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.
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. Fury clings tightly to Linora's shoulder, whirling eyes regarding his surroundings with interest. Spray is curled lazily on Linora's shoulder, tail wrapped around her neck, apparently dozing as usual.
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, 6 months, and 25 days old.
Linora is stretched out on the lakeshore with her fingers laced behind her head and her eyes closed, enjoying the sounds of the lake and the feeling of the sun on her face.
Silence. No ringing bugle or triumphant call mark the arrival of Imbriath. Not today. Her wings are stretched wide though and the sun casts long shadows towards the ground as she races 'gainst the rays. Spiraling downwards-- ever downward.
Linora feels rather than sees the shadow that blocks out Rukbat's warming rays... a passing cloud, perhaps? A light frown creases her forehead as the shadow passes... much too quickly for a cloud, but it's a drowsy afternoon and Lin's got things on her mind.
And Lin's about to have more things on her mind. Imbriath finally lands with a soft thump, crouching down slowly and allowing her mute rider to dismount. Girl nods towards the green, who moves away and stretches out, gathering the warmth of the air and sun. Hyzen, smiling just the faintest bit, slowly walks towards the form of Linora.
Hyzen, glancing towards the ground far below, slips down the smooth hide of Imbriath and towards the ground with help of lifted paw.
A light breeze? Linora's certainly not expecting dragonwings. And she hardly hears Imbriath's light landing over the sounds of air and water all around her. But approaching footsteps, soft on the springy grass, do reach her ears. For a moment, her heart leaps... but that's not the step she hoped to hear. Another light frown creases her brow, but her eyes remain closed. Whose step is it?
Hyzen's smile is still there, though still very faint as she pauses to strip off her riding jacket. Placing it over her arm, she lays her head back and closes her eyes-- enjoying the warmth after the springy chill of High Reaches. "It is lovely here." Softly said, but loud enough to reach the ears of the other as she drops her head back to level and reopens her bright eyes. Waiting. It's all about waiting. Imbriath lounges fully on her side, a soft hum coming from her as if the sun was stroking up the tune.
Blink. Linora's eyes open abruptly at the familiar voice, rolling back to spy the upside-down form of... Hyzen?! Blink. She sits up, righting the image as the blood rushes from her head, momentarily too stunned to speak or to move further... just staring up at the rider with big eyes.
Hyzen makes no move other than inclining her head towards her... friend. Still friends, right? Even after that horrific experiance she put Linora through. "How are you doing, Linora?" There's no sultry innuendos in her voice nor any coy lilt of her hips. She's the girl Lin was used to before becoming proddy-- the innocent child-rider.
"Uh...o-okay." Confusion is apparent on Linora's open face. After all, the innuendo of Hyzen's last visit had been lost upon her until it was much too late. Now she doesn't know /what/ to think. "I... um... " She draws her knees up to her chest and hugs them, pale eyes flickering around the area... looking for an escape route, perhaps? "I'm fine. H-how're you?"
Hyzen's smile falters at the tone of confusion and uncertainty-- and the stammering. Next time, she's going to have to have someone keep her Weyr-bound it seems. Sighing, she twiddles with the badges and whatnot on her jacket, glancing towards the water then to her dragon-- thinking. Finally she turns her eyes back to Linora. "I'm glad to hear you're well. I'm pretty good myself." Nodding, she moves forward and towards the other, slow as if approaching a hurt runner.
Linora blinks slowly. Hyzen seems... normal. But after last time, she's not sure she trusts her own judgment. "That's... um... good." She doesn't back away, but big eyes watch Hyzen closely as the other approaches. "You're not... um..." She glances over at Imbriath, who looks just the way she usually looks. Not particularly ... glowy, or anything.
Hyzen is normal... in pretty much any state when compared to any other greenrider. But to a crafter who wasn't used to such things... finally she drops down onto the grass and lays her jacket to one side. Noting the words and glance, she laughs softly before shaking her auburn-tressed head. "No, she's not proddy anymore and neither am I. I came to... apologize." Imbriath grunts from her resting spot, shifting her bulk around until she finds another comfortable place.
Linora manages a little halfsmile, relief apparent in her eyes. "Ohhh...." She quickly finds something interesting to look at in the grass, not knowing what to say. The obvious words that come to mind - it's okay - don't seem... quite right somehow. She does release the stranglehold on her knees, relaxing enough to stretch her legs out in front of her... picking at the grass. After a long moment she peeks up at Hyzen shyly. "Cress thought it was funny when I told him... I dunno why." She really doesn't. But it /had/ made her feel better. And Hyzen coming all this way to apologize made her feel better still.
And 'it's okay' isn't right. Hyzen should have better control, but she's learned that if she fits the feelings, it gets rather depressing. And it lets out some of her deepest emotions. Being Impressed sometimes isn't all it's cracked up to be. "Cress did? But you didn't." Wavering smile is given before she leans back on the palms of her hands. "Next time I'll be more careful about where I go. I'll make it a point to keep away from here." Large eyes come back down to study Linora. "I promise. I hate hurting my friends... but sometimes I get carried away."
Linora hadn't thought it was funny at all. She'd been scared senseless, far away from home and surrounded by insanity. "Thanks," she says quietly, her eyes thoughtful. She's heard of passions dragon-roused, in passing... but can't really fathom it. She looks at Imbriath again, more carefully this time, as if she might be able to see something that would explain it to her. Then she shrugs. Of course not. Prolly even riders couldn't explain it in words she could understand.
Imbriath is being looked at? Languidly her head comes up and turns, two lids covering the shimmering brilliance of her eyes. A deep grumble is offered Linora before the head goes back to flattening the grass beneath. Hyzen giggles softly, twinging her fingers through the long stems of grass. "You're welcome." She won't repeat Imbriath's comments-- thankfully. "How've you been otherwise? You and Cress...?" she trails off with the question, eyes dancing mischieviously.
Linora only blushes a little, trying hard not to look too guilty and failing utterly. Her open face always gives her away. "Okay," she says quietly. "He's... um... gonna be leaving, and stuff." Stumbling over words she hasn't told anyone else yet, and not quite ready to give words to the notion that she has of leaving herself. Maybe part of her just doesn't quite believe it?
Hyzen gives a soft exclaimation, laughter ringing her her young voice. "I knew it! I knew something was going on between you two!" Beaming, she settles down and winks towards the other. And then the frown appears, creasing her lips and puckering on her brow. "But why? Is he a journeyman already?"
Linora shakes her head, dropping her gaze to the grass. "Naw. He can't wait." She chews on her lip. "He's a traveler, y'know." Of course, Hyzen wouldn't. "Don't like t'stay in one place too long." Up come the knees again, and she hugs them tightly, sighing lightly. She just can't understand how Cress can be so miserable, in a place where she's always been so happy. "So... prolly as soon as the roads are clear up north..." Her voice trails off; she knows that day is coming soon.
Hyzen's frown deepens for the other's words... and is there pain too? Leaning forward, she folds her arms in her lap and studies her friend carefully. "Have you told him how you feel?" she asks softly, eyes soft. Imbri snuffles in her sleep, tail twitching and wings rustling faintly against her side, affected by the gentle worry of her 'rider.
Linora nods earnestly, her eyes distant. "He says he can't help it." She shrugs, again, not fully understanding. She hugs her knees tighter, resting her chin on them. "So I tol' him I'd go with him." From the look on her face - doubt mixed with fear, bravely if not wholly successfully hidden behind resolution - she's not sure there was a right decision to make.
Hyzen huffs softly as she plucks a blade of grass and studies it. "Does he have the same feelings?" Still soft as she doesn't want to hurt Linora's feelings. "Y'know, if he settles again and you don't go with him, I'd be happy to play transport when I'm not doing Threadfall or anything like that. I wouldn't mind." Twinkling eyes lift from the grass to Linora. "Give me a chance to get out and about too, considering where he stops."
Linora tilts her head, not quite following Hyzen's question. "He said he'd like it, if I came." Of course, not until she'd asked him outright. She looks even more doubtful now. "An'... I don't think he's gonna settle." Wondering again if sleeping under the stars... unprotected by stone... would be as scary as she thinks it would be. Blink. She looks at Hyzen again, almost not believing the offer. "You'd... do that? For me?" Then he wouldn't seem so far away. Only... three heartbeats, right?
Hyzen flicks the blade of grass away, eyeing Linora for a long time. "He has a firelizard right? And you do to?" Nodding slightly, she glances once again to her sleeping dragon before giggling lowly. "No, I wouldn't mind. Even if he doesn't settle, I know a great deal of Pern's land... and as long as he has a firelizard that can help in envisioning it, I can take you practically anywhere you want to go. Just as long," and here she wags a finger, "It's not during Threadfall or my duties as a 'rider. Folk seem to think we don't have anything better to do than to transfer them all over the place. Though I know you won't do that." Beaming, child-rider leans back and waits.
Linora nods solemnly. "Course not," she says softly, quick to reassure Hyzen that she'd never abuse the privilege... even as she's silently amazed at being granted it. "He's got... three," she adds slowly. "An' I got two now." Her voice trails off again as she considers this new twist to the situation, and she chews her lip thoughtfully. "Course, I'm not s'posed ta leave the Hall..." Nevermind that she's not supposed to be involved in a relationship... but since she's neither 'fasted nor pregnant, even Lin doesn't think she's broken that rule.
Hyzen smiles, having known the other wouldn't do such a thing. "All you need is one. One for me to come and one for me to find him." Bobbing her head like something on the water, she purses her lips in thought. "That too. Make sure you have permission first." A wink is given, knowing how the other is and that Hy's 'preaching' isn't really necessary.
Linora can't stifle a giggle, wondering how she could possibly convince her mentor - or any journeyman - that she's got a good, craft-related reason for popping off adragonback to visit Cress... when a part of her realizes that would be an easier task than explaining to her parents why she'd consider leaving her craft and running off with a trader when she hadn't yet turned 17... a thought which sobers her quickly. She nods slowly. "Thanks." Again. Now she's got even more to think about. But she's not going to do that now. Turning to look at Imbriath, she smiles brightly. "How 'bout a nice scrub, 'fore ya go back?" That'll make everything okay, right?
Fade To Black...