Birdbath - RPLOG
A click of Trace's beak, a small smile as he gestures at the summit of the volcano in front of him and Sveta. "Well then... Shall we? Ever flew before?" he asks after a moment of contemplation, scratching at the back of his head with a small smile.
Sveta eyes the summit. Convection schmonvection, she was the phoenix, he wasn't, and if he couldn't feel the heat, then she wasn't, either. Still..."Trace Blackwing, let it be known, for the last time, that I do have my apprehensions about this. But still, you are an adult, and presumably you know what you are doing - and I trust you to be as such." She coughs. "And yes, I have. Not in the manner in which you've suggested, though."
Oh, Trace definitely feels the heat. For one, there's the literal heat from the volcano, and for another, there's the metaphysical heat of the rather... Daring stunt he's about to perform. He's already mentally mapping the collection of spells needed for this trick, working on fire and air magic intended to steer the winds and heat just the way it needs to be. "I have to see the depth of the lava before I decide to jump, mind... There needs to be enough wiggle-space to make sure the jump is possible," he mumbles, guiding Sveta along and peering over the edge. "I'm not doing it if there's a real possibility of things going wrong."
Sveta nods and peers over the edge, across at the phoenix dedication point on the other side of the circular rim, then at the ascetic camp back on the mountain plateau behind them. It's a long drop down into the caldera, with bits and bobs of semi-solidified magma floating on the surface. Even though the heat is not that much of a bother to her, she still feels the rising air, smells the sulphurous stink of volcanic gases rising from the pit far below.
"You go first."
Trace chuckles and nods faintly as he tests out his spells with a click of his beak. "All in due time. Cliffjumping is... Different. Sure, you have to worry about the drop just as well, and the rising, but here... The flow of air is different. It swirls and shifts around more than normally," he mumbles with a small click of his beak as he adjusts the spell. "A miscalculation could put you right in a downwards spiral you can't get out of."
Sveta nods and leans back with a stretch, carefully watching Trace in silence. He definitely seems to be more comfortable with this topic than most others...a trait which should be encouraged.
Trace nods and smiles faintly as he spreads his wings, feathers wafting in the foul-smelling winds. A final few adjustments to the formulae, and he forms some sort of foil made up of swirling air over his wings, along with a somewhat clean bubble over his beak as he readies his jump.
Soon enough, he's diving into the volcano at a rather... Steep angle, wings folded back while he builds up speed.
Sveta clicks her beak and eyes Trace. Unknown to even herself, she's holding her breath.
While Trace falls with his wings folded back, he's merely waiting for the right moment, the right current of air... And even though his descent is still exceptionally steep, it's flattening out about two-thirds of the way down, before he spreads his wings and practically soars upwards on a combination of the upwards flow hitting his wings and his own magic.
Sveta cocks her head to one side and watches Trace for a while. Her gaze follows the kite as he moves in the air, then eventually, she brings her gloved hands together in three slow claps. "Impressive."
A smile, a click of Trace's beak as he rides the convection up into the sky, before gliding down along the volcano, circling the caldera and occasionally slipping back into the rising air to gain more height... He appears to be enjoying himself quite a bit, with the warm air flowing between his feathers.
Well. At least it's one of the few times that Trace truly seems to be enjoying himself, without worrying all the time or giving off the impression that he's there to be polite...with a soft sigh, Sveta readies herself, knowing that her turn will be up soon.
Another click of the beak, a smile as Trace continues his path, smiling faintly and looking down at Sveta. He seems to be lowering his altitude a little further, about one-third of the height of his flight, while he dips in and out of the airstream to maintain that height.
Taking her cue from Trace, Sveta looks out over the caldera and leaps as well, letting herself gain a little speed before unfurling her wings and catch the thermals rising up from the lava. She does so much more conservatively than Trace does and as a result doesn't get as much height or look as impressive, but that's only to be expected, right?
A smile, a swoop, and Trace speeds up to fly right above Sveta, only two meters higher to ensure there is enough airflow for the both of them. "If you spread your wings and swoop back into the stream, you can gain more altitude!" he notes after a moment, demonstrating by executing a short, upwards glide, followed by a spiraling downfall to his original height.
Sveta follows Trace's lead, swooping back into the thermal to gain height while letting her wings rest at the same time. Her movements are still measured, careful - there's still danger, after all - but at least the initial trepidation is fading.
A smile, another swoop towards Sveta. It seems Trace is doing some sort of aerial acrobatics, making a corkscrew around her, before grinning faintly in her direction. "If you feel your energy run out, land immediately. At that point, things can go bad fast," he calls out... "'Course, I'm sure you already knew that, but still."
Sveta nods, saying nothing, concentrating. It's almost like a dance, with Trace leading. She trusts him to handle himself, and judging by his words, he feels the same way, too. Maybe this whole venture is quite insane, but at least she's prepared to handle this brand of insanity.
A smile, a click of the beak, another swoop, another spiral around Sveta, and he almost seems to invite her to join in on the 'dance', to follow his lead, his eyes focused on the goshawk, his mind on the flight, the dance, the motions with and towards Sveta.
Sveta follows Trace once more, using the easier time in the wake of his passage to catch up to him, passing dangerously close to the kite before catching another thermal and wheeling away. She passes closer to the surface that one would rather, ignoring the rising heat from the convection and finally moving to land on the caldera's rim once more.
A smile, a short, evasive roll sideways as Sveta passes him by, almost as if he planned for that, before he too breaks off and lands besides Sveta after one last circling of the caldera, smiling faintly and looking back towards Sveta in silence, waiting for her to say something.
Alas, Sveta doesn't say anything - not at first, at least. Slowly, she clears her throat and smiles. "Why don't we rest a while, and then we can do it again?"
A nod, a smile, another click. "Sounds good to me," he confirms with a smile, before looking around. "Here? Or down in the valley? Down there is... Obviously safer, but we'd have to hike back up here after that," he mumbles after a bit of contemplation, casting another glance at the caldera.
Sveta flaps her wings a little, settling her feathers. "There's a camp near the summit. We can head there for a bit, get some tea. I'm sure that's far preferable..."
As afternoon approaches, many of the visitors to Firebough scurry for the shade in order to beat the blazing desert heat out over the cloudless sky. Today, though, as the two avians make their way into the tea house, it's not that crowded, and they're able to find a low table without too much bother. There are no chairs here, only cushions for one to sit or kneel on.
The scents of steaming flour and freshly brewed tea waft through the air, invigorating the senses.
A nod, a smile, a click of the beak as Trace and Sveta make their way over towards one of the tables, the kite curiously gazing around the teahouse and smiling faintly as he looks back towards Sveta.
So far, he seems to be waiting on her incentive, having decided that 'lets go flying above the volcano' was enough taking charge for him, at least for now.
"Seating for two, please," Sveta says to the orange-furred wolf behind the counter, who flashes a wolfish grin to her in reply. Seems like she's no stranger here. "Tea and buns." With that, she leads Trace over to a corner table, pats down a cushion and invites the kite onto it before pulling over one for herself, settling down on it with a small sigh. "So, did you hear of this place recently?"
Trace smiles faintly. "I've explored the area a bit more... Those bone-dragons down there... Well, lets not focus on them," he mumbles with a slight frown. "I've been exploring the area and all that," he mumbles with a faint smile, looking through the window for a moment. "Haven't set been here specifically, though... I've mostly been exploring the surrounding area."
At length, the wolf comes over with a small tea set, clay cups, and a plate fo steaming buns, wordlessly setting them down before bowing and leaving off. Sveta dismisses him with a wave of a gloved hand, then pours out the reddish-brown concoction from the teapot, letting the steam billow out before setting it back down.
Slowly, Sveta raises her cup to her beak, although she doesn't sip yet, instead waiting for Trace to do so and watching for his reaction.
Another small smile, another click of the beak, and Trace uses a faint bit of air and fire magic to guide the steam away from his cup and gently lower the temperature until his tea is drinkable. Soon enough, he takes a sip of the concoction, smiling faintly and perhaps a bit wryly, but so far, he's still holding firm.
Sveta raises an eyebrows at Trace's reaction, then shakes her head, downing her down steaming tea in one gulp. The goshawk doesn't say anything, but maybe there's a gleam in her eye, perhaps a challenge for Trace to outdo her...if he can, that is.
Oh, he can. He most definitely can. Trace grins faintly, preparing a small spell under the table with one hand, while taking the cup firmly with the other, downing the remainder in one gulp.
A few seconds later, the kite admits a small burp, flames literally spreading from his beak as he releases his spell with a smirk. "Spicy, that."
"All right, that's overdoing it," Sveta says with a shake of her head, although the tone of her voice suggests she's anything but serious. "Seriously, though, while you're here, you should get a case of tea to take back with you. Dried is never as good as freshly roasted, but it's good on a long, cold night when you have to remain awake. How do you like the atmosphere here?"
Trace chuckles lightly. "Point taken," he offers with a small smirk, before nodding faintly. "The atmosphere is nice, the wolf seems like a good sort... It's kindof warm, but that's to be expected this close to the volcano, of course," he mumbles after a moment of contemplation, nodding faintly.
Sveta nods. "It's a peaceful environment - I like it here. The ascetics are simple, their lives are plain, and the Good King lets them be. Even with the hot springs becoming popular, and folk flying in from Firmament just to soak for a day or two, their way of life hasn't changed much. It's what convinced me to be a phoenix in the first place, although I didn't spend the year as an ascetic that they recommend. Anyone is welcome to join in the exercises and meditation, though."
A nod, a smile, a faint flap of the wings and a light click of the beak as Trace listens to Sveta in near-silence, nodding along with her as he listens. "Is... Everyone in the camp a phoenix? Most people? Only some of them?" he ventures after a moment, head canted to the side just lightly.
"As far as I know, all of them are, save Reynar here. There're mining operations off to the east - the best crystals for use in spells come from here - but I don't think they count. It can be kind of strange - the way they live and think is so different from most folk - but it's an interesting change of perspective. Most visitors just for the hot springs, though. I think I should fancy a soak myself, later."
Trace nods again and smiles faintly, his beak clicking lightly and a small nod. "Wouldn't mind a soak myself, honestly," he mumbles after a long pause, smiling in her direction again, spreading his wings momentarily, before he lowers his arms again and simply waits for Sveta. "So... Other than what the tales say... What exactly is a phoenix supposed to be doing?
"Me? I don't know, to be honest. I just live my life as I would, and when it does come in useful, I do what I can." She tilts her head to one side, as if studying tRace for a moment, then smiles. "I'm sorry, that was a terribly vague answer. But it's the best I can come up with. Any intention the Creators had for us is long gone. We're just what we are. Speaking of which...I could use a dip right now. Don't worry about the food, it's a slow day. Reynar will hold the table until we get back."
Trace nods faintly. Well, that wasn't exactly helpful, but he'll figure out what he's supposed to do at some point. "I didn't mean what we were supposed to do for the Creators, of course," he offers after a bit, before nodding lightly. "Lead the way?"
He's first to rise, offering a hand to help her up, before waiting for her to take the lead.
Sveta nods and accepts the proffered hand. "They're that way, out by the side of the tea house. There're three pools - I don't think the private one's in use at the moment."
A small smile, a click, a step as Trace follows Sveta into the private springs, smiling faintly and, once again, waiting for her cues. It seems he's pretty clueless as far as this goes, clearly not having partaken of the hot springs before.
Sveta looks at Trace amusedly, perhaps even slightly contemptuously at the kite's clear befuddlement. "There's nothing to be confused about here. You just disrobe and step in - this isn't a creator machine where you have to turn around three times and clap your hands before approaching it. Of course there's some etiquette involved if you're using the public pools, but it's just us here."
Trace seems to be trying to process the information supplied to him. He doesn't recall bringing any sort of swimwear, and he's not sure Sveta brought any herself... This was totally not going to be incredibly awkward for the poor kite, was it? He looks a little... Petrified, though.
Sveta blinks. It's a while, though, before she realises what's wrong and bursts into laughter. "Silly! Look at the water!" She points down to the cloudy, mineral-rich water. "No one's going to see anything, silly. You're supposed to go in as you are - it's only that way they the water gets to your skin evenly. Are you shy? I'll turn my back, just today, but it's not something you're going to be getting used to, I say."
"I... It's okay," Trace mutters after another moment, fiddling some with his clothes, before finally stripping down, whether or not Sveta's turned around or not, and lowering himself into the water silently, looking up at Sveta for a moment, before averting his eyes... Even if he can't help to occasionally glance curiously in her direction... Unless called out for it, of course.
In the interests of Trace not having conniptions, Sveta turns around while he disrobes, waiting for him to get into the water before she does so easily and smoothly. It's not as if there's much to be seen on that thin frame, hidden by those thick feathers
;kneeling down by the poolside, the goshawk tests the water with a cupped hand before lowering herself in with a small sigh. She takes a deep breath of the steam rising from the pool, beating at the water's surface with her wings a little before getting comfortable.
A small smile, a gentle nod, another beakclick, and Trace looks up at Sveta again, silently scooting over in her direction for just a moment. "Tis is nice," he uttrs after several minuts of silence on his end, sinking a little deeper into the water.
"It's quite good, isn't it? Anyone can heat up a tin bath with a bit of fire magic, but there's something about these springs that's more than just warm water. Supposedly the minerals are good for one's health and skin; I just prefer to enjoy the warmth and try to make it out here once a week. It's not that hard - there's an airship trip out here, and with that many folk squeezing in a ticket back and forth is actually quite affordable."
Trace nods and smiles faintly as he looks up at the sky, spreading his wings underwater, before folding them back. "It is, and I can imagine," he nods after a moment. "I'm pondering trying my hand at water and earth magic again... Though I've always had a little difficulty focusing on both of those... Water... I dunno. It feels right, but... It's not my focus... Earth... Somehow, using it feels... Off."
Sveta nods. "I'm not you. You're not me. If you're not comfortable with it, then set it aside until you're ready to take it on. Although I'll say that just because something's hard, doesn't mean that one should avoid it." She pauses a moment, lifts an arm out of the water, and wrings it. "Goodness, I'm going to take forever to dry once I get out."
"It's not... That. Air... It finds a way past obstacles. The path of least resistance. Water, it goes with the flow, if that all makes sense. Fire... Fire makes a way. While earth... earth is generally much more passive. I'm not saying it's at all used passively, but... The mindset is very different from the mindset of air I'm used to, the mindset of water I feel... Comfortable with, and the mindset of fire I've... Managed to make mine, somewhat."
Sveta laughs and smacks a soggy hand against Trace's shoulder. "Making your own way? You need to show that more, I suppose, although you did come here in the first place all the way from Cliffside. When I first met you, you remember? You'd made your way...then for some reason, stopped."
A mumble, and the kite fidgets with his thumbs for a moment. "I did say somewhat... it's not my usual MO," he mumbles after a while, before looking back. "In that, I'm more like air, or water. Find a way, or go where the flow brings you," he mumbles after a while, before leaning back. "And that was about as far as I managed to go on 'making my own way' at the time."
Sveta notices Trace leaning back, and gently grabs hold of his forearm to urge him forward a little. "Well...I don't know if I can wholly appreciate the sound of that. It seems a little...irresponsible. Maybe I just don't have the right perspective on it, perhaps."
A nod, a faint smile. "Thought I would've had a little time to plan on on the boat. Turned out to not handle the water so well, but everything's fine," he explains with a slight chuckle, before he sits up again. "There's also the part where people in Cliffside... Try and make Sweetwater sound... Smaller, if you know what I mean."
"And then it ended up bigger than you expected. But I'd expected a student, no, a scholar like you would have better access to the facts. Well," she says with a cough, "what's done is done. And today you're here, with me, in this warm spring water. Isn't it odd?"
Trace admits another chuckle as Trace looks back up at Sveta, before nodding faintly. "I... I never expected it to actually /be/ small. I just didn't expect it /this/ big either," he mumbles after a while, offering the goshawk a small, almost sly smirk. "I'm not complaining if you aren't."
Sveta splashes the water a little, creating small waves in the pool. "No...I'm not. I'm definitely not complaining."
Trace chuckles again, splashing some water back at Sveta, before he leans back just a little, silently looking out over the area laying his arm over the back of the springs, gently pulling Sveta up against him, if she allows it, of course.
Sveta doesn't resist as Trace pulls her close, and instead rests her thin body into the soggy mess of his feathers, allowing him to wrap his arm about her. She sighs and fidgets a little, then makes herself comfortable.
Trace smiles faintly and nuzzles up against Sveta's shoulder, his beak clicking lightly as he cozes up, closing his eyes momentarily as he rests his head against his, arm still respectfully around her waist.
Sveta makes a small, contented sound in the back of her throat and takes a deep breath of the steam rising from the water before squirming into Trace's embrace. "Sooo...tell me about you growing up. How was it?"
A beak-click, a mumble. "Grew up on a farm close to cliffside, really... Parents scrounged up the money for me to go to the academy, when they noticed I had magical potential, and little aspirations to become a farmer," he begins after a short while.
"I'm sure there's more to it than that, right? How was life in Cliffside? The people you knew? The constant...well, you hear things about how folk live there." She sighs, this time not in contentment. "Look, I can understand being cagey and not being expected to spill one's life story out to strangers on the street. But with someone you're interested in...well, I'm sure you lived a more interesting life than that."
"Oh, the stories are true. People are competetiv. A little too competetive as far as I'm concerned, but the other part is true as well... That competition results in honed minds, slick tongues, and what-have-you." He pauses for a moment, before admitting a sigh. "Friends, I had a few, though not many. An environment like that is more likely to create rivals, rather than friendship. Adam Whitefur was among them... Well, until I knocked his father out cold, but I told you that story already. Took three weeks for me to even be acknowledged after that..."
Sveta nods. "It's an understandable grudge. I can see why you might have wanted to leave some things behind." She has an odd look on her face, slightly hungry. Maybe she's missing those steamed buns back in the tea house. "I...well, I grew up on a farm, too. Fifth out of seven, at the time. We mostly grew cabbages and other leafy greens. The soil wasn't really good for grain. Mealtimes were always interesting...well, and..."
Silence, for a minute or two, before he looks towards Sveta with a smile, a tilt of the head. "Can't imagine being the fifth of seven, honestly... Then again, the closest I had to a sibling was a nephew, so..."
It takes him a moment or two as he listens to her talk, before nodding faintly. "And?" he finally asks, before gesturing at the teahouse. "We can head back inside for something to eat, if you're peckish?"
"No, it's not that. I was just thinking. Anyways, I took the initiative and moved out on my own - my parents were immigrants from the Old Country themselves, so they could understand where I was coming from. It wasn't that hard to find work down here at the Craft School in exchange for room and board..." She thinks a moment. "I'd like to at least try and have as many someday. I mean, being gifted...mother would be so proud of me right now. I haven't been back in a year. Maybe I'll go soon."
A nod, a small smile, a mumble as Trace looks towards Sveta. "E-erm... Mind if I come with?" he finally asks, taking a few minutes to steel himself for that question, which has him petrified for a short moment.
Sveta's tale is listened to intently, although he's not quite sure how to respond to her words, at least not quite yet.
Sveta tilts her head and rubs up against Trace. "Are you absolutely sure you want to do that? I mean, my parents are of the sort to think that if I bring home a male, it's only because he's set on marrying me. And if you happen not to, they'll be more than a little displeased." she clicks her beak. "I'm being quite serious about this, yes. I can understand a desire to see my folks, but...well, just be aware of the signals you'll be sending. Don't worry, though. You do have plenty of time to think it over."
"I... Yes," Trace mumbles, seemingly... Well, mostly convinced, at least. It's quite unusual for the quite to take such a definite stance almost immediately... Seems he's quite serious about this one, for whatever reasons he might have.
Of course, the sudden burst of confidence soon wavers as he mutters afterwards. "A-anything else I'd have to prepare for?"
"Honestly speaking? I'm not sure. My folks are a little unpredictable that way. But even if I knew anything more past the obvious 'don't make a fool of yourself', I wouldn't tell you. After all, I wouldn't want to put past any sort of test my folks have in mind, that wouldn't be fair to them. All I'd say would be to be as you really are. However you think that is." She pauses a moment. "It would be what I'd do if I were going off to see your folks."
Trace nods faintly and mumbles for a moment. "I... I guess so," he mumbles after a while, before looking back up. "Still, it wouldn't hurt to know what kind of people they are, would it?" he offers hesitantly, looking between Sveta and the water contemplatively.
Sveta chuckles. "If you've met me, chances are you've met my mother to some degree. I wouldn't say we're completely alike, but as the old Creator saying goes, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. As for my father..." she offers him a coy smile. "He's kind of hard to describe. I wouldn't try too hard to do so - some things have to be seen to be understood."
Trace nods again, looking out over the area and smiling faintly. "Both of them hawks such as yourself, or?" he mumbles curiously, spreading his arms out, before wrapping one back around Sveta's shoulders.
"They are. Came from the Old Country to the north of Thera'dor, where it's winter most of the year. Mostly because it was too cold, they said," she says with a small laugh. "I've never seen it, but I'd like to someday, you know?"
Trace nods and looks towards the mountain. "Myself, I'm partly in favor of warmer climates, but... That doesn't mean I wouldn't travel elsewhere for a while. I mean, I did want to travel the world, after all."
Sveta makes a pleasant noise in the back of her throat, pressing against Trace and squashing into his wet feathers. "Maybe we'll go together sometime, after the border's open once more, or we can try another crossing. Or maybe by airship. I don't know. The best time to see the world is before one settles down, I suppose."
"Well, if you want me along, sure!" the kite exclaims excitedly, his smile broadening as he clicks his beak momentarily, offering a glance down at her. "Comfy there, I take it?" he offers with a small smirk, seemingly relaxing a tad more the longer things go on.
"I don't think I can complain, I'll say. You know, I suddenly don't feel like getting out, not for a while, at least." She yawns, clicking her beak. "Look, I...mm...zzzz..." Looks like the bird's gone to sleep, right against Trace.