a controlled pile by the rest of her things. As he's climbing the wall, he can likely hear a surprised yelp over the droning of the waterfall. It appears the water may still be a little on the cooler side.

Tenebrous' absence won't be noticed for long. He's gone perhaps five minutes before there's a disturbance in the water near the falls' impact zone, and he surfaces. A moment later, a sealed bucked bobs to the surface next to him, and he starts towards Phylicia's location with the strong stroke of one arm. "I took the liberty of turning the coals while I was in the cave. The water may still be a bit…brisk?" As he pulls further from the foam and the whitecaps produced by the waterfall, the observer might notice that he's swimming in the nude, as he's traditionally wont to do.

Phylicia's hair is dripping as she stays submerged to the top of her shoulders. With how far out she is, she's likely just standing normally. Her skin is a little pink from the temperature of the water, and his appearance gets a bit of a laugh. "I've noticed!" It might surprise him this time that she's naked as well already. As he mentions the coals she nods. "Oh, that's good. Some warmth might be nice after this." One hand rises from the water to beckon him and the buck of soap closer.

Tenebrous grins at this admission. "Sometimes I forget the fact that the pond is fed by the mountains, and it's not quite this warm up there yet." He paddles just a bit closer before giving the bucket one last little shove, and it bobs over into Phylicia's hand. "I almost lost my footing on the wall when the wind picked up and blew the spray into me. Definitely not what I was expecting…" Then he, too, is on more shallow ground and he moves closer so that he can partake of the sand when she's done.

Phylicia closes her fingers around the bucket as it bobs her way and she starts wading to where it's a bit shallower, exposing the fact through a bare back that she didn't keep anything on. She cracks the seal on the bucket and grins over her shoulder at him. "You aren't the only one who forgot that fact." She tells him before she's starting to rub her torso down. "I think we might not want to do a pleasure swim after eating." Indeed, staying dry seems to sound like a bit of a better idea. She does take a few side steps, it's not like the pair can't share the bucket at the same time afterall.

Tenebrous laughs a little, shaking himself amidst the too-cool water for a moment. Then he, too, is reaching for the soap sand, throwing the occasional glance at Phylicia out of the corner of his eyes. He's only human, after all. "The weather this season has been so erratic…there have already been a few days where the water's been more than enough to swim in, and yet there are still times like this…" He shudders a little as he begins working soapsand over parts of his body. "As for the swim, you're probably right. A bath, a bit of afternoon food, and the fire, until we're ready to get you back to the Weyr."

Phylicia's lips curl upwards as he mentions getting her back to the Weyr. "There's no rush on that." She informs him. "I asked them if I could attend to some of my duties out here." By which she means the gardens. "I have a day or two before they'll start wondering where I am." She's not oblivious to the glances she's getting, especially since she's stealing her own. Rinsing off the suds from her torso, she pauses during one of her own glances. "Tenebrous?" She asks quietly at first, a little hesitant. "Would you mind if I tried doing your back?" It's certainly a question almost out of nowhere, except for the fact that the subject had come up earlier in the day. She presses her lips together, sloshing off a few of her remaining suds.

Tenebrous laughs a little, turning from her to stroke over to one of the walls of the pond. There, he balances himself to scrub at one foot, a cloud of diluted suds drifting away from his actions beneath the water. "Attend to some of your other duties out here?" He snorts. "You're not my apprentice anymore, you know. What duties did they think you were attending to out in this neck of the woods?" Then her other question is asked, and for a moment, he pauses his work. A deep breath is taken before he straightens in the water, and turns to face her. "What point would it serve?" he asks quietly. Then he shakes his head, lifting a hand to wave the question away as pointless. "I suspect that the mind-healers would have something to say about my polarized behaviors in regards to physical contact. I can hold your hand, kiss you, even lay with you in bed, putting my fears into the back of my mind long enough to enjoy it…but this?" He starts back towards her in the water, moving slower. "You ask that I be vulnerable to you…to not only allow the touch, but to submit myself to it." When he stops, he's in front of her, his face serious in the afternoon sun. "Sometimes, I wonder if you know what you're really asking for, when you make such requests…" But then he nudges the bucket of soapsand over to her, whispering, "Go slow, ok?"

"They asked that." Phylicia says with a small laugh. "I simply told them the truth: that I had promised you my help in re-planting your garden. They couldn't hold up to the argument that it would be good experience still, even if you aren't my mentor." The laughter dies away slowly as she listens to and watches his reactions. She had a faint notion that asking would unleash a tricky answer. And she lets him come to her instead of meeting him. Let it be more on his terms than hers, even if she did start it. She catches the bobbing bucket and stops it, keeping it near her as she eases herself behind him and scoops up a small bit of the sand. "Enough to appreciate you letting me do this." She says quietly. Her hands start at the very small of his back, in the center. Fingers first, and then the rest of her hand as she slowly rubs. "But somewhere you know that I'd never intentionally hurt you." Her voice is pitched at a soothingly low level while she lets her hands gently yet firmly at the same time work across his lower back, in a sort of rub down that borders on a weak massage. She's behaving herself behind him, just letting her hands work and nothing else. "But imagine what you could enjoy, if you overcome even a little bit of this fear."

The only thing Phylicia's fingers will find on Tenebrous' back is hard muscle, cool skin and the occasional twitch. As she begins, it's clear that he's devoting an incredible amount of willpower to simply keeping his breathing even, to keeping his body still. "Somewhere, yes. I know that you would never hurt me. But you know very well that 'somewhere' is well behind that part of me that's worried that you will. it gets easier to control it…your skin tans in the summertime. But the sun never goes away. It sets at times, there are…respites, when the mind is elsewhere." He glances over his shoulder at the smaller woman. "But it's always there. It always comes back up." He takes a deeper breath, and for a moment, his muscles tremble beneath her hands. "I have no concept of life without this, Phylicia. It's simple what I am. I'm grateful enough to the fates that be that I can even kiss you or kiss anyone."

Phylicia's hands keep miming at a massage, every now and then dipping back to the soapsand for a little more. Her hands even work through the tremble and she keeps her touch light, never gripping, never putting more than just a little pressure behind it. She doesn't look put out at all as he looks over his shoulder at her, instead looking far more touched and pleased he hasn't pulled away from her yet. Slowly - as asked - her hands start to creep up the length of his back, carefully covering each bit. "I'm thankful you can allow yourself those touches, too." Is what she simply says in response. Anything else from her would be wandering dangerously close to the realm of mindhealer territory. And it may not have been made to the man standing before her now, but it's still not an area she'll breech with him.

It's when she grows closer to that mass of scarred skin across the backs of his shoulderblades that Tenebrous starts to lose his composure. A brief splash of water betrays the errant motions of one of his hands, and he shifts a little on each foot. "It's…the little things, they say," he stammers quietly in response to her statement. When those fingertips finally graze the tops of his shoulders, however, it's all he can take, and he turns a little. "I'm…getting a little cool, just standing here," he offers, his tone apologetic. It's code for, 'We're at the wall'.

Phylicia amazingly enough doesn't let her hands linger, nor does she jerk them away as he kindly lets her know he's gone about as far as he can. "You should rinse your back off then." She says, her tone not at all put out, but instead minorly amused. "There's suds all over it." Got her how that one happened! There's small splashing sounds as she rinses off her hands before her fingers wrap around the bucket again, taking it with her to one edge of the pond. With the temperature difference between the air and the water, she's soon shivering as she works at scrubbing the lower part of her body, perched upon the edge. It's a mostly easy silence for her that she adopts, waiting for him to collect himself.

There's a brief splash in the water as Tenebrous drops beneath its surface. Under the water, his passing is almost like a small, contained explosion as the soap is lifted away from his skin in a cloud. The currents of the pond soon sweep it from his body, and a moment later, he's arrowing towards the waterfall like a slung stone, surfacing on the outer edge of its impact zone. The chill of it is withstood as long as he's able before he submerges again and starts back out towards the warmer part of the pond, and Phylicia. When he surfaces again, his face is a little pale, his lips just a bit off-color from the cold. "You don't wanna go that way," he mumbles.

There's a bit of laugh from Phylicia, though the first part is squeaked as she drops her foot and calf back into the water when he appears a short distance off. The tinge of his lips is noted and she shakes her head. "You complain about being chilled, so what do you do? Go to the coldest part of the pond!" She chides playfully as she slips back into the water, rubbing at her legs to help the water wisk away her suds. But a look is given to the waterfall and the entrance it protects. "Well now, how am I to get to the cave without freezing?" Because scaling the rockwall naked doesn't sound like a thrilling plan either.

Tenebrous grunts once. "It was worth it," he mutters. "Believe me. As to your second question, I'll take care of that." Whatever else there was, Tenebrous is all sealed up now, all business. A moment later, he vaults out of the pond, hands firm on the sides of the rocks that serve as part of the wall. His feet slap wetly on the ground as he gathers himself, and a moment later, he's moving silently towards the rock wall. Apparently, he has no compulsion at all about climbing it, and a moment later, that's exactly what he's doing.

Phylicia takes the business face with only a little bit of disappoint, though that is quickly squashed. After all, she had just asked him to lower his guard for her. But as he's vaulting out of the water, she blinks as she watches him move towards that rock wall and then climb it. She stands in the water, staring for a few moments before she resumes scrubbing the last few bits, and her hair as well. Apparently today she has all sorts of patience, and is willing to just wait and see what he's up to.

Her patience is soon rewarded. Tenebrous emerges from the mist by the rock wall once more, a satchel over his naked shoulders and sealed against the water's touch. He hits the ground on light feet, absently letting his toes work into the grass that's newly grown before he starts back over to the edge of the pond. He crouches as he comes to a halt, fishing out a large, fluffy towel for the woman and gently laying it on a clean part of the rock. "Dry off out here," he reasons quietly. "If you move quick enough, the spray only lasts for a moment, and the fire's quite warm inside." As simple as that. He tilts his head a little, regarding the woman and her progress with almost clinical detachment.

Phylicia is just finishing rinsing out her hair as he comes back out and produces a large towel. That earns an honest smile from her. Squeezing out the excess water from her hair, she sets the bucket of soapsand on the ledge before she hoists herself out. For a few moments she lets herself drip there as she looks back at him, head canted to the side slightly. But soon enough she shivers and fingers latch onto the towel, drawing it close. "Thank you." Is said as she starts to dry herself off, the sentiment somewhat muffled. Finishing rubbing at her hair she pauses, letting the towel pool in her hands. "Did I push too far, Ten?" She asks quietly, her eyes concerned. He isn't the only one who likes the closeness they seem to have developed.

Tenebrous watches her for a long moment as she works the water from her form, and simply nods when she takes the towel from him. Her question is answered with a quiet, "I don't know. I'll let you know when I find out though." It's not said with any malice or undue emotion; merely a statement of fact. Then he's pulling his own towel out and batting himself dry before gathering up the clothing that he stripped from his body at the beginning of the bath.

Phylicia finishes toweling herself mostly dry before she echo's his movements, gathering up her discarded clothing from earlier, and using one piece to bundle the others up in it, mostly containing the dirt. Pursing her lips she nods over at him. The only thing she slides back into - and carefully at that - is her coat. Buttoning it back up, she slings her satchel over her shoulder, dirty clothing stuffed into it and the towel secured over a strap. She'll likely regret climbing barefoot later, but for now she doesn't feel like donning her boots again. "I'll see you back in the cave then." She offers, starting to pad towards the wall.


In The Cave


There's something to be said for naked skin and supple animal hide. Tenebrous isn't so far gone into his head that he doesn't watch her as he finishes getting ready. As she moves away towards the wall, he shakes his head a little. "What price, the crown," he murmurs to himself. "What price?" Only when she's vanished inside of the waterfall's grasp does he pad over to the wall himself, leaning his cool head against it. 'Who was it?' he wonders to himself. 'Who was it, that I was talking to…about being content, versus being happy?' He lifts his head from the rock, staring up at the falls, and what lays behind them. 'Is it enough?' He closes his eyes and sighs before reaching for the rockface, letting his mind wander as he pulls himself up along it. The kiss of the spray against his skin goes unnoticed, and soon after that, he's standing in the mouth of the cave, willing his eyes to adjust to the dim light within.

Phylicia has moved to the back of the cave when Tenebrous finally manages to make his way inside. Her coat is hanging up where it normally does and she's pulling out the dirty clothing, setting it aside to be washed a little later or at least so it's not rubbing against the clean clothing she has in her satchel. After the dirty things are set aside, she's searching her satchel again, this time likely for something to put on, out of habit.

"It wasn't too far," Tenebrous calls quietly, setting his coat in its usual place and tossing his dirty clothing into the corner of the cave that they normally occupy. One side of his face is rubbed with the towel he holds before it's hung over the back of a camp chair. Then he, too, is moving to another satchel along the wall, rummaging around for a bit of clothing. His feet worm into his cave slippers as he pulls a light pair of cotton sleeping pants out, snapping them oncce to open them out of their folds. "Out in the water…" He turns to face her. "You didn't go too far."

It seems that sleep wear is the theme for things being pulled from their bags as Phylicia produces the slip she normally sleeps in. His words catch her slightly off guard and she blinks, twisting to look at him with a half-startled look on her face. For a moment she's frozen until he speaks again and she pulls on the slip, a slight smile on her lips afterwards as she adjusts it with a tug, leaving the bottoms off for the moment. "Good." She says, the one word holding a vast amount of relief, even as a touch of tension slips from her shoulders. She slips her own feet into a pair of slipper-shoes and stands, crossing the few feet over to the fire. "I don't know how I'd apologize if I had." She admits.

Tenebrous takes a quick moment to slip into his pants, juggling a foot out of his slipper and tucking it down one pant leg before replacing said foot. That done, he, too, pads over to the fire, coming up behind Phylicia and resting a now warmer hand on her shoulder. "I would have been more concerned with you forgiving yourself," he says quietly. "You -are- right, Phylicia. I know you don't intend on hurting me. The baser, more primal part of my mind can't seem to grasp that fact, of you, or anyone, but…I know it. In the higher, thinking parts of my mind, the calmer, more rational part." He slips his other arm around her waist, making sure to keep it above the waistline of her slip, and hugs her back to him gently. "But had you pushed the line, you would have been forgiven."

Phylicia's slightly lopsided smile gives away the fact that he's right. She would have a much harder time forgiving herself for such a thing, than actually being forgiven. As his hand comes to rest on her shoulder her lopsided smile turns into a full, soft one as she looks over her shoulder at him. "That's something at least." She says just before his other arm wraps around her waist and tugs her gently back. Her feet shuffle, adapting to this new position as she leans back against him, letting one arm follow his around her waist, while the other rests gently atop his hand resting on her shoulder. And then she stops moving, a look and feel of peace washing over her. "I could keep offering, every so often?" She says softly, offering. "I would think it'd get easier over time…" To be able to enjoy a touch for a touch, without worrying about anything else.

Tenebrous inhales for a moment, simply taking in the smell of Phylicia's skin, and her hair, and the afterscent of the sandsoap and whatever else might be about her. "Yeah, you… could keep asking," he admits. "You could. I'm honestly not sure how amiable I'll be to it every time you do, but it would never hurt. And who knows? One of these days, I might let you give -me- a backrub." He smiles wryly into the back of her head. "What a novel concept that might be. People do that kind of thing? For purposes other than massage, or numbweed or some other kind of salve?"

Phylicia simply smells like herself this time. "Well that's why I'd ask, first." She points out to him, too content to consider moving besides resting her head back against him as well. And as he mentions it, it brings a full smile to her lips as she cranes her head backwards slightly to look up at him. "You figured out my goal." She laughingly protests, nodding in response to his question. "To render a bit of pleasure, is all really. Do you need more of a reason?"

Tenebrous purses his lips for a moment, considering her question. "If you had asked me that a year ago, or even before the accident, or…" He shakes his head. "Yeah. I think that there was a time when I could have needed a reason. But I have people that I'm close to now. I'm not sure what to call them, but…I think that a bit of comfort, a bit of … pleasure." His fingers splay out over her belly for a moment. "I have no idea what to call you, Phylicia, other than that. Phylicia. Common convention might suggest that I call you a loved one, but that would require a working definition of … love. Calling you a friend seems so very petty. I see people with their friends at the Hall, and at the weyrs, and they don't treat them like you and I treat one another. And I don't mean the touch or the intercourse, either. We're just…closer. The few people I spend time with, like you and Janelle, are … something else."

Phylicia's arm moves with his as his hand splays, but that's merely because her fingers are lightly wrapped around his forearm. Her face is thoughtful for a moment as she returns her head to a slightly more natural position, letting the back of her skull rest against him still. "You know, you could ask each person of the Weyr what they think the definition of love is, and each one would probably tell you something different." The fingers on his forearm squeeze slightly. "Love is what you think it is. What you want it to be." It's not something someone else can define for him. His last words have her grinning over her shoulder again, up at him. "We're something else are we?" Her grin grows just a little bit more as she stops squirming against him, once again resuming a static position of comfort against him. "I could say the same of you. You're no ordinary person, Tenebrous."

Tenebrous nods slowly. "Yes, Phylicia. You, and those I am close to, you are all something…else. Certainly everything that the normal definition of friendship implies, and more. Beyond. As I said, somehow simply calling you a friend seems…pale. Incomplete, and unjust, given how kind you have been to me." He smiles. "Perhaps I will simply call you my loved ones, and leave it at that. I would hate to acceptably define love, only to find that I have been incorrect in my diagnosis."

"I could live with that." Phylicia remarks with another calm smile, letting more of normal tension go from her body as she continues to lean against him. If he were to suddenly step back, she'd likely fall backwards, onto her tush. Once again his forearm gets a squeeze. "Whatever works for you. Love is one area you get to discover for yourself." There's a light note to her voice, though at the same time she's completely serious.

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