Branches off of Modest Celebrations Interrupted

Fort Weyr - Drake's Lake Area - High Plains
The high plains here rise to the Southern Barrier Range from the shores of Drake's Lake, which can be seen shimmering in the distance to the north. Wild and rough, somewhat arid, the rocks, scrub brush and waist-high grasses whispering dryly in the prevailing winds do little to obscure the untamed beauty of the shining snow-clad mountains rising to the south. Numerous beasts, those native to Pern an well as those brought by the colonists, flourish here. Bovine, both wild and feral graze the plentiful grasses along with feral runners, shaggy-haired porcine root the hard ground with deadly tusks, turning over the soil for new growth, which is inturn picked over by flocks of wherries. Overhead solitary raptors ride the wind while in hidden ravines, rocky streams, winding around boulders provide water and shelter for other creatures.

In the bowl, Zuvaleyuth waits. Eyes whirling quickly, and Dtirae looks even more distressed than in the living caverns. It's no time to hide her emotions, out here. The parcel she holds is attached to her belt, tied tightly. When Rayathess follows, there is a, brief, look of relief. "You came." A hand comes out, but does not wait for him as she's practically hauling the poor Harper up onto her lifemate. "I'm sorry. We have to move quickly." She even does his straps up as quickly as possible before pulling her own into place. No helmet. No riding gear. Just quick precise movements. Zuvaleyuth launches up once the final strap is settled on her rider. There's no preparation, either. No rising higher into the sky. They know where they're going and they poof *between* just like that. The arrival to Drake's Lake comes with a little more peace than Fort. The gold touches down onto the ground, far more gently than she took off. There is no rain, here, having passed by on the way to Fort. Dtirae is visibly shaking, but it is definitely not from the cold. "Shitshitshitshit. I'm sorry. I'm sorry, Zuvaleyuth." The gold only offers a soft chuff in response. Her hands shake as she attempts to remove the straps from herself. "Shit. Shit.. Shit." She does manage to free herself, at least, and then turns to help Rayathess. She doesn't even look him in the eyes, not yet. Her hands are still shaking as she attempts to undo the straps. "Sorry… About your guitar." She knows instruments are picky about their travel conditions. "I'll buy you a new one."

Rayathess still doesn't understand and is growing more and more concerned and confused even as his hand closes around Dtirae's and they're hauled up together into Zuvaleyuth's neck. "Why? What's wrong?" he tries to ask her but again there is no time for answers. He'll receive them in time and has a hint when he catches sight of so many bronzes and browns beginning to swoop in towards the southern part of the Weyr. All of it is blown from his mind however as suddenly they're Between and he gives a strangled yell at the abruptness of it. He doesn't even realize it's Drake's Lake, too focused is he on calming his hammering heart and racing minds. "Faranth's ass, Dtirae!" Rayathess swears over the wind, teeth chattering and not cluing in to Dtirae's distress. "My what?" he asks as he's helped down (and he needs it) and he wobbles uncertainly on his legs. Only when he touches the shoulder strap does he curse out loud again and groan. "Ah, no! I sharding forgot I had it on me…" Woe.

She hears that swearing, he is right behind her. Dtirae continues to shake as she helps him down, but she is at least steady enough to make sure he's down without incident. Zuvaleyuth turns and gives her rider a gentle nudge, chuffing softly in comfort as the woman wobbles on shaking legs. "I'm sorry." She breathes out, to both. "I'm sorry. I should have left sooner but…" She was stubborn, of course! At least her legs don't give way, and she only leans on her lifemate, pressing her face into the gold hide. "Sorry, dearheart. I'm sorry… I know. I know only I remember it." She is too shaken to speak to her lifemate only. Another chuff from the gold and a chuff for the Harper as well, and a gentle croon. "I'll be okay. It won't happen again." She does manage to pull herself together enough to draw herself away and allow Zuvaleyuth to go sun. Grey eyes look to Rayathess. "I promise, I'll get you a new one."

"Why did you wait?" Rayathess begins to ask as he slips his guitar from his shoulder and looks down at the ruined instrument with a grieved sigh. Such a waste! Not that it's Dtirae's fault and he'll have to impress that upon her later. Only now, with a sickening realization, he clues in to what just happened. What she did! "Dtirae… you didn't linger just to find me, did you? What if I wasn't at the Weyr!" he exclaims, only to freeze and look uncertain when Zuvaleyuth chuffs at him. Is that a good thing or bad? He waves a hand dismissively to the goldrider, "Never mind the guitar for a moment… So that's why you were so quick to call me away? That was a gold flight, wasn't it?"

Dtirae shakes her head slightly at the question, taking a shaking breath and pushing a hand into her hair. She looks at the guitar with a saddened frown. "I didn't." She promises, softly. "There were other reasons." She pauses before she adds. "She's not mad at you." Her hand drops from her hair, covering one eye while the other closes. "Yes. That's why I was quick to call you… Kouzevelth only rises with the rain… I just…" She's shaking again, eyes closing far more tightly. "Shit. I didn't forget about what being in a Weyr was like. But part of me wasn't prepared. Prepared that we have to get out because I can't have two golds rising again. Wasn't prepared that she'd actually respond." There's a mutter of 'infertile', soft and lost in silent thought. But, the next part comes out a little louder. "Woulda lost her last time…"

Rayathess blinks, "Only with the rain…?" So that was the signal and sign then? It won't be something he'll be forgetting all too soon. His head tilts and he is still scattered in his own thoughts that he's floundering to make sense of what Dtirae is saying. So he holds up his hands in a warding fashion. "Slow down!" he asks her with a sigh. His guitar? Forgotten for now. It's simply a casualty that will be addressed much later. "Who was responding? What about last time…?" She's going to have to explain things coherently and probably from the beginning.

Dtirae nods slightly, "yes. The rain." There's a quiet moment in which she's trying to gather herself and regain the composure she once had. It seems to be a trend, lately. But, at least she's gathering herself more quickly, this time. Another breath at his telling her to slow down. "Right… Well. Zuvaleyuth was responding. She wasn't close to rising, at least." Her hand drops away from her face and she looks to the Harper with a frown. "One of my Juniors, when Zuvaleyuth was close to rising and hers was as well, didn't warn us of her potential flight. And she went up. Zuvaleyuth did not take it well and rose as well. They would have fought over the bronzes. They tried to separate them and… D'ani. D'ani grabbed me onto his Dremkoth and Dremkoth grabbed Zuvaleyuth and went *between*…" Her hand lifts again and plays with her hair, grey eyes watching the Harper with a silent intensity. Fear? Definitely there. "Sorry."

If Rayathess were another man, he'd likely have sought to comfort Dtirae by now or at least offer a hand to her shoulder in reassurance. But he's not that kind of man and so he stands there awkwardly, chilled from the rain and Between and dimly aware of the hot, southern sun on his back. "Just now, she was? You mean back at the Weyr… as you came to get me in the caverns?" he asks gently, seeking clarification before he lapses silence and listens to her explain the backstory to her panicked behaviour. "I see how that could leave a lasting imprint…" he murmurs after a thoughtful pause, giving her a long and lingering look. He can see that fear too but doesn't know what to do about it. "Sorry for what? You were concerned and needed to leave urgently and my cluelessness almost cost you. But you're alright now. We all are." Aren't they?

"It wasn't as bad. Not as I came to get you. If it had been then, I would have simply waited until I could see you another time." Dtirae promises, "but before we took off was when. Just an inkling." She doesn't further explain her story, but, she is calming down. "For sort of kidnapping you, for one." A teasing grin starts to settle in place, the fear being slowly taken over by amusement. "We're alright. I'm alright. She's alright. You're alright. And… I'm sure you didn't want to deal with the effects of a goldflight." Then, as if she's just remembered the parcel on her side, she detaches it and approaches the Harper. "Here. I got you a gift. For your promotion. And some other reasons." It's gently pushed towards him, insisting he take it.

Rayathess looks a little relieved when Dtirae assures him that Zuvaleyuth wasn't (and isn't) about to start glowing and decide to rise just then too for a mating flight. Last thing he ever wants to experience are golds fighting. "Is she alright now?" he asks again with a respectful look to the gold. He figures she probably heard that and understood to a degree. "Kidnapping?" What? He frowns and then snorts, smirking. "Hardly a 'kidnapping' if I agree to come along?" Sort of. He really didn't have much of a choice! Grimacing, he lifts a hand and pushes back his soaked and slightly frozen hair. "No. No… I definitely do not wish to experience flight effects… Thank you for that." He dodged that experience yet again! "A gift?" Cold and soaked as he is, it serves as enough of a surprise to shock him into focusing on the parcel rather than his discomfort. "You didn't… You shouldn't have, Dtirae…" Rayathess protests but his hands will take the parcel from her all the same, though he's eying her in a near to wary manner. "Other reasons?"

"She is. She's calmer. She wasn't close to going up." Dtirae promises again, smiling just a touch wider. Zuvalyuth tilts her head to eye the Harper with a single, whirling eye. Yes. She was listening, and did hear. Another chuff before she rumbles in amusement. "Well, you did agree. Sort of." She did haul him up without so much as a by your leave. And then they were *between* shortly after that. "You're welcome. They're not pleasant, if you haven't been around them. Glad the only one I get to experience now is my own." At least she doesn't joke that she always wins. "I did. And I know I shouldn't have. But, I wanted to." Once he takes it, she grins. "Other reasons. Such as… You should open it and find out what it is. And see if you can figure out those other reasons, Journeyman." Beam. Once he does open it, inside is a single knife. The handle is made of leather, carefully woven around the metal that makes the handle. An iron band is at the end of the handle, serving as a hook for the knife which could serve other purposes. The hilt is made of the same leather as the handle, with a loop that can attach to a belt. It is small, discreet, and deadly. To serve as a last resort, should there be a need.

(OOC Reference:

Is that a slight flush to his cheeks when Zuvaleyuth eyes him and chuffs? Probably but Rayathess hides it well. "I've been lucky so far to be outside of the Weyr whenever a gold rose. And I'll believe you. I hear many tales which put it in many different lights, good and bad and just downright scary." So scary it's obviously blown out of proportion and could be considered hilarious than taken seriously. No, it's a good thing Dtirae doesn't joke like that. Rayathess would have no idea how to respond. "Huh. A gift with a puzzle to solve? That's a first…" he mutters, giving her another funny look before he unwraps the parcel. Good thing he has a firm grip but he almost fumbles the knife in yet another jolt of surprise! How many will he suffer in one day? "This is…" An amazing knife! Rayathess looks completely stunned into a loss of words as he examines the gift and then levels her with a long, searching look. "If I didn't know better…" he begins to say and then smirks, shaking his head. "You're too generous, weyrwoman." Hey, if they're going to toss rank around? He'll use hers too! "This having to do with what occurred that night in Southern Boll and how woefully unarmed I am?"

"You have been lucky, then. I imagine most stories have some truth to them. I used to be around them a lot more often." Dtirae has her share of wild stories. However, she definitely won't share them. "It's only a small puzzle. Nothing elaborate." A teasing grin for that funny look he gives her. And there's almost a laugh when he fumbles, but, she leave it at a grin. "What? If you didn't know better?" She presses. There's a snort of laughter for her generosity. "I've had nothing better to do with my marks, so, I don't consider it generosity. I was, however, concerned with your safety. So, it did have something to do with what occurred in Boll and how woefully unarmed you were. I had two knives on my person."A gesture to the knives she wears now.

Rayathess shrugs his shoulders, "Some stories do and some are pure fabrication of over-active minds and the most scandalous of gossip." he points out with another smirk. Again, it's best she not share those wild stories. He'd likely find a bit too much truth in them as he'd gauge her stories would come from personal experience and if there's one thing Rayathess cannot grasp are the inner workings of what it is to be a rider. Not that he scoffs at the idea, just that his mind has trouble coping — but then, this is the man who is often utterly clueless when it comes to the opposite sex. The only woman he's loved shot him in the foot once, is indirectly responsible for almost having him murdered at the hands of Ustrr and is now a wanted renegade. FAIL. "If I didn't know better and know you a bit, I'd say this gift had other intentions…" he chuckles dryly. "Proven wrong, however. Thank you, Dtirae for the gift. And proving to me just how ill prepared I am for any dangerous undercover work." Not anymore! He'll glance at her knives and then down at the one he still holds. "Suppose it was rather dumb to go in without something…" he mutters.

Most of Dtirae's old stories come from before she Impressed. So, it's more likely to be relatable. But, still entirely awkward! "I don't know you well enough for my intentions to be otherwise, if I'm honest with you, Raya." At least she's being honest. "I may have flirted, but, that's an entirely different matter." His thanks are, carefully, stuffed away and not responded to. "Glad I could help. And, now I'll feel better should you do any more undercover work." The goldrider smiles again, comfortable and at ease once more. "You'll be okay."

Rayathess quirks a brow and strangely at that point the last of the tension seems to ebb from his posture. Oblivious though he may appear to be, maybe some part of him senses just how much he's playing with fire when around the opposite sex. "I prefer honesty," he tells her with a faint smirk. "And I don't mind the flirting." Honest! "So long as you know it… may never progress beyond just that." Realizing that his timing to say this could be a bit harsh, he looks down to the knife again and carefully hooks it to his belt. "I do really appreciate the gift though, Dtirae. Thoughtful of you, even if a bit cheeky. Rest easy knowing I am well armed now! I'm sure you won't be the only one." Satisfied with how it rests against his hip, he gives the new knife a slight pat and looks over to Dtirae again, almost hesitant. Should he hug her or something? He isn't sure. Instead, he looks up at the sky. "Has the flight ended?"

"Good. I'm working on being more honest." Dtirae notes easily, her hands tucking into her pockets now that the parcel is gone and tension has vanished. "I'll continue to flirt then." Teasing, she shakes her head. "Like I said, I don't expect anything from you on that front, Raya. I don't think I'm over who I was last with. Not sure if it was love, but, I felt something." The timing may be harsh, but, she's blunt right back at him. She gives him a cheeky grin for the cheeky comment. "I'm cheeky, what can I say? I'll rest easier knowing one Harper is safe in the world." As he looks skyward, she's looking towards Zuvaleyuth in thought. "Not quite yet, she says… Where did you want me to take you when it's done? Back to the Hall? Somewhere else? We could run away together." The last part, of course, is said in jest. Her sticks out for a brief moment before she chuckles.

Rayathess chuckles for her teasing and gives a slow nod of understanding concerning relationships. It seems they're both still recovering from previous ones and again he seems relieved that he does not have to be too guarded around her. "Careful that you do not try to save all of us Harpers. Some of us may be tempted to use such kindness," he teases back (sort of?). "Good flight then, if it's still going. Which gold rose, anyways? We left so fast…" Again, not something she should blame herself with! Her last comment earns a brief and quiet laugh. "On my first day as Journeyman? Tempting but no… I should be an example to the aspiring Apprentices and return to the Hall once it's safe to do so."

"I'll only try to save the Harpers I like, then. Luckily, at this point I can only count them on one hand." Dtirae chuckles softly. "That's… Yes. It's good. Inri's lifemate." A tilt of her head, considering the Harper with a grin. "Ah. We couldn't have that, Apprentices need a good example to strive for. I shall deliver you to the Hall, then." They fall into idle conversation as they wait for the flight to end. Once they have the all clear, Dtirae helps Rayathess (less forcefully) up onto Zuvaleyuth. True to her word, she does drop him off at the Hall. It is some time yet before Dtirae, herself, returns to Fort.