N'cal, Vashae


N'cal shows Vashae an amazing secret of his, and in the process, they unearth that they have a fighting chance….together.


Not long before Elicheritath rises.


Vashae's weyr, Igen Weyr and Elsewhere

OOC Date


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Rukbat has officially dipped below the horizon now, marking with certainty the end of N’cal and Iolarth’s watch shift at the Star Stones. It ended interestingly, to be sure…and with the near certainty that the day will end with even more interesting events (which is wont to happen, whenever there’s a glowing gold about), the tall bluerider is currently tossing around ideas about what to do from here. Shea has rather swayed him toward one or two possibilities… He slides a glance at his antsy lifemate currently sitting watch as much on the edge of his ledge without falling off as he can and shakes his head. “Iolarth,” he mutters, sighing gustily and walking over to place a hand on a muscular blue haunch. The avian-like dragon relaxes fractionally, swinging his head around to listen as N’cal gives him an instruction. With a snort, Iolarth reaches out a mild, energetic breeze to Jovianth. « Is yours in the midst, my friend? » the older blue queries, his rich baritone a bit more clipped than usual. « Mine would come to have a word, if that is not the case. »

Jovianth’s response is immediate and curious, his Fortian tenor followed by a far off orchestra’s final notes, a breathy cello the most notable among them. « Mine is not, she was merely cleaning things up which I am so always telling her she needs to do — » He pauses for a moment, and then, « You and yours are welcome anytime! » His mental fog swirls along the last wisp of his words. While he may not be able to chase Elicheritath when she rises, he is certainly more chatty today than he has been in a few days. Though any number of things could be attributed to that! Undoubtedly there is a brief scramble on Vashae’s part while she finishes putting things in their proper places. Or well, what will be their proper places for now. Even this long after getting a weyr, she still hasn’t quite settled on where things belong. But for now, for today at least, it’ll do. Especially if N’cal is visiting, for however long.

Some of Iolarth’s agitation is also coming a bit from his sense of N’cal’s own disjointed thoughts at the moment, but as they make their way to Jovianth’s ledge, the wingsecond finally settles on an intent, the image he allows into Iolarth’s mind eliciting a happy rumble and a slowing of the whirling in yellow-green eyes as he lands. There’s a sharp rejoinder to the sky blue dragon as N’cal straightens his jacket and makes his way toward Vashae’s weyr, though he’ll get away with as much as he can. « Mine has something in mind I think you’ll like, » Iolarth confides to Jovianth with a chuckle upon a warm breeze…which is quickly stilled by a hint of grumpiness. « But I’m not being allowed to reveal that yet. » Meanwhile, N’cal comes to the threshold between weyr and ledge, calling out for the bluerider within after clearing his throat a bit. “May I come in?” follows as he pulls off his gloves, momentarily trying to soothe a few disgruntled feathers where his lifemate is concerned.

The other blue is naturally intrigued by the hints Iolarth has dropped, his eyes following N’cal to the weyr before turning back to his fellow. « I do so love a good secret you know. » He tells Iolarth cheerfully, the disembodied choir that frequents his mind ‘warming up’ their voices in the distance. Iolarth’s grumpiness at not being allowed to tell him is all but ignored with the younger blue’s anticipation of what it could possibly be. “Please do!” Vashae answers with a smile as she approaches the threshhold from within the weyr. “Is everything alright?” Because drop-ins like this, while not disliked, are unusual. Inquiring (and formerly healer) minds like to know if something’s wrong.

« Indeed I do, » chuckles the older blue to the younger; he’s spoken enough with Jovianth to have that figured by now! Still, the bird of prey within his mind is circling indecisive and high above a shadowed forest, no sunlight touching tall pines except for those in the far distance as he hems and haws about whether or not to dive down to locate the prey below. The shadows seem to block him. « I can tell you that it involves exploring, » Iolarth says in a somewhat sing-song tone, meant to pique interest, « and that it’s quite amazing, but I’m not to show you yet. » Slightly less grouchy, that…but the sentiment is present nonetheless. N’cal comes inside a step to meet Vashae, a reassuring smile cast down at her with a shake of his head. “Everything is fine,” he replies. “Iolarth is just being a bit touchy because I wouldn’t let him stay up on the Star Stones with Cervilaevarth to watch for Elicheritath…which I suppose is also part of what has him edgy.” And perhaps (to a smaller extent) his rider? “With that in mind,” he continues a little quickly, softly clearing his throat, “I was wondering if you might be interested in perhaps…finding somewhere else to be for a little while. A bit of exploring, if you’re of a mind to? There’s something - someplace, actually - I’ve been hoping to show you.” Blue-green eyes regard her with a hopeful dance, and he inclines his head a bit her way, adding, “If you’d like,” more softly to end the idea.

It’s really easy to figure out the blue in the aspect of what sort of things he likes…because generally they are things he simply never ever shuts up about. And Iolarth has significantly piqued the younger blue’s interest merely by mentioning the possibility of exploring. Exploring was, after all, how the blue pairs first encountered one another, and further exploration can only be a good thing! Vashae relaxes a hair when N’cal smiles, and more when he says everything’s fine. “Jovianth is…well, he’s alternating between insanely talkative and rather silent.” The latter of which is quite the extreme for the younger blue. At his offer of exploration, Vashae’s interest is piqued as well, and her eyebrows raise a little, eyes lit with amused interest. “I’d be happy to, N’cal.” She says, perhaps relieved to have something other than the usual everyday things (also the Elicheritath wrinkle!) to do. “It would be a good distraction.” Of what’s likely going on today. “Is it far?”

N'cal's smile widens in relief, his shoulders relaxing a fraction from a tension he hadn't known he'd been holding. "I'm glad," he returns with a chuckle, reaching down to give Vashae's hand a gentle squeeze before being momentarily distracted by Iolarth, a quick mental exchange taking place before he's smirking at down at her again. "And we'd best get going before Iolarth gives it all away. Persistent lug. It is far," he confirms, reluctantly relinquishing her hand, "but that's no obstacle for us, now is it? It's quite cold, and nighttime there, so layer up. But the cold is quite worthwhile, trust me." Outside, Iolarth huffs impatiently. Can't they just go already?

Vashae squeezes his hand back lightly, and laughs a little. “Jovianth’s pestering him about it, isn’t he?” She smiles, and nods her understanding. “I’ll grab my gear,” she replies affirmatively as to his remark about the cold there, and smiles over her shoulder at him, eyes dancing, as she disappears further into the weyr. She’s become accustomed to warmer climates, but layers are something she was all too used to in her past…so she won’t take long at all. Especially considering that, with the weather here lately, layers are pretty much a necessity. “Alright, I’m ready when you boys are.” Cue mischievous eyes.

“Slightly,” N’cal concedes, scratching his head as he glances ledge-wards, “but it’s not as if Iolarth isn’t completely willing to give him every detail.” With a nod, he watches her move out of sight, taking to propping up the wall nearby because…well, wall-propping is conducive to watching, after all. Iolarth takes the opportunity to fill his lifemate’s mind with a teasing laugh at that, to which the wingsecond rolls his eyes. Still leaning when Vashae returns, he pushes off from the wall quickly, noting the mischief that surfaces in her gaze. He’s quite fond of that particular look, and ventures an arm around her shoulders to show it as they move outside. It isn’t long before they’re winging up above the Weyr with Iolarth very eagerly giving Jovianth the image of their destination - shrouded in the true dark of evening, a jagged expanse of sheer grey mountains dusted in snow, the charcoal-black line of a dirt track below flanked by snowbanks lit in full moonlight, winding in switchbacks up to an enormous ledge outside the inky speck of a small, shadowed cave mouth.

While he’s leaning against the wall, he’ll get a chance to take a good look around at the order that (for right now, at least) is Vashae’s weyr. It would be silly to try and memorize it, though, because it’s just as likely as not that the next time he happens here everything could be in a different place! The arm the Wingsecond slips around her shoulders is met with a smile and a teasing quip from the young woman. By the time they are high in the sky, and Iolarth is sharing the visual with Jovianth, the blue pair’s curiosity is very well piqued, and after a long enough moment to fix the image in their minds, the curious blue confirms their readiness. Three breaths later, the pair of blues and their riders emerge into the picturesque landscape. It’s safe to say Vashae is admiring their view, definitely!

Ah, but the view from here is just the beginning of what N’cal intends to show Vashae. With a happy bit of a hum for finally getting to come to one of his favorite spots again, Iolarth banks into a shallow curve down to that big ledge, the clicking of talons somewhat muffled by the layer of snow upon stone as he lands. N’cal removes his helmet and secures it to his lifemate’s straps before dropping down, boots softly crunching in the powder as he moves off to stand beside the mouth of the cave as Iolarth takes off again. So cold and still is it that even the lightest breath makes a pronounced cloud before his face. He leans against the rock (again) as he waits for Vashae to join him, while Iolarth hovers above. « Come along! » the blue is entreating Jovianth gleefully. « They will come to where we are, I promise. Follow me! » When he’s actually able to, of course.

Jovianth is quick to land once Iolarth has cleared the ledge, and Vashae is almost just as quick to land and secure her helmet once she’s on the ledge herself. “Go on, you, and try not to get into trouble.” She tells Jovianth affectionately, to which he rumbles with amusement. Vashae moves to join N’cal, and only once she’s far enough away does the blue leave the ledge as well. « I am ready! Lead the way. » Jovianth is eager to see this place that has Iolarth so excited to be back to. “It’s gorgeous here.” Maybe she’s stating the obvious, but well. She’s always been a sucker for beautiful scenery!

Once the younger blue is back up in the air with him, Iolarth gives another eager hum and takes off just a bit higher before wheeling over the edge of the crags above them, abruptly out of sight. Where the dragons are going…well, its isn't far for a couple of large, able creature such as themselves, so they'll be there rather shortly. Iolarth, however, is under orders to make certain Jovianth doesn't give any of it away to his rider, if possible. They'll get to the same place - but the route is different. "You should see it in autumn," N'cal says, glancing about as he comes away from the wall toward her with a secretive smile. "In the sunlight. But this," he says, turning to gesture into the cave, "is best seen now. Just a short hallway to the best part, really, but like nothing you've seen before, all the same. It's a path I've walked several times." Eyes flick back down to Vashae, mischievous in his own turn now. "Therefore, you lead the way." Sweeping an arm toward the dark opening, he advises lightly, "Keep a hand to the wall at your right, to start; you'll be fine." As if it'll be the easiest thing in the world.

Vashae watches their lifemates go briefly, and then turns a smile on N'cal. She rather likes it when he's being all secretive, honestly. "Hm." Is her only commentary on seeing this place in the autumn, but that whatever they're going to see now is best seen now. Where her voice withholds her thoughts, however, her eyes reveal them - she's definitely intrigued by his words. "How did you come across it?" She asks, curiosity again looming forth. The quiet from Jovianth isn't paid much attention to; she probably credits it to him being with Iolarth, and chatting away at him, instead. At his behest, she approaches the lightless opening, and casts a grin over her shoulder at him. "You make it sound so simple." Her tone carries what her face says - she's simply teasing. Not one to be afraid of the dark, she starts forward into the dark of the cave? Cavern? Whatever it may be in front of them, her hand trailing along the right wall.

The tunnel-like cave they're venturing into has a ceiling two man-heights above them, and it's wide enough in most places for four people to stand side by side. The only light to guide them - at first - comes only from the reflection of moonlight off the snow without, and it isn't much after a good dragonlength or so. Half a length more beyond that, the natural path along the mildly rolling floor curves out of sight. The faint, gentle sound of slowly running water meets them from somewhere around that turn, the fact that it isn't frozen perhaps tempting further investigation. "Well, Jovianth might not have let me take you in here if he knew about the difficult part later on," N'cal returns with a completely straight face - save for his eyes - as he follows along close behind Vashae, his hand also slipping along the wall in spite of his familiarity with the place. The low chuckle following resounds slightly in the enclosed space, along with each step they take. "This place," he says in answer to her question, "is very near the cothold I grew up at. My brother and I stumbled across it when we were out exploring as boys. We told no one of it for the longest time; we didn't know the value of what we'd found. When my younger brother Calen grew into his Craft, he cut the trail up here. As for what made it valuable, well. Keep going. You'll see." It gets much, much dimmer after that initial dragonlength, necessitating more cautious steps in the darkness…yet it never gets completely dark. Perhaps it has something to do with what lies beyond that turn ahead…

The bright side of this whole situation is that it was already dark out, and while the moonlight did light things up a bit, Vashae's had time to let her eyes gradually adjust. "Oh, I don't know," she answers softly, not wanting to disturb the place more than they already are, "he's warmed up to you. More than he had, at least." Her teeth will be a flash of white against the dark. Always with the teasing! "Seriously, though, after Iolarth dropped the first hint, he was all raring to go." The amusement in her voice conveys what the overall lack of adequate lighting prevents her face and eyes from. "Is that so…" A glance is cast back at N'cal, her curiosity doubly piqued, moreso about it being close to his birthplace than anything else, and the mentions of his younger brother. "It doesn't freeze, all the way in here?" Because she's noticed that sound of running water, yes. The more dim nature of things means she's keeping her eyes ahead now, trying to be cautious with her footing. It wouldn't do to slip because she wasn't paying attention!

"No," N'cal answers, his own voice automatically lowering to the same volume as Vashae's and starting to rasp with the cold. "There's a hot spring nearby - inaccessible on foot, but you'll feel it in the air, in a little bit. It's thought that it got uncovered by the same thing that made this cave. Careful here," he whispers in warning, because as they round the curve - which turns out to be rather sharp - what little light was reaching their feet vanishes. Another outcrop of rough, dark stone looms up on the right, and the sound of water becomes a little more present. Immediately beyond that dark bluff, however, more light can be seen - but of a very curious sort. Very different from the pure moonlight outside, it comes as a soft, almost eerie illumination, a slight green or maybe blue cast teasing about the edges of it. And if they keep going, a few dozen steps more…the caves widens, the ceiling suddenly spangled with the pale blue and green of glows in their natural state, clinging to every niche and ledge and reflecting in a shallow, slow moving ribbon of a subterranean creek that slithers along the left wall and out of sight under a low rock shelf.

"Aah, that explains it." The mystery of the running water solved for the moment, Vashae is all too curious to see just what lies ahead. That the light has a slight tint to it has her curiosity further piqued, especially with the eerie elements added to it. N'cal will be able to tell the moment she's spotted the first bit of glows, because she does stop in her tracks for a moment, speechless. She continues on into the wider cavern after a moment, glancing back at him briefly in surprise. Her mouth opens and shuts a few times, but it takes her a bit to actually stop looking around a bit to find words. Or well, a word. "Beautiful." Because it sums up what this place is, and she's not sure further words could, at the moment, really describe it.

N'cal is definitely able to tell when Vashae stops, seeing as he's close enough behind to nearly run into her. He stays where he is for a moment, watching as she moves a little further into the cave and meeting her glance back with a wide grin. The glowlight is bright enough for most details to be seen, though in shadowed hues thrown off kilter by the distinct blue and green. The temperature difference between the water and air creates a thin veil of steam, hovering over the surface of the stream and moistening the walls just at ground level before turning into a thin rime of ice further up. "To think they're same things that light the corridors in the Weyr," he murmurs, wandering toward her as he looks around in turn. "Calen and I always thought they seemed brighter in the winter, as if the air might be cleaner for them to feed off of; I don't know. I just know I never tire of it. Beautiful, indeed. But," he amends, stopping in front of her as his eyes set to dancing in their quest to catch hers, "it does have it's competition, at the moment." His smile slants roguish as he regards her, though his gaze flickers beyond her for just a moment. Yes, he still remembers rightly - the spot where the cavern narrows again and leads to what lies beyond is just there, a light dusting of white belying the closeness to true outdoors again. But they'll get there. He's content to be distracted for now. "It's still not even what I brought you here to see, entirely," he informs her quietly, his hand finding hers. "That's just beyond here. But it's not going anywhere. Whenever you're ready."

You know what they say about being able to catch someone off guard with something? Whatever Vashae had expected to find here, it wasn't this, but even if he hadn't brought her here, that he brought her somewhere so near his home means much to her. "I can see why you'd think so." She murmurs softly. "It's very— lovely, in here." Her eyes are still on the glows as she says that, though they turn back to N'cal before too long, dancing with happiness. She values what he says, so instead of teasing him as she so often and wantonly does, she merely gives his hand a squeeze when it finds hers. "Neither of these are going anywhere," she points out softly. "I'm…ready, I think." To see the real reason he brought her here, though where they're standing right now is more than reason enough, so far as she's concerned. Before they go, she gives him another smile, and two simple, unexplained words. "Thank you."

N'cal doesn't let Vashae's hand go this time, placing a kiss on the back of it for her words before beaming another grin down at her and leading her toward the narrower passage out. The air returns to it's initial chill closer to it, and there's a rather pointed puff of air that greets them from around the curve there. Well, that would explain the lack of moonlight… N'cal peers around the rocky threshold and looks up through the dark at shadowy bulk of a large nose. "Iolarth, move your great, bloody head, would you?" he calls up to his lifemate. How are they supposed to see the way up, otherwise? There's a rumble and some shifting that echoes back down the path. Before taking them further, however, the wingsecond suddenly register's Vashae's last and pauses, turning back toward her with a gentle smirk. "For what?"

Vashae goes along with him gladly, liking the feel of her hand in his, and is rather glad for the dim lighting because it means that the color of her cheeks is pretty well hidden. For now, at least. When the lack of lighting is revealed to be Iolarth's fault, Vashae can't help but to laugh a little, and glances up at N'cal with amusement wrote on her face. But she'll keep her attention focused on her footing for a moment, until he registers her previous comment. Another smile is directed at him, and where normally she might just tease him, she's just open about it. Which speaks volumes for how comfortable of how she feels being relatively alone with him. "For showing me that, and whatever's ahead." Because it means something to him.

"It's always been a place I've kept to myself," he confesses, smiling gently and reaching out to brush a thumb fondly over her cheek, "but you are worth showing it too." Then the smile jumps to an eager grin, and he renews his grip on her hand as he takes them onward. "Hold tight! You'll need to." Which is presently demonstrated by the fact that the now-illumined path before them is a bit of an upward clamber over snow-slickened rocks. It isn't far, though, and once N'cal has found his footing on the level ground beyond the craggy exit, he'll pull Vashae up after him into a scene as surreal as the glow-cave, in its own way - a narrow cleft in the mountain, roughly thirty dragonlengths long and twelve or so wide, sheer sides covered in stubby evergreens slanting to a flat floor and all covered in a blanket of completely undisturbed snow, knee deep. Undisturbed save for what the dragons have tracked through the otherwise pristine scene, that is. The trees look alien beneath the weight of the snow - coupled with the fact that they are all unusually short for a supposed forest, few standing taller than N'cal himself. Content that N'cal and Vashae have made it here safely, Iolarth wings up in a flurry of powder and glides down the length of the miniscule valley to perch upon a rather odd jumble of dark stone at the far end. This is what he's been on about to Jovianth; it's stone that smells funny, to him. And of course, there are the fat, juicy caprines that roam here, undisturbed and therefore delicious, but that's just a side perk. "This," N'cal whispers, because any sound seems so disjointedly loud here, "is what I really wanted you to see."

He'll feel the heat rise in her cheeks, and the grin that crosses her lips. But before she can really say anything, he's all eager grins. She holds tighter onto his hand at his warning, and clambers after him. Once she finds her footing after he's pulled her the rest of the way up, she'll take his hand again in hers. This sight is as impressive as the last, and that it's so untouched makes it even more beautiful. "N'cal…" She breathes, her voice whisper soft as well. Her eyes seek out her happily entrenched lifemate briefly, and content he's all good and well, turns her attention back to the scene before them. "This place, it holds so much unexpected beauty." Unexpected to her, perhaps, but it was surely unexpected to him the first time around. His hand gets squeezed a little tighter, a silent thank you to him again, for showing her this. For letting her see something he treasures.

"This," N'cal explains quietly, leading Vashae a bit further forward until they're quite in the midst of the snow edged at all quarters by stunted trees, "is a scar. A very small nick caused by what so many of you sought to escape." Eyes casting around at the long shadows drawn from the bowed evergreens by the stark moonlight, he keeps on. "When I studied Starcraft…it was the one time I told anyone else about this place. Sometimes they'll still come here by dragon, to study. You see that pile down there that they're so interested in?" he asks, coming around behind Vashae and drawing her line of sight to it with a pointed finger. "A piece of what made this. Four centuries ago, this wasn't here. It burned for decades, most of the Starcrafters of our time guess. Laid dead for at least a century and a half beyond that. Then one day…life found a hold again. The trees have only been around for a heartbeat by the measure of the world. But they live. And that's what matters." His hands settle on her shoulders as he looks beyond her to gaze at the fragment of what fell from the sky, his chin lightly resting atop her head (since it's at such a convenient level). "It's healed," he murmurs, lips curving into a thoughtful smile.

Vashae is quiet in the revelation of what caused this place of beauty to become, listening as he speaks, and thinking. His hands on her shoulders and his chin on her head startle her out of her thoughts briefly, and a smile crosses her lips again. "Any Healer would tell you that every scar has the ability to heal, given a fighting chance." She answers, her tone a touch playful. "For all the ill it did, the Comet still brought beauty to Pern." It's perhaps startling, but also wonderful. Her hands rest on his, but since he's standing where he is, he can't quite see the expression on her face at the moment, now can he? "When the Starcrafters started talking about a comet, no one wanted to believe them." For all that this time is hers now. "And even when it was undeniably present in the sky, so many still refused to believe it would actually hit…so I'm glad that the scars it left are healing."

N'cal gives a low chuckle at the playfulness of Vashae's tone, but can't figure out a good way to retort at the moment; her hands on his are not quite expected, but very welcome, and the gesture encourages him. "The fighting chances given," he says, coming a bit closer still to leave a mere inch between them, "can make the most profound impact, indeed. Now, if I told you I have one last, Harper-grandiose bit of words to tie all this together," he says, the grin evident in his voice even if she can't see it as he lowers his chin to speak close to her ear, "would you tease me overmuch? Though I fully expect it, mind you."

Caught without a retort? Vashae must have said just the right words, in that case! She's considering the Comet remnants so far away now when he speaks again, and smiles at the grin in his voice, and at his words. "I might be inclined to tease you a little, depending on what they are." She admits freely, but their relationship? companionship? Whatever it is they may call it has been full of such. "But I might also be just as inclined to be doubly impressed." And there's the lighthearted tease he was probably expecting, by now. "Either way, the only way to know for sure is to be out with them, N'cal."

Laughing - for yes, there it was, as expected - N'cal slips one hand out from under Vashae's and catches her back against him in an embrace. "In that case, I may just have to opt for extremely simple," he says, easing back on his laughter upon hearing it echo a bit. At least it isn't a place prone to avalanches! "You have been my fighting chance," he tells her in a much more hushed tone, next to her ear again. "I haven't let myself be completely at ease with in anyone, in such a long time, because of the scars of my past. Until you." He sighs, a light warmth at her cheek, as the confession comes surprisingly easy. "We haven't really spoken of what exactly we are, Vashae, but…us is something I would like us to be." The arm around her tightens slightly, gently. "Is it something you want?" he asks at little more than a whisper, unable to manage much more because, as with so much lately…this is a risk. But a very worthwhile one.

Vashae is caught by surprise at his embrace, and smiles at it. Even if he did decide to go for the simple, the words that follow quickly have Vashae blushing, a softer smile crossing her lips at his admission. Her eyes have softened as well, because if not for him can she be vulnerable, than who can she be for? "I am glad, N'cal, that I have been your fighting chance," she says softly, the abandoned hand finding his again, just to touch it lightly. "We haven't, you're right, but I didn't want to push you before you were ready." Then, to keep him from potentially having to try and detangle her answer, she makes things very, very simple. "Yes, N'cal, I would like us to be us." She would like that very much. As certain friends of hers know all too well! It's a risk she's very, very glad he's taken.

"I wondered who was waiting on whom," N'cal observes wryly, shifting slightly to see her face. Grinning warmly, he adds, "Thank you," in a quiet rasp that belies an emotion less well-defined than his expression can convey. The arm that's been hugging her to him loosens, only to find the fingers of that hand touching her cheek in a gentle urging to look at him…which he intends to conclude in a very glad kiss, if he's allowed. He'll wait for her reaction, afterward…because he still feels it’s rather bold of him. Perhaps he shouldn't. Well, no "perhaps." She just agreed to be with him, after all; bold is how he's feeling now! "Well," he says after a check with Iolarth on the state of things back at the Weyr, "I don't think we have to worry about flying back into chaos now, if you'd like to go back. Or we can stay a little longer." He grins, keeping her close. "Whichever you'd like."

A cheeky grin - one of her best, after all - is directed at him when he shifts to look at her. It softens to a smile when he's urging her to look at him, and when he does finally kiss her, he'll find he's very much allowed to, for as long as either of them dare. "I'm not opposed to staying a little longer," she says, being bold herself. "They won't need or be looking for us for a while…" Which means they can stay, unless he'd really rather like to return. Otherwise, Vashae is all too happy to stay close to him, and perhaps steal another kiss. Either way, eventually the blues and their riders will have to return to the Weyr…a great deal having happened during the time they were gone, both at the Weyr, and away.

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