Where the hills of Gar meet the softer plains of the valley, rock slowly turns to gravel, dust and earth, leaving a large natural courtyard tucked against the walls of the hall. A low wall marks a boundary for the courtyard, rock and earth's battle for domination kept outside of it. Strong doors set in the hill wall, provide a new way to get into the hall, long windows letting light into the otherwise quite dark hall. They look out upon a grassy valley, filled with water, vineyards and herdbeast. Trails formed by the feet of human wind around rocks and trees, trailing off into the wilderness.
It is a summer sunrise. The sun rises in spectacular display over the ocean, lighting the waves with golden sunfire. The wind begins to blow in from the east, off of the ocean.
Stretched out on the low wall are Venusnv and Spray.
You see Marly here.
Cress is here.
Cress sits on the low wall, watching his canine running around in the courtyard, chasing avians, a soft smile on his face. Seeing Lin coming his smile broadens and he gives her a wave.
Honey-blond tresses, sunstreaked with platinum highlights, fall just to her shoulders, curling slightly at the ends now that the weight of their previous mass has been reduced. A few wispy pieces refuse to be tamed, often falling into her face to be brushed impatiently behind her ears. She's more or less stopped growing, a mere fingerwidth above 5' tall, and though she'll probably never be overly curvy, she's lost the childlike look she once had. Her features are regular if not actually striking, except for her eyes: palest blue, nearly white, they shine in stark contrast to the smooth, even tan that seems never to leave her skin no matter what time of Turn it happens to be.
A lightweight cotton shirt, crisp and cool, is tucked neatly into a pair of tan trousers - sleeveless, with a softly scooping neckline, dyed a soft, robin's-egg blue. The trousers, amazingly, actually seem to have been made to fit her, tailored flatteringly to waist and hips, following the lines of her legs and hemmed neatly just below her knees. On her feet she wears a pair of knotted wherhide sandals. Perched on Linora's shoulder is Mellow. Fury clings tightly to Linora's shoulder, whirling eyes regarding his surroundings with interest.
Red and silver intertwine in a single loop at her shoulder, the small red tail denoting her status as StarCraft Senior Apprentice.
Linora is 16 Turns, 10 months, and 4 days old.
Linora is making her way back to the Hall from the field, looking more than a little tired, but her face lights up when she sees Cress wave, and she half-skips across the courtyard to greet him. Reaching his side, her smile softens. "Mornin'," she says quietly, settling on the wall close beside him, obviously comfortable with the proximity and happy to be there. "Pretty sunrise, huh?"
Standing at only 5'5 this young man's size is not impressive. His blond hair, which has resently been cut short at the back and the front, is the color of wheat, has bleached strands, and he has a light tan from the sun, even if he doesn't spend many hours outside. Narrow gray eyes are framed by light-colored lashes and brows, and his cheekbones are angular as is his chin. His muscles are hardened, from long hours of hard work, done in his previous life as a trader. A scar runs along the right side of his neck and his most obvious feature is a missing inch of his right little finger.
A shortsleeved lightgray tunic covers his upper body with a black drawstring looped through holes at the v-neck to close it up on chilly nights. Light cotton trousers, the color of an early morning sky cover his legs, while on his feet sandals are secured with leather bands, tightened in metal buckles. Cress' Pack hangs heavily from Cress's shoulder.
A knot of intertwined, double corded red and silver, looped once and left with a small tail, shows that he is a Senior Apprentice to the StarCraft.
Cress is 20 Turns, 2 months, and 17 days old.
Cress nods, still smiling though it doesn't quite reach his eyes. "Sure is...." he mumbles, his gaze turning from Marly to Linora. "Been stargazing again?"
"Yup." If Linora notices anything unusual about Cress' expression, she doesn't mention it, drawing one foot up onto the wall and settling back against him with a contented little sigh. "Sorry ya missed it... it was a perfect night for it. Totally clear, an' not too cold at all." Not just avoiding the issue, but apparently oblivious to the fact that there might still be an issue.
Cress puts one arm around Lin's shoulder, giving the top of her head a kiss, smelling her hair at the same time. He did like the smell of her hair. "Spring's over," he mumbles, wondering how else to get the point across. How to say that it would soon be time to leave. "Winter'll be here in no time...." That would do it, wouldn't it?
Linora smiles softly. "Yeah... I love summer." Then it starts to sink in. Oh. She stiffens slightly and chews on her lip. "Yeah... "
Cress swallows hard, closing his eyelids momentarily. "Yeah...." he repeats, cutting off the rest of the sentence to pause, thinking over his next words. "Can't wait much longer," he finally mumbles, trying to catch her eye.
Linora's looking at the ground now. "You really don't wanna stay." It's not a question, really, and her voice is very quiet. She shifts, just a bit, without quite leaving his arm behind. "I... um... " She looks up at him now, for once just a little uncomfortable at being caught by his eyes, and words fail her.
"Oh," Cress mumbles, guessing what it is she doesn't say. Glancing out across the courtyard, he spots Marly, with a small avian in her mouth. Hopefully not someone's firelizard. Looking back at Linora, he just nods, lost for words at the moment, though he'd always told her that she should stay at the Hall.
Linora drops her gaze to the ground again. "If we'da just left then... 'fore I had a chance t'think about it..." The explanation sounds lame even to her, but she knows in her heart it's true.
Cress nods slowly, swallowing a large lump in his throat. "I know. But..." he cuts himself off again, before saying 'you'd prolly not be happy out there, anyway.' Instead he continues, "I know you like it here."
Linora manages a little smile, but it fades at his expression. "I know I could be happy with you," she whispers, "but it's more'n just that I like it here. When I thought... " She colors slightly, but presses on. "Havin' t'tell the healer I was sixteen... " she shrugs. A lot of things were uncomfortable about that day, after all. "An' ... other stuff... I just felt kinda .... young. Well, young for that." She really hopes she won't have to spell it out. She does love Cress but he can be infuriatingly dense sometimes.
Not so dense today. Cress knows what she's talking about, and was probably thinking the same thing. "I'll be back to visit," he mumbles, giving her shoulder a squeeze, then removing his arm to wring his hands together. "You'll make a fine starcrafter," he says, just to say /something/!
Linora puts her hands over his, squeezing them to stop the wringing and looking for his eyes. "I know you'll be happier on the road," she says quietly, wishing she could see more clearly. She blinks, but it doesn't seem to help. "It's mostly all you ever talked about." Mostly. "I just... " she lets out all her breath in a long sigh. "I'm gonna miss you." She can't even blame him... it had been her choice to stay or go with him. She doesn't even bother to brush the tear off her cheek, although she can feel it making its slow way down her face.
Cress bites his lower lip, nodding. At the same time wondering why he'd ever wanted to settle down in a craft. But then he would have never met Linora, would he? "I'll miss you too...." Then turns his head, to give her a kiss, though he can't help wondering how to tell her that he'd be leaving very soon.
Linora returns his kiss, finding herself caught a bit off guard by the surge of emotion that accompanies it. Whenever Cress leaves will be too soon, as far as she's concerned, but her mind is fully on the present just at the moment.
Cress pulls back, hanging his head, then jumps off the wall, turning to face her. "I should start getting my stuff together," he mumbles, not feeling the courage to look her in the eyes. Not feeling the courage to say the words 'I'm leaving.'
Linora chews her lip as Cress draws away from her. Not just literally, but figuratively. And permanently. She swallows hard and nods once. "Willya take Spray with you? I know he likes ya." And maybe she wouldn't feel like he was so far away? She picks at the strap of her sandal, not ready to meet his eyes either. "He started fishin' and stuff, so he won't be much trouble."
The look on Cress' face is one of confusion. "Take Spray with me? But, but... He's impressed to you," he says, looking around for the blue. Wondering if he should leave 'Mute here with her.
Linora glances up to see the confused look on Cress' face and smiles a little. "Sure he is." She shrugs. "He can come back anytime. If ya'd rather not, that's okay... I just thought ifya wanted t'write or anything, it'd be easier." Faranth knew her brother had never felt compelled to send her a note, but she can hope it'll be different this time?
Cress nods slowly, thinking that 'Mute could carry a note as easy as Spray, but doesn't say anything. "If y'd feel better, I'll bring 'im along," he whispers, looking back up at her, attempting a smile. "And 'Mute could stay here with you..."
Linora looks up at Cress with shining eyes. "D'you think he would?" She loves her firelizards, after all, but 'Mute has always been special to her. "It'd almost be like you weren't so far away," she whispers. "On accounta he could find you anyplace." No matter where on Pern his travels took him.
Wintermute blinks in from ::between::!
Wintermute swoops down to land next to Linora on the wall, hopping a little closer, while chirping. Cress nods, seeing his lizard drop in at the right moment. "I'm sure he will," he says, looking back up at Lin, a crooked smile on his face.
Linora reaches over to give 'Mute a nice scritch, her eyes soft. Of course, you can't hug a firelizard, but... She looks back over at Cress and swallows the lump in her throat. "Please be careful," she whispers. Her brain knows that Cress can handle himself outside a Hold when there's Threadfall, but her gut still has a little problem with the idea.
Cress nods slowly, taking a step or two back. "I will," he mumbles, eyes darting here and there as to avoid Linora's. Wondering if he should give her something as a parting gift. Like she'd given him. He just couldn't think of anything he could give her.
Cress opens Cress' Pack.
Linora looks back at the ground, one hand still idly caressing Wintermute. There's only one thing left to say now, and she just doesn't want to say 'goodbye'.
Cress drops his pack on the ground, rummaging through it, coming out with a piece of hide. Standing back up he holds it out to her, "I don't s'pose I need this anymore," he mumbles, looking from her to 'Mute and back again.
Cress hands you Cress's Constellation Scroll.
Cress closes Cress' Pack.
Linora takes the scroll and looks down it for a very long time, remembering. The night at the lake when Cress first told her the story. All the long hours he spent working on it. How worried she'd been that she'd never be able to make one of her own. When she looks up again, her eyes are filled with tears. "I s'pose not," she manages to whisper.
Cress knows that time is running out, and he should get going now, before changing his mind yet again. Only he can't get his feet to move, even though he constiously tells them to. "I-I better get going while there's plenty of light left.... Y'know t' get t' Ista Hold.." That be the place to get a boat to the mainland, right?
Linora nods slowly, sniffling just a bit. Yeah, there'd be docks at Ista. She tucks the scroll into her pack and gets to her feet to reach for his hand. "There oughtta be a wagonmaster at Gar," she says quietly, clearing her throat a bit as she tries to get a handle on her emotions.
Cress nods, hefting his pack onto his shoulder. He had remembered to pack everything hadn't he? Calling to Marly, he watches the canine come loping straight for him and Linora, coming to a halt as she reaches them. He looks at Lin once more, pain showing in his eyes, as he reaches out to squeeze her hand.
Cress calls to Spray, who flies over and lands on his shoulder.
Dixie blinks in from ::between::!
Idoru blinks in from ::between::!
Cress calls to Dixie, who flies over and lands on his shoulder.
Cress calls to Idoru, who flies over and lands on his shoulder.
Linora returns the squeeze, shutting her eyes momentarily so she won't have to deal with Cress' pain on top of her own. Then she puts on a brave face, even managing a little smile. "I'll come with ya... as far as I can." She colors lightly, remembering the promise she broke, hoping he won't notice.
"Yeah...." Cress says, starting toward the hold, not letting go of her hand, Marly following close behind. The canine seemed too loyal to have been left behind by someone for him to find. Something he couldn't quite understand, but didn't mind. A canine wasn't a bad thing to have around out there on the road.
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 summer midmorning. The sun is high over the ocean to the east, and a good breeze blows in off of the waves. A line of clouds seems to be brewing off the eastern horizon.
You see a wagonmaster and Rocking Chair here.
Cress moves slowly in from the Hold Field.
Linora is led in by Cress.
Marly pads softly in from the Hold Field.
A simple fellow, dressed rather plainly and seeming a bit dusty from working around the wagons all day. You could ask him to hail you a wagon, but be sure to speak up so he hears you.
The wagonmaster sends off a firelizard to hail the nearest wagon.
A dusty wagon rolls up along the road. The driver pulls on the reins and the wagon stops.
Cress says, "hail wagon"
Linora swallows hard as the wagon rumbles up, and reluctantly releases Cress' hand. "Bye," she whispers, stretching up to give him one last kiss.
Cress closes his eyes as he leans down to return Linora's kiss, opening them as he pulls back. "I'll see you again," he says, refusing to say goodbye, then lifts Marly into the wagon, following close behind her.
Cress hops in the back of Istan Wagon One.
Marly hops in the back of Istan Wagon One.
The wagon driver shakes the reins and clucks to the runners, and the wagon rolls off down the road.
Wintermute blinks in from ::between::!
For a moment, Linora looks like she might hop into the wagon herself, but she doesn't... instead standing alone in the courtyard with her arms wrapped tightly around herself as the wagon rumbles off in a cloud of dust. She watches until the wagon is long gone and the dust has settled... then sighs and turns to go back to the Hall.