==== Started a few days ago; finished January 5th, 2014.
==== Kyara, N'thu
==== Dragons seek the Lake, and their riders seek the Mirror Cavern to escape the heat. Slight content warning, just to be on the safe side ;-)

Who Kyara, N'thu
What Dragons seek the Lake, and their riders seek the Mirror Cavern to escape the heat. Slight content warning, just to be on the safe side ;-)
When There are 3 months and 21 days until the 12th Pass.
Where Mirror Cavern, Igen Weyr


Mirror Cavern
Cordoned off from the lake under a cape of stone is a sheltered grotto sized like a dragon weyr. Running water dribbles over the entrance not in any great torrent but lesser strings of liquid. Within, isolated waters assume a perfectly protected calmness pitching prisms of refracted light onto the walls and dome-like ceiling. How they flash when the pool's crystal clear surface is disturbed, serpents of light scattering like tunnel snakes from a lantern. Surfaces are naturally unfinished which explains the varying depths, 2-12 feet, and ability to be comfortably seated. As with any small cavern sounds have a way of being amplified be they swim strokes or nuggets of gossip.

The cooler end of a heat wave is still a heat wave, and the best escape from that at Igen is, without a doubt, the lake. The Mirror Cavern is certainly an added bonus to that particular locale, though. And solitary. That's why Kyara is here, and the strange, melodic, water-distorted flute sounds wafting gently from the cave would indicate she's managed to bring an instrument with her, too. The cavern is someplace she's always meant to bring a pipe, just to hear what the resonant room does to music, and she's succeeded before. She's just always been distracted from accomplishing her task somehow. Not so this time. The greenrider, clad in a wraparound green swimsuit that leaves her stomach bare, is lying on one of the rock shelves against the back wall of the cavern, her head propped on the waterproof satchel she brought with her as she blows a simple whistle tune into the echoing space. The effect is rather…ethereal, to her mind, adding one more element to the relaxing atmosphere of the place. For the moment, she's just enjoying the effect she's creating here, happy to have her mind diverted from all other occupations that have lately claimed it. Music - it fixes so much.

N'thu has always used the Mirror Cavern as a hiding place, since he was a young boy, and that's the secret — that he started coming there to avoid a) people and b) heat long before the family sent him off to the Weyr to bring back information. He was sneaking there first. Since Impression, it's been one of the few solitary spots he goes without Itzquintlith, the one of the pair much more prone to sitting in silence and simply thinking. When he and Teya worked together, they often used it as a secret meeting spot. Now it's just somewhere he's going to let his brain cool off, maybe get a nap — or perhaps be very pleasantly surprised, as what he at first registers as 'there must be someone in there, there's sound' is actually musical and pleasant and its source is Kyara. The bronzerider, clad only in just-above-the-knee-length swim trunks and with a (wet) bandana wrapped around his head, stops in the entry and gives her a crooked grin. Not speaking, not wanting to break the spell of the echo, and — maybe she won't notice him at first.

And notice the new presence, Kyara does not, at first - not with her eyes shut and the low, breathy timbre of her pipe echoing all around to mask any sound of sloshing water that an approach might carry. Eventually, though, there's a shift in the way the light reflecting off the water hits her eyelids - like something is in the way - and she opens her eyes, gaze sliding askance to pick up the silhouette there before she's sitting up. She has to blink past the bit of reflection that dazzles eyes sensitive from being closed, but after a quick rub at them, she can make out who it is. "Hi, N'thu," she greets, setting her pipe next to the satchel and skewing a grin of her own. An admiring glance flicks quickly over the length of him, but she catches herself as she slips off the shelf into the waist-high water. So easily distracted! "Just having some fun," she says, flexing fingers unused to the playing she's been doing. "Come to escape, too?"

It's not as if he wasn't similarly distracted — yes, N'thu has seen Kyara in less than what she's wearing, but that actually just makes the swimsuit more alluring. It's the whole 'mystery' thing men go for so easily in so many situations. But his brain is also somewhat fried, and so it's not as if he's likely to say anything; instead, a couple of blinks, and then he sloshes over to sit by her. "Yeah. It's. Hot outside. And I was outside so long I think I've actually melted my ability to think and my dragon, and it's possible my hair is singed. From sun." And for Igen standards it isn't even that bad! "We probably stayed out too long; I keep being surprised more of you Oldtimers aren't getting heatstroke, but I guess you've all got the sense to come in out of the weather quicker. This place is — it's a good place to hide from just about anything, though, not just the weather. Quint's not pleased he doesn't fit." He fits in the lake, which he is trying to command.

"So," Kyara asks, smirking as the bronzerider rambles, "this is either keeping your brain from seeping out, or hiding singed hair, hmm?" She flicks a finger lightly at the bandanna and sits down again herself. "I got heatstroke a few times during weyrlinghood. I don't care to repeat the experience." She grimaces a the memory - cramping muscles, burning skin - no fun at all. Outside, Liareth is watching Itzquintlith in his attempts to reign over the lake, crooning a greeting before coyly slashing some water his way. He doesn't look melted to her…but she might try cooling him off herself anyway. Ever helpful! Whether it's at that or something else said in her mind, Kyara laughs a bit and shrugs. "I'd think after living here so long, you lot would know better," she teases, settling back a bit before eyeing the bandana again. "Doesn't that make your head more hot?"

"Uh, it's cooling off my hair," N'thu admits, adjusting the bandana slightly. "Because it's wet. And actually, head coverage is always a good idea here. Scarves, veils. It stops the sun from beating down on you directly, even when it's dry. Wearing a hat would make your head more hot, but a scarf is usually pretty helpful." Usually: in his experience always, but there must be someone who had it backfire, at some point in history, so it would be wrong to legitimately say always. Itzquintlith makes a play at attempting to dodge, and then fans his wings out, making pretty waves that are low enough not to hit anyone, but they do make a nice picture. One he can then stare at and consider the angle of, until it goes away and he does it again.

Liareth tilts her head and watches as Itzquintlith makes his waves and considers them…and does it again. With a warble and a huff, she zips through his next set of waves before they disappear and splashes him with her tail before turning around to face him again. What are you looking at? This is more fun! In the meantime, Kyara takes another look at what's on N'thu's head. "Oooh," she intones, reaching up to touch it briefly and finding that yes, it is indeed wet. "Alright. Like sweating without having to, basically; I forgot all about that. I used to do that with a damp scarf around my neck when I was out riding routes at Ista." She grins, quirking an eyebrow. "It'd probably do me good to wear some sort of head cover. I'm just stubborn that way, I guess. But anyway. It's hot. We're both here, both have the right idea. Life is good." She slips briefly underwater to cool her own head, gathering her hair back as she comes up and looking over at him. "Anything on your mind?" She catches something more from Lia and makes a slightly exasperated noise. "Lia's in a mood, by the way. Just let me know if she gets on his nerves out there."

"Is that a good mood? It looks like a good mood." N'thu is grinning. Usually when he's in a good mood, he harasses Itzquintlith and his tendency to over-soliloquize. At least the green does manage to get his attention, and he makes little sing-songy throat noises at her. Presumably, just to see what she does. "That's how I treat him when I'm in a good mood. Right in his face. Ista — hot, but not as dry. Sounds nice," comes with a bit of a sigh, though N'thu would never leave Igen if you paid him. "My mind had been melting, but as of right now I'm actually thinking about how you have nice hair — led there by thinking about head covers, of course."

Definitely a good mood! Liareth is most certainly happy that she got his attention and slips across the water with a short up-and-down trill as if to say "that's more like it," playfully nudging his shoulder with her nose…before flipping more water at him with a wing. "Ista was nice," Kyara replies with a small sigh of her own, "but it was humid. I think I actually prefer Igen's type of heat to that." At the compliment, she gives a lopsided smile. "Oh, of course," she counters with a low chuckle, setting her chin on his shoulder. "Even when it's plastered against my head, hm? Thank you." She regards him quietly from there for a moment, her smile evening out. "I'm really glad you're here right now, you know. I feel like I haven't gotten to see that much of anyone since…well. Keroon."

"It looks good. I think it's just that kind of hair." N'thu dares to reach out and touch it, which turns into a more sentimental hand-stroke-of-head than perhaps he intended at first. But the truth of it is that he's always a bit more sentimental with her than he intends. Insidious feelings. "We've been — busy, yes, but it's also — everyone's been a bit busy. And everything's been so weird and crazy and I hadn't even meant to be at that Gather." Sure, he'd done a bang up job when he showed up, but that was a day plan interrupted and it's fair to say that N'thu and Itzquintlith had been thrown, at first. But now he has to joke, just a little bit. "It won't be as bad next time. And you're — Liareth's all better, I hope?" Itzquintlith has forgotten by now that the green was even injured, and is attempting instead to splash her in the FACE. With a tiny bit of water pushed by his tail.

And that is why Kyara has been able to identify the bronzerider as that "sticking point" she came up against when E'don visited not long after the freak Fall. Just those little things from him, like the hand against her hair - a gesture she tilts her head into almost reflexively. "I know," she says of the busy-ness of the Weyr in general since then. Another little thing: the joking. After nodding agreement to what precedes the joking, she gives a sharp smirk, one eyebrow arching. "Yes, she is. Completely healed. And so am I, thanks," she returns, giving N'thu a firm, playful poke in the side. Outside, Liareth doesn't quite avoid that bit of a splash from Itzquintlith, snorting lightly as she clears the water from her face…and focuses in on his tail. It's such a lure, you see. Let the pursuit begin!

N'thu embodies the joking, what can he say? He's got a reputation for it and it isn't one he's ashamed of: basically nothing will get him down, at least not externally. If anything, he's not somber enough sometimes. "Well, clearly you're doing just fine if you can shove me," he protests, laughing, because of course that was a 'shove.' The splashing has now moved inside, as N'thu waves his hand in the water and kicks a bit up in her direction — not actually far enough to make contact, out of concern for the pipes. He is not so difficult and rude as his dragon, who has noticed the tail-stalking and is thrashing it around in the water now, making a big splashy mess and hopefully not hitting Liareth in the face.

Well, as much of a splashy mess one can make in the lake! Liareth is quick, and does avoid the bronze's tail, though she warbles in scolding amusement at him. Oh, have some finesse! She lifts from the water, sending a short rain his way. Kyara, in the meantime, automatically raises a hand to shield what might be coming her way before regarding N'thu with mischief snapping brightly in her eyes. Worried about the pipes? There's a solution for that: move away. "Oh, no, no," she says with a low chuckle, "this is a shove." She suddenly leans full-force into his shoulder, hoping to push him into the water nearby, if she judges her leverage correctly.

The sound of N'thu toppling over is not actually drowned out by Itzquintlith's loud mewling noises at the green. (They're relatively friendly mewling noises, at least, and the tail keeps thrashing, but more slowly and delicately — more a rhythmic motion than a thrash or a flail.) But inside his head it's probably questionable. He actually lets himself sink for a moment, coming up again with his bandana dislodged and shaggy hair over his eyes that must be shoved aside, "Hey," he says, and then, "Okay, I'll give it to you. If I were meaner I'd have pulled you in after me."

Success! Kyara chortles as she watches the result of her efforts, though she is actually bracing in anticipation of being pulled in after N'thu. When it doesn't happen, she relaxes and leans forward a bit, looking down at him with a slight tilt of her head as if to say "that's it?" She grins impishly over the dislodged bandanna, eyeing the bronzerider a bit ruefully before pushing off into the water herself. "Oh, as if I couldn't handle it," she scoffs, pressing a finger into his chest in whimsical challenge and then just sort of leaving it there. "Leave it to me to judge what's 'mean.'"

"I can think something I may or may not do is mean if I want to," N'thu protests, but it is utterly and completely hollow — he's still laughing and trying to fix his hair. "I have been taught that dragging women around is as good as battery, and a completely improper thing to do without prior consent." Sure, the Tlatoani may think female dragonriders are some of the most useless people on the planet, but for the reputation Igen has they're relatively feminist. "And — pulling someone into water isn't really friendly and constitutes dragging, but if being mildly tortured is so important to you —" It's all nonchalant, relaxed language with a laid-back expression until about a half-second after he emphatically splashes her in the face.

"Throwing someone off balance doesn't constitute dragging," the greenrider replies, schooling her face and tone to innocence for a moment. "Besides, I'm used to rough-housing with three brothers. And apprentices, sometimes." Then, just as Kyara is about to protest the notion of being 'mildly tortured'…there's water in her eyes, and some in her mouth, and she yelps a bit, sputtering and blinking profusely as she battles right back. There's a querying bugle from Liareth outside, and Kyara laughs, still aiming water at N'thu as she reassures her lifemate that she is not, in fact, in trouble. They're just doing what she and Itzquintlith are, after all!

And there's Itzquintlith's low-throated laughing noise again; it's easy to tell when he is amused, at least, and he has absolutely no concern for his rider or Liareth's — no, he thinks this is absolutely hilarious. "So you should've expected that," is N'thu's conclusion, "having three brothers, and all." He's grinning at her, even as he's hit by another splash. Nobody ask how old they are, because you won't get an answer. "Except I bet you didn't have a place to torture one another with splashing — I actually had here. I definitely dunked my younger brother's head once."

Liareth is just a little protective, alright? But her rider's happiness is clear in spite of the splash fight, so she settles back down, just watching Itzquintlith for a moment. "Expecting it doesn't always lessen the effectiveness," Kyara grumbles, though she's grinning as well, and uses her last splash to get closer to the bronzerider. "Oh, we did," she informs him. "We were all born in Big Bay. Plenty of ocean to use. When I got to visit from the Harper Hall, that is." At the mention of dunking, she chuckles, letting another bit of mischief into her gaze as she shoots a hand out to the top of his head, perhaps considering attempting it. There's a very slight pressure applied, but then she just shakes her head with a smirk. "No. That would be mean. I never liked getting dunked. Tempting as it might be to try." Instead, she settles for letting her fingers sift slowly through his hair.

"It's very rude, when you come up at someone who is already standing there and shove them down. Flipping them over in your arms and holding them and putting them in the water head first, now, that's perfect for little brothers." Especially little brothers as spindly as Ahuizotl, who N'thu could probably still do that to. He's mollified enough by hair petting — okay, he likes hair petting enough it can't really be called mollified, but he does relax and go back to zen'thu mode. "If you're going to keep doing that, though, you are entirely dunk-safe." Itzquintlith is imitating a statue; it's what he does best. Except for how the tip of his tail is twitching.

"I was never strong enough to do that to mine," Kyara reminisces with a wry twist of her lips, fingers continuing to slip through N'thu's hair. Though his reaction to it intrigues her, and she giggles a bit. "Oh?" she questions at this revelation, and she ventures closer still - enough to get both hands involved now. "I must be doubly so, now," she surmises, quietly continuing her ministrations and presently giving a little sigh. "You have nice hair, too," she comments quietly, eyes following her fingers as they ruffle languidly through it. "Very nice. I could do this for a few candlemarks, if you let me get away with it." Liareth does not stay still, but gives a light snort for Itzquintlith's stillness and takes to drifting a bit…eying that twitching tail with some amusement. He should really meet Sikorth, if he hasn't already. They could have a contest over who makes the best statue.

"Oh," and N'thu yawns, "I would. I mean, I would probably fall asleep; does that count as letting you get away with it?" He doesn't really seem tired, just relaxed to the point where sleeping would be easier than standing up. Itzquintlith has a laugh for that, again; his rider is so easy to mock, even when he is being an impressive statue. A statue who eventually decides to lay a little lower in the water and enjoy the coolness.

Presently, Liareth gets bored of watching Itzquintlith’s twitching tail-tip - especially with Kyara urging her not to try nipping it, as she’s been considering doing. The pretty green gives up the idea easily enough, instead mirroring her rider’s contentment and sidling up alongside Itzquintlith to settle in the water as well. For her part, Kyara slows a bit in playing with N’thu’s hair. “Well, considering the water’s not the safest place to fall asleep, I shouldn’t keep at it too long,” she sighs. Nor does she, letting her hands fall from his hair to drape her arms upon his shoulders and drifting closer still. “Besides, if you fall asleep,” she all but purrs beside his ear, “I might be tempted to try getting away with more than that.” Drawing back from his ear is a slow, brushing act, meant to tease. The light peck she places on the end of his nose after that, however, is much quicker and more playful; she grins, hovering close. Ah, this is too much fun! But for Kyara, fun not lightly played at; regardless of how her thinking’s changed, this is not a way she’d act with anyone but him.

Apparently lifemate does not stray far from dragon, because N'thu's immediate reaction to quick-and-playful is to bite at the air near her face. Spending too much time around the wild jungle creature, or just picking up his instincts — not that his tendency toward using teeth is anything more than playful now. As a weyrling? Different story. "And I would probably let you," the bronzerider replies, languid again now that he's done acting like a feline, "except not in the water, as I think drowning puts a damper on most enjoyable interpersonal exchanges. You can't even wink." With the humans having covered the nipping, Itzquintlith is content to lounge … mostly. He's still making small ripples with his tail, now that Liareth isn't stalking it. Which one's the kitten?

Not expecting the air-bite, Kyara flinches the merest fraction of an inch, eyebrows jumping momentarily before she makes a bit of a face and laughs. "I'll keep that in mind for future reference," she tells him. "And I think you're right. About the drowning. It would make everything dreadfully dull." So. There'll be none of that, thank you. With a grin, she folds her arms about his neck in an actual embrace, resting her head on his shoulder with a contented exhalation. "Mmm. I bet I'm not helping your original intent for coming in here," she eventually murmurs, languid in her own right and somewhat against his neck. Is she repentant over it? Not in the slightest. A few fingers lift to play at the hair at the nape of his neck again. It's there, and she apparently can't resist doing it. "I hope you don't mind."

"Drowning would probably ruin my life," N'thu offers helpfully, smiling as he delivers the statement. It is an incredibly good point, about drowning. "I don't know that yours would be too great either, after watching me drown, but it would be significantly more of a damper for me." There's Itzquintlith's laughing again, outside, soft and subtle. "Well —" Why did he come in here again? He did have a reason, it's just that she's distracting and … "You are not a large crowd," and then he twists around to kiss the top of her head, "and you are not actually making it impossible to rest or relax, which I'm sure was my primary motivation, so — you can stay, I guess."

"You don't say," Kyara returns flatly to his first, though she also smiles over it. The rest, though, has her making a dismayed sound in her throat akin to a groan, and her arms tighten around him a bit. She's well aware he's being flippant, but still. "Yeah. But then you'd be stuck in my head for sad reasons, and I'd have to live with that," she more or less grumbles. Then her voice smoothes out again. "I'm happy having you stuck in my head for current reasons, thanks." At the kiss atop her head, she lifts it from his shoulder, amber eyes meeting his blue impishly. "Oh, thank you, I guess," she counters sarcastically. Is she distracting? She doesn't know it - nope, not at all. That's totally what the sensual curve of her smile indicates. "Good to know I'm not hindering that motivation. Am I doing the opposite, then?" Lips brush his, inviting and almost asking permission…because if she has it, she's not likely to let him say anything else for a while.

"Well, I don't know," N'thu murmurs gently, touching the tip of his nose to hers before following up with another similarly-chaste kiss, "if you are actually particularly restful," since that's certainly a distraction from the resting angle, the kissing part. Not that he at all seems to mind, and he's not pursuing any further line of sad topics. Nothing sad so long as it's gone out of the joking arena; instead he is all rakish smiles and a gentle hand finding a good spot to rest on her back. "But you've never seemed to have any trouble getting me to relax." Does another, deeper kiss count as permission? Because that's what she gets, as soon as he's done talking.

"Restful" is likely a state to be pursued later…but not at the moment. Not after that permission given is thoroughly accepted. Making out in the Mirror Cavern? Oh, yes. That suits Kyara just fine - a perfectly acceptable and wonderfully welcome escape from both the outdoor heat and, for a little while, the concerns of life at large.

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