Who F'inn, K'zre
What The weyrlings hide in the woods after Yasminath fails her first hunting lesson.
When Autumn - Month 9 of Turn 2718
Where Shady Glade, Fort's Forest

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Fort Weyr - Fort's Forests ~~ Shady Glade
Covered by a canopy of interlaced branches, this secluded spot in the forest is shadowy and cool. Patches of sky show intermittently through the greenery above, creating dapples of diffused light that dance on the carpet of dry needles and leaves below. A scattering of tiny wildflowers adds a touch of bright color here and there.

She might have been the last to try (though who knows, Czarduinath might just be holding out a *bit* longer on this first hunt business) but eventually, Yasminath was brought to the feeding grounds and attempted her first hunt. It… did not go well. K'zre has tried very hard to prepare her for the reality of killing creatures. Many talks late into the night, explanations over and over about how it was the way of things, that she could do it fast and relatively painless… But when the time actually came, it was not to be. She just… couldn't do it. The sight of the weyrlingmaster's dragon taking down his prey (as quick and efficiently as possible) was too much, and Kez couldn't even get her into the pens to try. Nope. She was done and, distraught, the pair left.

It had been late in the evening when the attempt was made and, rather than head back to the barracks, Kez and Yasminath took a walk (well, Yasminath did a bit of flying, once the general air traffic died down). They retreated to the woods, somewhere far enough that Yasminath could sulk and 'cry' (even if dragons don't really cry the way people do) without the prying eyes of weyrfolk or fellow weyrlings. And despite the sun going down, despite the air growing chilly, despite the moons rising overhead and making it painfully obvious to K'zre that they are out /way/ past curfew… here is where they remain. Yasminath is curled up, Kez tucked against her side and waffling between stroking at her shoulder and murmuring soothing things and trying not to nod off. At least she's nice and warm.

F'inn had waited. And waited. And waited some more. When it had become very clear that the pair were staying away? Both Nymionth and F'inn had slipped out of the barracks intent on finding them. Fortunately, Nym can /feel/ Yasminath's distress and he unerringly leads the way toward the forest. Not, however, without F'inn making a pit stop for food and klah. So it is that the pair can be heard coming through the trees— Both opting to give ample warning of their approach. « It's just us, » Nymionth calls out, this time including K'zre in the soothing wash of yellow and orange roses. F'inn, however, remains silent, the concern on his face more then apparent as he steps out of the shadows with basket in hand. "Do you mind? We brought food and klah…" He's worried. Of course, he's worried, he can feel Yasminath's sorrow like it was his own.

Yasminath has at least moved away from talking about it, though she's definitely still radiating sorrow and guilt. Nymionth's approach is met with a lift of her head, but she only regards him for a moment before she's dropping it once again. « I couldn't do it, » she confesses in a tone much like a whisper, sad and ashamed all in one. Beside her, K'zre stiffens briefly at the approach of the pair, then collapses back against Yasminath's shoulder. "No." He doesn't mind. Clearing his throat in an attempt to smooth out the roughness of his voice, he rolls his shoulders and rubs at his neck briefly before pushing himself to his feet. "She just…" and he gestures toward Yasminath as though that sums it all up. And maybe it does. "We couldn't go back yet." Because Yasminath can't bear it, and there's no way Kez would leave her here alone.

« I know, Yasminath, » Nymionth assures. « It's all going to be alright. » Padding over, he settles down next to her on the opposite side of K'zre, one wing stretching out to drape over her in a reassuring gesture. Neither Nymionth, nor F'inn, are surprised. Heartbroken /for/ her, but not surprised. « You just need more time, there is nothing wrong with that. Do you want me to go with you when you go back? » Hanging back until Nym is settled, F'inn rests the basket on the ground as he steps over and settles next to K'zre. Rather then speak, he gives a faint shake of his head and simply drapes an arm around K'zre's shoulder and draws him against his chest. He gets it.

« Yes. » Yasminath doesn't even have to think about it, though the answer comes just as quietly as her previous words. As if her voice is faint, and far off. Hidden. She shifts herself a little, uncurls just enough to snuggle up against him, finding comfort in the drape of that wing and the warmth of his hide. K'zre smooths his hand over her shoulder, a gentle caress meant to reassure and soothe. He's at a loss for what to do, and it's painfully obvious in his expression that he's feeling just as badly as Yasminath is. The drape of F'inn's arm is momentarily met with resistance, the briefest instant of tension, before he's just turning into it and leaning against him. Curling his hand into his shirt, Kez just holds on and allows himself to be comforted. He doesn't know what to say, or even to think. It's all just a wash of emotion, both Yasminaths and his own. And when it manifests itself into tears, despite his best efforts to rein them back, there's not much he can do about it other than hold on.

« Then I shall. We will get through it, » Nymionth promises. At the snuggling, he winds his tail around the four of them (it's more then long enough) and lowers his head until it resting next to her own. « You should not be sad. You are gentle, princess, and full of love. Hunting is not something that would come naturally to you. But you will learn to do it and I will be there to help you. » Always. Remaining silent, F'inn's hand smooths over K'zre's back, his touch a gentle, but firm presence at he does his level best to soothe. At the moment, even the thought of shielding is impossible, the wash of emotion leaving his own cheeks wet as he rests his brow against the top of K'zre's head. It will be alright. He knows it. If nothing else, he has utter faith in Nymionth's ability to help Yasminath through the ordeal.

« You have already done it. » It is not an accusation so much as a lamentation. He has already conquered this thing that she has not done. That she feels is so impossible. Yasminath is miserable, and she's not going to pretend otherwise, though there is a desire to keep this pain from hurting those she loves. She just… can't. « But I am a dragon. It is something I am supposed to do… » and, to hear the others tell it, something she should do and not have to worry about. It should be instinct. Only hers leans the opposite way. Yasminath understand the logic of it, and K'zre has told her over and over that it is alright that she doesn't want to do it… « But I can't! » She'd sob, if she were capable of such a thing. As she is not, there is simply another wash of misery through her mind, and a shudder that runs through K'zre. It is a conversation, if it can be called a conversation, they have been cycling through since they left the grounds. The hysterics are over, but they are still pushing past the guilt, something that has crept in more recently. A few deep, shaky breaths, and Kez pulls himself together a bit though he won't move from where he's buried his face against F'inn. So, his words are muffled, but getting steadier. "How upset are they?" The weyrlingmasters.

Nymionth has done it and he would not even consider pretending otherwise. Course, while he did well, his experience was not without it's own issues. He could feel the herdbeast's panic and fear and it had not been a pleasant feeling. Tucking his wing more tightly around Yasminath, he turns his head until they are nose to nose. « It was not easy for me, either, Yasminath. I understand why you do not want to do it. I understand how hard it is. But, you will do it. You have to remember that all things have their purpose and their time. You must stay strong and healthy for yourself and for K'zre and that requires you to eat. » It takes F'inn a moment to realize that K'zre is talking about the Weyrlingmasters. And, for a moment, a sharp retorte about what they can do with themselves dances on his tongue. It is swallowed, however, his head giving a mild shake. "They're fine," he assures. "It is not the first time this happened, I'm sure. They are more concerned with how you two are doing." In the wake of the words, his hand drifts up, trailing over K'zre's neck to knead at his scalp. "It's going to be okay," he promises.

Yasminath is not so certain of that. Not with the way she's feeling. Not with the memory of her first "try" so very fresh in her head. « I will eat, » she agrees. « It is much easier when it's… when it's already… » Dead. And cut up. And she didn't have to see it go from being alive, to being food. And for the time being, K'zre will do it for her. She knows this. He knows this. And she will try again, because she is not selfish enough to make Kez slaughter and carve up her meals for the rest of his life. Even if he would, to spare her this anguish. For the words, there is a subtle nod of his head, acknowledgement that he heard and understands. Even if Kez seriously doubts that this has happened before. At least with any sort of regularity. But the kneading of fingers is soothing, prompting an exhale that comes with a release of tension and the closing of his eyes for something other than holding back tears. "It will," he agrees, trying to make himself sound believable. "She just… needs time." A lot of time.

« I will kill them for you, » Nymionth decides. « F'inn and K'zre can butcher and cut up the meat. » It is not a perfect solution, but for right now? He's happy to do it. At the end of the day, she needs to eat. The alternative? Unthinkable. Unfortunately, Nymionth does not know how to make it any easier then doing it for her. "Well," F'inn murmurs as he tilts his head back against Yasminath's shoulder. "We'll just have to handle it for her until the time comes." On that, he agrees wholeheartedly with Nymionth. That he does not give a tinker's damn for what the weyrlingmasters think? Clearly expressed in the glare he aims in the general direction of the weyr. "I'll knock them on their asses if they say anything to upset either of you," he promises.

« Thank you. » She appreciates it. A lot. But as she is in a downward spiral, the thought also brings another wave of guilt, for the thought that now others must do things for her because she lacks the fortitude to do it herself. It is one of those things that's just… going to get worse before it gets better, though Kez is at least prepared for the wave of emotion and is somewhat able to dampen it. The hand not clutching at F'inn's shirt (and putting a rather lot of wrinkles into it, no doubt) reaches out to smooth over Yasminath's hide, gentle reassurance in touch and mind as he assures her that it is OKAY that she is not okay with things yet. And as they have been doing this a while now… it does soften the blow and allow her to settle once again. "I will," he agrees. Because there's no way he's going to let her go hungry. "I can kill them…" if Nymionth doesn't want to do it. He does know how to hunt, though something about shooting a beast contained in a pen puts a bad taste in his mouth. The threat of violence toward those who would upset them? It at least inspires a shallow shake of his head and a murmured, "That would get you into trouble," that sounds a lot more Kez-like. "I can handle them…" It's Yasminath he's worried about.

"Nymionth will kill them," F'inn assures. "I'm more then happy to help you with the butchering." It's the last that has him scowling, though, pale blue eyes darkening in hue as all the hurt and sorrow suddenly twists it's way into anger. "Pfffft. I'm top of the class, what are they going to do? Hold me back? Let them." He really doesn't care. But then, at the moment, he's running on raw emotion. As for the shirt, he could care less about the shirt, his hand glidding back down to gently smooth along K'zre's spine. Without missing a beat, he turns his head and looks at Yasminath. "When you are ready and not a moment sooner." And he, and Nym, at least, are fine with that. Nymionth's accord comes with a low chuff of air and slow lash of his tail across the ground.

Yasminath gratitude, while tempered with her lingering sorrow and shame, is nonetheless genuine. She doesn't say 'thank you' again, but it's really not necessary. It's in her mind, and in the softer sigh that is exhaled as she curls into a tighter press with Nymionth. Here, she feels safe and loved and accepted, and it is enough to start soothing some of that hurt and horror and sense of failure that has been cycling through her since that moment in the feeding grounds. "F'inn…" and that's definitely a note of disapproval, faint though it might be. "You can't hit them. They're weyrlingmasters. They're…" above them. In rank, at least. "They could do worse than hold you back…" he's not sure how. But he's sure they could do something. Lifting his head, there's a study of the other weyrling's face, expression serious despite the puffy-eyed, red-rimmed look he's got going now. "You wouldn't really hit them…" He's trying to ascertain if F'inn is being serious, or sarcastic… exaggerating.

F'inn is absolutely serious and shows in the tension in his jaw. It is, however, the emotions running ragged through him and he sighs when he meets K'zre's gaze. "No," he assures. "I want to. But I won't. I just.. I hate that they're upsetting you both." First the unmanned flights, now this? Drawing in a slow breath, he holds it for a few beats before releasing it on a sigh. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to add to your worry, Kez." As he speaks, his expression gentles, one hand raising to brush his fingers over K'zre's cheek. He hates seeing the sadness there. Hates it. "We'll work it out, alright? Whatever we need to do, we'll do." Course, he knows that the weyrlingmasters are insisting that K'zre take control and make it happen. But given it is Yasminath and her heart is the size of both moons? He's just not sure that that will happen any time soon. "We'll keep trying and in the meantime, Nym is honored to hunt for her."

K'zre is watching him intently, studying his face with the sort of look one might come to expect from him. Searching. Analyzing. All of that obvious tension, that simmering anger… But when F'inn explains that he won't actually hit them… He believes him. And it's a relief, because Kez can just imagine the field day that would happen… "Thank you," comes after a heartbeat or two, and he leans his forehead down against the bronze weyrling's shoulder. "It's not them. They're just doing their job…" Intellectually, logically, Kez knows this. But that does not stop Yasminath's emotions from spilling over into him. Nor from him responding to them. "We're just…" Broken. The word sort of hovers on his tongue before he pushes it away because he knows it's not true. Even if it sure feels like it sometimes. He is at least fast enough to keep it from Yasminath's mind. And instead, he opts for, "Behind." It's as good as he's going to get to describing them. "Thank you," comes again, a little easier, for Nymionth's offer to hunt. "Maybe…" he murmurs, hesitant. "Maybe we can try sometime… late." When no one else is around to see.

F'inn exhales a breath, his hand moving to smooth over K'zre's hair as his head moves to his shoulder. "Don't thank me, Kez," he whispers. "There is no way we would not do everything we can to help you both." It's become as unthinkable for F'inn as it is for Nymionth. Rather then acknowledge the unspoken word, his fingers knead at Kez' scalp, his chin dipping in a slow nod in response to the last. "I think that is a good idea," he admits. "We can start with Wherry…?" Something small and quickly consumed. "I think once she gets the hang of it it will be fine. Heck, I didn't eat meat for like a month, myself, when I found out it came from animals." He totally sympathizes with Yasminath on that score.

"But I will," he counters, the sound murmured but firm. "Because I am thankful. You don't have to be here. You don't have to do this…" but he is. And he will. And K'zre is feeling his own gratitude as well as that from Yasminath. The mention of F'inn not eating animals? It draws a shallow, sad sort of smile across the healer-weyrling's face, though it is unlikely to be seen in the dark and at that angle. "My mother took me hunting as soon as I could hold a bow." Killing things as a kid. Fun times. "You get used to it." And so will Yasminath, even if Kez is in no rush to push her toward it. Has no wish to force it on her. And he won't. He'll let her go at her own pace, and he knows that Nymionth and F'inn will as well. Without frustration. It is a weird thing, to rely on, and trust, another person. Albeit timidly. But comforting, as well. And it has him shifting where he sits, twisting so that he's snug against the other weyrling and his head is pressed into the crook of his neck. "I don't think we're going back," he offers after a pause. "Tonight, at least." There might be hell to pay for it tomorrow, but right now Kez doesn't care. "Will you stay?"

"Wild runners couldn't drag me away," F'inn assures. With K'zre tucked against him, he reaches into the basket, tugging out the blanket he'd brought for sitting on. Instead, it gets tucked around them both, further shelter provided by Nymionth's massive wing as he realizes they're settling for the night. Once they are neatly tucked in, F'inn's arms wrap around K'zre, his head tilting back to use Yasminath's shoulder as a pillow. "Get some rest," he murmurs in soothing tones. In the wake of the words, Nymionth stretches out, the length of his massive form curling around the three in a protective circle. Nothing is getting past that bronze and he knows it.

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