Fort Weyr - Th'ero and Velokraeth's Weyr

Warning: This scene has some mature subject matter and themes that may be disturbing or upsetting to some readers. This is a nightmare sequence and all of it takes place in Th'ero's head and should not be used as IC reference!

It has been a few days since the Gather at Fort Sea Hold and the festivities surrounding the racing. When all was said and done however, work and duties had to resume as normal both Weyr and Hold. Of course, this means a bit of a backlog or perhaps it's just by bad luck that the day proved to be chaotic and busy for most in the higher ranks. Shipments to come in and sign for, paperwork to be done, visits to the Holds, check in with the Guards and the Wings, a brief council meeting… it all adds up and by the end of it, Th'ero is exhausted. Part of that is the Weyrleader's fault for his poor eating habits throughout the day but when he finally does get to escape to his weyr he does send a drudge away for food. For two. Either Kimmila is already there or she'll be home shortly and then they'll share a late but hearty supper. As usual, Th'ero may try to sneak in some 'play' time or lovemaking too before they turn in for the night. Sprawled in the bed, Th'ero's body is curved around Kimmila's and even in his deepening sleep, his thoughts drift to his fears and troubling thoughts despite the efforts to unwind before the evening was done. Before he can properly address them though, he's out and deep asleep. Deep into his dreams…

Kimmila and Kyzen are in Boll, and it's a Gather. Much like the racing gather from a few days prior, though Kyzen is lacking his usual leash. Instead, Kimmila is just carrying the boy as they move through the stalls, looking at this, looking at that. The atmosphere is excited, light, happy and eager, as most nightmares tend to be at the start.

It is a Gather and one that Th'ero desires to go to. Really desires. It nags at him, makes him impatient and anxious but something always comes up. As in most nightmares, he is of course delayed. First by something in the Weyr, then with the Guards and when he finally DOES escape to Southern Boll, he's ushered away by the Steward to meet with the Lord Holder though the Weyrleader looks longingly towards the Gather grounds where he knows his family are. Why can't he be with them? His mood is irritable at best, but he keeps his temper all while he fights back the restlessness in him. He shouldn't be here, he should be out there and with Kimmila and their son. Not fair!

Not fair at all. Outside near the stalls, Kimmila orders them some food. "Now don't run off," she tells Kyzen as she sets him down. "Grab onto my pant leg and hold tight, I'm going to carry this over to the tables and we're going to sit and eat, okay?" The curly haired boy nods and with food and drink in hand, Kimm starts to walk slowly with him across the crowded courtyard towards the shaded eating benches…but something distracts him. It's hazy, in the dream-world what it is, but one moment Kyzen is there, the next he is gone. Food and drink clatters to the ground, the shout of, "KYZEN!" echoing in Kimmila's frustrated voice as she darts after their child through the crowd. The crowd which is suddenly so /very/ thick. Weaving in and out, around people, Kimmila gets flashes of their racing boy as he runs up against the wall, and then ducks into a dark building. Kimmila doesn't hesitate. She charges in after him.

Nightmares are always hazy, details lost that any logical or rational mind would pause and question. Nothing is questioned now and Th'ero is unaware of the situation developing down in the markets. What he is aware of however is the growing sense of unease and 'wrong', anxiety worming its way into his chest and making him fidget in the chair he finds himself seated in in the Lord Holder's stuffy office. The man drones on and on and the Weyrleader's temper is running short. Get on with it! he wants to shout at the man, but he grits his teeth and soldiers on, while his thoughts continue to drift to Kimmila and Kyzen. Oh, how he yearns to be with them now. Is that what is wrong? Concern and worry edge in now, but Th'ero cannot find a way to escape without grave insult but as the seconds pass his alarmed emotions grow heavier and more and more persistent.

No, there is cause for true concern. Down into that dark hallway (why must it always be a hallway?) there is suddenly a flash of steel, the snapping sound of rough canvas, and Kyzen's piercing scream followed by Kimmila's cursing, struggling, and then silence. Instantly, Varmiroth's mind floods Velokraeth's in a panic. « HELP! »

Could it be that Th'ero harbours a deep, deep fear of hallways? One he may not know? Hmm! Of course it will be a hallway again and of course once Velokraeth's mind is filled with Varmiroth's panicked cry for help, the Weyrleader realizes again that he has neglected his instincts. Stuffy Lord Holder or not, Th'ero excuses himself despite the older man's scoffs and races from the office and down to the courtyard. Oh, if only the Lord Holder knew what will come upon his head in a few moments! « What is it Varmiroth? » Velokraeth says to the blue, doing his best to keep his tone calm despite his rider's growing unease and panic. « Where are you? Where are they? »

Varmiroth is circling above, peering down at the courtyard. « There, there, » he cries, showing Velokraeth the entrance, the hallway…and then nothing. « They are moving quickly, too quickly, I do not know where they are going! » Boll has so many passageways underground, and in this dream they unfold exponentially. Then Varmiroth creels, screeches in pain and lands heavily as Kimmila's head is struck, unconcious and limp in the hands of her captors. But Kyzen…Kyzen's screams and cries still echo fresh through the dream, taunting as the faceless men carry him and Kimmila deeper through the tunnels.

Velokraeth is on the fire heights, talons digging into the edge as he leans forwards and his posture tense and alert, wings half spread and eyes whirling in agitation and alarm. « Where? » the bronze calls again to Varmiroth and the entrance is spied. Of course by then it is already too late. The men have a running head start but Th'ero pushes forwards. Like any good nightmare, the crowds thicken and he has to shove and elbow his way through, growing increasingly more frustrated and alarmed as none of these faceless men or women part way to help clear a path. Stumbling, struggling, he finally breaks free and dashes through that entrance only to feel a cold and numbing trickle of fear race down his spine and into his heart when Kyzen's screams and cries echo back to him. "No, no, no!" Th'ero chants under his ragged breaths, drawing loose his dagger and gritting his teeth as he pushes on. Varmiroth's creels reach him through Velokraeth and now Th'ero's roar of furious anger chases those men through the tunnels. Not his son and his weyrmate! He tries to send word to Velokraeth to have the watch dragon sound the alarm, to have the Southern Boll Guards alerted and that stuffy Lord informed that he has criminals loose in the tunnels of his Hold! Yet the nightmare will of course make it that none of these ever come to be. Th'ero is on his own, with anxiety and fear on his heels and determination fuelling his reckless plunge forwards.

Does the dream taunt Th'ero with knowledge of what's being done to his family while he frantically searches for them? A door, the same as a million other doors, a hallway, a harsh stone room. Faceless men dropping Kimmila on the floor like a sack of flour, the thud of her body, her limbs, her head striking the cold stone. Binding her arms roughly behind her back, her ankles together, her hands to her ankles so she's on her knees, slumped there just coming out of her unconscious state. The lewed remarks, the cruel laughter, the harsh gropes and promises of things to come. Kyzen tossed in his bag in a corner, the toddler bruised and sobbing and unable to get free from the thick canvas bag that stifles him.
It does taunt him and it won't be long until Th'ero is worked into a frenzy, despite all his training and ability to keep hold of his reasoning and temper. Though he is not witness or present in that harsh stone room where those men drop Kimmila and bind her and toss their son to the corner in a stifling bag, the nightmare makes certain that he is aware in every detail of what is going on. Each lewd remark and grope to Kimmila and the sobs coming from Kyzen lance through Th'ero like hot knives and the bronzerider begins to yell their names over an over again, followed by fury-laden oaths and curses that those faceless men best not harm them or they will soon wish they were dead. Th'ero however is tormented now as his search yields nothing but the same doors, the same hallways, a sense that he's trapped in a loop and yet he is stubborn to persist in finding the room. He knows it's there and he WILL find his son and his weyrmate. He HAS to find them! Blood pounds in his ears, his heart racing and lungs burning as he pushes himself to frantic and frenzied limits, never stopping, never pausing as his anxiety and fear grow and grow.

But where? Where? The dream does not give up their location. The men leave, the door locked and bolted, the tunnels stretching out to eternity in all directions for Th'ero. But one door keeps appearing time and time again. A door out. A door to the courtyard. A door to the outside world, free from this dungeon. In the room Kimmila squirms, thrashes, curses, edges her way to Kyzen's bag. With her teeth the mother rips at the rough knot, tearing at it until her mouth is bloody but finally she gets it open and Kyzen is free. Leaping out, the battered boy clings to Kimmila's neck but his fingers are too raw, his strength too sapped, her bonds too tight to get her free. So he just clings to her, unable to do anything but hug her around her neck and cry and cry and cry while Kimmila tries to soothe him. Still, the dream gives Th'ero no leads. No. He will not find them.

Th'ero will throw open those doors that lead to the outside world but never will he cross the threshold, though he is often tempted. Why not step out there and try another path? Circle around, find another way in. His breath comes in raggedly now, his hand wrapped tight around the hilt of his dagger and his stance tense and prepared to fight or dash off again. His heart races, aching in his chest almost as strong as his lungs and he is all but choked and overwhelmed by his emotions. Again, he does not 'see' Kimmila or Kyzen and yet he knows. Oh, he knows and it tortures him and taunts him until he roars out in frustration. "Why? WHY!" he shouts at the stone walls, those unfolding and never ending, paradox tunnels. "What do you want with them!" Th'ero demands, lips drawing back into a furious and pained grimace, his dark eyes bright and heated with anger and panic. He wants his son and weyrmate back, damn it! His blood is boiling, his sneezes all aflame and anxiety and fear clawing at his soul. Where are they? Where? Again, the doors leading out are all he finds and he gives a frustrated groan, stepping back from the temptation despite the whispers in his head to go out while another whispers that if he does, he will loose them for sure. No, no, no! He calls again for Kimmila and Kyzen, calling, begging that they answer him. Where are the Guards? The backup? Where IS everyone?

And then the darkness comes. Like a cloak being drawn across the sun, suddenly it is dark. Night has come and the chill in the tunnels is biting and complete. In their room the men do not return and Kimmila curls her body around their son as best she can, trying to keep him warm in a corner of the room. The tunnels close off, forcing Th'ero to turn and turn and move, until he is in the courtyard and there is no way back in. He has lost them. Looking around the courtyard it is empty, the sad remnants of a gather taunting him with their promise of a joyous time held by all. Almost all. With a sudden twang and thud, a crossbow bolt thuds into the stone beside him, a note pinned against the crumbling wall.

Th'ero acknowledges the change from day to night as though it is perfectly natural. He's been searching for a long time! Time has no meaning here, nor does logic and he is too caught up in his emotions and gripped by the nightmare to notice all that is amiss. Turned and turned and pushed, moved against his will and fighting against it with his cries to Kimmila and Kyzen becoming more and more desperate, he will yell and spit and curse as he's forced out into the courtyard. Dark eyes scan the mocking landscape, shivering against the chill that wasn't there before. The lingering sense and impression that Kimmila and Kyzen are in danger, are hurt, are suffering and are alone hits him like a punch to the gut and he begins to turn on spot, frantically looking for any sign of where to go. He REFUSES to lose them or leave them behind! THUD! Th'ero jumps and then drops into a protective stance, eyes and senses alert. Someone HAD to have fired that but of course he sees nothing. Not a soul in the courtyard, as though Southern Boll Hold is devoid of any other presence. If he would think rationally, he'd realize how WRONG this is but his mind is gripped by his fear. Standing from his crouch, he edges back towards the crumbling wall and pulls the note down, reading it in darted glances with the vain hope of still spotting one of those men.

Varmiroth lands then, the powder blue more ashen than anything, grey and gaunt as if he's aged a hundred turns in an hour, and hasn't eaten in ages. He croons appealingly to Th'ero. Why didnt' he find them? The blue /trusted/ Th'ero. The blue put all of his hope in Th'ero /finding/ them. Curling up, he creels. The note is written in a rough hand in black ink, flecks of forboding red crossing the page. "Their blood is spilling. If you do not wish it to spill further, set 5,000 marks to sail on the morning tide and do not follow."

"I tried!" Th'ero exclaims in a rough and broken voice to Varmiroth as he steps towards the blue, hands spread out in helplessness, his breath still ragged and heavy from his panicked and frenzied searching. "I tried, Varmiroth!" Yet the guilt twists at him like a knife, making him grimace and unable to look at the ashen blue, gritting his teeth as the creels jar him right to the bone. He did all he could and he failed! Now they suffer because of him. The note leaves dread to course through him, icy cold and causing him to sag against the wall. 'Their blood is spilling'. Words that haunt him, whispered and mingling with Varmiroth's accusations. Not good enough to save them, not strong enough, not brave enough. How can he pay such a ransom? It'd be the easiest way, but a sum like that is almost unheard of. It's impossible. Th'ero is immobilized, locked in his own damning emotions until there's a faint spark, that ever present stubbornness and determination. NO! No, he will not give in! Not to these low life kidnappers, these renegade bastards! Th'ero's anger returns, building to a frenzied rage. The note is shredded. "You won't win!" he roars to the empty and cold Hold courtyard. "You will never win! I will hunt you down and I will make you pay for what you've done! I will have my loved ones back! I WILL have them back!" Turning to look back over his shoulder to Varmiroth, the image of the grieving blue, grey and gaunt, serves only to push Th'ero further to the edge. "I'll get her back. Both of them, Varmiroth. If it's the last thing I do!" he says through gritted teeth to the blue. Gripping his dagger, Th'ero turns to face that entry way again, jaw clenched and his temper raging. "It will be YOUR blood that spills!" he promises those faceless men and then charges forwards with an echoing battle-cry, no longer afraid of those dark tunnels and endless mazes. He WILL find them! He will not lose!

The door gives way and he's plunged once more into the tunnels and into the darkness. As he searches, time passes, another of those dream tricks. Days go by. Does he stop? Does he rest? Find food? After two days the door opens again and Kyzen whimpers, Kimmila struggling to her knees. Cracked and parched lips beg without hesitation for water for her son. Please. Please give him food, give him water, she'll do anything if they'll take care of him, if they'll set him free. Anything? is the reply. Anything, is Kimmila's firm statement. And they'll take her at her word, and she does what she needs to do. Through her tears she does all that they ask and in the end she is tossed back into the room, clothes torn in all the wrong places. And then she rages at them when they taunt her with not granting her request. And it's during that ranting and raging that Kyzen makes a run for it. It's the one thing he's good at after all, the toddler bolting for the door, slipping free of their grasp and running while his mother cheers him on. "GO!" Out into the darkened maze of tunnels the boy stumbles, hungry and scared and thirsty, weaving mindlessly along and crying.

Another of those dream tricks is that Th'ero defies the need for such trivial things of hunger and thirst though they press heavily on him. In reality, he would have stopped and would have had Velokraeth call again for help. Would have gone to Fort and rallied the Wings and brought armed Guards and riders down on Southern Boll Hold and rules of Weyr and Hold interference be damned right Between! But in this nightmare, Th'ero is overcome by his emotions. He's in a blind panic, driven almost mad with the taunting hints and tormenting knowledge of what is befalling Kimmila and Kyzen as he continues to scour those endless and looping tunnels. Knowing that somewhere his son suffers and that his mother tries to save him, only to be tricked and in a way that has the bronzerider's heart almost torn in two for the sacrifice made. His blood boils, his mouth dry but added to his frenzied state is the desire to hurt. He will HURT those men double-fold for what they have done! Th'ero's roars and cursing, furious cries go unanswered, his voice almost hoarse now from his efforts. He rages too but alone in those darkened tunnels and no closer to what he seeks. Should he stop? He won't. What gives him pause though are those cries. Could it be? Th'ero doesn't want to nuture the hope that trickles in, but it cannot be helped. "Kyzen!" he calls, trying to mask the fear and pain in his voice. "Kyzen, where are you!" Come to him!

In the room, Kimmila /laughs/ when her son goes free, laughs in their faces and when they lash out at her she only laughs all the more until she is silenced, the door slammed again. In those tunnels Kyzen hears his father's voice, his thin, wavering call of, "Daddy?!" echoing off the tunnels, impossible to tell where it's coming from. "Daddy! Daaaaaddddyyyyy!"

Th'ero races forwards again, stumbling through those dank, dark and narrow tunnels. "Kyzen! KYZEN!" he calls back, over and over again after each thin and wavering call comes echoing up those walls. A sense of dread is weighing him down, making him feel sluggish as though his feet and legs are mired in mud. Has he failed again, when he got so close? He struggles on, breathing ragged and laboured, his emotions raging and his nerves frayed. Dread, fear and anxiety tear at him, crushing him and pushing him down and yet he still persists. He has to know! He has to FIND them!

And there, then, suddenly, he rounds a corner and there stands Kyzen, the little boy filthy and starving, lips cracked with thirst and his little body gaunt, clothing torn, blood on him that is both his own and his mother's. When he sees his father the child begins to wail, no liquid left for tears, lifting his arms up to be lifted and held, protected. "Daddy," he whimpers weakly, flopping to the ground in exhaustion.

Th'ero's relief is short lived when he rounds that corner and there is his son. "Kyzen!" he exclaims and rushes forwards to sweep the exhausted, filthy and starving child into his arms. Looking down at the boy in a mixture of horror and delight. He has him! He FOUND him! But in what condition? Anger sweeps in, furious and hot. Oh, those men will PAY! He cradles the boy close to his body as he pushes to his feet. "It's alright, you're alright. You're going to be alright," he whispers hoarsely to Kyzen, his breathing still heavy and ragged. Now… Th'ero looks one way and then the other in the tunnels and his features twist into one of pain and indecision. Kimmila HAS to be close, isn't she? Dread and worry continue to weigh on his heart and shoulders, a sense that time is against him that he has not been finished with his torture or further mocking from this nightmare. He can't bring Kyzen with him though. He has to bring his son to safety. He has to save Kimmila. He has Kyzen, but does not have Kimmila. "I'll come back for you, Wingmate! I'll come back. Hold on!" he calls out with all his might though it sends pain lancing down his throat. It pains him to leave her there and it takes all his strength to turn down that tunnel with Kyzen in his arms and rush back to that courtyard when every nerve of him is screaming at him to get to her. Warring with himself over priority. Who matters more? Son or Weyrmate? The choice lies sour on him. Would this be what Kimmila would want?

Kyzen curls up against his father's chest, shockingly tiny and fragile. What choice did Th'ero have? In that darkened room, Kimmila takes fierce pleasure in knowing their son is free, in knowing that he will not die in here. Bound, cold, waiting, she does what she can but she can't do much but wait for rescue. The courtyard opens again for Th'ero and Varmiroth is there, his color slightly better at the sight of Kyzen.

Th'ero did not have many choices left. None would end in a way he'd want. So he runs down those tunnels and out into the courtyard with Kyzen's frail and tiny body cradled in his arm and against his chest. Seeing Varmiroth, Th'ero turns to hurry to the blue's side and a shadow crosses the sky as Velokraeth comes to join them at last. Where HAS he been? No time. No time! "Kyzen, stay here with Var and Velo, okay? You'll be safe here with them. Be a good, brave little boy now." he murmurs to his son, his heart lurching at the idea of leaving him again so soon. He sets the boy down against Varmiroth's side as Velokraeth sidles around to form a protective barrier. No one gets in, no one gets out. Little comfort, but it is something. "I have to go find your mother. I have to save her." Please forgive him. He smooths back Kyzen's curls and then Th'ero is looking up at both dragons. "Call for help! Call to Kayeth, have her rouse the Weyr!" Why hasn't that been done? He's exhausted, drained and his next plunge into the tunnels seems to go in slow motion. Where is she? Are those faceless men still there as guard? What more will this nightmare do to hurt him?

Back in reality, Th'ero has writhed and squirmed on the bed and tangled himself in the sheets, skin slick with sweat, hair and curls damp against his forehead. He does not wake, trapped in his nightmare, the only hints of his distress in his movements and the choked, garbled and throaty noises he makes.

Kyzen whimpers. He's cold, he's hungry, he's weak, he's severely dehydrated… When his father leaves the boy begins to cry again, dry crying as he curls up into a little ball. Down into the tunnels Th'ero goes and they stretch out again, each looking the same as the last. No hope. Even as others join him, the tunnels just stretch out forever. When he tries to get to the same spot where he found Kyzen, he won't be able to. Or maybe he did, but he can't recognize it. Was it that junction? That cooridor? Did he go left or right from here? It's maddening.

Th'ero does not even seem to acknowledge that others have joined them. Who are they? D'ani? Abigail? So'l? Anique? Yhri? He never stops to check, just glimpses from his peripheral vision telling him that there are those following him now down those maddening tunnels. He can feel their disapproval, their confusion and judgement when he cannot seem to lead them on a straight path. Who leaves a suffering child to play the hero? Th'ero cries out in frustration and rage, as well as grief and pain. He wants to find Kimmila, he aches to find her and he is being thwarted at every turn. He fears for her life, this nightmare tenfold worse than the first in when she died in his arms. Now she'll die alone and Th'ero almost goes mad from the surge of emotions brought forth by those thoughts. His chest and throat feel tight, burning, his body pushed beyond its limits. He's failed! "No! Kimmila!" he yells. Where are you!?

Back in the real world, Th'ero writhes and strains, fingers curling and clutching at the sheets and bed, his sounds muffled behind his clenched jaw. Groans, moans and half spoken words. He does not wake but awareness is edging in. Slow and sluggish. Will the nightmare deal another blow before he is jolted awake? What will wake him, if anything? How much can a man suffer in his own head before snapping out of it?

That's when the crying starts. The echoing calls of his name. Kimmila calling for her wingmate, her husband, her love. The echoing sounds leading this way and then another, until they begin to weaken and fade into nothingness.

Playing hero. Save the child or save his weyrmate? He wants to, he HAS to save both but the nightmare is making it nigh impossible. One will die or both will die. How long will Kyzen last, even safe as he is with the dragons now? Why is his father gone to chase some dwindling hope to find Kimmila when he could save him? Those thoughts plague him, among so many other tearing and conflicting emotions. Then the crying begins, the calls that have Th'ero stumbling to a stop to freeze in horror and chilling fear. He yells back, calling her name. He's here, he's here! Hold on! Yet he's thwarted again in his pursuit, despite his pleas and no matter how hard he struggles and protests. Those he thought were there to help him are now holding him back, trying to drag him back to that courtyard. Whispers of 'it's too late' 'you cannot save her' and 'give up and save your son' circling around him. Th'ero fights and fights, straining even as the tunnels begin to crumble and drift away. "I can't leave her!" he cries out in desperation, trying to make it understood. Don't you see? He can't let her down!

In the bed, back int he real world, Th'ero's breathing grows hitched and staggered, the rhythm for sleep now disturbed. He writhes and goes still, fingers twitching and his features twisting into a distraught and pained look.

The tunnels crumble and then Th'ero is blocked outside again in the courtyard, with Kyzen curled up and weak, whimpering softly. He needs a Healer. Now. As Th'ero approaches the gaunt boy looks up at his father and whimpers. "Daddy. I'm hungry…Daddy. I'm so hungry…where's Mommy?" he asks in his weak little voice.

In the real world, a newly awoken and tossled Kyzen toddles into the bedroom and slowly, carefully climbs onto the bed. He didn't knock. Whoops. "Daddy," he whispers as he crawls closer to his father. "I'm hungry. Daddy? I'm so hungry…where's Mommy?" Because Kimmila is not in the weyr.

Th'ero is forced back out into the courtyard and he bellows his frustration and his grief and longing for his love and weyrmate left behind. Cold, alone and dying. He knows it, he just knows they will not find her and he has failed to protect her! The woman he cherished and loved so deeply… taken from him. Now his son… Th'ero stumbles towards Kyzen and crouches by him, smoothing back the boys grimy curls. "Shh, Kyzen. I'm here. Your mother —" He can't say the words, his throat tightens and he swallows thickly, blinking furiously. He failed, he failed them all and he may yet lose Kyzen too and his heart drops and breaks. No matter what he did, he will lose it all …

In the real world, Th'ero had gone still again though he remains tense and troubled. His nightmare is playing out, edging towards a crescendo of emotional turmoil that would play out if left to do so. Instead, the pattern is broken when Kyzen - the real Kyzen - climbs into that bed and begins to echo the same words. Whether just the proximity of another or if Kyzen actually touches Th'ero, the bronzerider jolts awake with a strangled cry. Poor, poor Kyzen will be roughly elbowed aside but unharmed if not just spooked by his father's wild behaviour. Sitting up, Th'ero is bent forwards as he breaths in ragged and choked gasps, trembling and lifting a hand up to press it to his sweat damp forehead. "Couldn't save her. I couldn't save her…" he whispers hoarsely, his voice rough and thick with emotion. He isn't aware that he's out of the nightmare, so caught up in his grief and tormented mind.

He doesn't have to say it. A few moments later an ashen Varmiroth takes to the skies and winks between with a keening cry. Kyzen knows that sound and the weak boy presses against his father…and then the dream breaks. In reality, Kyzen is pushed aside with a startled whimper and then a pout. "Daddy?" he asks warily, looking at his father. "Daaaaddy." Poke.

Could be that the keening is still echoing in his head and would explain why Th'ero clamps his hands to his temples and grits his teeth, biting back the sounds of grieving and loss he wants to voice. Something is nagging at him. Something has changed. His heart is pounding, his body trembling and chilled from sweat. Something is… poking him? Th'ero lifts his head and turns it sharply, his eyes wild and unseeing, then he blinks and he's a little more alert and aware. The nightmare cracks and crumbles, his mind catching up and rational thought surging forwards. It was a dream, a horrible dream. THIS is reality. THERE is Kyzen, safe and whole and well. Poor Kyzen. Shoved aside and now Th'ero is sweeping him up into a tight and fierce hug. Confusing messages? You bet! If that wasn't unsettling enough, Th'ero's choked laughter might just make it all that much more strange to the poor boy. So is the: "You're alright!" he mumbles over the boy's shoulder.

Kyzen squeaks and then laughs a bit, giggling when Th'ero takes him in a hug. "Daaaaaddy!" the boy giggles. "I'm /hungry!/" He's not alright, he's hungry! "I want food! Where's Mommy?"

Giggling is far, far better than the whimpers that still haunt his mind and Th'ero's hold on Kyzen tightens and then eases back as he plunks the boy back down on the bed. "Okay," he whispers, clears his throat and despite his haggard look he smiles to his son. Ruffling his hair, he takes a steadying breath. "Okay, I heard you." Give your father a moment! He's having a crisis. "What do you want, son? You can have anything. I'll send for a drudge to bring it." Anything? It's a magical word! Right now, Th'ero just wants to erase the image of a gaunt, bloody and dying child out of his head. Where's Kimmila? Th'ero jerks, looking to his side. She isn't there. Panic rises and then is firmly pushed down. No. Be reasonable. "I don't know where your mother is, Kyzen. Did you get into the weyr by yourself again? She wasn't in the other room?" He motions for Kyzen to slide off the bed and Th'ero will follow, slipping on a pair of pants. While he waits on answers, Th'ero will reach for Velokraeth. The bronze is already awake, having been alert since the nightmare first started. The pale bronze was close to interrupting it, but Kyzen beat him too it. Now he reaches out with his mind to seek for Varmiroth. « Little brother? Where is yours? She is needed. »

Kyzen's eyes positively light up. /Anything??/ He'll test that. "Cake!" he cries, clapping his hands happily. "Mommy's not here, Var's not here neither," he chirps, happily bounding out of the room. He's having CAKE for breakfast! BEST DAY EVER. Over one of the cotholds, Varmiroth's mind reaches back to Velokraeth's. « We are here, in Feldstone, » he replies. « Is everything okay? » How needed are they?

Th'ero normally would sigh and chastise his son for choosing cake for breakfast. Not today. He'll have his cake, because it'll make his father happy. Happy because his son is clapping and bounding out of the room, not toddling around some corner in some Faranth forsaken tunnel dirty and bloodied and collapsing… Th'ero shakes his head sharply. Stop that. "So I see. Velokraeth says they're out at the cothold. So how about you tell me what kind of cake you like and we'll surprise them?" Oh boy, will she ever get a surprise. Would their luck be that Kyzen likes fruit or citrus as sweets like his father? A fruit-like cake would be… kind of healthy? Th'ero follows Kyzen wherever the boy goes in the weyr, shadowing him and hovering protectively even as his gaze wanders and drifts. Shells, he needs klah. Spiked klah. A whole bottle of something but he won't touch alcohol so long as he's the sole responsible adult in charge of Kyzen. Velokraeth shifts in the wallows, his head turned to the ledge outside. « Is your work urgent? » the bronze asks Varmiroth. Which is code for: no, everything is not okay. « Mine has had nightmares again. » Nothing new there. What, Th'ero isn't strong enough to handle that? Velokraeth doesn't want his rider seeming weak, so he adds. « He dreamt of death and loss. He could not save yours and the son was dying too. The little one is with him now and serves as distraction but I do not know for how long. »

"Fruit cake!" Yes, Kyzen loves fruit. And it's healthy. Kind of. Turning his head when Th'ero follows him, the boy peers at him curiously and then giggles. "Follow the leader!" And off he goes, marching happily around the weyr and climbing over stuff to see if his father will follow him. Above the cothold, Varmiroth pauses and then sighs. « We will return. » And a few moments later the blue is landing, Kimmila stepping inside while she pulls off her helmet and gloves. "Wingmate?" she calls, concerned.

Kyzen is definitely Th'ero's son! Not that there was any doubt before. "Fruit cake it is," Th'ero tells his son and sends a firelizard or two to the kitchens with the order. At the curious look, the bronzerider stiffens, assuming he will be pried at for questions but no… it's just a game. One that Th'ero will play, because it keeps Kyzen happy and keeps HIS mind occupied. Kyzen is the leader, Th'ero will follow when he can. He won't quite come down to climbing over everything! During this, the cake is delivered, the game ending when Th'ero answers the door and then sets the cake down on the table and serves Kyzen a big piece and has the boy sit and dig in. As for Th'ero? He doesn't touch a single crumb. He'll have some klah and sit and grip that mug so tight as though it's the only thing keeping him together. His gaze had lowered, lost to deep and troubling thought while Kyzen enjoys his cake for breakfast but it will lift when Kimmila steps inside. Wordlessly, Th'ero sets his mug down (out of Kyzen's reach), stands and walks right to Kimmila. She too is treated to a fierce and tight hug. He breathes in deep of her scent and on the exhale he whispers low and privately to her ear. "He doesn't know anything is wrong. Act normal, keep him happy. It helps… if I see him happy." Don't ask questions. Yet.

Kimmila frowns a bit when she looks around, wrapping her arms tightly around her weyrmate and hugging him close. She's chill from between, smelling of dragons and sweat, of the early morning sweeps and her own unique scent. "Helps…?" She leans back to look at him, gently cupping his cheek with a concerned look. But she doesn't ask. "Cake?"

Th'ero slips his arm around Kimmila in return, not minding the chill. She's here and alive. His. Safe. He leans into her hand, she'll feel the scruff of his stubbly cheek as he hasn't shaved yet and that only serves to add to his rough, haggard look. His curls still look damp too and hang listless over his forehead. "We'll talk later, okay?" he says softly, with another darted look to Kyzen. Their son just beams proudly, mouth full of sweetly-sticky fruit cake. Woe to the Harpers and nannies who get him later! "Daddy said I could have anything I wanted for breakfast and I was hungry! So I said cake! It's the BESTEST cake ever! Where were you mommy? Are you hungry too? Want to have cake with me?" he asks between mouthfuls, some of the words muffled around crumbs before he swallows. He'll lean up in his chair, determined to cut a piece for both his parents and manages to do so. Big, crooked cut pieces but he's so proud of it as he serves the plates. Th'ero doesn't correct Kyzen, just strides forwards with Kimmila and reaches to ruffle the boy's hair before sitting down. That piece of cake is eyed with no desire at all, but the bronzerider makes himself eat it. Even if each bite tastes like cardboard and sticks in his throat. Kimmila would know his behaviour by now, know how Th'ero must be upset. Kyzen? Is just blissfully unaware and delighted that they're ALL having cake!

Kimmila wraps an arm around his waist, peering up at him in concern. "Later," she agrees, a promise that yes, they sure will talk later. "Anything huh?" she asks, darting another look at Th'ero and then moving forward. "I was on my sweeps, Kyzen. I'd love some cake, thank you." She sits down after letting Th'ero go, but extends her foot under the table to rest against his. Contact. She eats the cake and darts looks at her weyrmate, hiding her concern fairly well. Outside, Varmiroth's mind reaches for Velokraeth's as he settles as best he can with his straps still on. « What was the dream about? »

"Uh huh! Anything. This can be my after-Turnday cake!" Kyzen goes on to burble happily, totally unaware of the crisis or conflict going on in his father or between his parents. Unaware of how 'Turnday' causes Th'ero to flinch and the last bite or two of the cake is left untouched. "Didja see anything on sweeps, mother? Any bad people or scary things?" The boy asks, just as any boy his age would. "S'Really good cake. Fruit is the best!" And on and on the child chatters, while Th'ero just watches him with an unsettling silence and intensity. Kimmila's contact serves to keep him calm enough for now and he may seek to touch his fingers against her leg under the table if he can reach. More contact. Outside, Velokraeth slips out from the wallows and stretches out on the ledge but leaves plenty of room for Varmiroth. « Death and loss. What else, when it comes to my rider? » the pale bronze says with an implied smirk and a heavy sigh. « The tunnels again. A Gather. He could not meet with yours or the little one and ill befell them. They were taken away and hidden. Yours suffered terribly, so did the little one but he escaped. Mine searched and searched and ignored the threatening note. He was determined and set on saving them. He found the little one, very weak and hurt and dying. Yours died. He never found her. That is all I can gleam from him. His thoughts are snarled and darkly troubled. He was woken up from sleep so swiftly. »

Kimmila reaches under the table and scoots her chair closer so she can tightly hold Th'ero's hand. "Nothing to report, Kyzen," she says with a little smile. Her eyes unfocus for a moment and her grip tightens all the more on Th'ero's hand. « Oh, » is Varmiroth's reply, troubled as he thinks this over. « Another nightmare. Mine will soothe him. »

Th'ero grips her hand back in return, tightly at first and then easing back but never pulling away. He will rub his fingers gently over hers, caressing almost and what would appear to be a loving way is really him fidgeting. It also masks the trembling. Kyzen beams at his mother and fires off a rather sloppy and over exaggerated salute to her before plunking himself down properly on the chair and peers at his father's plate. "Finish your cake, daddy!" he says in a sing-song voice, nudging the plate forwards. Th'ero looks pale and drawn, but he smiles a slightly strained smile to his son. "Alright. Then… you have to go to your lessons. Maybe we'll have lunch together." he goes on to murmur, glancing sidelong to Kimmila as he does. Does she mind? It will give them a few candlemarks of peace to talk while Kyzen is learning his lessons from the Harpers. Lunch is just to serve to stave off his lingering anxiety and fear that something bad will happen. Kyzen is thrilled by the prospect of having breakfast AND lunch in one day and excuses himself from the table to go use the bathroom and wash up. Outside, Velokraeth rumbles. « I know she will. Which is why I called you both home. »

Kimmila just holds Th'ero's hands, her posture tense as she sits and waits, smiling at Kyzen and then at Th'ero, nodding. "Lunch sounds good," she murmurs. She doesn't know yet if she'll be there or if it'll be daddy/Kyzen time, but she thinks it's a good idea either way. As Kyzen goes to clean himself, she squeezes Th'ero's hand and gets to her feet. "Want me to walk him to his lessons?" she murmurs. So the boy isn't going alone.

Neither of them may be rid of him until the day is out. As Kyzen wanders off, Th'ero is already at the edge of his chair and his posture tense. Kimmila's offer of going with Kyzen has him gripping her hand so fiercely she may have to yank it back or risk a temporary crushing hold. "No." he says hoarsely, catching himself just in time before he blurts the word out in a louder voice. He exhales heavily through his teeth and stands, lifting his hands up to push back his curls. That only makes them stand and stick out and make him look all the more disheveled. "No, we'll go together as a group. I just… I need to freshen up. Then we'll go." he tells her, stepping forwards to kiss her and pull her close to him. "Eew. Mushy stuff!" Kyzen complains with a wrinkled nose as he toddles on by to grab his bag and peer at his parents. "You done with the smooching'? Don't wanna be late!" Th'ero reaches over to ruffle Kyzen's hair, making the boy giggle and bat playfully at his father's hand and arm before the bronzerider moves away and into the bathroom. Left along with his mother, Kyzen will shift to stand by her, looking up with a faint frown. "Daddy seems sad. Is he sick? He acted funny when I woke up." he both asks and tells his mother. Perceptive little kid, he is!

Kimmila twitches slightly when his hold tightens on her hand, but she weathers it. She should have known better, really. She's pulled in and kissed, and she returns it. Sticking her tongue out at Kyzen, she bends to scoop up the toddler and hug him close. His question has her looking a bit surprised, studying their intelligent boy. "I think he had a bad dream," she says softly. "How did he act when you woke him up?"

Kyzen sticks his tongue right back at his mother and breaks into giggled laughter when she scoops him up. Immediately he leans forwards and wraps his arms around her neck and rests his head against her neck and shoulder. "Daddy has bad dreams?" he asks, sounding both curious and awed. "He was saying stuff but muttering it and he pushed me away like he didn't even see me. So I poked him again and told him I was hungry but then he hugged me real tight and was saying I was alright. So I told him 'no daddy, I'm hungry'. Then he said I could have whatever I wanted. So I had cake! Can I have cake too for lunch AND dinner?" Hey, he may as well try, right? Kyzen can certainly talk too when he wants to and during some point of his tale Th'ero returns and slips his arm around Kimmila, standing on her other side. "No, Kyzen. Not for lunch and dinner. Maybe just dinner. Come on, it's time you get to class."

Kimmila nods, "Everyone has bad dreams," she assures their boy, listening and nodding until Th'ero steps out. "To class, young man!" she says, gently putting the boy on the ground so he can lead the way down the stairs (carefully, holding on to the rope) and into the caverns. As they walk Kimmila keeps one eye on Kyzen and one on Th'ero, concerned more with her weyrmate than the boy, truth be told.

Th'ero looks a bit more presentable, having smoothed out his curls as much as he possibly can and washed his face, among other things. His eyes look haunted though and there is a tightness to his features as though he's wound up like a coil. Kyzen murmurs his agreement about bad dreams and then with a bounce to his step he shoulders his pack and off they go! The boy behaves himself and so does Th'ero, keeping his pace sedate. He's quiet — too quiet but he'll smile when needed, greet whoever greets them and send Kyzen off with a promise for lunch and to be good. It takes a few minutes and by the end of it, Th'ero looks worn and taking Kimmila's hand, he returns back to their weyr. Along the way, he'll have a message or note sent to say that unless it's urgent, he does not wish to be bothered for the duration of the morning.

Kimmila does most of the talking when it's required, not taking her hand from Th'ero's. As they return to the weyr she is quiet, until they're back inside. Only then does she try to take her hand from his, turning to lock the door with a soft, satisfied click. "Can I go take Varmiroth's straps off?" she says, asking him for permission before she leaves him. Or of course he's welcome to go with her.

Th'ero is grateful for Kimmila when she takes over most of the talking and for tending to the small things. Like remembering to lock the door. Her request for permission has him giving her a look, part confused and part guilty. "Of course, Wingmate. Go and see Varmiroth settled comfortably." he murmurs. Even if she hadn't asked his permission, he'd have followed as he does now. He doesn't say he will, but she'd assume wouldn't she? Th'ero lingers back, standing close to the archway leading from the wallows to the alcove for the riding gear and the weyr beyond. So long as he can see her, he is calm.

Kimmila moves out into the wallow and tends to Varmiroth, removing his straps and dabbing oil on a few rubbed spots. Then she sends him off to eat, the blue's color a bit dimmed in hunger. Turning back to Th'ero, Kimmila approaches him again and slips her arms around his waist, pulling him in close for a hug.

Velokraeth may go with Varmiroth to join the blue in some hunting or the pale bronze is simply wanting company and to observe the Weyr. With both dragons gone, the weyr is truly theirs now and Th'ero does not draw away as Kimmila approaches him. He's pulled into that hug and he holds her tight (but comfortably) against his body. Resting his head over hers, he inhales deep of her scent and exhales low and long. She's safe, Kyzen's safe. They're alive. This is reality. This has to be reality, right? "How much do you know?" he whispers gruffly, already assuming that the dragons have talked amongst themselves. Slowly, careful,y Th'ero turns to walk back into the weyr but with her still at his side. Is it any surprise either that he takes her to the bedroom?

Kimmila might be a bit surprised that's where they go, but not terribly surprised. "That you had a nightmare," she answers softly, sticking close to his side. "That Kyzen and I were taken, and I died, and Kyzen…almost died, I think?" It's a bit hazy.

The bed would be the most comfortable place to stretch out on and that is exactly what Th'ero does the moment he's led them both inside. Despite being the source of all the upset, he kicks off his boots and strips down to just his pants before crawling onto the rumpled sheets. With his back supported by the pillows, he sits up with his head against the headboard and his legs out in front of him, one arm lifted to beckon her to his side. Not that she'd need to be, right? "A very bad one," he admits and grimaces. "Yes." Shivering, he swallows thickly. "No matter what I did, I could not get to you or find you or help either of you. Yet I was painfully aware of everything that befell both of you but I was powerless to stop it…"

Kimmila watches him undress, kicking off her own boots and pulling off her tunic and bra, topless, crawling up to nestle beside him. Skin to skin, warm and soft and comforting. "Shards," she says softly, glancing up at him. "What happened to us?"

Th'ero's eyes follow her every movement and where once the sight of her undressing would lead to a bit of a romp or some sort of leering look, he is rather sedate. There is still desire, that will never wane, but the manner of which he desires and needs her now is exactly as she does: nestling in against him, skin to skin. He loops his arm around her shoulder, pulling her close and over him and his hand splays out over her skin. Her warm, unharmed and uninjured skin. "They took you away. Bound you after knocking you senseless. Kyzen they tossed in a sack." he murmurs, his eyes closing and his expression grim and troubled. Already the nightmare is beginning to fade, leaving only the emotional tremors but he remembers enough. "You were put in a room. Taunted, beaten. Left to starve. I searched and searched but could never find my way out of the tunnels. Yet I knew when you got Kyzen free and how you both huddled there miserable. Begged them to let Kyzen go. They… You said anything… So they…" He can't say it. She can guess, can't she? "Kyzen escaped." And there is more to it, but Th'ero goes quiet again.

Kimmila nestles close to him, her head on his shoulder as she listens. She frowns a bit as he relays his dream, shaking her head ever so slightly. "Anything," she murmurs, twitching slightly. But yes, she would. If she had to, she would. "Resourceful boy," she murmurs. "Our brave boy…"

Th'ero strokes his hands through her hair, over her back and her sides. Over every inch of her that he can reach, his eyes heavily lidded but he doesn't need to open them fully to know the curves and shape of her body. She'll feel him inhale deep and exhale low, his heart beating steadily, though it quickens a bit as he relives part of the nightmare. "I could have saved you from that sacrifice. But I couldn't… even Varmiroth asked me why I hadn't found you. That I had promised…" he says, guilt and frustration in his tone. He sighs. "Kyzen was so gaunt and weak. I found him of course. I had to chose. I didn't want to chose. I wanted to save you both but I could not take him with me… So I brought him back to the dragons when I should have brought him to safety. To Healers. No one was helping. I tried to go back to find you. I could hear you calling, but I could sense Kyzen weakening too and it was just… I tried so hard to find you. But you died, somewhere cold and alone…"

Kimmila closes her eyes and savors his touches, listening as he retells, knowing it helps to get it out. Also knowing how she can help. She frowns. "Your dream put you in impossible situations wingmate," she murmurs softly, shifting to rub his chest with her hand. "Impossible." Then she tilts her head to look up at him, her smile gentle. "Even if that had happened, wingmate, I would not have been alone," she reminds him. "I would have Varmiroth with me. My mind would be free, and with you." That was something the dream left out. That connection they would have had. "You could have been there with me even if I had been dying."

Th'ero's touch won't cease and varies between constant to almost idle and she is correct in her knowledge that it is helping. It is and though he's not aware of it, he is calming and the tension begins to bleed away. Her hand to his chest has him closing his eyes again and tilting his head until it rests by hers, brushing against it and seeking to nuzzle her. "I know that now. What nightmare isn't so illogical and impossible?" he whispers. "It still felt so real. I was overwhelmed by my fear and anxiety, my drive and need to find you both. I was furious. I wanted to save you and exact revenge on those who did this to us. Yet I was taunted and tormented at every turn." Her reminder has him quieting down and he mulls it over. "Yes. Yes you're right, I could have been with you then… that way…" Th'ero agrees at first and then hauls her tight against him. Protective, loving, possessive, comforting… a whole mixture of emotions mingled in that single gesture. "Even so, I wanted to BE with you. If I could have got to that room, I could have saved you. I WOULD have saved you. I wanted to. I couldn't bare the guilt knowing I had failed… and that all was for vain. And in my drive to 'play hero', I risked our son too. I would have lost everything…"

Kimmila hugs him back, holding him close as he holds her. "I'm sure you were," she says softly. She is quiet for a moment and then shakes her head. "Others would have been there. Others would have taken Kyzen. You wouldn't have been alone, wingmate."

"I felt alone," Th'ero murmurs as his hands continue to caress and stroke over her shoulders and back, down further along her sides. He keeps her held close even as his head lowers to rest against her shoulder as he sighs again. "It's just a nightmare but I can still feel it's hold on me. I don't… I can't even begin to articulate the emotions. The intensity of them. I saw Kyzen for myself and here I am holding you and still I cannot shake it. I keep remembering, Wingmate. I don't want to remember and I don't want to feel like this. A grieve but for what?"

"For nothing, wingmate," Kimmila murmurs, shifting a bit so she can kiss him gently. "You grieve for nothing, all is well and as it should be. The emotions will fade with time, we know this." Shifting again, she seeks to nuzzle his neck gently. "Your mind was just tormenting you with your worst fears."

Th'ero's eyes open when she murmurs to him that he grieves for nothing and yet he feels as though he should protest. His heart still feels heavy and his mind burdened with those emotions and the shards of imagery lingering from the nightmare. How long will this one haunt him? She is kissing him then and any protest he had dies there as he returns it, even stealing another kiss before she speaks again. His chin lifts to her nuzzling and his fingers caress nimbly over her body. "Why? Why must it torment me with my worst fears? For what purpose?" he says with a grimace.

Kimmila shakes her head slightly, resting it on his chest again. "I don't know, love," she murmurs softly. "Perhaps so you appreciate the things you have? Maybe your mind remembers when you lost everything…"

"I've always appreciated the things I have. Every day! Always. I cherish what I have, with all I am." Th'ero protests stubbornly, venting in a sense. Though it doesn't make sense, it is his only way to heal. He just has to keep talking, rather than hide from the problem and bury his emotions away. His fingers begin to stroke through her hair again, mindful of any knots or tangles, the motion almost soothing and likely just as much for him as it is for her. "Being disowned paled in comparison to this. I'd rather relive that, being left in Torince Hold with nothing than what my mind tortured me with in my dreams. The imagery, the emotional…" he shakes his head.

Kimmila closes her eyes when his fingers move through her hair, finding the tangles left behind by her riding helmet and her braid. "I don't know," she says softly, with a small frown. "I really don't know…maybe just taking what you fear most?" She tilts her head up then to look at him. "Do you often think about losing us?"

Th'ero rests his head back against the headboard and pillows, looking down and watching her as her head rests against his chest and her eyes close. His fingers continue to move slowly through her hair, often times stealing a few light caresses or brushes against her cheek or neck and shoulders. "That was my fear but magnified ten fold. It is one thing to lose you both, but to be witness and powerless to it… Knowing that you were suffering and needing me and I could not get to you. To have to choose and make the chose but only to loose regardless…" he sighs and shakes his head again, only to look down at her with a soft smile. "Of course I do. Never do I brood on it. At most a passing thought and not every day. Do you think that that could be it?"

Kimmila continues to rub her hand against his chest, gentle and soft, leaning into his touches. "It could be. But I'm not sure. Does Velokraeth ever guard your dreams?"

Th'ero leans into her rubbing and his hands drift down to her back again to caress there and of all things he begins to knead and massage at any tension there or just where he figures it would feel good. "No, he never has. I never saw a reason to. Dreams are dreams, as are nightmares. Not much can be done. They happen…" he exhales heavily. "… and I will just have to cope. It has rattled me badly and deep but I cannot afford to be jumping at every shadow."

Kimmila groans softly when he begins to massage, shifting a bit to encourage him to rub all the right places. "Mmm. Varmiroth guards mine often," she admits. "Sometimes when we were down south I'd have really bad dreams, and he was always there." She looks up at him and nods. "No, you can't, but you can still take time to shake it and get back to normal."

Th'ero's hands will follow her movement, shifting over her skin until they find those spots and he resumes massaging and kneading, taking his time. Savoring the contact and any response that she gives him to the attention. "Were they bad nightmares? Like the ones that plague me?" he asks softly, his eyes seeking hers. He chuckles dryly then, a faint smile curving his lips. "Why else did you think I sent word that I do not wish to be disturbed this morning? I want time to recover. Some peace, so I can be rid of the images still haunting me…"

Kimmila nods, "They were…kind of bad? Not as bad as some of yours." Or the one she had where he died. "Most of them were guilt dreams, that just haunted me for days after I woke up. That sort of thing." Sighing, she shifts again against his hands, relaxing beneath his touches. "Do you want to talk more about it?" she asks softly. "What haunts you, wingmate?"

They both shared that similar nightmare and that one still comes back to haunt him too at times. Th'ero nods his head and the look he gives her is one of understanding. Oh, he knows those types of dreams all too well. He has never had nightmares quite to this magnitude before though and it disturbs him. "I keep replaying fragments of the nightmare in my head. Seeing Kyzen gaunt and weak, dirtied and bloodied… Holding him like that in my arms. Glimpses of your condition. Like a cruel, cruel taunt. 'Here's your weyrmate and the love of your life, crying out for you! Suffering. But you won't find her and she'll die here.' and those tunnels… Endless tunnels." he murmurs, reduced to a choked and gruff whisper by the end. "I don't want memories like this! I can't even look at Kyzen long without remembering…"

Kimmila grimaces, shaking her head. "I would not want those images either," she murmurs. Listening, she nods slightly. "But you know in reality things would have gone much differently. You would have called the whole of the weyr down on them. Every tunnel flooded with people, us found, our captors taken to justice. Within candlemarks, wingmate. Swift. There are no endless tunnels in reality." Shifting, she cups his cheek again. "They'll fade, just like our other dreams have faded."

Th'ero listens quietly and he nods his head as well, tilting it towards her hand when she cups his cheek. His eyes close and some of the tension leaves from his face, his mouth no longer held in so tight and grim a line. "No, you're right. That was wrong in the dream. Southern Boll Hold would never be so empty. Nor would the Lord Holder ignore such a commotion or two angered dragons. Velokraeth would have alerted the Weyr…" She's right. His nightmare holds no logical reasoning. He shivers beneath her. "Yet it still seemed so real," he murmurs. "Why must it always feel so real?" His arms slip around her in a firm hug, holding her against him and over him. "I hope this one fades. I don't want to remember any of it. I do not want to be reminded anymore of what I stand to lose for my faults or if I choose poorly…"

Kimmila nods, "Exactly," she says softly, shifting so she's straddling him, resting on his thighs with one hand running through his curls and the other against his chest. "It feels real because our emotions respond to it, even if it's not logical." She leans against him during the hug, nuzzling his neck gently. "It will fade," she murmurs. "Maybe not completely…I still have memories of the dream where you died…" She shakes her head. "You'd never have to make that choice in real life, wingmate. You'd never be alone like that."

Th'ero does not move as she shifts to straddle him, all save for his arms which lift so that his hands can come to rest on her hips after caressing along her legs as she settles. He rests back against the pillows, leaning into her touch but keeping his eyes focused on hers. "Emotions are often illogical," he says with a smirk and lifts his chin to her nuzzling. He makes a low sound in his throat that is both pleased and saddened. "You are still haunted by that nightmare?" he asks her softly and then frowns. "But…" he begins to protest, only to exhale heavily. No, she's right. He wouldn't have to face it alone and he wouldn't have to chose. Or would he? What if everyone else couldn't find her? What then? Th'ero's frown deepens and his grimace returns.

Kimmila settles on his thighs and smiles at him, sitting up so they can gaze at each other. "Yes," she answers honestly. "Not often, but sometimes I'll feel a little twinge. Especially in courtyards or holds that remind me of that hold. Or whenever I see a crossbow." As he begins to grimace again she sighs inwardly and gently prompts. "What?"

Th'ero allows his hands to drift from her hips if she does not protest to caress up along her sides and further to her chest. His touch is firm but gentle as he explores her. Not that he doesn't already know every curve and inch of her body. "Little nuances. Little bits of deja vu?" he murmurs and he can understand that feeling. He's had a few of the same and as dark as it may be or twisted, he takes some comfort to know he's not alone and that she too has to work through similar setbacks. "How do you shake it off?" he asks of her, looking up into her eyes and it's obvious that he is truly seeking out her truthful opinion and suggestions on the matter. He's going to her for help. Only her. At her prompt, he blinks and then exhales softly. Oops? "I still struggle with the guilt, Wingmate. That's all. Even if it's false, it's just proving very difficult. Even though I have you here, right now, with me and Kyzen is safe at his lessons."

Kimmila nods, "Yes," she agrees, leaning into his touches, arching her back a bit to aid him. "I focus on what I do have and refuse to dwell on it," she answers. "Whenever it comes up, I think about you or Kyzen or Varmiroth in positive lights. Replace the bad memories with good ones. Sort of…reprimanding my brain." She smiles at him then, nodding her head slightly in understanding. "Those feelings…they're hard to get rid of sometimes. I'm glad you took the morning off." Leaning in then, she kisses him softly, exploring his lips with hers.

Th'ero's hands slide over her skin as he continues to touch her, pressing firmly when she arches her back to aid him. Yet his eyes never leave hers and if they do drift, it is only when he lapses into thought and closes his eyes briefly to do it. "So you redirect your thoughts. Clever," he murmurs. "And perhaps something I should try. Rather than just continue to brood on what never was and never will be." Not so long as he is living! "I'd be of no use to anyone right now or as I was moments ago. I could function but I would not be able to focus." And that could be a very bad thing for a man of his position. "I wanted to spend the morning anyhow with you. With those I love. In the dream it started…" But he's cut off from his rambling when Kimmila leans forwards to kiss him and he is eager to return them just as slow and softly exploring.

Kimmila lingers in the kiss and then pulls back, letting her hands slide over his chest soothingly. "It started how?" she asks quietly, leaning in close.

Th'ero utters a soft sound of protest when she pulls back from the kiss and soon stretches out beneath her when she slides her hands over his chest and he pulls her with him as he moves with his arm looped around her. "It was a beautiful day. A Gather. I think we went together but I was ushered away by the Steward for a meeting with the Lord Holder. I wanted so much to be with you and with Kyzen. That's when the anxiety started…" And the rest followed. His hands lift up to cup either side of her face and he tries to draw her down again as he leans up to kiss her, deep and soundly. "I won't make that mistake." he murmurs against her lips as he kisses her. "I won't."

It's a small reassurance, one that he'll hold on too even as the morning progresses on and Th'ero finds comfort in Kimmila's arms. Laying there, tangled with her on the bed, he will doze again and this time his mind will leave him in peace until Velokraeth wakes him a few minutes prior to noon. Making good on his promise, he'll slip from Kimmila's side and wake her too if the bluerider dozed off as well and together they'll clean up, dress and walk out to fetch their son from the Harper's and enjoy a summer day lunch outside before Kyzen is returned to his foster family and Th'ero must return to his duties as Weyrleader and Kimmila to her duties as a Wingrider.