A Very Confusing Afternoon...

The Vault
No more than a hideaway amidst the gothic grandeur of the StarHall, this cozy lounge is a place of laughter if not greatness, warmth if not splendour. The close stone walls are insulated with tapestries of all shapes and sizes, most a little worn, several faded and a good many depicting scenes from childhood stories. The mismatched chairs and sofas are in a similar state, rescued from cellars and rubbish-heaps but perhaps more softer and more comfortable for that, scattered in a rouch circle on a hardwood floor. A low round table in the centre of the room holds cards, discarded hides, mugs, and a pot that holds klah as long as someone remembers to fill it. The one window at the back wall lets light and air into the warm, cozy room.
Scattered troughout the rooms are numerous glowbaskets. Thin hides, that would be transparant if they weren't coloured in light shades of red green and blue cast a colourfull and happy athmostphere troughout the room. Small bells and sticks, hung near the window, create soft, eerie yet comfortablly soft sounds,

Linora finds a comfy chair and flops.

Cress smiles silently as Linora comes in, just sitting there watching her..

Linora is lost in whatever thoughts go through her head when she's thinking, half looking at the ceiling, half looking at her eyelids, sprawled on the chair gracelessly.

Cress pulls his legs up under him to sit in a cross-legged position in his chair. Picking his green lizard off his shoulder he whispers to her, "I think she's preoccupied," in a teasing voice, just loud enough for Linora to hear.

Linora blinks. Her head rolls back and around to face Cress. She smiles. "Hi." Her eyes are kinda sleepy, like maybe she just woke up.

"Morning," Cress says, grinning. "Just got up?"

Linora nods, still not bothering to shift from her sprawled position. She grins. "You look pretty wide awake, though."

Cress shrugs, "I am, for once," he says, nodding to the notepad lying beside him now that Idoru is in his lap. "I've been working on my project... I think I'm almost done."

Linora rouses enough to look interested, actually pulling herself up to sit foward for a better look. "Really? What is it?"

Cress shows her the scroll he making notes on. "It's really just a describtion of one of the constellations," he says, pointing out the points he's made on the scroll. "And the story behind it."

Linora's eyes get kinda big. Looks like a /lot/ of sitting still went into this project. "Wow." She doesn't really know what else to say.

Cress shrugs, "it's just a lot of research, actually. Going through the Archives and such. Not that hard..."

Linora nods. "So this is what you've been so busy with..." She tilts her head to look at him, grinning.

"Yeah, what'd you think..." He cuts himself off before finishing the sentence. She didn't think... Did she? He leans back in his chair unfolding his legs, and grins at her. "Just had a lot of work to do with this project, you know.."

The grin softens to a warm smile as Linora gets to her feet, her eyes never leaving his face. "Yeah.... I'm kinda hungry; wanna come to breakfast with me?" Who cares what time of day it is; she just woke up, after all. It's breakfast.

"Breakfast?" He says. "Well I am kinda of hungry, but it's lunchtime now..."

Linora blinks. "Okay, lunch then." She grins. "Long as it's food." And as long as she doesn't have to eat alone.

Cress stands, trying not to wake the lizards on his shoulders. Picking up his things he moves to the door, "lunch it is then," he grins.

Linora smiles widely. Cress is always so loaded down, you'd think those flits would fly sometime. "Right behind you."

Dining Hall
Coming from the other rooms, the Dining Hall seems a little dimmer, Which it is. Positioned throughout the room are about a dozen tables suited for up to eight people each. It is far more than the Hall needs, but it is always nice to be safe than sorry. A table is set up off to the side. On it is a collection of cooled juices and fruits which are kept fresh from the nearby Orchards. With the constant state of furor created by recent events there few drudges not busy elsewhere, So please serve and clean up after yourself. A fire burns merrily along the west wall, and overstuffed, cushioned couches and chairs have been placed in front of it.

Cress glances at the chalkboard to see what the menu is for today.

Linora walks right to the side table to look over the fruit there.

Cress takes Linora's example and pick out a coulpe of ripe redfruit and pours his usual mug of klah. "How many classes have you taken so far, Lin," he asks, purely out of curiousty of course.

Linora's hand hesitates over the fruit as she thinks about that. "All but one, I think... " Her fingers close around a ripe redfruit. "I still hafta take optics." She's pretty sure that's all... thinking she really ought to look into that.

Cress smiles, "then you'll be starting your project soon?" He takes his fruit and his klah to a table, putting down his notes and the mug.

Linora blinks, standing frozen by the table with the fruit in her hand, following Cress with her eyes. "Um... yeah. I guess I will." Blinks again, and walks over to the table, idly turning the fruit in her hands.

Cress turns his head to look at Linora as she comes to sit at the table. "It's really not that hard," he says, trying to reassure her. "Just a lot of research, time spent in the Archives." A shrug is given, as if it was nothing.

Linora drops into a chair across from Cress with a little thump, her eyes on the piece of fruit in her hands. "I hope you're right." Not really thinking he is.

If Cress' long nights and lack of sleep has anything to do with his project then Linora's certainly right that it's no easy thing to do. However Cress shrugs and takes a bite of his redruit, "I tell ya, it's really not /that/ hard.

Linora seems to have lost her appetite, slumping forward on the table and resting her chin on her arms. All the doubts she ever had about being a good starcrafter are right behind her eyes.

"Something wrong, Lin?" Cress has seen that worry in her eye a little too often lately. "You're not getting second thought, are you?"

Linora just shuts her eyes, taking a deep breath and letting it out again before she tries to answer. "This just isn't stuff I'm good at." After a moment she peeks up at him again. "I mean, I wanna be here. I /really/ wanna learn this stuff..." Her voice trails off as she speaks, ending in just a whisper. "I'm just afraid I won't be good enough."

Cress smiles crookedly. "Well, as long as you wanna learn, I don't see a problem," he says as calmly as he can. "To tell you the thruth, there're some stuff I'm having trouble with too."

Linora blinks, sitting a bit straighter, /really/ wanting to hear something that'll make her feel less hopeless. "Really?"

Cress winces a little, "yeah. Especially optics.. I've taken that class /three/ time already and /still/ don't get it..."

Linora blinks again, almost biting through her lip. "That's the one I haven't taken yet." Shells, if /Cress/ doesn't understand it, is there any hope for her? He's loads smarter... isn't he?

"Well, maybe it's the one you understand," he says, a glimmer in the eye. "Then you can help /me/ with it..."

Linora remembers all over again just why she likes Cress so much, a real smile coming to her eyes. "Maybe. I'll let ya know, if I ever manage to schedule it." She takes a bite out of that fruit at long last, quickly bringing her other hand up to catch the little dribble of juice that sneaks down her chin.

Cress chuckles, "maybe I'll take it with you," he say, after taking a sip of his cooling klah. "Good thing I didn't choose it as a specialty. I'm not sure I'll ever get the hang of it..."

Linora just shakes her head. "Again?" But she smiles. "You picked Red Star, huh." Remembering their conversation in the maze, it's not really a question.

Cress nods, "yeah, Red Star. Riina's my mentor," he says. "At least I understand about that. And Riina's real nice."

Linora grins, remembering... absently reaching up to stroke the sleeping blue on her shoulder. "Yeah, she /is/ nice." After a thoughtful pause, she sighs a bit. "I asked about navigation... if I do that, I'll hafta live on a ship." There's more than one reason she might not really want to do that.

Cress blinks. A ship? That would mean she wouldn't be /here/. "All the time?" But even if it wasn't she'd still be far away, wouldn't she? "When would you have to go?"

Linora nods, not really looking up to see his reaction. "I think it'd be alla the time, yeah." She bites her lip. "I dunno /when/... I dunno what I wanna do." Fruit forgotten again, she drops her chin on her folded arms. "I thought I'd ask around, see what the ... um... requirements are, for the other areas."

Cress fiddles with his klah-mug, trying to absorb that bit of news. "I think I should get back to my project," he says, bending his head, avoiding her eyes, so as not to show his dissapointment that she might leave.

Linora blinks, wondering what she said to make Cress look like that. She chews her lip, her eyes big as she tries to see his expression, her mind working back over the words. Finally she gives up, he's /not/ going to look at her. And he's leaving? "Okay..." she manages to say. "I'll walk back with you?" Half afraid he might say no.

Cress pushes his chair back, nooding, he manages a weak smile. "Allright," he says, draining his klah before going to the door. Taking a deep breath, he holds his hand out to her. Maybe he can convince her that there're other specialties to her liking so she'll stay..

Linora swallows hard and manages to smile back, taking his hand and getting to her feet.

Back At The Vault

Cress moves slowly in from the Main Hall Balcony.

Linora is led in by Cress.

Nirra sits up straight, "If you two are, um, having problems in your, um," shes having trouble defining it, "relationship," that's a good word! "you should talk about it." And Orph needs to be less dense, but that isn't happening. "Orpheus?" she looks at him expecting him to know /something/ to say.

Orpheus blinks dully at Naomi, her words slowly filtering through his muddled mind. "What's going on with Kaltia? Nothing." A pause, then a muttered reply to her question: "It's just that I always seem to have girls in my lap when I come out here." Not the most reassuring, undoubtedly. "Kaltia's as nice as any of 'em, but I don't see why you're so mad them." Nirra gets a /stare/ for the r-word.

Kaltia? What was up with her now, Cress thinks as he comes in with Linora. That girl had given him trouble too. More than he liked, in fact. Looking at Lin, he gives her a smile, reasurring her that /he/ was not thinking about Kal.

Naomi shrugs a little, biting her lip. "I'm not mad. Why would I be mad?" Peer. She stands then, snatching up her hides, and disappears through the door to the female apprentice quarters.

Naomi bounces to the Female Apprentice Quarters.

Nirra nods at Orph, he dose seem to have someone in his lap all the time. Noticing Cress and Linora she waves at them hoping for some sanity amoungst the 'delusions' Orph seems to cause. Cocking her head she stands, "I don't think we've met." She holds hand out to Linora, "I'm Nirra." Alway the nice polite one.

"Uh, Nirra?" Orpheus turns his rather puzzled gaze on said girl, begging for an explanation. "You're a girl, right?" He's so observant. "What's up with Naomi?" Naturally another girl should get it, no? He turns his gaze to Linora, tagging her as a font of wisdom as well: "Hey, do you know why she acts weird?" With the other male, Cress, he just exchanges a half-grin.

Linora glances up at Cress, reading his smile as reassurance that they didn't need to turn back around and leave the Vault, wondering exactly what they'd walked in on but afraid to ask. Then she hears someone introducing herself, and turns to face the other girl with a smile. "Hi, Nirra. I'm Linora..." Then suddenly the human chair is asking her opinion on something. She gives him a blank look.

Nirra rolls her eyes at Orph, "Dear you just seem to attract everyone," said casually as if she wasn't included. "Well met Linora, don't worry about Orph. He's a big boy, he can take care of himself." Said by a 13 turn old this statement dosen't seem to have as much weight but Nirra pretends not to notice.

Nirra stands 4 feet 11 inches tall with short auburn hair layered about her face and almost reaches her shoulders. Her skin is slightly tanned from her time in the sun. Her face is oval in shape with a small straight nose, and even set deep blue eyes. Her lips are thin and usually set in a smile, as the lines around her mouth and eyes might suggest. Although short she is well proportioned and you can see that although she still might grow a little taller as she gets older, there really isn't anything else needed to make her complete. She is slight but not thin with obvious muscle in her arms and legs that comes from her love of work. If someone was to look at her they might think she was lovely but not exotic.
Slacks dyed pure black cover ankle high boots so only the toes, top of the foot, and bottom of the heel can be seen. A white collared shirt with the top two buttons undone has long taliored sleeves and buttoned cuffs. It is covered by a black vest embrodered with blue and goldish threads in an intricate but repetative design. Neither the vest or the white shirt is tucked in and indeed are not ment to be, they reach the middle of the curve of Nirra's hips. Her hair has been let down and frames her face making her seem somehow older than she is. On one shoulder is an apprentice knot of twisting colors of red and silver claming her for the Starcraft. Perched on Nirra's shoulder is Spirit.
Nirra is 13 Turns, 6 months, and 7 days old.

Orpheus spares Nirra half a not-so-withering glare, the look coming more like an aborted pout than anything else. "I don't attract anyone, I just look like a good place to sit." Big boy, take care of himself -- he'll just ignore that. To Linora he offers a quick, "As she said, I'm Orph. Now, being a girl, can you tell me what makes another girl act weird?" Trademark smile is slipped into place as he asks, less that sulky child now and more than wanna-be charmer that he is.

Cress squeezes Linora's hand and gives her a weak smile. He still haven't gotten past that comment in the Dining Hall. "I should get back to my project," he says, ignoring Orph's attempt at monopolizing Lin for an answer on girls.

Linora just shrugs at Orph. "I dunno?" She's been wondering that herself.... and wondering if /she/ acts weird. She didn't /think/ she did. At Cress's words she looks up at him. He /is/ leaving. For a moment she's speechless. "Okay." Knowing it's lame, but not able to come up with anything better. Shells, she's confused...

Orpheus doesn't monopolize anyone -- he's just confused. Confused enough to turn to a male to pose a question about girls, "Hey, before you leave! You seem to get along with her fairly well." Her being Linora, indicated by a tip of his head and a faint grin. "Any tips for understanding girls?" He could use a few. He could use a clue, any clue, actually.

Reluctant to leave, Cress still needs some time to study. And think over some stuff, that's happened recently. Giving Orph a faint smile and a shrug he says, "I've no idea... " And he doesn't, having had his own trouble's with them. "Sorry." Turning back to Linora, he looks her in the eye, trying to make some sense of her comment earlier. Not really wanting to get into a discussion about it now though, he turns and heads to the dorm.

Cress moves slowly to the Male Apprentice Quarters.

Linora's jaw drops as Cress turns his back on her. If she was confused before, she's beside herself now. For a moment she stands frozen, then she just flops into the first chair she sees. Ow. Not even a really soft one.

Nirra rolls her eyes at Orph, "Guess you'll never know," she says grinning, "Maybe you should start looking to the guys if you can't understand the girls?" Its and innocent statement coming from her. "Or you could become a greenrider." She's just repeating something she heard, not real sure she understands it but it sounds good. She smiles as her old shyness is forgotten. Turning to Linora, "Something up with you and Cress?" she asks, another innocent question. She's just little miss innocent today.

Orpheus says, " "I /haved/ looked to guys," Orpheus retorts, beyond tact -- as always. "And they are easier to understand. You girls layer everything in veiled comments and glances and it confuses an honest man." Like he's an honest man. He shuts his mouth, ears almost visibly perking to hear the reply to Nirra's last question. He /is/ nosy -- curious, the nice ones would say -- y'know."

For a moment, it looks like Linora's not going to answer, sprawled in that chair with a dazed expression on her face. But Nirra's question did get through. "I dunno." Well, she /thought/ she did. But she's none too sure, now... Orph's comments are ignored. She doesn't feel like thinking about whether he's right or not.

Orpheus makes his escape while the going is good, off for some less confusing company.

Nirra shakes her head at Orph's retreating back, "And he thinks girls are strange." She leans back in her chair ready to be the ears if Linora has to vent and shoos the blue off her shoulder into her lap.

Kezzra walks with a light step, in from the Main Hall Balcony.

Kezzra curls into an emtpy chair, Rasha craddled in her arms.

Linora just sits, slumped in probably the most uncomfortable chair in the room, still with that blank expression. Did she even notice that Orph left?

Nirra smiles and waves at Kezzra. Apparently Linora has more to think about then vent about so Nirra stands up, her blue craddled in her arms fast asleep as always, and excuses herself.

Nirra walks to the Female Apprentice Quarters.


Nirra returns and plops down in a comfy chair. Looking at Linora she wonders if the older girl is ready to talk now. Always the polite one she dosen't pry, "Hello again."

Caelestis walks in from the Female Apprentice Quarters.

Cassia walks in from the Female Apprentice Quarters.

Linora blinks. A voice. She's not alone. Her eyes go to the source and she has to think for a moment to find a name, even though she just met the girl. "Hi, Nirra." Now that she's looking, she sees other people around too... Kezz, with the baby... and... nope, more people she doesn't know. She flops back again.

Only half put off by the girls seemingly distraction, Nirra desides to press her question once again. "So what's up with you and Cress," she cocks her head to the side, "You seem kinda distressed about it."

Kezzra walks with a light step, to the Main Hall Balcony.

The voice is still there. Linora sits up. "Sorry. I dunno what's up. I was talking to him at breakfast... " She corrects herself, "lunch, and he got weird." Still trying to think if she said something. "And I'm not /distressed/... just confused." She drops her chin into her hands.

Nirra feels sorry for Linora, guys can be so stupid. "Confused? Why?" She needs more to go on.

Cassia falls asleep.

Linora just looks at Nirra. She thought it was obvious... maybe Orph was right. She sighs. "I never saw him act like that before."

Nirra thinks she understands now. She sighs and shrugs her shoulders, she really dosen't know that much about guys, she never had brothers or anything. "He's probably stressed over classes or some such." She trys to sound confidant. "I wouldn't worry too much about it. Maybe..." she trails off not really sure what to tell the girl.

Her chin still in her hands, her elbows digging into her knees, Linora sighs. "Yeah." Sure, that's probably it. What else would it be? Another sigh.

Nirra, obviously not helping any, desides to try and get Linora's mind off of it. "Hay, want to go to the Happy Harper?" Its what she dose when she wants to get her mind off of things.

Linora shrugs. Might as well. "Sure." She gets to her feet.

Gar Hold CourtYard
You stand on the porch of Gar Hold. Just inside you can see the elegant, yet simple design of this burgeoning hold. Outside, you have a beautiful view of the hold valley. Large trees line the trail here, creating a nice canopy of shade for the weiry traveller. A couple of paths diverge from the hold to follow their own paths. Each path is set with red brick cobblestone. Flower Beds line the porch creating a nice feeling of returning home. Several rockers, a bench or two, and a swing can be found on the porch, for those who wish to come out and enjoy the beauty of nature.
It is a winter afternoon.

Nirra walks in from the Hold Field.

The warm glow of finest skybroom basks his hide, creating a living carving as if drawn from a tree rather than flesh. Browns deepen around whorls and knots, coaxing forth coffee hues that accentuate his appendages and the leading edge of finely crafted wingsails. Amber taints insinuate themselves across grains that flow down his hide from snout to tail, lending texture to form. Color-shifting jewels almost seem to burst forth eagerly from beneath heavy eyeridges; his eyes shine brightly against the warmth of his hide, reflecting off of its canvas.
Well-oiled, hand-stitched straps are fastened around Ftoranth with ample padding to protect his handsome but sensitive hide. The straps are carefully stitched so extra lengths can be added as the brown dragon grows to his full adult height. A tiny decorative ivy stitch is added at the end of the strap in the form of a F/D.
Ftoranth is 4 Turns, 6 months, and 26 days old.
He is 67 feet (20m) long, with a wingspan of 111 feet (34m).
Ftoranth seems to be listening.

Nirra walks to the Gar Hold Entry Hall.

Ftoranth opens one eye and looks at Linora

Linora stops dead in her tracks when she sees the dragon looking at her. Shells, she only took a peek on her way to the Hold...

Ftoranth rumbles something softly and yawns.

Nirra walks in from the Gar Hold Entry Hall.

Linora stands frozen in surprise at the realization that the big brown dragon in the courtyard is evidently /not/ dozing. For a moment she's not sure what to do.

Ftoranth stretches lazily, looking at both Linora and Nirra. New play toys, prephaps?

Nirra comes back wondering what happened to Linora. She walks up to her not noticing the the brown yet, dense her? "What's wr-" she cuts off. Her eyes are wide and she stands stark still.

Ftoranth"s tail starts a slow lazily curving almost like an itch to play with the legs of the girls.

Linora takes a step back, then another one.... The dragon doesn't /look/ threatening, but... he's so /big/. She glances around, but sees no sign of a 'rider. She does spot Nirra, and matches the girl's wide-eyed stare with one of her own.

Stuck in place, Nirra has forgotten how to move her legs. On her shoulder her little blue cherps at the brown. Nirra's mouth works but nothing comes out.

Ftoranth's leg moves to tickle the girls' legs as he watches with amusement. His eyes whirl in a pleasant relaxed way.

Linora jumps. Really jumps. This is only the second dragon she's ever seen close up, and he's /touching/ her. Quite beyond herself, she hastily retreats up the stairs to the porch, watching from a safer distance. "Nirra, um... you still wanna get that drink?"

Ftoranth rumbles softly in what can only be a sort of chuckle as he stretches.

Tickle? More like tackle. Nirra manages a "Ohmy," but then falls silent again. She wonders how anything could be so big, on the sands they look so much smaller somehow... She catches Linora's voice but still can't remember how to move her legs. She twists in her spot to look at the other girl. This is her first dragon up close.

Luthin walks in.

Nirra notices the browns shift and looks back at him. She finally remembers, one foot moves behind the other and she retreats back to Linora and a safe distance. Her blue cherps again and ducks his head behind her hair.

Ftoranth is in a pouncing postion, Get ready get set......

Linora spots Luthin and beckons to him to join her on the porch. The big brown dragon in the courtyard seems to be in a playful mood, crouched down like that. Linora's eyes are huge.

Luthin says, "Hey.. that your dragon, Nora?" Smirking at her as he approaches, he /does/ know better. "Nice one.. couldn't picked better myself. Hey fella."

Ftoranth looks at Luthin, "Ohh a new toy! He pounces. Ohh fun!

Nirra retreats behind Linora hiding, "Yours?" she whispers confused and more then a little frightened. Her blue cherps again at the brown as if to say my human.

Linora shakes her head, just slightly. "Course not," she hisses. "Why would I have a dragon?" Her eyes scan the courtyard... is Luthin okay?

Luthin was he just pounced on? A bit shaken as he recovers.. Nothing hurt.. the big guy just wants to play! "Hey 'Nora, he just wnats to play! Okay guy, but remember we are smaller and crunch easy. Do you have any special games, like um.. fetch?" what does he know? He's never played with a dragon before.

Ftoranth looks down at the kid, giving him a watery whuffle/snort. Fetch? He's no pet. He's a dragon and he likes to pounce.

Linora's jaw drops. Not only is Luthin not dead, but he actually seems to be enjoying himself.

Luthin tentatively reaches up and scritches as high as he can reach. "Hope this is okay Beauty. I admit, I don't know much about you big guys, but I know the littles seem to like this sort of thing." turns to smile at Linora and the other person on the porch. "Come on, he's really nice.

Ftoranth leans down. Ohh scritches. He loves scritches.

Linora grins, relieved for Luthin, but not feeling much braver herself. "Thanks... but I oughta get back to the dorm." She looks at Nirra apologetically. "See you later."