Fort Weyr - Living Caverns

This cavern, having been created by bubbles in the volcanic flow of this extinct volcano, has a breathtaking ceiling — a vast dome that arches high above the heads of the weyrfolk that scurry around beneath it. A hollow echo can be heard from loud enough noises, and the chattering of various firelizards are consequently multiplied into a chaotic babble. All in all, the living cavern is a loud place.

Tables are scattered around the room, apparently in no particular order. Over to one side near the kitchens, two medium sized serving tables are constantly spread with snacks, klah, and other goodies. The tables look worn, yet perfectly fitted to the atmosphere of the caverns. In the 'corners' of the cavern, smaller two and four place tables are set up for more private talks or just a less chaotic atmosphere in which to eat.


Rukbat was hung low upon the horizon, and the beginning of evening highlights the sky with a stellar wash of gorgeous color. Deep oranges seem to blend effortlessly with purples any weaver worth his salt would envy. Already a few stars have begun to twinkle here and there, and in no time at all the heavens will give way to their light with a backdrop of the deepest ebony. Most residents and riders alike have begun wandering in for dinner, some already present and seated at the many tables set up for eating. One of which, is one of the weyrlings from the Senior Weyrwoman and Weyrleaders latest clutch, a boy of around sixteen or seventeen, with a cord of blue woven into his simple knot. An additional tell, is the colors of Fort Weyr worked in with that of an apprentice weaver. Hunched over a plate laden with a well balanced meal of roasted tubers, salad, and a slab of seared herdbeast steak, K'hys picks at his food. His expression is drawn and serious, despite the merriment of conversation taking place by the fellows of his rank around him. One of the other weyrlings nudges him, causing the boy to stiffen and then offer the girl a faint smile. "You okay?" she asks, the cord of green in her knot all the identification one of her ilk really needs. "Of course." he replies, visage shifting easily to a crooked and even flirtatious grin. "What is it there that you're eating?" He successfully deflects all attention off himself, having drawn more than one set of eyes with with query posed to him, and suddenly the conversation moves on to the flavor or perhaps the lack there of, of the evening's staple.

Into the bustle steps Elara, the Retired Weyrwoman more of a fixture around the weyr since her return. Always bustling around doing something, today her mission seems simple and similar to the others' - get some food. She stands in line, chatting politely away with the person behind her, filling her plate with a little of this and a little of that. A generous helping of bread and a mug of tea have her turning and looking thoughtfully across the crowded room. The leaders' table has some empty spaces, but for whatever reason Elara chooses not to sit there today. Instead, she walks to the Weyrling's table, putting her plate down on the table beside K'hys' spot, giving him a warm smile. "Would you mind if I sat here?" she asks politely, despite her rank.

Given the excitement in which the weyrlings speak among one another, it's no wonder that as Elara wanders closer that she'd pick up on snippets of their conversation. The dragons were just over a turn now, and beginning to take to the skies for the first time with their lifemates. Some had already experienced this milestone, others listen on with eager expressions of anticipation. Having returned to poking at his meal, K'hys is decidedly silent, letting the others chatter about the topic around him without showing any interest in participation. Of course, as a plate is set down onto the table before the empty spot beside him, the boy's brown eyes are drawn over and up. The first place they go is the woman's knot, and perhaps as expected K'hys drops his fork as his eyes widen and he half rises from his chair. "N-no, of course not ma'am. Please." A lingering tan from perhaps the turn before can not hide the instant flush of color to the bluerider's cheeks. It may very be the quality of Elara's smile, brings such a result. Suffice to say, the weyrlings all have fallen silent and their own gazes much like his.

Elara handles the attention with the ease and grace of someone who has dealt with it for many, many turns. She chuckles, waving a hand towards the table as a whole. "Please, don't let an old woman disturb your conversation," she says lightly, her eyes bright with good humor as she takes her seat and adjusts her skirts beneath the table. A satchel over her shoulder is removed and set down on the floor beside her chair, and she pats the table between her place and K'hys'. "Please, have a seat, I didn't mean to disturb you." She lowers her voice, eyes glancing to the leaders' table. "I just didn't feel like listening to that steward ramble on," she admits, nodding her head towards the older, balding man seated at the leaders' table. "He's from one of the nearby cotholds and bless his heart, but he can talk for ages." Chuckling, the weyrwoman gives the bluerider another smile, before she begins to twirl her pasta around her fork. "You're K'hys, right?"

Easier said than done, when Elara insists that they merely continue on as if the retired weyrwoman hadn't just chosen to park herself at their lowly table, there is some resistance to follow her request. K'hys at least lowers himself back into his seat, the mug of chilled klah nearby nestled none too far off from his practically untouched plate, equally forgotten. "I think we're just surprised, ma'am." he replies soft, and sheepish. The conversation does in fact pick up several minutes later, but with considerably less wild abandon. The other weyrlings speak now in hushed tones, though whether this is to not disturb Elara or to keep their secrets is debatable. K'hys too glances over towards the Leaders' table when it's brought to his attention, brows lifting as his gaze darts shortly there after to the woman beside him. Like magic, the boy's face blossoms into a grin that surely has floored more than it's fair share of young ladies, and even perhaps a lad or two. "We holdbred tend to like the sound of our own voices, and of course everything we've seen or heard of topics of enrapturing conversation." His tone is lightly teasing, picking up his fork again, but not particularly doing much with it other than pushing around the contents of his plate. He does, however, startle when Elara apparently knows his name and he takes a moment or three to stare with some unrestrained surprise, "I am. I guess my reputation proceeds me." Again with that grin.

Elara laughs, shaking her head and giving the boy an amused look. "I was born and raised in Fort Hold, myself, but I can't say I ever loved the sound of my own voice, as a young lady. Especially not when I came to the weyr," she chuckles. Pausing for a few bites, she smiles once more over at him. "No," she says lightly, not about to trip into this boy's ego. "Just your name. Wiyaneth and I like to keep abreast of the new Weyrlings as they're coming up. You're a bluerider, yes?"

Those brows of his remain lifted, "Oh? We've got something in common then. I'm also from Fort Hold originally." K'hys replies, only partially aware that a few of his fellow weyrlings have finished their meals and are departing. He pauses himself from his chat with Elara to send them warm smiles and even a wave as they bid farewell. "Maybe it's a gender thing, I love the sound of my own voice." Laughing, and quite obviously not being the least bit serious, he finally picks up his mug of klah and takes a few sips. It's at least still cold, with a few rather sad ice cubes clinging to solidity but it's a losing battle. He puts on a show of looking relieved that he wasn't one of the subjects of discussion when they gathered, pointing easily to his knot. "Yes ma'am. Jheth is my lifemate."

Elara chuckles, giving the boy an appraising look. "You're quite the charmer, aren't you?" she says, her tone lightly teasing. "Perhaps it is a gender thing. You might know my son, Tlazio. He's a Smith Journeyman at the Hold, while my other son, Artel, is a Seacrafter, and my daughter Kimmila is a bluerider at Western." She smiles. "Jheth. My Wiyaneth says he's quite a lovely blue."

"I try," K'hys flirts shamelessly with a chuckle, despite the gaps in their ages and the undeniable difference in rank. For all intents and purposes, it appears to be harmless, and might be just one of those quirks in the bluerider's personality. "Then again, it could just be the company." The girl seated to his other side snorts and nudges at him, resulting in a truly lopsided and roguish grin to come into play. Which is dismissed with a roll of eyes and some laughter on their part before Elara once more has his full attention. The girl herself, finishes eating and departs with a soft touch and squeeze of the boy's shoulder. "You may want to ask my father about that. I was apprenticed to the weaver craft at fourteen, and spent as little time near or having anything to do with the stables as possible. Though, it wouldn't surprise me if your son supplied some of the shoes they use for the runners." It was a small world indeed. There is a blink at mention of Kimmila, and recognition sets itself into his features. "Ah, Kimmila I've met." There is a pause, and a unmistakable fondness melts into his expression, "How kind of her, please let her know that Jheth and I are flattered at the compliment." A bob of his head and a grateful smile, before he picks up his fork and spears one of the roasted tubers.

Elara chuckles, enduring the flirting with good grace as she continues to eat her meal. Smiling a farewell to the girl, the goldrider watches for a moment, and then chuckles again. "Perhaps, perhaps," she says, though the subject of Tlazio doesn't seem to be one that can endure, and so she lets it slide. "Oh really? I did not know that. Though she has been visiting Fort a lot more, lately. Seems she's here more than she's at Western, sometimes." Her eyes follow the departing greenrider once more, and the woman smiles at the boy. "Girlfriend?" she asks. She's old, she can pry like that.

Although K'hys seems to have acquired some appetite now, the weyrling is undoubtedly still listening as he begins to relocate his food via his fork from plate to mouth, with pauses for sips of his klah. Even with the conversation lingering some on Kimmila, he remains focused on Elara and what she was talking about. "Perhaps it's our new Weyrleader." he mentions idly, and oddly doesn't seems entirely comfortable now with the way he looks away and shifts his position in his chair. Almost fidgeting. This relents some when asked about the greenrider that had just left, and the boy nearly chokes on something or another. Wiping his mouth with his napkin, one that had been draped in his lap, K'hys shakes his head. "No. She's a friend, and potentially a future playmate, but both of us have our eyes set elsewhere."

Elara sets her fork down and sips on her tea, her hands gently cradling the mug between them. "Oh?" she asks, giving the boy a thoughtful look at his suggested reason as to why Kimm is so often visiting Fort. "Why would you say that?" When he nearly chokes, however, the Healer sits up and moves her hand, about to pound him on the back until he seems to recover. Her hand returns to the mug, and she gives him a warm smile. "Ahh, I see. Friends are nice, and she seems a lovely girl." Her gaze scans the room and then focuses back on him, with a playful little smile. "If not her, then, where are your eyes set? Because I know they're not on me either, despite your shameless flirting."

K'hys waves off the pursuit of his passing comment, "Just rumors really. I don't usually pay them much attention, but…" And he'll just let the rest fall away, appearing to be more concerned with cleaning his plate than giving a proper response. "…no one should put much stock in such things. Nothing good ever comes of it. All they do is give the Aunties something to yammer about." There was no way that the bluerider could disguise that there was something that he wasn't saying, perhaps sparring a mother unsubstantiated gossip surrounding her daughter. He gives her an apologetic smile for the coughing fit, soothing it with downing the majority of the contents of his mug, setting it back down into the table gently. "She's great. Certainly puts up with my nonsense gracefully." While he does chuckle at this, the sound wavers and his expression becomes drawn. "As lovely as you are ma'am, you're likely as unobtainable as he is. I hope you'll forgive me for not supplying you with a name, but the first and last time I did was with a close friend, and it didn't go very well."

Elara chuckles softly, her eyes dropping to her mug of tea. "Ahh, but how will you know what's being discussed if you don't pay attention to rumors?" She gives the boy a look, and a knowing little smile. "It's important to hear the stories that people tell. It's the belief of them that must be handled carefully." She is quiet for a moment, her gaze fixed expectantly on his, eyes sharp and keen. Then she laughs, smiling and reaching out to try and pat his arm. "I understand, dear, please forgive an old woman her nosiness and curiosity. I'm sorry things did not go well, though. I wish you luck, just the same."

Plate cleared, K'hys sets his fork down upon it, giving it a nudge as if confirming he was in fact done with it before finishing off that which remained in his mug. "I prefer to listen to people telling their own stories, rather than hear them second or third hand. I realize that the details that a tale picks up as it moves around can be interesting and give it more depth, but in some cases entirely inaccurate." he explains, gently shrugging his shoulders and smiling warmly at Elara. A difference in opinion perhaps, but there was no implication that he wished the former Senior to waver on her own. He was merely supplying her with his. He doesn't shrink away from her touch as her fingers make contact with his arm, the flesh beneath smooth and warm. "You don't need to apologize. Once I've graduated, I'll tell him how I feel, I'll be rejected and life will go on." The empty mug is set back on the table with a soft clunk of wood on wood, leaning back in his chair and draping his own hands on his leather clad thighs. He wore riding leathers in blue so dark it was easily mistaken for black, the jacket settled on the back of his seat, the length of his pants over the tops of his thick soled boots. His white tee-shirt was of a thicker sort, but fitted in such a way as to accentuate his slenderness without being skin tight, gathering some at his hips where his leathers were belted simply. "I'm the first to admit you can't help who you fall for." A strained chuckle for this, and then he nods again with that easy smile of his. "I'm sure she and I will make up at some point, but thank you for the luck. I need all I can get."

Elara smiles, taking another sip of her tea as her hands return to wrap around the mug. "Well said, K'hys," she compliments, with a pleased look for the young Weyrling. Perhaps that's what she was hoping he'd say. It's impossible to tell. Another sip of tea, as she considers his words. "What makes you so sure he will reject you? You never know how someone else feels until you ask." Her mug is set down and she turns to give him another smile. "What other plans do you have for your future, beyond this post-graduation confession?"

K'hys didn't appear to be putting on a good face for Elara or anything of the sort, for all intents and purposes relaxed even with their discussion weaving in and out of topics that the boy was likely not entirely comfortable with, for personal reasons of course. He didn't appear to have any issues with the retired senior at all, quick to smile and laugh. Or perhaps that was just the boy himself that was so easy going. "Thank you." he returns, propping one foot up on one of the supports located beneath the table, his gaze taking a brief stint of wandering over the people milling about. They were coming and going with greater frequency now, dinner in full swing with the background simply abuzz with a countless dozen conversations. As she goes on to ask more in depth, the bluerider takes a breath and lets it out slowly as if she'd just stumbled into a minefield and he was considering leaving her there without aide. He opens his mouth, pauses, chuckles and then shakes his head. "He's a bronzerider, he has a girlfriend, and he's about as clueless as most holdbred are. Adorable in it's own right, but frustrating all the same." He might be regretting having finished up his meal, depriving him of something to distract himself, fidgeting in how he shifts in his seat or finds something for fingers to toy with. This time, something stuck to the surface of the table, which he attempts to pick away by scratching at it with one of his short-kept nails. "Can't seem to get his eyes out of my head, or his smile. I find myself sketching him over and over again. You'd laugh if you could see how many pages are filled with portraits and studies of him." He focuses most of the nervous energy that's built up on that sticky substance he's picking at, brows sinking low and his gaze taking on a decidedly fixed concentration. As if his mouth were moving despite not willing it to. "It's almost sad how I know he's going to break my heart, but I can shake the need to tell him how I feel." He stops as the stuff is picked free and flicked across the table, frowning fleetingly before he crosses his arms over his chest and flashes Elara a strained smile. "A high cost for piece of mind and a leap of faith, wouldn't you agree?" As for rest? Perhaps K'hys hadn't heard.

Elara watches the boy, and there's a gentle and genuine smile of sympathy on her lips as he continues to speak. "I wouldn't laugh," she assures him softly, her look understanding. Still, she doesn't ask to see the book - she respects his privacy, for all that she's pried into it. "That is sad, and yet it's not," she finally says, thoughtful and keeping her tone quiet, so their conversation is lost amongst all the others in the cavern at this time. "To do otherwise would be living a lie. Sometimes it's best to face the truth head on, even when you know it's going to hurt. That, I think, takes a great deal of courage. And then you can build on what's left. Perhaps you two can become friends. Or perhaps not. But…regardless, that's when it'll be over. Sometimes the waiting is the hardest part. The wondering how it's going to turn out. Afterwards, you just…know. And then you can move on." Her hand reaches over to give his arm a gentle squeeze.

The sketchbook of which he speaks is no where in sight, even if the rumors say that he always carries it with him. K'hys also does not make a single move to retrieve the item in question either, from where ever it may be hiding. If he notices the lack of nudge to prove his words, he makes no mention of it. However, there was still something about the way his expression - strained minutely with worry and nervousness for this time yet to pass - softens the longer he speaks with and listens to Elara. "No, I imagine you wouldn't." Laugh that is. Unconsciously the tension in his shoulders has begun to ease and that flirtatious demeanor of his soon dropping almost completely as time ticks by, easing into the kind of comfortable better found amongst old friends catching up. The bluerider nods his head when she says it's sad, but also when she contradicts herself a second later by saying it wasn't in the same breath. Completely in agreement. "I agree with you there, which is why I'm going to tell him anyway. I met him as a candidate, then I Impressed. It was never the right time for confessions." A chuckle for this, for the irony perhaps. "It wouldn't be appropriate either for a weyrling to be saying such things, especially to someone of his rank, no matter what the anticipated result. I've waited nearly two turns, I can wait a little bit longer." His smile widens fractionally at the mention of courage, color to his cheeks returning for a moment and then starts to fade as Elara continues, K'hys breaking eye contact with her and once again letting his gaze wander over the room and its occupants. He reserves comment, lashes lowering and all emotion save for the beginnings of hurt and sadness already in place for an answer he doesn't yet have. When her hand returns to his arm for that touch and squeeze, he turns his face slightly more away and shifts his his chair as those not yet ready for the feelings they are experiencing often do. In this, the bluerider's age and lack of life experience showed plain as the nose on his face. The muscles of his jaw tightening, he brushes something from his face, before placing his hand over hers. Returning the squeeze. Drawing in a deep breath, K'hys glances at Elara, the glassiness of his eyes unmistakable. "Sorry." he half laughs, flashing those pretty straight white teeth of his and wiping a tear from his cheek as he straightens in his chair. "Wouldn't be the first time I set myself up like this. Probably won't be the last."

Elara sits quietly beside him, her position solid and unwavering. She is a mother and a grandmother, and she has always identified with those roles very strongly. Maternal instincts run strong through her, as she sits beside this poor, sad boy. "I think it's good that you're going to tell him," she says quietly. Her other hand rests on top of his, giving it a gentle pat. "No?" she asks of his last two statements. "Why do you think that is?" There isn't judgement in her voice - just an understanding and supportive tone, ready to listen should he wish to share. But then she glances around the crowded Living Cavern. "Would you like to move somewhere else, dear?"

K'hys laughs again, soft and brief. "A mindhealer might describe me as something of an emotional masochist is my guess," he replies, following this up with a long sigh as the humor he had showed fades quickly. "I don't know. First time I ever fell in love was with a childhood friend. He never knew how I felt about him, it just wasn't something holders talked about. Even today relationships of that nature are condemned." He pauses and looks to Elara, "You grew up in Fort Hold, you know what I'm talking about." His hand, the tiniest bit damp from his display of unhappiness, had returned to hers on his arm. He takes a breath and looks away, feet scuffing somewhat on the cavern floor beneath the table. The breath is released, nearly another sigh as his shoulders hunch to a degree. "At fourteen I went off to Weavercraft hall, and it was the first time I could be myself." He coughs, leaving little argument on what exactly he might be referring to there, especially with how dark his cheeks go at that moment. "Don't get me wrong I enjoy the company of a woman just as much, but for some reason or another, I've always felt more drawn to others of my own gender. Emotionally, anyway. While I was there, I met this other holder, he and I were together for almost a turn before he was called home. His parents had found him this girl that they wanted him to handfast, and he brushed me off just like that…" There is more weariness in his tone than anything else, though some sadness and loss still clings to his words. "And now this…" His voice trails off, before he seems to realize that Elara had asked him a question and he flushes darkly, his eyes darting this way and that suspiciously. "Do you think we should?" You know, move. His brows furrow, and his lips are drawn downwards. Had someone been listening?

Elara nods her head slightly, but she frowns a little bit too. "They're not condemned," she says gently. "Not around the right people, anyway. There will always be bigots in the world, and there will always be people who are open to different things." Then she is quiet and listening, her frown deepening. "I'm sorry, K'hys," she says gently. "Sorry those things have happened to you." Then she looks around with a small shrug. "You remember how we talked about rumors," she says with a gentle smile.

"I had a few friends who were the same as me, their parents were less amiable to the news then mine were." K'hys confesses, softly. He was on the cusp of his seventeenth turnday, and had yet to know and see all that Pern had to offer no doubt. Speaking only from his own experiences. He does nod his head in agreement about bigots and their opposite, growing quiet as Elara apologies to him. He sits there amongst the murmur of other people's conversations. Some quiet, some louder, all blending together to form a kind of droning in the background save for the occasional jovial laughter that rises above it now and then. This combined with the clattering of flatware against ceramic, shouts across one side of the cavern to the other and chairs being scrapped back and forth against the cavern floor made it seem like this was the safest place in the entire weyr to have such a private discussion such as they were. Still, the bluerider's frown also deepens, and he glances to the woman's plate. "Are you finished eating?"

Elara inclines her head as she pushes to her feet. "I am," she says. Then she smiles. "We don't have to leave. It just occurred to me that you might want to." Since conversations are hard to overhear, but tears…those are easy to spot.

As Elara rises, K'hys follows suit, pushing his chair back in and taking up their empty dishes for the return bin. He was tall, very tall. Several inches over six feet, something that couldn't be appreciated while he was seated. "I'll be right back." This said, he hurries off to do just that, depositing the dishes where they should go and sparing who ever might be on cleaning duty a bit of time. He returns as quickly as possible considering the volume of people now present, outside the sun having set and casting the outside of the weyr into starry bespectacled darkness. He offers his arm to her then, a gentlemanly gesture that went well with one of those easy smiles of his. One that is freely given to Elara, without even a seconds hesitation. "I wasn't expecting…" he says, suggesting perhaps those tears that she was eluding to, "Probably a good idea to relocate in case…" And off his voice trails again, undoubtedly referring to any possible re-occurrence that might be awaiting him in the wings so to speak. "Any suggestions?"

Elara looks /up/ at him with a bit of surprise, as she had not realized how tall he really was. She waits for him, slinging her satchel over her shoulder, and then takes his arm without hesitation. It is indeed a gentlemanly gesture, and the retired weyrwoman is used to being treated thusly. "Come with me," she says, starting off through the cavern. "There's a place just outside my weyr that will give us a lovely view of the stars."

Any surprise for his height is either missed or taken in stride, likely used to those sorts of reactions by now, and although he gives the woman his arm he can't help but chuckle as she's the one leading him. Even if he had been the one that had inquired after a place where they could go to talk more privately. He brows lift in unison as she tells him where it is they are going, but is no less at ease, falling into step with her rather than making it look like she was dragging him off somewhere. "Ah, all right." he replies, peeking outside to find that indeed night had fallen. Jheth is waiting outside in the bowl, not that anything other than his coloring really set him apart from others of his kind. He was of average size, and had a somewhat stalker build, one that suggested heavy muscle rather than being overfed. His head lifts up from where he was curled up beside some very pretty if considerably older greens, whirling icyblue facets tracking their movements across the bowl. There is nothing said aloud, but the weyrling does glance over with a vacant look to his eyes before he returns to himself, and the dragon goes back to his resting.

Elara leads (or walks with) the blue weyrling to the base of the steps which are carved into the cliff face, leading up to various leadership weyrs. Reaching into a small storage cavern at the base of the steps, she comes out with two little pillows, which she sets down on the second step for comfort. Then she sits down, leaning against the step above, and looking towards the stars. "This area gets nice and quiet, in the evenings. It's a good place to stargaze," she admits. Her ledge is above them and to the side a ways, one of the lower ledges along the staircase. Up there rests Wiyaneth, the aging queen's eyes pinpoints of swirling light in the darkness.

K'hys waits until Elara has settles in, before sitting down beside her on his pillow, not a single questioning look or puzzled expression for the where and the how. Even if there was some curiosity for that small storage cavern, perhaps marking this off as a place of interest later. Additionally, he sets down his coat, having grabbed it from the back of his chair before heading out here, and set upon it is none other than a shockingly thick leather bound book that looks more like an ancient tome than what it really was, his sketchbook. He too looks up at the tiny pinpricks of light winking down at them, leaning back much like the retired weyrwoman, only hooking his elbows on the step lip behind them. "I've been by here a few times, but never after dark. It's beautiful." He probably hadn't noted just where Elara's weyr was, or that there might be eyes peering through the darkness in that general vicinity. He had his attention on the sky, and also on the woman at his side.

Elara smiles, "Yes," she agrees. Her eyes glance to the book, and then away, not going to ask him about it. "So," she says quietly, gently returning to their paused conversation, "it seems like you've had a lot of trials in your life. Especially when it comes to love, and relationships and things of that nature. Is there no one…else…here that you've found yourself attracted to?"

K'hys was probably unaware of the glance at his sketchbook, paying the thing absolutely no mind at all now that it was safely tucked off there to the side. It was pressed up to one of his hips, so it was unlikely that anyone making off with it would go unnoticed. Not that the thing had value for anyone other than himself. As Elara speaks, he remains with his face upturned towards the sky, but a faint smile and nod of his head comes as she brings up his trials. When she asks her question, it's then that he drops a hand off his knee to the book, fingers brushing the cover perhaps even without thinking. He looks to her, the light cast off by a torch or other light source making hiding his expression in the night impossible. "There's plenty of people I'm attracted to, more than enough to sate whatever lust I might have. Here, and elsewhere. There's even a guy in Ista I was very fond of, but I'm never one to rush into anything physical. Not even for my own sexual gratification. I suppose it's my holdbred sensibilities." A sad, and faintly crooked smile in place and he bows his head, focusing on some spot on the ground visible past his knees from his viewpoint. His lashes lower; long, thick and dark, lashes most men possessed to the chagrin of the women folk. "I've more respect for the other person, whoever they might be, to take without a care in the world of the consequences." In other words, he wasn't the type to sleep around from the sound of it. "Would it be easier to not give a shipfish about feelings and things of that nature? Yes, I'm sure it would." A pause and he glances at the retired goldrider, "I've been with a lot of people. Most of whom weren't looking for more than I was offering. The physical part. But that's no way to live. It's rather sentimental, but I just want to love and be loved in return." Another pause and he leans over, dropping the volume of his voice to a murmur. "Don't tell anyone I'm the romantic sort."

Elara shakes her head slowly once he's done speaking. "I wasn't implying that you should sleep around, or go willy-nilly through the weyr just to sate your appetites," she assures. "And no, it would not be easier to not care - things always come back in the end." She chuckles, giving him a smile. "I won't tell, but I think it's fairly obvious that you are the romantic sort," she tells him. "Perhaps one of those folks that you're attracted to could grow into a loving relationship? No relationships start out with love, right from the beginning. At least none that I've seen, except for the one I have with my children." But that's not what they're talking about.

"I think I'm being rather idealistic, to be honest." K'hys muses, picking up the leather bound tome looking book, and after caressing it's covers once again, he hands it over to Elara. Just like that. It's decidedly heavy, but just looking at it this was obvious, the actual weight however still might come as a surprise. It's held closed with leather strap woven around two buttons sewn into the top most flap, and the main body, in a sort of figure eight fashion. He returns his gaze to the stars, not bothering to hover or stare at her to gauge her reaction. After all, he'd just given her the answer she had been seeking not too long ago in the living cavern, even if there was put some leather between her and it remaining. "I find being playful with most people comes second nature to me, regardless of age or gender. It's only when I'm serious about someone that it becomes harder to be so easy going and carefree. I'm almost overly self-conscious, afraid of making a mistake. Or perhaps it's just with him, I feel that way. I haven't really looked at anyone else since I met him two winters ago. Never been very good with the passage of time." He laughs at this, and then goes quiet for a while, keeping his eyes cast upwards as he leans back just a little bit more. "Perhaps." he mutters eventually, scuffing at the step his heavy soled boots rest against, idly. "I'll be seventeen in a few months, plenty of time to meet someone and fall in love. Plenty of time for my heart to be broken several times over too, I imagine."

Elara nods, "Perhaps," she says as she takes the book gently into her hands and rests it on her lap. "But what's the use of youth if you can't have those hopes and dreams?" Unwinding the strap, she carefully opens the book and begins to look through it, a firelizard winging down to land on her shoulder and shed some light on the pages, from his spinning eyes. She slowly turns the pages, her suspicions confirmed as she sees Th'ero's likeness on many of the pages. "These are quite good," she murmurs quietly. "I think most people," she continues, still turning the pages, "find it easier to be playful. Distant, and hiding behind outward appearances. Most people feel self-conscious and vulnerable when things get more serious. Afraid of being judged, or causing hurt. I do not think you are alone in that, K'hys." Smiling, she turns to give him a gentle look. "Perhaps you should begin looking," she says quietly. "And yes, there is plenty of time for you to find what you're looking for. And hopefully you won't get your heart broken several times over."

K'hys chuckles and grins over at Elara, head partially turning in her direction and eyes sliding her way without otherwise moving, returning to his star gazing in time to see a shooting star streak across the sky. "I always thought that youth was for making mistakes, and learning from them so you're less likely to repeat them in front of your kids." he teases, perhaps joking in some effort to distract himself from what the retired goldrider was doing over there. After all leather creaks no matter how well cared for it was. It was true about the amount of times that Th'ero is depicted, dozens upon dozens of portraits and studies. Some focusing on certain aspects, such as hands, clothing or hair. Many on the eyes and mouth as well. There isn't a single picture within that steps into fantasy, such as depictions of the poor Weyrleader nude or anything of the like. Others were in there as well. Miki, Melze, many of Jheth and studies of his limbs and wings, more than a handful of Deitra and A'lin. One or two of a crescent eyed boy with a mischievous glint to his grin. There are nudes in there, tasteful and seem more to be studying the play of light upon flesh than anything that could be used for…stimulation in private. There are places as well, practice in the folds of fabric and even something as simple as a glass of water with a straw in it once or twice for the displacement effect. The drawings are nice, towards the beginning of the book, some proportions off, the shading uninspired. However, the further in they go, the better they get. Each is dated and signed, and so it could be noted that within the last couple of turns, the boy's abilities have been sharpened and honed. The people and places almost seeming to leap off the paper their drawn upon, as if one might at any time blink or someone move into frame. There was as well several sketches of the clutch that his lifemate had come from, in such detail, it was impossible not to recognize each and every one even with the lack of color his penciling brought to page. "Thank you." Comes the reply to the compliment, a faint smile passed over before he gives up on looking at the sky, brown eyes cast the woman's way once again. He meets her gaze only so long as it takes for her to suggest he start looking elsewhere, dropping his own soon there after, ironically enough onto a portrait of Th'ero. There were so many, most especially towards the end where even a half shaded work in progress is found. He's deathly quiet save for his own subtle breathing in and out, though at some point he swallows thickly, something gathering beneath his lashes and then slips down one cheek and then the other. "I can't." he says in a voice barely above a whisper, brows sinking low as he focuses there on the face put there by his own hand. There he remains, unmoving, till he suddenly does and is wiping at his face, and he might just thank Elara later for the suggestion of a relocation. Drawing in a deep breath though his nose, he lets it out quickly past his lips and looks somewhere else. Anywhere really. What a nice pebble there, over yonder. Yes. "Not yet."

Elara waits until he moves to wipe the tears away, and then she turns the page and gently closes the book. "Why not?" she asks gently. "What is it about him that has you so…" Obsessed? "Captivated?" She offers the book back and then rests a light hand on the back of his shoulder, giving it a soothing little rub.

K'hys doesn't look back at Elara, even as she closes the book at last and begins to speak, at least not just yet. "It's stupid, really." he laughs, but there isn't any humor, coming out as rather hollow as if made purely out of a lack of knowing what else to do. The tears aside, the boy didn't appear to the point of bursting into uncontrolled sobs. Perhaps, this would come later, or not at all. "I've thought about it enough to make a very educated guess how it's all going to turn out, but this very tiny part of me clings to the hope that I'm wrong. That, he won't outright reject me, even though I've never once had any indication from him that he's at all more than what I've seen." Straight, totally into girls, so not interested in men. Then the loaded question comes and the boy finally looks at Elara again, as if he hadn't expected her ask that, even if it was only a matter of time. He sighs, heavily, dropping his eyes to the book as it's offered back and he takes it from her, placing it back atop his jacket. "I don't know if you've ever met or talked to Th'ero, but he has this natural charm about him. An almost childlike awkwardness I find irresistible. That's what's going to make being rejected by him so hard, because I know he's going to stumble over it trying to let me down as gently as possible and just mess it up terribly." Maybe he'll just be wiping at his face again, the dark obfuscating the show of emotion as he turns away some. It takes him a few moments to compose himself, at least well enough to talk again. "Aside from that, he's kind and gentle. There's a sadness that he tries to hide, but his eyes betray. Some of the things he says sometimes I can't help but laugh," And laugh he does, as if remembering one or two such situations, "I'll spare you the physical reasons." This is given, half amused, and half heartbroken already.

Elara continues to gently rub his back as she listens, watching him through the darkness. "I have spent some time with our Weyrleader, in our various duties," she says. They are in the same wing, too, so their paths have crossed many times to be sure. The woman scoots a little closer to the boy, her arm moving to rest across his shoulders. "He is a good man," she agrees, "but there are other good men out there too, that are within your reach." She is quiet for a moment, before deciding to give one more piece of advice. "Let him go, K'hys," she whispers softly, her voice sad. "Stop torturing yourself…"

The weyrling might take comfort for the motherly way that Elara rubs his back as as she does, he certainly wasn't shrinking away from her touch. Whether he was listening or not was hard to say between the lack of illumination and the way K'hys had his head turned with his eyes on something off in the distance. Though, he does half turn his head back in her direction, stopping himself from completing the movement when she scoots closer and her arm drops over his shoulders. Shoulders that tense, though perhaps not at the gesture itself but rather in preparation for what she might utter next. He nods once in agreement, Th'ero was after all, a good man. Then she goes on, and those shoulders very nearly hunch. He probably knew it was coming, and then it does and the boy shakes his head vehemently, clenching his jaw so tightly that the sides twitch in protest. "I can't Elara. I…I just can't!" he chokes as he now folds his arms over his knees one atop the other and drops his forehead to them, curled over himself. Hiding? Perhaps. "Faranth, what the sharded is wrong with me?" It's not long after this, that movement might catch the goldrider's eye, of something considerably larger than a person coming towards them. Not at a hurried pace, but certainly not dragging along. It was Jheth, his coloring even in the night unmistakable, and upon catching up to the two riders, hunkers down close enough to stretch out and gently touch his muzzle in the general area of the lad's head and neck. At first there is no response, and then K'hys' head does come up, his face wet and he presses it to the blue's. A hand comes up to gently touch palm to jaw and both close their eyes. "Hey buddy. I'm okay, really." he breathes, taking a few moments to just be with dragon and woman.

Elara sighs softly as she keeps her arm around his shoulders, rubbing his back gently. "Why?" she whispers, but it's offered quietly, as if she half doesn't expect an answer. She looks up at Jheth's approach, giving the blue a sad smile, while above on her ledge, Wiyaneth croons down. The queen is an emotive one, and she sends out calming thoughts to the trio on the stairs below.

Jheth draws back and peers up in the direction of Wiyaneth. Maybe he can see her, maybe he can't, but she's definitely off in that general direction. He chuffs softly, not appearing to be all that disturbed or alarmed, having gotten to an age where he can handle strong emotions one way or another from his lifemate at least. K'hys slides his face into his hands and shakes his head again, slowly this time, back and forth. "I have to tell him, I have to know…hear it from him that I have no chance. It's the only way I can let him go." In other words, he needs that tiny little spark of hope completely obliterated before he can move on. He still wasn't breaking down into sobs, perhaps this was the aging gold's handiwork. "I wish I could just let it go, but I can't. I've tried. I've known it's pointless since I figured out how I felt for him." Another sharp breath through the nose and he sits up, dragging the pads of his thumbs beneath his eyes and groaning. "Faranth, this sucks." Jheth snorts and flops one forepaw over the other, eying his lifemate in what can only be described as dubiously. K'hys stiffens, and drops his hands to his lap. "Oh you're a big help." he laughs, wiping at his eyes again and again. There was more pain then anything else there, but perhaps in his case pain was good. "He told me to get over it, and go mate with Friejeth's." That would be green Friejeth, who was ridden by Sarina. An 'amazon' in her late thirties with a fifteen turn old son of her own.

Elara digs into her pocket and pulls out a handkerchief, which she offers to him. "Then that's what you'll do," she says quietly. Of telling Th'ero - she's not talking about Sarina. "After graduation, like you'd planned." She gives him a gentle sideways hug, and then pulls her arm back, folding her hands in her lap. She chuckles softly, giving the blue a small smile. "I'm not sure that'd help."

K'hys takes the handkerchief and holds it a few seconds, looking down at it for the most part. Sure, he knew what it was and what it was for. Right? Well, he didn't look confused, that was something. Or maybe he was so wrapped up in his own teenage drama misery thing that he'd forgotten which way was up. He nods his head at Elara's words, sniffing and looking terribly embarrassed about it. Crying in front of woman he'd just met, like some little lost girl? Not very dignified or manly. Nope. He rests his temple fleetingly upon the top of her head when she gives him that hug for as long as it lasts, righting himself once she draws back. "Thank you, Elara. For putting up with me." he tells her, putting some effort into giving her one of his more devastating smiles. The kid was good looking, you had to give him that. Jheth snorts again and gets up, yawning widely, pausing to look down at his lifemate, and then he turns and wanders off the way he came. With perhaps the last sigh the woman would hear from him, at least this evening, K'hys pulls himself to his feet and collects his things. "I hate to dump all that on you and run, but Jheth says he's tired. I think in part, of me right now." Another laugh, and the boy takes the single step down to the ground, he looks back at her though, with nothing but warmth for her. He doesn't bother filling her in on whatever response Jheth had for her, though it has the weyrling's eyes widening and staring after the departing beast. After a second, head is shaken, and he smiles soft at the retired goldrider. "Clear skies, Elara." This said, he departs.

Elara gets to her feet when he does, staying on her step so she's at least almost as tall as him. "You as well, K'hys," she says quietly, before she's gathering up the pillows, tucking them away, and making her way up the stairs to her ledge.


'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.