You climb up the rope ladder.
Leading over to the waterfall, the plateau is covered in water, making it dangerous for many. The dark stone that glitters with chips of mica and sits up on a ridge of darker rock. On sunny days the stone seems to steam because of all the water splashed over from the waterfall that is only a few steps away. Verdant trees with thick sepia dappled trunks sit at the edge, hanging over slightly, but firmly stuck in place. Connected to two trees is a rope ladder made of sandy-colored manilla fibers, leading from the bottom of the waterfall to the top of the ridge. A place to run around and get wet with friends or spend a day relaxing.
It is a winter afternoon.
Resting in a tree is Pryf.
You carefully step onto the rocks in the waterfall.
Treacherous for humans, the top of the waterfall looks peaceful as cold, clear water flows quickly over smooth rocks with jagged corners. Fire lizards can nearly always be found here, sunning on the higher ledges near fragrant flowers. But some dare to play in the frigid water, giving startled chirps and blinking ::between:: before the stream carries them over the edge.
Down at the waterfall's basin, Cress moves slowly in from the Lakeside.
You suddenly lose your balance, and fall into the water.
You glide down the waterfall to land in the basin.
A deep broad pool marks the beginning, or the end of the lake. Refreshing, cool water flows down the waterfall coming from a spring high in the Garish hills, and fills a lake that stretches far to the north, only to disappear near the bathhouse. Numerous rocks are scattered out around the cloud of water that surrounds the waterfall's flow crashing into the pool, which gives the entire area a wet, yet cool athmosphere. Small amount of trees surround the high clifwall, masking a sturdy rope lader that stretches acros the lake up to the top of the waterfall.
Linora surfaces, shaking her head and pushing the water back off her face.
Cress jumps as somebody suddenly comes flying down into the lake. Surprise shines in his eyes as Linora surfaces in the lake, "Lin! What're you doing?"
Linora blinks and turns to flash a wide grin at Cress. "Hi! I was riding the waterfall." She slogs toward the shore, wringing out her hair. "First time kinda was an accident, but it was fun, so I did it again." She points to the rope ladder. "C'mon up?"
Cress peers suspiciously at the rope ladder and then at the waterfall. "I don't think I swim well enough yet," he says, "I might drown if I tried that."
Linora chuckles. "Can't have that," she teases. "C'mon up anyhow. You don't hafta go onto the waterfall, 'less you change your mind." Her eyes flash a challenge at him as she backs toward the ladder, dripping.
Cress shakes his head, but takes of his shirt on boots anyway. Only to go in the lake though, he'll have nothing to do with that waterfall. Not yet, anyway. Testing the water with his toes, he takes a deep breath and just dives in.
Linora giggles and heads up the ladder for another go, pausing near the top to watch Cress for a moment.
Linora hits the lake with a huge splash, disappearing completely for a few seconds before she surfaces laughing.
Cress get sprayed by Linora's splash and tries to keep water out of his eyes by shutting them tight. "Don't do that, Lin," he says, though his voice is rippling with laughter.
Still laughing, Linora circles in a lazy backfloat, looking up at the sky. "It's fun," she informs him, regarding him with sparkling eyes.
"Fun, yeah," Cress says, disbelief now evident in his voice. "But what if you hit your head on your way down? I wouldn't know what to do, you know." He looks her in the eye, but is not able to disguise his mirth.
For just a second, Linora actually believes Cress is worried, until she sees that look in his eyes. She grins widely at the realization that she's been fooled yet again. Lucky she likes him; she doesn't even mind really. "You'd think a something," she teases. "/If/ anything happened, which it wouldn't." With a little splash she disappears under the water again, popping to the surface on the other side of Cress, having swum right under him, and fixing him with a radiant smile.
Cress makes turns around himself as Linora dissapears underwater. Seeing her pop up, out of the corner of his eye, he turns, and laughs at her, shaking his head. "I'm not ready for that yet." Meaning swimming underwater, of course.
Linora tilts her head. "Ready for something to happen?" What would happen? She swims over closer, stopping near Cress and reaching with her toes to see if she can touch bottom... not quite. So she treads.
Cress laughs, "no, silly to swim underwater," he says, also treading furiously, since it's basically all he's learnt so far. "I've hardly even learnt how to swim proberbly."
Linora giggles. "Oh!" Then she looks a little apologetic. "It's really not hard... you can already float and stuff... can't you?" She flips her legs back up to the surface to backfloat.
Cress peers at Linora as she shows him how to float, and attempts to do the same, and ends up floating next to her. "This isn't so hard," he says, turning his head to look at her, only to get water in his eyes. Blinking he laughs, "well, maybe not that easy..."
Linora giggles, then tries to look serious. It's kinda hard to look serious floating on your back. "It's kinda important to be able to float."
"I guess so, but I'm not getting very far, just floating on my back," Cress says, uprighting himself to tread water again.
Linora folds in half at her hips, disappearing under the water again before she surfaces next to Cress, treading water again. "No," she admits. "But ifya know you can /float/, then ya don't panic so much when you're in deep water. It helps ya relax, so ya can use your energy for swimming insteada worrying." She grins, but her eyes search his, hoping she got the point across. Thinking she /could/ keep Cress from drowning, in a pinch, but it'd be a whole lot easier if he didn't panic.
Cress nods, "I see... That'd be useful," he says grinning at her. "And if you get tired, far from shore." Not that the shore was too far away in the lake...
Linora's grin widens. "Definitely." She glances around. "Moving's /easy/... but it's kinda different from moving on land and stuff. Ya gotta use your arms /and/ your legs. Together." Unable to resist a little tease, she adds, "And remember to breathe and stuff."
"Arm, legs and breathe," Cress repeats. "Got it. But how do I move then," he says and looks at her for guidance.
Linora giggles. "Okay... um... " Thinking now. She can't remember when she didn't know how to swim, and never taught anyone before. "Well, cup your hands, like this..." She demonstrates. "Keep your fingers together. It moves more water, so ya go farther, faster." Well, it makes sense to /her/... "There's lotsa different ways you can do it..." Abruptly she splashes into the water, setting off in a strong crawl stroke, then flipping in a somersault under the water to paddle back to Cress. "Reach with your arms, kick with your feet..." She shrugs. It's kinda automatic to her. "Try it?" she suggests.
Cress looks at her demonstration, thinking he'll never be that good, but gives it a try. Move the arm, and move the legs... And don't forget to breathe. But how to breathe when your head was underwater. He only makes it a couple of strokes before he has to stop to come up for air.
Linora's hands are over her mouth, her eyes big as she realizes the thing she forgot to say. She paddles over to Cress. "You turn your head to breathe," she tells him, with an apologetic smile. She backpaddles to a spot where she can touch bottom, the better to demonstrate. "When you stroke with your /right/ hand, your face is under water. When you stroke with the /left/, you turn your face to the /right/ and take a breath." Bent over the water with her left arm outstretched in demonstration and the left side of her face submerged, she fixes a questioning look on Cress. "Okay?"
Cress nods slowly, not at all convinced that it'll work, but he gives it a try. Stroke with the right arm, and keep the face underwater. Then the left hand a turn the head to take a breath. Yeah, this might just work. He keeps paddling in that manner, until he's suddenly reached the other side. He turns and waves to Linora, "this isn't that hard," he yells.
Linora beams, waving back. "Toldja! C'mon back now!" Back to the lazy backfloat, her eyes never leaving Cress.
Cress does just that, with just a little more grace than before. At least it doesn't look like doggy-swimming anymore. Reaching Linora, he splashes her with water and scramples onto the shore before she can give him back.
Linora lets out a shriek that echoes off the surrounding rocks, dragging her forearm across her face to get some of the water out of her eyes. It takes her a second to actually realize that Cress has left the water. "Hey... you leaving?" She paddles to shallower wader and splashes up to the shore, wringing out her hair... knowing her clothes are hopelessly soaked and not really caring much.
"No, I'm just getting out of the water," Cress says, putting his fingers through his hair to shake the worst of the water out.
Linora drops to sit on the grassy shore, regarding the setting sun with a critical eye. "It's prolly gonna start getting cooler soon anyhow," she remarks, hoping she'll dry off before that happens...
Cress nods, "Well, at least we can swim in the winter.. Up north the lakes all freeze over with ice. You can skate on the ice, you know, and it's fun," he says smiling, even if he's starting to feel a little cold. Goosebumps are forming on his arms and upperbody as the wind cools the water on his body. "You didn't happen to bring a towel did'ya?"
Linora hands Cress his shirt. At least /that's/ dry.... and grins apologetically. "Nope... I actually didn't /plan/ on going swimming. I went up to explore the waterfall and I kinda just fell in."
Cress grins and pulls on his dry shirt, which quickly get damp, by the water on his back. "How 'bout we get back to the dorms and get some dry clothes on?"
Linora nods, starting to shiver a bit herself in the rapidly cooling air. "Sure. That'd be great." She starts to get to her feet.