A Story And A Haircut

The Vault

Cress is comfortably placed in a chair, cuddling two lizards, while his third is observing from his perch under the ceiling. Looking up, he sees Linora come in, "Hiya Lin. Sleep well," he says, his eyes gleaming as he's happy to see her.

Linora looks sleepy indeed, but she brightens at the sound of Cress's voice, turning a broad smile in his direction. "Hey, Cress... yeah, I guess so." She flops in a comfy chair and turns her focus on the lucky lizards getting the cuddle. "Whatcha been up to?" Finding his eyes with a grin.

Cress shrugs, unable to keep the smile off his face, "not much, really. I've finished my project, but I can't find Riina..." Each of his hands are occopied by scratching lizards. One is getting a bellyrub and the other is being scratched on the eyeridges. "How 'bout you, Lin? Done anything interesting since we saw each other last?"

Linora's smile turns a little mischievous. "Maybe." Like she could keep from telling him anything. Her eyes are twinkling.

Cress catches that look in her eyes, telling him that she indeed have experienced something. "What? C'mon, don't keep me in suspence," he says, rearranging the lizards in his lap, since talons are digging into his thighs.

"Well..." Linora sits up a bit, arranging herself a bit less haphazardly, fixing her eyes on his to see a reaction. "'member that brown dragon we met, in the courtyard?"

Cress nods, smiling, "yeah, he was there again?" he asks, thinking that he'd like to meet that dragon - or any dragon - again. "Did'ya get to touch him again?"

Linora's grin widens. "Ya might say that. I got ta /ride/ him."

Cress drops his jaw, not quite sure he heard her right. "Ride...?" His eyes betray him and shines with disbelief, not that he doesn't believe Linora, just that he couldn't imagine - in his wildest dreams - a ride on a dragon.

Linora nods, giggling to see Cress with his jaw hanging for a change, not her. "Yeah. I met his rider, Ali... she brought him... or maybe it was /his/ idea, I dunno... to Crystal Lake for a swim." She draws her knees up and hugs them, her eyes shining with remembered excitement. "She's really nice.... she useta live here at the hall, 'fore she Impressed, and she's back here a lot. Ta visit and stuff." A little shrug, still grinning. "We got talking and... " She breaks off, still not quite able to believe it herself. "His name's Uillauth."

Looking Linora in the eye, Cress can tell that she's not lying - actually he thinks she's incapable of lying - and a smile forms on his face. "Uillauth," he repeats, trying the name on his tongue. "Wow... When did it happen? Where did you go? Did'ya just go up, or did ya go between?" Suddenly the words come tumbling out of his mouth, amazed that he now /knows/ somebody, who's been on a dragon.

Delighted that Cress is sharing her excitement, Linora wastes no time giving him all the information he asks for. "Yesterday, just before dawn. Only it was light out by the time Uillauth dried off enough ta go Between." Her eyes are dancing. "We saw alla Gar from the sky -- it's so pretty! -- and Ista Hold, and the Weyr... an' I even saw /snow/."

Cress' smile widens at the mention of snow. But his attention is soon returned to the fact that she'd been on a dragon, and had gone between, "what's it like? To go between?" He's now leaned forward towards her, his full attention directed to her tale, and has completely forgotten his chittering lizards in his lap.

Linora's brow furrows a bit and she chews her lip. How to describe it? "It's like... nothing," she tries. "I mean, I knew Ali was right there..." she'd been clutching the dragonrider tightly enough when they made the jump, but maybe she'll just leave that part out... "But I couldn't feel anything. Or see anything. And then... just blinking out, someplace else... someplace I never seen before..." she just shakes her head. It's quite beyond her, really.

Cress blinks. Then blinks again. Probably he'd have to experience it himself, although he didn't think that'd ever happen. He doesn't quite know what to say, so he returns to the subject of snow. "What did'ya think of snow then? It's beautiful, right." More a statement than a question. "I dream about it sometimes..."

Linora's smile returns, her eyes kinda soft at the thought of Cress dreaming. "Yeah... not what I thought, though. I almost got blinded by the sun reflecting off it... " A wider grin, remembering the shock of the brightness after the blackblack of Between. "An' it was so /cold/! Ali let me borrow a cloak, and gloves, but..." a shrug to indicate her current clothes; growing up in Ista, she /wouldn't/ have anything any warmer to wear.

Honey-blond hair, straight and shiny, falls just past her waist, although she generally wears it in a single thick braid down her back. Linora is petite, just a bit over 5' tall, curves just beginning to grace her slender form. Her once-bronze skin has faded to a lighter tan as her studies keep her away from the sun most days, although her serious eyes still appear startlingly light, a pale enough blue to almost be considered white.
She wears a simple cotton blouse, sleeveless, the tails tied in a knot at her waist, and a pair of loosely fitted tan trousers rolled up to just below her knees. A pair of knotted wherhide sandals protects her feet. Perched on Linora's shoulder is Spray.
She wears the knot of a StarCraft Apprentice.
Linora is 15 Turns, 6 months, and 24 days old.

Cress nods, grinning. "I love it though," he says, meaning the snow of course. He draws his hand through his hair to get it out of his eyes, and behind the ears. He still couldn't quite fathom that she'd been on a dragon, and he wishes he'd been right along with her, even if he's not jealous of her. Shaking his head, so his hair falls over his eyes again, he says, "must've been an amazing experience..."

Linora nods earnestly. "It really was." Another smile, fixing glittering eyes on Cress, wishing his hair wasn't covering his eyes so much. "An' the best part is, she promised ta take me to Star Stones some night. I bet if I ask her, you could go with us." If she can find him.

Cress drops his jaw again, totally surprised that she'd ask a rider to take him with them on a dragon. "Y-you think?" he manages to say, having forgotten about his hair again. He just stares her in the eyes, actually remembering to blink every once in a while.

Linora beams. "Sure. She /said/ she wants ta come back here more. She even took a bunch of appies to the 'stones yesterday afternoon for a class." Yes, she'd looked for Cress then, too. "She's really nice. And Uillauth already knows ya and stuff. So why not?"

Cress nods slowly, not quite believing her. "I'd really like that," he says, whispering, hoping that it would come true. "Ouw!" He suddenly straightens up and looks down at the two lizards in his lap. "She dug her talons into my lap," he explains to Linora, as the magic moment is broken by the green lizard. He rubs the sore spot and moves the two lizards to the armrest. "Don't do that again!"

"Aw." Linora's trying to be sympathetic, but she's right on the edge of giggling. "Least she's not disappearing on ya," she tries.

Cress smiles, "no, I s'pose that's a good thing," he says, tugging his hair back behind his ears again. "I guess she only does that when she's hungry.."

Linora nods. So that's where she's been going... makes sense. Her eyes involuntarily following the movement of Cress's hand... likes to watch his hands, she does... and fixing on his hair. She tilts her head appraisingly. Nope, doesn't like it. Covers his eyes too much. Should she state the obvious? A little grin comes to her face. "You could use a haircut, Cress."

Cress' eyes moves up, trying to look at his hair. "A haircut?" he repeats, giving her his halfsmile. "I s'pose so. I guess I've forgotten to do it lately.... Come to think of it, I haven't cut it since I came here." He takes a strand between his fingers and looks at it, "guess it has gotten a little long?"

Linora giggles. "A little. I'm s'prised you can /see/." She gets up and walks over to him for a closer look, unabashedly taking a bit in her own hand as she looks down at him. And giggles again. "Any longer, and you'd need ta tie it back. I think Tai's got some scissors..." Hands go to her hips. "Want me ta check?"

Cress nods, still giving her that halfsmile, "sure.. Why not? You know how to cut hair? At least it'll be easier than doing it myself," he says, which is exactly what he used to do. He looks up at her as she examines his hair, grinning at the pose she takes looking at his hair.

Linora shrugs, what's to know? "Sure." A grin, then, "I'll be right back."

You go to the Female Apprentice Quarters.

Linora returns, scissors in hand, and walks back over to Cress. "I think it's easier ifya wet it first," she says thoughtfully, belatedly remembering to turn the scissors blade-inward.

Cress nods, "I guess so," he says, thinking that that might have been what he's been doing wrong when he'd been cutting his hair himself. "Maybe we should go to the lake, then we won't have to sweep up the hair afterwards," he says with a teasing look in his eyes.

Linora grins widely. She doesn't want to have to sweep any more than he does. "Okay. Let's go then." Maybe she'll get a swim out of it as well.

Cress gets out of his chair, remembering to pick up the two lizards on the armrest. "Lets go then," he says and moves to the exit.

A soft roar sounds from crystalline water tumbling over rocks at the far side of the circular lake. Tiny fish, few in number, dart about beneath the mirror-like surface, jumping in and out of the frothy waves at the bottom of the fall. Large rocks, worn smooth by swimmers using them as jumping ledges, bracket the cooling waterfall, but taper into soft sand. To the left of the tumbling water, a few metres past the rocks, a jungle garden begins to grow with brightly coloured flowers, shading trees, and soft, lush grass. But it all halts abruptly to make room for a small stone building, the bathhouse.
It is a spring midmorning.

Cress moves to the edge of the lake and kneels down to put his head under the water. Coming up his hair is wet and he looks at Linora "I'm ready," he says, his eyes shining with a humourous light.

Linora chuckles at Cress and his dripping head, quickly catching up to him. She carefully lays the scissors on the ground and puts both hands on his shoulders to push him from a kneeling position to a sitting one, the better for her to reach. Then she fishes a comb out of the deep pocket of her trousers and kneels on the ground behind him, carefully combing through his hair, studying it carefully and deciding how to proceed.

Cress cranes his neck back to look up at Linora, hoping - no knowing - that she'll do a better job at it than he could himself. "Short, okay," he says, his eyes showing complete trust in her skills with scissors.

Linora catches that trusting look and smiles. "Short," she repeats. And looks at the scissors on the shore. And back at Cress. And takes both her hands to turn his face straight ahead again. And picks up the scissors. Yeah, she can do this.

Cress stares straight ahead. He hasn't gotten a haircut be anyone else since he was a child. He'd been cutting his own hair since he was twelve. "Don't cut my ears, okay?"

Linora giggles. Cut his ears. Like she'd ever hurt Cress. "Don't worry," she says confidently. So she never did it before. How hard can it be?

Cress relaxes his muscles, one by one, and closes his eyes, enjoying her hands in his hair, even if she's armed with scissors.

Linora relaxes too when she feels Cress start to relax. Carefully taking a chunk of hair just behind his right ear between two fingers, she carefully snips along her fingers, hiding her relief as chunks of blond hair flutter to the ground leaving both her fingers and Cress's ear unscathed. Yeah. This is easy. Much emboldened, she works her way across the back of his head in the same manner, until his whole neck is visible again. Then she backs off a bit to take a look and comb through it. "So far so good," she says, half to herself.

Cress looks back at her over his shoulder, "feels good to get air to the back of my neck again," he says, grinning. And it does, especially down here in the south where it's so hot.

Linora giggles and faces Cress forward again. "Hold /still/." Not that she actually had the scissors in her hand at that moment, but... "I'm gonna do the front now, so it's not hanging in your eyes anymore." She gets to her feet and moves around to face him, sitting on her heels to put herself at his eye level. And reaches for the scissors again.

"That'll be nice," Cress says. "I won't have to brush it away all the time..."

Linora hesitates just a moment, deciding the best way to approach this. Finally she runs her fingers straight back from his forehead, lifting a bit so chunks of hair are held between her fingers. And carefully cuts across the top of her hand. Continuing in this manner, she soon has the front of his hair short... and basically pretty even, too. Setting the scissors down, she reaches for the comb again.

Cress looks up at her, and tries to catch her eyes, now that his own are clear. "You're doing great," he says. "I used to just cut it with a knife."

Linora giggles. "A knife?!" And she was worried. "Well, it looks real nice now," she muses, going over it with the comb to see if she missed anything.

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.
His legs are covered by coal-coloured trousers, which are well worn and patched in many placed. A broad leather belt keeps the trousers from falling down around his ankles. A darkgreen shirt covers his upper body, also showing signs of beeing old, having rips along a number of seams. His dark boots, which come up to the ankles, are scuffed but are well-polished with a shine. Perched on Cress's shoulder is Dixie. Cress' Pack hangs heavily from Cress's shoulder. Perched on Cress's shoulder is Idoru.
Red and silver in a double cord and single loop appoints him as apprentice to the Star Craft.
Cress is 18 Turns, 11 months, and 10 days old.

Cress runs his fingers through his hair, loosening strands of hair that hasn't been quite cut over. "Feels great, Lin," he say, getting up on his knees, trying to see his reflection in the water, then shrugs as he can't decern anything in the lake. "I'm sure it looks great too." He looks up at her and beams a broad smile at her.

Linora grins. "Well, ifya want more cut off, after ya see it, just find me, okay?" She can always cut more. That's easy. Harder to put it /back/ ifya cut too much, she's thinking. The comb and the scissors disappear into a deep pocket, and she sticks out a hand to help him to his feet.

Cress grins and takes her hands and gets to his feet. "Thank a lot," he says and gives her a hug. "I'm sure it's better than what I did, when I was on the road."

Linora would have done a lot more than just cut Cress's hair to find herself in his arms. But she doesn't say that. Instead she gives him a squeeze and says, "I /hope/ so." Trying to imagine how she could've done worse than Cress cutting at his own hair with a knife. Then steps back to grin up at him. "/I/ like it, anyhow." As if that should be enough.

It /is/ enough, because Cress gives her a big smile, which reaches his eyes. "Then I'm sure I'll like it too."

Linora basks in his smile for a long moment, her eyes shining. "So now ya can see and stuff." A grin. "Wanna go see what's for lunch?"

Cress tilts his head, then shakes it, to test that hair doesn't get in his eyes. "Yeah, it doesn't get in my eyes anymore," he say, ruffeling his fingers through the hair to settle it. "Lunch sounds great."

Linora giggles, watching Cress get used to the new haircut. "C'mon, then." She backs up the shore, holding a hand out to him.

Cress takes the offered hand, and squeezes it, "I hope they have something good on the menu," he says, meaning - of course - something sweet.