Chances are...

A beach, somewhere in Nerat
Sand and water and a treeline, too! :o


The Neratian coastline is bathed in sunshine, warmth and light a far contrast to Fort's current cold, making it the ideal getaway location for a goldrider seeking a little solitude. Rhenesath is sprawled on a stretch of sand on a secluded part of the coast, a section that's bordered on one side by Neratian jungle, on the other side by the crystalline turquoise sea, and even blocked in somewhat by craggy cliffs at one end. It's the perfect hideaway, and Thys, bikini-clad and stretched out on her belly along her dragon's foreleg without a care in the world, would appear to be asleep, more relaxed than she's been for a long time.

A shadow crosses overhead, darkening golden hide for a moment, before it passes by. A thought drifts downwards on heavy sluggish breezes. Even here in the warmth Kainaesyth's thoughts are heavy with winter slowness. « You have wandered far from your home. Ha'ze wisses to ask why, may we join?»

Rhenesath raises her head, cluck-crooning up at her passing sibling. Thys stirs, pushing herself up to look with sleep-bleary eyes at her lifemate, then up into the sky when she's informed of their visitors, for Rhenesath gives permission to join. « We come for the sun, and you may share it. » The sun, the sand and the sea flash by in Kainaesyth's mind, a rapidfire montage of everything the pair have been up to in Nerat. Thys stands up from her cosy position on Rhen's leg, running a hand through her short hair to ruffle it as she turns to duck into the little tent that's pitched behind them. By the time Kainaesyth can land, if not before, she emerges with a sarong wrapped around her waist, hiding at least some of the imperfections on her exposed skin.

Kainaesyth spills air from his wings and settles a respectful distance away (well, far enough that he doesn't kick sand up in the landing.) From onboard Ha'ze slips off, but doesn't divest Kainaesyth of the straps. His boots are not made for the beach and leave heavy impressions in the sand as he moves closer. "Thys. Long way from Fort."

"So are you, Ha'ze." Thys steps towards him, while Rhenesath invites Kainaesyth closer into the wallow she's made. "I'd look a bit silly dressed like this in Fort, now, wouldn't I? Kimmila may like to jump into a lake full of ice, but I'd rather have that." She sweeps her hand in a gesture towards the sea. "And your excuse for being here is…?"

Kainaesyth drifts closer to Rhhenesath and settles down near enough that the two could curl tails if they wanted to. "Don't care what you're dressin' like Thys. Not my business." His steps move closer till he stops and glances out at the ocean. "Had an errand to run. Headin' back soon."

"That was me trying to break the ice, Ha'ze." Thys crosses her arms, her brows sinking low over her dark eyes. "If you run into anyone back home, please don't share our location with them; the whole point of us coming here was to relax, and that would be pointless if we've got Fortians popping in every few minutes." Assuming they would do that, of course. "Can I offer you a drink? Something to eat?"

Ha'ze turns his attention onto Thys and raises an eyebrow. It's a pointy upraised. "You avoidin' anyone in particular I'd better not be mentionin' your retreat to? And who the shards would I be sharin' with? I assume Kayeth at least knows where you are."

Thys nods. "Yes, Kayeth knows where we are, and no, I'm not avoiding anyone in particular." Her arms cross a little tighter, fingers drumming on her upper arm. "You didn't answer my question, Ha'ze. Can I offer you refreshment, of some sort? I've got things in my tent. You're welcome to share. Stay a while, if you want. Kainaesyth looks comfortable." While Rhenesath may not have twined tails with him, she is paying the bronze close attention with her typically warm thoughts.

A question? Ha'ze blinks, then a shrug rolls off his shoulders. Kainaesyth has settled himself into the sand and int he light of those warm thoughts has firmly fallen right to sleep. "No harm in lettin' him sleep a bit before we're headin' back to Fort." A gesture outwards, lead the way Thys.

There's signs of a little campfire, not currently lit, in front of the tent, and Thys leads Ha'ze towards it. "Something cold? I think the coolbox is keeping the juice pretty cool… I packed it full of ice so it should be doing something, at least…" She ducks into the tent, dragging a heavy-looking box out after her. The lid's flipped open, revealing bottles with various juices in them… and two bottles of wine. "Your choice? Though if you pick the wine, it may be best for you to stay here the night. I don't advocate drinking and betweening." She gives him a wink, gesturing for him to take his pick.

"Would take more than those bottles to be puttin' me down." Thy's words are a challenge and so of course Ha'ze reaches for the wine. With that in hand he settles down into the sand and begins to take off his boots and socks.

"Alrighty." Thys takes out the other bottle, and since she produces no glasses it's clearly a drink from the neck deal. She settles onto the sand beside Ha'ze, though not without taking off her sarong to flick it out as a barrier between herself and those annoying little grains. "Cheers." A corkscrew is shared, and she even hands her bottle to her clutchmate for him to uncork it for her. "There's a giant wherry in the room, Ha'ze. Are we going to talk about it?"

Is there any other way to drink it? Ha'ze makes use of the corkscrew for the both of them and hands over the bottle. His bare feet set into the sand as he leans backwards a bit to balance his weight. "Are we gonna talk about it?"

Thys takes her bottle with a quiet thank you, and upends it into her mouth to take a hearty swig. A little more than she was expecting, perhaps, as it makes her sputter, and she has to wipe the back of her hand over her mouth. "Do you want to talk about it?" She asks once she's got her voice back, looking over at the bronzerider with one brow raised.

"Is there anythin' to be talkin' about?" Ha'ze cuts a sideways look at this, his lips quirked in a half smile. Maybe he's teasing her just a little? In a wry, dry, mildly sarcastic way. "I'm all ears if you're wantin' to chatter." The bottle is lifted to his lips.

"I'm not sure." Thys settles the bottle down, ruffling her fingers through her short hair. "You kissed me. It was unexpected, and I kissed you back when I probably shouldn't have done. I suppose the question I have is whether it'll happen again?" She turns to look at him, leaning back with her weight on one hand behind her.

"Are you wantin' it to be happenin' again?" Ha'ze challenges her as he shifts slightly so he can look sidelong at her. There's no expectation in the dry words he gives, just a question.

"Don't you already have two women expecting your children, Ha'ze?" Thys frowns at him, then blushes. "Not that I'm suggesting it would go that far - I mean, I know that can't happen from a kiss, but… just saying." She shuts herself up with a mouthful of wine, shaking her head once she's swallowed. "We're on a beach. Drinking wine. Alone."

"Aye." He doesn't shy away from the accusation of getting people pregnant. Ha'ze, at very least, takes ownership over his actions. "Thys, if you don't want me touching you, I'll not be touchin' you."

Thys purses her lips, exhaling long and heavy. "That's just it. I don't know. I do know I have Ralik, and he loves me, and you've clearly got people too…" By that she means Abbey and Jajen, of course. She shrugs her shoulders hopelessly, then drops into silence. It's easier than trying to work out what she wants.

"Fine points all of 'em." He lifts the bottle to his lips and will drink in silence while watching her. Kainaesyth twitches his tail slightly closer to Rhenesath and then settles again. They're a quiet pair at the moment.

Rhenesath touches her muzzle gently to Kainaesyth, before settling her head on the sand beside his and exhaling in contented sleepiness. Thys exhales too, though hers is more of a confused sigh. "I hadn't planned on getting involved with or confused by anyone. At all," she admits quietly, then looks side-on at Ha'ze. "And now there's two of you."

Ha'ze is working his way through his promise with Abigail. "I'm not lookin' to confuse you. If you are wantin' simple, it can be bein' simple." He drinks more slowly this time, more sips, rather than gulps. His eyes have moved away from her, over to where the two dragons are settled close.

"I know you're not doing it intentionally, but… what's simple? How can it be simple?" Thys can't quite help the tinge of exasperation that colours her tone. "I'm awful at this sort of thing. Feelings like this. I'm terrible enough with Ralik as it is, and despite all the sharding guilt I'm feeling there's still something in me that wants you to just lean over here and kiss me again - and then there's part of me that's freaking out about me even thinking that, because we're here, on a beach, alone, and… do you see how I can't see it being simple?"

"So it ain't simple because you said you'd be true and are feelin' like you ain't." Feelings, they're so complicated. Ha'ze shifts himself so that he's facing Thys rather than sitting side by side. His eyes are intense as he settles them onto her. "I'm not goin' be pressin' you. But if it's makin' you feel better, I'll be leavin'."

Thys shakes her head. "I don't remember us ever saying we would be exclusive, but it's also never occurred to me to feel anything for anyone else. Shards, Ha'ze; I've only… there's only been him and V'ric." With the latter being purely due to circumstances. "You don't have to leave. I - we don't want you to leave. We invited you down, didn't we? And you've got a bottle of wine to drink before you go, so… stay. Please. And tell me what you want."

Thys shakes her head. "I don't remember us ever saying we would be exclusive, but it's also never occurred to me to feel anything for anyone else. Shards, Ha'ze; I've only… there's only been him and V'ric." With the latter being purely due to circumstances. "You don't have to leave. I - we don't want you to leave. We invited you down, didn't we? And you've got a bottle of wine to drink before you go, so… stay. Please. And tell me what you want."

Ha'ze stays silent as he drinks at his wine and allows Thys to speak herself out. And then, the silence just stretches there. But he doesn't stand up and he doesn't move away. That's… a good sign. Finally, between sips. "I don't plan much Thys. Beyond figurin' out where I'm goin' to be sleepin' the next day, and what I'm eatin'."

"But how? How can you not know more than that?" Thys shakes her head, not understanding how anything could be so simple. "Don't you think about all the things you have to do? People you perhaps owe your time to, a book you need to read, something that needs your attention… I never have enough time to do everything I need to. How can you not plan… everything?"

"My life has always boiled down to absolutes. Survive. Hide. Kill Ustrr. Never been a time I've known anythin' different." A hand reaches downward and he draws idly with his finger in the sand. No particular shape, just lines that curve. "Some of the kids liked to be makin' plans. Usually, they was the ones that got beat the most."

Thys watches Ha'ze creating his pattern, and frowns. "Got beat the most? Beat, as in, they lost out to others, or beat as in… struck?" She doesn't understand, but she does reach down to join him in drawing, adding a little squiggly line to his curves.

Rather than answer, Ha'ze reaches down and slips out of his riding jacket and sets it to one side on the sand, then stands so he can pull off his shirt. He turns away so that Thys can see the patchwork of scars across his back and arms, signs of beatings long past. No words, he allows the marks to speak to himself.

Thys is quiet, even as she gets to her feet. Without asking for permission she reaches out to lightly stroke her fingers over some of the marks, tutting quietly and shaking her head. "Oh, Ha'ze… I'm so sorry. We used to get the belt as kids if we were bad, but…" But that's nothing in comparison to what he's showing her. "Who did this? Not your parents?"

"Was just the way it was. Get lippy, you'd get hit. Wasn't a plesant place to be. And I was there longer than most." He turns back to fave Thys and gestures back at the sands, and raises an eyebrow, sit again? "My parents took up from Larias from near the beginin'."

Thys bites her lip, pressing an apologetic hand to Ha'ze's cheek. "I'm so sorry. That's horrible." She strokes the back of her fingers down his cheek, then withdraws her touch. "Do you want to tell me about it? I can listen, if you do." Following his gesture, she returns to her sarong, gesturing for him to sit on it alongside her.

Ha'ze settles down, but not on the sarong. Instead he settles back on the sand where he can watch Kainaesyth sleep. His back is to the ocean, he's not here for the view obviously. "Come to grips with the camp. Comin' to grips with the years after. Sometimes wonder who I'd be if I hadn't done it. I remember, vaguely, a bit before the camps."

If Thys is anything she's a good listener, and she sits facing Ha'ze, attention focused solely on him. "You'd be you. No matter what had happened to you, you would be you." She holds his bottle of wine out to him, offered along with a soft smile. "Ha'ze, I'm so sorry this happened to you. Does killing Ustrr mean it's stopped? Stopped happening to more children?"

"No, Thys. We are what we experience. It shapes us, and changes. Enough bad happen, and you'll become bad. It rots from the inside out. It would've been easy to be stayin' with Ustrr's band and not escapin'. Eventually I would've numbed to everythin'." The wine goes to Ha'ze's lipa as he stares at Kaianesyth.

Thys shakes her head. "No, I'm not sure you understood; I mean you would still be you. Not this version of you, necessarily, but you would still be Ha'ze, or Hazelon. Whoever you are, whatever your experiences shape you into, you're still you." She, too, looks over to Kainaesyth, and her gaze drifts over to Rhenesath. "He wouldn't have chosen you if you weren't you."

"You split hairs too much Thys." The comment comes rather out of left field as Ha'ze swivels his gaze away from the sleeping Kainaesyth to come rest on the young goldrider again. "There's a lot more black and white in this world. Not so much gray as people like you are makin' it seem."

"And you need black and white to make grey, Ha'ze. When it comes to who you are, you either are, or you aren't. Black, and white." Thys talks with her hands, wine bottle still clasped tightly in one. "You can't maybe be you. You are you. That's as black and white it gets."

"Your Rhen met a dragon more gentle than may Kainaesyth?" Ha'ze's player promises there is totally a connection here.

Thys frowns at his question. "Possibly? Maybe not? I don't know, Ha'ze - I don't pay too much attention to every conversation she has." Which is followed by a slightly guilty smile and shrug; should she be paying more attention?

"I doubt you'll be findin' another more than he. And yet, after stickin' Ustrr with my knife to be gettin' him off me I piled burnin' branches around him and watched him scream as he burned to death. So which is me?" He's asking but… his tone seems to imply that he's not really looking for an answer. As he speaks his dark gaze drifts backwards to Kainaesyth and lingers there.

Thys's eyes narrow as she mulls that over, though she doesn't linger on it overly long. "I'm sticking to what I said, Ha'ze. You are you. Whether you're you now or you… doing that, to Ustrr… or helping me out of caves with dead bodies in them, you're still you. We all have different facets to who we are, and we all wear the masks we need to when the time comes. Kainaesyth knows that. I know that."

"It is what it is then. I'll keep searchin' though. Till I figure it out. Kainaesyth's stories don't always end happy," fully half of them have the main character dying in terrible ways because they didn't do the right thing, "but they got meanin' to them. I'm searchin' for that. Till then, I'm makin' no plans. Just existin' in the moment."

"We think so differently." Thys is both frustrated and intrigued by that fact, and she reaches out to give Ha'ze's hand a squeeze. "The way you see things exacerbates me sometimes, because I just can't see them in that way. I don't understand how you can, and it frustrates me. But, Ha'ze… if ever I have to be Weyrwoman, you would be the perfect Weyrleader for me. Though I sincerely hope nothing ever happens to Nyalle for that to be a possibility, because I would be a terrible Senior."

Ha'ze shifts his hand under Thys, and their fingers interlock. He's just as casual about this touch as with any other. "I'll spare the world that nightmare and be takin' Kainaesyth and myself between afore that happens Thys."

"Before anything happens to Nyalle, or before there's a chance for you to become Weyrleader?" Thys lets him lock fingers with her, looking down at their joined hands with a little frown creasing her forehead. "Would you take him away next time Rhenesath rises?"

"If I thought he was chasin' for any reason but to be becomin' a clutch dad, I'd be lookin' to get him away. I'm not interested in bein' more to the weyr then I'm bein' right now. Gettin' tied down to that life?" Ha'ze actually shivers at the thought. He likes his freedom thanks much. But Thys' question brings him back. "Why'd I be takin' him? You ain't lookin' to bump Nyalle off any time are you?" He's joking, right?

"What? No! Never. Why on Pern would I want to do that?" There's certainly not that much ambition in Thys. "I just meant next time she rises, probably in a turn or so. Would you send him after her then? Or, no, let me rephrase that; would you let him fly after her? I mean, you could answer the first question, if you like… I've heard of riders sending their dragons into a flight for… for their own reasons."

A chuckle rolls through Ha'ze as some of the darkness that lingers in his eyes bleeds away. He looks more his age, just over eighteen when he turns back to Thys. Shifting he reaches out his hand not intertwined with hers to brush a hand through her hair. "Aye, I'd be letting Kainaesyth fly after your Rhen if he was wantin' to be. But that's not what you're askin', is it?"

Thys sits very, very still when he touches her hair. "What do you think I'm asking?" She has to blink to resist her eyes closing contentedly, and there's an almost imperceptible tilt of her head towards his hand.

"You're still feelin' guilty about me kissin' you. And havin' a flight means there ain't no guilt." He doesn't pull away completely, capturing just one bit of wave between his fingers.

"No, there's still guilt." Thys raises her gaze to meet Ha'ze's, her frown furrowing. "There's still considerable guilt. And jealousy, and hurt feelings. What I was asking is whether you wanted him to catch."

Ha'ze lets go of the lock of hair and shifts away slightly from Thys. More to get comfortable again then to break any tension. "I want Kainaesyth to be happy. You saw how much he loved those eggs; imagine if they was his."

Thys breathes again now that he's moved away, and suddenly remembers her wine. How could she forget it for this long?! It's given due attention with a long sip, followed by a second, and then she looks muzzily over at Ha'ze. That booze is kicking in, given the heat. "Do you not want to make yourself happy?"

"It'd be nice to be bein' happy, but the chances of that happenin, of me lettin' it happen, ain't really high. There's moments to enjoy," He reaches to pick up his own wine again and lifts it in a silent salute, "but overall, I'll take Kaianesyth's happiness first."

"Are you happy right now?" Because Kainaesyth looks to be so, Rhenesath is certainly relaxed and content, and Thys is getting drunk wenough to be feeling a little more than just buzzed. Why shouldn't Ha'ze be happy amongst all of that?

"Happy?" It's such a layered word that Ha'ze will just take his time to piece an answer together again. "I'm content. Satisfied. Relaxed. But no, I ain't found happy yet."

"That's good enough. Happiness isn't easy, after all." Thys lies down on her sarong, eyes closed as she faces the sky above them. "Would you like to stay on here longer? I've got some more wine in the tent, all it needs is chilling. I'd planned to staty the night."

"If I'm stayin, the chances of me tryin' to kiss you again go up." Hey, at least she's forwarned this time?

"A chance isn't a certainty." Thys raises her head, peeping at Ha'ze out of one eye. "So there's the possibility that you won't." She grins, propping herself up on her elbow to swig from her bottle again. "It would be nice to have someone more sober to help cook dinner. Maybe I'll set my tent on fire."

"That, at least, I can be doin." Ha'ze pushes himself upwards. He's been doing most of the talking and he's still got a good bit of wine left to drink. "Enough turns in the lower caverns left me a few skills. Point me at the food."

"Over there, just inside the tent." Why would someone bring a tent when they have a perfectly good dragonwing to sleep under? If Ha'ze looks inside, he'll see it's packed full of all sorts of unnecessary stuff, suggesting the young goldrider had no clue what to pack for herself. "If you're hot in your leathers, you can take them off too, y'know. I won't mind."

"Tryin' to be gettin' me out of my clothes already Thys?" Hints of that rather caustic sense of humor slip out as Ha'ze ducks himself into the tent and rummages around. He'll find enough odds and ends to put together a good meal- something for Thys to base the wine on. They're probably going to end up sleeping this off, though sometime during the night Ha'ze will migrate a whole lot closer to Kainaesyth.


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