==== January 24, 2014
==== Aaron, Krissi
==== Krissi finds herself up a tree in the jungles and Aaron comes to the rescue.

Who Aaron, Krissi
What Krissi finds herself up a tree in the jungles and Aaron comes to the rescue.
When It is the seventy-second day of Spring and 91 degrees.
Where Southern Weyr

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feline_territory.jpg

Feline Territory
The heart of the rainforest is more than the weight of so many trees, the impossibly thick fines that fall from the tops of the canopy, nor the jungle floor littered with detritus from the centuries the rainforest has made a home on the Southern Continent. The silence is eerie here, where not even the call of birds filters through the densely packed trees. The presence of something malevolent watching is easily felt here as anything that finds their way into these far reaches of the jungle would feel it necessary to 'run' from whatever it is that hunts these depths. Even Rukbat's light barely filters through, adding shadows and green-filtered light to further trick the eyes. Something deadly hunts here. A small stand of banyan, ficus and sandlewood trees grows here.
It is the seventy-second day of Spring and 91 degrees. It is overcast and cloudy.


Back in Aaron’s Office

Aaron is closing up for the day, signing off on the days reports before Umber is called to carry them off to Telgar. The big brown lizard departs, and then comes back a few minutes later. The Smith has since settled into his chair and poured himself a glass of juice, his feet up on the desk as he relaxes.

The soft pop of a firelizard zipping out of ::between:: is distinct and no doubt common in Aaron’s office. What is less common is the appearance of Cottonwood. The tiny green’s eyes are a whirl of orange and red as she falls out of the air and scatters the items atop the Smith’s desk. Chitter!! Chitter-chatter! Dance, dance, dance! She hops across the desk top in clear agitation. Oh how badly things have gone from bad to worse for her human pet. And this large bear of a man was the only person the little green could think to come to.

Aaron looks up as the little green pops into his office, and then when he catches sight of those whirling eyes, his own unfocus. A moment later, Cobalt glides out of the bedroom and lands beside Cottonwood, making a soothing little croon. Images are transmitted to Aaron in a roundabout way, and the Smith shakes his head. "I bloody well told her to take some guards…." he mutters, slugging back his juice and standing up, one hand going to check the knife on his belt. Offering both the blue and the green a ride on his shoulders, he walks out to the Smithy, grabbing a quiver of spears and his axe, then heading over to the Herder Wing. Runners borrowed, he hauls himself into the saddle of the largest one, then pauses, sending Cobalt ::between:: to find out just where Krissi is…

Meanwhile out in the Feline Territory

Krissi is quite literally up a tall tree. It’s less than dignified to be entirely honest, and the speed with which she’d shimmied up here defies gravity. But way up here she sits on the thickest branch she could find. At the moment the huge feline that has frightened her up here doesn’t appear to be in the clearing. But she still isn’t willing to risk it as of yet. The large animal hadn’t seemed to notice her wingless flight up the tree trunk. For that she is entirely grateful and feeling lucky. Just not lucky enough to venture down after that horrible scream that rent the jungle moments after her climb. She clings to the tree with one hand and balances her short axe with the other. Just in case. But with darkness falling she’s going to have to risk it soon.

Cobalt pops in from ::between::, bringing a blast of cold air with him that forms a little could of fog in the hot, humid jungle. He flies around the tree, chittering (almost) quietly at Krissi, scolding her. Then he's heading up, above the treetops, and gets a good view before flying off again, making a beeline for his owner. Minutes that feel like hours pass, and shortly, Aaron arrives at the base of the tree, sitting comfortably astride a runner and towing another behind him. "You don't listen very well, do you Krissi?" He calls up, trying not to chuckle.

Krissi grouses right back at Cobalt when he circles around her. “Oh stuff it! Go tell him I’m fine would ya? And tell Cottonwood she’s a handbag!” Because Kris is gonna kill her. Well, most likely not actually. But she’s still beyond irritated. And of course she makes it a branch lower to the ground when guess who shows up? Aaron! Lovely! She peers down at him as though judging his distance for a good axe throw. “I listen fine! The guard I was with shit himself and took off that way,” she points off into the trees. She on the other hand was not about to run and chose to climb instead. “Just hush!” Because she can hear the amusement in his voice. She stows her axe on her back and shimmies down another branch.

Aaron has his axe hanging from a shoulder, and a spear in one hand with the reins in the other. The weapon is a nasty looking thing, a needle-pointed head on a long oak shaft. "Guard, singular. I told you to bring at least a half-dozen with you, and I told you to let me know when you were coming out here, shardit!" He's amused, but he's just a bit peeved, too. "I've got my flits keeping an eye on the jungle, so hopefully we won't get any nasty surprises. I'd rather hate to get eaten after I came out here to bring your ass home." When she tells him to hush, he arches an eyebrow and looks up at her. "So, you'd rather walk home, then? I'm sure that guard would like to ride back, presuming he's still alive."

Krissi hadn’t told him because she’d had a sneaking suspicion he’d come with her. It had been a spur of the moment decision after she’d closed up with woodshop. And she hadn’t wanted to disturb him after a long day. “He said we’d be fine!” She informs Aaron about the guard. “Started bragging about growing up in the wilderness or some such,” she talks while lowering herself down yet another branch. Man she’s really up there! “Braverak the Brave don’t you know?! Brave my tight ass,” she grouses as she wiggles down another few feet. “If you want to leave then fine!” She’s up to her ears with huffy puffy men today. “Go find that sniveling coward but leave one of those spears,” she asks as she makes it down to lowest branches. From here it’s going to be a dangle fall, so she rests. “I have no idea if he’s alive. But I haven’t heard a scream since the feline darted across the path several candle-marks ago. He’s probably in the living caverns laughing at me by now.” She unhooks her axe and tosses it on the other side of the tree from Aaron.

Aaron laughs aloud at the tale of the idiot guard, but since he knows the man, his eyes go distant again and there's a ::pop:: somewhere out in the jungle. "Malachite'll find him. Here, catch," he says, reaching into a saddle bag and pulling out a coil of rope. He tosses one end up to Krissi, and ties the other quite securely to the horn of his saddle. It's easily long enough to go from the saddle, over the branch, and just a couple feet above the ground. "That's why I told you to take so many. They're cocksure young men down here for the most part, but a group of them might've been useful." He looks up at her, grinning just a wee bit. "You okay, other than your bruised pride?"

Krissi catches the rope and lets it coil over the thick branch beneath her to drape toward the ground below. “Well he seemed a decent enough lad at the time.” Granted she hadn’t wanted to wait for anyone else to show up. “I was burning daylight.” She slips her legs over the branch and loops a foot around the rope, holding it in place with her other foot. Thusly prepared she ‘stands’ on the rope and finds a handhold. Slowly shimmying down to the ground. “I’m a little scraped up from the running leap into the tree. But nothing is broken.” She lets loose of the rope and looks up at Aaron with a blush. “I’m sorry you had to come all the way out here like this.” It had been far from her intention, seriously. She’d planned to be back a little while ago. But well.. feline, tree, freaked out guard. Sigh.

Aaron shakes his head again, chuckling. "Forget about it, Krissi. Just please listen to me next time, hmm?" He asks, untying the rope from his saddle and coiling it back up. "You want any numbweed? I've got some here. I'm glad that you're mostly alright, though. Did you find any trees that you want to harvest?" Tilting his head back towards the second runner, he arches an eyebrow at her. "Can you ride? I'd really rather not be out here after dark." Malachite chooses that moment to pop back from ::between::, and after a moment of concentration, Aaron laughs again. "Braverak seems to be lost down by the river. We'll go collect him first."

Krissi is unlikely to just forget about it. But she doesn’t argue that point right now. “I’ll put some on my scrapes when I get home,” she tells him with shake of her head. “I don’t want to waste the time right now.” There’s nothing gushing blood, just several bangs and scrapes that ooze a little here and there. Slowly scabbing over. No doubt the busted state of her nails was caused by getting a grip on the lowest branch up there. “It’s been a long while. But I can ride,” she affirms and walks around the head of the second runner. Cooing softly to the beast and running a palm up its face to scratch an ear. She waits for Aaron to hand her the reins and flips them over the runner’s neck before walking back to get a boot in the stirrup. “I’m guessing he’ll have to ride back with me?” This is asked as she settles in the saddle and turns her mount away from Aaron’s.

Aaron watches approvingly as Krissi mounts, grinning when she coos to the runner. "What'd you two do, walk all the way out here? Or am I going to be paying the Herders for a couple of runners now too?" He's genuinely curious, but doesn't sound mad about the possibility. As far as he's concerned, it's just the cost of doing business. Once Krissi's mounted up, he rides around to where she tossed her axe, and expertly lifts it up on the tip of the spear, tilting the spear so that the axe runs down the handle to his waiting hand. Riding back over to her, he offers up the spear and the axe both. "Sling the axe, and you can have this spear too." He's got another half dozen hanging in that quiver after all.

“Of course we walked out here!” Krissi informs Aaron with a soft huff. “I wanted to get a feel for the trees and study the root system as best I could.” Not to mention she’d hadn’t thought to stop and ask for a runner to borrow and her ‘brave’ escort hadn’t mentioned it. She watches Aaron ride over and retrieve her axe and shakes her head. “I’m just all out of sync I guess.” She accepts the axe from him when he rides over to hand it to her. “Thank you sweet,” she loops it over her head and arm to let it settle into place between her shoulder blades. The spear she can’t figure out what to do with so she refuses it with a shake of her head. “I’m better with a bow.” But those are no good out here apparently. “Let’s just go get Sr. Brave,” such dripping sarcasm, “and get back to the Weyr.”

Aaron takes the spear back and holds it to his far side, walking his runner sideways and up against Krissi's runner, so that he can lean over and kiss her. "I'm glad you're alright. Please don't scare me like that again, hmmm?" He grins at her as he straightens back up in the saddle, truly happy that she's okay. "C'mon, Malachite says he's over this way, and they all agree that the path's clear for now." He snaps the reins, kicks his heels back gently and heads off into the jungle at a trot.

The saddle creaks as Krissi leans to meet his kiss. “I won’t,” she promises when she shifts her weight back into the saddle. She’d seen the size of the feline and heard its cry. It’s not likely that she’ll venture out here with a lone guard again. Or without Aaron for that matter! “I’ll work out a plan to down the seven trees I marked.” But the one she used for refuge will stand there forever if she has anything to say of it. Her mount responds to her soft clicking and with a tap of her heals to its flanks it’s cantering to catch up before dropping into a steady trot behind Aaron’s mount. Making good time toward their destination.

Aaron leads them deeper into the jungle, various critter noises surrounding them. His four 'lizards have plenty of experience in this jungle, though, and know not to get distracted from keeping an eye out for felines. "Like I said, babe. Lots of guards, and a couple dragons. Limb the trunks out here, and haul the bare trunks back to the Weyr as quickly as possible. That's how we've done it in the past, and it's worked out pretty well. It seems like if you get a large enough group out here making enough noise, the felines mostly give you a wide berth." And indeed, he's talking louder than normal, though not painfully so.

Krissi settles into an easy sway in the saddle. Despite the time since she’d last ridden she still keeps a graceful seat. Though she has no doubts that she’ll be stiff if this little foray takes very long. “I still hate to risk damaging the other trees,” she laments as she lets her runner play follow the leader and looks up at the canopy. “I suppose if it’s the only way. I don’t see how a dragon could get to a trunk this deep in though. We’d have to drag it or make rollers for it with smaller tree trunks.” She’s musing aloud as she contemplates the inevitable damage. “I really didn’t expect to see any felines. Most wild animals are shy of people.” Though granted the one that had spooked both herself and the guard had disappeared and not returned. So far.

Aaron chuckles a little, grinning. "Krissi, these aren't the woods up at Lemos that've been managed for generations. Traditional techniques don't really work that well down here. And remember, wildlife only stays away when it's not big enough to eat you. You're just lucky you missed the worst of the tunnelsnakes when we first came down here," he says, turning over his shoulder to wink at her. "The firelizards loved it, though. Gave them plenty of sport for a few sevendays. Just don't forget about this little… adventure, please?" Cobalt picks that moment to wing over, chittering a little and veering off to the left a little before disappearing back into the undergrowth. Sure enough, around the next bend in the path there's a branch off to the left, which Aaron takes.

Krissi sighs audibly at his lecture but she doesn't dare complain. She deserves it. "I suppose growing up in the forests up North didn't fully prepare me for life down here." It's a tough tincture to swallow as she's spent more than a little time alone amongst the trees of Lemos. "I feel rather lucky to have missed all that. I despise tunnelsnakes!" Ooey-gooey little varmints! And they smell like pure rot. She stops eyeballing her surroundings long enough to focus on Cobalt's chittering. Vaguely wondering if Cottonwood will ever return to her. Currently the little green is wedged up by Aaron's ear. "How far did that fool run?!" Surely by now they should have found Braverak. She tips the reins with a light hand and follows Aaron's mount onto the narrow path.

Aaron chuckles a little, shaking his head. "Ista and Telgar didn't do much to prepare me for this, either. Thankfully, we have a few folks from the Oldtime Southern Weyr, and they taught those that'd listen some of the more important things." Her comment on tunnelsnakes gets a laugh and a nod. "Oh, aye, they're nasty critters. Don't really know why they exist." He seems completely oblivious to Cottonwood nestled up against him, and grins to himself. "Just listen, Krissi. We oughta be able to hear the river pretty soon. Cobalt says he's straight ahead."

Krissi supposes that she should start listening more. “I guess I just didn’t want to appear weak,” she admits shyly. It had meant her calling if she’d been found to be overly girlish in Lemos. So she’d refrained from being thought of as feminine despite what her body clearly spoke to those looking at her. “I have no idea what purpose they serve,” she agrees about the ‘snakes. “They just make a mess of things as far as I could ever tell.” When he shushes her she falls quiet to listen. Over the creak of leather and plod of hooves water can in fact be heard in the distance. Despite her annoyance with Braverak, she hopes he’s alright.

Aaron looks back over his shoulder again, finally noticing Cottonwood as he does so. "Hey, you're not mine. Got let Krissi apologize to you," he says, gently shooing her off his shoulder. "There's a huge difference between weak and what you did, Krissi. Asking for help, or for advice, isn't weak. Or, if it is, I'm the weakest man in this Weyr. I'm well aware of my limitations." He turns his head just a bit again, listening closely before looking back forwards. "He oughta be right around here…." Aaron murmurs. Raising his voice, he calls out for the guard. "Braverak? Braverak! Where are you, you bloody fool?!" Because that's sure to bring him running!

Cottonwood makes a sound akin to the huff her humanpet makes when annoyed by something. She does as she’s bid though and hops off Aaron’s shoulder to wing back to Krissi. “Took you long enough,” Kriss says when the green settles onto her outstretched arm and scurries up onto her shoulder. “You okay baby?” She reaches up to rub little offended headknobs for a moment. When Aaron bellows for Braverak she laughs aloud. “Yeah that’s the way to sweet talk him honey.”

Braverak steps out of the brush with all the skill he can manage at the moment. Meaning to say his stumble doesn’t land him face first in the leaves littering the jungle floor. “Here! I’m over here!” He spins in a full circle before realizing who’s hollering from where. “Oh! Weyrsmith!! Good ta see ya! I see you found our Woodsmith eh? I was searchin the Jungle over for her.” Lies! He’d been trying to get back to the Weyr the Woodcrafter be damned.

Aaron chuckles at the huff from the little green, shaking his head in amusement. "She's a vengeful little creature, isn't she? You'd better go by the kitchen and get her some treats when we get back." When the guard finally shows himself, Aaron just glares at the man for a moment before turning his runner towards Braverak and letting the beast take a few steps forward. The spear he still holds in his hand is stretched out, the needle-sharp point of it picking at the knot on the man's shoulder. "You're a coward, Braverak, and your sergeant will hear about this." He pulls the spear back, resting the butt of it atop his booted foot. Even Braverak would know from the other guards just how dangerous the Smith can be with one of those spears. "Now get up here, if you want a ride back to the Weyr," he says, gesturing the spot on the runner's back behind him.

“I sort of told her if she left me I’d turn her into a statue,” Krissi admits bashfully. Among other colorful threats. “She obviously didn’t listen.” Or she wouldn’t be on this runner looking at Braverak dancing a ditty in the jungle. The hell is he doing?! She is glad to see the guy is alright. But she isn’t relishing the idea of having to ride back to the Weyr with him. A problem Aaron solves by poking him with a spear and telling him to mount up on his own runner. Well now! She hadn’t seen that coming at all.

Neither had Braverak apparently. The spear jabbing at his knot has him stepping quickly backward. Not wanting to be impaled should the runner shift its weight. “I’m no coward! I thought for sure she’d be right behind me. And when I looked over my shoulder she was gone.” See? This is clearly not his fault but Krissi’s. He gives a wide berth to that spear as he makes his way around the runner and steps up in the stirrup Aaron took his boot out of at the command to mount. Swinging up behind the Smith he glances back at Krissi. “Is your mount able to carry the both of us?” Because she seems far less likely to pummel the shit out of him.. From his point of thinking anyway.

Aaron looks back at Krissi and winks at her, not wanting to comment on how amusing he finds her and Cottonwood right now, not while he's scaring the guard. "Braverak, you're a coward and an idiot. I've had Malachite watching you walk in circles for the last twenty minutes. Now shut up." He takes the reins back up in one hand and gets them pointed in the right direction, then sets off. "We're fairly close, it's only about a fifteen minute ride." And this close to the Weyr, the threat of feline companionship is considerably lessened. Braverak's concerns are ignored, as is the man's comfort as Aaron pushes his mount to go a little faster than might be strictly needed.

Krissi’s eyes sparkle in obvious amusement but she keeps her expression carefully aloof. As though she cares not about the situation she’s found herself in. She reaches up to give Cotton a final pat and then clicks to her mount lightly. Turning the runner and following Aaron back toward the Weyr. Having trouble not laughing aloud at the sight of Braverak trying to keep his balance without hugging the big Smith in front of him. Finally the fool gives up and holds onto Aaron to keep from falling ass over elbows off the back of the runner.

Soon, they reach the Weyr entrance, and Aaron stop his mount, turning to Braverak. "This is your stop, you can walk the rest of the way." Once the man is off the runner, Aaron urges his mount forward again, heading back for the Herder wing of the craft area as darkness begins to fall. "Well," he says over his shoulder to Krissi, "all's well that ends well. Please don't scare me like that again, eh?" Once they reach the runner stalls, he helps the apprentices undo all the tack his runner is wearing and rub the beast down, indicating that Krissi should do that same. Once that's done, he shoulders his axe and spears again, then offers her his arm. "You want a shower first, or dinner?" Because he's sure that she didn't take any food with her…

Krissi watches Braverak venture off into the ‘Kitten rather than head back for the Weyr itself. Not her business so she follows after Aaron. Dropping nimbly to her feet once they reach the stables. His indication earns him an eyeroll as she is already loosening the saddle whilst an apprentice trades the reins for a bridle. She deposits her tack on the wooden posts designed for it and takes up a brush with a soft sigh. The act of brushing down the runner relaxes her as much as the troubled days Lemos. And she feels the knots slowly releasing from her limbs. “Shower,” she tells him while watching the apprentices walk the runners out for a cool down. “I’m not sure I’ll ever be hungry again.” Nothing like about being eaten, (well not even close) to ruin a girl’s appetite.

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