Who

Ibrahim, Kyriatis, N'yulo

What

Kyriatis' indecision over… everything comes to head via an offer from Ibrahim, and another from N'yulo.

When

It is before dawn of the tenth day of the third month of the fourteenth turn of the 12th pass.

Where

Turquoise Pools / Garden Terrace, Southern Weyr

OOC Date 09 Jun 2018 23:00

 

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"Surprise: you're a human after all."


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Turquoise Pools

Such beauty! Water the color of pure turquoise reflects the filtered light of Rukbat that comes through the small opening of the upper canopy; surrounded on all sides by lush greenery, the jungle stream tumbles into the brilliantly colored waters of the pool creating a waterfall that refracts the light into giving a near-constant, imperfect rainbow. The stream continues on, long past these hidden pools of turquoise, leaving behind the crown jewel of Southern's getaway spots. The spray of water from the small waterfall mists the rocks, and at some point in the centuries that Southern has been inhabited a quaint stone bridge was built to span the width of the small pools. Vines and jungle growth further add to the sense of seclusion, surrounded on all sides by nothing but nature.

The area is thickly forested with many bamboo and palm trees.

It is the tenth day of Autumn and 85 degrees. It is partly cloudy and everything is wet still from the recent rains.


Mornings come ever earlier for those who spend their days in earnest pursuit of seedlings and plants; this time, Ibrahim can be found around the Turquoise Pool, just perched at the edge and staring into the pool, breathing deep and slow, hands linked around his shins as he hugs his legs to his chest. His hair is loose again, falling down his bare back and onto the ground itself, seemingly rooting him to the ground — and nature. His soft cotton trousers are stained with the labors of all that plant-gathering, and a big basket of leafy greens rests by his side.

In the handful of days since Zymuraith clutched, Kyriatis has kept her head down, focusing on her duties to the exclusion of other distractions. The threat of felines has not kept her from the jungles specifically, but time has: there's plenty for a gardener (even one trusted with not much more than weeding) to do at this time of turn. No doubt that makes this morning's escape all the more satisfying, the girl's thick-soled boots squelching upon the still-damp ground as she weaves her way down the path towards the ever-beautiful pool. Ibrahim's presence draws a soft inhale; if she's not (yet) interrupted him, she'll hold still, watching that stillness from behind.

Oh, his hearing is sharp, his awareness of his surroundings hypersensitive: Ibrahim knows she's there, for even the lightest of mammals' footsteps give slight vibrations of the ground when the foot impacts it, however gently. It's also a sure bet that Nicandra, perched in a tree, and Wisteria, curled in the basket of greens, have seen her. In fact, Wisteria lifts his head, tilts it, and croons melodically at the girl. "Ah, the young gardener." Ibrahim turns his head, smiling, to welcome the girl forward. "I see we have both sought to get away from it all."

"Hello," says Kyriatis, though in this first instance it is for the firelizard— and that probably explains the overt affection (it'd probably sound a bit weird aimed at Ibrahim, despite her obvious positive friendly feelings for the wildling healer). Her exhaled breath ends in a smile, this directed towards the healer himself as she takes a few steps closer. "As you see," she agrees. "Even at this time of the morning, it's not all that quiet in the Weyr— not in the dorms and not in any common areas, anyway. Have you found anything useful?" Her head tips towards the basket of greens in a gesture of curiosity.

"Enough for my dinner, at least." Ibrahim rolls his eyes in amused exasperation as Wisteria rolls onto his side, stretching catlike with joy at having been acknowledged. His croon is loud, now as he stretches a paw toward the girl. "Cut it out, you clown." But his fingers are gentle as they smooth the lizard's belly. "So, Kyriatis — have you given more thought to exploring your life path?" To garden or not to garden, that is the question. "Because I think I can teach you a thing or two about herbs — if you're interested."

Far above, coming to perch upon a prominent branch in one of the overhanging trees, Ilasi trills her disapproval: her human pet, thank you very much. Kyriatis' gaze lifts towards the still-young queen, then back to Wisteria, and then Ibrahim. That she's surprised by his offer is plainly visible, those dark brows lifting as her eyes widen. "I would be," she says, instantly, barrelling into the answer rather than pausing to consider. "You'd really be willing to teach me?"

In response, Wisteria yawns, quite unperturbed; he's gotten used to being bossed about by a young gold. He curls up in the basket and goes back to sleep. "I would be." Ibrahim confirms quietly smiling at her. "In fact shall we start now?" He rises to his feet and scoops up the basket, firelizard and all. "What do you know of herbs, for instance?"

Pleased, Kyriatis smiles, all teeth and genuine, unbridled appreciation. "I've some time," she agrees. "I've… well, I've weeded in the kitchen gardens and the healer gardens a few times, so I know what's considered a weed and what's not— and that sometimes things we would otherwise consider to be weeds actually aren't, like dandelions. But I couldn't name a lot of them, or what they're good for."

Ibrahim is all too pleased to have knowledge he can pass on to the young gardener to be, then. "Ah, yes. Dandelions make excellent salads. And it also has some medicinal properties that are useful, when applied properly. For instance, there's the fact that if you make a tea of it, it'll aid your digestion. If you make a tea of the root, specifically, we've found that it lessens issues with the liver. The leaf helps with kidney issues. But you have to be careful." Ibrahim, nerd-fam. "I've plenty more, but let's drop this by my tent, then we can go play in the garden." He positively beams at her.

Kyriatis' nod suggests that she's some vague understanding of this— that her mention of dandelion probably comes from some knowledge, if not in the specifics. But it inevitably leads towards a question: "Lead the way. But tell me: how does any of this get figured out? I mean… did someone just, turns and turns and turns ago, eat a dandelion to see what it tasted like? And then later worked out that they could make it into tea, and that tea did some good? I mean, there's things that could kill you if you did that." She's clearly basking under that beam, her question-slash-comment bubbling out of her with great enthusiasm.

"Remember, we all have Records passed down generation to generation? Training passed on — our Traditions — " Ibrahim's thumb thumps into his chest, meaning the Chayeeli. " — indicate that we are to test every plant, in the smallest amount possible, in the presence of another Healer. Checks and balances, dear." He smiles. "As to how it happened that dandelions became medicine, possibly the same way anything else does — someone noticed a physical change after ingesting enough of it, and began to test it purposely, and found the hypothesis to be fact." He'll start up the path, now; he's definitely eager to trade knowledge with the girl — her enthusiasm feeds his.

Brow furrowing in consideration, Kyriatis' nod suggests that she accepts this explanation, more or less, though she's got plenty more questions to pepper Ibrahim with on their way from the pool, to his tent, and then on to the garden. As they make their way that last distance, she's on to question number who-knows-how-many. "Do you think there are more healing herbs out therein the jungles that we haven't found yet? Completely unknown plants, or even just plants we haven't discovered uses for yet?"

Ibrahim doesn't mind being showered with so many questions; it's his responsibility, having learned much, to in turn give that gift of knowledge to another, that they might know and pass on the information. The circle of knowledge is infinite; it protects the lives of others. "Of course there are. Nobody's been everywhere. Or tested every plant." His eyes sparkle with the imagining: could he discover a new plant to be used for medicine? "Can you imagine finding something else to use?"

Imagine a time in the world where N'yulo isn't just lounging about like some long-ass lazy cat, laying on a bench with one long arm dangling off the edge. As he hears voices, he sulkily opens an eye to stare at the two coming in: but wait, there's that wildling he forgot to get his numbweed from! He lifts his head from its comfortable pillow (his riding jacket and arm all bunched up) and purrs, "Oh, hello, there…"

"It would be…" Kyriatis' sigh is one of pure delighted imagining. "That sounds like a life goal." She grins up at the wildling. "You need to comb the jungle for that something new, then figure out that it's edible, and what medicinal properties it might be. No pressure." That last might be a tease, but the rest is near breathless with the sense of possibility. It's entirely likely her raptures of enthusiasm would continue, but N'yulo is an (perhaps unwanted, given the twist of her mouth and pull of her teeth) interruption. "Sir."

"Oh, dear. I suppose I'll have to leave off and do it now, then." Ibrahim's teasing right back, but the idea is rather tempting! It's not like his skills would be sorely missed here; there are many hands that can take over as an infirmary assistant. "Oh, certainly, no pressure at all." He laughs at her — and then is interrupted, yet again, by that long greenrider. Really. It's a conspiracy. "Hello. N'yulo, is it?" He digs around in his pocket, pulls out the numbweed the man had quite forgotten. "Here you go. Didn't manage to catch you yesterday."

"So snarly." N'yulo looks amused at Kyriatis' so-proper greeting as he sits up, running his fingers through his hair to pull it out of his eyes. "C'mon, stop calling me 'sir'. That gets annoying after awhile, you know. Besides, it's too early for formality. I'm just N'yulo, the sleepy night-sweeps guy." Is that a thing? Probably not, but N'yulo so loves to embroider stories. He'll jump up to take the jar from Ibrahim with a multitude of thanks before eyeing Kyriatis again, more consideringly "You know, I like your idea of looking for more plants to discover. Maybe we could all go. Or something."

Kyriatis' brows raise in encouragement for the idea: it's not that she's wishing Ibrahim away, but the idea has to be tempting. There's probably some small (or not so small) part of her that would be tempted to beg to go along. To N'yulo, "N'yulo, then." It's polite, but not particularly warm; she's bristled a little both for his description of her and, presumably, the interruption as a whole. "Why would you want to go hunting for plants?"

Smirking just a little — the description is rather accurate for the moment — as he runs the idea over in his mind. "Hm. I'd need an assistant, you know." He gives Kyriatis a sideways look. "If I were to go looking." Idly, he tugs the tail of his firelizard, still happy to have a bed of kale and spinach to sleep on, contained in the bamboo basket Ibrahim carries.

N'yulo is all sunny innocence in the face of her bristling. "Because I'm Farmbred. We grow plants. I'd like to see more plants." And then he's blinking beyond the other two in utter astonishment: Jiagairanth's long snout is carefully creeping along like some bit of reanimated ivy, snuffling in Kyriatis' direction. "Jia! Cut that out!" He moves to push at her insistent nose. "So sorry about this; she's mighty curious about you." Meaning the girl who's already got a thing against him.

"I'd go," is insisted upon so immediately that it's clear Kyriatis hasn't even thought about the logistics of it: only the sheer exciting romance of venturing out on such a quest. Unfortunately, N'yulo is still there and demanding his own share of attention (or is that just his green?). Both are stared at, the former for his surprising explanation, the latter for her… nose. "Hello," she says, not cautious (she's grown up around dragons, after all), but perhaps quietly resigned somehow. On an exhale: "Do you miss it?" That, presumably, is for N'yulo.

Of course Kyriatis hasn't. But Ibrahim has done such things before, on a smaller scale than Kyriatis has imagined. "Good. Then…" He'll just wait for poor N'yulo to restrain his eager green, the Collector of PEOPLE as she tries again to snuffle Kyriatis. Finally, the dragon's satisfied N'yulo's got the idea and settles with anticipatory glee. "She says hello. And she likes you. And I'm sure you know what I have to ask next." N'yulo, too, is resigned — and sympathetic for the gardener just got clear of being a candidate. "What? Oh, farming. Yeah, kinda. It's why I spend time here. Plants everywhere." He pauses, and gives Kyriatis a long, searching stare. "It's all a bit soon, I know. Haven't had time to catch your breath from the last time. And… I wouldn't take it amiss if you feel like y'need a bit more time to think it over." Digging around, he retrieves a white knot from his pocket. "After all, you just got clear."

Yeah: Kyriatis knows. What weyrbred child - indeed, what Pernese child, really - couldn't figure that one out? Her expression is a mix of emotions: resignation, perhaps, but also dismay and frustration, and a look aimed at Ibrahim that is completely and utterly bereft. It's not as if this wasn't inevitable, sooner or later. But. She swallows. She sighs. "Can I take it, and think about it? And I'll return if I decide I can't do it? But… not have to be one immediately?" The resignation in her tone is heavy, but so too is that quiet amount of hope.

N'yulo puts his hands in his pockets, and studies the girl with very real sympathy. "Provided you don't take all Turn to decide, young lady. Tell you what." He smiles at her, mostly in entreaty. "You come find me here tomorrow morning and tell me what you decide, huh? I can see you got some thinking you need to do, and I'm not gonna make you decide right this second." With a sharp nod, he's off, convincing the protesting Jiagairanth that it'll all come out right. Meanwhile, Ibrahim has set his basket down and approached Kyriatis, prepared to be a supportive shoulder and ear. "Ah, now, sweetheart, what's that look? Come on, let's sit and think this one over, hm?" He'll offer her his arm to usher her to a bench where they might sit and talk, if she wishes. Or just sit there — the herbalist and infirmary assistant has the time for these things, especially for this particular girl.

Kyriatis gives N'yulo a little, uncertain nod, silent as she watches him depart. Pliable, she accepts Ibrahim's arm, and sits, silent for a while before she admits, very quietly, "I feel like I'm being drawn in two very different directions. Especially now. On one hand, there are the plants, and learning more about herbs, and maybe finding new things and it's endlessly exciting." She manages, just briefly, to smile up at the wildling. "But then on the other, there's this whole other path. And it was hard enough when I wasn't sure if that was the path I wanted, but now… I feel like whatever I decide, I'll have regrets for the things I didn't get to do."

Ibrahim will keep hold of her hand, for some reason. It seems like the right thing to do, a bit of silent comfort for the nervousness of such a momentous decision. "Yes, I see your dilemma. It's a tough choice — and yes; sometimes when you choose one thing, you're also not choosing the other." He looks at her sidelong, consideringly. "I think, if N'yulo there is anything to go by, that you might be able to do both, to some extent. And there's Rielle; she's another dragonrider. A wingleader, no less; and yet she is often in the Infirmary, assisting with things, and has extensive knowledge of plants and how to use them. So, perhaps, you wouldn't have to abandon your first love."

Another time, it might feel weird to have her hand held like that. For now, though, it is comforting. Kyriatis swallows, thankfully not on the verge of tears but certainly starkly serious in the way she considers Ibrahim's words. "I hadn't thought of that," she admits. "I suppose maybe I could grow plants on my ledge, if it was positioned right and not too windy. And… it'd be easier to travel further into the jungle, wouldn't it? I might not be able to go for long periods, but…" She swallows again. "And saying yes is still no guarantee. I could be back in the gardens in a few sevens."

"All good options." Ibrahim nods, slowly. "You could. And if that happens, I will be here, and we shall sit with the pain of the rejection together, shall we?" He asks, gently, of the girl. Oh, how well he understands her reluctance to be put through the wringer again, and so soon. "There are never guarantees in this life, unfortunately. You love, you lose…" He shrugs. "It's never pleasant." And then he cants her a gentle look. "Kyriatis — you want to do this, don't you? You're afraid of being left again, though."

Kyriatis gives Ibrahim a tentative smile, grateful, for his promise. Under that gentle look, however, her eyes squeeze closed, and finally, very nearly reluctantly, she nods. "I wasn't sure if I did, but I saw what the others looked like when they Impressed. I saw their expressions. And… I want that. I think, maybe, it might be worth all the downsides. I still want all the other things, but I think… I think I want that, too. But I'm afraid. What if I let myself want it too much?" And she gets disappointed, again and again and again.

To want like that, it is pure youth, isn't it? Ibrahim has not outgrown his own deep and passionate wants; he's just good at hiding them behind a serene exterior. And so, when the girl explains her predictament, he sighs with genuine concern for her. "There is no 'too much' with this. I see no reason why you cannot want that level of companinship. No shame in wishing you could have the soul-deep knowledge of the dragon-bond. If you do not go out, if you do not present yourself, I worry that you will not have a chance of getting that. At all. Can I ask you a small favor, my dear?"

Kyriatis' nod is uncertain but also resigned: Ibrahim is right, of course. If she doesn't try, she won't get that opportunity. And not trying, just to keep one's feelings safe, is clearly ridiculous (however tempting). She turns her head to look at Ibrahim, finally focusing on him and not on the (oh so comforting) plants. "What's that?"

"Be open to risking rejection for the sake of love." Ibrahim wonders if she'll get what he's saying, here — because it certainly sounds weird right now. "Allow yourself to dream big, here, and take the knot. You want to. At least you'll be certain at the end of it. And, should you not find your lifemate, I will take you on my next real medicinal hunt. To give you more time to breathe without having to watch your companions with their new dragonmates, and have to pretend all is well. Hm?"

It's a rueful laugh that answers Ibrahim in the first instance, Kyriatis' expression twisting wryly, though there's no dismissal of what he's asked. "I thought that by not throwing myself into romantic relationships the way my peers do, I was safe from the usual teenage angst of broken hearts and… all the rest of that. But there's lots of kinds of love, and lots of kinds of rejection, aren't there?" She lets her (largely rhetorical) question hang in the air for a few moments before hse confirms, "I will. I promise." And, a few moments later, very quietly, "Thank you."

"Surprise: you're a human after all." Ibrahim teases gently, tugging her hand. "Let's go find N'yulo and tell him." Her thanks are met with one of those gentle smiles of his — how could he not support this young girl when she obviously needs a brotherly shoulder every now and then? It clearly goes against his nature to withold care and attention from any who need it. "You're very welcome." And with that, they escape the Garden.

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