A Very Interesting Afternoon...

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 is here.

Cress is sitting at his usual table, with his back against the doorway, eating sweetbread, and occationally giving Dixie a piece or two.

Linora wanders in, still blinking as her eyes adjust to the dimmer light after the bright sun of the courtyard, and heads to the sideboard to pick over the fruit there.

Cress pops another piece of bread in his mouth with a chittering lizard on his shoulder, begging for a tidbit. "Don't think I don't know where you got the taste for it," he says to the brown.

Still picking over the fruit, Linora smiles widely at the sound of a familiar voice, turning her head to peek over at Cress and his flit. Completely distracted, she snags a redfruit... any redfruit... and walks quietly over to his table. Watching.

"No! No more, you've had your share," Cress says peering at the little brown, "and by the way, I don't understand why you guys like sweetbread so much." Carrying out a serious conversation with Dixie, he doesn't notice Linora come in, or that she's now observing him.

Linora can't suppress a giggle. "Just like his humanpet," she teases, coming around from behind to slip into a chair across from Cress. She leans forward on the table a bit, smiling up at him with twinkling eyes. "Hi."

Cress almost jumps into the ceiling as he hears her giggle. "Oh, hi Lin. How long've you been here?" he asks nervously, but with a smile on his face, hoping that she hadn't heard his conversation with the lizard.

Linora grins. "Oh, not too long." She fixes glittering eyes on Dixie now. "So he's taking after 'Doru, is he?" Another glance back up at Cress, finding his eyes, her own teasing. She straightens and takes a bite from the fruit, her eyes never leaving his.

Cress nods, giving the lizard a fierce glance. "Yeah, he is," he says and returns his gaze to Linora.

Linora giggles again. "I dunno why you're surprised." Another bite. She slumps down in the chair a bit, her eyes still smiling even as she chews, caught completely by his gaze and not minding a bit.

Cress shrugs, and smile, "I just wish he'd taken after 'Mute instead," he says. Now there was a firelizard. Lazy, hungry and sleepy. And didn't eat sweetbread. "At least she, 'Doru, doesn't hang on my all the time anymore."

Linora swallows and grins. "Yeah. She's all kinda independent now. Spray's kinda lazy." And the little blue is, indeed, draped across her shoulder dozing. She gives him a fond scritch and takes another bite.

Cress nods, grinning, "yeah, Dixie's the only one with me all the time now," he says, a sadness almost creeping into his voice, for not having all three lizards with him all the time. "Of course, the others always come back when it's time for oiling."

Linora giggles again, barely swallowing the last bite. "Sure, they wouldn't miss that." Then she sobers a bit, trying to remember the last time she helped Cress oil those flits. A little shrug. "Well, you were always so loaded down with them. 'Bout time they gave y'a break." The smile returns, but her eyes are searching his; she hopes he isn't /too/ sad about it.

Cress grins, "well, they still come sleep with me often enough," he says, finding her eyes. "That's nice.. Would've been nice to have a fair like that when I was on the road. Could get pretty cold at night, sometimes."

Fruit forgotten, Linora leans forward on the table with her chin in her hands, lost in his eyes again, remembering how cold it was in that place she saw snow... where was that? she never asked... and imagining trying to sleep there. A long moment passes, then a quiet, "Bet it woulda." Been nice, that is.

Cress breaks the last piece of sweetbread in half, and succums to the lizards plauging for a bite. Popping one half into his own mouth, he offers the other to the brown. "Wasn't a lot of lizards in the caravan, though. And the places we travelled there weren't any eggs to be found."

Linora nods. "Yeah, I guess there's not a lotta wild ones in the cold places." She didn't think flits liked cold places at all, but maybe they like being with their 'pets enough not to mind. "No beaches and stuff there." She straightens a bit, folding her arms on the table... then remembers she's holding the fruit still and takes another bite.

Cress shakes his head slowly, "no, no beaches. There're lakes, of course, but not much sand for 'em to lay their eggs," he says pushing his plate aside and leaning his elbows on the table.

Linora nods. She wasn't sure, but she hadn't thought there would be. Not like here. "I guess they like ta lay their eggs in the sand, if it's warm enough?" She shrugs, smiling. "I never knew anyone lucky enough ta find one before." Much less two. Another bite of the fruit.

"Neither have," Cress says teasingly, "and I /never/ thought that I'd impress a firelizard, let alone /three/!!"

Linora smiles softly, her eyes shining as she remembers how it felt to impress Spray. Times three, that must be incredible. "Yeah, you're really lucky," she says quietly. She sits back, fruit forgotten again, absently stroking Spray's tail.

Cress bites his lip, and shrugs, "I don't feel so lucky, when it's time for oiling," he says teasingly. He knows, she knows that he like to oil his lizards. "Or when they wake you at night, telling you that they're hungry.."

Linora doesn't move, but peeks sidelong at him, a little smile playing about the corners of her mouth. "Or when they eat all your sweetbread."

Cress laughs, and nods at her with a twinkle in his eyes, "yeah, when they eat all my sweetbread," he says and shoots a glance at Dixie.

Linora laughs too, enough to rouse the dozing lizard on her shoulder, who peers at her a bit balefully through sleepy eyes before hoppling down her bare arm -ow- and onto the table. He sniffs inquisitively at the bit of fruit left in her hand before letting out a half-yawn, half-creel, twisting his neck to look up at his 'pet.

Still laughing, Cress' eyes follow the movements of the blue as decides that fruit is no meal for a firelizard. "Think he'd like some sweetbread," he says grinning.

Linora shrugs. "I dunno." She looks thoughtfully at her little lizard, tilting her head to one side, then peeks up at Cress. "Got any left?" She grins. "If he don't like it, I can always go get a meatroll for him." A quick glance at the night hearth... yeah, there's always meatrolls there.

Cress shakes his head, still grinning. "Sorry, I just shared the last bit with Dixie. But I can get some for you - and Spray - if you like," he says and is already halfway out of his chair.

Linora smiles broadly. "Sure... but ya better get a coupla meatrolls too, just in case..." Following him with her eyes as he goes, one hand idly scritching the creeling little blue. "Hang on," she whispers.

Cress walks over to the sidetable with hurried steps, knowing what it's like to have a hungry firelizard nearby. He heaps some sweetbread and some meatrolls onto a plate and refills his klah-mug, then returns to the table with his load. "Here ya go, m'lady, and firelizard extraordinare," he says teasingly, and places the plate dead-centre of the table. Chitters from his shoulder tell that his own lizard is still hungry. "You're kidding me, Dixie," he mumbles to the brown.

Linora giggles. Lady, yeah. And reaches out to take a piece of sweetbread, setting the unfinished fruit aside. She breaks a bit off and offers it to Spray, who sniffs it politely before emitting an earsplitting shriek and huffing over to the plate to look for himself. As Linora watches wide-eyed, Spray takes an entire meatroll in his talons and wings off to another table to tear into it in peace. And Linora forgets to close her mouth again, unaware she's even still holding the sweetbread in her hands.

Cress burst out laughing. Really laughing this time, and not just grinning. "Guess, he'll have none of that," he says in between bursts of laughter. "You can give it to Dixie insted." He picks the brown off his shoulder and sets him down on the table in front of the plate where the lizard immediately picks out a meatroll and wobbles to the farside of the table with it. Cress' laughter stop suddenly and he gets a look of disbelief on his face.

A flush spreads up Linora's cheeks until she realizes that it's Spray, not her, that's the focus of Cress's amusement. And then she starts to laugh herself, first at Spray's display of attitude, and then at Cress's expression as Dixie asserts his own independence. Wiping a tear, she manages to say, "/Who/ likes sweet things?"

"I do," Cress says and slips into his chair, shaking his head, still looking at the brown, attacking the meatroll with talons and teeth. "Guess he's past that stage," he says, looking up at Linora, he eyes sparkling with mirth over the two lizards' display of attitude.

Linora seems to remember the sweetbread in her hands, and the bit she'd broken off for Spray is popped into her mouth. Chewing, she only nods. She knew that all the time. Who spends more time with Cress than she does? Only those flits, she's sure of it. Then she swallows and grins. "Wanna see if we can get 'em to fish?" It's prolly still warm enough for a swim... and to dry off afterwards.

Idoru sweeps in for a dive at the plate on the table and expertly grabs a piece of sweetbread, which she brings to the neighbouring table.

Linora blinks as Idoru flashes across the table, almost seeing what she's got in her talons. She turns her head to peer at the green. Sweetbread. She shakes her head, smiling slightly, then turns back to Cress. Her chin on her hands as she seeks out his eyes. Blinkblink. Swim?

"Errm, yeah why not," Cress says, his eyes following 'Doru as she seemingly comes out of nowhere to steal sweetbread from the plate. "'Doru!! What did I tell ya," he shouts to the green, but is unable to keep a smile from his lips. "I don't think she'll want to come, though." He nods to the green and looks at Linora again.

Linora slips out of her chair, snagging another piece of sweetbread for the walk. "Yeah, well, why fish when there's sweetbread right here?" She grins. Over on his table, Spray has nearly finished his meatroll, so she walks over to retrieve him. His hunger apparently sated, Spray makes no complaint as she scoops him into the crook of her arm. A quick glance back at the table... "Coming?"

Cress gets out of his chair and collects Dixie, and then moves to the next table to get 'Doru, anyway. "We're going to the lake, 'Doru," he says as the green starts to complain, "you can get fish there. They're better for you than these sweetbreads... Coming, Lin," he says over his shoulder, then turns and comes over to her. "I think I better bring her anyway."

Cress calls to Idoru, who flies over and lands on his shoulder.

Crystal Lake
As you walk along the path, you find yourself near the center of the valley. Situated here, is Crystal Lake. This lake is named for its clarity. At nearly 100 feet, things can still be seen as if they were closer! Unfortunately, this is also a danger, as one has trouble gauging depth, so swimmers beware! A natural spring feeds the lake from underneath, keeping it a nice 80 degrees, even in the winter, though it can get much warmer in the summer. A large square has been set up a short distance for the shoreline.
It is a spring afternoon.

Cress moves slowly in from the Hold Field.

Linora nudges Spray onto her shoulder so she'll have a hand free to pull her sandals off; she does so almost without pausing her stride, hopping a bit as she fumbles with the straps. At last she frees herself and tosses the sandals aside on the shore, walking right down to the water's edge to test it with her toes.

Cress sighs and doesn't really feel like swimming today, so he settles in the grass at the shore, with his lizards, 'Doru still complaining at being torn away from her sweetbread.

Linora turns back to see what Cress is doing, her expression turning vaguely surprised when she sees him sitting on the shore and not looking all too happy. A quick glance at the sun tells her he's burning his day at both ends /again/, and she really /tries/ to assume it's not her company... almost succeeds. She comes back up the shore to sit nearby, tentatively offering Idoru the sweetbread she's been carrying since she left the dining hall but never bothered to eat, her eyes fixed on the green.

Idoru looks at the sweetbread with twirling eyes, then snags it and leaps out of Cress' arms before he can do anything. His eyes follow the green as she finds a perch and digs into the sweetbread.. "I'm sorry, Lin. I just got tired all of a sudden," he says and looks up at her with an apologetic look in his eyes.

Linora's eyes follow Idoru as well, before she slowly turns her head back to look at Cress. And smiles. "I know ya been working hard and stuff," she says quietly, looking at her hands folded on her lap for a long moment before she finds his eyes again. Yeah, he looks tired. A little sigh. Then abruptly, without even thinking much about it, she pushes herself up onto her knees and kisses him. On the cheek. Just. And quickly gets to her feet, not giving him a chance to get mad... or not get mad. And walks over to retrieve her sandals.

Cress drops his jaw. Like any gentleman would do, when someone kisses him out of the blue. "Lin," he manages to say, but can't come up with anything else to say, so he just sits there staring at her as she turns her back on him.

Sandals in hand, Linora turns to face him. Slowly. Unable to tell from just that one word exactly what his reaction is, she chews her lip nervously.

Cress' face is showing complete surprise. His eyes are wide, and his mouth is still open to catch any bugs that might be flying around. "Wha-what was that for?" Now he's not stupid. Just surprised, taken aback at the timing.

Linora shrugs, smiling a little. "Just cause I like ya." And because she's wanted to do that since... well, it's been a while. She looks at the ground for a long moment, then back up at him. Well, she can't take it back... not that she would.

Cress remembers to close his mouth, if nothing else then because it widens into a smile. "I like ya too," he says and gets up from the ground. He moves over to her and... stops. This isn't the time or the place thinks. But when, and where then? Why not now, and here? He gets his feet moving again, and comes over to her. He put his hands on her shoulders, then moves them up to the back of her head and leans in to kiss her.. On the lips.

Linora slips her arms around his back to hold herself steady in the face of the sensations that bubble up inside her, part of her simply not believing it's actually happening... but somehow able to respond, her eyes closing and her body relaxing. And wishing she could be right here forever and ever.

Cress pulls back and just stands there holding her. A feeling he can't explain comes into him and he doesn't want to let go, so he just stands there, his hands moving down to her back so they're just holding each other.

Wrapping her arms more tightly around Cress, Linora drops her head on his shoulder, trying not to think of all the reasons she shouldn't be holding him. Thinking this is as happy as she's ever been in her entire life, and she doesn't want it to end. And afraid to say anything at all that might break the spell.

Cress can't let go either, but turns his head and smells her hair. To him it smell wonderful and he buries his face in her hair. He closes his eyes and just listens to her breathing.

A shriek of childish laughter is heard as a tiny canine pup scampers in from the direction of the gardens. Linora takes a step back and looks over her shoulder in time to see a toddler making her unsteady way along the path to the lakeshore, all eyes on the pup. With a smile she turns back to Cress, mute apology in her eyes. The nanny won't be far behind the child.

Cress' head comes up as Linora steps away from him. He hasn't heard anything but as soon as she stepped away, he also heard those voices and blushes slightly as people are coming.

Linora catches Cress's hands in hers as she steps back to allow a nice, safe, not-against-the-rules space between them. Her eyes, locked on his, are burning with words she can't say, and she might just bite through that lower lip. A quick squeeze, and she releases his hands as well, letting her own fall to her sides as her gaze drops to the ground. Not doing anything wrong. Nope.

Cress sighs as she drops his hand, and lets her gaze find the ground. "I guess I should get some sleep anyway," he whisperes, but doesn't move. His legs seem to be nailed to the ground and he tries to find her eyes again. He doesn't want to go, and tries to stifle a yawn that comes unbidden. He's really getting tired and the magic moment seem to have been broken by intruders, so he takes a step forward to her and takes her hand again.

Linora looks up at Cress as he takes her hand, and smiles. "I'll walk you back?" Barely above a whisper.

Cress nods and gives her hand a squeezes, gives her a smile which is just for her and no-one else.

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,
. Lilinia and Naomi are here.

Cress moves slowly in from the Main Hall Balcony.

Linora is led in by Cress.

Naomi walks out.

"Well, I guess I'll see ya tomorrow," Cress says, still holding Linora's hand. He doesn't actually notice that there're people here, since all his attention is focused on Linora.

Belle blinks in from ::between::!

Lilinia calls to Belle, who flies over and lands on her shoulder.

Linora nods, all eyes on Cress as she smiles up at him. "Sure," she says, managing almost to sound like her usual self. She thinks. She gives his hand a squeeze, not quite ready to let go.

Lilinia goes home.

Cress can't quite let go either, and he stifles another yawn, as he looks her in the eyes, moving backwards her hand still in his. Stopping by the door to the MAQ, he doesn't move any further, but just stands there looking her in the eyes.

Linora is willingly led, but over Cress's shoulder she can see the closed door to the male dorms and knows perfectly well this is as far as she's going. She also knows the way to the door she /should/ be going through, but can't /quite/ seem to make herself move any closer to it. Not caught in his eyes like she is.

Cress is almost falling asleep on his feet now, but just doesn't want to move. And he can't find the right words to say. 'See ya' just doesn't seem to fit in this situation.

Linora can see that Cress won't be standing much longer... he can barely keep his eyes open. Well, when they're closed, they can't hold her, now can they? A little smile comes to her face, lighting her eyes, and she stretches up to kiss him goodnight. Just a soft, little kiss won't get her into any trouble. "See ya." Releasing his hand she slips away and disappears into the girls' dorm.