Drake’s Lake – Fort Weyr’s Island Getawa

The waters of Drake’s Lake circle the rugged shoreline of this strangely shaped island. The eastern shoreline is home to a small forest and a fair sized clearing dotted with various types of grasses and plants along with several Herdbeasts which graze the meddow and seek shade among the trees, contained by the freshwater stream which cuts the east from the rest of the island.

The central part of the island sports a short hill with a large flat spot at the top which could easily fit two of the larger Queens without them touching. The western shoreline sprouts a small clearing within a forest of fruit trees. Beyond the small cottage found there, vacationing spot of random Fort Riders and any guests they might bring along, is a smaller island. Several large trees create shade upon that island and the flocks of Wherries provide both Riders, Dragons and guests alike with fresh meat.

An oddly shaped island is beneath them when they emerge from between, and Varmiroth dips his wings down towards it, landing on the clear spot atop the hill. Rumbling as he settles, he folds his wings and crouches to let Kimmila dismount. The bluerider removes his straps and the little dragon immediately trundles down towards the water to enjoy the waves washing up on the shore. Folding those straps, Kimmila sets them aside and waits for Th’ero and Velokraeth to arrive, a frown on her face and her arms crossed over her chest.

Velokraeth appears from Between not long after Varmiroth and angling his wings, he dives down after the blue, following him to the clearing atop the hill. Landing with ease, the bronze tucks his wings up tight and neat against his sides, head turning to inspect the unfamiliar terrain in a curious manner. Th’ero dismounts as well, slipping the straps from Velokraeth with some help from the bronze and then neatly setting them aside. For that short period of time, he’s distracted enough that his mind can focus. The moment the task is completed though, it all comes flooding back and the Weyrleader has to fight for hold on his temper and it’s one that he’s rapidly loosing. It shows in the way his hands clench and unclench and the restlessness in his movements. His strides begin to take him towards where Kimmila waits and then Th’ero hesitates, uncertainty in his eyes as he frowns heavily and stands across from the bluerider. It’s her move, it seems.

Kimmila looks up at him and then crouches down to pull something from Varmiroth’s folded straps. It’s a heavy, strong wooden practice sword. She must have borrowed (or stole) it from the guards. Borrowed is more like it, though, probably saying the Weyrleader needed it. She offers it to him hilt first before she removes her bow and quiver from the straps too, shouldering them both and striding down towards the forest. “There’s no one else here,” she tells Th’ero as she walks, which is an invitation for him to get as angry as he wants to. Venting, that’s what Kimmila wants from him.

A practice sword was not something Th’ero was expecting, but after all the surprises he’s faced in the last few days he barely shows any surprise to this. The sword is grasped in silence and a nod is given to her words as he stares down at the weapon in his hand. Turning it, he suddenly takes a firm, hard grip of the hilt and trails after Kimmila as the bluerider heads for the forests. Silence follows, save for the sound of his footfalls. As they approach a strand of trees, Th’ero suddenly swings at the slimmest of them, the sound of wood meeting wood in a powerful strike echoing just as loudly as the curse that escapes him. Venting she shall get as the Weyrleader swings again, anger finally finding an outlet and once breached, doesn’t seem to stop. Best one keeps their distance, as Th’ero is completely within his own little bubble now as frustration and anger grip him, arm swinging and slashing with ease and power as he strikes again and again at the poor tree. Each strike brings another curse, louder and often harsher then the last.

Kimmila nods, satisfied with his outlet and grimly pleased at her decision to grab that sword. She moves further into the trees until she’s clear of the range of his swinging and any potential shrapnel that might be loosed by his blows. Then she sets up her own space, slinging her quiver across her back and lifting her bow. Draw. Notch. Loose. She lets the arrow fly into the trunk of a dying tree, and then sends another one after it. Her stance is tight, expression grim, and her aim is not that accurate. She is too tense, too unfocused, too driven by her fury as she looses the next arrow and it doesn’t even strike the trunk, whizzing by it. It’s a process, as she knows that in order to be /good/, she needs to calm down. It’s a cycle she’s done many times before, and each arrow she looses brings more calm.

With Kimmila venturing off to seek out her own method of venting and calming, Th’ero is left undisturbed. His wild attack on the defenseless tree continues for a moment or two more before he suddenly whirls away and begins to stalk off. “Damn it!” He curses, loud enough for his voice to carry in the stillness of the forests. Swinging his arm again, his aim is downwards and the sword’s tip is buried into the soft ground from the force. The Weyrleader begins to pace then, in a tight and restless loop. His hands reach up to tear at the fastenings of his riding jacket and next the bronzerider is slipping from it, his movements stiff and awkward. It’s tosses away from him, anger making him all but whip it against the nearest tree. Once his hands are free, they both come up to shakily run through his hair, Th’ero’s eyes downcast and darkened with the surge of emotions currently raging through him. “This wasn’t how it was to happen.” He begins to mutter out loud as he paces, back and forth and back and forth, seemingly without end. “He was just a kid! I was to let him down gently. Deserved as much! What under the red star possessed him to blurt it out publicly? Damn it all straight Between, this is a mess!” Slowly his voice begins to rise, though it never seems to be spoken directly too Kimmila though it’d be easy to overhear him. Th’ero makes another noise of pure frustration and the sword is gathered again and the swinging resumes.

Kimmila turns her head when he begins to speak, peering through the trees at him. She pauses in her archery practice and takes a slow, shaky breath. But since it doesn’t seem like he’s talking /to/ her, she holds her own thoughts for a little bit longer, wanting to let him get it out before she speaks up. She does wince, though, at his words. With another slow breath, she pulls another arrow from the quiver and looses it at the tree, watching it hit closer to center than her last.

The second round doesn’t last as long as the first, as the wooden sword becomes lodged between the fork of the low hanging and twisted branches and stuck after one good hard swing from Th’ero. Growling in frustration, he gives up trying to free it and instead turns to rest his back against the tree, breathing heavily from his exertions. One hand comes up to rub at his forehead and brow, shielding his expression under shadow before falling to his side. His head tilts back then till it bumps up against the tree and the bronzerider’s eyes close as he takes a few steadying breaths. It calms enough of the anger and takes the edge from his stress and frustrations, enough so that he can begin to think beyond mindlessly venting. “I’m the Weyrleader of Fort Weyr.” He tells himself, though murmured out loud all the same. It’s said with a grim set to his mouth, as if he’s trying to reassure himself with a reminder of his rank. Leaving the tree and the sword still lodged in it, he stalks off again. Though still tense with now simmering anger, he doesn’t venture deeper into the forests. It’s to where Kimmila has chosen to vent with her bow that he arrives, suddenly silent and brooding. The Weyrleader will wait until she’s loosed the arrow should she have the bow drawn before approaching the bluerider from just behind and to the side of her. Unlike mere moments before, this time he strides up close and well within personal limits, almost looming over her. “Why did you tear at him like that, Kimmila?” Th’ero asks, blunt and straight to the chase and in a voice that is low but a tone that is soft, almost unsettlingly so. “It should have been left well enough alone. Not dragged out publicly. He started it, yes but… why?”

Kimmila looses her next arrow, sending it to the edge of the trunk where it wobbles and then stills. Her bow lowers and she sighs heavily, turning to look at him, regret and lingering anger showing on her face. “I shouldn’t have,” she says at first, voice quiet as she meets his gaze. “And I’m sorry. I should have kept quiet from the beginning. But…” She trails off, her frown sharpening as she recalls K’hys’ words. “He did start it. And I got so furious that he would say such…passive aggressive digs to us both. He was insulting, and I just…I snapped, when he said that thing to you about things dying around our love or whatever. He said that just to hurt you, and it made me so furious. I know how you feel about this, and I knew how his words would make you feel, and I wasn’t going to just stand by and let him make those digs at you.” All of this is said with a soft tone and another shake of her head. “But I kept quiet after that. It was a mistake to speak at all, I just wasn’t thinking. Some of the other things he said though…” She trails off, her jaw clenching, and she turns away from Th’ero to loose another arrow, this one flying past the trunk. She snorts.

Meeting her look of regret and lingering anger with a grim but neutral look, Th’ero is silent as Kimmila explains. Anger still simmers as well, still noticeable in his voice though his tone remains low and flat. “No, you shouldn’t have.” He almost growls. “What’s done is done. He’s /young/ Kimmila. At the age where he’s bound to say whatever is on his mind and damn the consequences. I am aware of what he said and it infuriated me as much as you but I wanted this to end in private.” The Weyrleader’s tone and expression soften then, in the tiniest of amounts and barely noticeable. “I appreciate you trying to defend me.” He tells her, his gaze moving away as his frown returns, heavy and dark. Guilt riddles his features now, along with a renewed flare of anger. “Now he’s been publicly humiliated and I’m to blame for most of it. Words aside, no one deserves that. Least of all a weyrling.” As Kimmila trails off, Th’ero looks up again though distractedly, lost within his own tangled thoughts. He waits until she’s fired before reaching out to firmly grip the bluerider’s wrist and then stepping to bring himself to face her, looming behind her no longer.

Kimmila nods as she listens, her head tilted to the side to show that she /is/ listening, despite him standing behind her. Her bow is held loosely in her left hand, and when her right wrist is grasped she turns part way to face him as he moves, frowning up at him and tensing slightly. “He humiliated himself,” she says, her voice regaining some of its anger. “And you offered to talk to him in private and /he/ turned you down. /That/ wasn’t either of our faults. Plus, it’s not like the conversation happened in front of the entire weyr. It was just Zi’on.” Zi’on doesn’t count for anything, apparently. “You’re not to blame for /any/ of it. It’s his fault. And mine. Not yours. You didn’t say a thing, except to offer to talk to him in private.”

“Zi’on or the entire weyr, it is still public!” Th’ero stresses, his voice taking on a colder edge as his own anger begins to flare again. Apparently the Western bronzerider does count in the Weyrleader’s books. “I am to blame for some of it.” He counters stubbornly, tensing again and inadvertently tightening his hold on her wrist. “And exactly!” Th’ero gruffly exclaims, “I said nothing, when I should have kept a level head. He didn’t even out rightly bring up the issue. This should never have happened.” Frustration surges and the Weyrleader makes another noise deep in his throat, releasing his hold on Kimmila and stalking past her again to resume his pacing, though his movements are stiff and tensed. Some poor helpless plant becomes his target now and after plucking one of it’s broad leafs, he begins to shred it, and his eyes turned down to his fingers are they work.

Hopefully that plant isn’t poisonous. Kimm’s wrist tenses when he squeezes, twisting slightly to try and loosen his hold. She whirls angrily when he stalks away, her voice snapping like a whip. “What do you want me to do about it, Th’ero? I fucked up. He fucked up. You fucked up, fine, if you want to take on so much guilt for it, I can’t stop you. There’s nothing we can do /now/, unless you want me to fly back to the weyr and apologize to him.” As if that’d help, and Kimm’s tone conveys just how ineffective she thinks /that/ would be. “Of course it shouldn’t have happened. It should have been taken care of in private, yes. I’m not /arguing/ with you, Th’ero!”

Wouldn’t that just be his luck? Fate doesn’t land him that card though and the now shredded leaf is very much harmless, though it brings him no satisfaction or resolution. It’s just an outlet to his growing restlessness that comes with his anger. The Weyrleader comes to a stop when Kimmila whirls angrily and snaps at him. Standing straight, head up and jaw clenched as tight as his hands, which have now curled back into fists at his sides, his face falls to a stony cold mask. There’s no doubt though that his previous emotions are still there as the bronzerider literally exudes them. “Nothing. If anything, I don’t want you anywhere /near/ K’hys right now.” Comes his reply, cold and so very tense. “And I’m not going to run back either. That bridge has been burned. There is no going back. I’ll be surprised if he’ll accept apologies any time soon. Would you, if you were in his place?” His response is almost clipped, the words rushed for once, as his thoughts begin to race and he can feel control begin to slip. Another growled noise of frustration and Th’ero turns to lash out at another plant and even a young, thin and easily broken sapling with his hands.

Kimmila snorts, his tension getting her riled up again, and she starts to walk towards the tree she had been firing at. “I wouldn’t be in his place,” is her angry answer. “When I want something, I go get it. I don’t make up excuses not to, and then blame everyone else for my inability to speak up.” She grasps an arrow shaft and yanks it out of the tree trunk, sliding it into the quiver across her back. “I’ll stay away from him,” she does say, totally agreeing with the bronzerider on /that/, at least. “I /am/ sorry,” she says again. “I shouldn’t have said anything, I know.” That’s just who she is, though, but she makes no excuses for her behavior as she pulls out another arrow and thrusts it into the quiver. “But there’s nothing we can /do/ about it now, except destroy the local flora, apparently.” There’s a dark, wry twist to her lips as she pulls another arrow from the tree. “Fuck me,” she half snorts.

“Of course you wouldn’t be in his place,” Th’ero almost sneers in reply to Kimmila, snapping another piece of the sapling with ease as his anger and frustration surge. He turns then, brandishing the stick to emphasize his already low, cold words. “But for once just try to think what it’d be like to be him and not you!” he tells her. Her apology silences him for a breadth of a second, mouth set in a grim line. Despite the dark look, he has accepted it though it’d be hard to tell at this point. The Weyrleader had locked his gaze onto the bluerider as well, eyes narrowed as he bores into her but now he tears them away. Pacing resumes and the stick still in hand, he begins to restlessly tap it into his other hand. There are two things they seem to be able to agree upon, as Th’ero mutters sullenly, “No, there is nothing to be done about this sharding mess. Not today.” Anger seems to snap then and ebb down, furthered only by Kimmila’s half snorted remark. That has Th’ero pausing again and his head tilts to the side, eyes giving her a long searching look before his lips curl into a twisted smirk. “Don’t tempt me.” He drawls sarcastically. Or is he? Whether made to be a teasing jab, it’s left to the bluerider’s interpretation as Th’ero remains a chaotic mess of emotions and practically unreadable. To make it all the more uncertain, he looks away and resumes his pacing.

Kimmila bristles at his comment, turning her head sharply to peer back at him. “If I were him, I’d be heartbroken,” she snaps. “Is that what you want to hear? That I have some sympathy for the boy? Maybe I do, but not at your expense. You’re /far/ more important to me than him, and I’ll take /your/ side in this issue every. fucking. time.” She yanks another arrow from the tree, but the anger she uses snaps the shaft and she swears, throwing it into the underbrush. Then she turns fully, hands on her hips to meet his smirk with a dark grin of her own. “Would it help?” she calls over to him, tilting her head a bit so her hair falls over her shoulder and against her face. This is the first time she’s seen him this worked up, after all. She’s trying to find what methods work to calm him down.

Apparently it is what Th’ero wants to hear as her snapped reply has him stopping again. Smirking, the Weyrleader’s hands drop to his sides, though one still grips the stick firmly and tightly. Anger subdued to a manageable level, his posture is still clearly rigid and his features clouded by a heavy frown and continued tenseness shown in the way his jaw is clenched. Brown eyes watch Kimmila with an almost cautious and curious air now, “And I’m capable of fighting my own battles.” He tells her, though his tone has softened a little again. Even in the haze of his anger, the bronzerider is touched that Kimmila feels so strongly for him and would defend him. Stubbornly though, he keeps that to himself. As she tosses the broken shaft into the underbrush and then turns to call over to him with that dark smirk and tilt of her head, Th’ero is strangely quiet though his gaze obviously lingers and roams over the bluerider. Inhaling deeply, he lets his breath out slowly, though it does little to calm him. “It might.” But? There is no further explanation from him at first, only his continuing gaze and now silence. Flicking his wrist, he abruptly sends the stick skittering into the underbrush and he growls again, looking conflicted and hesitant. It would calm him, a brief respite and another form of outlet aside from destroying the local flora, but for how long?

Kimmila’s eyes narrow and she gives him a slight glare before she turns away to start hunting after arrows that missed the tree entirely. “I know you are,” she fires back at him. Maybe she /wants/ him to admit that he’s touched, when so far all he’s done is be pissed at her that she stood up for him. Finding another arrow, it’s returned to the quiver on her back. Awkward silence, as she says nothing about the other possible calming outlet, focused on hunting for arrows and trying to keep herself from getting angry at his dumb-ass stubborn maleness.

Never one that was good at expressing himself, especially when it came to personal emotions, Th’ero comes off as stubborn or pissed off because he is, but also because he knows no other way. Which may explain why the encounter with K’hys declined so rapidly and spectacularly. The Weyrleader is not without his faults, known and unknown. So while most would admit, the bronzerider doesn’t give Kimmila that satisfaction quite yet as he decides to play with fire and push the bluerider farther with his silence. Awkward? Very. Not to mention charged. While she searches for her missing arrows, Th’ero steps back and settles himself in the fork of a fallen tree, bracing himself comfortably as he leans forwards, elbows resting on his thighs as one hand comes up to scrub warily at his face. It’s the only time he’ll be distracted from watching the bluerider, as he lets the silence stretch on and on.

Kimmila finds the last of her arrows, ending up with all but the broken one. With that one, she pulls her dagger and at least digs the arrowhead out of the tree, slipping it into a pouch on the quiver so she can make a new arrow for it. Ahh, fletching. Picking up her bow once more, she walks to where he sits, looking down at him with a little frown. “And me?” she finally asks. “Are you pissed at me, too?” Shouldering her bow, her other hand rests fisted against her hip as she stares at him, pushing him for a response to what’s bothering her, rather that brood in silence. Because that would just be stupid, given all that she’s mad at K’hys for. “Did I emasculate you by stepping up and defending you, stupid though it was?”

Th’ero looks up at Kimmila and through some of the mess of curls that is his hair when she walks over. Her pushing has the Weyrleader speaking again, though he speaks slowly as if treading carefully, “Pissed at you? No. I’m angry with you. But I forgive you.” There, he said it and the bronzerider is hoping it’s enough to satisfy the bluerider. But it seems once he’s loosened his tongue, he’s lost all sense in keeping it held and adds, “No, you didn’t.” Th’ero lips press into a thin line, “You embarrassed me.” Realizing how that could be taken into context, he grimaces and sighs and his eyes closing as his hand comes up to pinch at the bridge of his nose and scrub at his face. “Damn it all, that’s not what I meant,” he mutters, words partially muffled. Letting his hand fall back, the Weyrleader gives a frustrated shake of his head before his eyes open again and dart up to meet Kimmila’s. “Regardless I am… grateful that you would defend me at all. I just wish you had waited. What is done is done.” He repeats and shrugs then, spreading his hands out with the palms turned outwards in a helpless gesture as his words fail him again.

Kimmila’s eyes narrow, and rather than seeming satisfied, she bristles. “I /embarrassed/ you?” she whispers. “Then what /did/ you mean?” she presses, trying to keep her anger (and, yes, her hurt) in check. His further words have her snorting an exhale, shaking her head. “I /know/ I fucked up, Wingmate,” she replies. “What’s done is done, and yet you’re still angry,” she points out. “And of course I’d defend you. You’d think I wouldn’t defend the man that I love?”

Knowing what was to come, in a way, Th’ero isn’t surprised when Kimmila bristles. Though rather then flare his still simmering temper, it only seems to make the Weyrleader look all the more tired. This whole mess is wearing down on the bronzerider and now that he’s vented the worst of it, the continued tension and stress is taking its toll. One would think to leave well enough alone, but instead Th’ero rises slowly to his feet. Once standing, he reaches with one hand to cup the side of the bluerider’s face, less she pulls away from his touch. His touch will be gentle, but almost stiff as Th’ero is anything but relaxed even at this time. “I see that now, Kimmila.” He tries to assure her on the issue of defending him, as brown eyes seek to lock with her green ones. “And I’d do the same for you.” And there is truth in his tone, though it still remains low and edged with tension. To her pressing, Th’ero can only flinch and sigh, “I don’t know what I meant by that.” He murmurs in honesty, shaking his head. “And I’m not just angry at you, Kimmila. I’m furious at the whole situation. I’m angry with K’hys, at myself. It’s one twisted mess,” And he pauses to smirk again, letting his hand slip away back to his side, fingers clenching as he stands so close in front of her. “And I’m sick of it.”

Kimmila looks tired too, the set of her jaw and the tension in her body speaking to her own riled and tangled emotions. When his hand touches her face, her head tilts into it just slightly, eyes closing briefly. They open again at his assurance that he would defend her too, and something flickers ever so briefly in her eyes before she simply nods. Then her smile quirks up a bit at one corner as she says, “I forgive you, then, for that comment.” Seems his ‘forgiveness’ didn’t go down easy, judging from her slightly snide tone. Then she sighs. “It is a twisted mess, and I’m sick of it too.” She takes a slow breath, and some of the tension eases from her shoulders. Enough so she unclenches her free hand and lifts it to rest lightly against his chest, rubbing slowly. She looks up at him, head tilted slightly and a brow lifted in a silent question as she takes another step closer, closing the distance between them and leaning over a bit to set her bow carefully on the fallen tree. With both hands now free, both of them rest against his tunic, calloused palms flat and pressing against him.

Puzzlement crosses Th’ero’s features at the brief flicker in Kimmila’s eyes and then the slight snide remark. Her approach goes unchallenged, as does her hands pressing against his tunic. The Weyrleader makes no move to touch her though, body still rigid and tensed beneath her hands. He doesn’t pull away though, his head tilting down as he regards her carefully and thoughtfully. “I’ve much to think about. None of this can be undone, but perhaps mended in time. If I can get K’hys to talk.” Th’ero murmurs, half distractedly before his lips take on a bitter and grimly set line. Unable to hold back his thoughts, he continues on in a low tone, “He usurped my rank. Insulted both of us subtly, even Zi’on I think though that may have been in jest before things spiraled out control. And I just stood there and told him to be quiet and then let my anger flare. What kind of leader am I that I can’t handle a situation like that? It went so poorly when now I begin to realize what should have been done. Should have been said.” It all comes flowing from him then, as enough of his temper cools and his exhaustion leads to a loosening of his tongue. With a heavy exhale of breath, his shoulders lower as some of the tension eases from him. He allows himself to lean into Kimmila’s touch now, one hand coming up to gently slip around to her lower back.

Kimmila frowns, her eyes hardening as he speaks. “He did,” she says, her voice low and angry, even though now it’s more of a controlled, simmering anger. “He insulted us for sure,” she replies, stressing the last word slightly. “He implied that I thought he should harm Jheth. And he said you should teach me control.” Her eyes narrow at that, truly pissed off by those two comments. “And then he told you to fuck off, Th’ero.” She’s still stunned at that, and quietly seething. “He’s young, yes, but he’s also an almost graduated rider of Fort Weyr. He should know better.” Then she sighs, her body stiff and tense against his, even as she continues to rub his chest. “It’s always easy to think about what should have been done and said after the fact. What’s important is figuring out what to do next, moving forward.” She doesn’t offer her advice, though. Instead, she just frowns and sighs and stares at her hand rubbing over his tunic.

“He seems to have taken the restrictions very much to heart.” Th’ero admits dryly, reflecting back on some of the words shared by the weyrling. The Weyrleader sounds puzzled, but mostly unsettled. Anger still lingers, but it takes a more subdued and frustrated edge as logic replaces temper. “Perhaps Jheth isn’t as mature as his siblings and K’hys has to shield him. They are certainly old enough. Velokraeth by this age was able to handle my reaction to my father’s death without alerting everyone in Western to my conflict.” The bronzerider is rambling, an out pouring of his thoughts and uncensored for the most part. His eyes harden though when Kimmila reminds him just exactly how his rank was thrown back. There’s a frustrated noise from Th’ero as his gaze darts away, brows frowning heavily. “And I should have had him dragged to the Weyrlingmasters for that, kicking and screaming if need be. Instead I let him go. And I’m considering not ever bringing it to anyone’s attention. The time has past.” But even that seems not to settle well with the Weyrleader. His eyes close then and a slight nod is given to Kimmila’s words, taking it as advice even if that was not her intent. “Leave him be.” Th’ero murmurs lowly, eyes opening again to dart back to the bluerider, questioning and searching. “For now. Give this,” And he gestures vaguely with his free hand to symbolize the entire situation. “Some time to settle. Then I will talk with him, whether he likes it or not.” That seems to bring some calm to the Weyrleader, though he now has to face another confrontation. But it’s a start and allows his mind to slow just a fraction more.

Kimmila nods slowly, with a frown. “It’s…it’s as if he believes that graduation day will flick a switch and suddenly he and Jheth will be able to handle everything. It’s not…it’s not like that. It’s a process…” But she doesn’t really need to tell Th’ero that, so she lets her words trail off. She listens, a faint frown still on her lips, and then she looks up at him again, her eyes meeting his and seeing his questioning and searching look. She nods once, accepting his decision, but she has thoughts that she needs to share. When she speaks, her voice is quiet and almost gentle, her hands going still against his tunic. “Th’ero…If it were anyone other than K’hys, what would you do now?” There’s a small pause and another frown, but she knows she’s responsible for this too. “If it were anyone other than me, what would you do?”

Regardless if he needs to be told or not, Th’ero nods in agreement, mouth still pressed firmly together and his eyes clouded with various emotions and thought. Tilting his head a little to the side, the Weyrleader meets Kimmila’s questions with silence, eyes once locked with hers suddenly dropping in a close to sheepish manner. “I’m not sure if I understand.” He admits, giving his head a slow shake. Sensing her hands have stilled, his hold on the bluerider tightens, his fingers curling and pressing firmly into her lower back. Embarrassment aside, Th’ero turns back to face her, expression cool but his eyes show no anger there, just a steady frown and a curious look.

Kimmila is pulled more firmly against him and her hands rub against his chest, up and down just once. She doesn’t flinch away from his gaze and his possible anger at her next statement, as she offers bluntly, “Are you sure you’re not treating this situation differently because of who we are?” She pauses for a brief moment to let that question sink in. “If a Western rider came to Fort and got into an argument with a Weyrling, and then that Weyrling told you to fuck off…”

Th’ero’s start at Kimmila’s blunt explanation proves that the Weyrleader hadn’t thought of it quite like that. Disturbed, the bronzerider rocks back on his feet a little, shoulders pulling up and straight again and his head as well, jaw set firmly as he stares down at the bluerider. Silence, thick and uncomfortably awkward, ticks on and his mood plummets again, dark and brooding. Regardless, his hold on Kimmila doesn’t falter, though his fingers seem to dig a little more firmly into the bluerider’s clothing and completely unintentional. “No.” But even as Th’ero growls the word, his lips twitch in distaste. Even he knows that’s not the truth and it shows as clear as day. “Maybe.” He reluctantly admits, though it pains him to do so. “I appear to have bad judgment in a lot of things.” Th’ero bitterly remarks, his turn to be snide though it’s directed at himself rather then to Kimmila. “And my honor has already been put to question more times this Turn then I like. So, why does this concern you?” He pauses a moment, giving her a long, level look before his tone takes on a harder edge. “Would you prefer it if I did the right thing and bring punishment down on your head as well?”

Kimmila’s back arches slightly at his touch, curving so that the dig of his fingers isn’t quite so deep, pressing her body more against his with the action. The bluerider shakes her head. “It’s not bad judgement.” Then she blinks at him, confused by his next question. “Why does it concern me? Because you’re my…” Um. What /is/ he? “Because I care about you. And your honor. And your reputation and your leadership. And no, of course I wouldn’t prefer it, but if it’s what you need to do in order to do the right thing and be a good Weyrleader, then yes. Send me off to A’ven with a formal complaint logged against my behavior.” Because /that/ wouldn’t be horribly awkward, and she even flinches slightly when she says it. Still, her chin lifts and her shoulders straighten, ready to accept those consequences if he gives them to her. “And send K’hys to the Weyrlingmasters with a complaint logged against him.” Because she sure as hell isn’t going to accept punishment unless the Weyrling gets it too.

Another look of pain and conflict crosses Th’ero’s features before he closes his eyes, head tilting downwards as he considers. While Kimmila stands read to face the consequences, the Weyrleader seems to balk, hesitant. His hand slips from her back then, then reconsiders, touching along her side, falls away and comes back to grip her arm. Movements are becoming just as indecisive as his thoughts and that only seems to upset the bronzerider all the more. “I can’t.” Comes his admission through clenched teeth. “I can’t,” he repeats, sounding almost panicked in this new little development. That is quickly quelled and with a steadying intake of breath, growls, “It brings up too many questions. You’ve been humiliated enough, as has K’hys. It was a personal matter to begin with and the fewer who are aware of it, the better.” And there lies the heart of it. Th’ero is embarrassed and unsettled by the whole crush from the younger weyrling. Even if it means sacrificing right for wrong to retain his public image or, Faranth forbid, his honor, then he’ll do it. Enough word has spread and the lack of control on the rumors that may abound only further worry the Weyrleader. “If any punishment is to be had, it will be my own hand. I’ve no wish to explain the details to A’ven or the Weyrlingmasters. I’ve betrayed enough trust with K’hys.” Th’ero opens his eyes then, though he still keeps them downcast, a heavy frown clouding his features. “Enough damage has been done. It won’t go unpunished. I just will not have it… public knowledge. This started because of my oblivious stubbornness. I will resolve it.”

As his movements are indecisive, Kimmila’s hands do not falter or move from his chest, beginning to rub again. “I agree,” she says softly, hand slipping up to briefly touch the side of his face. “The quieter, the better for sure.” She visibly relaxes, expression obviously relieved at his next words, and her arms slide down to wrap around his waist in a sudden and tight hug, her head against his chest. “Thank you,” she whispers. “I…don’t want to explain it either.” It’s entirely possible that A’ven doesn’t even know that she’s in a relationship with Th’ero. “Whatever you need to do,” she murmurs, tilting her head up to look at him. “I’ll take whatever punishment you see fit to give me.” If this were less of a serious topic, she’d probably make some sexual joke, probably about a spanking. But it doesn’t even occur to her to do so as she looks up at him, trusting him to do the right thing, ready to accept her punishment with her own brand of grace and honor.

Distracted and lost in his thoughts, Th’ero starts when Kimmila suddenly touches the side of his face, almost pulling instinctively away before he relaxes enough to press back against her fingers. The sudden and tight hug catches him off guard as well, but slowly his arms come to encircle the bluerider, completing and returning the embrace. Her thanks are met with a deep but soft noise of acceptance, not words. Slowly, he straightens himself again; arms sliding back so that both his hands grip her arms now. As he looks down to meet her eyes, his expression is serious and grim. The Weyrleader is probably wishing she had made some light remark to break the tension. But seriousness remains intact and with a slow inhale of breath, Th’ero passes his punishment on to Kimmila. “You’re not to set foot within Fort Weyr during the graduation ceremonies,” he begins slowly, carefully watching her reaction. He seems to assume that she would be present. As the words leave his lips, his mouth turns downwards in an obvious grimace. This isn’t easy on the Weyrleader, as he forces himself to put his love for the bluerider aside in the name of duty. “This is including the day prior and the day afterwards, unless for strict duty purposes only.” A pause and he adds, in a gentler tone. “It’s a temporary ban. Afterwards, you are free to come and go as you please, so long as you promise to leave K’hys alone. I can’t ask you or him to avoid each other, as that is nigh impossible, but I ask that should you cross paths with him again, to try,” And he stresses that word the hardest, “To be civil, even if he is rude or insulting.” With that, he waits, ever watchful and preparing himself for her response.

Kimmila takes a small step back to put some distance between them when his hands touch her arms and he puts his Weyrleader face on. She wasn’t planning on being at the graduation anyway, but to hear that she’s being forbidden from the ceremony – and the day before and the day after – is something entirely different than /choosing/ not to go. It’s a restriction of freedom, and she stiffens beneath his hands. Despite that, though, she is nodding in agreement. It /is/ a good punishment, and it makes sense given the infraction. “Yes, sir,” she says quietly, formal in her official response.

Slowly his hold on her arms loosens and eventually his hands fall to his sides once more as Th’ero nods his head stiffly to Kimmila’s quiet and official response to his punishment. He gaze lingers on her, brown eyes searching and thoughtful. It is a restriction of her freedom, but fitting, despite the fact she was not to be in attendance regardless. Now she has no choice to stay away. And it’s not her reaction that brings the vague flinch, but her use of ‘sir’. Sighing lowly and perhaps sadly, awkwardly standing so close to her and yet offering no touch of comfort or reassurance. “Then it’s done.” He says grudgingly, still unsettled in having to force his hand.

Kimmila nods, “It’s done,” she agrees quietly, taking a small step forward to close that distance between them, moving without hesitation but still slowly as she wraps her arms around his waist once more, resting her head on his chest. “I’m sorry. For all this. I messed up, and I’m sorry I won’t be there. But it makes sense. Now there won’t be any awkwardness at the graduation.” Yeah, right. He might end up wishing he’d forced her to go, rather than stay away. “It’s done,” she repeats, giving him a little squeeze – assuming he didn’t avoid her embrace. “So let’s…do something else, Wingmate. Walk down to the beach or something. Leave this…forest of frustrations behind.” She glances up at him, a faint smile on her lips.

Th’ero doesn’t avoid the embrace and welcomes it instead, letting himself relax a touch against her. “I’ve forgiven you.” He murmurs softly, almost whispering the words. “And it is a shame, as I would have preferred to have you at my side.” The Weyrleader drifts off then, letting it hang there as she gives him a little squeeze. Curious again, the bronzerider’s expression softens and brown eyes glance past Kimmila to the forests behind her. “What do you have in mind?” he asks after a moment or two of silence, gaze sliding back to meet hers as he slips from her embrace, though he leaves one hand to linger by her side. With his mind gearing down and probably mentally exhausted, the Weyrleader is letting the bluerider lead for the time being.

Kimmila shakes her head with a wince. “If I’d just kept my fool mouth shut, none of this would have happened,” she murmurs. “I…in trying to stand up for you, I just hurt you…” She shakes her head again, squeezing her eyes shut as the full consequences of this settle down around her. “I’m sorry. I should have been by your side for your first weyrling group. For Velokraeth’s. Not banned because I’m a fucking idiot.” She sighs again. “I haven’t forgiven myself yet,” she says, anger simmering in her voice. Anger at herself as she meets his gaze and then shakes her head, slipping her hand into his and starting to walk down towards the beach, tugging him alongside her. She leaves her bow behind, setting her quiver down as well, confident that no one will bother them while they’re away. No one is here, after all, on this deserted isle.

“Don’t blame yourself too harshly, Kimmila. We’ve all made mistakes. Leave it to rest, there is nothing that can be changed.” Th’ero murmurs to the bluerider, partially to reassure her and to also subtly hint that he wants the topic as a whole to rest – for now. Not even he is that naive. The Weyrleader knows it will resurface eventually, either within a few minutes or hours or days from now. For now though, he seems to eagerly grasp at the hope for brief respite and when Kimmila slips her hand into his, he accepts it and willingly follows as she tugs him along.

'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.