Dragon, Duty... Me

Fort Weyr - Lake Shore
This lake shares many features common to mountain lakes — a brilliant blue jewel nestled amongst the rocks. The waters are crystal clear, and the north shore slopes gently before abruptly falling away into the depths. This lake does have one significant differentiating feature, however. The south shore of the lake is a tumbled mass of rubble, rock and earth of an ancient rockslide smoothed only by the elements in the intervening years. This rubble, as well as the rather sheer east and west faces, makes for the north shore to be the only one easily accessible.

Springs arrival is noted by the disappearing lake ice. As it melts it breaks up into smaller icy bergs. These bob randomly throughout the choppy waters, slowly disappearing as the temperatures rise. They also frequently provide sport and entertainment for the bathing dragons. The emerging shoreline is inviting, though the water remains chilly for their human counterparts. As spring draws nearer to summer, the waters begin to feel quite invigorating with Rukbat's growing shine.


As evening slips away into night, and Rukbat's final rays disappear from the sky, the lake is quiet. Not empty, by any means, but peaceful as folks wind up their day elsewhere in the Weyr. Not too far from the shoreline is Thys, standing beside Rhenesath with a barrel of oil that she's applying to her lifemate's creamy belly, at the moment. Rhen is flopped over casually onto her side, looking absolutely relaxed.

Ralik tends to spend a lot of time at the lake, really, if only because he prefers it to the hot springs sometimes. Today is no different and he arrives with a small mesh bag that has a towel and an extra pair of clean shorts in it. He's surprised to see someone out here, much less someone he recognizes, having to walk around the flopped gold to properly see Thys to begin with. He looks a bit grungy and hot, but seems mostly unbothered by it at the moment, only flashing her a light grin, "Hey. Looks like you two have a similar idea." He chucks his bag near them on the lakeside and tugs off his shirt, exhaling roughly. This is not hot water, after all, so it probably takes a bit of internal preparation to duck into it. He'll sit down to take off his shoes next, looking aside at the goldling pair with a half-smile, "How's weyrlinghood treating you? I can't imagine you guys have much time left."

Rhenesath spots Ralik first, lifting her head to look at him with one curiously whirling eye. She clucks at him before settling back down again, and Thys turns her head to look at the approaching crafter. "Ralik! Hi." Her grin seems even bigger on her wide mouth, and she sets down her oil brush to start wiping her hands on her trousers. And then he starts to strip off… and she can't quite help but watch. "Your brother's graduated already, and some of the other boys, too. I've got a bit of catching up to do from what I missed when I was sick, but it won't be long now. How about you? How are you doing?"

Ralik stays sitting now as he talks to her, propping his elbow on his knee and planting his jaw in his hand with a smile, "Yeah, I sent him a bit of a gift. Not sure he'll appreciate it all that much, though." The amber in his eyes stands out as mirth runs through him and he shares, "It's a bit of a cheap-looking trophy that says 'congratulations on getting laid.'" Hehehehe. Brothers. He nods his head regarding her graduating relatively soon, concealing the faint twitch of his lips by covering his mouth slightly, at least for a moment. The question turned his way earns a mild shrug of his shoulders before he lifts his head and loops his arms around one knee, fingers lightly clasping, "I've been alright. Had to go through a little trouble with Glass Hall regarding my position here, but ultimately they decided it was better to have me here and glad than to have me in their main Hall with easy access to fire and a grudge." He's probably dramatizing it a little, but it's true that Fort really doesn't have designated crafters anymore, which means he may have to poke his Mastercrafter every so often to avoid getting switched to somewhere else.

"Oh." Thys blushes a little when the trophy is described, but she can't help but laugh. "That's terrible… and something I can imagine my brothers doing." With a stroke of her fingers over Rhenesath's side, she leaves her dragon to join Ralik. While she doesn't sit beside him, she does stand there, close enough. "I wanted to thank you, by the way, for a lovely night. It's been hard to catch up with you since, but… I really enjoyed it. A lot. And so I'm glad you fought the Hall to stay here… we'd be losing out on some great talent if you left. And we still have a collaboration to work on… which we can maybe talk about over dinner sometime."

Ralik just grins a bit at the way Thys blushes, clearly not at all apologetic about his lovely 'gift' to his poor brother. He shrugs haplessly when she calls it terrible, then shifts to the side a bit when she comes near, perhaps offering her a chance to sit if she wants to. His expression softens slightly as she continues speaking, nodding his head and blushing very mildly himself, his fingers lifting to undo the tight tail he usually keeps his hair in, shaking it out a bit, "Well. Thank you, too, for agreeing to go with me. It was nice." Gentle words are not his forte, it appears. He rolls smoothly to his feet after that, quirking another little smile down at her now, "Yeah, sure. It's not like I could really leave before we had a chance to collaborate, right? Besides, R'yal would be lost without me." There's a pause followed by his features becoming a touch more serious and he admits, hands resting loosely on his hips, "Truthfully, though, it's been a long time since Rav or I had any kind of family. I'd feel like an ass to leave before actually having a chance to ask you out, of course, but… I'd really be torn up leaving him now." Even if they're not the best of friends, they've both been more or less disowned, so they could use the family.

Thys nods, her soft smile saying she understands. "I've been away from my family for a while, so I get it. Hold on to what you have. And if that's why you're staying, then…" Then she's glad, is what's left unspoken. She brushes her wayward fringe from her eyes with one still slightly oily hand, stepping towards Ralik - a hesitant little half-step, that means she has to tilt her head back just a little more to look up at him. "Ralik? There was something I… I couldn't ask for at the dinner because I was too… too swept off my feet by it all. Literally, most of the time." So much dancing! "But, uh, would you…" She starts leaning in a little, raising slowly up on her toes to try and level the height difference.

Ralik nods his head a bit for her understanding, though he seems curious as to why such a reasoning would make her glad, the vague sense of curiosity and confusion clear in his gaze. When she steps a little bit closer, he absentmindedly bends a wrist, his fingers lightly touching her forearm and he grins again at the memory of the dinner, "Yes, I remember." The way she leans in like that and pushes up on her toes doesn't make him want to assume anything, if he can help it, but it seems something hard to misinterpret. He leans down as if to hear what she wants to say, moving his hands in order to take her own, oily or not. His voice playful and warm, he asks quietly, "What's the question?" He'll only tease her for a second, though, before he leans down the last scant inch or two and kisses her once, firmly, on the lips. Even if she'd been teasing him (which isn't outside the realm of believability), he's willing to take the chance.

Nope, no teasing! When the kiss comes to its natural end, Thys pulls away, though only a little; she gives Ralik's hands a gentle squeeze, and grins up at him with her cheeks blushed rosily. "That pretty much answered it." Then she laughs, dropping her gaze down to their toes so she can hide her embarrassment. "Was that ok? I'm not being out of place or anything? This really isn't my forte."

"Well, outside of being unsure just exactly how much I can kiss you, I think you did just fine," is Ralik's casual enough response, returning the squeeze to one of her hands before he leans down and gives her another light, short kiss, "I have no idea why you'd think that was out of place, though. I'd be kissing you in a way that'd probably get us both in trouble if I thought I could get away with it." Ralik isn't entirely sure what allowances the Weyrlings have, so he doesn't want to push breaking rules and getting Thys in trouble. He lets go of one of her hands to brush her hair back a bit and rub a rough thumb against her cheek, smiling and blushing very lightly himself, "Yeah, not really my forte, either. Talking about it, anyway. I'm glad you, ah, asked me." He grins a bit. Yeah, it wasn't really much of a question in the end for either of them.

"This whole thing, the whole girl-meets-boy deal, is not something I've ever had to deal with," Thys explains, her head canting slightly towards Ralik's touch on her hair. "I was an apprentice still, right up until being Searched, so I didn't even think about any of it, really - not seriously, anyway. Now I don't have rank's constraints… it's a possibility I have to consider." Then she bites down on her lip, frowning slightly. "Well. It's an inevitability, really. Rhenesath will rise."

Ralik laughs a bit as he admits, with a shrug of his shoulders, "I, ah, honestly tended to stick to something pretty simple after leaving the farm. I won't lie - I've… been with women, but it was usually… well." He frowns a bit, toying with a strand of that shaggy hair now, "I'm a gruff person. It suits me. It keeps me from getting closer to people, which makes things easier for me. It's made it hard for me to really… not be an ass, basically, when there's someone I actually like. I'm doing my level best, though, so I hope it's working out alright." The idea of her having a flight maintains that mild frown, but also a certain determined look about his eyes and brow, "Yeah, I know. If C'rus wins that, it's going to tax my upper most level of patience, too. He irritates the hell out of me. But… ah." He inhales deeply, blushing for once in a pretty obvious fashion, even with his skin being as dark as it is, "If you want me before then, or after, you've got me. Just so you know." Wow. His ears might actually be burning a bit. For some reason, Ralik can sit in the living caverns and curse up a storm, but the very idea of presenting Thys with the option of having him instead of someone else before her first Flight is enough to turn him colors.

"C'rus? Oh - hah! No, no - Jaicoureth's blue, he wouldn't chase Rhenesath. Even if he had an inkling to try, I don't think she'd allow him to; the bronzes and browns would buffet him out of the way, for sure." Thys smiles, slipping her hands into her pockets for want of somewhere better to put them. "Cy's not so bad though, y'know? He's got some crazy ideas about certain things, but he's not bad. He's a friend." She rocks forward on her toes, then back on her heels before settling still again, her cheeks colouring more deeply at the offer laid out before her. "Ralik, if we were to… you know, and things were to maybe… grow, um, here…" Her hand comes out from her pocket, a finger flicking between their torsos to suggest 'here' is right between them. "How would you feel about Rhenesath having flights? You know what that would mean, don't you? It's not as often as a green, certainly, but it will happen."

Ralik makes a soft snorting sound as she more or less defends C'rus, shaking his head with a wry smile as he responds, "He started it with me. I've no idea why. He just doesn't seem to much like me." He does seem at least a little glad to know that C'rus isn't in the running. Whatever must've happened between them, it was apparently enough to sour the glasscrafter's opinion. As she continues to speak, the color returns to his cheeks and he nods understandingly this time. There is a moment of silent reflection, thumb rubbing gently over the back of her hand, as he sorts his words out properly in his head. When he does answer, it's with a faint smile, "Look… I can be jealous, I won't lie. If after a Flight, some guy came around trying to… I don't know, win you over or try to continue it, I might tell him to shove off, but… I get it. You're a rider. This is something that happens. Getting angry about it would be like throwing a fit every time the ocean turned a sand castle back into a lump." He presses his lips together hard suddenly, only to wind up grinning, his eyes bright with humor. Giving her hair a little tweak, he nods aside towards Rhenesath and comments, "Besides, if nothing else, I'd feel bad for the two of you. Faranth knows I might have a bit of an awkward moment if I woke up next to somebody I didn't know, naked and with what probably feels like a hangover. At least… if things grow here, you'll be able to know I'll be around with some clothes and a mug of something hot - possibly with alcohol to go with it."

Thys laughs at the expectation of what a flight might be like, pressing her hand gently to Ralik's chest in a gentle display of thanks. "Good," she replies simply, nodding her head in approval of what he says. "That's not a promise of anything, but… I do like you. I would like to see where this could maybe go. There's so much not in our favour, though… my priorities will always be Rhenesath, then the Weyr, then my own life, Ralik. I just need to be really clear about that, from now. I've got no expectations, no fantasy ending, no nothing that I'm hoping for in my own life. You were a pleasant surprise, and if nothing else - if it's just too hard to make things work in whatever way they're trying to work - then we can smother Rav with love forever, together… right?"

Ralik nods his head quietly in response to this serious lay of the land part of their conversation, his smile mild and understanding, for the most part, though he releases her hand in order to put his arms around her middle loosely, "Thys… one, you're not even graduated yet. Don't pressure yourself so much. That's not even having to do with us, I just hate to see Weyrlinghood pass by with stress over anything else. I know that it's not going to be easy and it may not happen at all, depending on what you end up having to do, but… well, it's not like I spend my days uselessly, either. I'm not worried about taking up all your time and I'm not insecure enough to throw a tantrum if I can't see you during the days. The only real part I think about is when you're done with work, and I'm done with work, I'd like us to be done with work together, if that makes sense." Ralik is a bit simple in his own way of planning things, after all. Expectations are never high on his list. He learned that sort of the hard way. He does grin a bit at the idea of smothering Rav with love, chuckling and drawling wryly, "Yeah, I'm sure he'd be just crazy about that… but yeah, I see what you're saying and I agree. If it works, great; if not, at least we'll have seen it coming." As if to punctuate that, he playfully kisses her nose, apparently quite willing now that he's been given some measure of permission.

"That makes perfect sense… and I think it sounds quite nice, too." Thys grins, returning the hold around her by slipping her own arms around Ralik's shoulders, leaning in against him. "I'm glad you understand. I'd been worried that it mightn't go down too well, but… thank you. For making it easy." All that simple, straight-up planning is exactly what she likes - especially when it goes well! A soft croon behind her, and the sound of Rhenesath getting to her feet makes Thys break gently away from Ralik to turn to her lifemate. "We've got to go. Well, I've got to go. Early start, so an early night for me, but…" She turns back, raising up on her toes again to steal a little goodnight kiss. "I'm having dinner with you tomorrow night. In my weyr. I'll send a message to you so you know when to come by." Then she pulls away fully, giving the glasscrafter a playful salute as she does so. "Goodnight, Ralik."

Ralik gives a short, rough laugh as he is told where he will be for dinner, nodding amiably enough in agreement, "Yes, ma'am." He winks at her only to snag her as she steps away, putting his arms around her from behind and kissing her warmly just behind the ear, voice low and husky, "Sleep well, then, Thys." Bwaha. He'll let her go and step away, waving to Rhenesath as well to tell her goodbye. Feeling rather pleased with the entire event, he'll watch them head out a bit before he turns to finish stripping down naked so he can step into the lake. It's cold, but right now that might be for the best, frankly. Sitting in the surf for a bit, he props his arms on his knees and sighs, then flops over onto his back so the water can cover him. It makes his burning face feel ten times better, even if in his head he's chastizing himself for being a bit of an idiot.


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