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,

Linora crosses the vault without looking about, absorbed in a juicy redfruit.

Female Apprentice Quarters
These quarters are bare but cheerful for the few apprentices that reside here. They give plenty of shade in the morning, and a beautiful sunset in the afternoon, lighting up the room. There are metal shutters, like every other room, and old rugs on the floor. The room is a comfortable home to the few..

The Vault
Caelestis and Cress are here.

Linora finds a comfy chair and flops, having evidently finished her fruit.

After a moment, Linora gets to her feet again, too restless to sit still.

Main Hall Balcony
You stand upon the runnershoe balcony of the Main Hall, from which doorways open into the adjoining halls of the StarCraft living quarters. On the western wall stand the great doors of the observatory.

Wintermute glides in from the The Vault.

Linora is sitting on the top step with her chin in her hands and a black expression.

Wintermute lands beside his humanpets friend and gives a little chirrup, sensing that she's in a bad mood.

Linora jumps a bit at the unexpected sound, then smiles down at 'Mute. Not /his/ fault. She reaches down to give him a little scritch.

Wintermute croons and curls up in a little ball as this humanpet gives him his favourite treatment (aside from belly-rubs, fo course).

Linora tries but just can't sustain her dark mood, her eyes softening in spite of herself as she strokes the little brown's neck with gentle fingers. She sighs softly.

Wintermute croons deeper still, a sound that seems to come from deep in his throat. Isn't this just wonderful, almost better than when his own humanpet does it.

Linora drops her chin back into one hand, the other idly caressing 'Mute's soft hide. And sighs again.

Wintermute perks up and as the humanpet sighs, he crawls onto her lap.

Linora keeps scritching as 'Mute moves onto her lap, as if it's the most normal thing in the world for him to do... shifting her other elbow a bit to make room, her eyes far away.

Wintermute curls up on this humanpets soft lap. Crooning, he closes his inner eyelid and makes himself /veeery/ comfortable on her soft lap.

From Linora's shoulder, Spray croons a soft reply. Linora starts at the sound, then looks from Spray on her shoulder to 'Mute on her lap, her expression surprised. But since nobody seems to mind, she slips her hand under 'Mute's forelimb to get at his soft belly. Remembering that he likes bellyrubs and hoping he won't mind getting one from her, since he seems so comfy.

Wintermute attemps to flop onto his back, but finds that his wings get in the way. He gives an angry chitter, directed as his wings, and settles on his side so the humanpet wont stop the bellyrub.

Linora blinks at the chitter, then giggles as 'Mute settles himself. By now she's almost forgotten what she was ever upset about, gently rubbing the little brown's soft belly.

Wintermute croons now, as his troubles are awarded with uninterrupted bellyrub. This is a good humanpet, so nice and gentle. And her mood seems to be improving too.

Linora looks down at 'Mute with a soft smile, one hand still rubbing his belly. "You little monster," she chides him (but her voice is gentle). "Your 'pet's still got some explaining to do." Still annoyed with herself for not bringing it up when she saw Cress in the dining hall... but she /was/ a little distracted by the *eep* /Holder's/ presence!

Wintermute rubs his jaw against the humanpets wrist. Nice and soft as is her hands. His own 'pets hands are hard and calloused, and not nearly as gentle, although gently enough his purposes. Which are food and oiling. And bellyrubs!

Linora sighs. She looks over her shoulder at the vault door. And sighs again. She drops her chin back into one hand, the other falling still as her mind wanders.

Wintermute blinks. His head comes up as she stops rubbing. A questioning chitter emerges from his throat. Don't stop?

Linora doesn't seem to hear 'Mute, her eyes a million miles away.

Wintermute gives a firelizard's equivelant of a sigh and puts his little head on her wrist. The tip of his tail starts to move back and forth in little circles.

Linora abruptly gets to her feet, remembering at the last second that her lap isn't empty and catching 'Mute in her arms.

Wintermute chirrups surprised as the lap beneath him suddenly dissapears. He almost goes between but lands in the 'pets arm arms and looks up at her, his eyes whirling.

Linora bites her lip and gives 'Mute an apologetic glance. "Sorry..." Gathering him in her arms, she takes that last step up to the balcony. Outside the vault door she takes a deep breath, then goes to walk in.

The Vault
Caelestis and Cress are here.

Still chewing her lip, Linora walks right over to Cress and stops in front of his chair. "Here," is all she says.

Linora flops in a chair.

Cress drops his jaw as Linora hands him 'Mute. "Wha'? Oh, hello, Lin. Where'd you go?"

Linora drops her head on the back of the chair to look up at the ceiling. So he /had/ noticed she'd gone. "Out." She looks at him for a moment, then down at the floor.

"Oh," Cress says, and decides not to persue the subject, only wondering why she'd had 'Mute with her when she came in. "So what do you think Lady Natch was after earlier?" A brave attempt at changing the subject. And he really /is/ wondering why the Holder was questioning him like that.

Linora shakes her head. "I dunno." But she's been finding all sorts of new things out about Cress, and wondering how well she even knows /him/. So if she's staring, maybe she's just trying to figure that out...

Cress coughs a little, as he feels her stare. Then he turns in his chair to face her and looks into her eyes, "what's wrong, Lin? If this is about yesterday... There really isn't anything going on between me and Kal," he says, very un-Cress-like, but he's had enough of avoiding the subject.

Standing at only 5'5 this young man's size is not impressive. His blond hair is bleached by the Istan sun, which has also darkened his skin to a bronze color. 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 brand new midnightblue shirt with draw-strings at the V-neck is worn loosely over charcoal-colored trouser, which are hardly new by the look of them. Having been patched in several places these trousers look as if they've been handed down for generations. A shine on his black wherhide boots doesn't hide the fact that these are also hand-downs from someone who's grown out of them. Perched on Cress's shoulder is Dixie. Cress' Pack hangs heavily from Cress's shoulder. Perched on Cress's shoulder is Idoru. Perched on Cress's shoulder is Wintermute.
Red and silver in a double cord and single loop appoints him as apprentice to the Star Craft.
Cress is 18 Turns, 9 months, and 23 days old.

Linora's eyes soften as Cress meets her stare, lost in his eyes for a long moment. "Who?" Was she even ever upset? Abruptly she looks at the floor again, overcome.

"Kaltia," Cress explains. "The girl who was on the floor this morning," he whispers. He didn't quite know if she actually /wanted/ him to explain, or rather ignore the whole thing.

Linora keeps her eyes on the floor. Well, yeah... there was /that/. After a long moment she peeks up again. "And in the Harper the other night." She falls silent.

Cress nods, "that's right," he says giving her a smile. Moving closer he looks her in the eye, "I don't know why she thought, we were... well together?" His voice has dropped to a whisper and he puts his hand over hers.

Linora catches her breath almost inaudibly, feeling Cress's hand on hers, lost in his eyes again, only half hearing his words.

Cress smiles, looking into her pale eyes. "Nothing ever happened between Kal and me," he repeats, patting her hand.

Linora smiles too... then suddenly drops her gaze as she realizes how close he is to her. And how much she likes the way that feels. "Thanks," she says softly. Not sure at all if that's the right thing to say, but feeling like she ought to say something...

Not sure what to do either, Cress leans back and releases Linora's hand. A loud echo in his head telling him that apprentices weren't supposed to have relationships.

Linora chews her lip. Why is life so complicated? She sighs lightly, then looks over at Cress with a smile. Long as he's her friend. "Hey, ya wanna go see if it's nice out?"

Cress tilts his head, smiling. Good idea that. "Yeah, I'd like that."

Smiling widely, Linora slips out of her chair and heads for the door, pausing just a moment to wait for Cress to join her.

Cress gets up from the floor and goes to lead Linora out.

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 winter afternoon.

Linora casts a critical eye at the sky and walks down to the shoreline, kneeling to test the water with her hand.

Cress looks at Linora as she goes to the water's edge. He sits in the grass, and watches, wondering if she's pondering going swimming now.

Linora is fingering some small stones just under the surface, watching the water rippling around her hand. After a moment she stands up and dries her hand on her trousers, turning to see Cress sitting in the grass. She walks over to him with a rueful smile. "No swimming today, I think," she says. "Just a bit too chilly." She sits down next to him.

Good, Cress thinks. Then she won't drag him into the water, which he's still none too secure in. "I wish they didn't have that rule for apprentices," he muses, although he hadn't meant to say it outloud.

Linora blinks, then turns her head to look at him, looking for his eyes. "It's prolly a good thing..." Very softly, trying to make herself believe it. "I mean, since we're s'posed to be studying and everything."

Cress shrugs, "yeah, maybe.. But still." He wished it on applied to apprentices under a certain age then, at least. "Speaking of studying, I think I need to get to work on my project...." He get up, reluctantly. He doesn't really wan't to leave right now.

Linora looks up at Cress as he stands. Yeah, it's the right thing to do. She gets to her feet. "Well. I guess I'll go, too." No fun sitting at the lake all alone, she's thinking. After a brief pause, "Mind if I walk with you a ways?"

Cress smiles. "No, of course not," he says reaching for her hand, hoping the don't meet a journeyperson on the way.

Linora smiles up at Cress, slipping her hand in his and giving it a little squeeze.

The Vault
Caelestis and Kezzra are here.

Cress moves slowly in from the Main Hall Balcony.

Linora is led in by Cress.

Cress quickly drops Linora's hand as he sees that the ever-present Kezzra is here. He shoot a glance to Lin, and grins to Kezzra. "Well, I'm gonna go work on that project," he says sheepishly.

Linora just as quickly draws the offending hand behind her back. "Um, see ya later, then."

Kezzra glances up from Rasha. "Don't worry about me." she giggles. "I know enough about that sort of thing."

Linora looks at Kezz, belatedly remembering to close her mouth. Then she grins.

Cress blushes as he crosses the vault to go to the dorm. Turning in the doorway he waves to Linora, "see ya," he mouthes, grinning.

Linora gives Cress a little wave as he leaves.

Cress moves slowly to the Male Apprentice Quarters.

Kezzra giggles. "What's wrong with a little holding hands?" she asks Linora.

Linora /might/ be blushing, but it's hard to tell under that tan. "I just thought... I mean..." she breaks off, confused.

Kezzra grins. "Well, it's not as if you were kissing or seeing eachother or anything..."

Linora's eyes get really big, and she shakes her head involuntarily. "No..." Biting her lip, she backs into a chair, sitting with a small thump.

Kezzra giggles. Just what does she know? Hmm...

Linora braces herself, not sure what to expect. She manages a weak smile for Kezz, turning her focus to the baby in the journeywoman's arms. Now there's a real smile.

"So... you want to tell me all about this little mishap?" Kezzra asks. She should talk. Oy.

Linora is too new to know who's who in the Hall, and who's done what to whom... all she knows is she's ranked. And caught to rights. And she'd /better/ come up with something that makes sense, /fast/. She looks at the floor. "There isn't anything to tell, really," she says. No, they haven't done anything wrong... yet... have they?

Kezzra grins. "Oh... so that's why you were hlding hands?" She's just having soo much un with this, though you probably wouldn't be able to tell.

Okay, that's /definitely/ a blush. No doubt about it. How to explain? "We're just good friends." Linora knows it sounds lame. But it's /true/... mostly. It's not against the rules to /think/, is it? She studies the cracks in the hardwood floor.

Kezzra nods. "Is that all?" She'll leave it at that for the time being at least. No, wait. This is Kezz afterall. Grin. "are you shore?" she iquires after a moment of silence.

Linora nods earnestly. "Honest, Kezz... erm, Journeywoman." Figuring it's maybe safer to be a little more formal. "Nobody did anything wrong, I swear."

Kezzra blinks. "Shore they didn't... and Kezz is fine." Yeah. Nobody ever broke rules. And she's the weyrwoman. Oy.

Linora bites her lip, wanting very much to take Kezz at her word, but...

Kezzra says, "Come on now..."

Moonn slips quietly in from the Female Apprentice Quarters.

Linora shakes her head. "Honest, Kezz," she tries again. How many ways can she say it? She really didn't /do/ anything.

Kezzra didn't say do. Did she? Think. Do. It's all the same to her. "What about next time? What if I hadn't been here?"

Linora looks at the floor, then back at Kezz. She takes a deep breath, and lets it out slowly before she speaks. "Cress is my best friend." She can't help being a girl... and him not... "I wouldn't do anything to get him in trouble. Never."

Kezzra nods. "Just friends... Well somepeople, I'm not going to mention any names at the moment, seem to think otherwise..."

Linora chews her lip, not having to think too hard to come up with a name. She can still /feel/ that look... "I can't help what people think."

Kezzra nods again. "I know. But maybe you could tell them... like Kaltia... she's rather upset."

Linora blinks. "Why?" Nobody tells her anything.

Kezzra shrugs. "I'm not exactly shore why... but it was something about you and Cress."

A confused expression crosses Linora's face and she frowns a bit. "I don't even /know/ her. I only met her a couple times... I don't think we've said more than a few words to each other." She shifts uncomfortably, not liking where this is going.

Kezzra shrugs. "She kinda... has a thing for him... if you know what I mean..."

Linora's eyes widen as she realizes the trap she's fallen into. /Now/ what can she say? "I don't think he feels the same way."

Kezzra nods. "I know... I also think you too are a bit more than friends, but you're the one who talked me into bringing Kaltia up..."

Luthin walks in from the Male Apprentice Quarters.

Linora doesn't know where to look, so she tries the floor again. "I told you the truth, Kezz. Cress /is/ my best friend." She glances up at Kezz nervously. "Nobody did anything wrong."

Kezzra nods. "I didn't say I didn't believe you, did I?"

Luthin shuffles in from the dorm and noticing an inquisition, keeps going....

Linora shakes her head slowly. She didn't say that... did she?

Luthin returns when he realizes it's Linora and Cress' freindship being questioned, and just leans against the doorway, listening. He's ready to be a charater witnes for both of them.

Kezzra nods. "Alright then. I'll see you around." she says getting to her feet.

Linora blinks, watching with a stunned expression as Kezz gets up to leave.

Kezzra smiles, "What?" she asks. "You were expecting an interigation or something?"

Linora just looks at Kezz, finally remembering to close her mouth.

Kezzra giggles. "Just don't ask me about my best friend as an appie and you'll be fine." she teases.

The shocked look on Linora's face must be a sight to see. She manages to stop herself from staring... just.

Said 'shocked look' causes Kezz to giggle more. "What? Is it that hard to believe I was an appie?"

Luthin looks from Kezra to Nora and back again. Not having any idea and not really wanting to.. but he /did/ want Nora's help oiling his boys. she was so good handling the little ones and Palladin was growing again.

Linora manages to grin, finally starting to get it, hardly daring to believe her luck. "Um, yeah. That's it.... Thanks, Kezz."

Kezzra giggles. Though she has been known to know more than she lets on. Cale should know that...

Kezzra walks with a light step, to the Main Hall Balcony.

Linora gets to her feet, looking a little dazed, and escapes to the dorm, giving Luthin a quick wave as she goes.