Fort's Forests ~~ Fort Weyr - Lover's Tree Hill

Like a strange island in the middle of an alien sea, this hill arises from the tide of blueberry bushes to provide yet another vantage from which wayward wanderers might survey the lands around. The lone tree must have been a transplant from somewhere, having no others of its kind around to compare it to. Glossy green leaves of a roughly tear-drop shape might not make the tree especially distinctive, but the lurid, fire-bright blossoms it produces in spring most definitely make up for it. Its age is telling in its size, with its branches sprawled out to create both deep shade and the illusion of a canopy of fire when it's fully in bloom.

As if to make up for the fact that it simply isn't a climbing tree, people have been carving in the soft wood of this strange entity for generations upon generations. The soft wood is durable enough to endure such attentions and hewn upon its surface are names that have long-since been lost to time. Lovers and the lovers of lovers, those who simply wish to make their mark and more have laid their hands on this tree … and, perhaps, there will be generations more to be had.

Earlier that morning, K'hys had gone out to meet with Jheth, the blue having slipped out not long after waking to find something to eat. Neither were seen again since. Now it's long since dark, and the free day has gone by without a word from either of the blue pair, having missed both lunch and dinner in the meantime. Jheth is less than forth coming at first but with some gentle prying he'll only say to any of his clutch mates who may inquire after them that his K'hys was 'breaking'. Whatever that meant. Probed further, the blue very reluctantly reveals where his rider very well might of been all day and into the night. The tree at the top of Lover's Tree Hill. Sure enough, there he is, knees to chest with his back against the rough bark of the scene's point of interest. Arms folded over them and his head down. It might look silly for someone of the bluerider's size to be like that, but sometimes people forgot that Kai was only sixteen. Still a kid, in many respects. Very close by, as close as he can be anyway considering that tree there, is Jheth himself depressed whirls of muddled gray whirling over his normally icy blue facets, also curled up as tightly as possible there upon the frost kissed ground.

A'lin has guessed maybe Kai wanted some time to himself. Or that maybe he even went to visit his sister. But at the news from Jheth he's been on a hunt for K'hys. More prodding and he gets enough of a glimpse to know where the bluerider is. So A'lin has gathered up the troops! And by troops he mean… Dei. She was the only one around when he finally got the news from the blue. A'lin at least will swoop down on Njordeth into the clearing area not too far from the hill tree. Hopefully the gold will be able to fit into the clearing as well. Once they're down, A'lin will head up to where K'hys is curling up. "Kai?"

Dtirae has been gathered as the troops, apparently, not that she was unwilling to come at the news from A'lin was enough to get her to move. Zuvaleyuth settles down in the clearing, long enough for Dtirae to dismount before she's fleeing in retreat, claiming that she doesn't wish to clog up the area. Whether or not that is true, however, Dei makes no indication of trying to stop her lifemate, and instead takes off after A'lin. Her hands tuck into her pockets as she walks, lingering in silence until they reach where the bluerider is settled. There's not much hesitation as she plops down beside him and moves to slip an arm around him, if he doesn't pull away. "You wanna talk 'bout it, Kai?"

Jheth lifts his head at the arrival of Njordeth, a soft croon of greeting for his clutch brother, but he doesn't otherwise make to move from the spot he'd chosen on the hill. He wasn't particularly a large dragon, average really for one of his color, and that had come in handy in situations like this. There isn't even so much as a twitch from K'hys, not when the dragons land and deposit their riders, and not when Zuvaleyuth flees for areas less claustrophobic. He stiffens at the sound of his name, recognizing A'lin's immediately. The big guy was his best friend after all. He tightens up when Dtirae drops down next to him, but doesn't pull away when the woman puts an arm around him and offers to be a listening ear. Stubbornly, the sixteen turn old shakes his head. Apparently no, he didn't want to talk about it. Even if she can likely feel him shaking now that she had contact with his body like she did. Every now and then, a soft sniffing sound comes, and as the silence stretches on the more noticeable sounds of distress. Kai, was crying.

Njordeth heads over to sit near his clutchmate. He's not really the cuddling type, but maybe his presence will help the blue cope a little bit. Or at least not feel alone. A'lin for his part heads over to sit on the other side of Kai. Then his big arms wrap around both him and Dei. Big forced group hug! Ada frowns at his little buddy. "Kai… What happened?" Ada's mind reels in a number of unpleasant directions. "Is it your sister? Th'ero? Have you stubbed your toe really really hard? Please tell me it's your toe! I'll call a healer!" Ada's likely joking around. And probably failing miserably at trying to cheer up Kai.

Dtirae tightens her arm around Kai as she feels him shake, the shake of his head giving the negative in answer to her question, so, she doesn't press. Instead, she just hold him a little tighter, even as Ada draws them both into a hug. Her head comes to rest against the bluerider, not before she shoots the brownrider a singular look to keep him quiet. "If he wanta ta talk, he'll talk when he wants."

K'hys doesn't reply to A'lin's questions, but the observant would notice how the bluerider stiffens again and grows even more upset at mention of Th'ero. That there, might tip them both off as to what had occurred, or at least give them some direction. He doesn't pull away from the embrace of his classmates, their proximity and friendship enough to trigger a rather long and rough round of sobs. Kai simply will not lift his head either, even when Dei rests hers against him, even when crushed against Ada's body. In what might seem like forever, the boy lets it all out, hands sliding up into his own hair to clutch at it with the merciless curl of his fingers. Shoulders heave and there's many messy wet sounds, that probably signify that it's for the best that the bluerider had his head down and wasn't munging all over everyone. Either that, or Kai was embarrassed about this unrestrained show of emotion. Maybe even both. At some point, the emotional wave crests and subsides, leaving only some labored breathing and sniffling again. Jheth was a cuddler, but he reserved such things for the pretty greens he liked to stalk and investigate. Not that he didn't seem to appreciate the silent comfort that having Njordeth close brought. He even reaches out with his snout and touches to to some point along the brown's hide. A thank you, perhaps. "He knew," Kai finally manages to croak out, "He knew and he said…nothing. He told HER."

Jheth might not want to cuddle, but it seems as though Ada is okay cuddling with other men. Or maybe it's just with Kai. Ada leans back against the tree, but keeps his big arms wrapped around his fellow weyrlings. "He?" Ada scratches his head a bit. "Th'ero, then? He knew about your uh… feelings?" But who was her? Ada looks over at Dei, wondering how much the goldrider knew about Kai's current love situation. "Well… I suppose at least now you don't have to go through the trouble of telling him yourself…" Though he can tell that the weyrleader didn't really react quite nicely.

Dtirae doesn't say anything at first, left in silence as K'hys begins to cry harder, or, simply louder. Her arm tightens around him in silent support and she lingers there waiting for him to actually talk about what's bothering him. She doesn't even speak when he begins to, lips pressing into a thin line before she looks towards A'lin, questioning but nodding in a slight understanding of the situation. How much she knows is very little, but, that doesn't lessen her support. "What happened?"

Now Kai's head comes up, and it becomes abundantly clear that it had been wise of him to have hidden himself away for so long. His face was wet, blotchy, and there was a clear slimy looking substance draining from his nose. His eyes were red and puffy, raw from countless hours of weeping. It was not a pleasant sight, to say the least. At A'lin's question as to the identity of the offender, K'hys nods a few times before wiping the sleeve of his riding jacket beneath his nose. Yummers. "I don't know how he knew, but he knew." he says, sounding even more miserable than he looked. The bluerider then uses the heel of his palms to quickly and roughly wipe at his eyes, breathes coming to him with a incomplete staggering effect before he finally accomplishes exchanging the air and and out. There is little comfort from him in the knowledge that at least now he didn't have to breach the subject with the weyrleader later, the long look he gives the brownrider after he suggests it, easy enough to understand. When Dei asks what happened, Kai drops his face into one of his hands, the palm marred with red crescents numbering the same count as the fingers that half slip back into his hair. "I went to meet up with Jheth this morning after he ate, Th'ero, Kimmila and some bronzerider named Zi'on was there. She called me over after Jheth had wandered off to chase some green," he begins to explain, a few more tears rolling down his cheeks. "I wasn't there for for more than a few minutes when Th'ero and Kimmila start giving each other these long looks and she's rubbing his back….it was so obvious that they were…" Lovers? "Together. I didn't know what to do, I felt so stupid." He shakes his head then, taking a break from the story to concentrate on not losing it again, before he continues. "I congratulated them on finding each other, I meant for it to sound sincere, even though all I wanted to do was scream. I guess she heard it in my voice and she just…tore into me right then and there….in front of that bronzerider I didn't know. In front of him."

A'lin frowns at the looks Kai gives him. Hurt now or hurt later, it was still there. As Kai starts to explain the situation, Ada wipes away some of the bluerider's tears. He pats around in his pockets and pulls out the cloth he uses to clean his riding goggles. "I see…" Ada says quietly. It wasn't the tender private talk that Kai sounded like he wanted with the weyrleader. Instead it was more like an embarrassing slap in the face with Th'ero's current girl. "I'm sorry, Kai…" Ada rubs the bluerider's back a bit. He knows there's nothing he'll be able to say or do to take the pain away for Kai.

Dtirae listens quietly to the answer to the question Ada asked, lips pressing into a thin line of discomfort for her friend as she gently rubs his back in a silent offering of support. This continues as he begins the explanation of what happened, brows drawing into a frown to mimic the displeasure that soon filters into her features, unrestrained. "I'm sorry, Kai." She whispers softly, leaning in closer to him, continuing to stroke along his back. "I'll go punch him if you want."

A'lin and K'hys had talked about it enough, that it was a safe bet that a nice quiet private chat was exactly what the bluerider had been hoping for, but as he goes on, it indeed turns out that an embarrassing slap in the face was exactly what he got. "She said she wasn't just going to stand there and let me blame them for my heartache, or put up with my guilt. That it was all my fault for dragging it out so long and I'd brought it upon myself with my 'coy little games' in the hope that Th'ero would fall in love with me." He breaks down a little bit right then, displaying quite openly how deeply Kimmila's words had cut him. At least there was plenty of tears for A'lin to wipe away. He does manage to collect himself after a minute or two, enough so he can continue anyway. "And he just stood there, even put an arm up to defend her when I tried to explain. He said he's only just found out and that it was none of my business what he talked about with her. He was so angry at me, they both were." He shakes his head then, at Dei mostly when she offers to go and punch Th'ero for him. He folds his arms up one over the other over his knees and stares blankly at the browned grass sticking up between his boots."I tried to leave and he went and pulled rank on me, you know…to try and get me to come back and talk." There's a bit of pause there, maybe taking comfort or gathering strength in the hugs and rubbing of his back, and eventually he releases a long heavy sigh. "I told him to….eff off, and I left anyway."

A'lin frowns more and actually starts to look a little angry as Kai goes on to explain the rest of what had happened. "This woman… you'd met her before? She sounds… very insensitive. And downright rude, actually. This is the weyrleader's choice in women?" Those weren't very nice words to say to anyone, let alone a weyrling. There's a blink when the bluerider admits to having told the weyrleader to fuck off, then. "I see… well. I'm sure Th'ero realized you weren't exactly yourself after all that. Even still… you should probably have a talk with him anyways…"

There is confusion coming from the goldrider as she continues to stroke the bluerider's back in a gentle, comforting manner. She doesn't say anything for a long moment, even as her offer is rejected by the bluerider. Her fingers shifting to head up to his shoulders, fingers gripping his shoulders lightly, gently massaging. "I'm sorry. I'm glad you walked away, it was probably for the better. Though, you're probably going to get in trouble later." She murmurs softly, fingers continuing to gently work on his shoulder. There's a look towards A'lin and she gives a half-shrug at the talk of the Weyrleader's chosen woman, clearly in the dark in the happenings of relationships about the Weyr.

K'hys nods his head once, turning it some to meet the pale blue of the brownrider's gaze, "I met her a couple of times before, but she wasn't the same woman I saw him with at the claw fest during candidacy. I don't know what happened to that one." It might be pretty apparent that Kai didn't know what was going on at all at this point, and having had to find out about all this in such a public and abrupt way had made quite the impact. "If that's the kind of woman he likes, he's not the man I thought he was." Or she rocked his world behind the scenes, though really this was probably the last thing in the world that the boy wanted to think about. "I thought she was going to hit me, and I hadn't even said more than congratulations at that point." Scary woman, do not want. Kai frowns when Ada mentions talking to Th'ero again, and he shakes his head, looking away. "There's nothing left to say. I got my answer." Not that he sounds particularly happy with how it came about, or the way it was delivered. Then again, who would of been after all that? Brown eyes travel off towards Dtirae, some of the tension likely lessening because of the careful attention of her slim fingers. He nods for her sympathy, and simply shrugs when she tells him that there were probably going to be consequences for his actions, "I hear what you're saying Dei, but at this point I could care less what he does to me. Couldn't be any worse than what happened today."

A'lin nods a bit to K'hys at his explanation about Th'ero's choice in ladies. Though he figures some of the talk was out of grief, it certainly wasn't doing much to improving the brownrider's perception of their weyrleader for certain. "You won't be able to avoid him forever… but maybe leaving things alone for right now is the best idea. Just… sort of pick up the pieces as best you can and focus on other things right now." He suggests. The big man will stay with Kai, even if he doesn't want to go back to the barracks at all tonight. Otherwise he'll head back with the bluerider when he decides to go, though he'll be fairly quiet.

"Some people just ain't the way you think they are at first." Dtirae supplies softly, continuing to gently massage the shoulder she has her grip on, continuing to offer her support and comfort to the saddened bluerider, tilting her head to rest against him once more. "I know. He ain't goin' ta be the one ta handle it, 'm sure. Maybe Neyuni or Elara, dependin'. Just ta give you some space, but, yer goin' ta have ta face him eventually, Ada's right." But, she leaves it at that and instead focuses her attention on soothing rather than lecturing. "Wanna stay our here a bit longer? Goin' ta have ta go back sooner or later."

"Not worried about it," K'hys remains firm, but has the presence of mind to keep his tone soft despite the anger he was likely feeling beneath all the trappings of a broken heart and having been humiliated so publicly. "I know I can't avoid him forever, he's the Weyrleader. But that doesn't mean I have to go out of my way to pretend nothing happened." So avoiding for the time being it is, apparently. He nods to them both, though, a little bit afterwards. "I don't think I'm heading back tonight, I'm sure I'll get into trouble for that too, but I don't really care right now." Not that he hadn't followed the rules like a trooper right from the very beginning of candidacy straight on through to weyrlinghood. Here is was but a month and half from graduation and now he was trying to be all bad ass and rule breaky. He turns then towards his two friends, and looks at them each in turn, ending on Dei. "You guys can head back if you want, I just, can't go back there right now."

Dtirae nods once and gingerly continues to rub his shoulder. "I know. It'll be okay." The goldrider doesn't linger, however, pushing to her feet. "I'll see if I can try ta lessen yer punishment for stayin' out, but, no promises. Make sure you get somethin' ta eat, okay?" Whether or not he listens to her, she won't double check. There's a last touch of comfort, her hand reaching to gingerly ruffle his hair. "I'll see you later."

Dtirae was leaving, but A'lin was staying, Kai not condemning or praising either of them for their decision. It was, up to them, and there was no judgement from the bluerider. There had been plenty enough of that already today. Looking up at the goldrider, K'hys smiles faintly and nods, seeming grateful for the help even if he hadn't asked for it. Must be just one of those things that friends did for one another, or perhaps he thought so. "I packed up Jheth's satchel bags with some stuff, I'll…" he pauses and glances the way of the brownrider, then corrects himself. "We'll be okay. Thank you, Dei." He allows the ruffle to his hair, waving as she heads off back towards the weyr be it by foot or on dragonback.

'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.