Harper Hall - Cotholds
Cotholds just outside the Hall courtyard walls and the roadways leading to the river and forests beyond…

Winter has settled in and a new Turn has begun. With word of their upcoming wedding, the Hall offered accommodations for two of their Journeymen in one of the small cotholds just outside the courtyard walls. Not quite a hold but it's better than having a cramped room to share between them! Rayathess has finished with his duties and classes for the day and as the weather is far too cold for any "fun" outside, he'll return to what is his home within home. "Tyani?" he calls as he hurriedly steps through the door, not wanting to let too much of the warmth out.

Tyani looks up from where she crouches near the hearth, turning a baking loaf of bread on the stones near the fire. "Hello, sweetheart!" she says with a fond and bright smile, pushing to her feet and brushing her hands on her apron. "How was your day?" Flushed with pleasure at her success at being a 'good woman', she walks towards him on light feet, arms open and ready for a kiss.

She already is a 'good woman' in Rayathess' eyes without all the house keeping. He could have come home and found her lounging and enjoying a book or doing nothing and he'd still love her. As it is, he feels spoiled to find her baking — or is it unsurprised? "The usual," he tells her with an amused smile as he kicks off his boots and then shrugs out of his jacket so that he can meet her open armed greeting. Sweeping her up in his arms in a tight embrace, he kisses her soundly and holds her close. "Long, slightly dull and often filled with me wishing I was here instead. How are you? Did you work a shift today…?"

Tyani wraps her arms tightly around him, leaning into his kiss and embrace with a happy sigh. Ahh, domestic bliss. For now. "Yeah, early this morning, and I've got another early shift tomorrow. Went okay though. I managed to catch the bacon before it burned, so that saved us time and product."

Rayathess chuckles softly as he takes a moment to rest his head against her hair and just savor the chance at holding her like this. "I'm sure many were thankful you saved it from burning. There's… no chance you brought some home, is there?" he teases her as he gently eases on his hold and gives her a playful little nudge. "Early shift, hmm? Does this mean we have the rest of the day to ourselves?"

Tyani laughs lightly. "From breakfast? No, I'm afraid not…and yes, I'm off all night. What would you like to do?"

"Hey, it was worth a shot?" Rayathess laughs as well and his grin that follows is wry. "Mhm, well… there's a few things that come to mind?" Grabbing his satchel, he'll set it down by his desk which is pushed into a small nook. Not really an official office but then he tries NOT to work outside of the Hall too often. Turning back to face her, there's still a hint of playfulness about him. "What would you like to do?"

Tyani grins. "True, it never hurts to ask." Returning to the hearth to turn the bread, she glances towards the narrow window. "What is it like outside? Nice enough for a walk?"

"You want to go outside for a walk?" Rayathess laughs as he stands beside her, waiting until she's done with the bread before pulling her close again. Lowering his head, he'll murmur by her ear. "It's cold outside. Are you sure you don't want to stay in and be warm?" What's he hinting at?

Tyani shrugs, glancing towards the windows again. When he nears her though, she grins impishly at him. "After?" she teases. "Let's get cold first. I need to stretch my legs…wander a bit."

Rayathess laughs again, "Okay, I can't say no to that." Nothing like a promise of "warming up" after a brisk walk to get him to agree to the idea. "Dress warmly. It's cold even for a Fortian native out there… You're sure you want to go for a walk?" He gives her a lingering look, as if testing to see if she's serious about it (he knows she is).

Tyani laughs, moving towards the bedroom. "I'm getting used to it!" (No she's not.) "The bread is done," she calls, "let's take it with us!"

Rayathess snorts softly and from his crooked smile he doesn't believe for a second that she's come around to adapting to the winter here. "Just the bread?" he asks, while grabbing his jacket again. It won't take him long to be ready to head back out that door. "Where did you want to walk? Just anywhere? Not sure there will be much daylight…"

Tyani nods. "Yeah, we won't be gone too long." Emerging bundled up in her outside clothes, she pulls on gloves and a hat, slipping up to his side. "Anywhere, doesn't matter to me, I just want to be out, stretch our legs, then come home and get warm."

Rayathess carefully packs the fresh bread and hands the satchel to her when she's dressed and readied to head outside. "I still think it's crazy to go for a walk out in the cold." But if it makes her happy, then he'll do it. Slipping the hood of his jacket up and over his head and grabbing his gloves, he'll open the front door again and do a teasing mock half-bow. "After you, m'lady?"

Tyani stands on her tiptoes to give him a quick kiss on the cheek. "C'mon, it'll be fun!" she says brightly, opening the door to their little cabin and stepping outside with an involuntary shudder. She's happy to be out - honest!

Rayathess smiles at that quick kiss and then laughs, "Alright. I'll take your word for it." He's also totally running a mental timer in his head to see how long she lasts. Once outside, he'll close the door and lock it before gesturing for her to lead on as he steps in alongside her. "You know… if the roads aren't too snow bound or icy, we could go riding?"

Tyani slips an arm through his and grins. "That sounds wonderful! It'd be nice for the runners to get out and get some exercise, I know they haven't had a good ride in a while…"

"Especially your mare, now that she's had that foal. Winter or not, I think they could both use some exercise." Rayathess holds her close as he changes their path to lead them to the Hall's stables though the section that lies outside the walls. None of the runners are in the snow covered pastures this day but all in their stalls within the insulated barn.

Tyani nods. "Agreed." Pushing open the barn door she slips inside with a happy exhale. Yes, she wanted to go out, but it's still cold! Walking to Ladyfire's stall, she greets the mare with happy coos and scritches before pulling her into the cross ties to begin brushing her down.

Rayathess smirks when he hears her happy exhale. "Have you decided what you'll do with the foal when it's old enough to go under saddle?" he asks curiously as he moves further down the aisle to begin working on preparing his stallion for riding in his stall. "We'd probably get a decent amount of marks…"

Tyani shakes her head. "I haven't decided, but you're right, we would. Wouldn't hurt to get those marks and put them towards a little home of our own. And save for when I have to stop working to take care of our children." Have they talked about children yet? She flashes him a grin.

"What, you don't like our current little cabin?" Rayathess teases her as he works on brushing down his stallion and then quietly thanking the stablehand who brings the runner's tack. Which might explain the thunk and a slight curse from him when Tyani tosses that subject out as a tidbit. "I… well. Huh. Would you want to stop working?" Give him a moment as his brain recovers.

Tyani smiles, "I like it fine, but it's not /ours/." Then, another laugh and a growing grin. "Of course I would! I don't want to foster, or have them stuck with nannies all day long…"

Rayathess can only shrug his shoulders in agreement to that logic. "Where would we go, do you think?" Swinging the saddle onto his runner's back, he's quick to finish the rest and then slip the bridle over the stallion's head. "Well… no, I hadn't thought we'd do as the Weyr's do." So that's decided then? "… are you ready?" he asks, in hopes to change the subject.

Tyani shrugs as she saddles Ladyfire. "I assumed we'd stay near here for your work…" And then she looks at him in surprise. "Are you ready?"

Rayathess's chuckle can be heard from the stall, "Define "near"?" he muses and blinks, head tilting. "It doesn't take me long to saddle up?" Did he just tease her again? You bet he did. Though he seems puzzled. Did she mean 'ready' in another sense?

Tyani laughs with a blush. "Are you suggesting we go for a different kind of ride? I don't know, Rayathess, I know our relationship isn't typical but I think I'd like to be married before we have children."

"If it wasn't winter, I'd be game." Rayathess' tone is as wry as his grin before he sobers and shakes his head, "I'm not saying we start now. We'll wait on… children," Yes, his voice hesitated! "Later. Plenty of Turns ahead of us." Leading the stallion out o the stall, he'll hold the reins firmly while he waits on Tyani to finish with her mare.

Tyani giggles again. "Something to save for the spring, then." Finished, she heads for the exit and mounts nimbbly once outsie. "Where shall we ride?"

Rayathess grins, "For spring." he agrees and follows her outside, keeping his stallion well away from her mare though the runner seems more interested in the outdoors at the moment and not the mare. "Hmm. The roadways down to the river should be clear? And safe enough. Let's go down that way to start!" Mounting up, he'll gather his reins and wait to see if she takes the lead.

Tyani would rather not have the stallion behind her mare, so she lets Rayathess take the lead for now. "It should be beautiful down there…"

"And cold!" Is Rayathess' parting quip to tease her as he nudges the stallion past her mare and sets an energetic walk to begin until their path opens up and allows him to push the pace to a lively trot and then a canter when the ground proves to be safe enough to do so.

Tyani follows after happily, though she does lift her scarf to wrap it around her face so only her eyes are visible. Other than that though, she is enjoying herself and grinning. Ladyfire moves with lively strides,tossing her head and wickering eagerly.

Rayathess's stallion is a bit frisky as well and he has to rein the runner back often to keep the pace steady and not push too far into reckless. They'll make it to the river in record time though and once they reach the paths winding along the shore he slows down to a walk again. "Holding up okay?" he calls over his shoulder.

Tyani nods as she slows her mare as well. "So far, so good! I need to take a little break though." And she gives him a meaningful look as she dismounts from her mare and stretches with only a slight wince.

That meaningful look can mean anything! Rayathess doesn't question it though and brings his stallion to a stop not far from where she dismounts. "I can wait here?" Is it that sort of "need"? Because he won't be following her if that's the case. He can't help but chuckle when she stretches.

Tyani laughs. "Yes, please do. This is one thing I can do on my own," she teases him, moving off into the woods.

Rayathess' grin says it all and he'll simply reach for Ladyfire's reins (unless she takes the mare with her). "Don't take too long or you'll get cold," he teases back before he politely looks towards the river and away from the woods. Privacy, after all!

A few minutes pass…and then there is a sharp scream and then silence.

Rayathess was quietly mulling over his thoughts as Tyani has a knack for making him think ahead rather than just in the moment. He's jolted out of his reverie of future children by that scream and the heart stopping silence that follows. Wheeling his runner around, with Ladyfire being lead behind him, Rayathess' eyes scan the forests. "Tyani!" he calls out loudly. "Are you alright?"

Of course, there is no answer but silence.

Of course it's just silence. Rayathess pushes back his panic, ignoring the icy feel of it creeping up his spine and into his gut. "Tyani?" he calls again, nudging his stallion into a trot and following the foot prints in the snow. "Tyani! If you can hear me, answer me!" Where could she have gone? Did she slip and fall? That's probably the thought on his mind. He's going to find her and they'll have a good laugh over this. Everything will be fine!

No, there will be no laughter. Tyani's footprints end at the boundary of a clearing, where the soil has eroded down to bedrock and there are no more tracks. Nothing to hear, nothing to see…it's as if she simply vanished.

It won't stop Rayathess from spurring the stallion forwards, with Ladyfire in tow, to try and pick up her tracks. It's been Turns since he's had to do any form of tracking and even while in the camps he was mediocre at it at best. "Tyani!" He calls again, loud enough of this voice to carry through the trees a bit. Now the panic is beginning to set in.

Nothing. But…are those hoof prints on the other side of the wide stone clearing? Perhaps…

Rayathess catches sight of them after wheeling the stallion around again and his heart both leaps and plummets at the sight of hoof prints. How fresh? Doesn't matter. Gritting his teeth, he does his best to follow them and so focused he is on those few tracks he may not see whats entirely wrong with them until it's too late.

The tracks continue for a short distance and then vanish into a low stream, with no sign of them emerging on the other side. How strange…

Rayathess curses loud and long when they disappear again. He tries calling for her, pushing his runner up along the banks and leading poor Ladyfire along with his crazed searching. As time ticks by though, his hope of finding her erodes and he knows he can't do this alone. It pains him to turn back but he has no choice. The sun is steadily lowering and if she IS out there somewhere he needs to alert the Hall and perhaps have word sent to the Weyr…

Poor, poor Rayathess.

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