Somewhere in the Remote Jungle - Southern Continent

It was a combination of an ambush and a kidnapping, in the usual Kimmila style. Waiting around until the Weyrleader was done with a meeting, the bluerider was waiting on his ledge when he returned, with two slim backpacks and two long, sharp knives in sheaths. "Let's go," she'd said, handing him a pack and a knife before taking the other two and swinging up onto Varmiroth and taking flight, without giving Th'ero much chance to argue. The between destination was shared with the bronze, and before long the humid mists of a deep Southern jungle appeared beneath the two dragons. Mountains to the east rose through the mists, and to the west there was a river, as the dragons flew south until they landed in a narrow but long stretch of ground, charred by a brief but hot burning fire. Trees are already beginning to poke back through the undergrowth, life returning to this area and in a few turn's time it'll be too dense for a dragon to land. The humidity is thick and heavy, VTOLs buzzing around as Kimmila dismounts and sheds her riding leathers. Shoving clothing into Varmiroth's packs, the bluerider is quiet until she's ready, dressed in a loose, long sleeved brown tunic, long pants, and thick boots. Her belt holds two blades and a few pouches, and her backpack is secure against her back. Patting Varmiroth's muzzle absently, the bluerider sends him to lay in the shade and play with the leaves, while she looks to see how Th'ero is getting on. "Ready for this?" she asks, her grin twisted with a smoldering excitement of the hunt.

It is a style that works, it seems, for as he's returning from another meeting, Th'ero had no other tasks set in mind for once. So while the Weyrleader is surprised, he doesn't resist and seems to eagerly embrace the offer after only a brief hesitant pause, most of which he uses to slip inside his weyr with a polite apology. If duty calls, they'll bespeak Velokraeth. But what Th'ero disappears for a second or so for is another blade and some supplies of his own. "Where are we going?" he asks while taking the pack and knife, adding his supplies to it and then turning to also swing back up onto Velokraeth and eventually discovering it was a futile thing to ask. So he's left to guessing as his pale bronze rumbles in amusement before taking off the ledge and into the air, following Varmiroth and disappearing between. The humidity of their location of choice hits Th'ero like a wall, but he's too focused on trying to recognize the area to notice. But the area remains unfamiliar to him and instead redirects his focus to Velokraeth as the bronze takes a lazy downwards circle to eventually land. The Weyrleader wastes little time, once dismounted, in ridding himself of his own riding gear, favoring instead a half-sleeved beige tunic, pants and his usual worn, but sturdy boots. Securing the blades to his belt and the pack to his back, Th'ero pauses a moment to scan the landscape while Velokraeth waddles off to join Varmiroth in the shade. When Kimmila speaks, he turns his attention to grin at the bluerider, excitement clearly seen. "Lead the way." He says, even going to far as to gesture almost teasingly with a hand.

Kimmila grins at him, her expression lit from within with an almost feral excitement. The joy of being out and away and having a set goal. "We're deep in the Southern Continent," she answers, finally, as she turns and starts to trek into the jungle, following a very slim game path. "Not too far from the sea, but far enough that unless you fly straight from the coast or have the between destination, you'll never happen to stumble upon this area. I hope you trust me," she adds with another quick grin, even showing a few teeth. Pulling her longest blade, she uses it to cut through some vines, ducking beneath them. "So. How was your day?" It's almost a joke - a mockery of small talk while hiking through an unknown jungle weighted down with heat and humidity, with insects buzzing.

"Ah, that'd explain why none of this is familiar then. Figured you'd take us all somewhere on the Emerald Isles." Th'ero remarks, grin now crooked, as he has to squint a little against the glare of the sun. As Kimmila heads off, he follows, keeping a respectful distance from the bluerider. All the while, his eyes are carefully observing, never quite lingering in one spot too long. It's not nervousness, but habit, it seems, from his days of patrol as a guard. "Good to know." Th'ero muses, no doubt tucking that bit of information away. Who knows when he'll need it? "Of course I trust you. If I didn't, you never would have got me from my ledge." He reassures with another grin of his own. Eventually, he unsheathes one of his own blades, slashing at the thick vegetation around them and trying to ignore the buzzing insects. Th'ero gives a snort, "Seriously, Kimmila?" he drawls a little, before replying. It may be a mockery of small talk, but he continues it all the same. "Long and full of meetings. I've been wandering more of Fort, starting to talk to the weyrfolk." In short: he's relaxing enough to actually be social while technically "working". "Due to head to some of the nearby Holds soon." There's a lapse of silence, as Th'ero focuses more on their hike through the jungle then conversation before his thoughts come back on track. "And you?" The Weyrleader asks in turn, almost sounding amused as the "mockery" continues.

Kimmila ducks beneath a fallen tree, and when she comes up on the other side she turns to lean against it, watching Th'ero approach. "Good! Glad you're settling in an all, and people are getting to know you." Then she's turning, hiking off once more through the underbrush, her own green eyes alert and keen, steps soft over the thickly padded ground. "Fine," she says absently. "Got a bit of an irate letter from my mother, for getting into a yelling match with R'oc, but whatever." She shrugs, feigning being unconcerned even while her shoulders tense up a little bit at being reprimanded for being /right/.

Th'ero ducks under the tree as well, smirking as his gaze meets Kimmila where the bluerider waits and watches him. He only gives a shake of his head though in response, letting the conversation slide in favor of focusing on the trail and following her as she moves off again. The Weyrleader's own steps are soft, the bronzerider making little noise, save for when he has to cut away a vine or branch from his path. There is another drawn out silence as he scans the area again before his attention refocuses on Kimmila with belated surprise and curiosity. "R'oc?" Th'ero echoes back as his thoughts begin to try to set a face to a name. His grimace signals no such luck, though he doesn't press the bluerider for too many details. "Haven't met him. What'd he do to piss you off?"

Kimmila snorts, "Shaming the weyr I grew up in," she answers, hacking with unnecessary force at a thick vine blocking the path. A small tropical tunnelsnake hops from the vine to her tunic, and she plucks it off and flings it into the jungle without a second thought. "I went in for a drink and he was shirtless, drunk off his /ass/ and shouting that he was the strongest Weyrleader ever. Making a total fool of himself. And he wasn't even Weyrleader - this was just a few days ago!" Her temper rises another notch as she hops over another fallen tree. "I called him on it and he basically called me a child and said my mother would be ashamed. And she was. But she also agreed with me. Typical," she says with a snort, shaking her head so her long braid swings behind her. "Never picking sides, my mother."

The word "shaming" has Th'ero's complete attention, as does Kimmila's unnecessary use of force and the fate of the poor tunnelsnake that dares crosses her path. As his gaze follows the unceremonious flight, it flicks back to the bluerider and the Weyrleader is barely holding back a laugh and he gives himself a bit more distance between them, though still easily within sight and conversation range. "He sounds… far from pleasant." Th'ero admits, amusement now gone as Kimmila vents and the bronzerider sobers. There's a frown on his features as he lifts a hand to wave it irritably at some buzzing insects too close to his head, "That'd frustrate me too. Considering it sounds like R'oc deserved it." He admits slowly, almost cautiously, as he hops over he fallen tree.

Kimmila jerks her head around to look at him over her shoulder, nodding firmly. "Exactly! He needed someone to call him out for his behavior. He just wasn't impressed that a child of a bluerider did it." There's another angry snort and she turns back to the path, but then draws up completely short, lifting her hand. "Shh," she orders, tilting her head towards the right. In the distance, there's a soft cracking of branches.

"He sounds like an arrogant …" The remainder of his reply falls to silence the moment Kimmila stops short. Th'ero is already quiet, but he gives the bluerider the slightest of nods, body tensing and dropping into a more alert stance, blade at the ready. It's a response born of Turns of training, though usually not focused on hunting animal prey. He's heard the branches, his gaze flicking to the approximate area before going back to Kimmila, waiting for instructions from her. This is her hunting ground, after all.

Kimmila's eyes are intense, and her grin almost feral. She motions to Th'ero to follow as she steps off the path, her movements nearly silent through the jungle, and it's clear that this woman did indeed to wild for a few turns, with the ease with which she moves. She points to him and points to the right, and then she points at herself and points to the left, with a circling motion. Up ahead, there's a soft scratching sound and a low feline yawn.

Th'ero quirks a brow at the almost feral grin, but his grin is just as broad. Another slight hint of a nod and the Weyrleader is slipping off the path; his movements a little more slow then Kimmila. While he's used to the jungles around the Isles, the Southern Continent and this area in particular are new. Unfamiliarity breeds caution, even as the adrenaline of the possible hunt kicks in. Th'ero watches the bluerider carefully, no doubt observing how at ease she moves. But then she gives the signal and the bronzerider signals in return that he understands before disappearing to the right and beginning to slowly circle around.
Kimmila vanishes into the brush, and then there is nothing but the usual jungle sounds. And then the claw sharpening once more of a wild Southern cat. As Th'ero continues to move, he'll soon come upon a small rocky outcrop, where a large, tawny feline is basking, sharping her talons on a bit of wood she's pulled up for the purpose. What to do…

Th'ero isn't worried when he looses sight of Kimmila as she vanishes into the brush, his keen gaze focused instead on the area around him, alert to every sound, moving slow and cautious. The bronzerider pauses when he catches the sound of claws sharpening themselves on wood. With a few more ever careful steps, he's upon the small rocky outcrop and immediately freezes when his gaze settles on the tawny feline. Th'ero's stance drops a little lower and he slips in close to the shadows, staying where he's concealed and hopefully upwind from the feline. The blade he has is slowly worked in his hand to be at a ready position, either for strike or defense. A heartbeat ticks by, then another, and the bronzerider still has not moved, though he watches the feline carefully with brief glances to the jungle behind it. Is he waiting? It would seem that way and perhaps for a certain bluerider.

From the side where Kimmila went there's the soft sound of a twig cracking. The feline's tail swishes the air and her ears swivel to focus on the sound. Then slowly, all seventy plus pounds of muscle and bone and feline power rise from her position, and start prowling towards that curious sound. At the same time, another feline steps out from the shadows of the outcrop, a low snarl sounding in her throat when she sees the bronzerider in her territory.

Th'ero winces at the twig cracking, which sounds so much louder then it should. The bronzerider would no doubt be cursing too, but then the feline is on the prowl and he's preparing to move in, now that her attention is focused elsewhere. But he's barely shifted forwards when the snarl makes him freeze again. Gaze slowly slides from the prowling feline to the one that steps out from the shadow of the rocky outcrop. Mouth drawing into a thin line and the hand holding the hunting blade coming up ever so slowly, Th'ero prepares to either attack or defend (or both), but never looks away now that he's been spotted. Neither does he back away, instead coming out a little further from the jungle as he slips partially out of his hiding spot.

The feline heading after that twig snap hops down with a soft growl, into the underbrush where she vanishes. And then there's just the feline facing down Th'ero. She crouches on the stone, tail lashing in irritation, and then she springs at the Weyrleader, talons out and jaws open with a loud, jungle feline snarl.

Th'ero spares only the slightest of glances to the feline that disappears into the brush, before he's back to staring down the one facing him. A determined look settles on his features, predatory in it's own way. "Come on, come on…" he hisses under his breath. The bronzerider isn't stupid and knows better then to run, but knows full well what is to come. Briefly, he'll wonder where Kimmila is and if the first feline has found her, but then the feline facing him is snarling and springing towards him. Th'ero makes to dodge to the side, trying to avoid the feline's talons, teeth and being pinned under it's weight but keeping himself close enough to strike. He doesn't hesitate either - once he's dodged, he'll be turning to keep his back from the feline, blade flashing as he aims to slash or stab, and should luck favor him, he'll strike and make a clean kill. Or, he'll injure it (and anger it further) and their circling game will pick up again.

Th'ero's first blow strikes home, stabbing a fatal wound into the cat. Though it's hardly a clean kill. It falls with a scream, writhing on the ground as blood pours from the wound. Slashing and yelling, the beast takes a few agonizing moments to die. The sounds of its death nearly cover up the sounds of another struggle coming from the other side of the outcropping. Loud thrashing noises and feline snarls.
Th'ero would have moved in to put the poor beast out of it's misery, but slashing talons keep him at bay, so with a grimace he waits until he's certain the feline is dead before turning his head towards the sound of struggle across the outcropping. Now the bronzerider curses, renewing the grip on his now bloodstained blade. He hasn't forgotten Kimmila and for that reason he leaves the feline he's killed behind in turn for following the sounds of struggle. He's careful to skirt around the outcropping, alert for any more of the felines that may be lurking there as he rushes forwards to where he believes the bluerider and the other feline may be.

Kimmila isn't hard to find. The sounds of her battle are easily heard in the otherwise silent jungle. Backed up against a thick tree she crouches, hair wild and expression set. She faces her feline attacker, and both seem a little worse for wear from the tussle, the feline bleeding from the neck and Kimmila bleeding from the shoulder. The beast lunges forward again and Kimm springs to the side, rolling and twisting, jamming the blade up towards the beast but only managing to catch it in the thigh. It screams and spins, pouncing towards her once more, and Kimm slashes at it again as she scrambles out of the way, back towards another tree where, unbeknownst to her, another younger feline is crouching in the lower branches, waiting for something to spring upon.

Th'ero arrives just in time as Kimmila springs to the side with the feline close behind. It doesn't take him long to absorb the situation, his concern over Kimmila's wound registering and with the adrenaline still coursing through him from his own kill, the bronzerider doesn't hesitate in stepping in. But it's not the feline on the ground Th'ero aims for. It's the one up above, the one he spies at the last second. His reaction is almost purly reflex then, his arm coming back as he works the blade's hilt up into position in his hand. And then with a powerful swing, he sends the knife flying, hoping to either hit the younger feline or strike close enough to scare it off it's course. This, however, leaves him temporarily disarmed as he reaches to unsheathe his second blade.

Kimmila falls back against the tree and then pushes forward again, lunging at the feline just as Th'ero arrives and his blade zings over the feline's head, lodging itself in the trunk as the younger cat screeches and darts away. Kimm falls upon the injured feline and her blade this time strikes true, stabbing the beast in the heart. Then she spins away and falls back, clear of the dying beast's thrashes. She sits there in the dirt, panting hard, face expressionless as she watches the creature's struggles cease.

Th'ero gives a sigh of relief as both his blade scares off the younger feline and Kimmila's finds home in the attacking feline's heart. Still, he unsheathes his blade, just for safety sake in case the younger feline returns. Approaching the bluerider, he crouches down, breathing heavily, covered in dirt and sweat but untouched. His gaze has settled on her wound, rather then the dying beast she managed to kill. "How bad is it?" he asks, more concerned for her well being at this point then that of their two kills.

Kimmila is breathing slowly, a little grin on her face for the kill, and her eyes take a moment to focus on Th'ero, a little dazed. "Huh?" She hadn't noticed her wound yet until she follows his gaze and then she laughs. "Huh. Um, I don't know," she admits, setting her blade down and reaching up to tug the collar of her tunic down over the curve of her shoulder, to look at the three gashes on her bicep. "Shards," she mutters, "those are deep." And oozing blood, of course, running down her arm and dripping off her elbow. "There's wraps in my pack."

Th'ero can't help but chuckle a little at Kimmila's dazed state, his own thoughts likely muddled a little as the adrenaline wears off. All it takes is seeing the three gashes and all amusement dies, the bronzerider's lips drawning down into a thin line and his brow creases with worry. "Stay here." He says, if not uncessary. The packs are retrevied, both hers and his own. Coming to kneel down at her side, Th'ero opens Kimmila's pack, deftly fishing out the wraps she mentioned. Any other first aid is also dug out, as well as a flask of water from his. "They are deep. Probably should clean them out now and patch that up before you loose more blood." He points out, not seeming at all squeamish or panicked by the sight of blood or the wounds. "Need help?" Th'ero offers next.

Kimmila is, if anything, probably /too/ calm about her wounds. She waits patiently for Th'ero to return, not because she's enjoying just sitting around, but because she hears her Healer mother's voice echoing in her head about not pushing herself after an injury, lest she loose more blood. "I can clean them," she says, pouring water on the wound with a hiss. "Can't wrap it by myself though." The redwort and numbweed mixture is taken next with the little scooper, and slathered on until she stops gritting her teeth and sighs in relief. "Could you help with that?" she asks, holding out her arm and lifting the bandages. "How'd you make out?" she asks, her color a little pale after the blood loss and exertion. "You hurt?"

Th'ero is no healer, but he's no stranger to wounds and the basics of first aid. He gives Kimmila a bit of a side-glance at her own calmness, but he chalks that up to mild shock or simply exhaustion. A slight smile curves at the corners of his mouth and he nods, "Of course. Not like I'm going to leave you to bleed to death." Even now, the bronzerider finds time to tease as he reaches for the wraps and bandages. "I'm fine. Somehow lucked out, though I was caught more out in the open then you were." Th'ero replies, unwrapping one of the bandages as he does and reaching forwards to place it over the worst of the wound. He glances briefly over to Kimmila, a last moment to check to be sure the bluerider is okay with him touching her before his fingers apply a gentle pressure to hold the bandage there. "Mind putting your own hand there for a second? I'll grab the wrap and finish it." There's a pause, and he adds, "You sure you're okay?"

Kimmila snorts softly, a brief exhale as she watches him put the bandage on her arm. "Of course you wouldn't. My mother'd kick your ass. And then I'd kick your ass," she says with a little smirk. Holding the bandage in place, she doesn't flinch or twist away when he's near, sitting calm and still. "Pretty sure I'm fine," she says a little flippantly. "I think we should drain and skin the felines, though. And I want a claw for a necklace." Because nothing says 'Hey, I'm a fun person!' like a wild feline claw necklace. Her eyes unfocus for a moment and then blink back into clarity again, watching the last drips of blood fall to the dirt.

"Oh, I'm sure Elara would kick my ass. But how would you kick my ass? You'd be dead from blood loss." Th'ero quips back with a bit of a laugh before he sobers back to seriousness, focusing on unrolling the wrap and then deftly binding it around Kimmila's shoulder, being sure to apply even pressure but not too tightly. "Wounds first, felines next. They'll last a bit longer." There's a smirk then. "Just /a/ claw?" he replies, before giving her a long, disbelieving look. The bronzerider seems ready to press her again, but instead only offers his hand. "Lets start by seeing if you can stand. I'll get your kill. The outcropping isn't far from here."

Kimmila shakes her head gently. "I'd find a way," she promises, eyes focusing on his face for a moment. She laughs, though the sound is a little breathless. "Would look stupid to have a whole paw hanging around my neck. No one'd flirt with me then," she says, lips twisted into a smirk. Her good hand grasps his firmly, and she pulls herself to her feet…but too quickly. The adrenaline going sour in her system combined with the blood loss and the too-quick stand has her eyes rolling back into her head and her body slumping towards the ground in a dead faint.

Th'ero doesn't notice the near breathless laugh, too busy chuckling over Kimmila's little joke and reaching to grasp her hand in turn to help her up. It isn't until her eyes begin to roll back that the bronzerider clues in and with a half uttered curse, he's suddenly moving to keep her body, or at least her head, from hitting the ground. "Damn it!" Th'ero curses, muttering another few choice words. Thankfully, neither of their dragons seem the easily panicked or flighty type, though the bronzerider's gaze goes out of focus to send reassurances via Velokraeth. Shifting his weight, he gently brings Kimmila to rest against him as he kneels down again, supporting most of her upper body. "Kimmila?" he says, gently at first and then with a little more force. Th'ero doesn't shake her either, though, not yet brought to that.

Kimmila doesn't come out of it that quickly, her face ashen pale and body limp against his shoulder. Voldrath shifts in the shade, crooning softly with worry, though he's truthfully mostly lost to the depths of his passed out rider's mind, daydreaming right along with her.
why she's rping with them, but she apped here b/c we were open.

Th'ero isn't quite panicked yet, though worry begins to clutch just a little stronger when Kimmila still remains unconscious. He tries her name again, followed by a gentle shake. "Come on, come one! Shards. Wake up!" The bronzerider mutters, grimacing and eyes loosing focus again as his own bronze begins to pick up on his worries and anxiety. Th'ero continues to hold the bluerider against him, though one hand comes up to lightly slap (more of a tap, really) the side of her face.

Kimmila comes to slowly, her eyes staying closed and her head lolling against his shoulder. She speaks, her words soft and breathless, "Don' wanna leave," she mutters, shifting against the bronzerider so the side of her face is against his chest. She moans a little bit, eyes shut tightly. "M'head…"

Th'ero looks relieved when Kimmila begins to come too, even if not entirely. The muttered words, while confusing at first, are even welcomed by the bronzerider. "We have to." He says, his hold on the bluerider still firm even as she begins to shift. The closeness doesn't even register with Th'ero at this point. Instead, he frowns, concern still very evident. "Your head hurts?" he asks, sounding a little puzzled. "Kimmila, you have to wake up." He presses again, letting his tone take on a hint of urgency.

Kimmila continues to slowly come out of her faint as blood returns to her head and her thoughts begin to process once more. Blinking her eyes, she keeps her head resting against Th'ero's chest if only because it feels very heavy and awkward to lift. When she speaks this time, though, it's with more clarity and realization of her surroundings. "Shit." There's the Kimm we all know and love! "I fainted, didn't I? Head feels all heavy and wrong."

Th'ero chuckles when Kimmila suddenly curses, finding that to be even more of a relief and clear sign that she's more or less regaining consciousness. "You did and surprised me good while at it." The bronzerider points out, shifting his weight a little though careful not to jostle the bluerider resting against him too much. Eventually, his hand is able to reach the target - the water flask. Giving it a shake, he looks pleased by the results. Uncapping it, he then offers it to Kimmila, holding it just within her sight and reach. "Here." Th'ero says, "You probably should drink some of this."

Kimmila sighs, looking downright pissed off as she gently takes the flask and tips it against her lips, taking a few sips before she offers it back. "Probably think I'm a total wuss," she mutters under her breath. "I /never/ faint. Shit, my head feels weird though. Like it's stuffed with cotton. Probably just stood up too fast."

Th'ero smirks, not at all surprised or fazed by Kimmila's mood. When the flask is returned, he caps it again and sets it nearby. "No, I don't." he replies in an honest tone. The bronzerider then shifts a little again, careful not to disturb the bluerider too much. "Stood up too fast and probably lost a little too much blood." Th'ero adds, shaking his head a little as he takes a look around the area. A quick scan, to be sure they're not being snuck up on. "Add in the adrenaline of the hunt and having to take on one pissed off feline… and well…" Here he shrugs, but his frown returns. "We should try to move soon. Our kills won't stay fresh and I missed that young one. Aside from your head feeling weird… if I were to support you, do you think you can move?"

Kimmila doesn't remain laying against him for long, but this time when she moves she does so more slowly, until she's sitting up on her own and eying her bandaged arm. She's quiet for a moment, frowning thoughtfully, and then nods. "Yeah, we should. And I think I'll be okay. I'll just stand up real slow and see how I feel." She looks up at the bronzerider and holds out her good hand.

Th'ero remains where he is, watching carefully for any signs of fainting from the bluerider. But when Kimmila is sitting up on her own and even offering her good hand, he relaxes, reaching out to grasp it within his own. "Alright. Slow it is. But like I said before, I'm carrying your kill." He muses, slowly rising to his feet and then pulling her up after him. Again, he braces himself, just incase Kimmila goes down again. If not, he'll release his old on her, bending down only to grasp the flask of water and passing it to her to hold. Th'ero then begins to move away, slowly, still keeping a cautious eye on the other rider as he begins to gather their stuff into the packs. "Those wounds Kimmila…" he begins, hesitating, uncertain before he takes a slow breath and continues. "How are you going to Between with them?"

Kimmila stands up slowly, using a lot of Th'ero's strength to pull her to her feet. And she's steady once she stands, holding the flask in both hands and scanning the area. "Let's take the cats back to the dragons to drain and skin, so no one else's attracted to the scent of blood." To his question she snorts, face grim. "Quickly," is her only answer as she looks down at her bandaged arm.

"Sounds good. We'll get mine as well on the way back?" Th'ero agrees, though he gives her a very level look at Kimmila's next answer. "Or not at all." He presses, concern in his expression and tone. But he doesn't pester the bluerider further for now, instead turning to take care of stringing up the feline to make it easier to carry. Eventually, he's set and taking a deep breath, prepares to have Kimmila lead the way back. "Go on, I'll follow behind you. Don't worry about pace." Th'ero motions with a jerk of his head, while he prepares to hoist the dead feline. If the bronzerider was tired before, he's going to be exhausted by the end of this.

Kimmila never said hunting felines was easy. "I want to turn mine into a rug," she says, starting to make her way back. And she /does/ to slow and cautious, if only so she doesn't faint like a dumbass again. "Not at all?" she asks, the frown clear in her voice. "What, camp out here for a sevenday? Skip my duties, my obligations? No dice, Th'ero. I have work that needs to be done."

"Not sure yet if I want to keep mine as a rug or sell it to the hunters in Fort. Kind of owe two of them some kind of payment anyhow." Th'ero replies, giving a disappointed sound when he recalls the third feline. "Shame I missed that young one. It was above you, you know. Crafty beasts." The bronzerider makes no comment on the pace; no doubt taking advantage of it to rest if the carcass he's hauling gets to be too heavy. "Kimmila." Th'ero begins, sounding stern as he stubbornly refuses to budge on the subject. Worry does that to him and he's not letting the bluerider off easy. "You'll be facing more then a sevenday of missed work if a chill sets in." There's a pause as he gives a slow exhale of breathe, almost a sigh, but that could also be him struggling with the weight of the feline. "And I really will get my ass kicked for sure. I'm just worried, that's all." The last is added with a brief pause, but Th'ero means it all the same.

Kimmila glances back at the bronzerider. "Why do you owe hunters?" Then she's blinking in surprise, automatically looking up. "There was another one? Shards. Never know what you're going to get on these hunts," she says with a twisted little smile. She stops again and turns around to fully look at the bronzerider, her lips pressed together firmly. Then she sighs a little. "I appreciate your concern, but what am I supposed to do? I'm not outfitted for a camping trip. I'll wrap it up real good and make sure we go home quickly. I don't know what my other option is."

"Yes, it was above you. A young one that I scared off by throwing my blade." Th'ero explains with a bit of a smirk. No doubt the bronzerider won't be forgetting this hunt for a bit and will probably suggest more to join them. There's a bemused chuckle when she asks him about the hunters and he pauses to shake his head before answering. "I was wandering the forests outside of Fort. Tripped some snare traps by mistake and went to go check them out. Two young hunters mistook me for poaching… one even brandished a knife at me. Long story short, I ruined their chances really at a good haul. Between me causing so much ruckus and then Velokraeth…" He lets the topic drift off with as much of a shrug as he can manage. But then Kimmila is stopping and so does he, momentarily dropping the carcass to the jungle floor. Th'ero looks right back at her, mouth set in a determined line and a frown knitting his brows together. He stares at the bluerider for a few heartbeats before sighing himself, giving in. If she were a Fortian rider, he may have had the confidence to order her. As it is, she'll get her way. "I don't know either and I'm not about to force you. But promise me, at least, that you'll seek attention for it right away?"

Kimmila can't help but laugh at his tale of hunter woes, shaking her head with a little snicker. "Sounds like quite the mess," she says, turning and resuming the hike back towards the clearing. "Don't know what the right answer is, Wingmate," she says, "but I don't think I can stay here for a sevenday. Especially not by myself. That'd be more dangerous than betweening it home, I'd think, with this place so wild. Suppose we could fly straight to the beach and camp out there, but I still have no supplies. Think the best thing for it is to just make a quick hop to the nearest Hold and get it looked at there. Probably needs stitches, and maybe I stay there a few days. Dunno, I'd have to ask A'ven." There's a little wince for that, and then she glances over her shoulder at him.

"It was a mess, but the hunters themselves were alright. Though the large, tall one was… enthusiastic and friendly." Th'ero admits with a bit of a lopsided grin, but nothing more is supplied for now, as Kimmila resumes their hike and he has to focus on hauling the carcass. As the bluerider brings out the truth of the matter, the bronzerider's mouth settles into a firm line, stubbornness still there though from his words, it's obvious he's caving in entirely. "And I can't camp with you either." He adds grimly, all to aware that his duty as a Weyrleader comes with restrictions. It also shows that Th'ero isn't keen on being away too long either, much like Kimmila. So he can only sigh in the end, giving his head a little shake. "Fine. Nearest Hold, to be at least patched up and speak to A'ven?" He must have missed the wince from the bluerider, for he doesn't backtrack, only looking back at her as she glances to him, brows raised as he waits for her reply.

Kimmila glances curiously over his shoulder. "Enthusiastic and friendly?" No, this is not something she's going to let him get away without elaborating. She blinks a little bit in surprise as she steps through a group of branches, holding them away from the path so he can pass free and clear. "Would you?" His answer notwithstanding, she nods. "Nearest hold, and I'll send A'ven a note," she promises, resuming their hike and stepping out in front, moving with more confidence, though still carefully. She'll be damned if she's going to faint again.

Knowing that he won't be allowed to or perhaps fine with elaborating, Th'ero does reply when Kimmila presses him for more. "Yes, his name was Adalinus. Had his knife at me one second, then the next he's hugging me till I was certain he'd break my back. Deitra, she was a little gruff but alright the moment she realized I wasn't after what was in their traps." He says, chuckling a little at the recalled memory. As Kimmila holds the branches aside, the bronzerider steps through and then stops for a moment, fixing the bluerider with a mildly surprised, but serious look. "Of course I would stay." He says to her, letting the rest go unsaid. The Weyrleader knows his little trip off to hunt was going to be brief at best, a short break to relax and forget. When Kimmila agrees, Th'ero looks relieved and nods his head to confirm their little deal. Then her kill is picked up again as he follows behind, watching both the area around them and the bluerider herself for signs. He's just as determined not to have her faint either, it seems. "Shards, it seems much farther going back…" Th'ero mutters, no doubt beginning to tire.

It does, indeed, doesn't it! But then, like *magic*, they're back at Th'ero's kill and Kimmila is eying the feline with an appreciative gaze. "Very nice kill," she praises, slowly crouching down to twist the cat's body over so she can see the wound. "Good job, Th'ero," she murmurs, lifting a paw and letting it fall. "Were you planning on carrying both?" she asks, a brow lifting.

Leave it to Th'ero to start complaining when they actually arrive. That isn't what has the bronzerider looking a little sheepish though; it's the praise from Kimmila. He sets her kill next to his; both to give himself a break and to give an approving look at both. "Thanks. You didn't do too bad yourself, you know." When the bluerider brings up that one issue though, Th'ero's shoulders visibly sag. "Damn it!" he curses, laughing despite the obvious problem and his frustration directed to it. "No, I can't lug both those things. Not at the same time. The humidity doesn't help." He gives a bit of a sigh, looking reluctant to leave either kill behind. His gaze then lifts to scan the area again, head tilting up as he uses a hand to shade his eyes. "Think we can get either Varmiroth or Velokraeth to fit?" Th'ero asks, glancing back down to Kimmila with a curious tilt of his head.

Kimmila looks up towards the sky curiously. "No," she answers, "though I'll /bet/ Varmiroth could hover, and if I climbed up onto the top of that rock, I'll bet I could get close enough to him to loop a rope through his straps, and he could haul them both." Never mind her injured shoulder. What injured shoulder? She's utterly forgotten about it seems, her green eyes keen with thought as she ponders this solution.

While she may not be considering her injured shoulder, Th'ero is here to remind her. "You sure you can handle that with your injuries?" he says, smirking a little before giving an irritated swipe of his hand around his head at the insects that buzz there, not really helping the bronzerider's mood. "We've got to get them skinned soon." He mutters, pausing again to wipe some of the sweat from his brow with the sleeve of his tunic. "If you feel Varmiroth can do it safely, I can lift the felines after you loop the rope?" Th'ero suggests next.

Kimmila snorts, looking down at her shoulder. "I'll be fine," she insists. Hopefully she doesn't faint from the top of the outcrop! "Sure," she says, pulling a coil of rope from her pack. Her eyes unfocus for a moment, and then return. "I'll climb up, loop the rope through his straps, and then toss the end down to you. You tie up the felines while he hovers, and he'll haul them back to the clearing for us. Sound good?"

Th'ero's smirk broadens and he only shakes his head at Kimmila's insistence. He doesn't argue with her though, probably hoping something similar doesn't happen. Last thing he needs is her suffering a head injury! The bronzerider nods his head, already moving to get ready to haul the first feline. "Sounds good! Just tell me when and I'll be ready."

Kimmila nods, "I will," she says with a wry grin, beginning the careful climb up the stone, making her way gingerly to the top just in time for Varmiroth to slowly hover above her, the little blue's wings flattening Kimmila's hair and blowing dust about the area. It takes a few tries, but he finally gets low enough that Kimmila can quickly loop and tie the end of the rope through his straps, tossing it down to Th'ero with an affirmative shout. She crouches, favoring her injured arm (was it the left or the right?) while Varmiroth holds position.

Th'ero waits with the kills, trying to ignore the insects that are buzzing all around as he keeps his attention focused on Kimmila. He has to squint a little when Varmiroth kicks up some dust, but the bronzerider is still able to see the rope being tossed and the bluerider's affirmative shout. Hers is hauled up first and securely tied before he goes back for his. Th'ero repeats the same process, going as quick as possible but still being careful. Eventually, he signals to Kimmila that all is good and set.

Kimmila crouches low and Varmiroth slowly rises, until the swinging felines are clear of the tree tops, and he starts winging his way towards the clearing. And then comes the hard part - Kimmila getting /down/ with only one good arm. So she moves carefully and slowly, scooting down on her butt and using foot holds to brace her heels in, until there's just the last little bit to go. "Could you help me with this?" she asks, eying the four foot drop to the ground.

Th'ero shields his eyes again from both sun and dust as Varmiroth beings to rise and turn back towards the clearing, watching the blue for a moment or two before glancing downwards as Kimmila makes her awkward decent from the outcropping of rock. When she stops to ask for his help, the bronzerider holds back the amused grin that threatened to slide onto his features. Instead, he keeps a neutral smile and nods his head, stepping forwards. "That'll save us some time. Give my thanks to Varmiroth." Th'ero remarks idly as he steps as close to Kimmila as the rocks will allow, his hand lifted upwards for her to grasp should she need the support.

Kimmila snorts, giving him a wry grin. She /knows/ what he's thinking. "I wouldn't usually ask for help, but you know, I got mauled by a feline and all, cut me some slack," she says dryly, sliding down the last bit and catching his hand/arm to keep herself from falling. "Thanks," she says, standing on her own and stepping away. "And he says you're welcome, but we'd better get back before he snacks on a leg." She winks and starts to head towards the path again. "Enjoying yourself, Wingmate?"

Th'ero doesn't bother to hide it then, once Kimmila grins wryly. His game is up! So he's laughing by the time she has a hold of his arm, easily bracing himself to hold her weight as she slides down. "No problem." He replies back, amusement contained again. "Well, I only want the pelt really and maybe the skull of mine. If he wants to eat the actual feline… he can have it. Velokraeth isn't interested." Th'ero muses, not seeming perplexed at all that his bronze has snubbed the offer. As Kimmila heads off again, the bronzerider takes only a brief moment to adjust the pack on his back before following her, this time with much more ease now that he's not lugging a dead feline with him. "Despite being hot, sweaty, full of dirt, grime and blood and oh, let's not forget your injury too… I am. I needed this, I think. The escape, at least." Then he smiles crookedly, before adding, "And yourself, aside from the obvious mishap?"

Kimmila smiles over her shoulder at him, her grin amused. "If I let him at it, he'll rip the pelt to shreds. He's not the daintiest of eaters. I think you needed this too," she agrees with a nod. "The escape is important, sometimes." She thinks about his question for a moment, and then shrugs. "Fair enough, I guess." She climbs over that one log and ducks beneath the other as they near the clearing where the dragons await.

"Won't matter if he's dainty after the pelt is off." Th'ero quips back before having to fall silent as he climbs over the one log and then ducks under the other. The bronzerider adjusts the pack again, before giving Kimmila a thoughtful glance. "I suppose it is. Though I wonder how much longer I can push it before someone checks in." he mutters. Her reply to his question earns a longer look, one brow raised quizzically though he sees no sign of fainting. "Fair enough?" Th'ero echoes back as they arrive by the clearing, relief washing over his features. He hasn't complained much, save for the one time, but the Weyrleader is no doubt exhausted from the hunt, the incident with Kimmila fainting and then the trek back. Velokraeth is there to greet them, though the bronze looks less then pleased from his body language from where he lounges (a little too tensely), whirling eyes still tinged with worry.

Kimmila is met by Varmiroth, the blue - still attached to felines - sniffing and nuzzling at her until she pushes him away and ducks underneath him to pull the knot, letting the felines free. To…lay there like they're dead. "Yeah, fair enough," she echoes, glancing at him. She shrugs. "Little lonely, but I'm keeping busy so it's okay. Looks like most of the blood drained out of them during the flight," she admits, switching topics and crouching to pull her feline towards her. "You know how to skin these so you get the whole pelt? Or are you itching to get back?" she asks, pushing to her feet and glancing at the agitated bronze. "Oh. I've kept you too long, huh. Well, go ahead then, if you need to. I'll skin this one here and then hop it to the nearest Hold."

Th'ero tilts his head curiously, though partly to inspect the feline that is his kill and another because of Kimmila's response. As he crouches down, unsheathing his hunting knife and holding the blade in one hand while his free one inspects the dead feline, he replies, "Lonely?" There's a wince for the bluntness of his echoed question, but rather then backtrack or fumble, Th'ero simply continues on. "Good that you're keeping busy." He tacks in, even if hastily. "And yes, they do seemed reasonably drained." Th'ero agrees after examining his feline. There's a moment as he pauses, knife at the ready when the bronzerider's shoulders sag a little and he has to shake his head in defeat. "No, actually. I've rarely had to skin large game. I've a rough idea how, but I'm liable to butcher it." He admits with a grin to Kimmila. When she's suddenly rising again though, he's puzzled until it dawns on him what has the bluerider assuming. Glancing over his shoulder, the Weyrleader grimaces. "No, you haven't. We're fine. He's just in a mood. Don't mind him." Velokraeth's answer to his riders dismissal is a loud snort and a thump of his short tail as he pale bronze shifts his weight to a more relaxed lounging position.

Kimmila shrugs a bit, "Yeah, lonely. I've known A'ven since I was five or so. It's…hard. Being single. On my own." She glances over at him, giving him a brief, sad smile. Then her focus is on her feline as she's pulling her blade into her hand. "It takes practice. I'm not /great/ at it," she admits, "but I can butcher mine so it'll be passable as a rug. Here," she says, setting into the butchering. She glances at the bronze and then to Th'ero with a questioning look. "Why is he so tense, then?"

Th'ero looks a little surprised, though in the end seems sympathetic, even understanding to Kimmila's words. "That would be hard. It's an awful long time to know someone. And I know what it can be like, to be alone." He returns her smile, though a little more warmer. The Weyrleader shifts his position though, as Kimmila sets about skinning her feline, brown gaze watching with detached interest. Eventually, he seems confident enough to move back to his own kill, beginning to work though much more slower. The bluerider's questioning look is missed, but he can still hear her question clearly. "It's mostly to do with me. He'll calm down." Th'ero explains cryptically, pausing to glance up to Kimmila and smile reassuringly.

Kimmila returns his reassuring smile with another curious look. "What do you mean 'mostly' to do with you?" she asks, ducking her head to focus on the feline once more. "Is he upset that I've drug you out here?" Cutting into the paw, she extracts one of the claws and holds it up thoughtfully. "Think if I sanitized this, let it dry, and drilled a hole through it it'd make a pretty wicked necklace.

There's an odd silence from Th'ero, his work even pausing for a moment before he resumes, a heavy frown settling on his features. "It's hard to explain." The bronzerider admits in a low tone. He suddenly glances up to Kimmila, shaking his head. "No! Not at all and if he was, we'd both know and I don't think I'd be crouched here." As she holds up the claw, he gives it a quick glance before nodding his head, glad for the distraction. "That could work. I may just bring back the claws as well. See if someone wants them. Waste not, want not."

Kimmila pauses her work to watch him, a frown furrowing her brows. "Try?" she offers, giving him a little smile. "I'm willing to listen. Faranth knows you've listened to me bitch enough." She grins a little and sets the claw aside. "Why not wear one yourself?" she asks. "Too gruesome?"

Th'ero pauses again, though this time he fixes Kimmila with a long, thoughtful look. The corner of his mouth does curve up into a smile, though it falters as he begins to speak. "He's been sensitive over his ah…physical oddities. It hinders him at times and he's had to work harder to figure out ways around it." He explains in a low voice, still working away. "Back when we were trying to sort things out, I kind of shoved that at him when I tried to tell him he wouldn't be able to avoid the trees." Another pause and Th'ero fidgets a little, almost uncomfortable. If one were to look, Velokraeth is no longer agitated, but the bronze does look smug from where he lounges in the shade and he's staring right at his rider. Eventually, the bronzerider grimaces. "And he feels I should have done better to protect you." Th'ero suddenly blurts out, almost choking on the words in his embarrassment. It was either he said it, or Velokraeth would bespeak all despite his rider's reservations. "Never said I wouldn't wear one. But I only need one claw, don't I?" Th'ero replies with a faint grin once he's recovered enough.

Kimmila looks thoughtfully at Velokraeth, and Varmiroth does the same, the pair staring at the bronze for a moment before Kimm shrugs and Varmiroth rumbles. "Don't really see any real physical oddities to him," Kimm admits, while Voldrath tilts his head waaaay over to one side, as if a different angle of the bronze would help him appear truly strange. But then Kimmila shrugs. "I had Varmiroth do it just because he's little, and I'm stubborn," she admits with a blown kiss towards the bronze, and a fond smile. But then the bluerider is looking back to Th'ero in surprise, and then she laughs. "How could you have done that? You had a feline on you too! S'not like you just stood back and watched me get hurt." She grins, shaking her head, cheeks flushing slightly. "But still. I appreciate the thought. And yeah, just need one unless you want to look like you went on this trip and came back crazed." She winks at the bronzerider, chuckling quietly.

Velokraeth's head pulls back a little at the sudden double inspection from both Varmiroth and Kimmila, the pale bronze regarding them coolly for a moment or two before his jaw drops down in something like a draconic grin. Like what you see? A series of chuffs only confirm the bronze's amusement and the little blown kiss gesture earns Kimmila a sweet croon that has Th'ero groaning. "Don't encourage him!" the bronzerider almost growls at her, though his grin makes it more of a teasing jest then an actual act of annoyance. Kimmila's laughter seems to set his mood back at ease and soon Th'ero's relaxed enough to focus on his work without pause. "Exactly! But he's saying I could have avoided getting pinned like that." He explains, before letting the topic drift again and simply shaking his head. Glancing up to the bluerider in time to catch the wink, Th'ero snorts a bit, a bemused grin on his features. "It would add for some interesting gossip though, wouldn't it? If I came back looking crazed?" he teases back.

Kimmila chuckles, setting back to skinning the feline. "Well, it is what it is. /I/ certainly don't hold a grudge or blame you for this," she says, nodding at her injured arm. "It's all good, Th'ero." She chuckles again, shaking her head. "They'll say you went off with crazy Kimm, and came back just as nuts," she murmurs. "So anyway. Are you alone these days? Has your girlfriend talked to you yet?" Why can't Kimm ever remember her name?

"I know you don't, Kimmila." Th'ero admits, though he flashes her a grin and nods his head all the same. His grin falters though to be replaced by a frown when Kimmila murmurs something that seems like a joke but falls flat to the bronzerider's ears. "You're not crazy." Th'ero says firmly, fixing her with a level look that shows he's being honest. Then his work takes his attention away, though he's still listening. "I'm alone." He confirms in a low tone. "And no, Jeyinshi hasn't." Her name is stressed a little as the bronzerider unintentionally helps Kimmila by supplying the name. "She's probably ignoring my letters." Th'ero adds, his movements becoming a little more forced as he works the last of the pelt off the feline carcass. If he isn't careful, he'll ruin the pelt or wind up slicing his fingers.

Kimmila glances over at him, her brows furrowing a little bit. "Easy," she murmurs, "it's not a sack of firestone. And thanks for saying I'm not. You're maybe one of the few who doesn't think so. Not that I blame them." She shrugs, unconcerned. "I'm sorry, Th'ero," she says, glancing at him again with a pained look. "Real sorry. Though if she couldn't handle this change…maybe it's for the best?"

"I know, I know…" Th'ero mutters as he calms himself enough to continue working and at a much safer pace and frame of mind. The last of the pelt is skinned off the carcass and with a satisfied grin and the bronzerider begins to work on cleaning off any excess flesh that may still be clinging to it. It's during this that he glances up again, surprise in his expression. "Really?" he says, not quite convinced. The apology only brings a shrug from Th'ero, though he doesn't meet Kimmila's gaze. "It's okay." He murmurs, mouth drawn into a thin line as his frown deepens. "Perhaps. But I'm not giving up that easily. Even if it means I have to go to Western. At least I'll know for sure."

Kimmila watches him until she's confident he won't hurt himself, and she returns to her careful skinning. "Really what?" she asks, before she's pulling the skin free of the body and laying it out on the fur side, so she can scrape away at the extra skin, just like he's doing. "Good luck," she says quietly.

Th'ero is lucky and escapes any mishaps with the knife as he finishes cleaning off the pelt, spreading it out flat to dry for a few moments as he concentrates on cleaning his blade now. Gesturing with it to the skinned carcass, the bronzerider then gestures with his chin towards their dragons. "Varmiroth still interested in the meat? I'm just going to take the skull as well and the claws." He hadn't forgotten their previous joke and seems intent on at least taking some of them. Kimmila's quiet response earns a puzzled look from Th'ero and the bronzerider tilts his head a little to the side. "Something I said?" he asks gently, with a hint of a teasing tone.

Kimmila glances at him and quirks a grin. "You just said 'Really?' And I didn't know what you were referring to, is all. And sure, he'll take it," she says, nodding to the blue who pads over to start to lick the odd looking beast. THen he flops down and starts to happily gnaw away at the tough meat, treating it more like a toy than food. Kimm steps back and starts to clean her knife on the ground, careful of any stones.

Th'ero grins back, though still seems a touch confused. But the bronzerider only shakes his head, letting it the topic drop as he gets to work on severing the skull from the rest of the carcass. And just in time too, as Varmiroth comes over to lick it and Th'ero is deftly moving away, clutching the gruesome trophy in one hand and setting to task of stripping it of as much flesh as possible. The rest he'll have to worry about later. Velokraeth makes no claim on any of the meat, though the pale bronze does watch the blue with amused curiosity. "I'm glad we came though." Th'ero suddenly murmurs out of the blue, before his gaze turns upwards to the sky, squinting as he does. When he glances back down to Kimmila, he smiles crookedly. "Did you want to rest awhile?" he asks, looking towards the shade as he sets the skull in the middle of the feline pelt, deftly wrapping it up inside.

Kimmila looks relieved as she gives her friend a sidelong look. "Yes, please," she admits, setting the pelt and claw aside and following him towards the shade, carefully sitting down with her back against the tree trunk. Closing her eyes, she sighs contentedly. "I'm real glad we came, too. Thanks for agreeing to come with me. I really appreciate it," she adds, cracking open a green eye to smile at him.

Th'ero flashes a quick grin to Kimmila once the bluerider agrees and moves off to find a spot in the shade. He chooses a spot next to her once she settles in and while she rests her back up against the truck, he settles more turned on his side. "Anytime I'm free." Th'ero offers, smiling back when she looks his way. "I'll be more then happy to join you." And there is sincerity to his words as he shifts his weight to settle more onto his back now, head tilted upwards as he closes his eyes for a moment as well, savoring the coolness of the shade and the relaxed moment.

Kimmila looks down at him with a little smile on her face, and then her eyes close once more, her head resting back against the tree trunk. "I'll hold you to that," she says with a quiet chuckle. "I really will, you know. It's nice to have…" She clears her throat. "Someone to do things with."

Th'ero chuckles in return, eyes still closed and his arms coming up to fold closely over his body. "Fine by me." He muses in return. It's when Kimmila clears her throat that the bronzerider opens his eyes again, brown gaze shifting to the side to fix her with a long, searching look. A corner of his mouth quirks up into a half smile as he regards her curiously now, "What are you hinting at?" he asks, his tone gentle despite the bluntness. Subtleness was never Th'ero's strong point.

Kimmila opens her eyes fully and meets his look with a quirked little grin of her own. "That I enjoy spending time with you, Wingmate," she says, reaching over to punch him in the leg. Classy. "And it's something nice in this life that I've fucked up. It's…it's nice."

Th'ero looks pleased, though disappointment flickers briefly in his eyes. "Same." Comes his simple reply, the rest of his words saved for the deep chuckle at Kimmila's punch to his leg. One of his hands come up to swipe at her playfully, either getting nothing but air for his efforts or connecting and taking a light grip of her arm. Classy, indeed. "Nice?" he echoes back, though his smile is kind. "I'm happy to know that, Kimmila."

Kimmila shrugs, glancing at him and looking across the clearing. "Nice," she says quietly, not moving away from his grip on her arm. "Very nice," she adds. Glancing over at him she catches the disappointment in his gaze, and her brows furrow. "What?"

Th'ero looks perplexed now, still gently holding her arm as her response (or lack thereof) makes him fumble awkwardly. Kimmila furrowing her brows at him almost cause him to back off, but instead he tests his luck. Rather then free her, his grip becomes firmer, less she react and try to pull away. "Do I have to spell it out?" he teases gently, unsure of what else to say. Again, his shortcomings in subtleness may lead to more awkwardness, but the bronzerider isn't entirely discouraged. But neither does he have the confidence to just be upfront.

Kimmila glances down at his grasp on her arm, but instead of frown or get all huffy, she just look up at him agian, her head tilting slightly. And…maybe she blushes a little. /Maybe/. She'd punch anyone who called her on it. "I think you do," she mutters, glancing down.

Th'ero is wise enough not to call her on it, though his sudden grin may call him out. His grip loosens though until Kimmila is all but free from his hold, but his hand still lingers, though it's more of a gentle touch now, one that he trails ever so slightly upwards if she allows. The bronzerider knows he's pushing it, probably half expecting an actual punch any second. But when she glances down, his resolve seems to weaken and Th'ero falters again. "I…" he begins, only to fumble into silence and the awkwardness jumps up another notch. The lack of response from Kimmila only serves to confuse him further.

Kimmila bites her lower lip and glances up at him, her green eyes clouded with many, many emotions. "It's so hard," she whispers. "I don't know what to do and I don't know what's right. I…" And she looks utterly floundering, her bravado and brashness washed away as she reaches up to grip her braid in a fist, and hold it tight. And her other hand? Her other hand reaches out slowly to rest fingers against his arm, meeting his gaze once more. "Tell me, Th'ero," she whispers, "because I can't guess at these things. I…don't know what I'm doing."

Th'ero listens quietly as Kimmila begins to open up a little, watching her carefully. His gaze settles on her hand when she rests it against his arm and when she glances back to meet her green eyes, a small smile on his lips. "It's okay." The bronzerider reassures gently, keeping his gaze focused with hers. "I understand, Kimmila." Even as he says this, he's shifting his position again only this time it's to pull closer to the bluerider. Just a little, but perhaps enough of a hint as words seems to fail him again. "I don't know how to put it…without it sounding stupid. Or awful." He finally murmurs, looking sheepish in admitting it. "Or like I'm simply using you." Th'ero grimaces a little at that, but he means it only to be truthful. "Just know that I'm not forcing you…"

Kimmila shakes her head, leaning towards him a little bit. "You're not," she says, maybe a little too quickly. "You're not at all. I've…for a little while…" Failed at all this crap. "I just…I want…" She takes a deep breath and exhales in a frustrated huff, meeting his eyes with a frank look. "I want to be close to you, Th'ero." That doesn't sound stupid, does it? "But are you still a taken man? Because I can't be that. I can't do that. Not when it was done to me." Her hand on his arm trembles a little with the effort of this admission.

Th'ero listens quietly again, patient as ever and always watching. Hope seems to be kindled by Kimmila's words though, the bronzerider not finding them to be stupid at all to judge by his expression. But then, just like that, it flickers and dies out and his gaze shifts from the bluerider. Frustration settles in, but when he does glance back to Kimmila, his smile is only warm, perhaps a little sad. "I know. Which is why I won't force you. I am taken, but I'm not. Does that make sense?" There's a little sigh then, though Th'ero doesn't move away quiet yet. Her hand, the one that trembles, is gathered up in his and given a gentle, reassuring squeeze. "I'd hate to ruin our friendship over this." He murmurs, reluctantly freeing her hand before he shifts onto his back. "I'm sorry, Kimmila, to tempt you like that." Th'ero admits, turning his head a little so he can glance over to the bluerider. "Especially after…all that's happened."

Kimmila nods with a soft sigh. "It does," she says, returning the squeeze gently. "I would too," she admits. "That'd be the worst." She blinks watering green eyes as he moves away, shaking her head and leaning back against the tree trunk, her eyes closing. "It's okay," she whispers, her chin trembling slightly. "It's just how things are right now, is all," she murmurs, wiping her eyes on her sleeve. Her jaw clenches and Varmiroth croons softly, but she just shakes her head at him, until he croons again, more firmly, and her hand reaches out to search for the bronzerider's again as tears start to spill down her cheeks.

Th'ero can hear what's to come in Kimmila's tone, but even so the bronzerider starts a little when the bluerider is suddenly crying. "Shards, Kimmila." He says, though there is no anger in his tone, only concern. There's a croon from Velokraeth too, a gentle one for Varmiroth's rider while the rumble directed to Th'ero is laced in implied sarcasm. Good going! Kimmila's searching hand is grasped in his, given the same reassuring squeeze though this time his hold lingers as he tries to draw the bluerider to him. This time though, his intentions are purely innocent to a degree, seeking only to bring her close in order to offer what comfort he can.

Kimmila goes without resistance, falling against the bronzerider's shoulder and curling up as the sudden sobs shake her body. Good going, indeed, as she simply cries, getting his tunic all wet and snotty. Yuck.

Th'ero shifts his weight so that Kimmila can rest comfortably, concern still written clearly on his features as he lets the bluerider sob and cry herself out. As for the state of this tunic, the bronzerider seems to care less, as it was already not too clean after their hike through the jungle. Occasionally, he'll murmur something to her, some words of reassurance, while one hand eventually comes to rest on her back, light and gently stroking in a soothing manner.

Kimmila doesn't take long crying before she's gathering herself and resting against him, sighing and shaking her head. "I'm sorry," she whispers. "I just…it's just…I want to, Th'ero. I do. I just…I can't. Not now. Not yet. Not with you still…taken-not-taken, and…I've only ever been with A'ven, other than flights, and I'm so fucking broken," she whispers, closing her eyes tightly and pressing against him.

Th'ero makes another soft sound of reassurance to Kimmila as her crying slowly stops and she gathers herself and rests against him. "I know, I know. Don't be." He murmurs back, his one hand still stroking her back in what he hopes is soothing. "I understand, I do, Kimmila." Th'ero sighs a little as he leans into the tree trunk, but there's still a small smile for the bluerider. "We're all a little broken." He says, revisiting his old line from back on the sunning stones. "I'm not forcing you." Th'ero stresses again, voice still low. "I should be apologizing for tempting you, when I knew better. I just… got caught up, became selfish. And I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hurt you."

Kimmila continues to rest against him, breathing slowly and staring across the clearing at where Varmiroth is still gnawing on the carcass, but watching his rider closely. "I feel a lot broken," she admits softly. "No, you're not forcing me," she agrees, shaking her head. "And maybe you should be apologizing, but it was something I'd been feeling, too. Wanting to be close to you, but not knowing if you felt the same, or were even available, or wondering if I even /could/, because of all my issues…" She trails off with a soft sigh. "Selfish?" she asks, glancing up at him. She smiles a little. "You didn't hurt me. I'm flattered, really. It's just everything else that hurts."

Th'ero relaxes a little as Kimmila's crying comes to and end, his hand coming to rest against her back as he supports her. "You've been through a lot." The bronzerider points out gently, lapsing into silence for a moment as he mulls over his thoughts. Velokraeth is like Varmiroth in the sense that the young bronze is watching both of them, though his focus seems to linger on his rider the most. Th'ero gives another little smile, breaking the silence with a soft chuckle. "Selfish." He confirms again, hesitating again for a heartbeat or two before finding his voice. "I'm…relieved I didn't hurt you. Last thing I want is to put a strain on our friendship. You're one of the few I do have, can trust and respect. So…" And the bronzerider trails off awkwardly, giving a sheepish smile before sobering again and looking down at Kimmila with a slight concerned frown. "What is it that hurts still?" he asks softly. "If you want to talk about it."

Kimmila exhales softly, and shakes her head. "Don't see how it was selfish," she murmurs. "That's the last thing I want, too. I…" She purses her lips a little. "Running the risk of sounding horrible, you're probably the only one I have right now, that isn't related to me. And I know that's my own fault, but still." She glances up at him with a faint smile. "Because I ruined it," she says quietly. "I had a wonderful life, a family - a loving weyrmate and a new daughter and I ran off into the wilderness for a few turns just because…I don't know. Because I was sad? I was stressed? I wanted to run away? And I messed it up. I lost everything, except Varmiroth, because of my selfishness. And that hurts. I…I'm more mad at myself than anything. I'm not mad at A'ven if I think about it - really think about it. I just…I am so furious with myself for messing it all up." She sighs, absently plucking at the fabric of his tunic as she talks.

Th'ero brow quirks up a little and he rests his head back against the tree, glance moving upwards to stare into the leaves above. "It was. I got worked up. Guess it was the hunt, among… other things." He clears his throat a little, cheeks a little flushed. Awkwardness returns, despite the bronzerider trying to keep it from being so. The bronzerider does look surprised though next. "Really? How would that be horrible?" Now it seems to be his turn to be a little flattered. Th'ero returns the smile, though it soon softens and disappears as Kimmila brings up her past and current hurts. His hold tightens for a moment on the bluerider, the best attempt at a reassuring hug of sorts given their positions. "We all make mistakes." He says softly, glancing down to watch as she absently plucks at his tunic. That seems to bring a chuckle, before he continues. "It seems like you got overwhelmed. Maybe panicked. Made a few mistakes. But you're back now… there's a chance you can piece some of your former life together. It won't ever be the same but it's something, at least?"

Kimmila continues to pluck away, basking in the simple contact with another person. This close contact that she hasn't felt in years. "What other things?" she asks, always poking to get deeper. "And I don't know. Sounds clingy? Pathetic, that you're my only friend, perhaps?" She shrugs against him and looks across the clearing again. "I suppose," she says quietly. "I spend time with Ziani. Trying to build a relationship with her. She doesn't hate me, that's something. But I just…I don't know if I was ever cut out to be a mother," she admits with a wince, shaking her head. "I feel so…ashamed to admit that, too," she murmurs. "My mother is amazing, and wonderful, and such a caregiver and I just…" She sighs heavily, tilting her head against his chest a bit so her words are muffled. "I abandoned my newborn daughter and my weyrmate to go galavanting off across Pern. It sounds so horrible. No wonder people think I'm crazy. Think I'm a bad person. My actions certainly point that way."

At Kimmila's probing question, Th'ero shifts a little as though suddenly uncomfortable. In the end, it's only the bronzerider's habit of fidgeting when dealing with subjects that he still finds difficult to speak openly of, even if alone with a close friend. "Do you really want to know the details?" he says, tone slightly teasing. "Because the other things… well, I'm only human." Th'ero then shakes his head again, giving a soft sigh. "It's not pathetic, Kimmila. After all, I'm not far off from you. It's not bad to have a small group of friends, you know." There's silence again from the bronzerider as he listens to his wingmate, brows knitting together again in thought. "Why are you ashamed of that? I'm sure you're not the only one who feels that way about motherhood." Th'ero tilts his head a little to the side, giving Kimmila a long, thoughtful look before he smiles. "For the last time, Kimmila. You're not crazy. And what you did was not horrible. Was it good? No. But not horrible." Again, he shifts his weight, careful not to disturb the bluerider resting against him too much. "I did something pretty bad myself." He admits in a quiet voice.

Kimmila's cheeks color slightly at his question, and she chuckles. "I guess I can fill in the blanks pretty well," she admits, giving his chest a gentle pat. "I suppose not," she admits. "Wouldn't hurt me to have a few other friends, though. I should work on that." But there's a wry twist to her lips that betrays that this probably isn't at the top of her list of priorities. She shrugs. "Because it's expected of me to be a good one? Women have children, and there's this maternal instinct. I hated being pregnant, but everyone said, 'Just wait, when you hold your baby it'll all change.' But…it didn't." She shakes her head. "I love her, of course, but…I don't know. A'ven's a much, much better parent than I am, and I'm not saying that so you can reassure me. He is, and I'm so glad he is, so Ziani has at least an amazing father, if her mother is a bit sporadic." She looks up at him, a brow lifting curiously. "Like what?" she asks. "Does this have to do with that little cothold you spoke so fondly of?" Sarcasm and teasing are an equal mix, though very gently done as she rubs his tunic again.

Th'ero looks amused, but relieved when Kimmila eases off, smirking when she pats his chest. The wry look on the bluerider earns a slight snort from the bronzerider and he simply shrugs his shoulders. "You could if you wanted to." He agrees, before giving her a curious look. His frown deepens then and even his smirk falters. "That's ridiculous, to assume every woman should have children. It's like you're not given a choice." Points out the /male/ bronzerider, but regardless of his gender, he shares his opinion anyways. "Sporadic is better then none at all, ever, so… really, Kimmila. I think Ziani will be fine. You're still her mother, regardless. You still see her now and then and you said you love her. That A'ven is more then capable to care for her. What then, is the problem?" he says, all in a gentle tone, less some of his words seem a bit harsh. When Kimmila looks up curiously, Th'ero simply smiles back, though it's thin. "It does." He confirms with no sarcasm or teasing. Instead his voice takes on a harder edge, there and gone in a blink of an eye. His gaze slides downwards to where the bluerider rubs at his tunic, momentarily distracted until he regroups his thoughts. "A small remote fishing cothold. Where I chafed with my father's upbringing and treatment of us." There's a pause, as he takes a slow, deep breath. "Too much of a coward to confront or leave, so I turned instead to using my fists to solve my problems. Take my frustrations out on the other youths or whoever." As if to emphasize this, he clenches his free hand into a closed fist, staring at it before relaxing it. "So on our usual trip down to Torince, I get into a fight. But it goes too far. I don't even remember why, or who I fought. Guess it was bad because next thing I know I'm in a cell, woken by my brother and then publicly disowned by my father. So I lost everything. Family, home and all and left with nothing but a tarnished reputation and the clothes I had with me." Th'ero falls silent then, his expression a mixture of several emotions, though he watches Kimmila almost warily, as if waiting for judgment.

Kimmila sighs. "I just think more is expected of me," she says very softly. And then, almost inaudibly, she adds, "/I/ expect more of me." Then she is quiet as she listens to his tale, softly rubbing her hand against his chest. She nods as he finishes, looking up at him. She offers no smile of reassurance, as her expression is solemn, but neither is there judgement in her green gaze. "We all make mistakes," she says quietly. "And look where you are now. And I'd bet my life that you'd never raise a hand now to anyone who wasn't threatening you or something you held dear." Her eyes focus on her hand again. "I'm sorry about your family, though. That has to be hard. Are you in contact with them at all?"

Th'ero doesn't quite catch the second part from Kimmila, giving her a little frown before replying in his usual gentle tone. "Don't judge yourself too harshly." But then his past is spun out into the open, the bluerider now added to the select few who know. The bronzerider relaxes a little under her touch, having tensed up as he dredged through old memories. There's a soft, almost sad chuckle when she turns one of his phrases on him, but Th'ero doesn't seem to mind. "You're right, I wouldn't. I had to scrape and struggle to survive alone in Torince. It was either that or go holdless and… I couldn't stomach that. So I became a Guard, of all things." And while Kimmila focuses on her hand, Th'ero is focused on the bluerider, watching her. "It was and still is. It's my sister and mother I worry for. My brother…is my father's pawn and just as bad as him. But I've had no contact, save for a letter or two." There's a sudden sigh from the bronzerider and he quiets again, except to murmur. "Not everyone knows of this, Kimmila. I trust you enough to keep this to yourself."

Kimmila shakes her head, "I'd never tell," she promises softly. She is quiet for a few moments, just watching her hand rub against his chest, before she glances up at him to ask, "So. You're Fort's Weyrleader, now. Rider of Bronze Velokraeth. What's stopping you from taking a few of your best riders and going home, and coming back with your mother and sister? If your father and brother are so terrible…" She trails off, knowing full well that she doesn't know the whole story, but asking just the same.

"I trust you. Or I wouldn't have said anything." Comes the low reply, before Th'ero gives a chuckle that's devoid of any real amusement. "Small thing known as the age old "Weyrs do not interfere with Holder's business"… or something of that nature. I can't just storm the cothold, ass tempting as it is. But I figured a way around." As Kimmila trails off, the bronzerider fills in the rest. "My father is dead now." He explains, too detached to be normal but there seems to be no flicker of grief or sadness. "I got the notice when I was still a weyrling. Probably my sister's doing or my contact in Torince, otherwise I'd never know. That left only my brother in charge. So I was able to get to my mother and sister by letter at least, behind his back. My mother chose to stay. Kaliena…she's in Torince Hold now, trying to decide where to go, I suppose." Th'ero trails off again, lost now in thought though doesn't seem distressed. Simply brooding, though he shifts a little under the bluerider's touch, relaxing under it.

Kimmila glances up at him at the news of his father's death, but she simply nods and resumes her rubbing. "Then that's her decision," she murmurs. "At least she had that chance. To leave. And your sister…she will make up her mind, too, and her own decisions. And I'm sure if she chose to come to the weyr, you'd make that happen. So I guess there's nothing to do but wait and see." Her hand slides up over his collarbone and then back down over his sternum, also going quiet and contemplative.

"Exactly. I haven't seen her in Turns. I'm as much a stranger to her as she is to me. But I told her she's welcome to come north, if she chooses. Or even Western, if she wishes to stay closer to home." Th'ero murmurs, before managing the briefest of smiles directed to Kimmila. "Thanks." Is all that is said and then the silence extends between them, though less awkward and perhaps peaceful this time around. For a moment, his eyes close as Kimmila's touch wanders, though his hand comes up suddenly as she reaches his sternum to rest over top and gently stop her, should she not be quick enough to move away. "Kimmila…" Th'ero's eyes have opened again, just enough to show the conflict there as he glances sideways to the bluerider, his tone carrying the unspoken words with it - it would seem the bluerider's touch was more then just relaxing to the bronzerider.

Kimmila's hand is stopped and she looks up at the bronzerider, and her breath catches in her throat. Her eyes close slowly and then open in a drawn out blink, and then she's leaning up with her eyes closing once more, seeking to kiss him. Because it's hard to think about consequences when you're miles away from civilization. When you're hurting and soothed at the same time. When you're opening up to someone after so long, and finding comfort with them. And, if all those excuses fail, there's always the dragon to blame it on, as Varmiroth croons a soft but insistent encouragement.

There's no sudden reaction of surprise or pulling away when Kimmila leans up to him, Th'ero giving her what she seeks, though it's light at first, almost questioning, before becoming bolder, hungrier. Consequences aren't considered by this time either by the bronzerider. Stirred up by the hunt, by stress, by the lack of any physical contact, seeking comfort and finding it, hurt and soothed, soothing the other through theirs, it all adds up. He lingers on none of those excuses though and Th'ero is suddenly shifting, drawing the bluerider to him, should she be still willing. And it's true, if all else fails, blame the dragons. Velokraeth doesn't croon, though he does seem to be preening himself with an awfully smug manner.

Kimmila is indeed willing. Eager, almost, though it's her injured arm that keeps her from moving a little faster and a little more boldly as her good hand slide up to rest on the back of his neck and she presses her body closer to his, soft sounds rising from her throat at the quenching quality of his kisses. Though, like most kisses, they satisfy one desire but raise many more as she leans against him.

The willingness, even if slowed by the injury, coupled with the touch of her hand and the feel of her body pressing into him only has Th'ero turning the kisses to something deeper, more passionate. The soft noises Kimmila makes only serve to stir and encourage him, though eventually the kiss is broken, though his hold on the bluerider remains firm. Turning his head a little to the side, Th'ero nuzzles gently into the side of Kimmila's neck, eyes closed, visibly flushed and breathing heavier as he reigns in some control. Some desire has been satisfied, but it's apparent enough that several more have awakened in the younger bronzerider. It's a pivotal point now - to stop or to continue? Th'ero seems to have left it to Kimmila to decide, though his body obviously betrays him.

Kimmila leans against him, and when the kiss is broken her breath comes in ragged gasps as she turns to kissing the side of his neck, nibbling lightly. "Th'ero," she whispers, voice hoarse. Left to her, she places another soft kiss to his lips and then rests gently against his chest, catching her breath. "It feels so good to be held again," she whispers, lifting her head to look up at him with a soft smile. A smile that, for once, is devoid of all sharp edges and sarcasm. No wry twist, no smirk. A soft, feminine smile.

A low, throaty sound of pleasure, almost a growl, escapes Th'ero when Kimmila turns to kiss and nibble at his own neck. A weakness, for sure and the soft kiss is returned as he leans back heavily against the tree, letting his breath out in a long exhale as he struggles to compose himself, eyes closing for a moment. As Kimmila settles against his chest, Th'ero slowly opens his eyes and glances downwards, noticing the change in the smile she gives him. He smiles as well in return, a genuine one lacking any sarcasm or twist. And it seems the smile is his only answer, either simply because the bronzerider has no words to give or he doesn't trust himself to speak.

Kimmila closes her eyes and simply leans against him for a moment, before she shifts with a sigh. "I need to get my arm looked at," she murmurs. "It's starting to hurt…" But it's clear that despite the pain, she doesn't want to give up this moment, lest it never be regained.

Th'ero is equally reluctant, though concern begins to override his thoughts and mood. Lingering desires are tucked away as he shifts his weight; gently guiding Kimmila with him (unless she resists) so that he can examine the bandages he has so hastily bound the wounds with. "That can't be good. We should have gone straight to the Holds." The bronzerider murmurs, no doubt silently cursing himself and the change in his expression says as much. As much as Th'ero may have hoped for the moment to continue as well, it's rapidly slipping away.

Kimmila doesn't resist, shifting so he can see the bandages where blood has begun to soak through. "Wouldn't have wanted to miss this," she says honestly, giving him a smile as she trails a finger along his sternum, and then laughing. "Don't beat yourself up over it," she says, slowly pushing to her feet. "I'll be fine, and we'll go hunting again." She winks.

Despite Kimmila's words, Th'ero is beating himself up over it inwardly and while it flickers briefly in his eyes as he notes the blood on the bandages, but it's soon hidden and tucked away. The trailing touch and the laugh leaves the bronzerider a little perplexed, but he smiles all the same. "Hmm. As much as it was enjoyed and needed… but you're right, we'll go hunting again. For now though," And he too pushes himself to his feet, pausing to shake the worst of the dirt and leaves from his clothing. "We're going to get that arm of yours checked. Alright?" The wink is given a smirk in return and moving slowly, almost reluctantly, Th'ero slips from the protective shade of the tree and out into the sunlight, heading to gather his rolled pelt.

Kimmila gives him a curious look as she trails after, holding her injured arm until she bends to pick up her own pelt and claw, and tucking it into Varmiroth's straps. "'We'?" she asks. "You're coming, now?" She takes a few moments to pull on her riding leathers, moving a little awkwardly with the jacket until she decides to just sling it over her shoulders and fasten the neck button, turning it into a cloak of sorts. She steps up onto Varmiroth's foreleg, balancing while the blue does most of the lifting, helping her up between his neckridges where she takes her time in buckling in.

With the pelt tucked under his arm, Th'ero turns to meet Kimmila's curious look with a small, rather crooked, smile. "Yes. Fort can wait a few more moments." Silence then, as he's back to picking his words carefully, though it could also be that he's distracted in reclaiming his riding gear, slipping into it and then loading both his pelt and the packs to Velokraeth's straps. "I want to be sure," Th'ero continues, as he checks the straps before mounting up, buckling in and then glancing over to Kimmila, observing the makeshift jacket-turned cloak but also perhaps watching for her reaction. "That you'll be okay. Least I can do?"

Kimmila accepts his decision with a little nod and a smile. "Alright then, let's be off. Varmiroth will give you the between point, and we'll be quick about it." Her lips then set into a thin line as she gives her Wingmate a nod, and the blue carefully lifts off into the sky and shares the destination before winking between.

Th'ero relaxes a little from where he sits, giving the final check to his straps before he's nodding to Kimmila, though his smile now broadens, even as concern lingers, mixed with other emotions he quickly quells by focusing instead on the flight ahead. Velokraeth gives a quick stretch before gathering himself up to spring after Varmiroth, easily gaining the visual points needed for the journey between. They vanish just a heartbeat behind the blue, reappearing over the destined Hold where both bronze and blue will land. As promised, Th'ero lingers just long enough to see that Kimmila is safe, offering his own farewell that is brief, but as always, slightly awkward in the end. Then it's just Velokraeth and he who leave, taking to the skies and winking between back to the cold and snow covered Fort Weyr.


'The World of Pern(tm)' and 'The Dragonriders of Pern(r)' are copyright to Anne McCaffrey (c) l967, 2000. This is a recorded online session, by permission of the author but generated on PernWorld MUSH for the benefit of people unable to attend.