The Woes of Overconfidence Pt. III ((Z'go/Elowyn))


 

Present Day


Freezing darkness enveloped them, robbing them nearly completely of their senses in the three breathspans that it took them to traverse it's deep void.  Before they knew it darkness became color and they were in the rafters, high above the Arolosian peninsula, circling downwards towards the enormous Weyr bowl just below them.


It should've been a beautiful and idyllic scene of the tropical Weyr, but any beauty to be found was immediately overlooked by the torrential rain that hammered down from the sky above, with even greater intensity than the heavy shower that had been falling at the Harper Hall.  Albeit the rain, Arolos's famous heat and humidity was still present. Z'go couldn't help but say, "Home sweet fecking home!" as they descended.


Elowyn hated the between. One moment you knew where you were, and then suddenly, you /weren’t/. Nothingness. So icy cold she could swear she felt the water in her hair, on her skin, beginning to form frost. Nothin to breathe, nothing to hear, to see. The absolute definition of terror for the harper. /Just count/, she reminded herself, focusing on the pounding of her heartbeat in her ears. /One… two… three.../ It would be over soon. 


Rain hit her face, hot, wet, and startling in contrast to the absence of all before. Elowyn flinched at the sudden change, filling her lungs with a gasp more relieved than afraid. If she had thought herself soaked in the North, she came to realize this was somehow /worse/. Water had already begun to bleed through the oiled outer layer of her coat, and though the wind aloft kept her short curls in a wild tangle, the rain prevented any hope of an air-dry. /Of course/ Arolos would welcome her home with a shower. The feeling of being too long away from her roots was quickly losing its luster.  By the sensations she received from her flit companion, the little bronze was quickly becoming tired of his containment; combined with her disappointment in the weather, Elowyn’s mood soured swiftly. 


She could hear the brownrider’s disgruntled comment and grumbled wordlessly in agreement. The sooner they were on the ground, the sooner they could be inside and out of the downpour. Opening her eyes at long last, she hazarded a peek at the sprawling Weyr below. “Looks like the day I left,” she admitted in annoyance without a hint of wistfulness remaining.


Z'go directed Gamyth towards the entrance to the Harper Haven and the two-toned brown landed with much more care than he'd taken off with, gently touching ground and kneeling so the riders on his back could get off quickly.  He wasn't exactly pleased with the rain, either, and was looking forward to snuggling up in his dry weyr.


After unhooking them both, Z'go slid off of Gamyth with Elowyn's bag.  Once he touched the floor he reached up to help her down, "Looks like every damn day this week," he commented in response.


Elowyn was grateful to be on solid ground once more by the time Gamyth touched down. Flying was a usually tolerable affair, but the rain had made it completely miserable. Z'go could not have possibly unclipped the harness fast enough for her liking, though she did wait for his assistance to climb down from the saddle's height - it would have been a shame to fall and so easy in such slippery conditions.  


"Thanks," she offered in return, her smile brief, but present. 


Absolutely done with his confinement, Toki shoved his way out through the neck of her jacket, squealing in admonishment. "Yes, yes! I'm going!" She told the impatient bronze. True to her word, she took off at a run through the rain for the shelter of the building without waiting for Z'go to follow - expecting that he would with her bag in tow.


He was right behind her.  As soon as the two had cleared Gamyth took off, flapping his large different colored wings so as to get out of the rain as soon as possible.


Once Z'go was clear of the rain he placed Elowyn's bag briefly on the floor and did his best to take off the heavy, soaked poncho, half lifting his jacket and tunic underneath in the processed, offering a momentary glimpse of Z'go's tanned abdomen and the dark blonde hair that trailed down from his navel.  He quickly pressed the clothes down and hung the poncho on one of the hooks on the wall.


"Finally out of the fecking rain," he muttered with a heavy sigh and he grabbed her bag once more, keeping a wary eye on the fire-lizards antics.  He suddenly wondered why he was doing it; his part was gone, he had brought her here. Any other passenger would not have gotten any type of special treatment.  For a moment he wasn't sure what to say to her, " So... do you know where to go?"


Elowyn began unbuttoning her coat as quickly as humanly possible, eager to be free of the heavy, sodden thing now that they were out of the weather. Without waiting for her to finish, Toki burst free of his makeshift shelter with an impatient series of trills, sending at least one if the buttons rocketing across the foyer with a rattle. "Toki!" She admonished, but the little bronze was not bothered in the least. Coppery wings spread, he soared upward into the rafters just above and alighted there with a territorial trumpet. If there were other flits nearby, they seemed to ignore him for nothing but silence answered the cranky firelizard.


Elowyn might have chastised the creature further, but her eyes had been glued to Z'go from the moment he began undressing - brief though it was. The hints of a devious smirk tugged at the corner of her mouth. Before he had turned around once more, she realized she had frozen mid-motion and resumed doffing her own protective gear in the hope he hadn't noticed the pause. 


"Uh, yes I actually do," she answered his question, finally lifting her gaze from him to the hall itself. "Or, I did." It had been many Turns since her last visit, there was bound to be some reorganizing. "They've set aside a room for me. If I recall, the dorms are.. that way. Come along, Toki." Elowyn folded her wet coat under one arm and took off into the building without waiting for either to attend her. 


"I was born here, you know. Before the Haven was finished. I grew up in these halls," she told him, the hints of fond nostalgia creeping into her words. "My parents were Harpers here and I followed after them, what a surprise. I had a bit of a reputation for being a little shit."


Why was she telling him this? The words were out of her mouth before she could stop them, only realizing in retrospect that she had begun dumping the beginnings of a life story on him. Elowyn found herself slightly uncomfortable upon recognizing how easily she had wanted to open up. 


"Anyway. Shouldn't be too far, I think we're about to pass the dining hall. Do you.. want a cup of klah while you're here?"


A harper from a line of harpers, he thought to himself, watching her as she spoke, following her without a second thought.  He snorted, "I can't imagine why," and smiled, half playing, half teasing her. Z'go couldn't help himself, especially with her; plus, he remembered their first meeting and the fire he'd sensed in her.  The same warmth that made him incapable of not looking at her today.


"Klah?  Sounds nice, but we really should get you out of those wet clothes," he replied.  Knowing how it could be interpreted, his smile grew, "I mean, even here in the South you can get a chill.  You're soaked to the bone and just went between."


Glancing over to the klah pot he formulated a quick plan, "Let's go to your room and drop this off.  While you get changed I'll order us something to eat."


Elowyn grinned cheekily over one shoulder at him as they walked, but he was right: she /was/ soaked. She hadn't counted on being greeted by a second, worse, storm than the one they had left and her clothes weren't the only thing to suffer for it. Her hair dripped water down the back of her neck at a steady pace, and she could feel her boots squish unpleasantly with each step. The simple bleached-linen blouse she had on below was well past damp, clinging to her skin and bordering on translucent. "The sooner I'm out of these clothes, the better," she agreed teasingly in turn, playing along with his entendre. "May need more than klah to keep me warm after all that rain."


Navigating through the dorms on the first floor, Elowyn located the room meant for her - a key waiting in the lock. She didn't hesitate to open the door, throwing it wide and hurrying inside. She immediately began tugging the first boot off her feet, tossing it against the near wall unceremoniously. "You can set that anywhere," she told Z'go of her luggage, hopping on one foot before finally removing the last shoe. 


Toki dove through the doorway after his mistress, winging in a tight circle about the small quarters before depositing himself on the lightly-quilted bed. The little lizard turned his triangular head towards Z'go, eyes whirling between green and yellow suspiciously. Elowyn paid him no mind. "Shut that door while you're at it," she told Z'go, not specifying on which side of said door he should be.


With her back to the rider, she began to peel out of the shirt. Light skin barely tinted by the sun after Turns in the north broke out in goosebumps to meet the cool air. As she threw down the shirt with a wet slap onto the floor, the visible muscles of her back betrayed a strength that wasn't immediately apparent at first glance, no bulk to speak of on her slender frame. "If I were a towel, where would I be?" She asked no one in particular, thinking aloud.


He could definitely think of better ways than klah to warm her cold body up but he remained respectfully quiet on the matter, preferring a knowing smile and a simple, "Let's go warm that little body of yours up."  And it was little; she was a thin woman and her damp blouse revealed it just as well as that perfect Gather dress she'd worn turns ago. Once they entered the room he set her back on the floor, right next to the door which was already in the process of closing as she bid it, thunking shut at isolating them from the outside world.  


Her shirt came off and splatted on the floor, but Z'go paid no mind to that.  His eyes were completely focus on the woman in front of him. Incapable of stopping himself, Z'go closed the space between them in a few silent step.  Brazenly, he dared touch her, brushing his right index finger down her back, his knuckle rolling softly over each peak in her spine as he slowly descended.  The larger man leaned over, speaking into her ear, "Let me help."


Both of the brownrider's hands her on her now.  He held her hips for an instant and then drew them forward, the tips of his fingers underneath the crease of her pants, between skin and cloth, until her entire lower abdomen was in his hands.  His lips descended from her ear downward, exploring her neck and shoulder, depositing soft kisses as he went.


Elowyn shivered in a way that had nothing to do with the cold. Z'go's finger moved down her spine and she paused, his hands growing more bold by the moment. The warmth of his touch was a blissful contrast on her cool skin, but as of yet uninvited. Turns before she had been more receptive, but time had not frozen on the moment. Elowyn was not in a mood to be played with, tired and wet and cold, despite her willingness to tease and easy smiles for him. 


A small part of her felt the rush she associated with his attention and wanted more, but it was vastly overruled. She laid both hands on one of his arms, fingers wrapped gently around his pleasantly firm bicep while those of her other hand curled around his forearm. Adjusting her balance, she used her lower center of gravity to her advantage and set into motion a shoulder toss that would land the presumptive rider on his ass if successful.


Z'go expected a giggle or an invitation to keep doing what he was doing, so he was really confused when the world suddenly flipped over on itself.  A sharp pain exploded throughout his backside and lower back, making him shoot up almost as soon as he made contact with the floor, cursing, "Feck! What the fecking grrr!  Feck! What the feck was that fecking for?"


His right hand massaged his tailbone (which was more than likely sprained and would hurt for the next few days) and he paced around the room, walking in a circle around the half naked woman, which he was totally ignoring at this point, other than to shoot the odd accusatory glare, "Ever heard of word fecking stop or no?  Faranth mother of shards, what the feck!"


On the bed nearby, her little bronze scuttled away from the action with a beat of his wings and a rebuking screech. His eyes whirled red as the rider hit the floor with a thud. Elowyn, on the other hand, settled her hands on her hips and glowered at her fallen friend. "Did no one teach you to look and not touch?" She demanded, adopting a stern edge to her voice. As he leaped back onto his feet, she folded her arms protectively across her bared chest, regardless of whether he gawked. 


Cobalt eyes followed his circle, lightning in the glare she fixed him with. Rather than continue to scold him, her lips thinned into an annoyed frown that softened as his tirade continued. "Wait, you're… you're not truly hurt, are you?" Elowyn asked, furrowed brows lifting slightly as the thunderclouds cleared from her expression. She hadn't intended to injure the man, only hurt him - a little; just to wind him, really! If she'd actually caused him harm..? Shells. 


Toki chattered away to himself in the background, amused by the rider's pain more than anything.


"I don't fecking know," he snapped.  How would he? He hadn't heard a snap or anything, but there was an undeniable pain shooting up from his tailbone up through his lower back.  He attempted to sit down but aborted immediately... feck, what if he couldn't ride Gamyth? How was he supposed to sit down through a whole Threadfall.  "Feck, woman, you really are something. I need to go."


He  made his way towards the door, stopping only to look back at her.  Z'go seemed like he was about to say something but in the end he just shook his head and snorted, "Welcome to Arolos Weyr, El."


Elowyn frowned, following him to the door only with her gaze.  Her expression hadn't changed much by the time he turned around, but she looked far less likely to strangle him than she had to begin with. His observation and declaration gave her some surprise, but she kept it from her countenance.  Retreating so soon? Shards, maybe he really /was/ hurt. Guilt began to take root in the pit of her stomach, a vile weed that made her doubt her knee-jerk reaction. 


She hated that feeling. "Thanks, it's good to be home," she snapped back with more venom than she truly meant, her words dripping with sarcasm. Toki trumpeted.


"Right," replied the brownrider, catching onto the venom in her tone, even if she hadn't meant it, and passed through the door.  He closed it behind him and stiffly started making his way to the Infirmary.

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