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 spring evening.
Cress moves slowly in from the StarCraft Main Hall.
Marly pads softly and slowly in from the StarCraft Main Hall.
Linora is sitting in the middle of the courtyard on a worn blanket, her knees hugged up to her chest and her face turned up towards the stars.
Cress comes out into the dark, walking slowly as he makes sure the canine is with him. He almost passes Lin, before seeing her, the canine making him aware that she's there, by giving off a growl. "Shhh, quiet Marly," he says sternly to the gray, then turns to Lin. "Evening, Lin," he says softly, sitting down beside her, holding the canine by her collar.
Linora hears the growl first, shrinking away almost involuntarily before she hears a familiar voice. She turns a smile to Cress as he sits down next to her, almost unconsciously slipping closer to him. "Hey," she says softly, pale eyes flickering from him to the canine. "Where'd the canine come from?" She leans forward for a better look in the dim light, still a bit wary lest another growl be sent her way.
Shrugging, Cress puts an arm around the canine, his head turned toward Linora. "I dunno. Found her runnin' around over by the lake..." And so, of course, he'd kept her. What else could he have done? Look for the owner? "She's beautiful, don'tcha think?" Not one mention of the... Night.
A fine shiny, sleek coat of mouse gray is unmarred by marking or brindle though her ears and her head are a lighter shade than the reast of her body. Long muzzle and high set ears that are long and slightly folded as they droop are a mark of her brethren. Bred as a huntress and retriever her deep chest and muscled hindquarters combine well with her strong back and long tail. As far as canines go, her long, straight legs give her a fine regal appearance to advertise her noble character and individuality of style. While loyal, she is fearless and stong willed and so needs firm control and plenty of exercise.
She is 6 Turns, 8 months, and 17 days old.
Canine. Safe topic. Linora nods slowly. "Sure," she says quietly, even though she's thought of little else since the last time she saw Cress. Especially lately. She hugs her knees closer and rests her chin on them, letting her eyes fall closed. "Prolly be nice t'have a canine," she muses, although she doesn't say for whom.
Cress nods slowly, looking her over carefully. "Something wrong, Lin?" He says, his hand busying itself by scratching the canines fur.
Linora drags a hand through her hair, fingers twisting at the ends distractedly. "I dunno," she stalls, still unwilling to give words to her fear. Especially since Cress seems determined to forget anything happened at all. But once her eyes find his, her resolve fails. "I... I mean I think I... " She looks quickly around the courtyard, in case anyone might be near enough to hear, then leans close to whisper in his ear. "I think I'm ... pregnant."
Cress blinks, not believing what he's hearing. "What?!" he says, a little too loud, the canine giving off a deep growl. "But... But... How?" As if he didn't know the story of the birds and the bees. His face seems to cave in, as he stares at her, his arm still around the canine.
Linora swallows hard, chewing on her lip. "The usual kinda way, I guess," she says quietly, drawing back a bit and holding herself more tightly. "Y'know..." She can't quite seem to meet his eyes anymore, as if it were all her fault.
Cress is maybe tightening his grip around the canine too much, because Marly gives out a yelp, then sets into a deep growl before he releases her. "But.... " The sentense goes unfinished as he wouldn't know what to say anyway. See a healer, is the next sentense, which only goes as far as his head, and not past his lips.
Linora drops her head on her knees. "I know I prolly oughtta see a healer," she mumbles, her voice muffled and barely audible until she lifts her head halfway to look at him again, when it trails off to a whisper. "But... I'm scared." Even more afraid now, that he seems to be angry with her.
Cress isn't angry, he's surprised. More than a little, since he'd never seen this coming. "Yeah, a healer," he repeats, swallowing the big lump in his throat, though it doesn't seem to wanna go away. He slowly reaches out a hand to touch her on the shoulder, not knowing what else to do.
Linora tenses slightly, involuntarily, her skin tingling at his touch. "Yeah," she echoes, senselessly... automatically. Then she shakes her head, slowly, eyes mirroring the fear that's consuming her.
So what will happen next? Cress didn't actually know, having never been in such a situation before. What're you gonna do just didn't sound like the right thing to say... "We'll figure it out," he finally mumbles, giving her shoulder a squeeze.
Linora's eyes close as an odd sense of relief, even calm, washes over her. We. She doesn't have to deal with this alone... if she really has to deal with it. Now she reaches for him, tentatively. "Hold me?" The whispered plea is almost childlike.
Cress scoots closer wrapping his arms around her, holding her tight, while smelling her hair. Shells, how he liked doing that! Not saying a word he closes his eyes, thinking about what would happen if....
Linora drops her head on his shoulder, her arms wrapped tightly around him. "I'll find a healer tomorrow... come with me?" Not sure she can face a... diagnosis, all by herself. Any thoughts of 'what if' are firmly suppressed.
Cress nods slowly, sure that she can feel his movement and that he won't have to say anything. If he did he'd surely croak, or the words would come out wrong, making her aware of how nervous /he/ was.
Linora is blissfully unaware of Cress' nervousness. She's right in the place where she feels the most secure, after all. Another long squeeze later, she draws back to look into his eyes. "Thanks," she whispers.... then her gaze lowers to the ground. "I'm not sorry," she whispers. Not sorry for... that night. "I just wish..." With a sigh, she leaves the wish unfinished, thinking privately that life is extremely unfair. But a hope lingers in the back of her mind, maybe she's mistaken.
Cress doesn't know what to think. He somehow senses that Lin isn't happy about the situation and thus takes his cue from her, being unhappy about it too. Having forgotten about the canine he'd found, he gets a heartstopping shock when Marly comes right up to him, giving his hand a healthy lick. "Marly! Go away!" he says to her, but the canine only sit right next to him and Linora, waiting patiently for her new owner.
It's not necessarily the situation... Linora just dislikes having life-altering choices made for her, by circumstances beyond her control. Still, she can't help smiling as Cress' new canine friend inserts herself in the situation. Typical. "It's okay," she whispers. "I prolly oughtta get back anyhow." She pushes up onto her knees, brushing the dust off her clothing.
Cress sits, more or less dumbfounded, watching her push away from him, then nods slowly as he takes a hold of Marly's collar. "I'll meet you tomorrow," he says, not sure if that was the right thing to say just now.
Linora nods, unsure herself, and sits back on her heels. "I... um... " She looks at the ground again. "Yeah," she says finally, glancing back up to find his eyes again. "I'm kinda tired and stuff," she offers, a bit apologetically. Another reason to worry, but she leaves that part out. Really, it's quite bad enough, isn't it? She can see Cress doesn't look happy... a worried look flashes across her face, darker by several degrees than the one that used to plague her when she was looking for a specialty.
Cress suddenly finds a diversion in the canine, his hands running up and down her flanks, pulling a bit at her ears, then pulling her into a hug, Marly willingly taking the rough treatment, with only a slight growl. He nods to her, getting caught in her eyes, still not knowing what to say. "We'll manage...." is all he can come up with.
Linora does manage a little smile at that. She might even have tried to hug him, if he didn't have an armful of canine. "Yeah.... see ya tomorrow." With a sigh, she pushes herself forward to plant a quick kiss on his cheek, then gets to her feet and slips back to the Hall and her cot.
Cress bury's his face in the canines fur, suddenly realizing that she needs a bath. Badly! He doesn't turn around to watch Lin go, since he now has a lot to think about, and his plans probably totally ruined. Not that he blames her... Only himself. For he could have said no at the time. Right?