Ista Hold - Gather Grounds
Ista Hold - Gather Grounds
As if some great force had wiped clear the greenery, this huge area lies open to the sky, a sea of low grass and dirt paths surrounded on all sides by the towering trees of the Istan jungle. Tall poles have been set along the perimeter, bright orange and white ribbons strung between them, and left to flutter on the island breezes. During gather days, the far edges are often reserved for supply caravans and dragon landing fields, while the center holds a myriad vendor stalls and two paved platforms, the smaller of which is likely for harper performances, the other larger one beside it for dancing. There is even a permanent racetrack, the wood and stone construction a recent addition, while older buildings meant to house runners and sale stock provide more than ample room to stable beasts for even the largest of gathers. Several roads and trails disappear off onto the forest, the most prominent of which lead toward the hold and the orchards.

Above a particular entrance to the meadow, a banner has been hung between two massive trees, displaying the seals of hold and weyr side-by-side, a symbolic gesture to be sure, the tassels beneath it formed of braided cords in orange, white, and black.


The races have yet to begin, a delay having occurred when a runner stallion by the name of 'Chubbs' broke free and had to be corralled back to his stall. During that time most of the spectators had gathered in the stands, among them Th'ero with Inri at his side and T'eo and Cenlia at the other. The Fortian Weyrleader was all prepared to enjoy the races and some light discussion while keeping Kyzen close but the young child had other things in mind. The boy spotted something of interest and tugged on his father's sleeve in impatience and sheepishly Th'ero excused himself so as to follow Kyzen. He figures the boy has spotted his mother, as Kimmila was absent fetching food and drink and so he thinks nothing of it as he follows their son across the aisle and towards the stairs. "Wait for me at the steps, Kyzen!" he calls out and the boy obediently slows down to wait.

Kimmila walks up the stairs, a tray of food and drink held in both hands as she carefully navigates the way into the stands. "Is that my big boy?" she calls, a grin on her face as she spots Kyzen waiting for her there. "You didn't run away from Daddy did you?"

"I found you!" Kyzen calls back with a beaming grin, his eyes drifting to the food and drinks she's carrying. "Nooo, I didn't run away! A bad runner did though and they said he could have been dragon food but he won't be." he babbles while Th'ero shakes his head and snickers under his breath as he takes a few steps forwards to help Kimmila by taking the tray of food carefully from her hands. "Let me help you take this. You haven't missed much," he murmurs, leaning in to sneak a kiss to her cheek while Kyzen plays 'gentleman' and loops his arm up with hers. Though he doesn't so much as gently lead her to a seat but attempt to drag her there in impatience. Dress or no dress! "Sit with me!" he protests.

Kimmila grins at Kyzen as she leans into Th'ero's kiss, happily letting him take the tray from her and giving Kyzen her arm/hand to escort back to their seat. "Thank you, kind sir," she says to their child as she sits down, spreading out her skirts before hauling him into her lap…and promptly beginning to tickle him. "There was a bad runner?"

Kyzen 'leads' her to her seat, giggling when she calls him 'sir'. "I'm not a 'sir'!" he chimes back with a wrinkled nose and then shrieks with laughter when he's hauled up into her lap and tickled. He squirms and writhes, suddenly as slippery as an eel in her grip and eventually wriggles himself free and scampers back to her side, feigning off any further "attacks" by pushing or batting at her hands and arm. "Yeah! A bad runner." Kyzen confirms, before eyeing the trays Th'ero is carrying as he sits down beside Kimmila's other side. He'll be sure to serve their son first, to keep the child from protesting. He's learning fast! "Stallion broke loose," Th'ero goes on to explain while Kyzen is content to stuff his face full of food. "Apparently belongs to the Weyrlingmaster? Who's the sister of Ista's Weyrleader. From what I understood. All's well though, they caught the beast before he could cause any harm. Anything interesting happen on your adventure?" he muses.

Kimmila puts her arm around Kyzen for a moment, giving him a side-hug before she takes her own food. "Don't rush," she murmurs to the boy, reminding him gently to eat like a gentleman instead of a runner. "Ah," she says, glancing around. "Didn't know the Weyrleader's sister was the WLM. Or that she had beasts in these races. Interesting. Not really, no. Just found food and brought it back. Lots of people here,' she says, smoothing out her skirt with a wink. "You look good," she murmurs softly.

Kyzen makes a stubborn sort of pouting face when Kimmila chides him and he mutters around his food that he knows how to eat. Sheesh. He does slow down though and eats relatively neat. As neat as a four Turn old child can. "Neither did I," Th'ero muses. "Or that Weyrwoman Cenlia is petrified of runners. She all but bowled T'eo over by clinging to him when 'Chubbs' galloped by. There are a lot of people here, aren't there? Good for Ista Hold, good for Ista Weyr." he agrees, plucking some food from the tray and offering her a bite before taking one for himself. It also gives him the excuse to lean in close and whisper low in her ear while Kyzen is distracted with his food and the activity below. "So do you. Very tempted to have Kyzen go play with the other kids under the nannies watch. So that I could take you — for a walk." Right. A "walk".

Kimmila's brows lift. "Truly that afraid? Isn't Thea afraid of runners too? Though I doubt she's /that/ afraid… Interesting. Yes, this circuit is a good thing, bringing marks and folks to lots of different places." Tilting her head to listen to him, she blushes lightly at his words, shooting him a half chiding, half wicked look. "Plenty of time for that later," she murmurs with a grin, giving his leg a squeeze.

"I'm not afraid of runners!" Kyzen pipes up and puffs up his chest too, beaming with pride as he looks over to his two parents. He's a clever child and knows when they're sitting that close they're being 'smoochy' again. Or is it special time? Either way, the child quiets down and finishes his food, legs swinging back and forth on the bench. "Mhm, I suppose I could be good until tonight." Th'ero murmurs in a gruff tone against her ear, his hand lowering to cover hers and squeeze back. Then there is a sounding call, announcing the start of the first race. "See any Fortian colours?" he asks Kimmila over the din of the roaring crowd. It's a nail-biting race, with the contenders very well matched and fighting hard to break ahead. One that folk may get too focused on.

Kimmila leans forward a bit when the race begins, briefly giving Kyzen a wink for his comments before her focus shifts. She bet on one of those runners so she cheers him on to the finish, gripping Th'ero's hand in the excitement of it all.

Th'ero grips Kimmila's hand back in return, grinning to her and Kyzen before his focus too shifts to those races. Maybe he's trying to pick out which runner could have been one she bet on. He wants to learn her tricks or see if she's just not that sharding lucky with her guessing! Kyzen is swept up in the excitement too but he can't see clearly when the people in front get up. Pouting, he tries to get his parents attention but his little voice is drowned out by cheers when a few runners start breaking ahead. Little boy logic has him slipping from his bench. He wants to watch the race too and see the winner! He'll just go down to the ground and watch there and be right back! He's not running away, right? So off he goes, scampering down the aisle and skipping down the steps.

Kimmila wasn't paying attention for a /second/. She swears. Just one tiny little second. But when she tears her eyes away from the race to look down…"KYZEN!" she calls, her eyes darting around as her heart lurches into her throat. "Kyzen is gone where is Kyzen?" she demands, gripping Th'ero's hand /very/ hard.

It just takes a second! That's what everyone is always saying and Th'ero has always scoffed at it. How could so much go wrong in a mere second? Faranth, is he ever wishing he never doubted it now. Hissing through his teeth as Kimmila crushes his hand, Th'ero's eyes scan the bench, half expecting to find Kyzen crouching there and being silly and he can then go on to reassure Kimmila that all is well. Only, the boy isn't there. He's no where to be seen. Fear lances through Th'ero's heart, cold and gripping. "Kyzen!" he calls too, but the cheering is drowning out their voices. "It's alright, Wingmate. We'll find him! He can't have gone far, he hates crowds." Someone should have seen him too and taking her by the hand he begins to lead her down the aisle as the race comes to a close. Th'ero could care less who won or loss. He wants to find his son! He NEEDS too. It was just a nightmare, right?

Kimmila darts a glance at Th'ero and there's no denying the fear in her eyes or her expression. Just a nightmare…though she grips his hand harder as they go down the aisle and then swiftly down the stairs. "Kyzen!" she continues to holler. "Wait. One of us should stay up there in case he comes back. One of us needs to stay up there."

Th'ero's expression mirrors much of the same fear and anxiety that Kimmila has and that any worried father should! He clenches his jaw however and grits his teeth, refusing to give into panic like he did in his nightmare. This is not his nightmare! Ista Hold is teeming with activity and with the race done, the stands are settling down again and so is the noise around them. Yet there is still no sign of Kyzen. "No," Th'ero tells her without pause, his voice tight and rough. "No, I don't want us apart. I'll leave the firelizards there… at least Boromir. I'll send Electricus and Cranky to search. We'll find him together, Wingmate!" Please? He grips her hand even tighter, his eyes flashing with urgency. They don't have time to argue this!

Kimmila hesitates, turning to peer back up at the stands. "But…" she protests, swallowing thickly. What if Kyzen is already up there? What if he's thinking they abandoned him? Left and forgot about him? One of them should have stayed! "Boromir sits in our seats," she says firmly, darting a look at Th'ero and then around. "Not in the rafters, no where else. By the tray." Their abandoned tray of happy food, which she'd just chastised Kyzen for eating too quickly…

"He's already there." Th'ero reassures her and he points over her shoulder. Sure enough, there is Boromir, sitting by the tray and ignoring all the tasty morsels of food right by his side. The bronze sits sentinel like, alert and tense and waiting. If Kyzen comes back, the boy may very well panic but the firelizard will be there to be sure that they know of his return and can sweep in before the child rushes off again. "Come! We'll find him." Together. Now he sounds fierce and determined, his fear replaced by a simmering frustration. Guiding her down the steps, Th'ero's eyes scan the crowds and each young child is eyed with scrutiny and each false one sends a new jolt of bitter disappointment through his heart. Where COULD Kyzen be? "How can a child his age move so sharing fast?" he says in exasperation. "Kyzen!" he calls again, only to turn to a few spectators in desperation. "Any of you see a small boy, roughly four Turns? Blue eyes, curly black hair?" They shake there heads and look sympathetic. Nope, sorry?

Kimmila grips his hand tightly, fingers laced through his. "Maybe he had to go to the bathroom?" she asks, peering around. Each decline of their question has her getting more and more worried. "Wingmate…" she protests softly, even though there's nothing more they can do but keep looking. Up on the heights, Varmiroth croons his concern, his mind reaching out to all the other dragons without a trace of his usual shyness. An image of Kyzen flashes in his mind as he beseeches the others to send to their riders to keep an eye out for the child.

For a moment, Th'ero relaxes as his mind wraps around that concept. "Maybe! Maybe he did." That is a comforting thought but it doesn't last for long. Too many 'what ifs?' and his concern floods back, causing him to grip Kimmila's hand fiercely. "It's alright!" he whispers to her, trying not to let on that he's so panicked. He does not want the crowds to see Fort's Weyrleader in a fit because he cannot keep his own son at his side. Velokraeth adds to Varmiroth's imagery, supporting the blue and trying to gleam anything of worth from the other dragons and all the while lending support to his rider. Back at the track, Th'ero has begun to lead Kimmila away from the stands and it is then that they get their first lead. A passing stablehand frowns as Th'ero repeats Kyzen's description and nods. "Yeah, I've seen a tyke like that." The simple man drawls, jutting his head towards the picket lines. "Tore down here with some other little ones all clamorin' to see the winners. Whole lot of 'em have gone off somewhere. Might've been with some folk. Can't say I was too focused, but he was the only dark curly haired one of the lot!"

Kimmila's heart lurches when finally someone claims to have seen Kyzen, and she pulls at Th'ero's hand, wanting to break into a run on the way to the pickets. "Kyzen!" she calls again, eyes scanning the crowds, the runners, everything in search of their son.

Th'ero hastily thanks the stableman and taking Kimmila firmly by the arm he hurries off with her, picking up on her desire to rush to the pickets. "Kyzen!" he calls out, joining her voice. As the pathways narrow, he has to allow his arm to slip from hers and a cluster of workers hurrying by have him stepping aside, lagging a bit behind her. "Kimmila, hold on!" he calls. Yet up ahead, what's that behind a small pen of yearling runners? Doesn't that look like a curly head of black hair disappearing around the back of a utility shed?

Kimmila won't hold on, not with the sight of Kyzen - or who she thinks is Kyzen - darting around a corner. She trusts Th'ero to keep up as she lifts her skirts and runs around the shed. "KYZEN!"

Th'ero would have kept up if it weren't for some taunting twist of fate and he ends up bumping into some workers, knocking the materials they were carrying to the ground. Swearing under his breath, he hastily rights as much of it as he can, his eyes wildly following Kimmila's form as she hurries onwards. "Wingmate!" he calls again, but by then she's already well ahead. Uttering hasty apologies, Th'ero tears after her, not caring how this may be gossiped about. Around the shed she goes, only to find that it's not Kyzen at all but a young girl who peers at her in a mixture of confusion and wariness. Who're you?

Meanwhile, the real Kyzen is on the opposite side and alone, glancing about with tear filled eyes as he realizes he got turned around and is lost. Sniffle! He starts to call for them and Th'ero will hear his voice faintly ove rthe sounds of the crowds and runners. Did Kimmila hear too? Calling Electricus back, he sends the brown after the bluerider while he tears down the side path to find their son wandering. "Kyzen!" Th'ero calls and the boy turns, overjoyed for a moment to see his father until he notices the anger that has replaced the relieved look on the bronzerider's features. In a few long strides, Th'ero has Kyzen gripped by the shoulder and his other hand gives the poor boy a good hard smack to his behind before crouching down. "Don't EVER do that again, do you hear?" he says in a rough voice. Too rough, maybe because Kyzen begins to bawl loudly. If Kimmila didn't hear him before, she will now?

Kimmila stammers apologies to the girl - at least she doesn't swear at her? - and turns, realizing that she's lost Th'ero. Now she's lost! Only she's a grownup, so she moves swiftly along the path. Hearing Kyzen's voice she doesn't get to him until Th'ero already has, and given the boy a spanking. Running up, Kimmila grips Th'ero's shoulder but does not interfere, though her exression is nothing but relieved.

Electricus swoops in after Kimmila, following the bluerider though the brown's presence is unnecessary. She'll find her way just fine and the firelizard vanishes to rejoin Boromir and Cranky. Th'ero has certainly given Kyzen a good spanking, having never truly been this hard on the boy before. With his hands still gripping their sobbing son by the shoulders, he will look up when he feels Kimmila grip his shoulder. "I had too." he tells her, as if already feeling a touch guilty for punishing Kyzen so swiftly and harshly. Upon seeing his mother there, Kyzen begins to howl even louder and promptly holds out his arms to her and tries to get away from Th'ero.

Kimmila grits her teeth and shakes her head at Kyzen, though she crouches down to be more at his level. "Kyzen," she says softly, "you need to apologize to your father for running away. You /scared/ us, son. You know what you did was wrong." THough it's taking all her strength to not grab him into her arms and never let him go.

Th'ero's eyes flicker with a mixture of hurt and frustration when Kyzen turns away from him and goes to Kimmila for comfort, his mouth drawn back and grim though he says nothing. When Kimmila denies their son however and crouches down, he will move over to stand by her side and support her. Kyzen's cries taper to hiccuping sobs and he wipes at his eyes with the back of his hands. "'M not supposed to run away. But I didn't! I wanted to see the pretty runners and I couldn't and I was just going down to peek and come right back!" Honest! He begins to sniffle and cry again. "I didn't mean to!" he protests.

Kimmila shakes her head, glancing at Th'ero and giving him a slight head tilt. Go to Kyzen. "You still left us, and that's the same thing as running away. We didn't know where you were. We were /scared/."

"I didn't mean to scare you," Kyzen mumbles tearfully, sniffling noisily. He's rubbing at his eyes again, looking chagrined and properly scolded. When Th'ero picks up on Kimmila's cue, he does try to reach for Kyzen but the boy makes a grumbled and half-whined sound of protest and twists away, only to lurch right into Kimmila and wrap his little arms around her neck. Denied! Th'ero looks so clueless and baffled that in any other situation it could be hilarious.

Kimmila sighs softly, but she won't deny their son or push him away. Gathering him into her arms she pushes to her feet but turns so the boy is between them both, giving Th'ero an apologetic look. "Daddy spanked you because you ran away, you know that right?" she says softly. "We're both so glad we found you and you're okay."

Wise move on Kimmila's part. Kyzen would have been so confused if she pushed him away and probably would have had a meltdown. He's growing tired from his little stunt, all the food and the excitement. Resting his head against her shoulder, he clings to her and only makes a small sad whine to show that he understands. He doesn't LIKE it though that he was spanked. "You gave us a bad scare, Kyzen." Th'ero echoes Kimmila's words, reaching out to rest his hand on Kyzen's back but withdrawing it when the boy protests and turns his head away. The bronzerider sighs heavily. "Kyzen, you have to learn not to run off. We're glad you're okay and I didn't mean to scare you but you didn't listen. Remember what happens when you don't listen?" Suddenly the boy tenses in Kimmila's arms and he lifts his head, wide eyed with fear. "I'm going to be dragon food? Like 'Chubbs'?" Tears flood his eyes again and his lip trembles as he begins to wail. "I dun wanna… be… dragon… food!" Ooh boy. Does someone need a nap or what? Th'ero just looks utterly perplexed and eyes Kimmila. "I don't even… Shells, no, Kyzen. Hush now." he tries to sooth their son. Shh, you're attracting attention! Th'ero has to feign a few strained smiles to some passing stablemen and workers who wander by but are clearly peering to try and glimpse what is going on back there!

Kimmila exhales softly, but Th'ero will know it's a sigh. "Kyzen," she says softly. "You know Varmiroth and Velokraeth would never, ever eat you. You know dragons don't hurt people." Don't be stupid. Leaning her head back, she tries to catch his gaze. "Kyzen," she says softly. "Kyzenviro." Uh-oh? Full name? "Calm down."

Th'ero does catch her sigh and he exhales one of his own as he steps in beside her and slips is arm around her back. Time for them to move, even if Kyzen is still having a moment. The boy lifts his eyes to meet hers, still watery but he has calmed down at the use of his REAL name. Uh oh! "Oh." Right. "Not dragon food. Runners are, but not me." Logic! He sniffles and wipes his nose with his hand again. "'M tired." he mutters glumly. "And I won't run away again." Proof in point? Kyzen snuggles closer against Kimmila. Now she's stuck carrying him! Th'ero tilts his head to whisper in her ear. "Want me to find a room for us to use?"

Kimmila strokes Kyzen's hair gently and nods to Th'ero. "Please," she says softly. "I think our time watching the races is over for now. I think we all need a little quiet time." She looks lovinly down at their son, and then apologetically at Th'ero. She's guilty.

Guilty of what? Th'ero doesn't seem jealous or upset, at least not towards Kimmila's behaviour to Kyzen. He's relieved too that the boy is safe and sound, though he's troubled for other reasons. Namely questioning if he was right to be so rough - again - with their son. "It might just be too much for him right now. Let's see if we can't acquire one of the guest rooms, at least for a few candlemarks so he can have a nap. There is always feasting and dancing later." he murmurs, reaching over to ruffle Kyzen's hair and this time the boy doesn't move away and just smiles, already in a semi-doze.

Kimmila looks relieved when Kyzen doesn't pull away from his father's touch, and this time her sigh is one of relief. "I'm sure we can find somewhere," she murmurs, beginning to walk back towards the main hold. "You are Fort's Weyrleader after all…though if nothing else we might be able to find a nice stable hay loft to rest in…"

Th'ero snorts softly. "I'm not about to go pull rank," he protests and it's weakly done at best. When it comes to Kyzen and Kimmila, he'd pull his rank card (quietly) for them. Content to return to the main Hold, his steps slow and pause when Kimmila mentions 'hay loft'. "We're not bedding in a loft, but I've a better idea. You alright to walk anywhere in that dress?" he asks her with a half-wry smile as he slips his arm around her a little more firmly.

Kimmila eyes him at his protest. She knows better. Brows lift at his question and she looks down at her outfit. "Of course. I wore comfortable shoes." She /never/ wears uncomfortable shoes, even if the ones she wears don't match the outfit. Comfort above /all/ else.

She is a smart and wise woman! Th'ero chuckles dryly at her reply and leans in to kiss her cheek again as he whispers by her ear. "Then follow me." He'll let her carry Kyzen, unless the dozing child becomes too heavy and he will keep her close to his side as they walk along. Picture perfect happy family here! It'll be evident soon enough where he's planning to take them as they veer away from the courtyard and Gather squares and start to drift towards the black sand beaches and docks. "Why go inside on a hot and beautiful day like this?" he murmurs and as they make their way down, it's obvious that so few are at the waters. Later may be a different story but for now most are above at the races.

Kimmila shifts Kyzen in her arms but seems okay to carry the boy for now. "To the beach?" she asks, a bit surprised at his choice. "Do we even have a blanket?" The black sands and water look so tempting though, and she hardly seems like she's protesting.

"To the beach," Th'ero says and is pleased even with her slight surprise for his choice. Why not? "No, we do not but that could be remedied… You there!" he calls to a group of drudges by the docks. They give him a cursory glance and then straighten when they realize what knot he's wearing. Rank card? Totally being used. Th'ero is polite however and puts in his simple request, pointing first to the Hold and then back over to a cluster of tropical trees offering some shade over the hot black sands and with a nice view of the waters. The drudges all bob their heads and scurry off and Th'ero takes Kimmila's free hand to lead her forwards. "All is taken care of, Wingmate." he says with another half-smile.

Kimmila grins, "I love you," she says happily to him, giving his hand a squeeze before she has to take it back. Kyzen is getting big now. Two hands are required for the toddler, especially while walking on shifting sands. "It's so beautiful here," she murmurs. "We should come visit more often…"

Th'ero grins back. "I love you too," he tells her and squeezes her hand. Kyzen is growing bigger! Bigger every day. "Isn't it? It has been awhile since we've relaxed on a beach. Perhaps we will come by more often to Ista. Maybe when we're caught in winter?" he muses as he leads her slow and carefully over the shifting sands to those trees. Some beach grass grows there and the fronds from the tree provided sufficient dappled shade and sunlight to make for a comfortable spot. Even here it's still hot but not overly so and the breeze off the water is salty and refreshing. They won't have to wait long until one of the drudges hurries up to them with a large blanket folded under his arm. Th'ero thanks him respectfully and dismisses him as he spreads out the blanket and then weighs it down with a few small rocks at each corner. Standing, he sweeps his arm and grins to Kimmila again. "Your seat, m'lady."

Kimmila shifts Kyzen a bit in her arms as the blanket is spread out, watching Th'ero tend to it with a small but loving smile. "Thank you kind sir," she says with a soft laugh as she first lays Kyzen down in the shade and then settles down herself with a relieved sigh. "I'm so glad we found him, Th'ero. Faranth…"

Th'ero will slip off his boots and roll up his pants to his knees while Kimmila settles their son on the blanket and then herself. Kyzen is dead asleep, curled up comfortably on the blanket and perfectly safe. Carefully, Th'ero sits down beside Kimmila, putting his back to a tree trunk but making sure Kyzen is well within their view as he pulls her close to her side and keeping his arm looped around her. "As am I," he says softly, kissing the top of her head and exhaling shakily. "For a moment… I was so afraid. It was almost like my nightmare made real. How fast he vanished…"

Kimmila kicks off her shoes as well, fluffing her skirts before she settles beside Th'ero, resting her head on his shoulder and nestling close. She also keeps a close watch on the boy though. Just in case. "It did seem like your dream was coming true," she agrees softly. "It was less than a minute. Seconds. Not long at all…and then he was gone…" She shudders at the memory, watching Kyzen sleep for a long moment before her eyes shift to the beach and the water again.

Th'ero nestles back against Kimmila's side and at last he begins to relax since Kyzen first took off and scared them all. He will keep an eye on the boy too but Kyzen just sleeps on and on. "Isn't that the saying? 'It only takes a second'. How true it is… and I won't soon forget it. I had hoped he had outgrown the stage of running off but he's a child. Of course he'll run off when his curiosity is too strong. He's still so young," he says softly, grimacing and then nuzzling her gently. "It wasn't my nightmare though. Same scare, the same fear and anxiety but we had so many folks and the dragons and firelizards. I don't think Kyzen would go with any strange folk either, not with his fear of crowds and strange people." he murmurs quietly.

Kimmila closes her eyes and lifts her chin to his nuzzling, exhaling softy. "Yes, so many people around. Plus the dragonriders that were keeping an eye out for him…" She nods again. "I do wonder at his fear of crowds and people though. Is that something we should work on? Or just leave alone?"

"Very different," Th'ero murmurs with a low exhale. "In my nightmare, I was alone. You and Kyzen had vanished and I could not even seem to get Velokraeth to relay help to the Weyr. We were lucky, Wingmate." he says softly, holding her close and when he speaks again his voice is a touch guilty. "I did not mean to be so harsh in my punishment. He just scared me so bad and I knew of no other way to get the point into his head…" he tries to explain, only to shake his head. "He may grow out of it, love. He's only four but he's behaving better in the Gathers than he did in Ierne Weyrhold."

Kimmila nods, "We were lucky," she agrees. "Guess he's not ready to go without his leash yet…" Eyeroll. "I don't think you were harsh," she says, glancing up at him. "He needed a punishment for running off. Maybe this time he'll remember before he does it."

Th'ero grimaces as he looks over her head to where Kyzen still sleeps, though the boy whimpers a bit in his sleep and rolls onto his back before settling again with a quiet sigh. "We can't have him on a leash forever, Kimmila. He has to learn and perhaps this was a good lesson for him. For all of us. Kyzen is four. He's old enough to understand basic right and wrong." Right? Right. Looking down at her, he smiles but it's a touch sad. "I don't like having to punish him so severely but I just… did it even before I thought about it. Then he wouldn't accept comfort from me or my touch…" Which is such a typical trick played by children but how is he to know that?

Kimmila sighs. "But what if he runs off again?" Clingy mother is clingy? "He's only four." ONLY. "I think you did fine, wingmate. And no, he wouldn't. You'd just hit him. He didn't connect you with comfort, only with the spanking. But he'll be fine when he wakes up, you'll see."

Th'ero leans his head back but only so he can give her a lingering look. Clingy mother is clingy! It makes him smile, almost amused if it wasn't so serious a topic too. "Yes, he is four and he will get into mischief. As any boy does. If he runs off again, then we punish him again until it sticks." He's missing the point, isn't he? "You've truly bonded with him, haven't you?" he says softly, only to smirk. "We'll see." Kyzen isn't waking any time soon though and why would he? He's comfortable int he shade and the sound of the rolling waves is soothing.

Kimmila blanches slightly. "But I don't /want/ him to run off again. What if he gets hurt?" Then at his question the bluerider blushes and looks away, staring at their sleeping boy. "Yeah," she admits softly. "I…don't know why, but…yeah. With him like I never did with Ziani, even though I don't see him nearly as often as I saw her…" Until she ran away of course.

Th'ero is quiet for some time when she blanches and then he lifts a hand up to gently stroke it over her hair and brush his fingers against her cheek. "I don't want him to run off again either and for that reason. My greatest fear is that he will get hurt or worse… He is our only son." And he would be devastated. Far more than he may ever realize or admit. "We can't keep him safe all the time though." he says softly, drawing her closer against his side as he kisses the top of her head and inhales her scent. "I've bonded with him too." he tells her, knowing full well how tough it was for her with Ziani. He never expected to be so close to Kyzen, having assumed a gap would form between him and the boy through fostering. Yet his nightmare showed him otherwise. "It makes me happy to see how much he adores you." Th'ero whispers softly.

Kimmila closes her eyes and tilts her head into his cheek. "So what do we do then?" she asks quietly, her brows furrowing in thought and worry. "You have," she agrees with a nod. "We both have, despite him being fostered. Or maybe because of it, who knows." Then she blushes again, a little smile pulling at her lips. "He adores you too, wingmate. He wants so much to be like his daddy."

Th'ero rubs his cheek back against hers in a tender and gentle way. "What can we do?" he replies softly, equally as worried and yet unable to find any other reasoning. "He has to learn and I want him to be independent. I don't… I don't want to rule his life." Be strict, he means. Obviously to some degree, but Th'ero still harbours fears that he'll turn into Ilentho, cruel and hardened towards his offspring. Then, in a fit of dry humour, Th'ero murmurs. "I could get you pregnant again? Maybe a litter this time. He'll have siblings to watch out for and to watch him." Problem solved! Yeah, right. He braces for a good elbow to the side or a smack for that one. his crooked smirk sobering to a sheepish smile. "Don't know why he'd want to be me."

Kimmila glances at him, her smile soft. "You're not going to rule his life." She knows what he means by that. He'll never be his father. Then she snorts, but no elbow or smack are forthcoming, as she just thoughtfully looks at the sea. Then a laugh. "Why wouldn't he want to be you, wingmate? You're strong, well respected, well liked? He looks up to you - as he should. the other day I heard him boasting that /his/ daddy was the Weyrleader, and /his/ daddy brought Mommy breakfast."

"So we will not harness him, then?" Th'ero murmurs, giving her a soft but loving look when he glimpses that understanding in her eyes. It makes him love her all the more to know that she can catch the hidden meanings to his words at times. No explanation, no judgement. He hugs her close, chuckling dryly when she only snorts for his little quip about a litter. Did he escape unscathed from that, truly? Her laughter has him grinning but her words have him looking away, first down at their son and then out over the black sanded beach. "Because I have flaws. It is good that he looks up to me and to you too, Wingmate. I do not want him to BE me, though. You know how I am."

Kimmila shrugs, "Everyone has flaws," she says quietly. "Your flaws are worse than some but far better than most. Hopefully he's better than us, but… we're not that bad." Then she sighs. "I…maybe just another kind of leash? Maybe a rope he can hold on to?"

Th'ero chuckles dryly. "No, we're not that bad. We're flawed, broken but good to the core." he murmurs and when she sighs, he holds her close to him and strokes her hair and side with his fingers. His touch will linger too as his fingertips touch the fabric of her dress. "Wingmate… no." he tells her softly. "We can't keep tethering him. He won't learn that way. What do we do as he grows older? He'll be ridiculed if we insist he hold on to a rope or be harnessed or tethered."

Kimmila sighs heavily, her muttered "Why not?" more rhetorical than an actual question. "He's only four…" And he /just/ ran off! Shouldn't that prove her right?

Th'ero frowns when she sighs heavily, confused by her downturn in mood. "He won't be four Turns forever, love and he was doing very well up until we got distracted by the races. He did not run from us at Fort Sea Hold. Perhaps… if we show we trust him? You said he looks up to us both." So having their trust would mean a lot to a child, right?

Kimmila shakes her head a bit. "But he just ran off. When he wakes up, what do we tell him? He ran off so now he doesn't have to wear his harness again? It just seems strange to me. He didn't do it this time…"

Th'ero exhales softly and slips his fingers under her chin, attempting to tilt it up as he gazes down at her. Rather than answer her with words, he kisses her instead. Several times and each one drawn out longer than the last until he has to break away and catch his breath to calm himself. His forehead resting against hers, his hand idly caresses against the curve of her body. "We don't have to tell him anything this time. He has been sufficiently punished." he whispers softly. "Why does it trouble you so, Wingmate?" Talk to him.

Kimmila leans into the kisses, happy to pause their conversation for such an enjoyable interruption. When the kiss breaks she leans against him and sighs softly. "I was so frightened when he ran off," she whispers. "He /is/ our only son and I love him so much. The thought of losing him, or him being hurt…I just can't bear it.

Th'ero holds her against him, secure and comforting. "We were both frightened," he murmurs soothingly and is recalling how fear was so quick to lance through his heart and his emotions rise to panic when their calls to their son went unanswered. If it weren't for that stableman… would they still be searching? Th'ero's mouth draws back into a grim line and he kisses her again, slow and tenderly and then his lips trace down to her neck where he whispers against her skin. "I can't… could not bear it. The nightmare…" It is still raw in his mind. Both nightmares! "He is our only son, for now, and we can only do our best to protect him, Wingmate."

Kimmila closes her eyes and sighs, lifting her chin to his kisses. "I want him to be safe forever," she admits softly, with a slight wince at how she /knows/ that sounds.

How does it sound? Th'ero only makes a soft, soothing sound when she sighs and winces. What is it? "He will be as safe as we can make him, love. You know that and it's the only comfort I can think of and one that I remind myself. As much as it pains me and worries me, I will do all in my power to keep him safe. As I would do to keep you safe…" But he cannot always be there to protect them and for that reason that worry will always linger.

Kimmila turns to gaze at Kyzen, sleeping there so safe and peaceful, and she nods. "I know," she whispers. "I know." Gazing at the sea she takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly, offering him an apologetic smile. "What should we do when he wakes up? More races?"
Th'ero watches Kimmila carefully, his brows still knit together in a frown that is now more worried than thoughtful. Her apologetic smile has him exhaling softly and shaking his head. What does she have to be sorry for? "We can do whatever we would like," he murmurs, pulling her against him and not at all shy about where his hands may roam over her body and her dress. He may even cheekily let his hand slip under the fabric to caress along her leg, hiking it up a bit in the process. He kisses her again. "We could stay here or we could go to the races or walk together… whatever is pleasing and enjoyable. First though, I'd like to have some fun…" he drawls, leaning down and in to nibble at her neck, almost ticklish-like. Kyzen is asleep and they're more or less alone under these trees on the beach.

Kimmila shifts beneath his hands, but then she startles a little bit. "Here? Wingmate, it's too open, Kyzen is here…" And she…denies him? She's shaking her head at least, putting her hand on top of his and shooting him a look.

Th'ero startles when she startles and is only confused by her denying of him and the look she shoots. Then it all clicks and he blushes darkly. "I… no — shards! That's not what I meant by having fun. I mean, I would love that too but not here." Definitely not! He is not that brazen or selfish or perverted. He's withdrawn his hand and touch, smoothing out her skirts apologetically and keeping his gaze lowered. "I was only wanting to touch you and kiss. Light stuff. Comforting?" Making out, he means. Nothing over the top, though he did get a bit carried away with his roaming hands and for that he is apologetic.

Kimmila ohs, coughing and blushing. Hard to blame her for jumping to /that/ conclusion when that's where it /always/ leads. "Oh," she says aloud, dipping her face down for a moment, embarrassed for her misunderstanding. "Well, /that/…yes," she agrees, turning a bit to offer him a kiss.

Th'ero is usually quite frisky and passionate, since Kimmila is very good at stirring that in him and the dress she wears today tempts him but he knows when to behave and behave he will! He will return her kiss, but he does not press for anything further save to take her hand in his and hold it firmly, his thumbs rubbing gently over her skin. "Maybe we are a touch too public here?" he says softly, his gaze sliding out to the beach. There are a few folks wandering or also sitting and enjoying the sun and waters but not that many and none are looking their way.

Kimmila glances around again and nods with a soft chuckle. "It feels…very public," she agrees, giving his hand a squeeze as she turns hers to lace her fingers through his.

Th'ero lifts her hand up after she laces her fingers through his and kisses the back of her hand, a chaste and sweet gesture that if any of the other Gather goers saw it may think it's sweet and cute (or gag worthy). "Later then," he promises with a wry grin. "Later." He will ravish her. Kyzen will be with his foster family, they will have alone time and he will enjoy her in a different way in that dress. For now though, he is content to cuddle with her and enjoy the lulling sound of the waves on the shore and the cooling breeze. Not much later the other drudges return and they're carrying a laden tray and some pitchers with them and Th'ero chuckles dryly. "I was beginning to wonder if they'd ever come back," he muses quietly to Kimmila before rising to help arrange the food and drink on the blanket and well away from the sand before dismissing the drudges. "Since we had to leave our first tray behind… figured we could try again?"

Kimmila smiles tenderly at his kiss, appreciating the gesture very much. Th'ero is a romantic and she loves it and it's all a bit secret from almost everyone else on Pern. "Ooh, that was a great idea. I'm starving," she murmurs, smiling and nodding thanks to the drudges before she looks for something she can pick up and offer to Th'ero from her fingers.

Th'ero can be a very big romantic! She would know this and has seen him at his best (and worst). Only she will ever receive such romantic gestures and everyone else can be in the dark. "Excellent. There looks to be plenty here." he murmurs, smiling down at her fondly as he sets a few glasses aside and pours some chilled cider for them both. There is juice for Kyzen and water for them all. The food is all fresh finger foods - sliced veggies and various dips, rolled thin sliced meats wrapped around cheese, grilled kebabs, some light crispy flat bread and of course some fruit. Always fruit. Th'ero chuckles throatily when she offers him a morsel from her fingers and he takes it, delicately nibbling her fingertips before picking up a small piece of food to return the gesture. "Should we wake him?" he asks softly as he nods his head to the still sound-asleep Kyzen.

Kimmila takes his offering and sips the cider, turning to look at Kyzen. "He's probably hungry," she murmurs. "Why don't we try and see if he wants to eat? If not he can go back to sleep…"

Th'ero smiles and quickly pops two more bites of food in his mouth as he nods his head in agreement. "Couldn't hurt," he mumbles around the mouthful of food and then shifts on the blanket. Does he just normally wake up the child? No, of course not. He decides to be 'playful' and lightly tickles Kyzen in a few spots. When that only earns a grumpy whine and the boy squirming away, the bronzerider resorts to a few light pokes. Hey, hey, hey. Kyzen stirs and yawns mightily before rubbing at his eyes. Ugggggh. "Whaaat?" he complains. "M'sleepy 'n… go away." Th'ero snickers softly. "Kyzen, wake up. There's food…" And suddenly their son sits up, his curly hair all plastered in a sleepy mess and sticking up in odd angles. FOOD. He crawls his way over to Kimmila's side and promptly half flops against her legs.

Kimmila laughs softly, rubbing Kyzen's back when he flops against her. "Hungry, kiddo?" she murmurs, offering him some food dipped in, well…dip. "Daddy got us some food."

Kyzen had begun to nod off again just resting against his mother's side but his eyes blink open again at her offering. He takes it and gobbles it down, Th'ero leaning in to wipe his hands clean before he's the chance to smear dip all over Kimmila's dress. Pushing the tray of food closer to the child, Th'ero will sit himself at Kimmila's side but curves his body enough to keep Kyzen wedged between them. No chance of the kid wandering off now! "So good!" Kyzen burbles as he stuffs himself and Th'ero sighs. "Leave some for us! Jays." He'll quickly snatch a few bites, splitting what he snares with Kimmila. "Where are we?" Kyzen asks now that he's a little more alert, tilting his head back to peer up at his mother first and then his father. "Why is the sand so dark here?"

"Ista," Kimmila says with a little grin, knowing he knows /that/ much. "Just down on the beach. And it's the volcanoes. They make black sand instead of gold. "How are you feeling? Slow down, you're going to choke." And she'll happily take the food Th'ero salvages for them.
Kyzen frowns and then bobs his head. Oh right, Ista! He knew that. His eyes light up and swallowing hastily, he beams up at her with such a hopeful look it'll be next to impossible to tell him no. "Can we swim, mother? Pleeeease? I wanna swim! And volcanoes?" His eyes widen further! VOLCANOES. He makes exploding noises and forget food. He crawls away and begins to plunge his hands into the blank sands. "Can we take some home?" he asks. Apparently Kyzen is feeling just fine! Th'ero is trying so hard not to laugh or snicker, content to eat and enjoy his cider while Kimmila is left to field their son's many questions. Not so romantic?

Kimmila waits until his questions have ebbed somewhat, before she answers them. "We can swim in a little bit I think. Or you can at least. I didn't bring my swimming clothes." And she's not going to swim in this gown. No way. "Sand? Uh, sure, if you'd like…not sure how we'll carry it, though I'm sure your clothes will take home plenty."

Th'ero's grin turns wry and he tilts his head to whisper privately to Kimmila's ear. "Don't need clothes to swim," he informs her, amusement thick in his voice. Leaning away, he speaks in a clearer tone. "I'll take you, Kyzen but we'll stick to the shallows and we have to wait for our food to settle a bit." Don't eat and swim! Suddenly, Th'ero is shooting Kimmila a warning look! No, don't say that! Too late. Kyzen blinks and looks from the sand to his clothing and back to the sand. OH! He… promptly stuffs sand in his pockets and… yes, in his pants. Why not? Th'ero just presses the palm of his hand to his face. Sigh. "Glad we're not doing our son's laundry." he mutters. Those poor, poor Fortian laundry workers.

Kimmila winks at Th'ero and then /grins/ at Kyzen's actions. "There you go!" she encourages. Who cares? It's just sand.

It is just sand! But Th'ero would not want sand in his pants and so he doesn't quite grasp why Kyzen would willingly stuff his clothing with it. Elbowing her gently for her encouragement, he drains the last of his cider while their son just beams proudly at her. "Can we go swimming now?" he prompts again, already beginning to squirm and wriggle his way out of his (sandy) tunic. Th'ero glances to Kimmila, shifting so he is resting on his knees now. "I don't see why not." he tells the boy, but to her he murmurs. "Are you coming with, Wingmate? Or will you wait here and watch?"

Kimmila shakes her head. "I'm not going to get out of this dress until we're in private," she says with a wink. Perhaps she's wearing some nice things beneath. "You two have fun, I'm going to relax here for a bit."

Well, THAT gets Th'ero's attention and he looks at Kimmila with hungry eyes that are likely trying to visualize undressing her. Ooh, what surprise does she have beneath all that silky fabric? He grins wryly at her and all the while Kyzen is oblivious as he wriggles free of his pants too, clad only in his underclothes. "Come on!" he protests, tugging at his father's pant leg. "You're sure?" Th'ero murmurs to Kimmila again and then ruffles Kyzen's hair. "Alright you! Hold on." Standing up, Th'ero also strips down until he is only in his undershorts, careful to fold his clothing and set it aside. This ought to be interesting later, trying to dress again in damp and sandy skin! Taking Kyzen's hand, Th'ero will lead him down to the water's edge and then allow the boy to rush forwards to meet the rolling waves.

Kimmila settles back on the blanket, her back against the tree and nibbles food and sips cider while her two favorite men (other than Varmiroth) play in the waters.

Th'ero wades into the water after Kyzen, hovering close by or swimming beside him (more like floating as much as he can in such shallow waters) but for the most part he allows the boy to do as he wants. They're out there for a good span and handful of minutes, ending when Kyzen is bowled over by a wave too strong for a boy his age when he ventures out further. No wails or crying, just sputtering and coughing while Th'ero scoops him up and thumps him on the back gently. "That's enough, I think." he muses, holding Kyzen against his hip and carrying him back to where Kimmila is resting. He sets Kyzen down on a patch of sunny beach grass and settles himself nearby too to dry off by air and sun. "Enjoying yourself?" he'll drawl to Kimmila, grinning.

Kimmila nods, flashing Th'ero a grin when they return. "I am. Very much so," she assures him, rubbing his skin gently. "I love you two together. You're so cute."

Th'ero's skin will be damp from the water and warmed by the sun. Hopefully he dries quickly enough or he'll burn (again)! "Mhm," he says with a crooked smirk. "Be sure to keep that to yourself." It's said jokingly! Somewhat. He still would like to keep his reputation as Weyrleader! Kyzen is digging in the sand again, plucking out a few interesting shells and other odds and ends. Something of which flickers dully in the sunlight catches his attention and he begins to eagerly dig at it until it is pried loose.

Kimmila laughs. "Why? It's good for your reputation. And it's so dang sweet." Watching their son, she peers curious at that glint. "What've you got there?"

Th'ero snorts. "How is it good for my reputation? No one needs to know that I'm…" Nice? Sweet? Actually has a heart and feelings? He smirks and shakes his head, letting the sentence hang and fall away as Kyzen pries a little treasure from the black sands. "Dunno!" the boy chirps, picking at the sand still clinging to the object before he dutifully crawls and wriggles his way over to Kimmila's side and holds it out for her to inspect. "It's pretty though. Can I have it?" he asks and in his palm is what looks to be an old and tarnished pendant. Simple in make, it has a thin metal frame and wire work that may have once been silver or perhaps polished pewter. The curving, sweeping design holds a amber-like gemstone.

Kimmila laughs. "A softie?" she teases. "Oooh, Kyzen, that's a great find! I think you can keep it," she says, glancing to Th'ero to see what he thinks about that idea.

Th'ero chuckles heartily and if she wasn't in such a lovely Gather dress, he'd have hugged her close to his still damp body. "Exactly! Just think of what they'd say." he drawls before being drawn to the item Kyzen seems to have pried from the sand. "I don't see why he can't? It's probably been lost and buried for Faranth knows how long." he murmurs and their son wiggles in delight, leaving his 'claimed' treasure in Kimmila's hand. "I'm gonna look for more!" he exclaims happily and goes back to his digging. Which yields little else but a few pretty shells. Not that doesn't stop Kyzen!

Kimmila studies the piece of jewelry, turning it over in her hand. "This is quite lovely. Maybe we polish it for him and make a belt buckle out of it or something…or just leave it as a necklace for him when he wants to wear it." She offers it to him to look at, giving him a smile as she watches Kyzen find more shells. "Any you think would work for the mosaic?"

"Perhaps?" Th'ero holds out his hand for the pendant. When he has it, he'll examine it a bit closer. "Looks a bit feminine." he murmurs and picks a bit more packed sand from the metal work. "Though I suppose that doesn't matter. He can do what he wants with it. A buckle, a necklace for himself… Give it to his first love?" he muses, grinning crookedly at her. Now there's a thought, huh? Kyzen looks up from his digging and his eyes widen, his smile brightening so much and spreading so broad it's any wonder the child just doesn't explode with joy on the spot. Consider his mind blown? "Shells for the mosaic!" Kyzen crows with delight, laughing and tackling the task with gusto. Shells of all types are dug up: whole ones, half ones, shiny glittery ones, dull ones… one that is crawling away… oops? They're all brought into a pile and left for Kimmila to inspect.

Kimmila shrugs. "Who cares if it's feminine?" she teases him lightly. Then she snorts. "He's going to be ours forever. No loves for him." Though she's obviously kidding. "Yes!" she says encouragingly and brightly to Kyzen, patiently sifting through the ones he brings. She won't take all of them, taht's for sure. Especially not the one that's still crawling. She picks the best ones, the unique or shiny ones that will be the most interesting in their art project.

Th'ero opens his mouth to protest, only to chuckle dryly when he catches on to her teasing. "Because he's supposed to grow up to be a man," he says in a mockingly gruff voice. Even though she's teasing, he gives her another playful nudge and brushes his lips against her neck as he leans in to kiss her. "Oh, he's going to have loves. Many of them," he whispers to her, teasing her right back. "Look at his curls and that smile of his — his mother's smile, of course. He'll break hearts and woo and charm them." Kyzen is too absorbed in his task to realize he's being discussed by his parents, digging away furiously at the sand and unearthing more shells for Kimmila to pick through until at last he comes to a broad shell closer to the waterline that he pries free only to make a startled cry when the thing writhes. It's promptly dropped, where it scuttles away and brandishes it's claws menacingly. "Leave it alone, Kyzen!" Th'ero calls, on alert since the boy's startled cry. WHat now? "What is it?" Kyzen calls back, torn between wanting to poke it more and retreating away. "That's a spiderclaw, son and they don't like being touched! Go dig for shells elsewhere."

Kimmila sighs softly. "Just like his father," she says, turning to kiss him back with a loving gleam to her eyes. When the boy yells Kimmila sits up straighter and then laughs. "You've eaten them before," she calls, "but leave the live ones alone, they'll give you a nasty pinch."

Th'ero laughs both before and through the kiss, returning that loving gleam in her eyes. "I was no wanton lover with women," he reminds her with the same teasing edge to his voice. "I found one who captured my heart and did all I could do to court her." And they both know how that ended, to judge by his fond and (smugly) pleased grin. Interrupting that moment of romantic mushiness is the spider claw and Kyzen's fascination with it. "I have NOT eaten one of those! It's so gross!" he exclaims back to his mother with a totally disbelieving scowl. You lie! Despite the warnings, he wants to "play" with the defensive 'claw and so he too scuttles around it in an attempt to corral it back so he can examine it. "Kyzen, listen to us!" Th'ero warns but the spiderclaw outwits his captive and promptly darts forwards, only to pinch and latch on to Kyzen's tunic hem. Which promptly has Kyzen screeching, half fear and half laughter (of all things) as he wildly flails… and sends said 'claw skittering in it's first flight right onto the blanket his parents are lounging on! SMACK.

Kimmila chuckles, shaking her head. "No, you were not. Too awkward," she whispers, adoringly. She loves him awkward. And is also very happy she's his only love. "You did a good job, wingmate." Turning back to their son, Kimmila grins and nods. "You did too! Remember that pasta last seven? You thought it was chicken." So nyah. She laughs when it latches on to his hem (because it's just the hem) and then laughs harder when it's flung over to them. "Kyzen! The poor spiderclaw, leave it alone!" But then…what's that? One of Kimmila's half wild firelizards swooping down to crush the poor thing beneath a paw, and then eat it. Right there on the blanket, guts and all, bits of shell flying.

"Very awkward," Th'ero agrees, able to poke fun at himself over his short comings. She won't ever have to worry about him not being awkward. It is as much part of him as is his curly black hair. "You were worth it." he whispers lovingly against her ear and just before they're both absorbed completely in the spiderclaw fiasco. Th'ero can't help but laugh either, calling out. "What'd we tell you!" Only now the spiderclaw is… augh! He flinches, twitching away when the thing comes smacking down. Judging from the way his lip curls up and his nose wrinkles in disgust, Th'ero hates spiderclaws as much as he dislikes fish. Actually, he'd MUCH prefer a fish right about now. Poor, poor creature. Airborne one second and then crushed and firelizard food! "Oh, gross!" Th'ero protests, trying to cover their food before it's spoiled by the feeding frenzy. Kyzen comes toddling over but rather than be disgusted he looks downright awed, mixed with a bit of fear and maybe a bit of sadness. Hey, that was his! "Why'd he eat it!" the boy protests but not overly upset.

Kimmila just laughs, pulling back her skirts and leaning away as her firelizard devours it and then soars off to hunt down another one. "It's food," is her simple answer to their son. "Firelizards love spiderclaws. Sometimes you'll see them bashing them against rocks to get the shells broken."

Th'ero shudders and only relaxes again once the firelizard is done and he can discreetly (and very quickly) dispose of the carcass. Kyzen is fascinated now and kneels by Kimmila's side (thankfully free of most of the guts and shell bits). "Do they really? That is so neat! Can I bash stuff open too to eat it? Is that how we eat 'claw?" he babbles, pausing to glance up at his father. The boy grins. "Daddy's afraid of 'claws!" he sing-songs, to which Th'ero only sighs. "Yes, I hate the things." Kyzen blinks, "Why?" Th'ero grimaces and wriggles his fingers. "They just unsettle me. And I don't like the way their shells crack." He shrugs then, but Kyzen only giggles and promptly folds his hands to mimic pincers. Clack clack! And… he pinches his mothers thigh. Pinch!

Kimmila chuckles, watching the interplay between father and son with a smile. "It's okay to be afraid of something," she reminds Kyzen. /Look/. He's afraid of crowds. But then she's giving a startled gasp when he pinches her thigh. "Kyzen!" she says reproachfully. "You don't pinch people, you're not a spiderclaw, you're a boy."

Pfft! Kyzen has completely forgotten his fears! He's fearless! "'M not afraid of no 'claw!" he boasts and Th'ero can't help but chuckle dryly. "He's definitely our son." he mutters under his breath, only to jump a bit when Kimmila gasps sharply. What, what!? He frowns, displeased. "And especially not your own mother! That wasn't nice." Only he gets to pinch her, darn it! Kyzen pouts and sulks, his hands still formed like little claws even though he pokes them dejectedly at his legs. "Was just for fun…" he mumbles and then, turning into an utter grouch and rebellious brat… pinch-pokes her and then scrabbles away with an impish snickering-giggle! HA! Can't punish him if you can't catch him! Nyah!
Ah, but Kimmila is QUICK. Has Kyzen forgotten that? In a flash, the bluerider is on her feet and leaping at him, grabbing the toddler and holding him upside down. When his tunic falls she dips her head to rasberry his little belly, making a loud pffffffffffft noise. "You're asking for it, mister!" she says, before she begins to tickle him. Mercilessly.

Kyzen has forgotten! He won't forget again (or he'll learn to run faster!) but his little legs are no match for the sands or Kimmila's speed, even when she's wearing a Gather dress! He's well and truly caught, but it doesn't keep him from writhing and squirming like a trapped feline. His laughter is shrieking and breathless as she raspberries his belly and then tickles him! "No, no!" he protests but all in good fun and he clutches and pinches at her in retaliation! Th'ero laughs at their antics, moving to begin packing up their food while Kimmila "punishes" Kyzen. The boy would likely have continued the game for a long while, but then his giggled protests turn to: "Hafta pee!" She better heed that!
Yes, yes she'd better. And she knows that as she sets Kyzen down with one more kiss to his curls. "Go on then," she says, pointing to the trees. "Stay in sight though," she adds, turning to walk up to Th'ero, looking rather proud of herself. Kimmila: 1, Kyzen: 0.

Kyzen squirms and dances even when he's set down and when she points to the trees he rushes over. No worries about being out of sight, he just turns his back to them and goes about his business. Th'ero looks up at Kimmila as she returns, grinning. "Sufficiently punished, is he?" he drawls, having neatly wrapped all their leftover food and stacked it evenly on the tray. How are they going to carry this? "Should I just send the drudges to clean this?" he wonders out loud, while Kyzen finishes up and toddles over, only to look completely confused. "How do I wash my hands?"

Kimmila winks at Th'ero and tries to tickle him, though it's brief and playful. "Might as well," she says to Th'ero. "Are we going back home tonight?" Blinking down at Kyzen, she smirks a bit and then very slowly turns to point at the ocean. Duh?

Th'ero grunts when she tickles him, twitching beneath her touch and he will sneak a good tickle back, right up the curve of her lower back and trailing her spine. Brief and playful! "We'll have it done that way then. I'd rather not carry this back," he murmurs and then tilts his head to look down at her with a loving but also wry and mischievous smile. "Mhm, eventually? Kyzen will have to go home, unless we find lodging here… and a caretaker for him." Th'ero wants quiet alone time with her! Selfish of him, perhaps, but he has behaved himself all day (with one small hiccup). Kyzen just stares up at Kimmila, his hands still held out away from his body as though they're contaminated. "That's ocean water!" he protests. Duh! Geez, mother! But he trudges over there and couches in the shallows to dunk his hands beneath the surface. While he's gone, Th'ero is shaking out Kyzen's clothing and working on getting him dressed and he will have to slip back into his Gather clothes too unless he wishes to give the holders and Istan riders quite the show.

Kimmila wiggles and laughs at the tickling, flashing him a grin. "Whatever you want to do. Perhaps one of us can run him home and then come back, so you and I can enjoy the gather's evening together?" And night? She just grins at their son, rolling her eyes a bit as he moves to the sea.

Th'ero grins back. "Perhaps that is best, though I have enjoyed our outing together." he murmurs, a touch guilty but knowing it's for the best that the boy is brought back to the Weyr. He's already had a long day and Faranth knows how he'll crash. Poor Tlazio will deal with that, not them! "Want me to take him home? Seeing as you've your lovely dress… I can meet you at the entrance to the courtyard?" Which is right by the landing field. Kyzen is ready to go and Th'ero picks him up once they're dressed again and he hands the boy the pendant he found. "Hold on to this, alright? Maybe Tlazio can fix it up for you if you ask him nicely, hmm?"

Kimmila nods, "If you wouldn't mind," she says with a smile, slipping her arm around his waist and leaning in to kiss Kyzen's cheek. "I'll walk you back." And when Th'ero returns, the'll have some private time all to themselves.

Kyzen isn't old enough yet to wrinkle his nose at a kiss from his mother and he will wrap his arms around her in a tight hug. Th'ero slips his arm around Kimmila in return and walks them back towards the landing fields where Velokraeth has already landed and is waiting impatiently. Can they hurry? He's left some very lovely ladies and good social vibes for this! But he is very fond of the boy, so the pale bronze behaves while Th'ero readies Kyzen for flight. "I'll be back shortly," he promises to Kimmila, leaning in to kiss her lovingly. Kyzen waves to his mother, smiling. "See you!" he says and yawns mightily even as he's helped up those straps and buckled in. The moment Th'ero is settled, Velokraeth takes wing and vanishes Between. It takes close to a candlemark before they return, Velokraeth landing almost in the exact same spot to allow Th'ero to dismount and return to Kimmila's side as they continue to enjoy the rest of the evening and night on Istan shores.