StarCraft Area (51)
Comfy chairs and couches are arranged invitingly about this spacious lounge; a thick llama-fur rug promises to keep feet warm in the chilly evenings. To the left is a cozy-looking hearth, complete with grates for klah pitchers and the obligatory firelizard perch. Various tables and cabinets line the opposite wall, the entire area generously supplied with an array of large glowbaskets to provide ample light for the study and hard work that must certainly occur here. On the far wall, a pair of arched doorways, heavily curtained, lead to the crafters' sleeping quarters--a simple dormitory for apprentices, and private quarters for ranking crafters.
It is a summer afternoon. It is warm but not uncomfortably so, as the eastern breeze helps cool the land. The day is clear and beautiful, the deepening blue sky dotted with puffs of white clouds.
On the perch are Fury and Panha.
You see Seily's 'Scape here.
You notice Seilyn asleep here.
Rathan is here.

Linora wanders out of the apprentice dorm at long last, still looking a bit sleep rumpled but definitely better rested. She's at the hearth even before she gets her eyes open, tilting the klah pitcher experimentally.

Rathan sits slouched down on one of the many couches dotting the rooms. From the gentle and slow, rhythmic breathing coming from his, one can conclude that he himself has fallen asleep. He doesn't even stir as another person enters the room.

Tip. Tip. Swirl, goes the klah, hypnotizing and yet revolting all at the same time. Linora replaces the pot on the grate with a careless bang, settling for a huge stretch instead and then smoothing her hair with both hands. There's probably tea downstairs, she thinks, and she turns toward the stairs.

Rathan jumps, startled awake by the bang, utters a sound that could almost be classified as a squeek. Blinking a couple of times, he rubs his eyes before looking around. He freezes as he realizes that there is someone else in the room.

Linora jumps herself at the unexpected sound, turning before she reaches the door with a mixture of surprise and chagrin clearly visible on her open face. Recognizing Rathan, her expression warms to a bright smile. "Hey," she greets, cheerfully oblivious to his discomfort. "I was just about t'go lookin' for ya." After she woke up a little of course. "Still feel like exploring?"

Upon hearing the voice connected with the mysterious person, Rathan relaxes. It's only Linora. Smiling, he stretches before rising from the couch. "Hey yourself. Feeling better?" She obviously sounds better. Crossing the space between them in a couple of quick strides, he nods. "I'm ready if you are."

Linora nods quickly, grinning up at Rathan. "Sure," she says brightly, obviously pleased. "I dunno how much daylight we got left, but it oughta be warm enough." Even at Reaches. She's keeping the sweater, though.

Rathan will be fine with what he has on. It has to get pretty cold to bother him, kinda like the last night that he was up here. "If we run out of daylight, I bet we can flitch some glows from somewhere, so it won't be too bad." Holding out his hand, he opens the door with the other. "After you."

Honey-blond tresses, sunstreaked with platinum highlights, tumble heavily to a spot just above her hips, although her hair is generally worn in a single thick plait down her back. Short in stature, girlish in appearance; nonetheless she has a look about her pale blue eyes that's old beyond her Turns. Set in a warmly tanned oval face, they remain her most striking feature, more for the odd gleam that lights them than for color or shape. Full lips are just a fraction too wide, quick to warm her distant expression with a genuine smile or merry laugh.
Linora has finally resigned herself to cooler weather and got some warmer clothing... Soft flowing skirts of deepest indigo flow over her hips and legs, hemmed just above her ankles. A thick woollen sweater, cableknit in a fisherfolk pattern and dyed a brilliant shade of lilac, covers her upper body from neck to hips, too-long sleeves often slipping down to cover her hands. And the final indignity, thick woollen socks and solid shoes of sturdy wherhide cover her feet - but rest assured they'll be kicked off at the first opportunity.
Red and silver, royal and black -- four cords form a single loop at her shoulder, with a small tail to denote her status as StarCraft Senior Apprentice posted to High Reaches Weyr.
Linora is 19 Turns, 9 months, and 22 days old.

You begin, then, heading up up up that endless flight of stairs and tunnels, passages and rooms. Up out of the very Weyr itself.

Lower Alpine Meadows
The hills are alive, with the sound of water: water gurgles merrily down through the scrub-forest and continues west, towards the weyr. And the spit and bubble of thermal-pools beckons with a coy flicker of steam and the promise of hot-water. A small waterfall splashes off to the east, where the trail rises higher towards the distant glacier.
It is a summer afternoon. The afternoon sun is golden, sinking westward. The north wind has picked up quite a bit, and you can see a darkening on the northern horizon.

Rathan arrives suddenly, stepping out from behind some rocks.

Linora chatters as she goes, mindlessly mostly, cheerfully leading Rathan around and about the Weyr. For a long time it seems as if they're going in circles, or perhaps not going anywhere at all, when all at once they emerge in an open meadow, the setting sun bathing the area in a golden glow. A sharp intake of breath betrays that Lin probably hasn't been exactly /here/ before. "Wow."

Rathan blinks briskly as the enter the sunlit meadow. "Where'd this come from," he asks quietly, his voice betraying more than a little disbelief. Turning, he looks back from where they just came. "Ummm, ok." Walking a little bit ahead, he looks around before turning back to her, grinning from ear to ear.

Linora picks her way across the rocks to reach Rathan's side. "Hyzen said there were pretty places here," she explains. "I figured we'd hafta find something eventually." She lowers herself to sit on a large stone, drawing her legs up under her skirts and wrapping her arms around herself. "I dunno if this is what she meant or not," she continues in hushed tones, turning to peek up at Rathan with a smile that brightens considerably when she notices his pleased expression.

Rathan flops down rather carelessly onto the rock that she's chosen. Scooting next to her, he pulls his knees up to his chest before wrapping his arms around them and resting his chin on top. He nods, "Beautiful" he says quietly, though he seems to be looking at her instead of the surroundings. Realizing that he's doing so, he blinks and quickly turns away. "Ummm..." he attempts to change the subject. "Who's Hyzen?"

If Linora notices anything awkward about Rathan's reaction, she doesn't let on. "She rides green Imbriath," she explains instead. "She useta come t'Gar and stuff." That's probably enough explanation, right? Anyhow, it's not that big of a rock, so even though Rathan's not looking at her, he's still distractingly close... and ultimately Lin falls silent, watching the colors being painted across the deepening sky.

Rathan turns back to her, looking at her quizically. "A rider? A greenrider?" He didn't know that she associated with those types. Wouldn't catch him near one. "Well I'm glad she told you about these places. I kinda like it here." Straightening his legs back out, letting them dangle over the low edge, he leans back on his hands before looking over at her. He falls silent, simply allowing his vision to switch back and forth between her and the fireworks of the dusky sky.

Linora shrugs a little. "Yeah... I guess Imbriath decided she liked me and stuff. It was kinda fun scrubbing something that big." She grins. "Long as I don't gotta do it all the time and stuff. An' Hyzen's nice." Except when she's proddy. But it's pretty easy to tell a glowy green from a normal one. Usually. She leans back on her hands too, in companionable silence for a long moment, but she's soon aware of Rathan's eyes on her... even though every time she looks up he seems to be looking at the sky instead. "Prolly the stars'll be out soon," she remarks softly, her eyes on him now.

Rathan continues watching the sky for a moment as he smiles at the recollection of the past. "It sounds like it might be fun." His voice doesn't exactly betray unrestrained excitement though. People make him nervous enough, no reason to throw a dragon into the mix as well. Nodding slowly, he agrees. "Aye, the sun's all but gone. As nice as the stars are and all," And of course he thinks they're nice, he's a starcrafter after all, "I like this part best. Just watching the colors of the sunset..." His voice gets softer as he turns to look at her. As his eyes meet her's, he begins to trail off.

Linora isn't really watching the sunset either, except for the glow that seems to bathe them in amber-pink light. And the shadows it casts across Rathan's face, and the highlights of his hair.... and his eyes. "Yeah," she murmurs in a generic sort of agreement, leaning closer almost without being aware of it. Close enough to feel the warmth of his breath on her face.

Rathan was watching the sunset, but he's not anymore. He's found something even better to look at right now though. He remains silent, not quite sure what to say. Her leaning closer is noticed, but apparently not completely processed. At the very least, he doesn't pull away, though he doesn't try to move closer either. Gently, he reaches up and brushes her cheek with his hand, no doubt brushing away a stray strand of hair of course. It's questionable though if there really was one there to begin with.

The reason doesn't matter at all. The gentle touch is encouragement enough, and Linora closes the distance between their lips without another thought, her arms slipping around him. Oh yes, this is much warmer.

Rathan seems a little suprised at first, but quickly relaxes, letting himself get lost in the kiss. His hand returns to her cheek, cupping it softly as his other arm goes around her waist, applying a gentle pressure he tries to pull her a little bit closer, as a soft sigh escapes from his throat.

Linora responds willingly, needing very little encouragement to draw closer still, her eyes closing as she pursues the kiss surprisingly ardently. At last she draws back a bit, nuzzling into Rathan's neck and holding him close to her. All the hundreds of things she wants to say to him, and she can't seem to form a single word. Maybe this is enough.

Rathan keeps one arm around her as his other moves to her head, his fingers idly running through her hair. Tilting his head against her's he closes his eyes, content to stay like this and think of nothing but her. For a moment, it sounds like he might try to speak, but it's fleeting, as he really has no idea what to say, unsure that anything needs to be said at all.

Linora lets out a small sigh, shutting out everything but the feel of Rathan's arms around her and his hand stroking her hair. "I wish we could stay like this forever," she whispers, drawing back at last to look up at him. One hand brushes his hair off his forehead, tracing the contours of his face as if committing them to memory before trailing down his neck to rest on his shoulder.

As she draws back slightly, his hand moves back down from her hair to her neck, his thumb idly stroking her jaw. "I do too," he whispers softly, almost inaudibly. Suddenly he smiles though as he looks back down at her. "For some reason though, I think Keris would probably end up coming to look for you if we stayed here forever." Though whether or not they'd actually be found is another question entirely. He's not sure if he could find this place again if he wanted to. Falling silent again, he just watches her, his expression both happy and content. See, he's a people person...kinda.

Linora grins, the blush across her cheeks probably evident despite the dimming light. "Prolly," she admits. "But only if he notices." And at that she can't suppress a small giggle--Keris is probably the only person at the Hall more blissfully oblivious than Linora herself. She's betting it'll take a while before he notices she's missing, leaning in for another gentle kiss.

Sounds like very little reason to worry about him, and with that thought, Rathan promptly pushes it out of his mind. After all, there are more important things to concentrate on right now. The blush is noticed, more like felt as he feels the heat under his hand. As she leans forward, he does as well this time, his lips meeting her's halfway. Giving her waist a quick but gentle squeeze, his eyes slowly close as he lets himself be drawn into the built up emotions that he feels.

Linora is surprised, but not unpleasantly so, as Rathan intensifies the kiss, and finds herself drawn along with him into deeper sensations than she'd expected to experience. Her arms tighten about him as she relaxes into the kiss, only peripherally aware of the deepening twilight and cooling air--more conscious of her quickening heartbeat.

Rathan's been chasing her for quite a while now, never bold or confident enough to really make a move. But now that one's been made, all the pent up emotions come flooding out. His arm releases her, his now free hand moving up the other side of her face to cup it completely as he continues the kiss. Suddenly he breaks off though and pulls back, almost as if suprised at his actions. As quickly as it comes though, it passes and once again he looks down at her with a soft, if somewhat unsure smile, worried that his actions might have spooked her.

Linora doesn't look spooked, pale serious eyes fixed on Rathan's face as he draws back to smile at her. She's pretty sure nobody will interrupt them way out here in the meadows... and what the journeymen don't know... Well, it's been a long time since Lin's felt this way. She snuggles a bit closer to him, feeling the damp chill in the evening air. "Looks like it's gonna be a clear night," she murmurs, turning her eyes skyward. And still she can't quite get those charts completely out of her mind.

Rathan relaxes the rest of the way as he realizes that his startled reaction didn't have any effect on her. Smiling again, he wraps his arms around her as she snuggles up against him. Turning skyward, he eyes heavens. "I guess so. You're the real starcrafter, so yous should know. I'm after all, just a lowly apprentice with even less knowledge than you." The smile turns into a grin as he makes an attempt at a rare joke. As for himself, he's got nothing on his mind right now but her, or them rather.

Her studies should be enough, right? Linora just assumed that the stars would be enough for her, to keep her happy. She'd been wrong once, and tried hard to forget... but this just feels so /right/. "It don't take long t'learn," she whispers, reaching to wrap her arms around him and resting her head on his shoulder. "We should prolly get back," she adds in a reluctant murmur. Of course, that'd be easier if she weren't holding on so tightly.

And with as much time as Rathan spends alone by himself, you'd think he'd have no problems learning, what with all that time to study. He leans back slightly on one hand, allowing the other one to wrap around her waist. His eyes remain on the stars as he gives a slow nod. "Yeah, you're probably right, we should head back." he echos softly, though he makes not even the slightest effort to move.

"Summer really is nice here." Linora's voice is gentle with quiet wonder as she shifts to settle into Rathan's arm, leaning comfortably against the warmth of his body. "Prolly cause winter's so cold... and so long." Did she say something about going back? She closes her eyes and inhales deeply, breathing the scent of the meadows and the night air.

Yep, they both did, but he's already forgotten it by now, intent on much more important things. He smiles and gives an involuntary shiver, remembering the time he was here in the dead of winter up at the star stones with her. "I don't know how you stand it. I was up there that one night with you and could barely take it and yet you did it every night." A quick shake of his head is given at the thought. "Give me this weather anytime."

Linora grins, although it's probably not visible. "I was pretty miserable at first," she admits, snuggling just a little closer in response to his shiver. "But when I was workin' it didn't seem quite so bad." Distractions and all. "This is much nicer though." For a few reasons.

"Just needed something like work too keep your mind off of it." Though there's other types of distractions as well. This one for instance is rather nice. Turning to look down at her, his hand moves up to gently brush her face. "So," he begins quietly, "How much longer are you going to be up here?" He leaves the fact that he has to return to the hall soon, unspoken.

Linora turns her face at his touch. "Another half turn, about," she replies quietly, pale eyes searching his. "The sky's different every season, so all the charts gotta be updated." She's rambling now, her voice growing softer still until at last it's just a breathy whisper. "Seems like kind of a long time." But the more she looks into his eyes the less she's thinking about her project... so maybe it's a good thing he'll have to return to the Hall.

Rathan slowly turns away, his hand coming away from her face and his own face paleing unnoticed in the darkness. Half a turn he thinks to himself, not hearing another word she says. Instead of saying anything, he just nods dumbly, leaning back and supporting himself on his hand again. His eyes gaze of into the distance as his mind is flooded with different thoughts, foremost of which is why should he be suprised.

Confusion and vague worry cross Linora's open face as Rathan draws away from her, and she reaches a gentle hand to stroke his cheek, shifting to face him. "Somethin' wrong?" she whispers, trying to find his eyes again.

Rathan shakes his head quickly though he doesn't pull back from her touch, blinkin his eyes a couple of times as if coming out of a trance. "No," he whispers softly, "Nothing's wrong." But he still doesn't face her.

The touch of Linora's hand on his cheek becomes slightly more insistent, intent on redirecting his gaze to her face. "It's not that long," she whispers, just a hint of a question lifting the end of the statement. "The last half-turn went by like nothing." She pushes up onto her knees then, bringing her face level with his.

Rathan allows his face to be turned by her insistant touch, his eyes focus downward though for a moment before slowly rising to meet her gaze. "True..." he says softly. The only difference is that the last half-turn just wasn't the same as the next one is going to be.

Linora isn't going to let it drop--she's always hated things left unsaid. Especially important things. And this seems like it might be. "So what then?" She fixes an earnest gaze on him, her pale eyes reflecting Belior's light.

Rathan shrugs again, trying and somewhat succeeding in putting a small smile on his face. "I dunno. I guess I just didn't realize that it was that long." Again his hand reaches up to her face. He understands duty and priorities though and has long since come to accept them.

Linora's smile clearly betrays wondering delight at the admission. "It'll be over in no time," she whispers. "I promise." Leaning closer, she steals a little kiss--just the smallest taste of his lips--surprising herself with the sharp tingling sensation that accompanies the gesture. "All y'gotta do is keep busy." Faranth knows she'll be busy enough not to notice the time passing, even though she'll miss Rathan. "You can do that, can'tcha?" She's still near enough for the whispered words to tickle his lips with her warm breath.

Rathan nods once again, it is only, after all, half a turn. The kiss causes a true smile to cross his lips and instantly lifts his mood. As for him staying busy, that shouldn't be too hard. Between all his classes and chores and of course, his constant avoidance of everyone else, the time should just fly. The smile still on his face, he closes the short distance between them to return the soft kiss, letting it speak for him instead of words.

Linora doesn't seem to be worried anymore, nor does she seem to be giving a thought to her own responsibilities. Instead her full attention is focused on Rathan's kiss, the feel and taste of his lips. One hand slips into his unruly hair, drawing him closer still as she deepens the kiss into something more... exploring. If his kiss said he'd miss her, the response leaves no doubt that she feels the same way.

Rathan allows himself to be drawn closer, his eyes falling shut as a wave of emotions sweep over him like a shock. His lips part slightly as he practically gives himself over to her. Hesitantly his tongue gently caresses her lips quickly before he pulls back slowly, his hand still cupped on her cheek. "I have to go," he says quickly but softly. He doesn't want to, but if he stays any longer, it's just going to make the next half a turn move even slower. Leaning forward again, he gives her a quick but still somewhat lingering kiss to show that he's not running away from her. "I'll be waiting for you..." Giving her waist a quick squeeze, he rises and quickly hurries off into the darkness.

Linora all but melts, a quick intake of breath the only outward indication of the shock she feels when Rathan draws away from her. For a moment she's speechless, then she nods, relaxing into that last lingering kiss and savoring it as long as possible before it's gone... before he's gone. Suddenly the next half turn seems as if it couldn't possibly pass quickly enough, and she's halfway to her feet to follow him--but he's already disappeared. With a sigh, she wraps her arms around herself and begins the long trek back to the Weyr proper, picking her way over the moonlit stones and trying to remember what was so important about being here.