Back To The Beginning.

Koi Pond

Rathan walks in from the StarCraft Field.

Linora is stretched out on the shore on a worn blanket, her fingers laced behind her neck, watching the sun set. Still in her swimsuit, she's obviously been swimming recently from the beads of water clinging to her skin, and her dripping hair slicked back from her face. Her pack is lying rather carelessly beside her, a couple of hides visible under the open flap, but they're not getting much of her attention just at the moment..

Rathan comes sneaking down the path as usual. Actually you can't even call it that since he's not using the path, instead prefering to walk amongst the trees. It's safer that way. Finally reaching the bottom, he pulls his towel off his shoulder, all ready to swim. But wait! Not quite, for it's another person and that's a bad thing. He relaxes though as he see Linora, the girl he met before. Walking down the shore, he sits down nearby. "Umm...hi." He practically whispers it, unsure as if she's busy or something.

Absorbed in whatever thoughts go through her head when she's thinking, Linora doesn't even notice the approaching footsteps, and in fact might not have noticed Rathan's entrance at all, if he hadn't spoken. Even a whisper carries, over the quiet sounds of the water and the trees. Blink, she looks over at him, a smile lighting her pale eyes. "Hey," she greets, pleasantly enough. Busy? Yeah, right. She doesn't even bother to sit up. "Late f'ra swim, ain't it?" she observes, noticing that he's dressed for it. Gets a lot cooler once the sun goes down. She's just thinking she'll have to get dressed soon, probably..

Rathan blinks a couple of times as if just comming out of a dream. "Late..." He looks around noticing the setting sun and comming of dusk. "Yeah, I guess you're right." But he says it as if he doesn't believe. One can swim in any type of weather, just ask him. But he's just content to sit right here and look out across the water. It's not quite like looking out across the ocean, but here he doesn't have much choice. Just have to make due with what he has. "I'm sorry if I disturbed you. I didn't mean to."

Linora grins broadly, shaking her head slightly. "Nah." She sits herself up now, following his gaze across the water and into the trees beyond, then blinking a bit and looking back at him. "Am I? Right?" she teases, pale eyes twinkling. "Or are you just bein' nice?" Not that that's a bad thing, but he sure doesn't look convinced to /her/.

Rathan smiles as he watches whatever he sees across the water. "Well, it is getting a little late..." He turns to look at her, "But it still feels like swimming weather." ie it's not too cold for a dip in the water. "But that's just me. People say I'm strange." Really, now go try to figure out that one. He laughs softly, almost hesitently, "But I'm always nice."

Linora's teasing grin broadens into a full-blown smile. "Well, y'oughtta fit right in here," she informs him, remembering something she was told a full two turns ago. "Everybody knows Starries are strange." She turns her eyes back over the water, leaning back on her hands. "Helps if you're nice," she adds quietly. One hand comes up to brush her hair back from her face - as if it weren't still slicked back from the water. Reflex? She clears her throat and her smile returns. "Don't miss your swim on my account," she suggests. Maybe she'll even join him, who knows?

Then Rathan should just fit right in here. But if everyone's strange, doesn't that become normal? He shakes his head, clearing his thoughts. That's just too much thinking for right now. Instead, he continues to look, now his gaze moving to the water gently lapping up the shore. He gives a half shrug at her suggestion. Maybe it's not the swim really that he was looking for. Just the chance to be out of the hustle and bustle of the hall and off somewhere quiet.

Linora keeps looking out over the water, waiting for Rathan to say something. At length it becomes clear that he's not going to say anything at all, and she turns her head around to look at him.. looking at the shore. She opens her mouth as if to say something, then seems to reconsider, chewing thoughtfully on her lower lip. Maybe she shouldn't ask what he's thinking about. After a pause, she looks back up at the sky. "Pretty sunset," she remarks quietly. "Stars'll be out soon." A cool breeze comes up across the water, making little bumps stand up on her skin. She reaches for her towel, draping it across her shoulders and trying not to shiver. She can always get dressed..

Rathan blinks again as he looks up, watching the sunset. "It is pretty." And he can't wait for the stars. He nods, begining to smile again. "I like just laying on top of a hill somewhere and just looking at the sky, watching all the stars.... Just getting lost in them. They're always so pretty. And even though I know it's not true, every time I look, it seems like they've changed and I can see something different." Looking back over to her, he notices her shiver. He shakes his head slowly. That wet towel won't do. Taking his cloak off, he kneels and puts it around her shoulders, but still doesn't say anything. Probably doesn't know what to say, but he doesn't need it.

Linora smiles as she listens, her eyes far away. After all, why would she be at the StarCraft Hall if she didn't love looking at the stars herself? Thus absorbed, she's startled by the touch, the cloak folding around her shoulders. "Oh!" A whisper, a blush.. lowering her gaze briefly, she recovers a bit and pulls the cloak around herself with a grateful smile. "Thanks," she murmurs, peeking back over at him again and just as quickly looking away. She swallows and returns to the star subject. "There's lotsa great places t'look, around Gar," she says, hoping she sounds casual... but as she continues speaking, her voice evens out, caught up in the spell of the night sky. "At Crystal Lake, the stars reflect off the water. It's amazing..."

Rathan just nods in acknowledgement as he sits back down next to her. Pulling his knees up to his chest and wraping his arms around them, he lets his chin rest, looking much like a little kid as he just continues watching the gently laping water. "I'll have to take a look at some of them. I just love to lay out and watch." There's been some times that never even makes it home at night cause he's fallen asleep just watching the skies. "Thank you for introducing me to all these places." First the best places to swim, now the best places for stargazing. She's been really helpful to talk to. Well, that is once he started talking to her.

Linora blinks as his voice reminds her she's not alone with the stars, and smiles. "Sure," she says easily. "I 'member what it was like t'be new." And who it was that helped her. She chews on her lip, her eyes dropping out of focus as she stares into the water again. Pulling the cloak more tightly around herself, she hugs her knees as well.

Rathan nods. It is hard being new. So many things to learn and remember, and worst of all, so many new people. He turns to look at her as she falls silent, wondering at the sudden change. "Umm..I know it's none of my business...but are you ok?" His voice is just above a whisper as he looks from her to the ground and back and forth. Please don't yell at him, he's just trying to be helpful cause he's concerned.

Linora sighs a little, shaking her head to bring herself back to the present. One hand lifts to push the drying hair back from her face, and she gives him a small smile. "Yeah, I'm okay," she says quietly. Her eyes return of their own accord to the sky, her smile spreading as she notices the first bright stars becoming visible in the eastern sky. She takes a deep breath, and lets it out slowly, then nods, convincing herself at last, and lies back on the blanket for a better look at the sky. Nice clear night, not really that chilly at all..

Rathan continues to just watch for a second before looking away again. If she says she's alright then she must be. Rathan never pushes to get information, that's just not like him. Reaching over, he grabs his towel and shakes and brushes it off before rolling it up and sticking it under his head as he lays down. Ah, that's much better. With that, he just sighs and watching the stars pop out one by one. Shifting slightly, he crosses his legs at the ankles and one hand rests on his chest. Even without words, between the stars and the company, it's nice.

Linora isn't actually sure what 'all right' is, anymore, but she's had a lot of practice not discussing the things that trouble her.. being as she's the only apprentice she personally knows who takes craft rules seriously.. even if she can't always completely obey them. But her mind is fully occupied by the darkening sky now, forcing out less pleasant thoughts, and at length she wrests one arm from the heavy cloak to point at a particularly bright cluster of stars. "That," she informs Rathan definitively, "is a travelers' campfire." She grins. "You learn any constellations yet?"

Rathan is quickly brought back from whatever daydream world he was in by her words. Following where she's pointing, he thinks he's looking at what she's calling the travelers' campfire, but he's really not sure. Learned any constellations? Oh yeah, that is why he's here. His eyes close slightly and if he was sitting up he'd be hanging his head. "No," he whispers. "I haven't. Not that I don't want to.... I just haven't had the oppertunity yet.

Linora drops her head to one side to look closely at him, finding it hard to focus on his face in the rapidly gathering dusk. She manages a little half-shrug in a lying-down kind of way, and gives him a smile. "Don't worry," she whispers back, pale eyes twinkling. "They give ya a whole class on it. I knew some when I got here, but only on accounta my brother." She gives an emphatic little nod and turns her eyes back up to the sky, her tone more conversational now. "He's a SeaCrafter. They use the stars t'navigate."

Rathan sighs softly as he turns skyward again, watching the stars appear with more frequency as the light slowly diminishes. The mean mention of seacrafting causes him to give an inner shudder. That's almost what he was stuck doing, that or fishercraft. Hey, there are some people who love it, but it definatly wasn't for him. Besides, he could never do it. Seacrafters aren't supposed to get seasick. "That's neat. I've got nowhere to go but up, I came here knowing absolutly nothing about stars or starcrafting." Other than the fact that they're pretty to look at. "But I'll learn, slowly but surely I'll learn."

"Sure ya will." Linora nods again, her eyes glued to the stars spreading out above them. "An' y'got nothin' but time." She grins, dropping her head to the side again to fix sparkling eyes on him, even though he's not looking in her direction. "Classes, chores... You'll prolly spend a lotta time in the Archives, too." She did. She shifts a little bit, drawing the borrowed cloak more closely around herself against the rapidly cooling night air. She half thinks she really ought to sit up and get dressed again, but she doesn't quite feel like moving just at the moment. Anyhow, she's warm enough in the cloak. Mostly.

Isn't that the truth...nothing but time. He has no where to go, nothing to do except study and learn and do what he spends the majority of his time doing...absolutly nothing. He has no problem with chores because he's an apprentice and that's what's expected of him. The same thing with classes, that's what he's here for. "I went in there earlier, the Archives that is." More like stumbled in there after getting lost. Turning to look at her, he can just make out her smile when he notices her pulling the cloak tighter. Rolling over onto his side, he half sits up. "Are you ok?" Well now that's a dumb question, considering the fact that she looks cold.

Linora chews on her lower lip, half shrugging in a lying-down kind of way. "I'm a little chilly," she admits, glancing over at her pack and the rather rumpled pile of clothing beside it. She pushes up onto her elbows, then sits up herself, smiling a little sheepishly and reaching for her blouse. Swimsuit's basically dry now... just a little too much skin exposed. Not that her usual clothing - sleeveless blouse, knee-length trousers - affords much more protection. Dropping the cloak, she pulls her blouse over her head, disappearing inside it for a moment or two before her head emerges, and then absently fingercombing still-damp hair. "I don't care for the Archives much," she admits quietly, pausing in the getting-dressed maneuvers, one hand poised absently on her trousers as if she quite forgot what she was doing.

Rathan follows Lin's lead and sits up as well. Being the polite gentleman that he is, he at least doesn't openly gawk as she dresses, even if it is just over her swimsuit. And as for the swimsuit, he rather liked it, not that he would /ever/ tell her that. He shakes his head as he picks the cloak up, ready to offer it to her again if she wants it when she finishes. "I didn't really stick around that long." Nope, not long at all. It looked like a place where work goes on, too much work in his mind. "Why not?" At least at the time he stumbled in, it was completely dead.

Linora remembers her trousers as Rathan brushes by her to pick up his cloak, getting to her feet to step into them before sitting back down on her blanket again. Evidently still feeling the chill from her swim, she draws her knees up to her chest and hugs them, absently rubbing her bare arms to warm them a bit as she stares ahead of her at nothing in particular. "On accounta I can't breathe so good in there." All closed in, musty, and dust-covered. She gives a little shrug. "Some-a those hides are ancient." Like the ones her mentor had made her copy over, much to her dismay.

Moving closer, Rathan lays the cloak about her shoulders, smiling softly as he does so. Though in the darkness, it probably can't be seen, but it can be heard in his voice. "Here, keep need it." One hand proping him up from behind, the other resting on one knee that's pulled to his chest, he stares out across the water again. Though by this time, all he can do is listen to the water gently lapping on the rocks. He thought it was rather nice, as long as it stayed quiet like that. Would make a nice place to do absolutly nothing in, and hopefully not get caught.

Linora doesn't jump this time, as Rathan puts the cloak on her shoulders, turning her face towards him to give him a smile. "Thanks," she says quietly, hugging her knees more tightly and turning her eyes back to the stars. This is one of her favorite haunts, too. "Y'know, I think this is prolly the first time I ever been here at night," she remarks at last, her voice soft and thoughtful. "Looks different." Feels different, too, not being here alone. Again.

No response is given to her thanks, instead just a shake of the head that says 'no thanks necessary.' The shake quickly turns into a nod as he begins softly. "I've come here some nights...just to be alone. Just to have the oppertunity to sit and think..." This is the first time he's been here with anybody, or for that matter, the first time he's been comfortable sitting and talking to someone rather than running off somewhere by himself. Falling silent, his gaze turns a loose thread on the knee of his pants, and he begins to occupy himself with playing with it. Not that he's ignoring her, more like he's finding something to occupy his wandering mind.

Linora notices his fidgeting from the corner of her eye, and it distracts her enough to turn her head to watch his hands. Swallowing hard, she lowers her gaze, then looks out into the darkness over the water again, absently drawing the cloak more tightly around herself. "Yeah," she whispers, thinking about another pair of hands, and about just how much time she's spent sitting and thinking lately. "I prolly oughtta go," she mumbles, barely audible, but she makes no move to leave.

Rathan turns back to her, this time moving his whole body to face her. Moving closer so that he can actually see her, he catches her eyes with his. "Linora...." Ok, so maybe that's a touch of concern in his voice. It's just so unusual for him to be worried about anyone else, not that he's selfish or anything. "Something's wrong..." That much is apparent in both voice and action. "Tell me, maybe I can help." It's a long shot, and they both know it. But he can't just sit here and do nothing. He has to at least try. The last statement is ignored. If she want's to leave, that's her choice and he's not going to try and stop her, but he'd rather she didn't.

If Linora wasn't rooted to the spot before, that look in Rathan's eyes as he catches hers would definitely have frozen her in her tracks. She chews her lip, with a barely perceptible shake of her head, and drops her gaze to the ground. "I don't think anybody could help," she whispers, distinctly aware of how close he is but not moving away. "Anyhow, it's better when I'm busy." A rather cryptic remark, perhaps, but it makes sense to /her/. Unfortunately, she's not busy just at the moment.

Sweeting blinks in from ::between::!

Rathan looks around before looking back to her, trying to catch her eyes again. "Well... It's just you and me right now, and the only way you'll be busy is by talking to me." Wow, this is strange for him. First concern then assertment. See, she's a bad influence on him, that's exactly what it is. This time he helps himself meet her eyes by gently reaching out and lifting her chin. "Please, tell me what's wrong. Tell me what's bothering you." See, he's a really good listener.

Linora blinks as her gaze is redirected, vague surprise evident in her pale eyes. She'd be even more surprised if she realized she was any influence at all, seeing as how she's been completely absorbed by her own problems for months. But the touch reverberates, striking nerves she'd thought were dead, and for a long moment she can't say anything at all. "I.. " Catching herself, she sits straighter, drawing away from him a bit and in on herself, hugging her knees tightly and resting her chin on them. "It's just not the kinda problem appies are s'poseta have," she whispers finally. "An' anyhow, it don't really matter." Since the 'problem' picked up and moved himself to Tillek. Or Faranth knows where, since she hasn't heard a word.

"Yes, it does matter." Rathan say softly, his voice touched with concern. "If it's bothering you, then it's important. And it doesn't matter if it's a problem that apprentices are supposed to have or not." Though in his mind that greatly reduces the list of things that it could possibly be. And she's not going to get away from him that easily. Instead he reaches out again, his fingers just brushing her cheek before dropping to lightly clasp her hand. " to me about it...."

Linora drops her gaze, but doesn't draw her hand away. Only sighs a little. "I useta think there was someone... who really cared about me," she whispers, not even sure why she's trusting him. Maybe she's just tired. "Only I guess I was wrong." She shakes her head, squeezing her eyes closed against the memories. "Mostly when I'm workin', an' studying and stuff, it's okay. But..." She really can't - doesn't want to - explain that sitting in the dark, by the water, under the stars, with someone being kind to her... just makes her miss what she used to have all the more. Instead she just chews her lip and hugs her knees more tightly.

Rathan just sits there quietly, listening to her, giving her hand a squeeze now and then. For more than a minute after she finishes, he remains silent. Well, he asked and she told him, but from there he's not sure what to do. He's never gotten close enough to anyone to have to worry about anything like this, so it's more than a little alien to him. His hand drops her's, his voice barely a whisper. "I'm sorry....If I had known...." This time it's his turn to drop his eyes. He knows he didn't cause what happened to her, but in a way, it's his fault that it came back to haunt her.

Linora almost hears the whispered apology, almost feels him drop her hand. She's quiet too, now, remembering. After a seeming eternity of silence, broken only by the soft sounds of the water, she sighs. "Like I said, though... it don't really matter." With a little shrug, she leans back on her hands, letting the cloak fall from her shoulders, seeming to no longer notice the chill of the night air. She glances over at him to see him looking at the ground, and chews her lip. "Sorry," she murmurs, figuring she probably said too much.

Rathan looks up again, shaking his head. "Yes, it does matter." His voice is still soft, but almost forceful as he speaks. "I told you it mattered. I just... didn't know that I was...causing you pain." The discarded cloak is picked up and rolled into a ball in his lap as his gaze falls to it, picking at the dirt and grass stuck to it. Again his head shakes. "No, you have no reason to be sorry. I'm the one that should be appoligizing..."

Linora blinks. "You?" Confusion is written all over her open face as she stares stupidly at him, then shakes her head. "You didn't..." Didn't do anything? Everything reminds her. Every place, every task, and almost every conversation. She swallows and looks away again. "Don't be sorry for bein' nice," she says finally, pushing her now-dry hair back from her face. If she can't be sorry for being sad, he can't be sorry for trying to help. Simple as that. She doesn't bother to argue further about whether it matters or not. She'll never convince him; he'll never convince her.

Rathan shrugs, his hands still idly playing with the cloak as he looks back out across the water. Now what? His mind is reeling with questions. What should he do, what should he say? He wants to help, he wants to let her know that he does care, but he doesn't know how. This is all just too strange for him. See, when you avoid people, you avoid putting yourself into this kinds of binds. Instead, he busies himself by swinging his cloak back around his shoulder before fumbling with the clasp to reattach it.

Linora continues to stare into the darkness in the direction of the water. "Toldja it wasn't the kinda problem appies are s'posed ta have," she whispers finally, without looking at him. Breaking the rules only leads to unhappiness, she's sure of it now. And as quiet as Rathan suddenly got, he's probably sorry he asked. She glances over to see him fastening his cloak and nods once. "Leavin'?" she guesses. She shouldn't be surprised, since she's pretty poor company.

Rathan shakes his head, "Of course I"m not leaving..." He was just looking for something to do so it wouldn't be an akward silence, but he's not going to tell her that. "And it doesn't matter that it's not a problem apprentices are supposed to have, it's a problem you have." His hand reaches out slowly and hesitently before lightly touching her's, almost as if he's scared of what her reaction might be. Right now though, he wouldn't rather be anywhere else.

Linora chews her lip as he speaks, her eyes unfocused and flat. At the touch, she blinks and looks down, looking at his hand on hers with a curious detachment, almost as if it were someone else's hand. After a moment, her eyes return to his face, something in his expression in the moonlight making her eyes widen slightly. She straightens a little, but doesn't withdraw her hand. "Rathan." Her voice is barely above a whisper. "Don't..." She leaves the thought unfinished, suddenly unable to put words together coherently. Not more trouble.

Rathan just watches her as she looks at him. Then, at her whispered words, his hand pulls back as if bitten. This time he knows he's gone to far. He should have just ran when he first saw here, like he does usually. Instead, with his eyes going wide, he jumps up and gives her one last look before taking off, not down the path, but into the trees instead. Deep and dark, just what he needs.

Linora blinks as Rathan jerks his hand back, staring numbly after him as he disappears into the trees. For a long moment she sits motionless, then she sighs and gets to her feet, shaking out the worn blanket and rolling it over her arm. With one last futile look into the darkness, she starts back down the path toward the Hall, head hanging.