Cress moves slowly in from the Male Apprentice Quarters.
Linora is flopped in her comfy chair with a book, amazingly still for her.
Cress sits quietly in a couch opposite Lin, leans back and starts to chuckle softly. "What're you reading, Lin?"
Linora nearly jumps out of her seat as the silence is broken, then grins up at Cress. "I'm trying to learn some more constellations. I keep missing the nightskies class." She looks down at the book again, her brows knit in concentration.
Cress tilts his head looking at the girl in front of him. "So's it interesting?" He's taken the nightskies class, of course, and found it more interesting than the DV class, but not as interesting as the Red Star class. "I liked the nightskies class..."
"Yeah, I /guess/... " Linora sighs and shuts the book. "No. It's awful." She tucks the book on the chair behind her, careful not to damage it. "It's just words... and diagrams. It's not like looking at the /sky/." She drops her chin into her hands.
Cress shrugs, "well, it's dark outside, isn't it," he says with a glitter in his eyes. "Why not take it outside? And compare it to the stars on the sky?" If it was a clear night of course...
Linora's eyes widen a bit and she smiles. "Guess I shoulda thought a that myself," she says, a little sheepishly. She gets to her feet and retrieves the book.
"I'll go with you," Cress says and streches in his couch before getting up, "I could use some fresh air... Better bring some glows so you can read that book," comes after a pause.
Linora smiles widely and goes back to the dorm to fetch a basket, returning a moment later. "Ya know a good place to look from?" she asks, supposing that he prolly does.
Cress tilts his head, thinking it over for a moment, "well, when I took the nightskies class we went to the lake..." He shrugs and picks up his pack and heads out the door. "But we can pick a place on our own," he says turning at the doorway, a slight smile on his face.
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 winter before dawn.
Linora looks around the courtyard, half relieved and half disappointed not to see the dragon there.
Looking up at the sky, Cress finds that it's a clear enough night to look at the stars. "It's a beautiful night, don't you think?"
Linora follows Cress's gaze and ohs softly at the stars spreading out above them. "Yeah," she breathes, remembering why she came to the Hall in the first place.
"So what do you think," Cress says looking back down at her. "Where should we go?"
Linora blinks, back to Pern... and smiles up at Cress. "I dunno," she says, her eyes thoughtful. "You prolly know better places'n I could think of, seeing as ya been here longer and stuff." She shrugs.
Cress shrugs, "well, then let's go to the lake. It's actually quite lovely at night," he says, surprised at his own words. Lovely? Is that really a word he would use?
If Linora notices anything unusual about Cress's words, she doesn't show it. "Long as I'm dry," she says with a grin. "It's a little chilly for swimming."
Cress grins, "I hadn't in mind to go swimming either." Especially since he's still not the best of swimmers. "But we can just sit on the shore. Great view from there."
Linora giggles. "Okay," she says amiably. "Let's go."
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 before dawn.
Linora follows Cress along the path to the lake, hugging her book and staring at the sky, somehow managing not to stumble as she goes.
"See, you can see the stars reflected in the water," Cress says, with a smile on his face. "This is a perfect place for watching stars. Quiet too. Not many people come here at night," he explains to Linora.
Linora tears her gaze away from the sky to look at the lake and ohs again. All this time she's been at the Hall, how has she missed this? She finally catches up to Cress, still hugging the book to her chest.
Cress settles cross-legged in the grass patting the ground beside him, "come sit," he says looking up at Linora. "We'll take a look at the book first, then see if we can find the matching constellation up there." He points to the black sky, dotted with a thousand points of lights.
Linora nods and plops down, heedless of the dew on the grass, and opens the book. She looks at it a moment, then shifts it over to Cress' lap so he can see it better. "You already know this stuff, don'tcha? Maybe you can explain it?"
Cress grins, sheepishly, "well, a little." If he could just remember it. "Constellations are like pictures, you know? Formed by the stars. If you draw lines between them, sometimes they form a picture that resembles something... Like a firelizard." That one he remembers from the class. The firelizard. But he wasn't sure whether you could see it on the sky now.
Linora peers up at the millions of stars overhead, trying to see anything that might resemble a firelizard.
Cress turns his head, then points, "there, see that one," he says pointing north and halfway to zenith. "That one is the Campfire. The one with the three red stars circled by five others."
Linora sights along Cress' finger, adjusting her focus as she tries to find the stars he's describing. Finally she spots it, drawing a sharp little breath with a delighted expression. "I see it!"
Cress grins, "beautiful, isn't it? It's one of my favourites," he says. Probably because it reminds him of those nights on the road, around the campfire. "So you can see that it resembles a campfire, right? The embers are the three red stars, and the five others, the three white ones and the two blue ones, are the stones."
Linora tilts her head for a better look, half leaning into Cress to keep her balance. "Sure," she says after a moment, straightening herself and grinning up at him. "I mean, I never camped, but it kinda makes sense." She flops back to take in the whole sky, lacing her fingers behind her neck, her eyes far away.
Cress lies back beside Linora, taking in the sight of the sky. "The sky get darker, somehow, in the north," he notes. Interesting point, he adds to himself, not saying that outloud. Why was that anyway? "But then there're more overcast days up there..."
Linora hmmms thoughtfully. "Darker? Less stars, ya mean?" Her eyes narrow as she tries to imagine the sky /not/ looking the way it's looked to her, her entire life.
"Well, no.. Just darker. The black seems more black," Cress comes up short trying to explain. "Like now, in the winter, the sky would be such a deep black, that... that," he pauses trying to come up with the right words. "The sky's so black that it seems like 'between'." That's the best he can come up with. Not that he's ever been 'between'.
Linora's eyes widen at the mere /thought/ of between. She falls silent, wondering if the north is as cold as between too. At length a thought seems to occur to her. "You get pretty homesick, don'tcha." It's not really a question, just an observation. After all, this isn't the first time she's heard Cress going on about the colder places he's been.
Cress' smile fades somewhat. "Yeah, sometimes... But I like it here too," he quickly adds. "Otherwise, I'd left a long time ago."
Linora smiles at that. "I never been anywhere else." She half shrugs in a lying-down kinda way, watching the sky, not even noticing how still she is.
Diena walks delicately in in from the Hold Field.
Diena smiles "Good morning. You two out for a swim too?"
Linora blinks and tears her eyes away from the predawn sky to look up at Diena from where she's lying on the grass. "Hey, Diena... kinda cool for a swim, don'tcha think?"
Cress sits up as he hears a voice. "No, we've just been looking at the stars. I've pointed out some of the constellation for Lin." He looks at Linora, grinning, "So you think you learned anything, Lin?"
Diena smiles "Well, I didn't interrupt, did I?"
Cress grins lopsidedly, "no, no. Not at all," he says glancing at Linora.
Linora looks from Diena to Cress to find he's sat up. She sits up herself, brushing dew off her clothes and looks at Diena again... then back at Cress, confused. "Thanks," she says. "It should help if I ever manage to make it to a nightskies class." She hugs her knees, still sitting on the dewy grass.
Diena nods and looks to the water. She removes her boots and lets her feet hang in the surf. She lets out a tremble "A little chilly this morning"
"No problem, although I'm probably not the best teacher," Cress admits. He should've let her borrow his distanceviewer. Goes to show how absentminded he is at times. "You'll manage it someday, Lin, I'm sure..." A grin spreads across his face.
Linora glances at Diena, shivering just watching her. Is she insane? Then she quickly glances back to Cress. "Thanks." Still smiling, she peeks up at the sky, wondering how much longer it'll be dark... the stars are already beginning to fade.
Cress follows Linora's gaze. "Looks like it's getting light," he says. He's just about to say something about winters up north, where it's dark a lot longer. "Too bad we didn't go out sooner..."
Diena enters Floating Wooden Firelizard.
Linora nods, a little wistfully. Then she shrugs. "Well, it /does/ get dark every night," she reminds him. "I dunno why I never came here at night before. Never thought of it, I guess..." Answering her own question.
Inside Floating Wooden Firelizard, Diena smiles and asks to the two other appy's "Does this lake ever freeze? I haven't been here long enough to know."
Cress grins, "well, good thing I reminded you then," he says a sparkle in his eyes. "It's great here at night." Repeating himself, he knows. But it's the thruth isn't it?
Linora chuckles at Diena. "Nothing freezes on Ista Island," she calls out. "Don't mean the breeze isn't chilly if you're /wet/!" Rolling her eyes, she grins up at Cress. "Yeah, good thing. Thanks." She flops back on the grass to watch the stars disappearing as the sky slowly lightens.
Inside Floating Wooden Firelizard, Diena smiles, quite aware how crazy she is. She leans back on the bench in the wooden firelizard and looks up at what remains of the stars.
Cress strecthes and yawns. "You know, I should get a little sleep," he says and stands. "I'll see you later, Lin.. And Diena," he adds after a pause.
Inside Floating Wooden Firelizard, Diena says, "Goodnight.. er morning Cress."
Cress moves slowly to the Hold Field.